The 7 Stages of a Snow Day

snowI have a love / hate relationship with the snow but letsbehonest, it’s mostly the hating part. Don’t get me wrong – it all starts out fine:

You look outside and see those white fluffy balls of magic falling and oh yeah, it’s pretty great. Your Inner Olaf is there for it. The ground gets covered in a soft white blanket, life feels quieter for a moment and maybe you are even lucky and school gets cancelled so you can stay at home in your pajamas.

The first snow fall of the year comes with the bonus of having forgotten all about last year’s snowfalls. It’s kind of like child birth. Your kids ask to go play outside and you are a FUN MOM so you are there for it!

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But did I mention that I’m not a very good winter person? Yeah after about five minutes I remember that I know nothing Jon Snow.

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Snow is the worst. Being cold is the worst. Being outside in general is just a poor life choice. So I run back inside and make some hot cocoa immediately. I make some for the kids, too, because I’m still a FUN MOM. I’m just an Inside Fun Mom.

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The kids eventually come back inside and for awhile it’s all  good. You let them play more video games than usual which ranks you up there with Rock Stars and You Tube Celebrities for a minute. You read a book, you play on your phone, cook something ridiculously unhealthy and easy for dinner and it’s all good. You got this.

But then it keeps snowing and the next day school is STILL CANCELED and your FUN MOM momentum bails on you. And you remember that your kids are like super annoying. I swear they weren’t always this annoying but after prolonged exposure anything stops being fun. Even your little darlings who cannot stop talking to you or fighting with each other. Suddenly cocoa starts to look more like this:

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Eventually it stops snowing enough for school to close and your small children are ready to be shipped off to somewhere else. Hurray! But it’s a bittersweet victory because it also means you have to do this:

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And this:

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And this:

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But if you survive all that, you get to go back to this:

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So I guess it’s not all terrible.

What about you – how does snow make you feel?

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop – head to her blog for more participants and blogging prompts.

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My 2018 Vision Board.

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Last year I created a vision board to set the tone for my year. Like every other blogger, I created a mantra / word for the year to go along with it: LESS IS MORE. I know it’s more than one word, but you get the idea. Here are some of the things I wanted to see in 2017:

  • more game nights with friends: I definitely made this happen with monthly game nights with Dan’s coworkers and game nights at the bestie’s house also.
  • movie marathons with the kids: We’ve been working our way through Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings most recently.
  • date nights with my hubby: I feel like there are never enough date nights but we are probably going out more now than we were a couple years ago so progress!
  • a Subaru (lol): I didn’t achieve this one and honestly a new car is not at the top of my radar right now. I’m also not certain I want a Subaru specifically. All wheel drive, cargo room and good gas mileage yes. Specific brand? Meh.
  • writing more: I took a writing class just this past fall which definitely gave me a kick in the writing pants but now it’s over and my goal is to not lose that momentum!

So what are my goals for 2018? I wasn’t really sure until I read this post on Bustle about resolutions you should make based on your favorite literary character. Yes I realize this statement is absurd but as I read through the list two characters and their corresponding resolutions stuck out:

Daenerys Tarygaryen: Think Before You Act

Anne Shirley: Make Up Your Mind To Enjoy Things

I want to act with intention this year, to focus on the things I love and work on being a Happier Jen. I hope that this will involve cozy nights in with the family, drinking more tea, exercising a bit more, reading and writing with vigor, playing Cribbage with my husband as often as possible and Big Bucket List Moment: A Trip to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter Experience.

What would be on your vision board?

Do you have goals for 2018?

Who is your favorite literary character?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat‘s writer’s workshop today. Head to her blog for more participants and writing prompts.

 

5 Halloween Costumes Ideas for Your Dog

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In case you haven’t already met him: This is my dog, Doctor E. Or Doc for short. Or sometimes: “Oh my god, shut up, we get it – the mail is here! Go lay down!” He’s a very handsome dude  for sure and he can be a lot of fun but I’ll be honest, the idea of dressing him up for Halloween is laughable at best. I mean – maybe on some level he’d think it was a fun idea but on all the other levels he’d either decide the costume was attacking him or that it was delicious. Either way, it’s going to be ripped to shreds. 

So to save myself the money for a costume that will be ruined in 5 minutes and the vet bill for when his Lemon of a Body can’t handle the toll that digesting said costume will wreak on his body… I decided to dress him up digitally instead. Just as cute and honestly about the same amount of effort, money and vet bills aside.

On the off chance that your dog is less insane than mine and wants to dress up for Halloween this year, feel free to steal my ideas and use them IRL. Also I’m jealous of your dog.

5 Costume Ideas for Your Halloween Loving Dog

IDEA #1 : Sketchy Musician Boyfriend Dog

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Is your dog a guitar playing ladies man with a heart of tequila? Help him dress the part this Halloween so he can score some canine tail. All you need are some cheesy sunglasses, a fake mustache, a tiny guitar and maybe some Axe body spray for bonus points. Walk behind him playing an awesome guitar solo on your iPhone and watch the chicks go crazy for him.

IDEA #2 Olympic Doggy Paddler

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If your dog lives for the pool and you have a pair of old goggles and a gold medal, you have everything you need for this costume. He totally won’t lose his mind when you try to put the goggles and swim cap on him, I promise.

IDEA #3 Rudolph the Red Nosed Retriever

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This costume is perfect if you are one of those people just waiting to put up their Christmas tree and start baking holiday cookies. All you need are tree branches and a red rubber nose (or red spray paint, no judgement here) and you are 100% good to go. Your dog can’t possibly hate it any more than the Grinch’s dog and if he happens to help save Christmas, well, it’s a good thing you were there.

IDEA #4 Have No Fear, Under Dog Is Here

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It is a good time to be a Comic Book Geek right now – There are dozens of Super Heroes for your dog to emulate for Halloween but I know my dog is definitely The Flash at heart when he’s whipping around the race track my house at 175 MPH. The BOOM and CRASH are already par for the course around here, so a Super Hero shield and mask are really just the next logical step. (Mask not shown here because my photo editing skills apparently have their limits.)

IDEA #5 The Doctor, Obviously

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I’m saving the obvious costume choice for last. My dog’s name sake may be playing it safe but honestly the costume is too cute for words. Bow ties are cool. Fezes are cool. We already have several sonic screw drivers lying around because #obsessed. Even if you didn’t name your dog after The Doctor, this would still be a cute costume and not too difficult to pull off (if you can keep your dog from pulling it all off anyway).

Would your pet wear a Halloween costume?

What costume idea would you put your pet in?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat this week – you should, too!

an ode to the summer: because all good things must come to an end

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the hazy glow of summertime has nearly reached its end

though the sweet taste of ice cream is still on our lips

 

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the fairy wings of summer are put away

memories full of music and laughter echo but fade

we can still remember the idle hours of yesterday

as we return to the steady rhythm of today

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we reached for the stars and gazed at the sun

(carefully)

 

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we ran wild, we danced without a care.

howled at the moon and posed with a bear.

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we languished idly when the moment felt right

as it often did.

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but now we’ve memed all the moments

 

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we’ve plunged all the depths

we’ve plenty of chlorine to rinse from our tresses

the beach bags are empty

the sunscreen’s run out.

we know what this means:

school’s in, summer’s out.


I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose her first prompt this week: Your summer recap in a poem and pictures. Head to her blog for more fun!

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Don’t Blink: Her 8th Birthday

When people ask me how long we’ve lived in Wisconsin, I quickly consider the age of my daughter before responding and it always catches me by surprise. We’ve lived here for EIGHT years now and the proof is in how big my youngest child is. Which seems to be bigger every time I look at her lately.

Sometimes it feels like ten minutes ago she looked like this:

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And then I blinked and she looked like this:

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Like when did that even happen? But then I look through that Facebook “on this day” feature and watch the years slide by and ohhh it really does go so fast…

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Last week she turned officially eight years old. There was much birthday cake and merriment. We invited friends over for a Trolls themed birthday party complete with sing-a-long. She blew out candles.

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And then I blinked again and the moment was over. Life got busy and she was simply eight years old. But in between dropping kids off for summer camps and buying groceries and switching loads of laundry I keep looking at her in amazement, wondering when all my littles became bigs, where those cheek bones came from and what she’ll look like after I blink next.

Happy 8th Birthday, Darling, But Please Slow Down.

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linking up with Mama Kat | you should, too

My Summer vs. My kids’ Summer

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s writers workshop again this week. Her 5th prompt jumped out at me pretty much right away: Your summer vs. Your kids summer. I’m probably not alone in thinking that my summer looks pretty different from my kids’ summer. Not in a bad way, just different.

Their summer so far has looked like this:

copious photo ops at the zoo, camping  trips, swim lessons, backgammon at Grammy’s, boundless energy, ice cream everywhere, Icees and bowling with friends, video games for days and watermelon as big as your face (or dress)

My summer meanwhile has looked more like this…

Reading in the in between moments, watching swim lessons from the comfort of a beach chair in the shade, finding the perfect Moscato, eight million selfies with my fashionista soon to be eight year old, driving literally everywhere and making homemade pickles

Honestly, both summers look pretty awesome. I don’t even think I’m jealous of all the fun my kids are having because my summer has been pretty great all on its own. What about you?

What is your summer looking like this year? 

7 Brilliant Quotes from Margaret Atwood.

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in college. Okay fine, I read part of it – the whole novel wasn’t required for the class I read it in and then I got busy and didn’t get back to it even though I was seriously enjoying it at the time. Then I kept being busy and then I graduated, had babies, got married and got busier.

Spring forward to the Spring of 2017 and The Handmaid’s Tale has been turned into a tv series on Hulu!!! I finally get to go back to Offred’s world and hear her whole story and see it with my eyeballs. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful and has me feeling like all kinds of a Margaret Atwood fangirl. Somehow I fell down a spiral of looking up her other books on Amazon and then looking at famous quotes that she has said or written. And oh my goodness, they are good.

Here are 7 of my favorite quotes that make me wish I was into crocheting things on pillows.

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“Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” is one of many awesome quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale.

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“A word after a word after a word is power.” This is a line from Spelling – Poem.

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“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – from Cat’s Eye, 1988

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“You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.” – This is a quote from a commencement speech given to graduating students at the University of Toronto in 1983.

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“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” – Margaret Atwood

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“War is what happens when language fails.” – The Robber Bride, 1993

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“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed, and that necessary.” – Variation on the Word Sleep, from Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 by Margaret Atwood

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week.

Answering the prompt: 6. Share a quote you love.

Let me know if you are playing along in the comments section!

Insta Recap: 4.27.17

One of Mama Kat’s prompts for this week’s Writers Workshop was to share a recent picture you shared on Instagram and tell us what you love about it. I have been posting to Instagram a lot lately and had a hard time narrowing it down so you get 5 recent stories inspired by my Instagram feed. Woohoo!!!

1 – A recent illustrated story by my 7 year old:

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I love this – it’s like a mix between Snow White and Belinda the Ballerina. I’d read that book.

2 – We bought a Purple mattress last week and it arrived on my doorstep…

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I mean it literally took up my entire doorstep so I decided to drag it inside before leaving to meet my husband for lunch – no easy feat! This thing weighs like a lot. But once I had it halfway through the door I pretty much had to suck it up and commit to the task. How proud did I feel afterwards? Like ridiculously so. I’ll write more about the mattress later, promise.

3 – I started taking a laptop to the coffee shop to write.

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I’m the one millionth person to find out that working in a coffee shop actually decreases my distractions – I feel less guilt about chores I could be working on and my little Chrome book is too slow to browse the internet but fast enough to load my one tab and let me write. Also the perk of a snack outside the house doesn’t hurt. I’m going to write over lunch today.

4 – I dyed my hair by myself and I love it.

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My last salon color was more subtle than I was expecting and I didn’t want to ask my husband for help again to fix it. I had a free couple of hours to kill the other day and splurged on this box of L’Oreal Colorista at Target that said I didn’t have to mix anything and that there were no ammonia fumes. Sold. 30 minutes and a slightly stained shower later and I have to say I’m loving it. It’s slightly subtle but way more noticeable. Exactly what I wanted and for the right price.

5 – Look what I found at Walmart the other day??

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Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman) wrote a new children’s book called Little Ree about her experience moving from the big city to a ranch farm but reimagined the story through the eyes of her childhood self. The end result is adorable. It’s similar in tone to her books about Charlie the ranch dog. I read it to my daughter’s class for library story time and they ate up the antics of Little Ree.

5 Apps To Hide in the Bathroom With.

 

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I know a lot of you are home with your kids on spring break right now and maybe you are nearing your breaking point. I mean, maybe you are off on a grand adventure and achieving pure bliss in between hair braiding and picture perfect family picnics – but just in case you are feeling the heavy weight of “when will I be able to watch my shows again and how are you still here???” I’m just saying if you are thinking about going to hide in the bathroom for seventy two hours…

How about a new game on your phone to get addicted to instead? I know we’re supposed to be patient and present and in the moment and smart phones are the worst or something, but whatever. Sometimes a mom needs five minutes with Solitaire to get the skip back in her step.

Here are 5 games on my phone* that I like to turn to when my daughter has been singing the same Moana song for eighteen hours / my son has literally not stopped talking about Minecraft since he woke up.

*I’m an Android girl so my apologies if you are living that Apple life and these games aren’t available — but usually they are on both stores, so definitely check!

We all have different game preferences and different situations call for a different fix.

If you want an artsy kind of puzzle:

Hungry Cat Picross is literally the best picross game you are going to find on your phone. I’m not trying to be Eleanore Exaggeration here. I literally downloaded all of them when I was running out of puzzles and they were all terrible. So save yourself the struggle / data usage and skip straight to this one. I’ve gotten several people hooked on this game. I’m not proud.

If you want to redecorate every day but like for free:

Design Home is the game I never knew I wanted to play. It’s literally designing rooms and then voting your favorite designs, buying virtual couches and potted plants and competing in design challenges. I am way too addicted.

If you are feeling nostaligic for middle school:

MASH is seriously an Android Game now and I won’t like, I made my 7 year old play with me – multiple times. I do wish there were less ads and more varied games but you know – nostalgia for the win. Break this one out when your little girls are getting antsy and need a distraction. Maybe your boys would like it, too, but I’m pretty sure my 11 year old would just roll his eyes at me like my husband did.

If you like hidden picture games:

Fantastic Beasts: Cases has two things going for it – the nerdgasm of Harry Potter universe references and a fun and unique game in its own right that is kind of somewhere between a hidden picture game and a mystery detective game. It may even help to tide you over until the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

 

If you want to take Solitaire to the next level:

Fairway Solitaire is probably the game I open the most frequently right now. It seriously takes Solitaire to new places and has just enough little goals and tasks to keep you checking back in throughout the day. Cute graphics, relatively speedy load times and not too many ads. Plus there is a sneaky gopher causing trouble, so.

What phone apps have you been hooked on lately?

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I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again. Let me know if you are playing along, too!

 

 

UN-Planning an 11th Birthday Party.

My son turns eleven tomorrow – hold on

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Sorry about that – and we’re throwing him a small party. I’m not sure if party is even the right word. He’s having two friends over for a sleepover that will mostly involve video games and eating food.

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The hardest part of planning this party is reminding myself I don’t really have anything to plan other than buying enough food for 3 tweenage boys.

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I’m not saying I have a record for throwing amazing, Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. ‘Cause no. But I do enjoy running with a good theme and picking out a corresponding menu and party favors, paper goods, etc.

Some moments from the highlight reel of MM’s birthday parties past:

The 5th Birthday Race Car Dinosaur Party. He really put us through our paces that year but with a minimalist bent, I pulled it off. This was his first birthday party in our current house and we made full use of our gigantic back yard.

The 7th Birthday Little Big Planet Party. In which he helped me make his birthday cake using a recipe that apparently all French children learn to bake cakes with. Which we then decorated with blue and green frosting in an attempt to make it look sort of like Earth. The kids made their own Sackboys and played lots of video games.

The 8th Birthday Doctor Who Party. Which I might have been more excited about than anyone else. I worked magic on invitations, I made TARDIS goodie bags and bought blue everything.

But now he’s turning Eleven.

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No, not that kind Eleven. Just the oh so grown up, this doesn’t really include you mom kind of Eleven. This year there is no theme except “we will play video games as late as humanly possible and maybe watch a movie and I want cake.” Hopefully I’m allowed in the room for some of it.

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Here are my ingredients for a sleepover for eleven year old boys:

  • Walking tacos – small bags of Doritos with taco fixings tossed on top and a salad so I feel like a mother.
  •  The most chocolatey of chocolate cakes – and I might put cherry pie filling between the cake layers because I’m craving cherries.
  • My step mom’s rotel cheese dip – with tortilla chips and probably some salsa, too.
  • Paper plates and napkins – actual color / pattern to be determined aka doesn’t matter.
  • Video games, movies, board games, sleeping bags, go away mom.

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PS: I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop today. One of her prompts this week was a post inspired by the word party and well… yeah. Let me know if you are playing along on your blog. It’s a lot of fun and there are multiple writing prompts to choose from so even if you don’t have parties on the brain, she can hook you up.

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