Categories
family fun high five for friday

high five for friday: march 29th 2013

highfive3292013

Can I just start by saying: TGIF? This has been a long week. Having MM home for Spring break has been fun but also exhausting. I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the demands of two kids with two different sets of wants and needs and an absolutely crazy puppy who is having potty training regression this week in a major way. Luckily, it’s Friday and apart from meaning we’re only one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time for High Five For Friday. I think I could totally benefit from some Power of Positive Thinking right now.

  1. Yesterday I finally pulled out one of our Kiwi Crates which have been forming a little stockpile in my office to help illustrate my penchant for laziness or perhaps my lack of time for arts & crafts lately. I thought that these Secret Agent disguises would be a great project for both kids and I was right. They really loved this one and I continue to adore Kiwi Crate madly.
  2. I already shared with you some of these pictures, like the portrait that MM drew for me (with a little help from BB) but it totally qualifies for being mentioned as a High Five for this week, so I’m showing it again. Is it weird how much I love this drawing?
  3. Last weekend the fam and I went to Cherry Berry, a new to me frozen yogurt bar that is dangerously well located near lots of places I already go to. 1/2 cup serving of any of their yogurts is 100 calories according to their website, but you can totally counteract all that healthiness by adding hot fudge, coconut, candy sprinkles and more. They also have fresh fruit that you can throw on top and the whole thing is pay by weight. I might have to take another field trip there soon, and then hit up the gym afterwards right?
  4. Another repeat (sorry, I was really boring this week apparently) – major high fives for my new haircut that I am loving. I also really loved the gal that did the cut – I go to the Julia Grace Salon for any locals reading this and all the girls there seem to be fantastic. I’ve been getting comments on the cut all week, too, which is deserving of a high five in and of itself, seriously.
  5. Good lighting and sweet snuggles make for cute pictures of my little model in training. I haven’t been pulling out the camera much lately but now that the weather is improving, I’m hoping I’ll be more inspired to capture all the beautiful moments around me.

A few non-photographed high fives: an awesome book club with some of my favorite ladies, two loose teeth finally coming out of MM’s mouth this week (the Tooth Fairy has been very generous), and Amazon just acquired goodreads.com I’m optimistic that this is high five worthy.

How’s your week been?

Categories
family fun photography travel Tuesday10

Tuesday 10: Favorite Vacations

This week’s Tuesday 10 theme is all about vacations. I thought I’d split it up and share with you 5 of my favorite family vacations and then 5 vacations I want to take someday.

One of our first family vacations was to Santa’s Village in the White Mountains in 2008. This was such a beautiful and fun-filled vacation. There are a lot of fun family friendly destinations – we also went to Storyland and a few other awesome places. This was also around the time that I started getting major photo bug tendencies.

When we moved to Wisconsin we decided to turn the drive into a mini-vacation to make the most of the situation. We stopped at Niagara Falls on the way which was so beautiful but I think my favorite thing about this trip was the whole lemons into lemonade aspect and also getting to experience Niagara with my husband, son and my dad. I was so grateful that he made that trek with us.

The Wisconsin Dells are kind of a big deal around here. An entire city filled with theme parks and fun hotels with indoor water parks and awesome restaurants. One of our favorite places to stay there is the Great Wolf Lodge. We had big plans to go again this year but they have been delayed due to our impromptu puppy adoption! A fair trade, I think!

We have been doing a lot of camping since moving here. It makes my travel bug much more affordable and allows us to see a lot of different places. We’ll be going camping at least twice this summer, once with the dog and once without.

One of the cool places we discovered last year was Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which is along the coast of Lake Michigan. The gardens are huge and decorated with inspiration from dozens of children’s books – some classic favorites and some lesser known books. The best part is that the gardens are free! We definitely plan to go back again. I had a blast reading books with the kids and then exploring each garden and taking LOTS of pictures.

So those are five of my favorite trips we’ve taken, here are 5 that I hope to take someday:

  1. Disney World or Land – with the family. I’ve gone before as a kid and young adult but I really want to take the kids within the next 5 years ideally.
  2. Paris – actually I don’t care if this one is a family vacation or not, I just really want to go and if England and Scotland and Italy can be thrown in, I’ll be one happy camper (though I hope we won’t be camping)!
  3. The Grand Canyon – I’ve never been and it sounds like such a fun Classic Vacation Destination
  4. Hawaii or some similar tropical destination.
  5. Washington DC – This is the nerd in me coming out, I’ve always wanted to visit DC.

I could probably name like eighteen more, but this is Tuesday 10 and not Tuesday 28 so I’ll stop there. What are some of your favorite vacation memories?

Tuesday 10 @ Life As Mindy

Categories
books & reading nightstand

Nightstand 2013: March

It’s hard to believe another month is drawing to a close, but as April gets closer and closer it’s time to check in with the ladies at 5 Minutes for Books with a What’s On Your Nightstand? post. For those new to this blog carnival, it’s pretty simple: just blog about what you have been reading, are currently reading and / or what you plan to read soon. Basically just the books that you might find on your nightstand right now.

I’m currently reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and it’s starting to feel like I’ve been reading it absolutely forever. I’m almost 40% done but my book club is discussing it on Wednesday and I’m not very confident I’ll be able to finish it in time. I don’t know if I’ll keep reading after that or not. The story is mildly interesting but I don’t feel terribly invested in any of the characters and that makes it hard for me to get sucked into a book. Also I don’t have much sense that there will be a big happy ending or anything, it doesn’t seem like that kind of a book. So yeah…

Anyway…

This month I read:

  1. The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen – Finished March 4, 2013 – Wow, this book was really good! The author’s writing style is witty and quick, lending a nice snarky attitude to her main character, Sage. This is a little bit mystery, a little bit fantasy and overall a nice middle reader series that is sure to appeal to both genders. I had my suspicions about a few major plot points for awhile, but the author does a good job keeping you guessing until the end and then weaving the whole plot together really nicely. Eagerly looking forward to book two in this trilogy.
  2. The Essential Puppy by Betsy Sikora Siino – Finished March 5, 2013 – This was a good primer on all things puppy. Thorough but concise which I appreciated being busy with a new puppy and young children. It helped ease all those new dog questions in an easy to read manner.

And that’s it. I probably would have read more by now if the Casual Vacancy wasn’t taking me so long. I was getting pretty smug with my 4-5 books a month pattern, but I should have known it would only be a matter of time before things got back to “normal” around here.

When I’m done reading JK Rowling, I’ll be getting back to Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman and then picking up some of the following picks from my Spring Reading Thing challenge:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (April Book Club Pick) – “Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.  Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.”
  2. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen – Book two in a promising middle reader series, I’m very anxious to read this one. “A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE! Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?”

And that’s all I’m going to mentally commit to right now but you can check out my SRT list for more of the books I’m looking forward to reading this Spring.

What are you reading right now?

Categories
family fun motherhood

it’s a snuggle into your bathrobe and watch movies with your sick children kind of day.

It’s a lazy day kind of morning here at Chez Momma. The elder child seems to be fighting off the stomach bug that his sister had several days ago. Neither child seems to be having it in a bad way per say, as in I’ve seen worse and I haven’t really had to clean up anything, but he looks so run down and just not himself that I kept him home from school today. The poor kid was trying really hard to convince me that he felt fine and wanted to go to school but he was shivering for no obvious reason (no fever) and just looked miserable. Plus he’s been fighting a bad cough for a week now at least. And he has The Smell.

Moms, do you know what I am talking about here? I swear, I can tell if one of my kids is really & truly sick because they get The Smell. Usually it’s on their breath, this morning it was permeating his entire bedroom. My husband used to think I was crazy, but now even he can detect The Smell that I speak of and is starting to come around to my camp. It’s kind of like when you can tell your cookies are done baking because the smell suddenly fills the room. I could tell MM was sick this morning because his bedroom smells like you should wear a hazmat suit before entering. This kid is sick and staying home. Hopefully it just results in a little extra television time and maybe some crafting if he’s feeling up to it later (Mommy Shorts says all sick kids should do lots of crafting).

Meanwhile I’m donning my comfiest robe, drinking a nice latte and hoping the dog spends a lot of time napping on my feet, his favorite resting spot, and isn’t ape shit crazy energy dog today. I think we all know which one of those is mostly likely to happen though, don’t we? ::sigh::

Categories
books & reading spring reading thing 2013

Spring Reading Thing 2013: My Reading Goals

The Musings of a Book AddictThis year’s Spring Reading Thing is being held by Sandra @ Musings of a Book Addict who kindly stepped in to host when Kat @ Callapidder Days found herself unable to this year. Apart from a new location, this year’s SRT will be run pretty much the same as it has in previous years – there will even be a couple of giveaways so be sure to sign up and join in on the fun!

My reading goals for this Spring are a little up in the air as some of the books I’ll be reading for my book club have not yet been chosen and depending on the length of said books will kind of determine how many other books I’ll be able to read. I typically read anywhere from 2-4 books a month, so for a 3 month challenge, I’d say 6 books is easy and 12 would be an amazing feat. I’m going to challenge myself to read 10 books, kind of right there in the middle.

The books I’m hoping to read are:

Book I’m Currently Reading: I’m 25% through The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling for my book club this month.It was slow going at first but it’s finally starting to pick up. Now that I mostly remember who all the millions of characters are and have a feel for the story structure, it’s growing on me. Definitely no Harry Potter though, that’s for sure. (didn’t finish)

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThree Book Club Picks

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (April Book Club Pick) – “Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.  Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.” (Finished April 16th – full review -)
  2. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (May Book Club Pick) “Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.” (Finished May 9th – full review -)
  3. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (June Book Club Pick) “On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life–the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.” (Finished June 12th – Full Review -)

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen3 Books From a Series I’m Loving

  1. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen – Book two in a promising middle reader series, I’m very anxious to read this one. “A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE! Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?(Finished May 18th)
  2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver – Book two in the delirium series. I have to admit, I’ve been putting this book off because the end of book one is majorly depressing, but I am definitely anxious to see where the series will go from here and I think this reading challenge is a great excuse to force myself to soldier on. Here’s a description of book two but there are spoilers : “After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive the “cure” – an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love – but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters. Although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.” (Finished May 29th)
  3. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart – Why have I not read this one yet? I’m not sure, so let’s remedy that! “Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments. Now he’s being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances – and a mystery that could change his life forever. Luckily, he does have one thing in his favor: He’s a a genius.(currently reading)

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman3 Books Just For Fun

  1. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman – I actually started reading this already but since my current book club pick, Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling is a bit long and time consuming, I’ve temporarily set it aside so that I can hopefully finish on time. I’ll hopefully be reading this one again ASAP as I’m really enjoying it. “When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn’t aspire to become a “French parent.” French parenting isn’t a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren’t doing anything special. Yet, the French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play.” (Finished April 10 – full review)
  2. Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster – I kind of adore Jen Lancaster these days and I’m looking forward to diving into this book. “Think Jen Lancaster was always “like David Sedaris with pearls and a super-cute handbag?” (Jennifer Coburn) Think again. She was a badge-hungry Junior Girl Scout with a knack for extortion, an aspiring sorority girl who didn’t know her Coach from her Louis Vuitton, and a budding executive who found herself bewildered by her first encounter with a fax machine. In this humorous and touching memoir, Jen Lancaster looks back on her life-and wardrobe-before bitter was the new black and shows us a young woman not so very different than the rest of us.” (Finished April 30)
  3. Vixen by Jillian Larkin – “Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination. Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they? Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . . Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . . From debut author Jillian Larkin, Vixen is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.”

If I had to guess what books I read this spring, these would be the highest on my list, but if you know me, you know this list is subject to change. What books are you planning to read this spring? If you are joining the Spring Reading Thing, let me know so I can cheer you on!

Categories
high five for friday

high five for friday: march 15, 2013

I have to say, this has been kind of a long week. Not bad per say, just long and busy. Momma is sorely looking forward to the weekend. But before we jump off into another beautiful weekend, let’s take a moment to focus on the positive, awesome things from the week about to draw to a close.

  1. After freaking out a bit about the upcoming demise of Google Reader, I managed to find a replacement (rather quickly) that I’m pretty happy with. Anyone else using feedly? I’m kind of loving it. You can read my full review of feedly here. It has a lot of the features from google reader that I’ve come to consider necessary and a few new fun features that I’m kind of digging. <— happy momma
  2. Last night I got to get away from the fam for a few hours for game night with some awesome ladies from my women’s group. We were having so much fun talking and catching up that we found ourselves neglecting the game we were playing a lot, but I don’t think any of us minded one bit! It was nice to feel human for a few hours and not just cleaner of the pee and poop and changer of the channels.
  3. Lemon tart. Need I say more, really?
  4. This post at Fried Okra made me very happy. Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re all guilty of spending a bit too much time with our techy devices, but at the same time, I think we use them for a lot more good than we give ourselves credit for. Less guilt, mommas!
  5. Lastly….

drwho-thriftshop

This. This is still making me giggle days later.

I’m linking up with From My Grey Desk – wanna play along?

 photo H54Fbutton-triangle_zps678b65ba.jpg

Categories
techy

rss love: my thoughts on feedly RSS reader

Last night I read that google is discontinuing google reader. I was so shocked and surprised by this decision as I honestly never saw it coming. I use google reader every day to follow all of my favorite blogs so life without an RSS reader is just inconceivable to me. My husband, though also disappointed, told me this has really been a long time coming. The writing was on the wall when they stopped featuring reader on their toolbars or stopped responding to users reporting problems with reader, like that giant glitch they had last month. Anyway, my point is – I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t at all. I think a lot of people feel the same way and are now scrambling to find a replacement.

I saw a lot of people mentioning feedly in comments sections and on Facebook and decided to check them out. I liked their catchy name and they seem to be really jumping on this opportunity to welcome new users. They even have a post with tips and recommendations for people transitioning from google reader to make the transition smoother.

feedly screenshot

My thoughts on feedly so far? It’s taking some getting used to but I think I might actually like it better. It’s highly customizable and I love that different folders can be viewed different ways. For instance, the fashion blogs I like are highly picture oriented and look nice with their card viewing format above.

feedly titles view screenshot

how to change the view settingsThere are a lot of viewing options to choose from that suit different users and preferences. However, for most of the blogs I read, I prefer to sift through in the traditional google reader format I’m used to. This can be achieved by viewing them as titles. Hover over that little gear icon on the right side of the page and you can select from a number of different view options. Titles is the setting most google reader users will be familiar with. Other view formats I like are the cards setting which I mentioned earlier which I’m using for the fashion blogs I follow and also the food blogs where a picture really is worth a thousand words.

For the comics I read, I really like being able to view them all as full articles. No clicking necessary, just scroll through and read them all at once. This would probably be a lot to scroll through for the majority of the blogs I read, but for comics I found it’s perfect.

feedly screenshot of comics view

These are just some of the customizing options they offer. They have an expansive preferences menu and even offer color themes so you can further pretty it up. You can even view your Facebook news feed on the sidebar of the page or your twitter feed. And there are a lot of sharing options for the posts you are reading, making sharing to facebook or twitter or google + very easy.

Basically, feedly really does seem to have it all and maybe a little more. Plus, did I mention pretty? And free? And available on your android and apple devices? Yup, it looks like momma might survive the demise of google reader after all. So fear not fellow RSS readers, feedly has got you covered.

Categories
blog-related

Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging Fun!

blogiversary2013

I’d like to take a minute to wish myself and my blog a happy blogiversary. It’s been an amazing 5 years together with a lot of ups and downs and backspaces and image inserting. Blog, you have been through all the trials and tribulations of the last five years of my life as a mother and wife. You witnessed the birth of my second child, a move halfway across the country, the purchasing of our first house and much more. This past year you were there for the world’s best April Fool’s Prank, MM joining cub scouts and most recently our adventures in adopting our first dog.

You are my venting place, my family photo album, my soap box and the source of many lovely bloggy friends (thanks to all my pals reading this right now, you mean the world to me!). I cannot believe it has been 5 years already! Most of my hobbies don’t last nearly this long so consider yourself a well loved pastime indeed!

blogiversary2-2013

Maybe it’s just my new diet talking, but I am totally hoping for cake tonight but trying to convince myself cake isn’t necessary. But come on, your blog only turns 5 years old once, right??

blogiversary3-2013

Of course I should give thanks to the source of most of my blog fodder, my adorable children and my amazing husband (hi honey!!) – I truly would have nothing interesting to blog about if it wasn’t for them.

blogiversary4-2013

So here’s to 5 years of bloggy goodness and the hope of many more years to come!

(ps: ecards above were made using someecards.com’s create your own card feature – I had way too much fun making them!)

Categories
photography wordless wednesday

ww: monkey see, monkey do.

For more wordless fun, check out 5 minutes for mom.