6 Things I Learned in September.


I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that today is the last day of September. This month flew by in a flurry storm of new and exciting mixed with the same old same old. To celebrate the end of another month, I’m linking up with Emily @ chatting with the sky to share things I learned over the last month. Wanna play along? Just share things you learned this month, silly or serious and link up with Emily.

  1. This month my youngest started kindergarten and I started a new job. It is my first time working in eight years and you can imagine I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned more than I think I ever imagined about the world of optical sales (which I’m not going to write about because I assume it would bore the pants off you) and a lot about myself as I embrace this new journey. I’ve learned that when I find myself outside of my comfort zone, it’s easy to want to throw in the towel and run back to a more familiar world but I decided that challenging myself to learn something new that seems daunting is important and every day on the job gets a little easier and little less scary. I learned that I’m not immediately good at everything but that that’s okay.
  2. I’ve relearned again that I can quell my nerves and anxiety some by just talking through the issue. Say it out loud and the problem gets smaller.
  3. I learned that my daughter is capable of much more than I give her credit for. Kindergarten has been all about learning to be more self sufficient and it’s been hard to step back and let her do things on her own – but so rewarding to see what’s she’s made of! BB has had a great first month of kindergarten and is learning a lot! And her hand writing is quickly becoming neater than her brother’s!
  4. I’ve learned that my son is crazy smart and has a huge imagination. Sometimes he talks for hours about things like “What if you could see sound waves?” or “What if airplane windows had smart screens so you could play crossword puzzles on them or draw pictures?”
  5. I learned to be careful what you wish for! It seems like just yesterday I was complaining that my 2nd grader wasn’t being challenged enough and should have more homework – wait, did I seriously say that? Yep I did. This year my 3rd grader has so much homework some nights that he has to stay up late to finish it all. We’ve learned a lot of methods to help keep him organized and I’ve learned to let go of my expectations of how my afternoons are going to look and accept that it will be different every day.
  6. I learned from taking this quiz that I can read an average of 22 books a year if I read 30 minutes a night. And that when I’m reading a book I don’t enjoy very much that I can spend 30 minutes playing Diamond Digger Saga or some other dumb Facebook game instead.

What did you learn this month?

Ingredients for a Perfect Tea Party


BB got quite the surprise last week when my aunt sent her a gorgeous tea party set complete with a pretty floral tablecloth. Call it a belated birthday present if you must, but for us it was just the best Wednesday ever. We got to work immediately setting up a perfect tea party.

Want to have your own perfect tea party? Here’s what you need:


A Hostess Who’s the Mostest: All tea parties need a gracious host to make sure everyone is seated comfortably and enjoys the perfect cup of tea. BB made sure that each tea cup had the perfect mixture of tea, chocolate and white milk mixed together, sugar (1 scoop or 2) and maybe more tea just to be safe. Make sure to stir!


A Great Guest List: No tea party is complete without wonderful friends. Tell your guests to put on their favorite dress (whether they are IRL friends or Stuffed Lovies) and be ready to have fun! Shoes are optional.


A Tea Set: Of course you’ll need a tea set to serve your guests with. If your aunt didn’t just give you a beautiful pink set with gorgeous leaf coasters, any tea pot and cups will do the trick. Use your favorite tea cups to make it extra special!


Final step: Enjoy! Make sure you take the time to enjoy a delicious cup of tea – the hostess is part of the party, too!

Weekend Link Love: September 19th

weekend link love

It’s starting to feel like autumn outside. Our mornings have been cooler and sweatshirts are becoming a common layering device most mornings. It seems crazy that a few weeks ago it was crazy hot and now I’m turning the house upside down looking for gloves for the kids – but I guess that’s how it goes. While I look for mittens and winter hats, here are some cool things I found online this week – some things to read and some great images found on Facebook this week.

Three Things To Read:

The Future of the Future of Books at Buzzfeed

How Long It Takes to Read the World’s Most Popular Books at personalcreations.com

Instagram Envy, Being Authentic on the Internet and When It’s Time To Break Up With a Blog at Carrots for Michaelmas

Three Things To See:




Have a great weekend!

Talk to Me About Books: A List of 6


I can be pretty shy and withdrawn when I first meet people, whether at work or with the kids at the playground. My preferred state of being tends to be blending into the wallpaper – I’m not aloof or uninterested, I’m just terrible sometimes at mustering out more than a hello. I thrive on people who can just walk over and say hello and have some other sentence in their arsenal of meeting people besides a smile and a wave because that’s probably all I’ve got. I’m working on it, but it’s still largely true.

So if you are meeting me and we’ve said our hellos and we’ve smiled and I’ve got that look on my face that says “I’m terrified and thinking about pretending to be a lamp post now,” don’t let me off the hook – ask me a question that forces me to become human. Your best bet? Ask me about books. Books I come alive for without hesitation. I can talk about books, always.

So it’s unsurprising that the prompt at Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop that jumped out at me this week was:

3.) List the the top 6 books on your list to read next.

I could list twelve. You should see how many books are on my kindle right now, never mind the print books that are stacked on shelves and creeping up the walls of my bedroom. No matter how good the book is that I’m reading, there are always a half dozen or more books that are whispering to me from the Amazon.coms, just begging me to choose them next.

Here are 6 books currently whispering the loudest.

81v9YuLKLfL._SL1500_The Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie

I’ve been trying to slowly work my way through the various classics that I missed out on in my formative years that were largely lost to the Babysitters Club and, well, boys. Agatha Christie is one of those names that is spoken in hushed tones of reverence. I’ve read one of her stories and it was fantastic but I’m under the impression that Miss Marple is kind of her Big Deal. You can get the whole collection on kindle right now for less than $7 – I couldn’t resist buying into that bargain and I’m thinking the fall season is probably a good time to devour these stories.

51qZTmu8MWLGnarr by Jon Gnarr

This memoir by Jon Gnarr tells the story of how a stand up comedian became the mayor of a large city in Iceland and purportedly changed the world. I saw Gnarr on an episode of The Late Show with Craig Ferguson and was just fascinated by his whole story. This is a small book that from the first few paragraphs sounds like it reads as effortlessly as Gnarr speaks so I’m looking forward to learning more about his story.

71-khdhp0+L._SL1500_The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Who amongst us internet dwellers has not heard about the Rosie Project yet? It’s been huge here in the blogosphere and I bought it awhile back when it was on sale for some absurdly terrific price. The book and it’s main character has been compared to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. It tells the story of  “the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love.” Every time I read the premise of this book, I get excited to read it all over again. Why haven’t I read it yet? It’s one of the books I’m nominating for my book club this month so I’ve been super patient in the mean time.

51O4GutjwOLThe Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

This book has been on my To Read list for so long but I’ve yet to find a superb deal on it that justifies buying yet another book to read. I may nominate it for book club also just to give me an excuse! “The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.”

81jFUz+G9lL._SL1500_Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

It sometimes seems like I live in a perpetual state of waiting with bated breath to read a book by Rainbow Rowell. Otherwise I’m ignoring all responsibilities while devouring a book by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a permanent cycle, really. Yet another of the books I’m nominating for book club this month because I can’t resist trying to spread the Rowell Obsession. This one tells the story of two best friends who know that their place of employment monitors all their work emails but can’t resist “sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.” When Lincoln O’Neill, the “internet security officer” comes across their emails, he knows he should turn them in, but… Can I start reading yet?

71xftwoEDbL._SL1500_Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This is another book that’s getting a lot of chatter lately. This is a sci-fi twist on Cinderella, featuring humans and androids. It sounds like the book really does stand on it’s own two feet as an original story despite an outline that will sound mostly familiar. I know a lot of people that are obsessed with this series and I’m anxious to join the club.


So that’s my short list – what would be on yours?

Have you read any of these? Which one should I start first?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Weekend Link Love: September 12, 2014


As another week in September draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about what I need from this weekend – and what my kids need. BB needs a good long nap and a bowl of hot soup to recover from the lingering head cold that won’t quit. MM needs a reminder that he’s awesome – we’ve been tough on him this week as we try to push him to focus and stay organized and work hard in school, karate and home life. I want to make sure he has plenty of time this weekend to just have fun and be a kid. My husband has had a long work week and my mission this weekend is to nag him as little as possible and let this be a weekend of less errands (knock on wood). And what do I need? I think I just need to let go of the reins a little bit while we have less to accomplish. I can get back to my check lists and hand wringing on Monday.

Whatever you need this weekend, I hope you are able to achieve it – maybe you need something good to read? Try one of these…

For a laugh: Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong

For a good book: The 100 Books Facebook Users Love

For a real conversation with your kids: 25 Ways To Ask Your Kids How School Was Today

For an ego boost: What famous author do you write like?  I analyzed several poems, stories and blog posts of mine with this and was told that I write like Douglas Adams, Dan Brown, Cory Doctorow, Harry Harrison, James Joyce, Stephen King (2x), Ursula K. Le Guin, H. P. Lovecraft (2x), Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, David Foster Wallace (2x) and H.G. Wells. I’m not sure if this means that I have a very poorly defined writing style or that the analyzer is bogus. Thoughts? According to this Q&A it’s creator says it’s not rocket science, which I mean obviously. What with the lack of rockets.

For grammar nerds:

2014-09-09-helpathiefHave a great weekend!


5 Goals for the Fall Season


One of Mama Kat‘s prompts this week for her Writer’s Workshop is:

2.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: goals.

I have five goals that I’m working on right now – some quicker than others and none of them terribly quickly at all, to be honest. We’ve been wading in deep waters this month as we continue to adjust to all the new. I feel like I’m repeating myself a lot these days but this is where my mind is right now so…

I have a new job which has me learning a lot of new things – which is both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time – it keeps me busy one or two days a week, but which days those are varies. So I’m trying to find a rhythm in a world where everything is different every day. The rules change too often to try and find any specific schedule. On the one hand, I like having plenty of downtime to exercise, clean the house, run errands and watch bad television. But on the other hand, it’s hard to make plans when my schedule is always in the air. It’s hard to make meal plans for a week when I have no idea what my week will end up looking like. And my afternoons lately have been so hectic that I often spend my free mornings just recovering mentally from the previous afternoon.

MM has been diligently working on juggling his increased homework demands with his goal of joining the Black Belt Team at his karate school and the fall cub scout season is just around the corner as if we weren’t busy enough already. Some days I think there is no way we can fit everything in and that cuts are going to need to be made and then other days it all seems perfectly manageable – depending on how much work he gets done at school before coming home and what time karate classes are (because yeah those are at totally different times, too). I’m trying to have faith that we’ll all learn to juggle our new work loads but my outlook varies by the minute.

In addition to the new, there are still normal aspects to life that need my attention. As I mentioned, I’ve got five goals right now that I’d like to achieve – some more immediately than others. I think September tends to bring out the Goal Setting Mode in a lot of us what with the kids starting a new year of school.

Here are the five things I’d like to achieve, in addition to just juggling our crazy schedule:

  1. As we adjust to an increase in monthly expenses due to private school, we’ve been keeping a close watch on our finances and are working hard to bring down our spending so that we can make sure we’re still saving money each month.
  2. This summer really solidified the fact that I need to lose weight yesterday. I’ve been counting calories most days and trying to exercise at least every other day if not more. It’s been a struggle for me to accept that I’ve lost a lot of flexibility and endurance while I sat around and did nothing for too long. I have been able to slowly start losing weight though so I’m hopeful that I can stick with it and shed some pounds.
  3. Supposedly I’m writing a book – and I started a writing group with some friends that will meet for the first time next month. I honestly have barely written anything in weeks and though the story is still on my mind, I’ve had a hard time prioritizing it while trying to juggle all that new stuff I mentioned. So a big goal for me is to find the mental and physical time to start writing regularly.
  4. We need to declutter badly and my house keeping could use a little more attention. I guess it makes sense that while we’ve been insanely busy, I haven’t been much of a Susie Homemaker. But the clutter is closing in and I’ll only be able to put this off for so much longer if I want to hold onto my sanity.
  5. I hate to even think about the fall and winter holidays already but it’s been increasingly on my mind that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all fast approaching and I’m not remotely ready for any of them – and don’t really know where I’ll find the time and energy to plan them.

The truth is, this is just me flailing as I struggle to adjust to the changes we’ve taken on and I know that I’ll get through it, probably much quicker than I give myself credit for. But even when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it can still be discouraging to have to continue to trek through it.

What goals do you have right now?

Mama’s Losin’ It

A week in Ruskin Florida


By the time we got the North Carolina we were pretty burnt out on being on the road. Lots of traffic, rain and road construction left us cranky and we decided to drive straight through to Florida. It was a long day with a lot of laughing at things that probably weren’t funny and instant inside jokes. Like the stretch of road where all you could see for miles and miles were billboards for either FIREWORKS! or HURT? NEED HELP? advertisements for cheap lawyers. We couldn’t help but wonder if each company kept the other in business or if that was just a coincidence.

Eventually we got to Florida though and made our way to the Tampa area, specifically Ruskin, where my father lives. We had a beautiful week enjoying the views, exploring new places and getting to spend lots of quality time with my dad. It was a hot, sunny week and though we had plenty of rain while we were there, there was plenty of sun, too. We took rides in his row boat, swam in pools, went to the boardwalk, ate seafood, and enjoyed countless gorgeous views of the water.


In between being beach bums we also went to Lego Land – which was a mixed bag for us. I greatly appreciated how much smaller it was than Hershey Park and the kids had a lot of fun, but Dan was pretty unimpressed with layout of the park and we were all irritated that a lot of the big rides seemed hidden by walls so that you couldn’t  see what you were waiting in line for until you got to the front. Also, it rained. A lot. Overall though, it was totally worth it especially because MM was in his glory. He’d been waiting for Lego Land for years!


Favorite things at Lego Land included: making and racing Lego Cars, meeting the stars of the Lego Movie, riding the double decker Lego carousel, walking through the Cypress Gardens, the Earthquake Tester, and the Model Cities exhibit.



We also took the kids to the South Florida Museum which had a lot of really interesting exhibits – everything from a history of coffee to a giant shark’s jaw, a Planetarium, Aquarium and Snooty the Manatee that was celebrating it’s birthday


And did I mention the gorgeous Florida views?



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