Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Liebers Take on Myrtle Beach!

Did you miss me last week?  I missed you! I missed reading your posts and answering your comments. But I'm getting caught up! I promise!

We were busy on vacation! We had a family trip to Myrtle Beach with Ken's family.  Our most recent beach trip was about 8 years ago, so neither of the boys had ever been before. True, we did walk on the beach in Florida two years ago in November, but it was just a brief visit and the water was too cold to enjoy.

This year we lived it up!!  We had a house two blocks from the beach. Ken and I had the bottom floor along with the boys while his brother and sister in law had the upstairs along with Papa, Frances, and her cousin. Our house also had a pool, which turned out to be a really good thing because Benjamin doesn't care for the waves. He did, however, LOVE the tide pools we found on the beach almost every day!

Frances and Henry were like little fish out jumping in the waves, running up and down the beach and trying to body surf. Every morning when Henry came into our room the first words out of his mouth were, "Can we go to the beach?"

One day we walked up to an inlet where there were tide pools galore. Benjamin was in heaven!!  We found all sorts of fun things in the tide pools too: snails, crabs, conch, shells, seaweed, and a few seagulls looking for the aforementioned edibles.

We ate at an all-you-can-eat buffet one night and discovered that Henry loves crab legs!  He's asked for them several times since then and I haven't got the heart to tell him they aren't a regular staple of our diet (or budget)!

We also got to check out a mini golf place with a pirate theme. The kids loved it and Henry won a free game (which of course, we couldn't use because we were leaving the next day). 

I got my wish of a good storm while were there. There was LOTS of thunder and lightning. Only problem was that it happened in the middle of the night. I was torn between trying to sleep and wanting to watch the show. The next morning, Ken humored me with an early morning walk on the beach. It was too cloudy to see much of the sunrise, but we had a good walk and got a few pictures anyway.

Speaking of pictures, that's my biggest semi-regret from this trip. I didn't want to be attached to my phone the whole time, and I was worried about taking it to the beach, so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked. However, I did appreciate being able to live in the moment and be truly present to the kids and the rest of my family while were there.
All in all it was a wonderful trip. Although, I do appreciate sleeping in a bed without sand!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#TuesdayTen: How Deserted is this Island, Really?

Tuesday!  Time for a list!! But I'm still recovering from vacation!!  I have emails to read, reports to send, laundry to wash, and groceries to buy. However, I'm supposed to write a list of ten things I'd take with me to a deserted island and that prompt just sounds too enticing right now!! Even though I just got back from a week at the beach, I could totally go for a stretch on a secluded island right now! I've got sand on the brain...or maybe sand in my brain!! Who knows!?!

What would I need to survive on a deserted island?
  1. Sundresses
  2. Sunblock and aloe
  3. Books
  4. Puzzles
  5. A fan
  6. Someone to wave the fan...
  7. Beach umbrella
  8. Cozy towel
  9. Cold drinks
  10. Sandwiches
What would you need to survive on a deserted island? Are all deserted island located in tropical areas? Inquiring minds want to know!! Share your thoughts in the comments or link up your own post below!






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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!

 
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Monday, July 28, 2014

#AskAwayFriday (on Monday) with Christy from Sweet and Savoring

We just got back from a week at the beach and I'm trying to get back into the swing of things at home, at work, and on the blog. We had a great time on vacation, but it was nice to sleep in a bed free of sand last night! Our beach house ended up not having any wi-fi and after a very brief moment of disappointment I was truly glad to enjoy a week mostly unplugged.  I did, however, regret not being able to fulfill my end of the #Ask Away Friday bargain I had set up, so I'm doing it today.

I am swapping with Christy from Sweet and Savoring. Christy is a grammar nerd from New York and she is currently in the process of moving. You should check out the stunning photography on her page, as both she and her husband have skills behind the lens!

If you're not familiar with #AskAwayFriday, it's a great way to meet new people and get really nosy! You pair up and swap ten questions with your partner to be answered in a post on Friday. #AskAwayFriday was created by Penny of The Real Housewife of Caroline County, and is now hosted by these #AskAwayFriday hosts…
NEWAskAwayFridayHost550
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Amber from Bold Fit Mom
 
And now, on to the questions!!

1. I love your kids' names! Were they named after anyone, fictional or real life? 
Frances is named after both of my grandmothers. Henry is named after Ken's grandfather and father (and Ken). We were trying to stick with the theme of family names, but when Benjamin didn't turn out to be a girl, we had to do some fast thinking in the hospital.  I have a cousin named Benjamin, but ours wasn't really named after him. I like him and all, we just didn't pick the name to honor him for any special reason. Ben's middle name is Alan, after my brother. That's why you should definitely ask Benjamin what his whole name is!! He'll tell you it's: "Benjamin Uncle Alan Lieber."

2. Think back: what was your wedding cake like? Who made it? 
Our wedding cake was made by a local bakery. I was a pretty simple 4-tiered cake with white frosting and and white and yellow daisies on it. I don't remember the flavors. I think they were basic ones: chocolate, vanilla, and a fruit-based flavor. I remember requesting the top layer be a pound cake or something that would freeze well.  

3. It was fun reading your summer bucket list! Do you have a favorite summer vacation memory from your childhood? 
My favorite summer vacation memory would have to be the year we went to Alaska to visit my mom's family.  I got to stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean (it was too cold to swim).  The weather was perfect; mostly 70 degrees in August, but there were lots of mosquitoes.  I remember being fascinated that you could see snow capped mountains of fin the distance while you were standing outside, comfortably in shorts and a t-shirt.

4. Without the labels of wife and mother, how would you describe yourself? 
That's a toughy!! I feel like those are the two biggest descriptors in my life. However, I am also a daughter, sister, and friend.  I enjoy spending time with people, but also crave moments of solitude in each day. I enjoy reading, doing craft projects, and spending time in nature. 

5. You have three children: which of your pregnancies do you recall the most fondly? Which one was the most difficult for you?
I think Henry's pregnancy was the best. I mostly knew what to expect and I was excited to be pregnant. Frances' pregnancy was difficult because I had never been pregnant before and we hadn't necessarily been trying to get pregnant. I was also pregnant through the summer with her. Ugh!  Benjamin's pregnancy was difficult, because I was going through a very stressful period and I wasn't terribly excited to be pregnant.  Then, of course, I felt awful for not being excited which made it all worse.  I'm not one of those women that love being pregnant. I have had three large babies (for my body size) and carried all three of them past their due dates (10 days, 12 days, and 8 days).

Benjamin at about 8 months gestation
6. Tell me about how you blog. Do you have a dedicated office or spot in your house where you write your posts?
Do you promise not to tattle on me?  I frequently blog in  my down time at work or on my lunch break. Technically, I don't own a computer or laptop to work from, so it's the easiest place to get work done. I do use my iPad at home on the couch for some of my blogging, but it's not ideal, especially when it comes to adding links or pictures.

7. You wrote about your veggie garden in another AAF post. What do you do with the abundance of squash you have growing? (I love to make squash and basil waffles!) Any favorite squash/zucchini recipes?
I am honestly a new squash person.  I never really liked it growing up, but I had to try it one night to get the kids to eat it and then I decided it wasn't so bad!  Just last night, after getting back from vacation, Ken told me I was going to have to learn how to make zucchini bread, because we have a lot!!

8. What is the one vegetable you can't stand no matter what? 
I am not a fan of eggplant. I've learned to eat it on occasion, but I don't care for it all that much. Another one I won't eat at all is okra!  Blech!!  It's just so slimy!! Ken, Frances, and Henry love it though!

9. Would you rather go on a cruise through the Mediterranean or to Alaska? (both in the summertime!)
As much as I would love a Mediterranean cruise, I'd have to pick Alaska. I'd also have to take my mom with me. I know she misses her family and this would be a great way to see where she grew up and visit relatives I haven't seen in over 10 years!

10. And lastly, my favorite question. Please write a haiku about yourself!! (a three line poem in which the first line has five syllables, the second has seven syllables, and the third has five)
How fun! I love haiku!!

I am wife and mom
I love family and friends
Life is full of joy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#TuesdayTen: Relaxing on National Hammock Day

When I was a kid our family had a hammock. I remember my dad relaxing in it with a glass of (unsweetened) tea and a good book.  Actually, if memory serves, more often than not her was "resting his eyes" with the book open on his chest.  My brother and I used to get in the hammock too. Sometimes we managed to get ourselves situated correctly and relax. Other times we enjoyed tipping each other out of it and spinning around in it.  Good times!

Today is National Hammock Day, so it's a good day to think about relaxing and hanging out. Along those lines, I present to you my favorite ways to relax.


1. Reading a good book on the couch
2. Sitting in a chair in the front yard, soaking up rays on a hot day
3. Taking a bubble bath
4. Calling in sick for a mental health day and enjoying the silence of my house
5. Going for a drive with no destination in mind
6. Convincing the kids to "fix" my hair and letting them brush it
7. Rocking in the rocking chair while the kids are drifting off to sleep
8. Vegging out with some games on my phone or iPad.
9. Going to bed early and creating a dream to (hopefully) enter into
10. Using a new lotion or hand scrub for some aroma therapy


Now all I need is a few more hours in each day to enjoy these pursuits!  How about you? What's your favorite way to relax? Tell me in the comments or create your own post to link up!






#TuesdayTen is hosted by:

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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!

 
  RULES:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
3) Visit your hosts and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing.
5) By linking up you agree to be subscribed to out #TuesdayTen mailing list. Emails are only sent once a week and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here.
 
Come link up again next Tuesday, July 29th, when the topic will be 10 Things You'd Bring to a Deserted Island.
 
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Carol from Battered Hope

Happy Friday!  I'm so excited for today because I'm having a jewelry party to help my friend Heather show off the new line for Premier. I've been working my hiney off to get my house ready and I am so proud of myself!! A jewelry party is the perfect motivation and reward for all my hard work! (I'm still treating myself to a massage at the end of the month, though!)

Today for #Ask Away Friday I am matched up with Carol from Battered Hope. Carol blogs about the trials and tragedies in her life and how she has overcome them. She is a true source of positive inspiration on the web.  She shares stories about her life, dogs and motivational thoughts. If you need a pick me up or a kick in the butt to get moving, you should check out Carol's blog!

If you're not familiar with #AskAwayFriday, it's a great way to meet new people and get really nosy! You pair up and swap ten questions with your partner to be answered in a post on Friday. #AskAwayFriday was created by Penny of The Real Housewife of Caroline County, and is now hosted by these #AskAwayFriday hosts…
NEWAskAwayFridayHost550
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Amber from Bold Fit Mom
 
And now for my answers to Carol's questions:

1.  One of the things on your Bucket List is to have a blog post go viral. Do you have a favorite post that you felt should have gone viral, and if so, why? 
That's a tough question to answer!  I can't say that I've ever written a post, hit publish, and thought "that ones' gonna go viral!"  I don't even write posts with the intent of going viral.  For now I get a huge kick out of seeing someone I've never heard of or interacted with Pin something I wrote on Pinterest.  That tells me that my posts are going out beyond my own circle.  With that said, I think I've written some pretty good posts over the years.  10 Friends Every Woman Needs was one that sat in my head for a long time before coming out.  I also firmly believe what I wrote about allowing my children to fail, even though it goes against current parenting practices.

2.   Your children are quite young. How do you think your life and/or career will change when they are in high school, college and beyond? 
I don't know if I want to think about that!!  I enjoy working and I work full time. My job is amazing and flexible and I don't see any real reason to leave it, so I don't imagine that much will change professionally.  The kids have been gone in different combinations this summer, and I'll admit it's been nice to take it easy a bit on the parenting parts.  I hope that we continue to have a strong relationship as they grow up and start to move away (physically). I hope that they will stay close when they begin their adult lives, but I won't be offended if circumstances take them elsewhere. My job is to raise them into mature, responsible adults and I'll never know if I succeeded unless they go out on their own eventually!

3.   What five words describe you best? 
Fun
Silly
Easy Going
Loving
Short

4.   When you and hubby have a night alone together, what do you like to do? 
With kids and work schedules it's not always easy to go out together, but we do have evenings to ourselves after the kids have gone to bed. We enjoy watching TV together. There are a few shows he's gotten me hooked on and we tend to binge watch them from the DVR.

5.   You have co-authored a book, The Mother of All Meltdowns. Do you see a sequel in the future? Or do you think you will write a different type of book? 
Crystal says there's a sequel on the way, this time discussing relationship meltdowns. I've bowed out of that one because of Ken's desire to stay private. Crystal promises the book is not about smack talking your spouse, but I can't tell a story about us without his consent, so I won't.  I've thought about a different story, but nothing has solidified yet. I'm working on developing a few characters in my head and thinking of how to put them together though.  Who knows if it will ever see the light of day!

6.    I see that you liked movies such as The Breakfast Club and Star Wars. What is your absolute favorite movie from last year? What about a book? 
Last year I really enjoyed Catching Fire. I read the books and thought they were well made into movies. I also enjoyed Frozen. Incidentally, those might be the only two movies I saw in the theater. I'll have to ask my movie secretary (Ken). He keeps better track of things like that!

7.   In what capacity are you involved in your church? Would you like to be more involved and if so, how? 
I love being involved at my church. Up until Benjamin was born I was the Youth Minister and I coordinated all the middle and high school religious education and social activities.  That overlapped slightly with teaching the Children's Church program. I started teaching Frances' class when she was three and I am getting ready to start my 8th year with that program.  I coincidentally spaced my kids out enough that I can teach them for three years )ages 3-5) and then start over with the next sibling!  When Benjamin is finished with that program, I'd like to volunteer with the youth ministry program again.  I also LOVE helping with Vacation Bible School.  I've been a group leader and I've helped with crafts. The past two years I've been the game leader. It's one of the highlights of each summer!

8.   What do you enjoy the most about blogging? 
Hands down, without a doubt, it has been the community!  I blogged for a long time before I found a community and, while I enjoyed it, it didn't draw me in like it does now. Plus, I feel a responsibility to keep it up now more than I did before. I used to go weeks without posting anything at all and now I try to post every weekday. In fact, I've joked that blogging makes me a better mother!

9.   What is your coveted job? 
If the opportunities were limitless and I had the chance to try any profession in the world, I'd love to be an archaeologist.  But I'd probably get hot and hurt my back after a while.  Then I'd come back to the job I have now where I love what I do and the people I get to see every day!

10.   What types of foods do you enjoy cooking the most? What about your hubby? 
I enjoy cooking all different types of things. I enjoy trying out new recipes and letting the kids help me out.  In fact, just three nights ago, Henry insisted on getting the fish sticks ready for the oven and Benjamin wanted to make the rice. Then I told Frances she was in charge of the fruit and vegetable and she took care of it!  Then they bragged to Ken that they had cooked the whole dinner by themselves and he rolled his eyes and grinned at me. I didn't steal their thunder.  
Ken likes to grill and he likes to grill meat. We often have meatless dinners when he's not home, but I would never dare to try serving PBJs for dinner when he's around. He's got to have meat with every meal!

That's it for our swap! I hope you stop by Carol's blog, Battered Hope and check out her answers to my questions.  In the comments you can tell me what kind of food you love to cook.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Half Way Point of Summer

As I was looking at my calendar, I noticed that my kids have 10 weeks of summer. Since this is the middle of the 6th week, summer seems to be coming to a close. In fact, stores are now putting out their "Back to School" sales and I just heard an ad on the local radio station this morning promoting the annual school supply collection for needy kids.

I'm not quite ready for summer to be over, since it is my favorite season and all.  Instead of thinking of it as halfway over, I want to focus on all the adventures yet to come!  I still have a lot of stuff on my summer bucket list to get done!

My kids have had an awesome time so far and we've got plenty of adventures left to go.  In fact we've got our first family-of-five beach trip coming up with Ken's family.  Benjamin can hardly wait until we leave! And I'll admit to my own excitement since I haven't had a beach vacation in about 8 years!

I'm no good at being wordless on Wednesdays, but here are some pictures of the kids' adventures so far this summer. They've done outdoor camp (both), STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) camp (Henry) and overnight camp (Frances), and had some time with Grandma and Grandpa. Frances even got to take apart the old ceiling fan, because...what else were we going to do with it!?




Ben is still too young for camps (he will get a week at Camp Grandma and Grandpa), but while the bigs are away, the mini and I had a bunch of fun being silly and having archery lessons!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#TuesdayTen: My Favorite Apps {Linkup}

There was a time long ago when I didn't own a fancy phone or play with expensive gadgets.  Then I got a job in a technology center and the floodgates opened!  I now use the more regularly than I care to admit. A very small part of my job involves helping other people with their technology problems, so it's best that I understand the ins and outs of what's available.  And what better way to gain understanding than to play around with the devices?  At least that's how the thought process works in my head!

There are lots of great apps out there for all sorts of different purposes.  Some of them are just for fun. Some of them help you get work done. Some help you keep track of things. These are 10 of my favorites and most frequently used apps:


  1. Cozi-This app is a great calendar that you can share between multiple people. Ken and I have icons for each of the kids as well as ourselves and we can easily tell at a glance who needs to be where and when.
  2. MCM-This app is one I wish I would have known about a long time ago.  This is probably too much information for many of you, but I have always been confused by my menstrual cycles and even with keeping track of them on a calendar they have always seemed off.  This app allows you to enter in your information on a daily basis and it will predict your cycles, tell you when you are ovulating, and even help you remember why you are soooooooo tired on a certain day.
  3. 2048-Quick and easy to play, but not easy to master. I've gotten the 4096 once, but I'm not likely to see it again (or go beyond it).
  4. Oregon Trail-This is my version of Farmville or Candy Crush. The stupid, addicting game I just can't stop playing!
  5. Relax-A white noise app is an amazing thing to have on nights I can't fall asleep or someone is snoring.  I can plug in my headphones, snuggle up with my phone, drift off to dreamland!
  6. Kindle-I honestly thought I'd never get used to reading virtual books, but then I started using it and I've become addicted. I can get so many books for so little money (and most of them free) and I don't have to give up shelf space for more books. Plus this makes it really easy to read to the kids in the dark and keep reading for myself as I wait for them to go to sleep.
  7. HootSuite-I figured I should add a few of my blogging apps here, since I do get a lot of use out of them.  I use HootSuite to access my Facebook and my Twitter feeds quickly and at the same time.  I like being able to schedule things for a later time even though that makes me look like I'm spending much more time online than I actually do.
  8. Blogsy-I found this great app last year in my desperate search to find something that would allow me to easily blog from home. While I do have access to lots of different technology, I don't actually have a home computer that I can use.  Blogsy lets me compose and edit posts as well as adding pictures where I want them while using my iPad.
  9. Pic Stitch-Great for editing pictures on my devices. It's not ideal, but it does the job and I have fun putting collages together.
  10. Facebook-I probably don't need to explain this one, do I? Hi, my name is Rabia and I'm addicted to Facebook.
What are your favorite apps?




#TuesdayTen is hosted by:

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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!

 
  RULES:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
3) Visit your hosts and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing.
5) By linking up you agree to be subscribed to out #TuesdayTen mailing list. Emails are only sent once a week and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here.
 
Come link up again next Tuesday, July 22nd, when the topic will be 10 Things that Help you Relax (in honor of National Hammock Day).
 
Don't forget to add the #TuesdayTen badge to your post or homepage!
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Click to sign up for #TuesdayTen reminder emails: http://eepurl.com/PXVtr

Monday, July 14, 2014

Snowballing Your Debt: It Really Makes Cents

One of my resolutions this year is to save money and a part of that is getting our debt paid off.   We don't spend tons of money on extras, but we do have three kids, a mortgage and school loans.  The bills come in and the paychecks go out and honestly, some days I don't see an end to it. I tell myself that we only have one more year of day care to pay for.  I tell myself that we are both fortunate to have good, reliable jobs with benefits .  But I still wish I could see a brighter light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I heard of snowballing your debt.  It is a debt repayment strategy that Dave Ramsey has advocated.  Conventional wisdom would say to pay off your highest interest rates first so you can save the money you would be paying in interest.  According to this plan, however, there is a psychological aspect to debt that needs to be recognized.  The snowball method proposes that if you pay off your smallest debt first, you will see results more quickly and be motivated to pay off more.

The key to snowballing is that when you pay off one debt, you take the money you were paying and add that amount to your next debt. The idea is that you gain more and more momentum as you make payments and your debt gets paid off faster.  I'll admit to falling into the trap of "Phew! We paid that off, now we have more money to spend!"  But that's not the way to think about it!  

There is a fun calculator at What's The Cost that allows you to plug in your debts and see a plan for paying them off.  Seeing it all spelled out is highly motivating for me. I can even save the snowballs I've created and watch as the "time til debt free" gets closer and closer!

First you need to collect the following information for each of your debts:
  • Name of debt (You can name it whatever you want)
  • Balance due
  • Annual percentage rate that you are currently paying
  • Minimum monthly payment (whether it is a fixed amount or a percentage of the balance)
Tell the calculator how many debts you want to pay off and plug in the information for each one. Then you can decide whether you want a plan for paying them off according to the interest rate or the balance.  (Don't worry, you can toggle between the two to compare what looks better for you.)

Once you've entered all your info and picked a strategy, the calculator will give you a chart showing how much to pay each month on which debts. You can decide from here if you want to try paying more each month than you are currently.  

I ran my first set of numbers about two years ago. It was slightly depressing at that point, but seeing it spelled out gave me the motivation to get it taken care of.  I set up our payments on auto pay and put in a slightly painful amount to be paid every month.  New things have come up, some months have been really lean; but now when I run the numbers I see a light!  If we stick with what we are doing now, we could be debt free in 2-3 years (I didn't add the mortgage in to this.)

Do you have a debt repayment plan? Should you?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Tia From BecominNeurotic

Happy Friday Friends! I've had another week with just Benjamin and he has certainly enjoyed being an only child. He's used Henry's Spiderman tray to eat dinner. He's slept with Frances' dolls. He's convinced both mommy and daddy to play baseball in the front yard after bedtime! But I'm pretty sure he's still missing his Bubby and Sissy. Good news is that they come home on Saturday!

Today I am excited to participate in another #AskAwayFriday. I've been a little less than enthusiastic because my previous three partners dropped the ball and never posted their half. Last week I didn't even both. This week, however, I get to swap with Tia from BecominNeurotic and she promised me she would play along!! 

Tia is mom of a teen who is currently engaged to be married next year. She blogs about her life with chronic illness and I have been inspired to read her outlook and see how positive she tries to keep things.  You really need to check out her post "Treat me Normal, But Don't" because she wants your understanding, but not your pity, and that's a fine line to walk.

If you're not familiar with #AskAwayFriday, it's a great way to meet new people and get really nosy! You pair up and swap ten questions with your partner to be answered in a post on Friday. #AskAwayFriday was created by Penny of The Real Housewife of Caroline County, and is now hosted by these #AskAwayFriday hosts…
NEWAskAwayFridayHost550
Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Amber from Bold Fit Mom
 
And now on with the show!
1. I read that you're gardening. What other things besides tomatoes are you growing? 
We planted broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers (green, yellow and red) and Brussels Sprouts.  The broccoli yielded one tiny head that we added to a salad. The tomatoes are looking really good, but I think they're going to be punks and turn red the week we're at the beach. The squash and zucchini are both growing well and taking over the rest of the garden. That is likely why we won't see much of anything from our cucumbers or peppers.
We tried out a new gardening space this year and we didn't spread stuff out enough. Next year we should plant fewer things and spread them out more.



2. You and your husband recently celebrated 13 years married. What is your best tip for a successful marriage? 
I don't know that I've got any great marriage tips, but going in we both knew this was forever. There have been times that we've been upset with each other for extended periods, but we've moved past them eventually. We try to always be honest with each other and say what we mean. I hate passive aggressiveness and those dumb memes about "When your wife says this...she really means this..." I just don't have time for messing around like that. If I say I'm okay, it's because I'm okay. I also reserve the right to say I don't feel like talking about it right now.  But eventually you've got to be honest and put your feelings and desires out there if you want things to work out.

3. You've said you're an open book as a blogger. Where would you say you draw the line? What boundaries do you set on what to keep personal? 
Funny that you should ask this question right after the previous one.  I personally am an open book. However, I understand that other people have different privacy needs. Ken prefers that I not talk about him much here, so I don't. When it comes to the kids I try to decide if what I am saying is something that will come to embarrass them later. I often ask their permission before I write about certain topics because I want them to be okay with what I write. 
I've always used real names and locations here and many of my face to face friends and family read here. That puts me in a position to think carefully about what I write and how it affects the people I interact with. In fact, there are a few things I won't even tell you I don't write about because just saying that would be too much!!

4. I love the little tributes to each of your kiddos on the side of your blog. What is one of your favorite characteristics of each of them? 
Now that you've mentioned them I'm embarrassed that they're out of date!  I need to get on that soon. Hopefully before Frances turns 11!
Frances marches to the beat of her own drummer. She's got her own tastes and her own style and she's not afraid to be who she is. She occasionally gets upset because of teasing, but she's never considered changing who she is in order to please people.  She is 100% true to herself and I love that about her.
Henry is on the move. He is a sweet boy with a really passionate side. He has outbursts and he gets angry about things, but no matter how much trouble he gets in, he is always good for a big hug and a snuggle once he's calmed down. He is super friendly and will go up to almost any kid and just start playing with them.
Benjamin is super funny. His personality is really starting to come and I love the kids is he becoming. He has a group of best friends that he plays with at school and he is always telling us stories about "what J did" or "what S said."  He likes to play pretend and will often become a different animal for the day and request to be treated as such.  He is also a very good snuggler and loves giving his mommy kisses!

5. You're a fellow lover of lists. List your top 5 favorite movies of all time. 
This list would probably change depending on the day you ask, but off the top of my head, my favorite movies are: Top Gun, The Princess Bride, Pretty Woman, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Harry Potter Series.

6. What is your favorite genre of music? Favorite band or artist? 
I'll listen to pretty much whatever is on the radio, but my current preference (and I can't even believe I'm saying this) is pop music. I never listened to pop music growing up. It was always hard rock or alternative stuff. I am a big fan of Maroon Five right now. Their songs keep popping up on my Pandora and I always sing along.

7. One of the things you said you love about summer is your husband grilling dinner. What's one of your favorite things from the grill? 
It's hard to pick a favorite because he does so many great things with the grill. One thing I really like is when he peels and cubes up a potato, adds some butter, garlic, and onion and the wraps it up in a foil packet and sticks it on the grill. Yummy!! We have also recently discovered the joy of grilled asparagus!

8. What is a tradition or ritual from your childhood that you've carried forward with your own children? 
I think the way we open Christmas presents is the strongest connection I can think of. We wait until after breakfast on Christmas morning (actually, now we even wait until after Mass). One person plays "Santa and finds a gift for each person. They we each unwrap that one gift and show it off. Then there's another round of passing out and more opening. I'm sure it takes much longer than the unwrapping frenzy I've seen elsewhere, but I like the way we savor each gift and try to make it more about the thoughts of the giver than collecting all the stuff.

9. Do you have a crush on any actors? I have a soft spot for Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell :) 
I would not protest if you wanted to show me pictures of Johnny Depp. Or Robert Downey, Jr. I won't complain about Ryan Gosling photos either. In fact, I'm going to show you some just to make everyone happy! {You're welcome!}

(And then Ken asks me if he should shave his facial hair and I say, "NO WAY!")
Also, that was the BEST blog research I've ever done in my life!!

10. Do you follow any professional sports? What's your favorite team? 
I don't follow sports all that much except to keep up with Ken. Right now he is following the World Cup quite closely.  I won't say who we're rooting for, but the current Pope is on our side.  I also like to root for the Dallas Cowboys. Partly because I was born in Texas, but more because we live in Redskins country and it's fun to annoy the fans around here!

Thanks for the great questions, Tia!  

Make sure you head over to Tia's blog to see what I asked her.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Versatile Blogger Award

Blogging has lots of fun awards and honors that are passed around.  Some are silly, some are funny, some pull your heartstrings.  I've been given a few, and recently my friend Lydia at Cluttered Genius awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Lydia and I met through SITS and she is a regular entry on my "list of blogs to visit."

In my roles as mother, wife, sister, friend and resident short person, I do indeed have many different uses, chiefly among them:
  • arm rest for people taller than me (i.e. everyone but children)
  • tissue for wayward tears and boogers (from the kids, guys!)
  • sounding board for rants and questions from friends
In looking at the definition I am pleased to note that the first definition is simply "able to do many different things" and NOT  "able to do many different things well."  That would be an entirely different award...and not one meant for me!

I often see people talk about niches in regards to blogging and I have never felt like I fit into one.  I blog about lots of different things because that's what my life is about: many different things. I am not particularly gifted at any one thing, but I have experience with a variety of subjects.  It used to worry me, but it doesn't anymore. Maybe that's because I'm versatile.
In order to accept this award I am supposed to:
  • Create a post to thank the person who nominated me and link back to their blog.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers that deserve this award. Link back to their blogs. Notify them to let them know of the nomination.
  • Share 7 little known facts about yourself.

7 Little Known Facts About Me

  1. My shoe size, underwear size, and pants size are all the same.  I won't give out a number, though, because a lady has to have some secrets.
  2. I have a serious issue with throwing things away. One reason my house gets so cluttered is that I worry that I'll throw away something that's still useful. I just recycled 12 peanut butter jars with lids yesterday because I finally gave up on finding something to do with them!
  3. I run empty containers through the dishwasher before recycling them.
  4. I still have boxes in my basement from when we moved 11 years ago. We probably don't need that stuff, but I can't bring myself to get rid of them...yet.
  5. I dislike spending money.  I don't do much shopping online or in stores. I even find it difficult to spend money at work, and that's part of my job.
  6. I used to have a pet rat named Nicodemus. He was a classroom pet and a lot of the parents freaked out!
  7. I only wash my hair once a week. I haven't gone completely "no poo" but I've cut way back and I think my hair looks and feels healthier for it.

 15 Versatile Bloggers

  1. Echo at Domain of the Mad Mommy
  2. Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry
  3. Katie at Pick Any Two
  4. Lisa at The Golden Spoons
  5. Herchel at Scruggbug Corner
  6. Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie
  7. Eli at Coach Daddy
  8. Kim at Day with K-T
  9. Rea at REAlity Bites
  10. Megan at The Walker Fireside Chats
  11. Janine at Confessions of a Mommyholic
  12. Crystal at Mommifried
  13. Chris at The Mom Cafe
  14. Katy at Experienced Bad Mom
  15. Christy at Uplifting Families

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

#TuesdayTen: 10 Things I LOVE About Summer {linkup}

Back in January I shared some of my feelings about winter with you.  Anyone who has known me very long, knows that I hate cold weather, but I was nice and chose a few nice things to say about winter.  It is not hard for me to think of 10 things I love about summer, because it's my favorite season!! And since I spend so much time hating on the cold, I try really hard not to ever complain about the heat.


  1. Sunshine! Winter make me sad. As soon as the weather turns nice, I like to go outside and just stand in the sunshine and soak it all up.  I love sunshine!
  2. Vitamin D--Aside from the actual warmth of the sun, sunshine is good for you because it supplies Vitamin D which our bodies need for bone development and other things.
  3. Being outside--In the summer I can spend time outside, but I can also, which low levels of guilt, send my kids outside. Just a few days ago the kids were getting on each others' nerves and I told them to go run around the house; one lap for each year of age. They love that!!
  4. Water play with the kids--While we don't often make it to the pool, we do go out and play in the water fairly frequently.  It's a great way to soak up some Vitamin D and burn off some excess energy.
  5. Vacations--We don't have a standing family vacation that happens every year, but we have been fortunate to be able to make some fun trips the past few summers. This summer we are going to the beach with Ken's family.  We haven't been to the beach together since Frances was a baby.
  6. Fewer clothes to wash--We don't need as many layers, so that creates less laundry. Plus, when the kids wear swimsuits, I make them hang them up in the bathroom and wear them again another time. You can't really do that with wet, dirty snow clothes.
  7. Growing vegetables--I love our little garden and it's coming along quite nicely.  Only a short while longer before I can go and pick my own fresh tomatoes!!
  8. Laid back schedule--Sunday night Benjamin was the only kid we had home. Somehow he convinced us that we should go out and play baseball after dinner. He didn't end up going to bed until 9 and it turned out just fine because our schedule is more flexible like that!
  9. NO HOMEWORK--I don't really need to explain this, do I??
  10. Cooking on the grill--Ken loves grilling food. He does it in the winter time, but he uses it a lot in the summer. When Ken grills, it makes less kitchen work for me. That's a win in my book!!
Do you love summer or hate it?  Tell us in the comments or link up your own #TuesdayTen post below!



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