Strep & Squirrels

So far this June has sucked. Big time.

I honestly can’t remember when so many things have gone wrong in such a short period of time. I think that maybe the world is out to get me or something but the one thing that I know for sure is that my patience are growing thin…. 100 yr old parchment paper thin.

Wondering what could possibly make this month so terrible?

Well, we started out the month with my husband, son, and oldest daughter getting strep. And here’s the kicker… I only took Andrew into the doctor because his dad went in first and came home with strep and I thought that I’d better make sure that Andrew was alright… I mean he did have a pretty snotty nose after all.

cute face

How could this cute face cause so much stress?

So who would have thought that a snotty nose was a sign of strep? Not this mom! Nope… I figured that it was just his allergies. Good thing I took him in.

Less than a week into the meds for strep Andrew decided that it would be fun to get a 24 hour stomach flu bug thing and then pass it on to me. I seriously thought that I was going to die… the flu symptoms hit hard and fast.

my helper

She's been pretty helpful...

By time that cleared up and we seemed healthy Andrew spiked a fever for a couple days and today I learned that he has strep again. Or still. Whatever…. he’s sick and whiney. And to top it off he also has some odd rash that we thought was poison ivy but I have no idea how he could have gotten it so now we’re wondering if maybe it’s similar to the rash my husband had when he had strep….

OH! And here’s the best part of the month! There were little baby squirrels living in the passenger seat of my truck! Yes, you did read that correctly. Squirrels. Living in my truck.

I have no freakin’ clue how a squirrel got into my truck and left three babies stuffed up in the seat. I am totally baffled and I would have never known if it weren’t for that one of them was sitting on the floor of my truck last week at my daughter’s softball game. Another one showed up yesterday when I got out of work and finally I had the kids do some searching and see how many more there were. Thankfully they only found one more!

Yea… so top that! Squirrels living in my truck.

Did I mention that Andrew refuses to take any kind of medicine and if I do manage to get it in his mouth he makes himself puke it out?

Yup… good times.

So I snap once in a while because the stress of it all is getting to me and I don’t know how I’ll make it through to the end of the month. Of course then I feel terrible for it because it’s not the kids fault that this month sucks. I need to find patience soon… and things need to get better.

softball

Thankfully we've been able to make all but one of her softball games.

Have you ever had a month as bad as this one?

I’m linking up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say for PYHO and Angie & Dumb Mom for Wordful Wednesday.

Wordful Wednesday ~ The Class Trip

Well… I’m back. Did you  miss me?

Wait…. did you even notice that I was gone? Never mind… don’t answer that one.

Last week I spent a wonderful two days with my daughter on Mackinac Island for her 4th grade class trip. For me (and probably her) it was a trip of a lifetime because as many times as I’ve been to the island I’ve never had the opportunity to actually stay on the island and it has been something that I’ve always wanted to do.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the great state of Michigan I highly recommend taking the time to visit Mackinac Island. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit and full of history.

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel is the biggest, most beautiful (and most expensive place on the island) hotel with a strict dress code! The swimming pool at the stately Grand Hotel was built expressly for the 1946 Esther Williams film This Time for Keeps who happened to be an Olympic swimmer. Also, the Grand Hotel was the setting for the 1979 love story movie Somewhere in Time starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves.

I have yet to even step foot on the front porch of that place, but it is a dream that I will one day be able to stay there. For now though I can look from afar, snap pictures, and dream of what it is like on the inside.

Lauren in a cave

Our trip included so many things to do and see! The first night there we biked the entire perimeter of the island on bikes that we rented… 8.2 miles total! I’ll be honest… it didn’t seem like it was that far because the road was flat pretty much the entire time. Of course we had to stop a few times when we found something that caught our interest… kind of like the small cave that Lauren is standing in.

butterfly

We spent some time in one of two butterfly houses on the island. There are hundreds of butterflies there from around the world and the perfect opportunity to pause and take some pictures up close of the butterflies… that is when they held still long enough. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the large blue ones that were flying around us though… it was almost as big as the palm of my hand and a beautiful bright blue with black markings on it.

Arch Rock

Arch Rock

One of my favorite locations on the island is Arch Rock. It’s a huge arch carved into the rock surrounding the edge of the hill. On a clear sunny day the water is crystal clear close to the shore and a shimmering blue the further out you look and if you’re lucky you can see fish swimming in the water.

This was one of the places that I really wanted to visit again while we were there and share it with my daughter. I knew that it would be one of the highlights of the trip and I was right.. she thought that it was really cool! Score one for mom!

So here are a few fun facts about Mackinac Island.

  • Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw) owes its name to the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe Native American tribes, who called it Michilimackinac, or “Land of the Great Turtle.”
  • The island located between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, 7 miles east of the Mackinac Bridge, in Lake Huron. It is home to 500-600 year-round residents. Yes, they stay there even in the winter when the lakes have frozen over.
  • Mackinac Island prohibits all motorized vehicles (except for emergency and government vehicles) and is home to M-185, the nation’s only state highway that prohibits motorized vehicles. I’ve only ever seen one vehicle on the island and that was the ambulance and it was parking near the medical center.
  • The island has over 68 different kinds of lilacs on it and one lilac tree that has been estimated to be 200 – 300 years old by experts.

I’m pretty sure that the class trip was one that the kids won’t forget for many years to come! I know that I won’t.

Have you taken a memorable trip with one of your kids as part of a class trip?


#iwillrockthis Week 2

I love food. A lot.

Especially comfort food & sweets. But it’s those things that caused me to gain so much extra weight and not lose it so easily. That is the past though! If you didn’t know I joined up with over 30 other amazing women in a weight loss competition organized by Wendy from Wendy Will Blog.

I have a goal weight, but really it’s more about how my clothing looks and feels and of course the size. I don’t want to be shopping on the edge of the plus size department because while some of the clothes are cute there simply are not as many options as there are in other departments.

That’s why…

Wendy Will Blog
Yes, I will! #iwillrockthis! Maybe not this summer but I will be able to wear a swim suit like that again someday!

I am proud to say that since last week I have lost 3 lbs! It’s such an amazing feeling to step on that scale and actually see progress. It makes it all worth it and encourages me to keep on trying and working towards my goal. The first few weeks I simply started by watching what I was eating and tracking calories and this week starting on Sunday I added in exercise each day. Bike riding on Sunday, 30 Day Shred on Monday, and an almost 2 mile walk with my son in the stroller on Tuesday! I’m sore but I feel great!

Because I’ve been cutting out breads, flours, and sugar I’ve had this a major craving for bread so I gave in… I made some banana bread. Whole wheat banana bread!

I was skeptical at first because I didn’t think that it would be very good… to dry or dense considering that it was made with whole wheat flour. I was surprised because it turned out better than any other bread that I’ve ever made! It was delicious, moist, and amazing beyond words.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 splenda – or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup eggbeaters – or 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F .
  2. In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.
The best part about this bread other than the flavor is the calories in it! One piece is only 105 calories!
nutrition

How to curb your sweet tooth or carb cravings while dieting?

As always I’m linking up with Seven Clown Circus and Parenting by Dummies for Wordful Wednesday!


Wordful Wednesday ~ Bit by the theatre bug!

“The center stage is where I am.” ~ Martha Graham

At a very young age all of my girls were introduced to our local community theatre and have starred in a number of shows over the past 7 or 8 years. It started out as a way to keep the girls busy and out of trouble because I figure that kids who are busy, have interests, and are involved in things tend to stay out of trouble more than others. I’m happy to say that it has worked…. but that’s not what this post is about.

One of the very first shows that my oldest daughter was in was The King and I. To date it has to be one of the biggest and most elaborate shows that I can remember and one of the best too. Kids of all ages were involved and as a backstage parent who helped wrangle the kids, do makeup, and help keep them quiet during the show I can tell you that the amount of work involved is incredible and that the kids were simply amazing.

Cait in the King & I

Caitlin was on of the King’s children… I think that total there was around 20 kids in this show!

Natalie from Mulan 2008

Natalie started out in the Jr. shows and starred in Mulan Jr. and Alice in Wonderland Jr. After these shows she decided she liked working backstage better even though she did a great job in both shows.

cinderella

If Caitlin sees this picture she’ll probably kill me for posting it… she’ll say how terrible she looks. But what I see is a happy girl with her friends getting ready for the production of Cinderella. For some reason I seem to be missing pictures from so many of the girls shows! I have no idea where they all disappeared to.

HS Musical

Right there… front and center…. that’s my kid in High School Musical!

Dorothy's Beauticians

And we can’t forget one of our favorite shows of all time! The Wizard of Oz! Caitlin was one of Dorothy’s beauticians and I worked on costuming. Let me tell ya… finding all those green outfits was a challenge! For munchkins we had mostly kids and we had to sew all of their outfits from scratch… again with tons of work! It was fun though and I’d do it again if it were a smaller show.

Now my youngest daughter has been bit by the theatre bug and is starring in her very first show! School House Rock Jr. which also happens to be the exact same show that her older sister was in when she was in 3rd grade.

Lauren - school house rock

And there she is… in the purple! I am so proud of all my girls and I love watching them on stage because they’re good. They can sing, dance, and act really well and I’m not just saying that because I’m their mom! I hope that they continue with it and always have fun up there in the spotlight.

Sometimes I wonder where they get it from because I am terrified on stage, can’t sing to save my life, and well I can sort of dance but not well enough. I am an awesome audience member and backstage helper!


Wordful Wednesday ~ Today

Today is the first day that you start daycare… you’re a big boy now and will have so much fun.

Today you will make new friends with all the other 2 year olds in your classroom and come to love your teachers.

Easter Scavenger Hunt

Today you will sit at the table like a big boy and eat lunch with all of your new friends and teachers.

Today I will worry that you will be scared and unsure of your new surroundings even though we’ve visited the classroom a couple of times.

blowing bubbles

Today I will worry that you’ll cry when daddy leaves and you’ll be all alone with new people.

Today I will also worry that I am failing you because I am not home with you like I was with your sisters.

Today a new page in our lives begins.

Playing in the sand

I know that this is the right thing to do for you and that you are going to learn and grow so much from being in a structured daycare and that you will enjoy it in time.

I’ve seen the things that the other children can say and do and was surprised. I couldn’t believe that they could recognize the names of their friends on flash cards…. I couldn’t believe that some of your new friends could talk in complete sentences that I could fully understand. I know that you will be sitting in that circle with them and doing the exact same things as them in no time.

playing with the buzz quad

Pretty soon you’ll be rattling things off in complete sentences and telling us about your day and how much fun you had.

This first day is going to drag for me as I watch the clock tick… waiting for that magical hour when I can leave work and finally come and get you and gathe you in my arms. All day I will wonder if you’re okay but I won’t visit yet because you need to get adjusted, but I will call to check on you. I need to for my own sake really… I need to know that you’re alright and now having a meltdown.

As the days turn into weeks I know that things will get easier for the both of us. All you need to remember is that we love you so much and that you will learn a lot and have fun.

 


Random Thoughts for Wednesday

Today’s post is going to full of random thoughts…. why? I guess because I have a lot on my mind and some things I can share and others I can’t. So we’ll just go with what I can share for now.

I was super lucky and was able to get into Melissa’s (@MelACulbertson) incredible class, Content Brew . It’s only been two days but I’ve already learned a great deal from the class, which by the way is a go at your own pace so I don’t have to worry about not being able to keep up! But this is what’s got me…. my content sucks. I decided a while back to post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday leaving Tuesday and Thursday open for reviews/giveaways if necessary and then the weekends are always off. After filling out the content calendar I realized that what I have is barely my own… Monday is recipes, Wednesday is usually a Wordful Wednesday link up or Pour Your Heart Out, and then Friday I usually save for the fiction prompts over at Write on Edge. There is nothing that is full of depth, emotion, or something that has readers coming back for more.

I mean it’s not like I don’t have anything to write about…. I have 4 kids ranging in age from toddler to teen! Geesh… if that isn’t blog fodder I don’t know what is!

I think that this is what it comes down to. Time. The amount of time that I have to actually sit down and write a couple of posts is pretty limited. Okay, it’s non existent. I manage to do a post the night before it goes live and that’s it and any planning further ahead doesn’t happen much.

The random thoughts continue….

This past week summer has come early here in Michigan with temps in the mid 80’s. Yes, you read that right….80’s so we’ve pretty much skipped spring this year. Temperatures that are 40 degrees above normal! The good part about this is that I’ve been able to put to use some of the cool tips and tricks I’ve learned in the SITS  Pinterest Challenge with Courtney from  Click it Up a Notch and because of it my pictures have been a lot better!

Andrew

If you’re looking to create great pictures for yourself, your blog, Pinterest, or whatever I’d  highly recommend checking out the series!

Andrew2

Random proud mom moments….

We’ve also had some proud mom moments this past week. My middle daughter, Natalie, has had district band festival and DI (Destination Imagination) recently and did incredibly well at both! At DI her team had to come up with a skit complete with a set, music, costumes, and everything in between on their own… no adult help at all. Her group had a lot of fun with their challenge and with the secret challenge… each group is presented with a challenge where they have like 5 minutes to come up with a solution for it and spectators are not allowed. In their age group they came in 5th out of 14 groups. Pretty good if you ask me!

Natalie

For district band festival the entire 7th grade band performed for judges and then took part in a sight reading. At the end of the day they received a score of straight 1’s which is the highest score that you can get. Our school district has a long history of music excellence and have never gotten anything less than a perfect score.

Natalie

More randomness…..

I’m hoping that the Content Brew class really helps me out because I need it! I want better content… something that will grab people’s attention… something that will want them to come back for more…

I hope that soon I’ll be able to share some of the things that I can’t talk about right now…. because sometimes getting another person’s perspective and thoughts on something is great.

Alright, enough of the randomness for today.

                

Wordful Wednesday ~ My Epiphanie

For the longest time I coveted those beautiful camera bags that I saw online, but the cost was so high! How could I justify a bag that was almost $200 or even more in some cases? After meeting one in person at Gleek Retreat and then again at Bloggy Bootcamp I know that I had to own one. I had to have an Epiphanie bag.

I added it to my birthday wish list. I added it to my Christmas wish list. I even suggested that a couple go in on it together.

I hinted here and there. Made mention that it was so difficult to carry my camera bag, my purse, and the diaper bag when we went out. But my whining words were not fully heard.

And then… well sadly, I wasn’t able to make it to Blissdom because car trouble and lack of saving sufficiently (my bad). I was heartbroken.

There was something to brighten my day though… I sold my ticket and finally decided that I would spend it on me. Something that would make me happy since I was so sad about not making it to Blissdom.

I bought one.

My very own Epiphanie bag. The days lingered…. they drug on an on… it seemed like a lifetime before it finally arrived.

epiphanie box

It was like Christmas all over again! But the evening that it came was so busy that I wasn’t able to open it right away and it was killing me to get into that awesome box. But when I did…. oh my! I was so excited!

epiphanie - pretty packaging

Just look at it! Look at how much care and thought went into the packaging. A bag within a bag within a bag!

I carefully opened each bag, taking pictures as I did (with my iPhone since I couldn’t be bothered with running to get my DSLR). My kids thought I was a bit crazy but they just don’t understand how exciting this was for me. They didn’t understand how much this one bag would simplify my life!

My Epiphanie

There it is. My Epiphanie. The new love of my life. I must say that my camera is very giddy as well. It’s nestled all safe and warm in the cozy pink interior where it’s protected from bumps & bruises.

My Epiphanie is spacious, full of pockets, and best of all is that it allows me carry one less bag and :::gasp::: in some situations it’s the only bag I carry!

Don’t you want one now?

iPhone Photo Phun


Without social media I…

Without social media where would I be…. that is a good question. Probably sitting on my couch watching horrible reality based TV shows with a box of bon-bons in my lap. Okay… that’s a lie because we all know that I don’t like reality shows. It’s more likely that I’d have my face buried in a book!

Without social media I would be left behind the times and not part of the cool crowd.

cool crowd

The Cool Crowd

Without social media I would have never known that someone could karaoke Ice, Ice, Baby so well! I mean Elena can belt it out like no other…. and she can do it all by memory!

Gleek Retreat Karaoke

Gleek Retreat Karaoke

Without social media I wouldn’t have started on a my journey to a new career for myself. My eyes wouldn’t have been opened to all the incredible opportunities that are out there in the world, all that there is to learn, and all the great people who are willing to help you out.

Without social media I wouldn’t have met an incredible woman. One who is exactly the same online as she is in person. One who is sweet, open, honest, and downright hilarious. I mean have you read her blog???

Empress and I

The Empress and I

Without social media I’d probably be really bored.

Without social media I would have never found Pinterest. Life without Pinterest… I shudder to think of it!

Without social media I would have never found wonderful recipes and been able to share them with everyone.

Without social media I wouldn’t have met some incredible women from right here in the state of Michigan.

BBC Michigan Bloggers

Awesome Michigan Bloggers

Without social media I wouldn’t have been able to state my case and then get an iPhone as a result!

Without social media I wouldn’t have started writing fiction again or have known about #NaNoWriMo.

Without social media I would not have met some of the best friends ever. Even though I haven’t met the majority of them in person I am honored to call them friends. When you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to vent to, or help with a fashion crisis they’re always there for you. And once in a while you meet that one person that you really connect with and you become fast friends. Someone you trust and look forward to talking to. Someone who has earned the title of a best friend.

What about you? What would you been doing without social media? How would your life be different?


Mama’s Losin’ It

Wordful Wednesday ~ Photo Booth and my kids

I may have mentioned this a time or two but my kids love to play with PhotoBooth on my Mac especially when I walk away and leave it unattended. You never know what you’ll find when you open it up again…. for me it’s kind of fun to see what they’ve left for me.

Cait - 4 way

Caitlin seems to like the colorful pics! I’ll admit that I like to see the pictures she leaves me because she is much more serious than her younger sisters.

Natalie

Now, Natalie here…. well there are more pictures of her than I can count in PhotoBooth. I mean there has to be close to 50 of them and every single one of them is silly and none of them serious.

Lauren

Then we have Lauren the ham. I think that these pictures explain it all, don’t you think so too?

Andrew & Nat

And then there are the times that they get together and see what sort of mayhem they can create. This is when you should worry… multiple kids – siblings at that – playing together nicely. This is when I must go find out what they’re doing for fear of one of them hog tying the other… yes, this did happen.

Lauren & Nat

This one here… this proves that these two can get along once in a while. If they used half the energy they use when fighting for something else who knows what they could accomplish in the world!

Cait & Nat

I’ll admit that I take my laptop with me when I go camping…. and the girls got my laptop while we were camping this past summer. This is them in the camper snacking & being them….  and having fun!

Do your kids get a hold of your camera and take all sorts of pictures?