Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Did you Make me Brownies?? Introducing Clash of the Couples!

One random night last week as my husband and I were putting away dinner, I turned to him lovingly and said, "Did you make me brownies?"
He looked at me, questioningly and said, "Why would I have made you brownies?"
I replied, "Oh, no reason. I was just asking!"

And then we finished putting away dinner.

The next night, as we were...putting away dinner (it's like the kids expect to eat every.single.night!) I asked again, "Did you make me brownies?"
This time he rolled his eyes. "No. I didn't make you brownies! Why do you keep asking me that?!"
"I don't know! I can dream, right?"

Fast forward to the next night as I was...getting the kids ready for bed. I happened to pass through the kitchen and sweetly ask, "Did you make me brownies?"
"Rabia. I did not make you brownies. For the record, I don't even know how to make brownies. Why do you keep asking me that!?!"
"Well there's a boxed mix right there in the cabinet! Two in fact, although I'd try the basic version if it's your first time." I sweetly replied. And then I headed off to the kids' room to read them a story.

Later, as I was sitting in the kids' room, I heard the oven beep and the delicious smell of brownies come wafting through the house. Oh no!! I Hope the kids don't smell it!! Hehehehe!  

Thankfully the brownie smell did not disturb them, so I waited patiently for my lovelies to fall asleep and I went out to the kitchen excitedly. "You made me brownies!" I exclaimed!!

He just rolled his eyes. He's used to me by now, I guess! And I didn't even mention the spilled mix on the counter or the messy bowls on top of the empty dishwasher. I'm nice like that!!

That's why Ken and I never fight.  ;)  Oh, OK, we do. And so do most couples. It's just a normal part of living in close proximity. Have you ever wanted a sneak peek at other couple's tiffs? No? Oh..., yeah. Me neither. But if you have, then I've got a great announcement for you!

Coming November 3, 2014...

From Crystal Ponti, the genius behind the best-selling The Mother of All Meltdowns , comes the next behind the scenes look at relationships. This time, instead of mothers having meltdowns, Clash of the Couples features stories of real men and women involved in the kinds of relationship hurdles we all face. Think you're going to see arguments about sex, money, and kids? Nope! These are the real deal! Squabbles about who ate the leftovers, dirty socks that didn't quite make the hamper, and Google searches gone in a very wrong direction.

I am anxiously awaiting my chance to get a copy of this book, and I hope you are too. Until then, though, you can check out these awesome contributors on their personal blogs and get a taste of what you might expect when Clash of the Couples goes live on November 3, 2014!

Andrew S. Delfino of Almost Coherent Parent
Crystal Ponti of MommiFried
Camille DeFer Thompson of Camille DeFer Thompson
Meredith Napolitano of From Meredith to Mommy
Chris Dean of pixie.c.d.
Linda Roy of elleroy was here
Kevin Zelenka of Double Trouble Daddy
Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus
R.C. Liley of Going Dad
Mary Widdicks of Outmanned
Marie Bollman of Make Your Own Damn Dinner
Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie
Mike Reynolds of Puzzling Posts
Leigh-Mary Hoffmann of Happily Ever LaughterBlog
Lisa Petty of Lisa R. Petty
Lynn Shattuck of The Light Will Find You
Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids
Stacey Gustafson of Are You Kidding Me?
Angela Godbout of FRaPS
Courtney Conover of The Brown Girl with LongHair
Jenny Hills of Express Bus Mama
Marcia Kester Doyle of Menopausal Mother
Julia Arnold of Frantic Mama
Jessica Azar of Herd Management
Susan A. Black of I Like That
Sarah del Rio of est. 1975
Nicole R. Wildhood of Naught Be All Else
Angela Keck of Writer Mom’s Blog
Alexa Bigwarfe of No Holding Back
Brian Sorrell of Dadding Full Time
Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket
April Grant of 100lb Countdown
Bev Feldman of Linkouture
Jodi Flaherty of The Noise of Boys
Scott Rigdon of Three Five Zero
Lydia Richmond of Cluttered Genius
Allie Burdick of VITA – Train for Life
Michelle Grewe of Crumpets and Bollocks
Barb Godshalk of Co-Author of Tall Tales and ShortStories from South Jersey
Jonathon Floyd of One Funny Daddy
Chris Carter of The Mom Cafe

That's an affiliate link up there for my book. If you click on it and buy something I might make a few cents. I appreciate it! 

Who makes the brownies in your house?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#TuesdayTen: What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

I finished Peter Pan with the kids last month and the kids are still acting out scenes from the book and the Disney movie, which we watched later. What gets stuck in my head is Peter's refusal to grow up. Sometimes I think he had the right idea! I still don't feel like an actual grownup, and we all know I don't act like one!

Also, I love my current job and I have no plans to leave it, but sometimes I still think about what other things I think I might like to try. Some of these are more far-fetched than others, but it's fun to play pretend...even when you're "29 remainder" as my Julie says.

  1. Librarian-I work in a library, but technically I'm not a librarian. If I were to be one, I'd like to try it out in an elementary school.
  1. Waitress-I've never been an actual waitress. Sure, I cook, serve, and clean up after my kids on a regular basis, but I don't take orders!! Eat what I serve you or don't eat! Oh, sorry, I got carried away there for a minute! Still, I'd like to try it someday and see what's it's like.
  1. Professional Chef-Again with the cooking, but I'd like the training to go along with it. I could learn things like: "how not to slice off the end of your fingertip," and "sauces beyond ketchup"
  1. Archaeologist-I know I keep mentioning this. Maybe it's because the geology department is both below and above me. I should really go talk to them about this!
  1. Voice-over talent or audio book talent- I like to read. I think I do well with inflections and voices. My dad's way better at it, but I think it would be fun to read books out loud for a living.
  1. Telemarketer-Please don't throw things at me! I'd make it fun!  I'd try to at least make the calls interesting for you. I could maybe throw in a few knock-knock jokes on occasion.
  1. Bus driver-Wouldn't it be fun to just drive around all day? Maybe I could work for one of those tour bus companies and drive to famous historical sites all the time!
  1. A historical re-enactor. Every time I go on a field trip with my kids, I want to try out this job. I'd love to "live" on a long ago farm and spin wool into yarn or hang out with the blacksmith all day.
  1. Real Estate Agent-Really I'd just like an excuse to be nosy and see what other people's houses look like. If I have to sell them to do it, I guess that's what I'll do!
  1. Cashier in a retail store-This is one I've actually tried. I know that there are lots of pieces to retail work that are hard and soul sucking, but I enjoyed the interaction I had and the random casual conversations I had on a daily basis. Maybe when I retire, I'll go be the grocery store greeter!
What do you want to be when you grow up? Or are you perfectly fine in your current profession? Share with me in the comments or link up your own list for #TuesdayTen below.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Last week there was a silly holiday called "Swap Ideas Day." As is usual around here, I came across it late in the day but I still decided to post about it on my Facebook page. I got one nibble from Tia at Becomin Neurotic, but it was a good one and something I haven't shared a lot lately.

I used to be a lot better at menu planning, but over the summer I got off course. Now that school is back in session and routine rules the day, I'm trying to get back in the habit. I signed in to my Relish! account to find some yummy foods to get us out of the food rut we've been stuck in and I found some winners! Check here if you'd like to see my explanation of how Relish! works to keep you organized in the kitchen.
This semester, Tuesday and Thursday are our major activity nights. I decided to plan one meal for both of those days and the girls will eat it one night and the boys get it the other. There's no sense in planning two whole meals for nights when only half the family is home at a time.

This week we'll be eating:
  • Monday-Sloppy Jose's
  • Tuesday-Individual Apple-Pork Meatloaves with rice
  • Wednesday-Slow cooker roasted rosemary chicken with boiled salt potatoes
  • Thursday-Individual Apple-Pork Meatloaves with rice
  • Friday-PIZZA
  • Saturday-Honey Teriyaki Chicken
  • Sunday--Baked Tilapia with parsley and thyme and noodles
I'll be honest, I usually don't plan out my sides very well. We typically have a fresh fruit and a fresh vegetable to go with our dinner each night,  but I don't often make a side dish recipe. We prefer simple sides so we can focus on the mail course.

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Ready

Five Minute Friday has a new home! Come check it out and join in on the free-writing fun!
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Five minutes on ready...


We are well into the school year routine. We've got the timing down for getting up and getting out of the house. I've got the after-school schedule implanted in my brain so I know who needs to be where on which days at what times. Frances even remembered her violin without me saying anything this week!  I feel like we are ready to go!

But then again, things don't always work they way they're supposed to. Like this morning, when I woke up but didn't want to get out of bed. When a good conversation with Ken put us behind for the morning. When Frances dawdled so much that I told her she would have to skip her shower if she was going to be ready on time.

We think we have all the plans. We think we've got stuff worked out. We've got the calendar filled up. That alarm set. The bags packed. We think we're ready. But are we?

In light of yesterday's remembrance, I have yet again been reminded that we can't always be ready for everything. Ultimately, the ins and outs of our days aren't up to us.  For some people that is a very disconcerting feeling. It makes people feel lost, alone, and anxious.

For me, I know that there is a Master Plan. A plan created by the Master. He who knows all the ins and outs and how they all work together.  Even if I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, I do know that He has great plans for me.  They might be plans that I don't understand or don't know about ahead of time, but regardless they are His plans. They are plans for my good and the good of all who love him.  And that makes me feel ready for anything!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Influenster #Vitality #VoxBox {Review}

Last month I was fortunate to receive a #VoxBox from Influenster. If you are unfamiliar with those terms, let me catch you up. Influenster is a program that puts products into the hands of consumers in exchange for reviews and opinions.  After you are selected to receive a box of items, you are then given a wide range of tasks and activities that you can choose to complete. The only required tasks are checking in your box (basically telling them that you received it) and filling out a survey at the end of the testing period.Other tasks involve promoting or review the products in your box across various social media platforms. I enjoy being an Influenster because I like to try out new things. This box was especially fun because I found a few things that I enjoyed enough to go out and purchase on my own.

The Vitality VoxBox was full of items to keep you looking and feeling your best.  In this box I received:

  • Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons ($3.99)-I usually don't use this type and I honestly prefer no applicator or a cardboard applicator, but they were quite comfortable. While I won't say that I enjoyed using them, I will say that they didn't make that week any worse! Find Playtex on Twitter & Facebook.
  • First Degree Burn Cream ($5.97-8.99)-I'm going to credit the presence of this burn cream with keeping our family safe from burns all month!  I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I'm not complaining about that! Find First Degree on Twitter & Facebook.
  • Softlips Cube ($3.49)-I LOVE this lip care! It doesn't make my lips feel tacky or sticky at all. My kids love it and the cute little cube makes it super easy to find in my purse. Find Softlips on Instagram & Facebook.
  • Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Serum ($60)-Woah! I had no idea skin care stuff would cost that much!! Can you tell I don't usually use fancy stuff? I'm more of an apricot scrub in the shower, SPF right afterwards kind of gal. I've been using this serum for a while and it feels good on my skin. I don't know if I look younger or less wrinkly. I don't look that closely to begin with! Find Elizabeth Arden on Twitter & Facebook.
  • Pure Leaf Sweet Tea (price varies)-I don't really care for sweet tea, but this one tasted acceptable to me. I felt like it was only fair to try the unsweetened version also, so I picked some up last week when we went hiking. The unsweetened tea is good. It has a fresh taste and no bitter aftertaste like tea can sometimes have. Find Pure Leaf on Twitter & Facebook.
  • Bikini Ready Energy Gummies ($14.99)-For the sake of complete transparency, I would never have bought this myself simply based on the name.  After trying them out and looking up the company, I see that most of what they sell are weight loss products.  These gummies are advertised to have an energy boost as well as an appetite suppressant. I tried them for the energy boost and found they did nicely. I used them on two separate days when I could not stop yawning. The gummies allowed me to feel more awake and concentrate better on my work.  They have 50 mcg of Vitamin B12 and 50 mg of caffeine. Find Bikini Ready on Twitter & Facebook.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. Want an invite to the Influenster program? Let me know!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Secrets: To Keep or not to Keep

I grew up very involved with the youth ministry at my church. As an adult, it seemed only natural that I would seek out ways to continue to be involved with ministry; first to teens and tweens, and later to children.  I was also a teacher of various ages for eight years.  In those years I received lots of training on how to ensure to safety of children from a variety of dangers.

I remember learning that you should never keep secrets for a teen (or child). When someone says, "If I tell you something you have to promise to keep it a secret." that should set off red flags. The proper response should be something along the lines of, "I can't make that promise. I promise to be sensitive with the information you choose to give me, but if you are going to tell me something that puts you or someone else in danger, I cannot, in good conscience, keep it a secret."

Of course, one always hopes that situations like that never come up, and if they do, one feels certain the training and education will kick in and all the correct steps will be followed.  Sadly, that's not always the case.

I have a friend. Let's call him Chad. We were chatting on the phone one day and Chad shared some disturbing information with me: He was seeing things out of the corner of his eye. On the surface, that's not such a strange declaration. I figured he meant little floaters, or tricks of the eye.  However, he went on to share the details of the people he could see talking with each other, and the cat he visualized playing with a ball.  Chad made me promise not to tell his wife.

I am sorry to report that I did make that promise. Not whole-heartedly, but I didn't respond with the convictions of my training or any other reason why I was not planning on keeping this information a secret.

Because I felt it best, I contacted Chad's wife and reported what he had told me.  She, too, was concerned. Chad had recently had some surgery as well as a new medication added to his daily regimen.  She thanked me for the info, and I went on with my day feeling guilty and worried.

As you have probably guessed, Chad was upset with me for tattling. I did stick up for myself at that point and tell him that I had done so with his health and safety at the forefront of my mind. Ultimately, the information was shared with his doctor and his medications were adjusted.

I am not proud of how the whole situation played out, but I do stand by my decision not to keep that secret I was entrusted with. I'm not positive that Chad will share information like that with me in the future, but I do hope that, deep down, he knows that what I did was for his own good.

Have you ever told a secret? Or kept a secret you shouldn't have?

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