How auctions work.


I explained to MM recently how auctions work. We were playing LIFE Twist & Turns and he landed on an auction space and asked what an auction was so I very carefully and elaborately explained the concept to him using my phone as an example and then went off on a long tangent about how most auctions are for things like paintings and antique furniture but that there are websites like ebay where people really do auction off things like cell phones or used clothes, etc.

I thought I’d completely lost his interest by the time I finished (when did I become the parent that goes off on half hour tangents about very simple questions??) but then he drew me a very detailed diagram of what I’d explained to him to show me that he understood or that he was in the mood to draw an elaborate picture. One of those things, for sure.

Originally the phone being auctioned in his drawing was MY phone but when I asked why I would bid on my own phone, he agreed to change it to hubby’s phone instead. I’m not really sure why I’d pay money to buy a phone from my husband but at least he gets the idea.

Other observations:

  • Bidding is super fun. Not bidding makes you sad. BID MORE!
  • MM was shocked that I would spend TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS on a phone. Poor kid is in for a rude awakening someday.
  • Probably we should bid on clothing next, because all three of us are woefully naked.
  • On the plus side, we’re all pretty skinny, too. Is there a Stick Man Diet I should know about? Get on that marketing guys!
  • BB had absolutely no say in this auction. Maybe she would have spent more than $25 if she’d been home to speak for herself and then I wouldn’t be able to buy my husband’s phone from him. Darn.
  • Sometimes your kids are listening even when it doesn’t look like it. For better or worse, guys.
  • I’m not sure if I spent $25 or $999. This was not made clear to me.
  • Mom always wins.


LIFE lessons: Things learned playing the Game of LIFE.


One of my son’s favorite games right now is LIFE Twists & Turns. This is good news for me, because it happens to be one of my favorite games (I love the original, but I have to say the new electronic one is easier to play with young kids) and he happens to be old enough to play a game without being a pain in the butt.

Why is playing board games with children so awful most of the time? Am I a horrible mom or does everyone agree that Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, etc. are where fun goes to die?


We played a good long game this time as we had some extra time. 25 years / turns which took a little under 2 hours. BB was at summer camp, luckily, because a game that long would not have held her interest and also she still pretty much isn’t fun to play board games with at all. Truth.

As the game went on, I thought about the LIFE Lessons he was picking up along the way and I tried to explain to him the difference between what strategies worked well in the game vs. what you should actually do in real life (like a total mom). I don’t know how much of that sunk in but I had to laugh at the “lessons” that I noticed throughout the game and I had to share them with you!

LESSON ONE: Definitely try to be a famous athlete so you don’t have to go to school.


Look at these two cards. If you choose to be an athlete, you don’t have to go to school at all and to make $120,000 per year (or more) you have a 1 in 2 shot at success. Even if you never make it past being a bench warmer, you can make $40,000 a year just keeping a bench warm! If you decide to be a writer (for example because it’s the card I chose) you’ll have to go to college before you can earn even just $45,000 a year and the best you can hope for in the end is to get lucky enough to earn $1,000,000 – half of the earnings that the guy who went into sports is able to get. Write the great american novel? That’s cool, but can you score a field goal?

LESSON TWO: Definitely gamble. It’s the best. Someone is going to win, probably you.


Like anyone who has won a few bucks off a scratch ticket, after MM won his first LIFE Lottery, he was HOOKED and immediately wanted to do another one. Lotteries are the best guys. He went on to win another lottery and a business venture and even the lottery he didn’t win, he didn’t lose anything either so who cares? It’s FREE MONEY and someone is going to win, probably you. All you have to do is choose three arbitrary numbers and SPIN!!!!!

LESSON THREE: People buy islands, like, all the time.


The sheer number of life points earned from buying that island pretty much cancelled out the cost spent and somehow he wasn’t even broke afterwards.


LESSON FOUR: Never buy your mother flowers. It’s a trap.


$1,000 for flowers? HIVES? Buying flowers is the worst. Your time would have been way better spent endorsing a shoe company.

LESSON FIVE: There is nothing better than being a good friend (this one is a good lesson).


Earlier in the game, he drew a LIFE card that said he could hold onto the card and later he could choose a friend to join him at whatever space he happened to be on. Now he could have used this card maliciously to send a player (me) back at a crucial moment or cost them lots of money, but my boy is the kindest person I’ve ever met. He landed on a Double Promotion and very eagerly invited me to join him, even though it would mean I’d be earning a lot more money than him. He’s either the sweetest kid ever or terrible at this game.

LESSON SIX: The Final Lesson: Mom Always Wins.


Despite an amazing string of bad luck and possibly because of his earlier generous offer to share his double promotion with me, I totally dominated with 94,000+ points to his 44,000+. It’s better that he learns early on that a winning mom is a happy mom and that I’ll always be smarter than him. That’s the appropriate lesson here, right?

What’s your favorite game to play (with or without the kids)?

Who thinks Candy Land should be illegal?

Which would you choose: Pro athlete or Writer?

weekend link love: june 27, 2014


June and all it’s hectic chaos of vacation planning, summer camps, tornado warnings and bug spray fumes is nearly a passing trend as July starts whispering sweet nothing promises of casual summer fun, sandy beaches, exciting new adventures and patriotic holidays. The calendar and the school year officially agree now : It Is Summer!

Whether you are on the Yay! or Nay!! side of summer today, or somewhere ambivalently in between, I hope you’ll enjoy this assortment of links found on the interwebs this week. Need to duck into a bathroom for three minutes of blessed privacy and laugh at something funny or have an all the feels moment with something true? Might I offer…


Have a great weekend!

The Sticker Club.


A million years ago on the first day of 6th or 7th grade, a group of the soon to be Popular Girls asked me to join their Sticker Club. I still remember feeling the first tremblings of social anxiety and a fear of not fitting in. Up until then I’d always seemed able to just dive into a group of kids and join their games with little thought of whether I was wanted there. As a Constantly Moving Kid, this skill is pretty important because I was frequently tasked with finding a new group of friends as we moved from state to state and city to city.

But on that morning, as the girls with perfectly combed hair, colorful sundresses and brilliantly white smiling teeth stood at my desk staring down at me with little sticker journals in hand, I felt awkward and plain in my denim jeans that were a little too short and the random t-shirt that had been clean that morning. I suddenly felt less than and ill at ease.

I was like a visitor to a foreign land with no guidebook or knowledge of the local language. I didn’t know the right answer. Did I want to be in a sticker club? What did it entail? How many stickers did I have to buy? What made a sticker cool or Club-Worthy? Were these my future BFFs or was this a cruel trap that would end in me being called a baby and laughed at for the rest of the year?

It was a simple question but it didn’t feel like it and ultimately I imagined asking my dad to buy me stickers and sticker journals all the time and knowing that we didn’t have a lot of extra money, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk and bailed on the idea. I don’t remember what I said to them – did I shrug and say maybe and just never bring it up again or did I say no right away, likely seeming super rude and weird in the process? Who wouldn’t want to be in a Sticker Club?? Stickers are, like, the best!

Looking back, that rejection feels like it was the beginning of the end as far as my shots of being a Popular Girl. There was a moment in the sand there where it could have gone either way but I drew the line by refusing to try. Would it have really been that big a deal to join their club? Stickers are hardly an expensive commodity and my father might have been more than happy to buy me a few sheets in the name of making great friends. I could have gone on to be a cheerleader or date the captain of the football team if I’d said yes that day!

The truth is though, looking back, I don’t think I ever really wanted to be a Popular Girl. I never did like labels and the group of friends I hung out with largely evaded them. We weren’t specifically anything, we were just friends. Some of my friends were geeks, some were big into music or theater, some were considered “popular” and others definitely not. I never cared.

Regardless of what label you want to assign to them, the friendships I forged as a tween and teen were not made by sheets of sparkly stickers but rather by the experiences and trials and tribulations that we shared together.

I am sure that lots of the so-called popular kids didn’t care about labels either and had totally meaningful friendships and that less cool friendships have been formed on less than a sheet of stickers, but my point is (I assume I must have one) that though I sometimes wonder what my life might have been like if I’d joined the Sticker Club that fateful day in middle school, I am grateful for the friendships I made growing up and would hate to have missed out on them for the sake of being Popular.

Stickers are pretty cool though.

I’m writing along with Mama Kat today, answering one of her 5 writing prompts for this week’s Writer’s Workshop. Let me know if you are playing along in the comments section or tell me: What clubs were you in as a kid / or what clubs do you wish you’d joined?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Things that make me happy.


Coffee. Pretty coffee mugs. Chalkboard paint. Bubbles. Chocolate. Sandal weather. Sidewalk chalk. Nice smelling countertop cleaning spray. Puppies who have just had a bath. Children who have just had a bath. Not having to bathe children or puppies. New books. Old books. Rooms full of books. Recommending a good book. A long drive with the windows down and a good song on the radio. Watching something funny with my husband. Photography. Brownies. Silence. Laughter. My daughter singing. My son making new friends (easily). Girls Night Out. Date nights (rare). Seeing a movie in a movie theater. Almond cake. Marzipan. Cinnamon tea. Nice smelling stuff. Funny comics. Blogs. Instagram. Photographing my coffee. Making my husband uncomfortable by photographing stuff I’m eating in public. Blogging about making my husband uncomfortable by photographing stuff I’m eating in public. Vicious circles (not really).

What makes you happy?

weekend link love: june 20, 2014


We’re having a lazy summer day here. The kids are playing some epic game of make believe, the dog is peacefully snoozing (for once) and I’m trying to catch up on email, RSS feeds and household chores and scrambling to get the family ready for an upcoming trip. But first, it’s time for my weekend link love – because I’m fairly certain the world would end if I didn’t share these links with you. Or nobody would notice at all. Definitely one of those.

That’s all for now – have a great weekend guys!

tbt: they grow up fast.

One of the prompts for this week’s writers workshop hosted by the infamous Mama Kat was to find and share an old photo and let it inspire a blog post. I love taking a nostalgic moment to look back on where we’ve been and where we are going, so I dug into my old photographs from June pasts and found myself quickly falling down a rabbit hole of “Oh my gosh, they were so small, it seems like just yesterday!!!!!”

So instead of one picture, you are getting six today. June 2009 – June 2014, a glimpse at how much the kids have grown since I went from a mother of one to a mother of an 8 year old and a nearly 5 year old. Ready for some clichéd squealing?

Repeat after me: Where has the time gone? When did they get so big? They grow up so fast! The days are long but the years are short! When I was your age… It seems like just yesterday. You’ll miss these moments someday. Uphill both ways! 


June 2009: We’d lived in Wisconsin for barely a month and MM was one month away from being a big brother, an older child, someone who must share his mother’s attention daily. How could someone that small be a big brother??? We were about to find out.

June 2010: Our first camping trip if memory serves, BB was one month shy of her first birthday, MM was four years old. We were about to find out how much camping with a four year old and one year old could suck. Precious memories all the same.

June 2011: BB is finally old enough to be an active participant in playing outside with her big brother!! Yellow sundresses on a beautiful summer day were a novelty!!! That shirt that MM is wearing is BB’s now!!!! It only looks like BB knows how to share sweetly!!!!!!


June 2012: This picture still makes me swoon. It’s pouring cats and dogs as I write this but when I saw this picture I wanted to grab our bucket of sidewalk chalk and go outside immediately!! Don’t worry, common sense prevailed. Still. Can anyone else see the sheer attitude radiating off of BB even from behind? She is diva through and through by 2012.

June 2013: Raise your hand if you have seen this picture 18,237 times? I share this one a lot – the cuteness is just too much. MM has now been a big brother for almost four years and you can see it’s starting to weigh on him. That girl puts him through the wringer 24/7. I think she’s trying to figure out how many more minutes until she’s taller than him.

Present Day: I’m pretty sure she knocked him down and tackled him seconds before I took this picture but luckily he’s getting used to it. Their laughter was contagious that day, their sibling love just taking my breath away, in between thoughts of “Where has the time gone? When did they get so big? They grow up so fast! The days are long but the years are short! When I was your age… It seems like just yesterday. You’ll miss these moments someday. Uphill both ways!”

Give me more clichéd phrases in the comments section below!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Father’s Day Weekend: Photo wrap up.

fathers day

This weekend we celebrated Fathers Day with our favorite handsome engineer. We started the weekend with an assortment of handmade cards and pictures from the kids like this portrait of Dan drawn by MM and a few goodies from


Saturday we all went to Devils Lake State Park with some friends. We had a picnic lunch, played at the beach and Dan and his bestie (and bestie’s wife) even went rock climbing! I am not ashamed to say that I was grateful linger at the beach with the kids while they went on that adventure!


Sunday was spent in Green Bay with more good friends. We went to Bay Beach Amusement Park again and rode trains, planes and merry go rounds. The weather was windy and threatened to rain all morning until eventually it did rain – but we managed to run to the van before it started and stayed dry.


BB and I took lots of selfies together on all the rides we went on. She loved the merry go round, train and helicopter ride but we both agreed the ferris wheel was a little too fast. Poor BB got sick on the drive back to our friend’s parent’s house but luckily bounced back quickly. We finished the day with brats, hot dogs, birthday cupcakes for BB’s bestie who is turning 4 in a couple days.


Meanwhile, the dog had a blast at his favorite doggy hotel. We picked him up this morning and he was freshly bathed, happy and thrilled to see us. MM was in his glory on the ride home as his puppy cuddled in his lap on the whole ride home (mostly because it’s the only way they all fit in the backseat, but still adorable).

How was your weekend?

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Twitterature June 2014: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom


I’m linking up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy again this month to share a mini book review of the books I’ve read in the past month. This month, the list is pretty darn short as I’ve only finished one book. But it was a REALLY good book, so well worth the time spent reading it.

the kitchen houseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

I think this was a book that will stay with me for a long time. It was slow going at first and the subject matter often kept me up at night dwelling on the potential fate of various characters. I became very attached to the characters after awhile which made the second half of the book fly in comparison to the first, as I became more and more concerned about how it would all end. Fascinating.

Star Rating: ****

Right now I’m reading another book that is taking awhile to finish, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – this one is huge at 755 pages on the kindle edition but really good. Unsurprising since it won the Pulitzer Prize. When I finish that I’ll likely pick up either Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, The One by Kiera Cass or Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

What have you been reading?