Five Minute Friday and Ultra Blog Challenge

Ulta Blog Challenge This week I am trying to get back into the blogging writing habit regularly– turning over a NEW leaf, so to speak. I have been slacking on my blogging writing for the last few months, and for no good reason at all, so joining a few communities is helpful.  I have several books in various stages of completion, and I think this type of challenge could be just the NEW nudge I need to get things done! NEWbooks!

First, I am doing the Ultra Blog Challenge, a challenge to write a blog post every day of the month. Today is Day 2, and even though it is 11:30 east of the Mississippi River, here I am at the computer to be sure that I get my post in for the day.  They say it takes seven days to create a NEW habit, so that is definitely what I am going for.

I just learned about Five Minute Friday today while doing a Pinterest group follow in my afmfwesome Women of Midlife Facebook group— and thought it would be perfect to add as well. I understand there is also a great blogging community around FMF, too…so it will be great to meet lots of NEW friends, too.

That’s all I’ve got for now– but actually, it is pretty awesome that there are so many great groups online for support and friendship, and NEW ways to connect with just about anyone in the world.

New friends. New habits. New nudges. New connections. New commitments. New writing. New books! Not bad for a NEW month!


Happy Birthday Baby and Crown Royal Cookies

Many of my blogger friends have been writing about empty nest syndrome the last few weeks. Been there, cried it out, they all came back at several points (breakups, job losses) and back there again.  I am definitely going to date myself here…but my (okay, Mark had something a lot to do with her, too ) baby  has a birthday tomorrow.  Though she is completely grown, and has a beautiful little baby of her own, she will always be our baby, too.Tina, Em and the goats

We were married really young (just babies ourselves) and I had our second son one day before I turned 22. I am not going to lie– those early years were tough as hell. We both worked jobs that paid to little, and I took college classes when I could, but there were lots of issues– which is a whole different blog post and fodder for some parts of my in-progress novel. On again, off again, huge fights over so many things and real uncertainty about whether we could make it together– even though there was no doubt we really loved each other.  I made the difficult decision during my second pregnancy to have my tubes tied; our future was just too unclear at that point.

Son #2, Michael, now nicknamed Meekey by his younger nieces, was supposed to be Michelle– the ultrasounds were nothing like they are today 30 years ago! No matter–I fell in love all over again when they handed him to me and he was the most perfect and beautiful little baby I have ever seen. I gave away all those little dresses and frilly pink things– figured I was supposed to be Mom to two gorgeous curly-haired blond boys, and I was good with that.

But, that is not the end of the story. Thirty years later,  Mark and I are still together– and Christina is our miracle child, born 15 months after I had my tubes tied! ApparentlyTina and Jon,  (insert deity of your own belief here) or nature had different plans for us!

Of all of our three “kids”, I have to say Christina is really a combination of the best traits from the two of us. She is independent, smart, loyal, and she loves her family and her little girl more than life itself (like her Momma) but she is stubborn and takes no crap from anybody (she can thank her Daddy for that!) Our daughter is beautiful, with gorgeous blue eyes and blond hair (from me!) but has her Daddy’s looong legs. Genetics are pretty amazing!

Em shoppingToday, we are celebrating “Mommy Happy Day” as our two-year-old granddaughter, Emma says– with a potluck party. There is shredded barbecued chicken simmering in the crockpot, and there will be pumpkin rice pudding, Emma’s Daddy’s amazing homemade jambalaya, and lots of treats, family, friends and love.

At Christina’s request,  (she’s only slightly addicted to Pinterest!) I put the bottle of Crown Royal that’s been languishing in my refrigerator to use and baked a batch of Crown Royal cookies.  These cookies are awesome, and nothing like I expected— justcrown royal cookies with url a hint of the Crown in them, and really good. I added about a fourth of a cup of flour to the recipe to keep them from spreading so much, and they came out nice. I even managed to take a halfway decent picture of them with my phone. The biggest problem is that I was a little tipsy by 10 am!  Should make this afternoon birthday party quite interesting, for sure.

Watching our Cleveland Browns wallop the Baltimore Ravens now!

Then off to celebrate Mommy Happy Day.  Happy birthday to our baby girl– who finally knows how much her Mommy and Daddy love her and her brothers :)

Hope everyone has an awesome Sunday and a great week!

Visit some of my friends, too :)  Witty, warm and wonderful, all of them!

Pardon My Manners! Awesome Ben’s Garden Gifts Review

If you’ve read any of this blog, you will know a little more about me and my family. My husband and I are empty-nesters;it’s just us and our big yellow dog, Max. Our big house no longer suited us, and we have finally moved on. We now own much smaller and more reasonable properties in Florida and in Ohio. Hubby’s job in Ohio road construction is seasonal– so we spend the winter months down south. (At least for now…but he’s so stubborn!)

In any case, during the downsizing, moving, tossing, donating nightmare…I received a gift from Ben’s Garden Gifts to do a review on. And completely forgot about it until this morning :(

I wanted to thank Ben’s Garden for the beautiful French crystal oval paperweight they sent me with one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes on it:

Dr. Suess be who you are

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss 

This is a super high-quality paperweight, highly polished and beautiful.  I am sure it will last me the rest of my life.

I did manage to get a few pictures of it and the note pads that they sent me– can you tell how frazzled I was at this point? (The paperweight is facing one way, and the nice note pads another. When I figure out which box I put these things in, I will post a better picture. For now, here are two so you can see the quotes on them.


As you can see, Ben’s Garden makes beautiful things, and beautiful use of some of our favorite words.  If you are looking for a gift for someone you love, especially a writer, you cannot go wrong!