Thursday, January 31, 2013

Its Thursday. Again.

For some reason, Thursday is always a hard day for me. Its the day that the world just seems to fall apart around me.

Monday I am fresh from the weekend. The night before I have the boys bags packed for school and usually in their car seats along with whatever myriad of coats and accouterments they will require for the day at preschool.  I get up, have my coffee, I get things done, I have energy, I have a plan. A plan to get certain things done. A menu plan carefully listed and honed down to snacks and times for the whole week.

Tuesday I usually don't do anything but finish the tasks I had planned for Monday that I inevitably didn't get done. Still, I wake up, have my coffee, follow the meal plan, and do my motherly duties with out fail.

Wednesday I usually get a little burst of steam. The week is half over! Yay! Coffee, preschool, chores, errands, rinse, wash, repeat.

Then the Thursdays hit. I'm tired. I usually forget my coffee in a last second rush to leave the house to get the boys to school. We leave the house getting dressed on the way to the car. Someone is usually crying. Usually me. My hair looks like a rats nest, I'm in my jammies, my phone is ringing incessantly. You get the idea. Everything that could go wrong, goes wrong on Thursday. Every Thursday night, I crash into bed an hour before normal time and pass out like a sack of logs.

Maybe its just the stress from the rest of the week. Maybe its because I try to do too much myself during the week (not that I have much of a choice). Maybe its the impending weekend making me weak. I have never figured it out really but without fail, Thursday is always a mess.

By Friday morning though, I am up and back at it. One more day til the weekend. I assume an I can do this attitude and somehow, hold it together until the weekend comes to bear sweet relief to us all.

Help me figure out how to beat the Thursdays! Do you have a day of the week that is harder than the others?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tea Time! #WW

The Spread!  
Littles opted for milk instead of tea.

D loved the tea so much he asked for seconds and thirds!

Ol Faithful

This is how he insisted on eating his scone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Callaway Gardens Announces Winter/ Spring Digital Photography Workshops!

Cultivate your artistic skills and expand your gardening and natural history knowledge with Callaway Gardens’ Workshop Series! Local experts and staff facilitate programs that allow you to explore new opportunities.

Digital Photography Workshop Series
Led by serious amateur photographer and instructor Jim Henderson

Callaway Gardens is the perfect venue for learning photography with year-round opportunities to take great photos. The Callaway Discovery Center Auditorium is the perfect place to for these workshops, thanks to theater seating, theater lighting, and a state-of-the-art overhead projection system for the PowerPoint Presentations. No finer venue is available for photography workshops! Smaller classes are held in one of the Discovery Center Classrooms with table seating and electrical hookups for laptop computers.

The instructor is Jim Henderson, an accomplished amateur photographer with an encyclopedic knowledge of the technical aspects of digital photography, a master of the artistic side of photography, and an incredible knack for teaching and inspiring his participants in a fun and enthusiastic manner. Using custom PowerPoint presentations, Henderson presents each topic and concept in an easy-to-understand manner and illustrates each concept using his own photography.

For all digital photography workshops, please bring a personal digital camera, owner's manual, charged batteries and storage media. Dress casually in layers for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.

The Foundations Workshop Series

The FOUNDATIONS workshops were developed with a simple goal in mind: to free the aspiring photographer from reliance on the automatic exposure mode. The camera's automatic exposure mode is fine for snapshots and sometimes OK for postcards. It is almost never useful to the creative photographer, who uses ISO, aperture and shutter speed like a painter uses paint and brushes. At the conclusion of the series, you will have the knowledge and skill to use the advanced features of your camera and take your creative photography to that next level!

Foundations in DSLR Photography II: Creative Photography Beyond the Auto Mode

Saturday, February 2, 2013, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This workshop is designed to provide the information and skills necessary to operate the camera without the assistance (and confines) of the camera’s automatic exposure mode. The workshop begins with a demonstration of why the automatic exposure mode is severely limiting your potential as a photographer. With our goal clear, we then begin to explore the fundamentals of photography. What is aperture, shutter speed and ISO? What is exposure? How can aperture be used for our creative purposes? What is depth of field? How can shutter speed be used for our creative purposes? What is aperture-priority exposure mode? What is shutter priority exposure mode? What is manual exposure mode? Following a thorough coverage of those topics, we then move into the field where we practice putting those concepts to use.

Fee: $75 includes lunch and digital handout

Foundations II: Skill Builder Photo Shoot with the Instructor

Sunday, February 3, 2013, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Foundations II Workshop continues with an optional photo shoot with the instructor. In this four-hour segment, participants get even more practice working with the new concepts in the field. For many participants, the extra time in the field and additional coaching by the instructor help to solidify the concepts.
Fee: $40 (limited to 20 participants, must attend February 2, 2013, workshop)

Foundations in DSLR Photography III: Mastering Focus and Exposure

Saturday, February 16, 2013, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Building upon the concepts mastered in the FOUNDATIONS II Workshop, this workshop is designed to assist the participant with mastery of focus and exposure. Topics include: understanding autofocus, understanding manual focus, achieving an accurate focus with stationary subjects and subjects in motion, understanding exposure, understanding exposure meters and metering modes, evaluating your exposure, understanding histograms, using exposure compensation, using automatic exposure bracketing and using automatic exposure lock. Throughout the workshop, we cover the topic in class and get an opportunity to practice what we learned in the field. The workshop concludes with a presentation and discussion of dynamic range and high dynamic range (HDR).

Fee: $75 includes lunch and digital handout

Foundations III: Skill Builder Photo Shoot with Instructor

Sunday, February 17, 2013, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Foundations III Workshop continues with an optional photo shoot with the instructor. In this four-hour segment, participants get even more practice working with the new concepts in the field. For many participants, the extra time in the field and additional coaching by the instructor help to solidify the concepts.

Fee: $40 (limited to 20 participants, must attend Feb 16, 2013 workshop)

The Adventures in DSLR Photography Workshop Series

The ADVENTURES WORKSHOP SERIES was developed for intermediate and advanced level students who have mastered the fundamentals of photography and are ready to master the various specialty areas of photography. Classroom content builds upon content covered in the FOUNDATIONS SERIES. The amount of workshop time devoted to the classroom varies considerably depending upon the topic. See the individual course descriptions for more information.

Adobe Lightroom I: An Introduction to Lightroom – A Comprehensive Two-Day Introductory Course

Saturday – Sunday, April 13 & 14, 2013, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday

9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday

This two-day workshop was designed as an introduction to Adobe's newest software solution for digital photographers. Bring your laptop and work along with the instructor. Once you start using Lightroom, you will wonder how you ever managed without it! This workshop is strictly limited to 20 participants and often sells out quickly. Register early to reserve your spot.

Fee: $115 (includes lunch on Saturday and digital handout)

(Enrollment limited to 20 participants, laptops welcome)

Adobe Lightroom II – A Comprehensive Two-Day Advanced Techniques Course

Saturday – Sunday, April 27-28, 2013, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday

This advanced level workshop is devoted to doing complex edits to your RAW images in Lightroom’s Develop Module and doing round-trip edits from Lightroom to Photoshop, Lightroom to PhotoMatix, and Lightroom to Portrait Professional Pro. Included is an in-depth discussion of color management and how to set-up Lightroom and external editors for good color management.

Fee: $115 (includes lunch on Saturday and digital handout)

(Enrollment limited to 20 participants, laptops welcome)

Adventures in DSLR Photography: Mastering Flash

Saturday – Sunday, May 18 & 19, 2013, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday

This intermediate level workshop is devoted to exploring the possibilities and understanding the principles of flash photography using on and off-camera speedlights. The emphasis will be on capturing dramatic portraits in an outdoor, natural setting.

Fee: $115 (includes lunch on Saturday and digital handout)

Enrollment is limited and preregistration is required. Workshop fees include admission to Callaway Gardens. To register, call the Education Department at 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292), option 5, option 2; 706-663-5153 or email Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before each workshop begins. For a complete listing, visit Annual Pass holders and Callaway Connection members qualify for special rates.

For overnight accommodations for any of these workshops or hikes, ask for the special workshop rate starting at $99 in the Mountain Creek® Inn at 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292). Based on availability, some restrictions apply.

Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. To experience nature at its finest, call 1-800-CALLAWAY or visit .

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ringling Bros. brings DRAGONS to Atlanta! (With discount!)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents DRAGONS is a once in a millennium event that honors the Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros.® Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson (my favorite ringmaster of all time!!) presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. A never-before-seen blend of renowned spiritual and real life legends, DRAGONS is coming to Philips Arena February 13 – 18 and to The Arena at Gwinnett Center, February 21 – March 3, 2013.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® searched the globe to bring audiences of all ages phenomenal acts including the Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, charging Cossack riders, magnificent Asian elephants, Siberian tigers and the frenzied motorcycle Globe of Steel. As the audience observes these and even more real world displays that pay tribute to the dragon, their continued excitement will bring glimpses of the elusive beast.

Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS opens an hour before show time with the interactive All Access Pre-show, FREE to all ticket holders.

For more information, visit or visit us on Facebook at
(Click to enlarge!)

Performances are at Philips Arena, February 13-18, 2013. 
Show Times:
Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. 
Thursday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. 
Friday, February 15 at 10:30 a.m., and 7:30 p.m. 
Saturday, February 16 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 
Sunday, February 17 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 
Monday, February 18 at 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. 
Ticket Prices at : 

Performances are at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, February 21-March 3, 2013. 
Show Times: 
Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. 
Friday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. 
Saturday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 
Sunday, February 24 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 
Tuesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. 
Wednesday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. 
Thursday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. 
Friday, March 1 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. 
Saturday, March 2 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. 
Sunday, March 3 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. 

All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at the Philips Arena and The Arena at Gwinnett Center Box Office or via phone by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. 

About Feld Entertainment: Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment's productions have appeared in more than 70 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

*I am being provided tickets for the boys and I to attend this years DRAGONS event in exchange for this post, all opinions are my own.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nickname Theory

Nicknames were kind of  source of contention around my house when I was a kid. I always kind of felt like I got jipped in the nickname department. That probably had something to do with the fact that my most used nickname was rather less than flattering and by the time I knew what my own name was, it embarrassed the dickens out of me. Of course that meant it was used more often. In public. Loudly.

It didn't hurt that I stood before the entire congregation and announced it as my given name during children's church one Sunday. I have not yet, almost 30 years later, lived that down. Moral: never hand a three year old a microphone.

At any rate, when I came of childbearing age, many years before I bore a child (aka puberty), I made a pact with myself to not ever give my kids nicknames. I was going to give them a name and use only that name for their whole entire life so that they never had to endure the torment that I felt I had endured. No chances of public humiliation there.

Of course, as I got older and realized how unreasonable it was to think that I could own so much as a sweater without giving it a nickname, I relented and promised myself I would only give them "good" nicknames. The kind that would never embarrass them. You know, things like "sunshine" or "sweetheart". 

I actually held with that pretty well with D. When we found out I was pregnant with him, we called him "beegee" until we knew that he was a he and then we called him by his name or just "sweet baby D". After he was born, he acquired the names "love bug" and "lovie" because of his sweet temperament. As he got older he grew into "wild man" and eventually "bigs" and "biggie" when he became a big brother. K gave him his newest nickname "bruba", which stuck with all of us. All of which were tame and sweet. It matches his disposition in general. Ever the lover boy that one.

Then we had K. At first, he was simply "squeakers" because of the way he squeaked when he nursed or got excited or upset or... you get the idea. He was also "snuggle butt" which eventually became "snuggle pig" which digressed to just "pigs" as he has grown. There is even a "snuggle pig" song. As if snuggle pig wasn't bad enough, he has also acquired the name of "shorty short fatty cakes" ("fatty" for short) which is a tribute to his stature. Of course he is also ever my "hulk baby". Then there is "littles" and "monster". Any one of which you would think would hurt his little ego but it doesn't bother him and to be quite frank, they suit him. My crazy, off the wall kid gets the crazy nicknames.

Obviously things have gone swiftly down hill in the nickname department. Poor K is getting jipped just like I did. Maybe its a second child thing? Or maybe its because K and I share certain personality traits that make us susceptible to those kinds of injustice? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Own Kind of Winter Wonderland

I have said over and over that Atlanta has the craziest weather patterns and this time of year is no exception. Every year it finally cools off a little in December and everyone rushes to pull out their winter coats and heavy sweaters, in theory preparing for the long harsh winter ahead. By January though, we are all back in t shirts and everyone is crying on Facebook about "where did winter go?".

Thing is, it happens every year. At least every year that I have been an Atlantan. Every year we get a crazy 70-80 degree week or two in the middle of January and every one freaks out and cries about how its going to be the hottest summer evar. They all rush to the store to start buying some new Spring clothes and flip flops and I have even heard a few people this year saying they are packing up their winter coats already.

Then, it hits us again. The 20s come sneaking back over night and smack us in the face yelling psych and every one looks a fool. Again. Every year.

This year has been no exception. It was 75 over last weekend and they are saying it will be somewhere close to 60 this coming weekend. Granted though, it does seem to be lasting a little longer than usual. This past weekend was actually the warmest on record for over a hundred years for this time of year. Which we took advantage of and spent the whole day playing outside and visiting as many parks as we could.

Still, soon we will wake up one morning and everything will be covered in frost and our car doors will be frozen shut from the lingering humidity. Who knows, maybe we will even get some snow this year. I would love for it snow a little so that I take the boys out to sled in the snow. K was rather disappointed when it didn't snow on Christmas this year like he thought it was going to. Not sure why he thought that considering its only snowed on Christmas once in the 14 years I've lived here and even that was just a dusting.

So now we wait I suppose. To see when actual winter will come and freeze us all in our tracks. Especially those crazies that are putting away their winter coats. I will wait with fingers crossed and dreams of snow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Producers @TheFoxTheater

The Producers, a big Broadway Musical, won a record 12 Tony Awards and wowed capacity crowds night after night. This month, it returns to Atlanta after an 8 year absence and sets the standard for modern, outrageous, in-your-face humor.

Bialystock and Bloom! Those names should strike terror and hysteria in anyone familiar with Mel Brooks' classic cult comedy film. The plot is simple: a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history thereby bilking their backers (all "little old ladies") out of millions of dollars.

Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit! At the core of the insanely funny adventure is a poignant emotional journey of two very different men who become friends.

With a truly hysterical book co-written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan (ANNIE) and music and lyrics by Mr. Brooks, The Producers skewers Broadway traditions and takes no prisoners as it proudly proclaims itself an "equal opportunity offender!" The Producers will be produced by Atlanta's Theater of the Stars.

The Producers will play eight performances at the Fabulous Fox Theatre from January 25 - 31, 2013. If you are ready to pick up tickets for a hilarious night out, you can pick them up online HERE or call 855-ATL-TIXX.

*I was provided tickets to the opening night show to check it out but opinions are all mine. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to hear my reaction to the show!

Blue Man Group @TheFoxTheater Starting Tomorrow!

Performance art legends The Blue Man Group are back on tour once again and their next stop is Atlanta's very own Fox Theater! Of course you know of my love of the Fabulous Fox, but I have never seen the Blue Man Group so I am mad excited to go tomorrow night and check out the show that has been on my wish list for years!

In their most recent show, the blue trio delivers an incredible show filled with unforgettable visual imagery and a unique and quirky score. Incorporating unusual theatrical themes such as technology, science, discovery and psychology.

Sounds cool, right? The New York Times heralds the show as “One of the most delightful performance pieces ever staged.” E! Entertainment News exclaims, “Blue Man Group is what every live performance aspires to be.” Although it is impossible to describe, people of all ages agree that Blue Man Group is an intensely exciting and wildly outrageous show that leaves the entire audience in a blissful, euphoric state. With no spoken language, Blue Man Group is perfect for people of all ages, languages, and cultures. This unique experience is a form of entertainment like nothing else; guaranteed to be an outing you will never forget!

Want to pick up tickets for yourself or a friend? Order online HERE or call 1-855-ATL-TIXX.

*I was provided tickets to the opening night show to check it out but opinions are all mine.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Mother's Love

Is it possible to love your children too much? It was said about me that I love my boys too much by someone I had never actually met. As odd as that seemed at the time, I take that as a compliment. My boys are my life. They are my blood. My legacy. Should they not be my biggest love?

(Via Pinterest)
I look at those little boys and all I see is love. They stole my heart at first glance and that bond has only gotten stronger as the years go by. In the most pure and powerful sense. Should I not protect that? Shouldn't I listen to my most primal instincts as a mother? To love them most and shape them into the kind of little boys that the world needs so desperately?

How else do you show a child how to love but to love them and care for them in the way you want them to treat others? As a mother, I signed up to raise them the very best way and then stand back and watch them give that love away to their own children some day.

Its a bond that is not possible to be shared with any one else. Its not the kind of thing that you can feel for a husband or a parent or even a friend. Its definitely not something you can explain to the childless. Its like that corny quote says, they are the only ones that know what my heart sounds like from the inside. We know each other, and love each other differently, because of that.

Maybe sometimes people can't differentiate the difference between the way a woman loves her children and the way she loves every one else. It doesn't mean we love anyone else less, just not the same primal kind of force. Just because love is different, doesn't mean its less.

My children are my biggest priority. They are the reason I try my best to excel even when things are so hard it literally hurts my bones. I have to make their lives amazing. I have to raise the bar of love beyond their parents childhood's and histories. I want them to have everything we had and more. Its a responsibility I signed up for when I gave birth and its not one I shrink away from. I will defend their right to not only my love but those around us just as well.

Love is a powerful thing. Love has the power to heal and nurture and to free. Its something that shouldn't be shied away from or hidden. It has the power to change the the world and who best to show it to but our children?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finding Fitness Motivation

I am, by default, a fairly lazy person. I get my stuff done but then I like to relax and just hang out with the boys. We watch movies or play in the yard or read books on the couch. Not that we are sedentary, just not as active as we probably could be. As active as I should be at the very least. All you have to do is look at my wedding photos to see that.

Of course I have my "reasons" for letting myself go over the years. There are the health problems, the pregnancies, and the stress over money, jobs, kids, etc. There have been instances in my marriage that cause my self esteem to plummet, the lack of support from those close, and being generally busy keeping up with the boys. All of those things can lead you to gain weight but a big part of it is just because I simply lacked motivation.

Motivation is a tricky one for me in the corny sense of the word. I roll my eyes at motivational quotes and posters ("Nothing will taste as good as being skinny will feel"? Screw that, pass the Ben & Jerry's.). I take compliments and turn them into something I need to change. Self doubt is a big theme around here.

Thing is, I don't want my boys to see that. I don't want them to see my lack of confidence or lack of motivation and think that is how life works. If nothing else, having to scratch and claw my way out of the gutter I was left in for 2012 has taught me that sometimes, the only motivation you need is in your heart. My heart wants me to succeed for their sake but also for my own.

So, I have been taking those snippets of time when I would normally sit around and check Facebook or just dazing out into space, and lacing up the new running shoes I got for Christmas. Or encouraging the boys to do push ups with me in the bedroom floor. Or turning on some loud dance music and having a crazy dance party with glow sticks. Going outside to play with the hula hoops Aunti got the boys for Christmas. Something to get us moving, which usually leads to some other kind of shenanigan.

So far: I've lost 3lbs in 2 weeks.

Bonus: The boys love it. They love acting crazy with Mama. K loves to dance and sing and play. The running and exercises not so much, but he does make for a great, giggly weight for some of mine. Nothing like a 40lb weight on your back during a brisk walk to burn those calories! D, on the other hand, loves doing push ups and crunches with Mama and let me tell you what, he can be as discerning a personal trainer as any I have ever seen. "Do more Mama! C'mon! Don't stop now!", all the while he is pounding them out like a miniature body builder. How can I stop with him cheering me on?

How's that  for motivation? How could I not let him encourage me. They don't even know the health aspect, they just thinks its another fun thing to do with Mama. Their favorite kind of thing even. Which means that they ask to do those things with circles back around to more motivation! Heres hoping we can keep it up. If we can encourage each other, we may just make it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Home Made Gummies #HomemadeConvenience

For the first installment of the home made convenience foods that I promised last week, I figured we could start with the snacky type stuff and work our way up to the foods eventually. Convenience snacks, especially those for kids, are a huge money hole. Even with coupons they are generally much more expensive that the kind you can make yourself and they don't contain all the nastiness that the store bought ones do. Plus, you can get your kid involved in making them with you and they might learn a little something themselves.
I will say this though, don't go crazy making huge batches of this type of thing. It is different with the foods that you can freeze and keep fresh but if you make a gazillion pounds of home made gummies, and your kids don't eat them withing a month, you have to throw them out and you've wasted money. These are quick and easy, you should be able to make them every other week.

Now, I have said before I am crazy about ingredients but we are not vegetarians. So if you are, this recipe may not work for you. If you are vegan, it definitely won't work. Why? Because of the gelatin required to make these set. I did do a little Google- ing though and found this vegan recipe that looks almost as easy and uses no animal by-products.

Ok, time to gather your ingredients. If you are thrify like me, you should be able to get this stuff for pennies. Even if you aren't into the coupon thing, its maybe a couple of dollars. Here is a pretty good place to stock up like I was talking about.

What you'll need:

1/3c Frozen 100% juice concentrate
2-3 .5 oz envelopes of unflavored gelatin (found in the canning or jelly aisle)
Silicone mold

I usually buy variety of flavors and make two flavors at a time. I also almost always buy the Old Orchard brand because it has a lid that you can reseal. 1/3c is only about 2.5 oz and the juice is sold in 11 oz cans so being able to reseal it or transfer it to another container to keep in the freezer is a must. You could always just make juice with whats left too.

Your mold can be any size you wish your gummies to be but I tend to prefer smaller ones. You can usually find them in bakery stores or Walmart pretty easy.

Once you gathered your ingredients, get out a pot, put your juice concentrate in it, and then sprinkle the gelatin over the cold concentrate. Let it sit for a few minutes before you turn on the heat. I'm not sure why this makes a difference but it totally does. Science!

After it has sat for a few minutes, put the pot over medium heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Then, pour or spoon it into your molds. I have heard of people pouring the liquid into a measuring cup with a spout to make this easier but I am too lazy to dirty another dish for gummies so I use a spoon and it works great.

Let them cool and set on the counter until they release from the mold easily and enjoy! I portion them out in to tiny plastic Ziploc bags (get them in the jewelry section) so they are more convenient to carry and portion out.

Personally, the boys and I like these a lot more than the store bought gummies. They have more flavor and a better texture. I think your kids will find the same and you will have saved money and made their snack a little healthier! Next time, I'll share my fruit leather recipe. Its a similar snack but a little more labor intensive.  A very little.

Let me know if you try these and what your favorite flavor is!

Monday, January 7, 2013


I just hired the fabulous Mrs. Holly to help me revamp RMM and I have to admit, I might have had a huge panic attack about it. Not that I doubt her ability at all, I just hate change. Even when I know its for the better. Still, I know its time to fix her up and make her pretty again. As much as I love the bright red and pretty flowers, I have done so many self tweaks to this design that it has almost given up one me.

The last straw was last week when I tried to update the 2013 page and it gave out. I just don't have the energy to fix it again either so you'll notice its still sad face up there.

Still, Blogger is my stride and you won't be seeing any changes there any time soon. Sorry mommy-blogger-mafia, not my thing. Don't laugh, they know who they are.

At any rate, Some things will be switching up around here in the next little bit so hang tight and I will post again when everything is new and shiney again. In the mean time, hold me...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Made Convenience Foods

I am a cheap person. I am also generally funny about the things my kids eat. Too many chemicals and nastiness in the world around us and I like to try to cut down on as much of it as I can. Of course  I am also a very busy single working mother. Which means that I don't have the time or wherewithal to come up with a five star hot meal for my boys on a regular basis and it would be so easy to turn to the middle store that I try so desperately to avoid for most things.

Img via RealNetta
Now, don't get me wrong, there are certain things that I will not make myself or things that it would be way more trouble or expensive than it is to just buy the store brand. Like cereal. Not going to be making my own Chex. Sorry kids.

I do, however, try to make as many things as I can to cut down on things like HFCS and artificial food dyes. Those are the two biggies for me. If it has it, I ain't buyin'. Just say no to Fruit Loops.

I had gotten kind of lax about my rules in 2012 because I simply had bigger things to worry about unfortunately. The thing is, when you are otherwise distracted or occupied, its so easy to turn back to old habits and just grab that box of premade gummies to throw at your kids as a snack. Or heat up that frozen pizza instead of having to actually think about whats for dinner.

Now though, I am back at it and I want to share with you some of the things that make our little world a better, healthier place. My goal is to post a healthy convenience food replacement every week or two but we will just have to see how all that pans out.

Of course there are a lot of big duh kind of things that I really shouldn't have to mention (but I will) to cutting out chemical laden convenience foods.

For instance:

  •  Making homemade soup or lasagna? Make two, freeze one for another day and eat one fresh. 
  • Firing up the grill? Throw a bunch of chicken breasts on there and freeze them so you will have them if you need them. 
  • Make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce at once and freeze it into a muffin tin in one cup portions and transfer them to a baggie when they are solid so all you have to do is grab as many "cups" as you need for your meal.
  • Buy your basics in bulk. Flour, sugar, quinoa, etc. Is usually much cheaper bought in bulk and you don't have to worry so much about making bigger batches of things. 
  • Butter is stupid easy to make. So is whipped cream. Get your kids in on it. Seriously.
So, that should be enough to get you started in theory. I will be back with some actual recipes for my tried and true type of home made convenience foods. Hopefully it will inspire both you and me to make more changes for the better. For the health of our families!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Aunti and Her Minions #WW

Aunti brought battle bugs!

She brought her leprechaun.

D slept with her slippers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 List

Back story: Every year for the last 9 years, I have had a list of things to accomplish. For the last 3 I have blogged about them for you all to see, learn from, or hold against me (20102011, 2012). Hopefully more the last two than the last. Still, the premise is simple: 12 things, 12 months, 12 posts.

Last year, I did not complete my list. It makes me really sad to admit that but I suppose you win some, you lose some. Last year was not what I had expected of it any way. In reality, there were only tow things that I missed though and that isn't too bad considering. I didn't get to have my dinner party and we didn't go on a family bike ride. Rules are rules though and since they didn't happen last year, they get tagged on to the 2013 list.

This year, though, I decided to make the focus of my yearly list a little different. I want to focus on more lifestyle things. Things that will better my boys and I in the long run versus smaller things that are fun to do in the moment. If that makes sense. You can see that I have a few things on this years list that will be harder on my heart, both mentally and physically, than I will ever admit but I know that they have to happen. Of course there are things that we will have considerable fun doing as well.

1. Get divorced. Officially. It breaks me to admit that where I was so desperately in love this time last year, I am simply prepared for the end of my marriage. To move on.

2. Get a working vehicle. The van that we bought when I wrecked my old van is in T's name and is not in safe, working order. He won't fix it and I won't fix someone elses car. Stalemate. The boys and I need transportation and soon.

3. Make more connections in the blogging world. Fact is: I love doing it and its something fulfilling that pays me back in its own off beat ways. I would love to attend a blogging conference or two. In fact, I may already have one on the line. Cheating? Maybe. And? Still exciting and still hasn't happened yet so it makes the list.

4. Get K involved in a sport or activity of some sort. My poor littles is so very clumsy but I really think he would just adore doing something outside the house. D had this spot on the 2012 List but this year it is K's turn. Of course I will continue to keep D in T-ball but soccer just wasn't his thing.

5. Get my life organized! I am in serious need of getting my life in order. We have moved so many times in the last 8 years that everything has been shuffled around in boxes and not looked at since. Its time to pull out those boxes and do some serious housekeeping. Everything from papers to decorations to toys needs to be sorted and put back in its proper place.

6. Get my sewing machine fixed. This is a big one for me. I have mentioned it before but I am a rather tall lady. Tall = no store bought clothing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I would love to be able to make myself some girly skirts and tops that would actually be long enough. Its a stupidly simple thing that would mean a lot to me at least.

7. Train for a marathon. Yes, me. The arthritic, helpless old lady. More and more I am reading and being told by doctors that taking back up my old habit of running might actually do some good on these old bones. Add in the bonus of having more energy and a clearer mind state and I can't resist. As far as actually running a marathon, I would love to but I can't exactly financially commit to something that I might not be able to complete. Who knows though, maybe it will happen!

8. Take my boys on a trip by myself. It be Chattanooga or Black Rock we need an adventure to help center us back on each other. Without distractions or interference.

9. Take a class to better myself. Self defense seems like a logical choice but I would also love to renew my CPR/ First Aid certification or take a photography class of some sort. Who knows what it will end up being but I want it to definitely be something that will have impact.

10. Cut out caffeine. For about 10 years when I was in high school and beyond, I had cut out caffeine completely. It literally wasn't until D was born that I started drinking it again and it has slowly taken over again. I know its bad for me and I know its going to be so hard to cut out but I really think it will make me feel better to just cut it out.

11. Go on a family bike ride. Of course, everyone but me has a bike though so this is kind of a two part type deal. First: Buy me a bike. Second: Family bike ride. Bonus: Take a picnic. (2012 leftover)

12. Host a dinner party. I don't care if its just a few people or a hundred. The last gathering we had at our house was after a funeral and its time to correct that juju. Plus, its time to put some of those Pinterest ideas to work! (2012 leftover)

So what do you think? Think we will be able to get it all done? Say no so its more of a challenge. Heh. Here we go ladies and gents, lets render this mama to the moon!


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