Five Favorites- Treat Yo’Self Edition

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five favorties1.

Essential Oils Peppermint & Tea Tree hand soap. Not only does it smell incredibly, but the real reason I buy this is because I have never seen my diamond sparkle more! Seriously! So if you can wash your hands and get a ring clean at the same time, why not?

Essential Oils Peppermint & Tea Tree hand soap. Not only does it smell incredibly, but the real reason I buy this is because I have never seen my diamond sparkle more! Seriously! So if you can wash your hands and get a ring clean at the same time, why not?

Polar Fleece bed sheets. Oh. My. Word. Yes, it's really hard to get out of bed with these but lordy lordy, now I know why dogs are always napping. I thought they'd be really sweaty, but they aren't... oh and Camera Guy loves them too!

Polar Fleece bed sheets. Oh. My. Word. Yes, it’s really hard to get out of bed with these but lordy lordy, now I know why dogs are always napping. I thought they’d be really sweaty, but they aren’t… oh and Camera Guy loves them too!

2.

WoodWick candle. I am never without one of these in my bedroom ever again. Credit to my sis, once more for giving us one for Christmas. It has a wood wick, so it crackles as it burns... sounds like a fireplace and smells like wood burning too! They are the most fragrant candle I've had yet. No more ucky dorm room smells, our bedrooms smell fantastic!

WoodWick candle. I am never without one of these in my bedroom ever again. Credit to my sis, once more for giving us one for Christmas. It has a wood wick, so it crackles as it burns… sounds like a fireplace and smells like wood burning too! They are the most fragrant candle I’ve had yet. No more ucky dorm room smells, our bedrooms smell fantastic!

Microwave sea-salt caramels. Do I really need to say more?

Microwave sea-salt caramels.
Do I really need to say more?

5.

Cucumber vodka.  We don't do mixed drinks over here much, but oh my word. A splash of this, some ginger ale and lime juice....it literally tastes like you're drinking a summer breeze. Ah-maz-ing!

Cucumber vodka. We don’t do mixed drinks over here much, but oh my word. A splash of this, some ginger ale and lime juice….it literally tastes like you’re drinking a summer breeze. Ah-maz-ing!

ALSO, for a bonus! Treat yo’ self right now to winning a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide! There are three days left to enter yourself or a special mom in your life to win a signed copy! Two lucky winners will be chosen! Good Luck and Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely mamas out there! CLICK HERE

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Mother’s Day Giveaway!!

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What could be better for Mother’s day than a signed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul- Multi-tasking Moms Survival Guide?

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Well a spa day and maybe a house maid… but still… this is a close second, right? Enter yourself (or other Mommy friends) in the contest and two lucky winners will both receive a copy of the Multi-Tasking Moms Survival Guide signed by me and my virtual high five!

Share, share, share and spread the word on your Facebook and Twitter…. most of all— GOOD LUCK!

RULES OF ENTRY

1. There are no limits of entry, each posting- as long as we are tagged in it- will result in an additional entry.

2. Contest opens 12am April 30 2014 and closes 12am May 10 2014.

ENTER NOW HERE:::
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Why We Don’t Do Disney (and other things to make you roll your eyes)

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Ok, so I have had a beef with Disney for a few years now. But in light of recent revelations that only confirmed my suspicions, I felt it was time to finally drag this old post out of my saved drafts folder and finally muster up the courage to publish it.

Before I go any farther there are some things you should know. My big kahuna of an issue is the Disney movies. My daughter owns several Disney “Barbies” (solely because they are the only modest ones out there!) We have some Disney character items lying around in our toy bin, and Disney pointless objects like stickers and coloring books. My Uncle also works for Disney. So yes, if you come over my house to inspect, I assure you, you will eventually find something linked to the “Disney” company here.

However, our kids don’t watch Disney cartoons or movies. Disclaimer, they have watched these:

1. Winnie the Pooh (1974) – The only ‘scary’ thing in this movie is the Heffalumps and Woosels… which are just elephants and weasels. No rudeness, no attitude, no defiance….just a silly nilly willy old bear.

2. Toy Story 2- That’s right, not the first one and not the last one. It’s the only one that is benign enough… with the ‘enemy’ being Newman in a Chicken suit. The first one has that creepy pyscho Sid destroying toys and blowing things  up….exactly what I don’t need my sons seeing, and the last one is freaky when the toys go to the dump and they see trash cans filled with baby doll body parts.

3. Mary Poppins. No explanation needed. Good morals and lots of music.

Now that’s said…here’s why we tell our kids “we don’t do Disney’.  Back in college, I had a hunch and once I had kids, my hunch only grew more curious. My hunch was that Disney movies undermine the authority of the parent. And if you undermine the authority of the parent, well, kids pretty much raise themselves with an innate disdain for authority and structure. Or to be more specific…. values and morals. Or to be even more specific, they subconsciously are developing a relativistic mindset. If you can plant the seed of relativistic worldview (what I feel is right is right, what I want is right, when I want it is right..) at an early age, and only foster this relativistic mindset all throughout their very impressionable adolescent years…. guess what? It’s going to be an uphill battle in the teen and young adult years trying to undo that. Especially when you have society working against you tenfold. But that’s just my hunch.

no_disney

My hopes to share some of my Disney movie memories with my kids kinda unraveled in my lap last summer as I put on “Finding Nemo” for all of us to watch as family. I thought “Finding Nemo” was cute when I watched it in college (note: after I knew better what behavior is acceptable and what is not) however, watching it with impressionable preschoolers, who you are trying to form in good manners and character- I was really upset when in the first ten minutes of the movie, Nemo’s mother dies, Nemo makes fun of his Dad’s “overprotection”, Nemo deliberately defies his father, and tells his father to “shut up!”.  My kids were wide-eyed and shocked that Nemo did those naughty things. That movie was over pretty fast in the this house. Then the wheels in my head started turning. Nemo gets his way in the end. And guess what? His Dad apologizes for being so overprotective. How’s that for irony? So the moral of the story is…….. do what you want to do, your parents are stupid and annoying, they’ll get over it and realize that they were wrong for not letting you make your own decisions. WHAT? (ahem. Relativism, anyone?)

I started going down the list of all the Disney movies I could think of and I started finding some common and disturbing themes. Guess what? The majority of Disney movies have a premise of either one or no parents. Is that a little odd to you? It is to me. It’s innately teaching kids that having both a mom and a dad isn’t vital or important and that their roles are interchangeable. It’s laying the foundation that marriage isn’t a necessary institution. I think, it’s planting seeds of how they perceive marriage. And believe me, in the climate we are living, our kids need all the reinforcement they can get on traditional marriage. How can I sit there and try to explain to my son why kids need both a Mom and a Dad, when he can say back “well…. Ariel only had a Dad…and Simba only had a Mom….they were ok…” Up. Hill. Battle. And frankly, I’m already too tired to deal with it… so it’s easier just to avoid it.

Here’s some of the movies with single/no parents present:

  • Bambi
  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Little Mermaid
  • Pocahantas
  • Toy Story
  • Aladdin
  • Lion King
  • Beauty and the Beast

And that’s just to name a few. Still curious? Go to the Wikipedia page here and look for yourself... you’ll be surprised how many there are. (I am not going to launch into how over-sexualized the female characters are in the Disney movies… because we all know that and we’ve read the dozens of articles… but take this as a given: they sexualized a lot of their characters!)

Also, defiance. Defiance of parental authority is a Disney classic. Think about just recently in Brave, Frozen (oh, dear FROZEN) and Finding Nemo….nice sugar coated relativism. All those previous films listed too, go against the parent’s advice and teaching, does their own thing and gets rewarded in the end. Not exactly what I want my kids absorbing subconsciously because that ain’t how God works. Just look at salvation history. There are rules, there are instructions, God is mericful but God doesn’t succumb to our whims and change his laws because of our mistakes.

Speaking of God, you know that name isn’t allowed at Disney studios or in their movies either. Not that it should surprise you. But am I taking it too far? I used to think I might be a little off my rocker but then I discovered “Gay Days” that Disney parks put on annually.  Mind you it is NOT a private event… but open to families and millions of children!

Try explaining this to your kids

Try explaining this to your kids

I began to ask myself, if a local theater was putting on these “days” in our town would I still take my kids to the theater when they performed an original scripted play? No way, man. I wouldn’t trust them to keep the material innocent and pure enough for my kids minds… then why in the heck would I trust a multi-billion dollar company to keep their material pristine… when clearly they’ve got some kind of an agenda? (And they do, they’ve started putting it into their TV programming!)

Well, I may be wrong or over-analyzing it. Or getting too carried away. But, I only have a mere 18 years to prep my kids for the battle of the real world, and I need all the help, not hindrance I can get. Sorry Disney, but I have no spare souls over here that I’m willing to experiment with.

But what about me you naysayers might debate? Didn’t I watch all those Disney movies? Yup. Watched the Disney channel a lot too, and even then I knew it was all a mockery of adults and authority. Did I have an attitude problem? You betcha. All those kids on the Disney channel had attitude problems and idiot parents. They were child-kings. They were everything we thought we wanted to be. Their lives revolved around : them.  I guess I turned out ok, but I definitely caused some undue friction in the teen years. Which inevitably may have been there just because I was in the teen years, but I feel the Disney influence only exacerbated the situation. Also, not for nothing but have you seen the trend in the lives of these Disney channel stars? Like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Christian Aguleria, Lee Thompson Young, Linsday Lohan…. now that’s really got to make you wonder about Disney’s magical influence.

Look, my kids watch plenty of TV. Don’t you worry. We just choose things that will support our parenting philosophy, not unravel it. There is plenty of wholesome children’s television out there that features nothing sexualized, both a mom and a dad parenting (something that becoming more rare for our kids to see) and respectful children with good manners.  Hey, you are what you watch. Here’s what we opt for instead of Disney:

  • Fireman Sam
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
  • SuperWhy!
  • 19 Kids and Counting
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Angelina Ballerina
  • Kipper
  • Veggie Tales
  • Lots of Old School Musicals (Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music,  Dr. Dolittle, White Christmas)

 

I know I take this really seriously. ( But obviously not too seriously, since I do own Disney princess dolls, etc. see previous paragraphs). I have a big problem with Disney movies. They are consistently, delibrately anti-God, anti-authority and anti-Traditional Marriage. This is just not the entertainment I want my kids exposed to. Am I saying people are going to have perfect angel kids if they don’t watch Disney? Nope. But do I think avoiding Disney will make parenting a lot smoother of a journey? I have a hunch it might….

Lobsters! Crap. I mean Liebsters!

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So Liebster Blog Awards… more of an honor than anything. Not actually an award, but more of the thoughtful gesture to be ‘nomintated’ by a fellow blogger (thanks, Ellen @ Mcsisters!), and once you accept the nomination you answer the questions of the NSA  their choosing, tag 3-5 of your favorite bloggers and round and round she goes. :)

Here are the 5 questions Ellen chose, I will answer, then tag some of my friends and pick questions of my own!:

Where is the farthest you have ever traveled?

Well, Rome. I went for World Youth Day in 2000. It was really, really hot when we were there. Like 109. I had the best meal of my life in Assisi and the campout at Tor Vergata was the first ( and almost last time…aside from WYD 2002) that I ever slept in a sleeping bag on the ground. Ever. I wish I could have experienced more than I did. Mainly, I wish I was more mature to have been soaking up the scenery and the sights instead of swooning over getting a lucky chance to sit squished on the Metro next to my crush. Hey, I was 15.  (btw heheheh thanks Mom for sending me!) I did however get the tannest I have ever been in my life, Italy showed me how dark my skin is actually supposed to be! That was a great month… looking like a mocha latte for a few weeks.

Have you ever won anything? If so, what did you win?

The only thing I’ve ever won is random bets with my husband over things like whether or not we send our extra trash to the moon (we do not) and whether or not Mister Rogers wears those sweaters to cover up all his Navy tattoos (also false). Really intellectual  post-dinner chats we have. Oh, I guess I could count the time in high school that I “won” 1st place in the CYO talent show for signing “A Boy Like That” from West Side Story…..but I try not to ever count that as a fair win because there were only about 5 contestants, and they were all awful and uncoordinated, so for my partner and I to get up on stage, dressed for the part, signing a duet with accompaniment…we were the only ones who apparently rehearsed…. they kind of had to give us 1st place. I do so like that song though, and I got to be saucy Aunt Anita…it’s not my hope but those endless rehearsals of ” a boy like that will give you trouble…”  leave me fully prepped and kind of stoked to belt it out to my daughter should the occasion ever arise.

Who is your favorite saint and why?

Saint Philomena! Why? First of all she is the only saint canonized on her intercession alone. Which is pretty phenomenal! Also, she pursued the heck out of me. I could do an entire post just on Philomena. I probably should. The long and the short of it: She chose me for confirmation, so   I chose her.  Camera Guy visited her shrine in Italy when we were courting, and promised to honor her at our wedding if we married. I promised her I’d name my first daughter after her… we did honor her and we did name our daughter after her. And she helps me constantly and immediately on hundreds of occasions…. she is my dearest heavenly companion…. ok I have to write a post on the wonders she has worked in my life because that’s what she’s known for: powerful with God and a Wonder-Worker!

What is the most dominant color in your wardrobe?

As I considered this I got embarrassed. It’s actually black. Huh, I didn’t realize how much black I own. I think I keep opting for black because it goes with everything. Well, duh, and it especially goes with everything when everything is black. Oh geez louise this makes me sound depressed but in my defense I think it’s important to stick with earth tones and real colors that exsist in nature. No funky colors. It’s more classy and every picture I see of the celebs shows them typically in some basic color like black, white or gray. So black it is. I do have colorful pieces of jewelry and scarfs for a pop of color. Also colorful shoes. I like to think that Stacey and Clinton would approve……

What has made you crack a smile today?

Knowing that tonight is Mom’s Night Out! We’re getting tapas!

——————–

Ok now it’s my turn to pass the Liebster Award nomination onto Susie, Kelly, and Sarah!

and this is what we really want to know:

What are you wearing at this very moment?

What the oldest thing you have in your fridge? When did it expire?

If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be and why?

Random something that makes you happy?

 

 

 

 

 

Today is the BIG DAY!!

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CSS_Company_LogoToday the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Multi-Tasking Moms Survival Guide is officially on sale at your local Barnes & Noble!

Be sure to stop in, pick it up and spread the news! This book is going to be loaded with funny stories, poems and words to lift any mom’s spirit! Not to mention, a story written by yours truly…. ON PAGE 56! <<(shameless self promotion)

This book is awesome, filled to the brim covering topics like “Making ‘me’ Time”, “Feeding the Family”, “Feeling Guilty”, “Laughing after the Fact”, “Slowing Down” and “Handling Housework Hassles”…. plus many more!

If this sounds like something you or another mom in your life would enjoy than please, help me spread the buzz and get the word out by sharing the news on Facebook or Twitter, by liking this or commenting on Facebook! :)

Enjoy the book!

Everyone Has Ashes

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Ash Wednesday this year was something it has never, ever been for me. Hilarious. And before you go and get all scandalized, let me explain.

I have a two year old who can’t pronounce the “h” in “ash”.

This wasn’t even discovered until the middle of Ash Wednesday mass, when it suddenly dawned on dear little guy that EVERYONE HAS ASHES.

Of course, being a two year old the best times to share with the world your newest discovery is during the quietest parts of mass. Once Mom, Dad, siblings and Uncle Loogie (long story) have all shuffled and squished back into the pew and a quiet chant is being sung to aid the feeling of repentance.

Sitting plump and cuddly on my lap, Little Guy looked up, from forehead to forehead and announced in perfectly audible levels of volume:

“Oh look! Mommy! Mommy has a*ses!” his little pointer finger jabbed me square in the forehead.

” Yes… shhhhh I know—“

“Mommy has as*es!!” (excited toddler face)

I suddenly realized how this sounded and quickly tried to put his arm down and distract him with a book. I mean, I knew what he was saying…. but to anyone listening it sounded distinctly different.

There would be no distracting the child, however. And in true feelings of penance, I had to sit and listen to his declarations and he went (loudly) through the entire family

“Daddy has as*es!”

“Yes, yes he does… here look at—-“

“Jackie has as*es!”

“Ok, yes he does… that’s nice—-” I started sweating.

“Mia has as*es!”

Pressing his arm down to stop the pointing an declaring. He pulled it free,

“Unka Mikey has as*es”

“Ooooook. That’s good. very good, now look over here–“

Oh but by then it was too late. He realized people sitting behind us and in front of us ALL HAD AS*ES.

Oh. Oh how guilty I felt for wanting to burst out laughing in the middle of Ash Wednesday mass. What kind of a person am I? How much time in purgatory did I just get for the hilarity I was getting out of this moment? I could have never imagined such a scenario.

The car ride home we couldn’t stop cracking up and Little Guy’s innocent, unintended but completely hysterical pun. It’s true though, everyone one of us has as*es.

So it took awhile for the joke to die, and eventually it did. But not without Uncle Loogie throwing in the best pun right as the kids were going to bed.

“Hey you guys,”Loogie called out to them as they scurried out of the bathroom,

“don’t forget to wipe your ashes off!”

 

 

 

 

 

A New Religious Order?

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So what would you say if I told you that I had an idea for a new religious order? Well, it may not necessarily be new. But it’s a good idea.

What about a community that you must be at least 18 to join. Your education does not matter. Your debt does not matter.The only requirements are an openness of spirit and a desire to unite yourself totally to the community.

You must take vows publicly, that you are willing to completely give up yourself for the sake of the community. In other words, you vow to be completely at the disposal of the needs of your community. You vow to be Christ to your community.The charism of this community would be service and self-denial.

Part of the rule of this order would be what sets it aside from all the rest. It’s unique rule would be inconstancy. Where other orders have a constancy of rule, set times for prayers, meals, rest, this one would change on a weekly and sometimes daily or even hourly basis. Sometimes the community will toll the bell for your rising at dawn, other times at 7. Sometimes you will have morning prayer, other times, the community will try to distract you from any type of prayer. The rigorous and spontaneous schedule will not allow you to find peace and order in the rule, but instead, force you to overcome any pleasure you once derived from a schedule and learn instead to completely submit yourself to needs of the community.

A constant struggle between self or selfless will be presented to you almost hourly, not always in the same two ways and always sporadic. Thus never allowing the postulant adequate time to anticipate the next moment of penance or prayer.

This is intentional, never knowing meal times, never knowing prayer times, never knowing when rest will begin, if it will begin, how soon it will begin, when the day will start, or what is to be expected of you. Never relying on when the work will be done. But always being ready. This heightened state of preparedness, or readiness for sacrifice is essential and draws the postulant into sometimes an exhausted state of anguish but serves a higher purpose of purification.

Where other orders seek to assist one another in their vocation, this one may at times resist your efforts of help, ignore you, speak rudely to you or make you feel like you aren’t doing enough…this too, serves to purpose to increase in the postulant a deepening of the spirit of humility. That is, at least, the goal. If the postulant takes too much of this to heart, they will create an obstacle in their own spiritual development by spending their time pitying themselves instead of believing that everything the community demands of them is truly for their own sanctification.

This order is rigorous, it would be demanding, and many times may feel like you are doing all the work. It can be very lonely at times, even isolating when you are struggling or falling and you realize the community never stops needing. Not even when you are needing. You must still get up. You must still move on. You must still serve. No days off.

It does sound exhausting but what if I told you that somehow, there was immense peace in this order? That, the more you think you are helping the needs of your community, the more in fact you are helping the needs of yourself? What if I told you that in all the craziness their could be holiness? And that even though it is more demanding than I can even explain here, there is that much more joy than I could possibly explain here.

What do you think now? Still interested? Wait, though! I haven’t told you the name of this order.

I like to call it: Parenthood.

+Have a Blessed Lent +