Tuesday, July 12, 2016

10 Reasons You Should be Playing #PokemonGO

There's a new sensation gripping the nation! Have you heard?! It's Pokemon GO and it's a brand new game developed for smart phones. It first came on my radar through some Facebook posts. My kids are obsessed with Pokemon anyway, so when I started seeing all this stuff pop up in my feed, I had to check it out.

I downloaded the game on a whim and told Ken about it. Ken did a little research and downloaded it himself. We tried to keep it secret from the kids, but we all know that wasn't going to work for long, so we spilled the beans on ourselves and let them get involved.

I've only had the game since Saturday and I'm already having so much fun. I may or may not be a part of the target market for this game, but I've been having a blast and I want to tell you why you should be playing too!

  1. It's interactive. You cannot play this game sitting on the couch. You have to go outside and experience the world. You can put the phone in your pocket and it will buzz when there are Pokemon around for you to catch. Ken and I walked for 90 minutes the other night. That's more exercise than I've gotten the rest of the week!!
  2. It brings people together. Obviously Ken and I are having fun playing together. I also met two friends at work who play. I took a walk around the building with one for a quick break. The other is on my team (Go Team Mystic) and we have plans to take over a nearby gym!
  3. The whole family can play. My kids don't have phones, but the can certainly carry mine while we go for a walk. The kids know more about the individual Pokemon than I do, so they love teaching me new things!
  4. You can meet new people. I've heard of certain Poke Stops attracting people who then start chatting and form new relationships. It's getting people out of the house and interacting with other people. Even an incredibly shy person will perk up if you yell "There's a Pokemon over here!"
  5. It gives you a chance to get to know your town. We've always gone for walks around our neighborhood and down to the cemetery, but now that there are Poke stops just a little bit beyond where we normally walk, we've changed our patterns. Walking to a new place can be fun as well as stimulating.
  6. It works for bribery! No more "You have to eat all your food so you can have dessert." instead, it's "Let's finish eating so we can go find some Pokemon together!" How's that for motivation?!
  7. It can help solve race problems! Maybe not really, but I saw this funny story and thought I'd share.
    http://imgur.com/KAwwxFp
  8. It's silly. Ken and I were out walking together last night as we couldn't stop giggling. There's just something child-like about wandering around your neighborhood in the dark looking for imaginary creatures. And we all know that laughter is good for you!
  9.  It's free! Sure there are some in-app purchases available, but this is a game you can realistically play for free. The more you are willing to wander around your town, the more game items you'll be able to collect.
  10. It's Fun!!! Seriously, it's just fun. Download it and give it a try!
Got a list of ten? Link it up below!


Monday, July 11, 2016

Chillin' Triptych #DIY

It's hot! The weather, yes; but life in general is just hot right now. We've got our house on the market. We've got our eye on one we think will work for us. We've had some extended family upsets, as well as more than the usual amount of stress around our own little home.

I feel like I need a break before I break! I'd love a vacation, but that's not happening anytime soon. What I'd really like is for all the loose ends floating around in my head to tie themselves into a neat little bow!

In times like these, I sometimes have to take a step back and remind myself to chill out!

And a dash of artistic expression never hurt anyone, right??

I made this cool (get it?!) triptych with the kids after they got mad when I made one with just Henry for him to give as a gift to his Big Sister. You can personalize this project in so many different ways, but here's what we did:

Materials:

  • three 5x7 canvases
  • three colors of paint
  • three paint brushes
  • words/pictures cut out (I used the Cricut at work, but you can really just print out any picture and cut it out)
  • paper plate
  • Mod Podge
  • two wooden pieces (optional)
  • string to hang (optional)
  • staple gun (optional)
I picked out three summer looking colors that agreed with each other and then I gave each kid a canvas and told them to fill it up. This part really didn't matter to me. The boys just globbed some pain on willy nilly while Frances made a pattern and painted some waves. You really can't mess this part up!

After their paint was dry, I look my popsicle cutouts and words and placed them on the canvases. To get everything lined up properly, you'll want to put the canvases right next to each other. Once I had everything fit on the way I wanted, I cut the pieces along the edges of the canvases and spread them out.

Next I spread some Mod Podge on the cutouts to adhere them to the canvases. You'll want to make sure you get the pieces lined up exactly, so double check before you put them down. Spread the Mod Podge over the entire canvas and pay special attention to the edges of the cutouts so they get stuck down all the way.

Allow this whole thing to dry and then you can decide what to do with it. These would look pretty propped on a shelf or mantle. You could hang them on a wall as well. I chose to attach them to some wooden slats, add a string, and hang them on my door. It was high time for that Easter wreath to go!! LOL

Want some other ideas on how to chill out? Keep reading!

Chewy Orange Pineapple Bars from Karen at Baking in a Tornado:


Tortellini "Chill" Salad from Dawn at Spatulas on Parade:


Find Your Chill from Lydia at Cluttered Genius:




Chill Out on Your Next Vacation in the Great Outdoors with these tips from Melissa at Home on Deranged:


Friday, July 8, 2016

Independence

When I was a kid I couldn't want to grow up and go out on my own. To be independent. To make my own decisions. To not have anyone boss me around!!

Of course, I know better now and I have the ability to laugh at my younger self and how ridiculous I was. The independence I was looking forward to as a child means something different to me now. Sure, I make my own decisions. Not many people really tell me what to do. But it's certainly not all I thought it was going to be. With that magical independence comes responsibility.

I may not have to make dinner every night if I don't want to, but I choose to because I love my family and I want them to be well cared for. I may not enjoy doing laundry; in fact I grumble about it quite a bit; but it has to get done and so I do it. I have very few complaints about my job, but even if I did, I choose to work here, so I do what needs to be done.

As a child, I didn't know much about responsibility and even less about it's relationship to independence. As I've grown I've learned that the two are intertwined. You cannot have true independence without accepting the responsibility that comes along with it.

Without turning this post into a complete tirade against "what is wrong with the world," I think that a lot of this is what is wrong with the world. People think that independence means "I can do what I want, when I want." but that is a very immature view of the concept. All actions have consequences. The things that I do have an affect on the people around me. As a moral decision maker I have to consider that aspect before I act.

What does independence mean to me? It means I have the right to do things in the way that I want to. It makes me happy to be able to make decisions that benefit others, but not necessarily myself. Independence is fun, but it also comes with responsibility that I feel obligated to honor.

You've been reading a Secret Subject Swap. This week 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado
Not That Sarah Michelle
The Bergham Chronicles
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
My Brain on Kids
Spatulas on Parade
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Confessions of a part time working mom
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 
Molly Ritterbeck
Juicebox Confession
Southern Belle Charm
Climaxed
When I Grow Up


My subject is “What does independence mean to me?" It was submitted by http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Friday, July 1, 2016

Great Summer Reading List and #Giveaway!

It's summer time and the livin' is...out of control!! We've been here and there and put a ton of miles on the van. I've been in and out of work and it's so hard to get back into the groove. All I want to do is sit under a blanket and read some good books! That's what summer is all about for me. And the great news is I've teamed up with 20 blogging friends and we've got some great book recommendations for you, as well as an awesome GIVEAWAY!! So make sure you read all the way to the end of this post.

Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"

Been a little too distracted by the end-of-school insanity to bone up on what all the hot summer reads are? No sweat! We've got you covered. Twenty of us blogging gals have teamed up with The Mom of the Year and Normal Level of Crazy virtual monthly book club to create a list of exactly what belongs on your summer reading list. Not only do these books come highly recommended (along with the reason you need to be reading them!), we are giving eleven of them away to one of you, along with a $225 Amazon giftcard. I know, it's insanely awesome! More details on the giveaway at the end of the post. For now, log into Goodreads, grab a notepad or settle in with however you track your to-read list and start adding these titles.
Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"

20 Books that Belong on Your Summer Reading List:

Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"
  1. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini (Toulouse and Tonic) is a GREAT summer read. Leah Remini doesn't hold anything back, from her decades-long experience with Scientology to celeb encounters along the way, especially experiences within Scientology. If you want to hear all the dish on Tom Cruise, including his "Scientology arranged and groomed" girlfriend and then his marriage to Katie Holmes, get the book now. Her honesty and lack of pretense is refreshing. I couldn't put it down!
  2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (The Not So Super Mom) This is a bit of a quirky book, but it is perfectly quirky without falling into the creepy or just plain confusing. A.J. Fikry is not the most immediately likable character but you find yourself rooting for him (and his bookstore) anyway. I appreciated that he was a bit of an oddball, because who in our lives isn't without their own idiosyncrasies? I enjoyed the themes in this book--loss, romance, mystery--all peppered with humor and the format--each chapter moves the story forward in time and serves as an ode to one of Fikry's favorite books--was different but enjoyable to any book lovers who try to find themselves in the stories they read.
  3. Smart Women by Judy Blume (Meraki Lane) I was a huge Judy Blume fan when I was a kid (Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself was my favorite!), so it's no surprise I jumped with joy when I discovered she writes novels for adults as well, and this book did NOT disappoint. If you like a light read with a little racy romance thrown in, this is the perfect summer pick!
  4. A Window Opens by Elizabeth Egan (Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms) A great novel with a fresh, funny voice guiding it, this book tackles the classic struggle of moms trying to have it all and stuck with us to the point of recommending it to others long after we turned the last page.
    Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"
  5. Beyond the Break by Kristen Mae (Kristen Mae) Quoted from Melissa Mowry of One Mother to Another's review on Amazon: "This book absolutely crushed me. The writing is hauntingly beautiful and full of depth, with well-rounded characters and gorgeous imagery. As a card-carrying heterosexual, I expected to feel a little squirmy about the girl-on-girl aspect and was just reading because I love this author's writing. I was SO WRONG. The sex was, in a word, mind-blowing. None of that lazy, euphemistic smut book language (you won't find talk of anyone's blossoming flower here) just seriously hot, almost artistic love scenes. Hazel is a flawed but loveable main character with a haunting past and so much dimension. Claire is absolutely magnetic; even I was attracted to her. You owe yourself the pleasure--and I do mean pleasure--of reading this book. It will change everything you thought you knew about love, sexual attraction, and chemistry."
  6. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (Herd Management) Summer Sisters provides a fascinating view into the inner workings and dynamics of a close female friendship over the duration of their journey from young teens into adulthood. Many women will be able to relate to the power that female friends have over one another's hearts, and their ability to shatter them completely sometimes. Riveting, relatable, and emotional.
  7. The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (Confessions of a Mommyaholic) This summer/beach town set book is the absolute perfect read this summer while you are sitting beach or poolside that is filled with just enough intrigue, suspense, drama, romance and more.
  8. Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher (See Mom Click) This is one of those books that draws you in and won’t let go, even after you’ve put it down. Senna Richard wakes up on her 33rdbirthday, locked in a house in the snow in the middle of nowhere, full of clues she has to piece together to gain her freedom. Not just a mystery, but a rip-your-heart-out love story, the author keeps you guessing while you become totally wrapped up in these characters’ lives.
    Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"
  9. Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (Shakespeare's Mom) In this collection of personal essays, Parker writes beautifully about her encounters and relationships with various men in her life - everyone from her grandfather to ex-boyfriends, to, in an essay that manages to be both brutal and hilarious, a male goat. I read the whole book in one day. I had to ignore my children and personal hygiene to do it, but finding myself sucked into the book's spellbinding word-webs was totally worth it.
  10. Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins (Andra Watkins, New York Times best seller and 2015 National Book Award nominee). Sarah Cottrell of The Huffington Post calls it “one literary ride you do not want to miss!” Reader Claris explains why everyone should read Not Without My Father in her Amazon review: "Andra really made me stop and think how important each moment in life is. If we live in each moment - really LIVE - we won't be as likely to miss making that moment an important memory. I expected to read a story about a memorable walk, but it turned into a thought-provoking quest to truly focus on the wonderful family and friends that I have and not miss making memories with them."
  11. Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyangi (Femme Frugality) This true story of alternative education in WWII era Japan serves to inspire. If you've ever known a kid that doesn't seem to fit into a traditional education system, Tetsuko Kuroyangi's story will warm your heart and give you hope. Kuroyangi, after getting kicked out of a traditional school, grew up to be one of Japan's media sweethearts and a great, hands-on philanthropist.
  12. A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (The Whimsy One) will take you on a waltz between present day and the 18th century as Sara (present day) tries to decipher a journal written by Mary during the Jacobites uprising in Paris (1732) what she discovers in the handwritten pages is not at all what she was expecting.
    Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"
  13. Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos (Jana Says) I fell in love with this author after reading another one of his books but this one, a stunning, sad, sometimes funny, heartbreaking, (mostly) realistic portrayal of a marriage in crisis and its subsequent implosion during a summer long Midwestern heatwave, solidified him in my top 5 favorite authors.
  14. What Alice Forgot By Liane Moriarty (Tamara (Like) Camera) This book gripped me - I felt all the joys and pains. I recommended it to both of my sisters who are still postpartum.
  15. Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Kiss My List) You will not regret spending an afternoon curled up with this smart, funny, and poignant novel about a teenage girl's bus ride back to her mom in Cleveland. Mim’s journey from Mississippi is filled with people who could be fascinating main characters in their own books.
  16. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (The Golden Spoons) Hawley alternates between perspectives of different characters as well as switches from past to present in this story of 11 people - some connected, some seemingly out of place - whose lives are changed or lost when their private jet goes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard on a foggy August night.
    Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"
  17. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (The Lieber Family) This second Cormoran Strike novel follows our detective as he investigates the disappearance and later death of a controversial, not-well liked author whose last novel didn’t have anything nice to say about…well, anyone!
  18. You: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes (Pulling Taffy) If you love a good, creepy thriller, with an occasional chuckle, this is a great summer read. By the end you will be rooting for the serial killer and hoping his intended victim dies (Please. End. Her. Incessant. Whining.)
  19. The Show by Filip Syta (Normal Level of Crazy) I'm taken by Amazon's description of the book, "Think of the greatest tech company in the world. Imagine getting a job there. Picture the perks: free gourmet food, free booze, a gym, a swimming pool, and a holiday bonus . . . every month. Brilliant coworkers. No dress code. Great parties. More money. Everyone’s admiration." You know there are inevitably problems that will arise, but it sounds so exotic in comparison to my world, that I can't wait to dig in!
  20. The Tulip Factory by Kacie Davis Idol (The Mom of the Year) Amazon's description makes it sound like the perfect dreamy, fun summer book: "Before they exchange even a single word, Corrine knows that James will change everything. And sure enough, their serendipitous meeting in a North Carolina coffee shop sets off a whirlwind of desire and possibilities for the two."
Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!"

Now that you've got the whole list, I know you're dying to immediately lose yourself in book pages, but don't forget to first enter the fantastic giveaway here! Eleven of these books (Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, The Storied Like of A.J. Fikry, The Weekenders, Not Without My Father, Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, Beyond the Break, The Tulip Factory, The Show, A Desperate Fortune, Before the Fall, You: A Novel) are up for grabs in addition to a $225 Amazon giftcard! Delight in the books and use the giftcard to get any others that are on your summer reading list--or for this sweet amount, even snag a new Kindle for reading on-the-go! As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental United States, you are eligible to enter the Rafflecopter below. All entries must be received before 7/8/16 at 5:30am ET. Here's to a summer of fab books, friends! And as always, happy reading!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

****This post is not sponsored or compensated in any way. We are grateful to the following publishers for providing copies of the books for our giveaway: Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Grand Central Publishing, Kristen Mae, Algonquin Books, Sourcebooks, Andra Watkins, St. Martin's Press, Kodansha, and Inkshares. We bloggers have all chipped in together to provide the Amazon giftcard--because we love Amazon and we love you ;) ****
Second graphic credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:18594985, copyright:peshkova
Horizontal line of books in last graphic: depositphotos, image ID:6984753, copyright:aboikis
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