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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Childhood Flashbacks: "Material Girl"

When I was in, oh.... um.... sixth grade-ish, Madonna came out with this new song -- Material Girl. I'd only heard it on the radio and, of course as it was all things Madonna back then, immediately love it. At that time, I lived miles and miles away from my school. [We moved a lot.] It took two city buses with a wait in-between transferring buses to get there; and, the same to get home. (If I missed one, or one was running late? It could be an hour or two longer before I made it home.)
Once off the second bus, I had to walk the rest of the way to school. At the time, my first class was Drama. I really enjoyed that class, although I could have contributed so much more had I been as assertive and well, unintimidated as I grew to be later on. See, at that time we were living at near poverty. Broke city. So, fitting in with all the 'ins' and even the outs was next to impossible. And, by fitting in, I don't mean just not having the fashionable clothes -- I mean, lucky to have lunch money and a pair of closed toe shoes. I worried from month to month if Mom would have enough money for the rent... [I know, whaaa-whaaa -- with a violin playin in the background.] In drama class was a cool girl, LaShawn. She had a cool (though, less pretty and more drab, but tough all the same) friend. They befriended me due to something about my being the smallest in the class and all. LaShawn was not showy but she definitely didn't want for anything. One day we met up as I was walking to the bus stop. As it happened, her house was on the way -- and quite close, actually -- to the bus stop. This proved to be very beneficial because she invited me to stop at her house in the mornings and wait for her while she finished getting ready for school. Her mom let her wear make-up. She did her hair with a curling iron. My mom wouldn't even let me shave my legs. :-(
Her home was cozy, though not extremely large, but much larger than the apartment we were currently living in. And, mostly, it was normal. Normal being what I envisioned from shows like Growing Pains. Her room was adorned with posters of all of the latest rock stars and popular people. Half of which, I hadn't a clue who they were. Mom was big on enforcing the Christian only music. Nothing wrong with it except that it added to the oddness I continued to feel in the school environment. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED school. Loved it. I knew school was my ticket to be who I was and not this person trapped inside of low income, and the stereo-type I fell into by all the students who had no clue 'how hard the real world could be' or that there even was a 'real' world -- outside of the perfect, family sit-com style box their parents kept them in. In a way, I always saw kids my age and other people like that movie, "Truman"; only, I had this idea decades before Hollywood. Anyhow, each morning I would stop at LaShawn's home and would wait for her (inside where I could warm up) to finish getting ready before we walked and talked on the way to school. Typically, she would put on MTV for me. Keep in mind, I didn't have MTV. I didn't have cable. And, I didn't get to listen to 'real music' very often. Except that somehow Madonna had managed to melt her way into my musical experiences. One morning Material Girl came on. Not only was it my all time favorite song, but I was now getting to view the video. The Marilyn Monroe style of the video had me in awe. The dress, the diamonds, the men throwing themselves at her -- and yet, she had choices. Anything or anyone -- she was in charge. She was empowered. She had everything -- including choices.
The next day, when I arrived, LaShawn had a surprise for me. She had recorded the video for me. Now, I could watch it at her house as many times as I wanted. (I didn't have a VCR at home either). And, I did. I'd watch it over, and over, and over again.
I would watch it...every morning. It was a wonderful way to start my day. It was an escape from home and from the parts of school I didn't like. The part where I was left on the outside of the crowd -- because I lived in reality.
I hated that I couldn't come out of my shell and be who I was when I wasn't in school. I've always been very personable (you can agree or disagree as you like, but that's how I've always seen myself). I was just too young to realize that I could have made a definite statement and impact if I hadn't been so ashamed of the inhibiting income (or lack of) factor.
How, I longed to live in their Silver-Spoon styled lives. Oh, Sweet Ricky Schroeder, with his matching socks. ;-)
One morning, I arrived at LaShawn's house and rang the door bell as I always did. No answer. I waited. I rang the doorbell again. No answer. Had they overslept? Oh, NO! We'd be late for school; her parents late for work.
I knocked and waited. I rang again. No answer.
I decided I best get to school. But, half way down the block I found that to be selfish. After all, what if something had happened to them? An, intruder? A gas leak? I don't know what, but something was wrong!
I tried again diligently until LaShawn's boyfriend came walking up. He was supposed to meet her at her house to walk her to school that morning. [It always struck me as odd because LaShawn was tall for her age and he was short for his; that being, my height. Sometimes she'd scoop him up like a baby and carry him down the hall at school. Strange, I always thought. He was very nice though.]
Suddenly, the door flies open and LaShawn is there ranting and yelling and burning a hole into my face and down into my heart! Her boyfriend looked as stunned as I. I didn't understand the anger she expelled but it permeated my senses and I found myself ill with grief and hurt and complete confusion. With that, I headed on my way to school.
When I arrived at Drama class, I found myself a corner to sit in as I hope to appear unnoticed. If anyone were to approach me I'd burst out in tears -- my eyes were burning with salt as it was. I was hurt -- but, I was also angered. How dare she? What had I ever done? I was alway appreciative. I was always a good friend. She bore in to me with no explanation! Rude. And, just plain mean. Some friend.
Of course, as we usually walked into class together, it was immediately noticed by her friend that something was wrong. She came up to me questioning, though I wavered not to tell from unearned or invited humiliation. I shared only a few words. I really didn't know what had happened.
LaShawn walked in all happy and giggly -- though shooting me a dirty and hateful look to the side -- before she headed back over to her corner of the Drama room to chit chat about all that was wonderful in her day.
Her friend left me aside and headed to join the group, or so I thought. She and LaShawn started in conversation which became heated. Half ended, her friend shrugged in disappointment and returned over to me. I looked at her questioning, as if she might have some answer for me to which she responded, "She's just a B!tich."
You know what? Her friend was right. Apparently, someone had started a rumor that I had said something like her boyfriend was "HOT" or something. As if? Whatever... [Where where those great comebacks when WE were kids?] LOL!
How funny as we get older we can see things for what they are. But, as a child, we aren't sure about anything. As much as we fear our instincts and as much as we long to trust them, we let the instincts of others influence our decisions more than we listen and follow what we hear from within.
So, I try to be sure to instill in my own children that 'what they feel inside' is who they are; not what the rest of the world tries to put on them. Because, the rest of their world at this age has no clue themselves.
I will admit, that I have built a glass, crystal box around my children. I want them to live the childhood I always wanted. I want them to be part of an 'in crowd.' Which might seem hypocritical. But, see? I can teach them that reality is out there -- without them having to suffer through it. And, in this way -- they can build their own 'in crowd' finding confidence in themselves -- not from the rest of the world.
Back to Material Girl. A Life Lesson. (Be sure to listen to the intro conversation...)
"She could be great, she could be a major star!" "She is a star." DAMN RIGHT! "Don't touch anything, don't change a thing." Damn Right Again.
Be true to your inner self this Wednesday. Wear your confidence on the outside like a white mink wrap, like diamonds, like a Hot-Pink, satin dress (or tux, if you are a guy). Know who you are and wear it well.
Happy Hump-Diggity Day!


Monday, September 28, 2009

CASEY and BELLA Go to Hollywood

"Casey and Bella" is an adorable series of children's books and accessories based on two real dogs, Casey a Jack Russell Terrier and Bella, a Yorkie. In their first book, they visit New York City. They meet wonderful, colorful characters as they splash across the Hudson river on a ferryboat. While on this little escapade, Casey and Bella learn an important lesson about "Treating others how you would like to be treated." This is what I love about this book series. Well, first, it's written in rhyme -- not a poem -- but a story in rhyme. Which makes it easier for early readers to read and follow. But secondly, each book teaches a positive life lesson for kids that is easily illustrated in the conversations Casey and Bella have with each other and the friends they make along the way. Each book also supports and donates a portion of the proceeds earned to a special children's charity. Another great thing about this author (Jane Lovascio) is the involvement she and her book series has within the schools. Each year, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are encouraged to write their own "Casey and Bella" adventure for a chance to have their story published as the next book in the series. The most recently released book, released this month, was co-authored by a 4th grader named Autumn Varca from New Jersey. Additionally, Autumn was presented with $500 and a character named after her in the book.
Autumn's story was about Casey and Bella going 'Green'. How cool is that?! Kids can actually participate and influence the books from a loveable series they enjoy reading.
[FYI, the proceeds from the book Autumn co-authored will benefit "Autism Speaks!"] The book I received for review (and to keep for my kids to read) is "Casey and Bella Go To Hollywood". During their whimsical touristic trip through town (they snuck out of their hotel room while their owners were out touring themselves), Casey and Bella share two life lessons with the new friends they make along the way: "Money can't buy you happiness," and "Always be true to yourself."
I love books; books for kids are better; and books with morals? Sweet Febreeze! Luv'em!
The second Annual Writing Contests kicks off this month. For more information if your 3rd, 4th or 5th grader wants to participate contact or 201-866-7338.
You can also find out more at or
And, to read and/or purchase a few from this series yourself, they are available at Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Borders, other retails stores and online.
I'm thinking about adding the rest of the series to our children's book collection for Christmas. Or, I might purchase one or two for teacher gift for the holidays -- teacher's love books that teach morals.


VLOG! Here me ramble... :-D

Been awhile... took about four tries today to get this done so I lost all my funnies, hunnies but I refused to throw in the cyber towel. [This was supposed to post yesterday, but after four tries and four hours -- I gave up and resorted to my old You-Tube account.]
Just pretend I say Monday, instead of Sunday, ;-)
So, I give you,
"Farmer*sWife's Report: Ramble style"
Happy Sunday! May your's be Glorious!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Harry Potter" Castle Cake

Here it is. The BIG project. While Wonder-Mom spent the week volunteering at the school while finishing two months worth of projects for her Lil'Gal's 7th birthday party -- "Harry Potter" style -- I baked a cake here and there and froze them for the awaited day...
Make a castle cake day. The morning of didn't go as efficiently as we expected with errands and a rush notary job on my end. So, we began the "Castle Construction" procedure at approximately 12:30. Wonder, Jr. went down for his nap and Wonder-Mom tussled and tagged and labeled and wrapped 'potions' and 'Dragon dung' and candy treats, and prepared a couple other classes for the 'students' attending this Hogsworth Academy. [Okay, I don't know all the official names because I haven't actually read or seen Harry Potter. My apologies.]
Anyhow, everything turned out wonderiffic-ly and fantabu-tastic (well, after the rainstorm that drown the back yard and half the party and favors with it 45 minutes before the party began).
Wonder-Mom and her Wonder-princess were in tears... But, in the end the Mommies pulled together and the party was a wonderful success!
And, with no more of the multitude of details I could share, I present you with the making of the "Harry Potter" Castle Cake. The layout changed last minute at 12:48, and we winged our way through it to make this tasty mystical masterpiece.
Okay, so it doesn't look like much now, other than a stack of cake half @$$ frosted in a dreary gray (we were goin' for that particular color, though.) :-D
And, I do realize that I should have taken the time to line up the stacks and trim the white cake down a little more because this obviously resulted in the lean factor to the outer edges of the top of the castle. (Wonder-Mom will comfort me with, saying that this fact added to the 'imperfection' of the castle. Which, she already heard me say, when making a cake you have to 'make' the imperfections, perfectly. It is supposed to be an intended look, without the in-efficiency of actual imperfection. But, I'm just weird that way. And, she sees life as "Artistic License.") :-D
Here is an iced over beginnings of a stacked, cake, castle. We also were aware that we should have supported each stacked layer with cardboard. But, as time was of the essence and no appropriate cardboard was available -- we went with the 'essence of imperfection', once again. Next time, I will insist within myself on the cardboard supports. And, hopefully, next time I will listen to myself -- LOL!
AHA! What's this? It looks like it is molding into something here. As Wonder-Mom placed the black M&M bordering around the castle walls, we both began to feel this castle coming alive. Yes, there are two different colors of gray icing.
But, this was a purpose-full thing. Knowing we might need to make second batch we began icing the layers (the crumb sides took FOR-EV-ERRR). We could have mixed the second batch as dark as the first, but then the thought crossed our minds -- contrast! What true artEESTs we are!
So what do we see here? A vision of a CASTLE that will emerge in full mystology here? It was time to decorate the castle and I question Wonder-Mom as to what she foresees next? She says, "Windows." I'm thinkin' oh, cool. Sure, a few here, few there, yada-yada...
She hands me a picture of the Harry Potter Castle. OH. Windows. Lots of windows. And, um, lots of towers.
"Like THIS? Wonder-Mom?" Yep-Yep! She is thrilled with the windows. But there was still something missing. A castle needs a path, and we HAD left over cake to crumble. So, I glue the way with icing and she crumbles a stony, dirt pathway. Then, with a grassy piping tip, grass grows faster than me playing "Farmville" on Facebook. ;-)
And, TADA! A wavering, leaning, imperfect castle cake. [Imperfect perfection is what Wonder-Mom was feeling, artistically, for her beautiful daughter's party.] Hit the nail on the head, did we?
Wait, what? Towers? Oh, I didn't include the towers? Well, the cake would have never have fit in Wonder-Mom's overstuffed fridge -- adjustable shelves or not (they are cool; adjust better than mine in my Martha Stewart kitchen, LOL!)
So, we made the towers separate to be added at the last minute.
Here's a completed tower. Notice the color scheme (all Harry Potter style) of Purple and grey with the cracked mortar. And, every castle needs ivy that climbs the walls to bask in what little sun shines on the towers of the castle. So, here is the obviously Happy birthday Gal with her "Harry Potter" Castle Cake. Candles and towers to boot! We did have an incident or two of a tower toppling; but, Farmer*sWife was inches by with her handy, dandy, icing-calking gun to reattach the towers. Apparently, Castle cakes back in the Harry Potter Era weren't built up to cake moving standards. *snicker*
And, it would have helped if I would have followed through with my threat that I was going to cut out circles from the cake to 'place' the towers into along with their icing to cement them in place.
But, considering rain, and a few melted home-made party favors -- Farmer*sWife decided to keep her perfectionism in check for fear that something go wrong with (or landslide a level of) the Castle. :-D Make a WISH Sweet Gal, and I hope you remembered to give your Mama a DOUBLE'd up hug that night. Because, she out Wondered, her Wonder-Mom self. And, at the end of the day, I know Wonder-Mom, Mr. Wonder and Wonder, Jr. all hit the haybale with their eyes closed before their bodies even touch.
I would love to make this cake again. With all the woulda' shoulda' and next time will'dos. Harry Potter, The Last Unicorn, or Princess/Fancy Nancy. I could totally fix the leans tos, the cracks and the tipping towers.
But, for this party? It was a perfect Birthday 'Potter" cake! :-D [Editor's Note: You can click any of the pictures for a larger view.]


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remember When....

What is it about a soft, cool, cloudy, damp day that often stirs the soul and the memories stored in the mind's attic? Cooler weather; no South Texas sunshine. It awakens the longing for warm fires in the fireplace, comfort food, and the holidays of Fall and Winter.
Today is one of those days. I have lots to do, and yet the house is quiet and calm, the clothes are being folded, and the duties tended to....
On days like this, my life is like a music video in my mind. This is the song playing today:
I wanted to use the actual Alan Jackson video, but the whole Embedding Disable Thing was there. I love the Notebook though. Just watching the video brings that the passion that movie invokes.
So, what do you remember today?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The GRIPE list; yes, from me. :-)

The Gripe List:
If you are an idiot? Please stay off the road. This pertains particularly to the person in the black pick-up who was clue-less about the rules of a four way stop. Also, to the guy who crossed over two lanes -- while turning under an overpass, thus cutting me off only to change his mind again.
If you are a chitty-chatty Mom and I am working diligently on my Laptop at my child's extracurricular activity, do NOT sit next to me and strike up a conversation. I'm juggling enough with watching my child/ren so they know I do care and finishing something for a deadline (or, tweeting, or FB or maybe blogging, like now.)
If you are a chitty-chatty Mom and I am either, a) On my LT, or b) helping my child with homework; do not sit next to me to chitty chat with another person next to you or across the observation deck.
If you are not shopping for the item you are standing in front of in the middle of the isle, please move back so the rest of us can access those items. Otherwise, I WILL reach around you. I'm polite but I have things to do too.
If it is raining, and I walk in soak and wet, do not comment, "It's wet out there, huh?" Because my brain will short-circuit and I will not be responsible for my actions. [I know, I've done it before. But, I'm making every effort to think before I speak.]
Well, class is over. I get to load a LT, a back pack, a large purse, extra AR books and two happily, excited children into my still-like, still-smells-like new SUV in the POURING rain.
I'm so happy! It's the first day of FALL!! :-D
Editor's Notes, Post Post:
Obviously, it sounds like I have some issues with Chitty-Chatty Mommies at my children's activities. Well, and idiot drivers, but that one is a given.
It just drives me nuts that these Moms show up and pay nill' attention to their children who are working diligently on the floor and the beam and the bars -- just to learn balance, or to rock into that handstand without sliding back down onto their noggins.
How many times have I heard, "Mommy? Mommy? MOMMY! Mommy??" To have to insert an interruption to a parent to say, so kindly and Mommy-politely and with etiquette, "Um, isn't that your cute little daughter over there? I think she wants to show you something." Insert, Etiquette Smile.
"Oh thank you...Good work sweetie (without pause, back to conversation) So anyway, I SAID....blah, blah, blibbbity blah, blah..."
Now I know that I am the one (well one of a few) there with a LapTop. Not always, but maybe half the time. Though, when I take it I am usually working on something while scanning my daughters turn on the beam, the bar, the back-rollover -- and assisting my son with his homework, and/or listening to him as diligently as possible to be sure I don't miss a word he needs help with -- and, working on an article, a product/book review.
But, I'm there and I'm aware. So many of these Moms just don't pay a yard of attention. Two weeks ago, a mother (who has already gotten on my nerves a time or two; um, she's there, but her kids have little interaction from her -- well, except for the one, on the floor learning a routine).
The son, about 4, was given her cell phone (which I understand, as in pediatrician's offices when kids have gone wild) and then her second cell phone -- a blackberry or something -- to the 6 year-old (daughter? Child she sits for?). The son is pestering and whiny because he is bored, and he wants Mom's attention. Go figure, right? I mean, what is he thinking? (Cynicism -- thanks for the lessons, Jay.)
So, the little 6 year old girl tries to help him with his problem or issue with the game on the cell phone he has been handed and he gets mad because it messes up his game and he PUNCHES HER. IN the head and face, at least four times!!!! Real punches!
I announce (as etiquettely as possible, though in shock) "Um, someone's child is beating someone! I think a parent is needed?" Or something more proper than that, trying to be light on the subject.
The Mother was never phased. GASP!
Another Mom, who had come to sit by -- my table where my son is doing his homework -- is in-between phone calls -- smiles (cuz she knows the other Mom and in some format this makes it okay) Oh, that's so and so's son. She usually lets the cell phones babysit for her. [Sweet Grin]
Did she TELL HER kinda'-so-called Mommy friend that her son was beating her/someone's other child? NO. Explaining the babysitting itinerary seemed to make it all okay. DOUBLE GASP! Someone bring me a noose, or at least a beer....
That little girl was looking at me from the time I said something, hoping something would be done. Nada. Nothing. I was pissed. That little (as handsome as he was, and as cute as he could be) turd needed a walkin' down to the restroom for as serious intervention of discipline.
FLASH FORWARD: to last week.
I walk in after running errands, trying not to upchuck (feeling ill that day) and herding my son to the far side of the observation deck for homework time -- I see, "inattentive Mom" with her little son taking up the whole work table -- so her son will play games and be entertained (on a mini-type laptop) so she can chat, talk on the phone, pay no attention to him.
I was thoroughly peeved. Not because they were sitting there. Had the children had homework? Surely, first come first serve. When Farmer, Jr. has finished his homework I always offer the table back available for anyone else. Heck, we offer to share, though only once has a child had homework.
But, still we gave up the table. But, to hog it because you don't want to entertain or interact with your younger child making my son write his spelling words kneeling at a chair (he doesn't write well in his lap, and I hate the floor) totally p!$$ed me off.
Today, we got there 35 minutes early. Just timed out that way. There weren't any school aged siblings there. Just a few toddlerin' youngins' and one boy Farmer, Jr. played with a few minutes while I took issue with getting my article submitted and watching Lil'Gal on the bars and the beam.
And, even then, I sat at the far head side of the little table and had Farmer, Jr's stuff packed up and had placed three other chairs so that other children or parents (some Mom's study for night class or internet classes while there) could use the space.
Criminy. Am I just gripe-ipidy today or do I have a point?
So, there you have it.
Now, back to FW normally happy and hopeful outlook on life where everyone sings like Sleeping Beauty, cleans like Snow White, and all men are perfect Princes. :-D


Monday, September 21, 2009

In Honor of Fall.

It's another Monday. Though, I love Monday's because they are a chance to have a brand new week and make it better and more successful than the previous week. Such as Mama not losing her temper, Children not whining and fussing and griping about homework, and Hubby being just generally happy and satisfied to take a moment and just enjoy the life we've built.
For some, Monday's are hard. They are an abrupt ending to a soothing weekend.
Well, this particular Monday marks the last day of summer. And, on this Monday, I mourn....just a little. Because summer is when I blossom. My emotions fly like a butterfly as my thoughts flitter here and there... Somedays, I'm so full of life under the warmth of the sun that I almost hum through the day like a hummingbird -- constant movement, even when completely still, in one constant space.
So, as I head out to pick up my kids from school and into the afternoon and evening of the day, I am preparing myself. Preparing for a new season. The season of Fall.
And for some reason, this song just transitions me. Because, even as the seasons change, I always have a warm safe place to Fall. Someone to catch me. And, for that I am blessing.
So long is heading into Fall....


Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Dreams May Come: Day 4

The past four nights I have had vidid dreams, disturbing dreams. I've also had headaches. Disturbing headaches. I believe this is due to the fact that I am a regular coffee + tea = caffeine; and, yet I have abstained from both since This Happened.
So, Day one I had this dream, which was the night of the onset of the aforementioned "This Happened."
Day 2, was really funky again. I can't remember just what it entailed though.
Day 3, I had yet another bad dream. So did Lil'Gal. Strange? Day 3 I dreamed that my son was abducted by this freaky, rich guy, who also was a doctor of some sort. I know this because somehow, Hubby and I tracked the doctor-kidnapper down to his beach home.
At the beach home there was this big lit up tank in the middle of the ocean, hundreds of yards out. Sharks circled in and out of this lit dome. You could see the dome from the plate glass walls that faced out to the Ocean....And, the dome.
While negotiating with the doctor-kidnapper (he'd discovered we'd found him out but though he wasn't at home) a severe lightening storm and thundering rain began to fall. Suddenly, this super sized (the size of a building) shark was in the lit up underwater dome and attacked and ate another shark. WTH??
So, somehow, I devise a plan. The doctor-kidnapper and his wife/girlfriend/accomplice are in the beach house and I have my 44 revolver (I don't personally own a 44 revolver, I own a Ladies Special, 38, snub nose. Though, I want a 44 revolver.)
So, I have a shot with perfect aim and I shoot the doctor-kidnapper in the back of the head. Only, my 44 revolver long barrel shoots a forceful stream of orange juice at him. So, obviously, this pisses the doctor-kidnapper off and he yells to his wife/girlfriend/accomplice "PLAN B! PLAN B!"
She hands him a revolver (this is the part that I cringed sooooo bad at) and he shoots my son in the back of the head. [I about puked in my dream.] I struggle with the 'bad-guy' he loses the gun. I retrieve it and I kill him, in the same manner as above.
Somewhere in all of this while I am completely freaked out and am a sobbing worthless mess, the police charge me with both crimes. It's being debated over the next 36 hours or so. And, every so often it hits me what happened to my son and I freak out all over again.
So, I wake up. Completely shaken. Awhile later, once I am up -- and again averting coffee -- Lil'Gal comes in with the statement, "Mommy, I had a bad dream." I inquired and she said she dreamt someone "stole her." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Day 4. Coffee free, tea free and hating it, yet still afraid and abstaining. Hubby's 40th birthday. Friends come over with steaks. We eat, we drink, we play Farkle with real dice and are merry. They leave after 11:pm. Hubby and I shower and hit the hay.
I dream, again. Only this dream, is about infidelity. WTH???
Apparently, "I" am the cheater-cheater. But, I don't actually CHEAT-cheat. I hug and smooch out with this other man (apparently a friend of my friend's husband. Again, WTH?) while Hubby is out each evening or weekend doing, farm stuff....
So, Hubby becomes suspicious and suddenly in my dream I am wondering why I am so stupid (in actual-ality, I didn't remember being married until later in the dream. I hate that!) and the fact that I could lose my husband, kids and everything. But, I didn't mean too!
Stupid Dream!
So, my friend and I vow that we will never mention it and her husband's friend understands that I have too much at stake. Only, my friend has now been drinking and is just popping off comments at the top of her head. My only hope is that hubby and I get to our 'cabin' and go to sleep.
But, what about the bottle of wine? It has a name written on it. ProHomaker ???????? Maybe it's his bottle of wine?
Anyhow, I wake up from this dream. Again, shaken. I realize the time and jump from bed, brush my teeth and am about to dress for church and make the kids some toast when I realize it is Saturday morning. "Phewwwwww." I go back to bed and snuggle with Hubby.
And, forget about all these stupid dreams. Or, have I?
Moral of the story is. I need to take Excedrine Migraine until I can convince my tummy that coffee and tea are good things...both to cure my caffeine withdrawal, induced headaches and these awful, icky, dreams I've been having.
Well, kids are playing with the million of bean sized frogs we caught by the gate (after all the rain) and I am headed to the computer office to work on my crafting "How To" articles.
Happy Saturday!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

First National Family Game Night!

NATIONAL Family Game Night! Mark Your Calendars!
Playing games with our children and as a family is more than just about "fun" for our kids and family. It's about bonding. But, did you know that in addition to fun and family bonding, games are educational. While playing games, children are also learning important skills such as:
Problem Solving
Cognitive Recognition
Social skills and cooperation (that's a good one)
Mathematics and "Financial Literacy" (think Monopoly)
Language skills, and more.
For more on The Importance of Family Game Night, you can read my article published Here. :-)
Just the same, Game Time isn't just about Family. A few weeks ago we had a couple over for dinner and visiting. I pulled out the dice and we played several rounds of FARKLE (No, not FaceBook Farkle this time. The real game, the old fashioned way, LOL! Real dice and real pad and pencil, and, um. I think a calculator).
If you notice, I've added a "Badge" above my blog post to remind everyone that Wednesday, September 23, is the first-ever National Family Game Night! On this day, Hasbro is encouraging families across America to spend an evening at home playing games together to reconnect and reenergize relationships.
If you want to know more about it follow @familygamenight on Twitter, here you can find daily trivia, game news and information.
Remember, in today's super busy life -- let's chart out a little time on the schedule for FUN!!


Zhu-Zhu Pets! Pet Review and Giveaway!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to host a Zhu-Zhu pet party! Zhu-Zhu pets are electronic hamsters. They are soft and cuddly, they love to play, but they don't require feeding, kennels, or bedding changes. Those are all pluses!
The Zhu Zhu pets also talk, gurgle, coo and make lots of other sounds, depending on where and how they are playing.
To host this party, I received:
*The complete hamster 'habitrail' including the kitchen and the bathroom -- the pets make little sounds when they play around the tub, as if they are actually bathing, too cute!
**The Adventure ball
***The Surfboard and sleepdome
****The skate board and turnabout
*****The spiral slide and ramp
******The 'hamstermobile' and garage
AND, the exercise wheel and tunnel
There are also hamster beds and blankets, and cute little carriers to take your pet with you wherever you go.
This was a fabulous set up for these little pets. Additionally, I received enough ZhuZhu Hamster pets for each guest to have one to play with and to keep and take home. 11 pets in all!
Meet the cast of characters:
Mr. Squiggles
Num Nums
Pip Squeek
There are also five other pets, Patches, Nugget, Winkie, Jilly and Scoodles.
What about play time? What did the kids think about this new product and electronic pet? Were they really interested?
Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!! goes the hamster!
Let's go surfin'......come along and surf with meeeee (or however, the Beach Boys sing it) ;-)
How do these little guys work? The kids and I shot a little video of the cute fella's in action:
I had ten children in attendance, including my own two. I had caved and given my children their pets about two weeks prior to the party. They loved them! Both ended up having to replace the batteries in their pets before the day of the party. Not because the pets use a lot of battery power, but because my children played with them day after day after day for hours!
The children at the party ranged from two years to nine years of age. There were three boys and seven girls. The oldest boy, nine, I doubted would be very interested. He was in attendance because his baseball game had been cancelled due to rain.
But, guess what? He wanted one....and, luckily after everyone arrived, I had an extra to give him. The box states for ages 4 and up. But, the two year old really enjoyed playing with his pet in the habitat and with the other toys. He figured out how to work it pretty quickly too. After observing him for awhile with his 'new pet' his mom commented that the age could probably be lower for this item -- though, it is probably posted at '4' and up due to small pieces within the wheels and circuitry.
There are little motorized wheels on the bottom of the pet, which is how it is able to get around. You can pick them up while in motion and they can spin in your hand, without hurting or causing injury.
However, they will catch hair. This happened to my daughter on two occasions. Once, when she was laying on the floor playing with her pet. It ran up into her hair, causing her locks to tangle within the wheels. I had to tug, pull, and trim a little to free her hair.
The second time, she picked up her pet in mid play -- wheels still spinning -- to hug, kiss and snuggle a little with it. The wheels were still spinning and caught her hair again.
I really enjoyed watching the kids placing their pets on the skate board, the surf board, and within the habitat. Even after the party, my children played with their pets, habitat and accessories for hours....literally, hours....
I found myself mesmerized at times, just watching the little guys go around, back and forth, up and down.... When running in the adventure ball around the living room, the little pets even looked like real hamsters!
The Pros:
Hours of fun!
Lots of choices
Accessories are reasonable priced
An allergy free alternative to a real hamster or small pet
Good on the pocket book; as there is not the re-occuring expense of food and bedding
Once assembled, the habitat is easy to change into different play scapes.
The Cons:
Initial assembly of habitat might be a little frustrating
Wheels can catch and tangle in hair
Overall, the children all seemed to really enjoy their pets. I received several comments from parents later, that their children were still playing with their pets and taking them wherever they went. Those parents added that Zhu-Zhu accessories are already on the Christmas wish list.
The next morning when we met the breakfast crew after church, my friend's daughter had her Zhu-Zhu pet in tow. ;-)
I want to give a BIIIG thank you to MomSelect for the wonderful opportunity to host this party and also for the wonderful accessories and toys for both our guests and my children. MomSelect, bringing Moms and Companies together. ;-D
Guess what? I was able to keep one pet back to offer as a giveaway with this review! Everyone knows a review goes best with a giveaway! And, I'm going to make winning it really easy too!
How to earn entries: [Each Entry Requires a Separate Comment]
1 entry) Comment about someone you know would love one of these pets
2 entries) Grab my badge; have it already? Comment to remind me
2 entries) Follow me on twitter, @Glass_Half_Full; comment that ya' did
5 entries) Subscribe to my blog's rss feed (top left, under my badge) and comment that you did
5 entries) Post about this giveaway at your blog; comment with a link so I can find it
Additional entries:
You may tweet this giveaway up to 5 times a day. You recieve 1 entry for each tweet. Please comment with the link to the tweet so I can draw fairly for all participants.
This giveaway will close on Thursday, October 1st, 2009, at midnight. I will tally the total entries for each entrant and the winner will be selected via random drawing. Winner will be posted on Friday, October 2nd!
To find out more, visit Zhu Zhu Pets. You can also find games, the blog, videos and learn all about each of these little guys! You can also find these pets and their play things at Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us and [Note: they are a lot more expensive at]


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School? Why be involved? (as a parent)

WHY SHOULD PARENTS be involved? Are we hovering and stealing our children's independence? Or, are we guiding them into adulthood as they learn their way to making the right life decisions?

It's my day to bring the snack for story time for my daughter’s kindergarten class. I’ve also chosen two new and brightly illustrated books to read to the class. As I open the door and walk into the class the children stop what they are doing and rush to my side. They are so excited to see me and I’m covered in hugs while the room rings out with happy voices exclaiming, “Hi, Aubree’s mom!”

The simplest thing brings them such joy and their happiness melts a parent’s heart. The children love it when the parents participate in their activities.

Why is it that parents seemed to be involved when the children are so small, and yet as they enter middle school and high school parents are often far and few within the walls of the school?

Sara Lise Raff is an education consultant and parent of three children. She shares that taking an interest in what your child cares about is the best praise a parent can give. While an at’ta boy is appreciated by your children, your actual presence and involvement in what they are doing makes a larger impact.

In order to help our children grow and develop independence and self-assertiveness, we need to let them go out into the world, be themselves and make decisions for themselves. However, as they are still young and naïve we are challenged with protecting them from the negative influences children might not pick up on.

School is a another world, if you will, from the life we provide our child within the home. Children often behave entirely differently in school, as well as extra curricular activities. Sweet, shy little Miranda might be the bossy click leader. Scholastically inclined Michael might be the school nerd everyone loves to play pranks on.

Kids are categorized by their peers and this often impacts them negatively. When looking for a ‘league’ of their own they might find themselves drawn in by drugs or alcohol. In order to step out of their class or to maintain their status, they are often more likely to cave to peer pressure and participate in sexual or dangerous activities.

Being an involved parent doesn’t mean you are a ‘helicopter’ parent. It just means that you are supporting your child while educating yourself daily on who your child’s peers are and what is really going on in the culture of your child’s school and within their extracurricular activities. In her book, Bringing Up Geeks , Marybeth Hicks clarifies this concept as a hands on approach.

A hands on approach to parenting is being intimately involved in the lives of our children from their school to their neighborhood, to their extracurricular activities and social lives. Marybeth adds that hands on parenting does not mean that we are going to raise dependent children who can't think or act for themselves, but that we are always around in some appropriate, supervisory capacity.

Hands on parenting includes attending sporting events, chauffeuring the drive to the school dance, helping with homework, keeping an open line of communication with their teachers, knowing our children's friends and knowing the parents of their friends.

Joe Bruzzee, M.A., author of The Parent's Guide to the Middle School Years and parent coach, supports this with his T.E.A.M. approach. He encouraged parents to stay connected with their child's life by building a TEAM that includes anyone who has the ability to Teach, Encourage, Advocate for or Motivate your child. The Team includes teachers, coaches, and mentors.

Through ongoing communication including emails in addition to the face-to-face conversation, parents are able to build a relationship with the valuable members who have insight into the daily events that shape and mold our children.

While our children are learning and stretching the apron strings on their way to their own independence and adulthood, they are exposed to varying values, influences, and paths along the way. Involved parenting enables us to be knowledgeable about these variants so that we are able to guide our children into well-rounded, independent, successful adults.

This article was originally written for <a href=">Root & Sprout</a>. As R&S is making it's way back and taking on a new shape and form, I wanted to publish this here to share and to thank my sources and experts who shared their thoughts with me.

Happy Hump-Day! I finally got my Diggity back! [Except chicken, and no creamy pasta in the diet for awhile; oh, and no tea....] LOL!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feelin' Puny...

So, I woke up this morning with an itinerary for the day... Though, I was feeling a bit off, sleepy...and, the fresh coffee I'd just made was not all that enticing... Hmmm??
Make a hot breakfast for Hubby and the kids... Hubby and kids head out... I'm feeling, a little out of my head.
So, a little later in the mornin' I make some ramen noodles. Sometimes the salt and the carbs kick my day into gear. I worked on a product review/giveaway (melodically -- AWWWESOME) to post but the publicist hasn't gotten back to me yet so I'm saving it for tomorrow. I want to be sure I share my Thank-Yous to everyone for the great toys and all. ;-)
Next I'm tending to clean laundry. I notice I'm sluggish today -- wondering why... Then, suddenly, I have an urge to place my face close to a polished, white, oval portal...
BLECH! Up came the ramen....and some tea. No es bueno.... :-(
An hour later? Repeat.
I finally brave a sprite about 30 minutes until time to head out to pick up the kiddos and off to gymnastics for Lil'Gal. As I approach the back door -- you guessed it. No more sprite.
But, I survived. Somehow. And, with a lot of swallowing and some prayer.
The bad part is, I'm really, really hungry. I want to eat a steak, pizza, and a carne guisada taco. With guacamole. Though, I am all knowing that any of these things would just return in a smellier form.
So, while the family enjoys the hot chicken spaghetti casserole (I'd luckily already had made and ready for dinner today) and the bacon green beans -- I'm going to opt for a plain and dry baked potato.
Here's hoping tomorrow is clear and unsoured -- so I can get back on top of my week! All good things coming to you via my blog tomorrow!
So, stay tuned!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Weird Dreams AFire...

Weirdest dream last night! We were back in Georgia, and on the lake, though it was more like the Frio with rocks and mini-rapid flows everywhere.
Suddenly, my wedding ring was missing. I'd taken it off with a few other rings to apply lotion/sunscreen/or something.... You know dreams.
Anyhow, the dream proceeded to be weird in all of weirdness and not make any sense at all.
While searching between two cabins (which were somewhat rickity in my dream) for my wedding ring, I looked down to see a close friend of the extended family we were visiting in his boat with his common law wife? Girlfriend? and a small four year old boy. Her son, I believe.
Why some of these details seemed pertinent during the dream, I do not know.
Suddenly there was an explosion right in front of my eyes and three quarters of the boat was on fire!! I was panicked! The lady and the boy jumped into the water and swam free to the pier. The man, flipped a switch -- thus turning off the gasoline flow -- (how I knew this in my dream,'s a dream) and the flames were immediately out.
The lady was carrying the small boy, who was crying. His right arm and shoulder up to the side of his face were blackened and charred like a roasted marsh-mellow.
The man, who was unharmed and didn't seem nearly as upset or concerned as I thought he should be, began following up the pier and steps to their cabin behind them.
I was obviously ready to call 911 and was shouting that they needed to take the boy to the hospital. They seemed not as concerned, the woman was still somewhat distrought but calming, meanwhile, the boy was still crying but rather quietly.... I was appalled but as I looked at the boy approaching closer in his mother's arms, I realized that most of the char had flaked off and his arm and face looked pinkish and inflamed -- as if only a bad sunburn.
Did this child heal quickly? I do not know, but the situation seemed to have de-escalated ever so quickly as the mother took the boy to treat him with some cream or something.
Meanwhile, and throughout the dream, I'm still looking for my wedding ring. I had found the others, right as I had left them -- atop a disheveled bed spread in the man and the lady and boy's cabin.
I kept thinking I'd discovered my wedding ring, only to find out it was another ring here and then another ring there. Some were nice. Some were like fake gold plated plastic you could buy from a gumball machine. Some where a nice ring, but missing the main stone.
In the end, I don't remember where or how, but I did find my wedding ring.
The End.
So, I'm on my way having woken again on the right side of life! Just wondering about the dream a little.... I mean, What Gives? Ho, hum. Maybe it was the raw veggies I ate for my late night snack last night. I guess, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot sticks and red bell peppers make for a 'not-so' fairly tale dream, LOL!
Happy Monday!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Happiness Day

Ever just wake up and know it's going to be a good day? Ever just wake up, on the right side of life, knowing that no matter what? No one can pee on your parade today?
I did. I love, LOVE days like this.
Sure, I have days where I wake up all motivated and get things done and am proud of the day as the day goes well. But, I love even more, "Happiness Days."
I have to say. I haven't had a full out Happiness Day in awhile. Sure, I'm a happy-go-lucky Gal. But, even y'all probably noticed I haven't posted a whole lot of "Spread the Joy" like is usual for me.
Makes me wonder. Either way, today is my "Happiness Day!"
It's one of those days where ya' wake up and you feel....good. Just, generally good. And, that's before the four cups of coffee.
And, even is Hubby gets a little gripy, it don't matter none. What did I say to Hubby today? Something like, "Don't be a pissy pot." It made him laugh a little and that's all it took to optimize a little upbeat in his mood.
I'm caught up on my ymail account emails, including all my twitter followers. Geeze! I had about 200 emails to get caught up on. And, I'm tweetin. And, I'm bloggin! And, I'm FB. And, Sweet D is now a farmer in FB Farmville. :-D
My herbs (cilantro, parsley, oregano and basil) are all growing up to be beautiful seedling!
I have a couple of great new followers on my blog -- to add to all my other fantastic blog followers! That's always a good ego poof!
Lis is bringing Root & Sprout back! Yipeeee! As her personal blog and hopefully to grow from there. She's taking it slow so she doesn't get overwhelmed like before. I'm hoping she'll slide me in now and then for a guest blogger??? :-D
Hubby got the grass layed in the rain!
The Cowboys are playing and WINNING!!!
Today is one of those days where the sun is shining just for me. Or, maybe my Hip-Hop-Happy is actually powering up the sun and that's why it is so wonderfully bright and cheery outside!
And, the kids aren't fighting!!!
GASP! The Cowboys WON! 34 to 21! Yippeee (it's a great day to be a Texan). ;-)
Today is the kind of day where I find good in all people. And, my love for life is 're-zested.' Man, you can't get a better high than a "Happiness Day."
Can you feel it? Is it warming it's way into your mind and your heart? Feel it. It's happy. It's wonderful! Starting my week off this way means I can do nothing but win! Rock! Rule!
Life is good. I'm wishing all of you some joy and a Happiness Day of your own!
Happy Hip-Hop Sunday! Live life the Farmer*s Wife way!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Butter has a belly button? Etiquette...

Yes, butter has a belly button. You know, that pretty, little peak left in the middle of a new tub of margarine -- placed there by the machine that filled it at the factory, like edible art in a lovely, smooth, fashionable peak....
Kinda like this one,
Okay, so this one isn't as pretty and peakie as the margarine I buy. Country Crock, light -- though, there's another made with margarine and yogurt; I buy that one at times because it has a cow on it. I like cows. It's good too, though.
So, I can't stand it when someone messes up the margarine tub. It's so smooth and appetizing when first opened. And, I try to keep it that way.
See this?
What IS that? Nasty. That's what that is.... You don't just stab the tub with your butter knife and take a glop out... Nooo. You skim it across the top in circular fashion. The margarine will spread much easier and evenly on your toast or potato this way too.
Now then. Doesn't this one look much more appealing?
I can't stand it when I open up the tub of margarine only to find someone has massacred it! I flip. Totally. Sometimes Hubby thinks it's funny to gouge the margarine... you know, because it drives me nutty.
And, Hubby think it's cute to make me nutty. [It's. NOT.]
Oh, and worse? Peanut butter.
Above: Peanut butter NASTY. Does that call out to you "Please make me into a PB&Jam sandwich?"
No... it looks disgusting. Blech.... The mountains and abysses look like they are hosting germs and fermentation.... Ewwww. Now then....isn't that much better? It's calling you, "Look at me, so soft and creamy? "You know you want to frost a soft slice of bread with me and enjoy -- open faced..."
And, the worst. Crumbs and cross-contamination. If you look closely at one of the pictures above. You will see a tiny, little spot -- a crumb. GRRRRR.
Crumbs in the margarine or on the butter stick is poo. It's no bueno. And, what about when there is jelly mixed in? Seriously? A person can't clean their knife on their napkin first?
Cross contamination, peoples. I wouldn't want anyone getting peanutbutter-jam and butter-coli....
AND, let's admit it. There's nothing worse than opening the jam jar to be greeted by butter and jam doing the 'n@sty'.
Or jam and peanut butter mixin' it in the same jar. I sware. Jam and jelly get around a little.
Just sayin'....
Anyhow, it is a serious concept with me. And, as I was skimming the margarine back into neat and normal-ness this morning -- it struck me that others might appreciate my butter and (peanut)butter etiquette.
So. In true me fashion. I shared. :-)
Happy Thursday almost FWFD of the WEEEEEEEK!!!!