Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Children's eBook Review & Rafflecopter Giveaway!

I've got 10 free copies of the adorable children's ebook "Candy and the Cankersaur" to give away!  This cute tale of a bored little girl, her busy dad, her jealous neighbor and her pet dinosaur was a big hit with my 6 year old son.  He loves using the Kindle and reading things with his big sister so he was super excited to check out a new story.  While some of the words were a little complicated for a kindergartner on the first pass through, he thoroughly enjoyed the entertaining story and bright illustrations.  

The story begins with a sweet little girl who desires the attention of her busy father.  Her father feels bad and buys her a dinosaur as a special gift.  Children will love this mischievous green dino who has a knack for chomping on things he shouldn't like a naughty puppy.  This earns him a firm scolding from Candy about "No Biting!" which elicited giggles from my little monster every time.  The jealous neighbor kid steals the Cankersaur and sells him to the circus but later sees how sad this makes Candy and they get her father to help retrieve her beloved pet.  There are several valuable lessons worked into this story.

I highly recommend this book for young readers and especially liked the ebook format (a lot of ebook for kids seem to have spelling errors and typos galore and this one was very well done).  Even my 11 year old very advanced reader was curious enough to sit through the whole story and giggled a few times.

Author, Jason Sandberg, was generous enough to grant me 10 free copies to gift to you! Just complete as many steps as you wish through Rafflecopter below to earn entries to the giveaway.  This giveaway ends at 12:00 a.m. on Friday, May 1 - good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 13, 2015

That Chronic Condition Called “Busy”

Please can somebody play with me?” came a sweet, soft little voice from below me.

It had been a really hectic day.  
The kids and I had been late getting out the door that morning and as soon as I dropped them off at before-school program I was stopped on the wrong side of the tracks by a really long, slow train.  
That’s about the time I realized I didn't have enough gas to get to work.  
A full day of meetings and the phone ringing off the hook at work so of course I didn't get out on time.  
I had a list of things to get done at home – laundry, dishes, dinner, ironing.

And now my little man wanted me to play.  

In my cloud of frustration I tried to temper my voice a bit
 as I ground my teeth and sighed 
“Honey, can’t you see I’m busy!?”

That small chin quivered.  
Big hazel-green eyes filled with tears.  

“Everybody’s busy a lot and nobody has time to play with me.”  

He didn't say it in a whiny voice that surely would have ground my last nerve.  
He just said it very quietly and sadly and went to sit on the couch.  

That…made me stop in my tracks.

He was right.  

We are chronically “busy”.  

It’s a real problem.

And as I walked over to give him a hug and ask for my best biscuit cutter 
(and fellow Food Network junkie) to come help me with the dinner prep, 
my mind ticked through the number of times 
I’d said the word “busy” in the past few days.

It had become my go-to answer when anyone asked how I was doing.  

Which really showed how out-of-touch I was with everyone 
because they didn't ask me what I was doing 
or to quantify just what I had been up to 
and justify why I hadn't done more.  

They were asking about how I was doing – as a person.  

And I no longer knew how to answer the question because there wasn't time to think about how I felt or what I wanted.  Only time enough to measure how many things I’d cross off the list or boxes I’d check-marked. 

I won’t say that I don’t fall back into that habit because I do.  

But then I have those sweet, sensitive children who remind me often 
that their favorite part of the day 
is when we are driving home and I ask them to tell me the best part of their day 
and the little routine I have with each one as we say goodnight 
the same way each night. 

It’s not all the things we did during the day that are their favorite.  

It’s the feeling in those moments when we are not stressed and hurried 
and we just enjoy those few moments being together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

We Didn't Celebrate St. Patty's. And Its OK

We didn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day today.
We didn't even wear green clothes. 
No green food. No green hair. 
No special themed snacks and goodie bags to take to school to share with their class. 
I have no cute, smiling, happy green pictures to share.

In my younger mommy days I would have felt horribly ashamed to neglect my children by not celebrating such any holiday. I would have stayed up late last night making special treats, washing certain clothes, packaging special lunches. 

I would have been exhausted. I would have been flustered and frustrated and overwhelmed. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Living with Intention in Relationships

I remember being small and often visiting an elderly couple who always had an awkward silence between them.  They never referred to each other in terms of endearment.  They never touched.  They rarely looked directly at each other.  Their recliners were side by side with a small table between and it might as well have been a brick wall. 

It was not the comfortable silence of two people who have spent their lives in such togetherness that they didn't need words to fill the air because they each knew what the other was thinking without speaking audibly.  It was the bitter tense silence of a lifetime of disappointment, discontent and betrayal. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Living with Intention: Part 1

One of my absolute favorite quotes that I have repeated to myself a million times
over since I discovered it when I was a teenager!
I’m here!  Happy very belated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year – ouch has it really been that long since I’ve posted?!  If you follow me on Twitter, Pinterest or Google+ then you’ll know that I’m still alive and sharing content on those streams but admittedly, time and compulsion to write just have not meshed in a long time.  Part of that is due to a promotion at work that has left me very fulfilled with a much lower stress level but also lacking the ability to complete a sentence by the end of most days… 

But I often think of you and want to share things – and I do through those other mediums so please consider following me on one or all of those sites!  I read an article yesterday that I shared on Google+ on the struggle to not melt down like a toddler (while yelling at our children to stop acting the same way) when things aren’t going perfectly and it reminded me of a post I started to write to you all about living with intention. 

In this particular article, this mother talked about choosing to react differently.  One of the saying I use with my very independent children often is “You choose.  You can make a good choice or a bad choice and that will determine how everything else goes.  And you can choose to act differently even after you make a bad choice.”

So often when I say this to my kids I feel hypocritical.  While I try to live by this, I am far from perfect.  And in those moments when I lose it and let the little things get to me, I hear myself saying this to my kids and look at their faces and know they hear it too…

Friday, September 26, 2014

Binder Park Zoo Trip

We are lucky to have great zoos of all sizes in Michigan.  One of my favorites is Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek.  I've been to this zoo several times and it never disappoints.  My children's schools and daycare usually take annual field trips so I try to make that one of the field trips I take with them.  
On this field trip, we started out with a special up close viewing of a few small creatures - the hedgehog...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where does the time go?

The past month has flown by and here is a little of the insanity that has been keeping me distracted...  First, there was the start of school...including the usual round of appointments that go with lining up all the paperwork and health appointments, yadda yadda.
Then there was this whole birthday deal which involved glamping - yes, that is a birthday invite shaped like a tent.  And yes, I will be sharing much more about this easy little invite and the rest of the party.  Just not going to promise when...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Baby Girl!


It's amazing how fast life moves.

Really, it feels like just a blink sometimes.  

One day not so long ago, we were going through the roller-coaster of emotions of trying to get pregnant.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Farmers Market Friday

Happy Friday!  It has been a really long couple of weeks around here so I am so eager for the long weekend at home.  Of course, the project list is a mile long but I have been distracted with the mission of putting up all the seasonal goodies that are abundant (and free or close to it!) this time of year.  

Tomorrow the kids have requested to hit the local blueberry patch one last time so we can freeze a batch of those.  Our generous neighbor (of whose gardening skills I am horribly jealous) has been sharing sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and the most beautiful cabbage.  

This past week my grandma brought me sweet corn after putting up 16 quarts herself.  She brought me enough to fill an entire rubbermaid tub...  I groaned because I didn't really have time to go through all the steps to can it but I couldn't bring myself to turn it down.  Thankfully, as the kids and I were shucking, I remember the FoodSaver my mom bought me for Christmas (Mom to the rescue again!).  That thing allowed me to get it all processed in just a couple of hours.  No pictures though - no time for that!
The variety of farm market goods is also starting to expand and prices tend to go down a bit as the produce is more available and more people at the same market are offering it.  We were able to get this great haul for a grand total of $11!  Here's how it works out:

1 quart green beans .50
4 candy onions $1
3 red onions $1
1 sandwich bag snap peas $1
1 sandwich bag orange cherry tomatoes $1
1 orange tomato .50
2 green peppers $1
1 handful Kale $2
1 large quart tomatoes - red & 1 heirloom $2
2 rubberband bracelets $1 (These were being made by a young man about 7 years old and he displayed them very cutely on toilet paper and paper towel rolls.  I had to support a young entrepreneur and I had my 5 year old purchase them himself - both boys were quite proud of themselves.) 

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Baby is Moving On

 Today, this little guy graduates preschool.
With a lot more hair,
a pair of dimples that only come out when he gives his most charming grin,
and an awesome sense of humor.