Friday, September 30, 2011

My Second Home.

I love my car. I have a big white Sequoia, and frankly, it's a good thing I love it, because I live in it. I'm always driving on errands, driving kids to school and activities, driving them to games and sports practices, drive drive drive. And sometimes I wait wait wait in carpool. I realize I spend probably half my day in my car. And I fill up the tank twice a week. (OUCH.)

So, in my attempt to be frugal, I told my middle-schoolers they must take the bus home after school. They started last week. I mean, the school is literally down the road from our subdivision, so I don't see the big problem there. And there aren't any bullies on the bus, because the one bully was complained about by the parents and he now sits up front by the bus driver. ;-)

Do you know how much time out of my car that little decision cut out? One whole hour! Because if I left at 3:00 to go sit in the carpool, the kids were out at 3:45, and we were home by four. MAJOR DIFFERENCE. I now have one whole hour to do other things! Woo!!!

I feel liberated. But my favorite part is yet to come--in late November I put a Christmas wreath on my car and my kids get all embarrassed--LOVE IT. Here's my wreath last year:
 (Hey, it could be worse, at least I don't do the Rudolph nose and Antlers!)

Now THAT is embarrassing! ;-)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Knight Only by Michelle Miles!

I'm happy to announce that my dear friend, Michelle Miles, has a book coming out today! That book is One Knight Only by Ellora's Cave. You can buy it here.

Here’s the blurb:
A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!
Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.
Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.

Michelle was gracious enough to answer some questions for me:

1) What was your inspiration for OKO?

My inspiration came from my love of the Middle Ages and knights in shining armor. Initially this was a straight historical which I started in 2005. I stopped working on it for three years and then picked it back up again, rewrote the beginning, added some paranormal elements. It worked better. Then I stopped again and didn’t pick it up until late 2010, finishing it early this year. I’m glad I did. It was a fun story to write.

2) Talk about your research process for the story--fun or drudgery?

Fun – I enjoyed reading about jousting and learning how to do it (the story is set during a jousting tournament in the mid 1300s). My go-to book was Life in the Middle Ages and a costume book that showed what clothes looked like throughout the centuries. I also read up on how they talked, what they ate at banquet, etc. It was a lot of fun,

3) Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

In the least expected places. The book I just finished was inspired in a roundabout way by the HBO show Game of Thrones. I also got an idea for a story from Scooby-Doo (which has yet to be written).

4) Who was the most fun to write in the story (Your favorite character)?

This is a hard question because I loved them all so much. They were all a lot of fun to write. When I finished editing the book and turned it in, I actually missed them. I guess if I had to choose, I’d pick Elyne, my faery princess full of snark. :)

5) Any advice for beginning writers?

No matter how many rejections you get, never give up. Learn the craft and the industry, write what you love and be the best storyteller you can be. 

Congratulations Michelle! 

A Native Texan, Michelle loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas  and Plotting Princesses.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wait, WHAT??

Okay, I had someone comment to me yesterday--"Beautiful Fall weather we're having, eh?" I just sort of looked at him and said an enthusiastic "sure!"

It was just under 90 degrees.

I guess, living in the Midwest for so long, "beautiful Fall weather" (to me, anyway) is about sixty degrees, sunny and crisp. NOT FERSHLUGGING EIGHTY NINE DEGREES. That is "summer" weather, and frankly, my air conditioning bill is scaring me. Could we have another drop in temperature, soon, please? ;-)

I love having a 4-year old. Really. He comes up with the funniest ideas. I have a saying that I always mutter. "I've lost my mind. I really have." Well, the other day, I was sitting in the car,  looking for my cell phone (it had fallen behind my seat I discovered later) and I uttered "I've lost my mind!"

Thing Four was in the back, strapped to his carseat, and he said (in a very annoyed voice I might add) "Mom, you need to stick your mind in your purse!" I turned around a looked at him. "Why?"

"Because then you won't lose it all the time!"

I adore him to death. I need to write all this stuff down!

It looks like I may get my wish, weatherwise. The high for Saturday and Sunday is in the 60's. HOORAY!!

Now that is beautiful Fall weather!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Monday (La La, La La La La)

Got the Monday song stuck in my head. Had a good weekend. Had a near miss when we woke up Saturday morning at 8:30, only to discover Thing Three's soccer game was a FIFTY FIVE  minute drive away! Can you say UGH? And his game was at 10:15, and his coach likes them to be there 30 min early. SO, we had to shove breakfast down his throat and literally throw on clothes and take him. Oh, and it was POURING the whole soccer game, until the bitter end. But the sun came out, they won 4-0, and the drive home wasn't so bad, except for the part where I was seriously threatening to fall asleep and had to stop at a gas station for a diet coke.

Sunday I taught my class--I have the best primary class ever. I teach the 9/10 year-olds, and they are the BEST kids. All twelve of them! (Well, only ten regularly attend, but our classes are lively!) Then after church I came home and baked twelve dozen cookies for Hubby's work, because I'm nice that way. (He asked me to--very nicely!) Then we watched the Packers and vegged. It was a relaxing Sunday.

Busy day already so far. Thing Three missed his bus so I drove him to school. (It's a good thing the school is actually IN our subdivision!) Then drove the older kids to middle school, got Thing Four ready for preschool and got him dropped off, and I just finished a 3-mile walk/jog. It's 80 degrees outside, and it will be in the mid 80's all week. I think I'm ready for the 70's. That would be nice. ;-)

WHEW. I have dishes and laundry calling my name (as well as some chocolate chip cookies but I'm ignoring those) and four new chapters that need editing. So I guess I'd better get on them. Before the afternoon craziness commences!

Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I (Heart) Rainy Days.

There's something about rainy days. They're perfect for curling up by the window with a good book, or playing games with your kids (to reconnect, since usually they are running around outside with their friends!) Having lamps on during the day is just...cozy. Rain is soothing. Cleansing. We've had rain the past few days, and I'm rather enjoying it! Although it puts a damper (literally) on soccer practices and games, since sopping we fields means CANCELLED games...

This week has been crazy busy, I won't lie. But a good busy. I still can't believe we're approaching the end of September. I swear, a DAY ago I was lamenting the end of August!! Yikes!

My kids are settling into school. A few hiccups and bumps along the way, but now we're getting a routine. And Thing Four loves preschool. LOVES it. And I'm not going to lie, I certainly enjoy the three hours of peace and quiet I get as a result! ;-)

I've been working on a new novel, which is the main reason, coupled with the craziness, that this blog has been a little "sporadic" as of late. I promise to try and be better. Only because after a few days I get phone calls from relatives wondering if I'm in the hospital. Heh Heh.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! It's Friday!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Need Ten More of Me.

Yes, Mom, I am alive. Just busy being torn in five different directions. At some point, my left arm will reconnect to my torso, at which point I will be able to blog again. Cheers!

Hope everyone is healthy and happy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Break, Finally!

Today the high is 61. SIXTY ONE measly degrees! Yesterday was 95, with 97% humidity. You can imagine why I'd welcome a cool day. Which is kind of funny, because everyone was shivering in their jeans and sweatshirts today, and it really isn't that cold. ;-) I think anything below 50 is getting chilly. Anything above, well...I guess all those years in Wisconsin made me hardier or something.

Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same. I love it! But then all next week we're back up to the mid 80's. BLEAH.

The kids have a "banked" day today. Which is only a half day. I guess after the crazy ice storm last year, where kids were out of school an entire week, made the school officials think. As long as we are here a half day, it's counted as a full day. So we have one half day a month, and call it a "banked" day, so if we get another awful ice storm like last year, we won't have to make the days up like we did last year. I think it's smart. And the kids LOVE half days. Everyone wins. I think.

Thing Two has a scout hike this weekend. I guess I'd better switch out his warm weather sleeping bag to a cold weather one--just in case.

I am just realizing what a BORING post this is! I guess since I still have a head cold, humor isn't part of my repertoire. So, I guess I'll attach something that made me laugh. My favorite Superbowl commercial of all time. Enjoy. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Despite feeling like a cement truck dumped it's contents into my skull, I went for a run this morning on my favorite nature trail after I dropped Thing Four off at preschool.

It was gorgeous. Green, tranquil, perfect. On my last leg a doe walked right across my path about twenty yards ahead of me, and when she entered the trees she stopped and looked back at me. She didn't seem skittish, just curious. She was a young doe, I could tell she'd been a fawn recently. She was so pretty. I greeted her in what I call my "puppy" voice, and she just stared at me as I smiled at her and broke into a jog on the path.

Gotta love mornings like that.

Hubby is traveling, and my kids are over their colds, but I am in the middle of mine. I want to give a big kiss to whoever invented Advil Cold Liquid gels, because they are AWESOME. Nothing else works for me.

I am nearly finished dejunking the third floor. (The place I shoved all my moving boxes I didn't want to deal with.) I've been writing here and there, but honestly, if we are going to have people over and have them watch movies upstairs, I need to make THAT a priority. Next week, I want to get in 2K a day. (Words, not kilometers!) ;-)

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold. The high is in the mid 60's. The HIGH. Woo! I'm breaking out the Postum. Okay, it's not really Postum, it's actually a not-so-potent substitute called Pero, but I will call it Postum because that's what I've called it my whole life. I just wish Nestle or someone would buy the darn recipe from Kraft and start manufacturing it again. I miss it.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kids Are Funny, Part VIII

Thing Four, who is four years old, never fails to crack me up. My daughter was sick yesterday, so she stayed home from school. (More on that later.) Anyway, while I was running errands, I went ahead and left him home with her. I came home afterwards, and he was watching TV downstairs, and I went and sat next to him and started chatting with him, and I realized two things: A) He was wearing inside-out shorts, and B) they weren't the shorts he was wearing when I left.

When I asked him about it, he got all embarrassed, and admitted he'd had an "accident" upstairs and hadn't quite made it to the toilet. Apparently he hurriedly put the wet underwear and shorts in his dirty clothes basket, ran to his room and got clean underwear and shorts out of his drawers, and put them on.

The funny part is, I wouldn't have even noticed, if he hadn't put the shorts on inside out, on accident. But I'm glad he did, because I never like finding surprise wet stuff in the dirty laundry. ;-)

Cracked me up, though. He sure was efficient in his "cover up" attempt! And he almost got away with it!

Hubby left for Alabama today. They're touring stores. He wont' be back until the weekend. Thing Two has another Scout Camping trip on Friday and Saturday, and Thing Three's first soccer game is on Saturday. My weekends through October are CRAZY, I'm realizing. Because either Hubby is traveling, or we've got games and campouts. I guess you can camp year round here pretty much, because it's the South and it doesn't deep freeze like Wisconsin did. They don't even blow out their sprinkler systems, here. It's actually kind of nice to not have to worry about that!

So, yesterday I had to take Thing One to the Dr. with a blocked salivary gland. Turns out she had scar tissue that had formed from a previous blockage/infection two years ago, and they had to cut it open and fish out this huge calcified rock-like thing from her gland. NICE. She was a trooper about it, but she is also suffering from a sore throat/fever, so it wasn't super fun for her. But at least she can "salivate" again! (And yes, she would die of embarrassment if she knew I'd said that. Heh heh.) But that's what moms are for. Our teenagers give us a hard time, and we give them payback in the form of embarrassing them. Good Times.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let The Germs Begin...

Now that School is back in, I've been bracing myself for the inevitable: Acute Viral Rhinopharyngitis, also known as the Common Cold. My kids are healthy as horses during the Summer, and as soon as they return to the Communal Germ Associations known as school, the colds begin.

It hit Things One and Three yesterday. Thing Two has been feeling yucky all along, he just doesn't whine like the other siblings do. So, apparently my three older kids all have colds, but since two of them don't have FEVERS, off to school they go. I've been monitoring Thing Four. He was grumpy yesterday at preschool (apparently he hauled off and hit a mean kid in the face with his lunchbox), which frankly isn't like him, so who knows what today will hold.

Me? I'm feeling fine. I'm downing Emergen-C like there's no tomorrow, because moms Don't Get Sick. ;-) We moms have to take care of all the sickies.

Hope everyone has a great, germ-free day!

Monday, September 12, 2011


The BYU vs Texas game was a disappointment--they were winning until the second half. And to lose by ONE point!! But Texas outplayed them in the second half, pure and simple. Hubby had a great time with his brothers, though, and hanging out with Jimmer Fredette! Jimmer was there to see the game and sign basketballs at an earlier function and Hubby was able to hang out with him for a little while. Yes, you can color me pea green with envy. ;-) I think my 10-year old was wayyy more jealous than me! Jimmer is his hero.
But now we can add this fabulous basketball to our signed Jimmer Jersey we have in the game room:
Notice how I've had the game room painted in BYU colors? Oh, and yes, that would be a football signed by Ty Detmer to the left of the Jersey. We are very lucky in who we know. ;-)

Hubby flew home safely on Sept. 11th, and we were glad to have him home. We explained to our kids about the tragedies of Sept. 11th (our oldest was three on that day so our kids don't remember) because we want them to understand how important it is to remember and be thoughtful of this day.

We had a good weekend otherwise, busy but good. I made some super yummy green salsa enchiladas, and we watched Serena get her rear-end kicked in tennis. :-( Oh well. I'm cheering for Djokovic tonight, he is ON FIRE!!!! Go Novak!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fall's A Comin'...

I love love LOVE Fall. Favorite season ever. Probably because it's the prettiest, the shortest, and I love the clothes I can wear. Well, generally. Maybe not in the South. ;-) But I put my Fall wreath on the front door, and it looks awesome! I'll wait until the last week of September to deck the rest of the house out in Halloween stuff. Fun fun fun!

Hubby is off to Texas this weekend for the BYU game, I won't lie, I'm really nervous he's flying home on 9/11. (And his brother is flying INTO New York!) It just makes me nervous. But this trip has been planned for months, no changing it now!

I was looking at pictures of the smoke above the Austin skyline. I feel so bad for the people who have lost their homes and lands from the fires. Hopefully they can contain it soon.

So, it' just me and the kiddos this weekend! We'll probably go to the pool one last time, mow the lawn, do all the regular stuff we normally do. I'll just be glad Sunday night when Hubby is back home, safe.

I hope everyone has a good, restful weekend. My thoughts are with the families affected by 9/11. I will never forget.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ah The Irony...

Now that I have my 4-year old in preschool four hours a day, you would THINK I have more time on my hands! Well, I don't. I was lamenting to a friend it seems now that I have those hours during the day, I spend them running around trying to get done what I normally wouldn't want to drag a 4-year old with me to.

If that makes sense. So, yes, I've been crazy busy! But it's a good busy.

It's been chilly in the mornings--it was 57 this morning, and my kids are wearing sweatshirts to school. Granted, it gets to the mid 80's during the day, but the mornings are nice. Fall is coming! I am going to break out my Fall wreath next week.

Thing Four is LOVING preschool. He's having the BEST time ever. But man, they sure wear him out! He gets 30-45 minutes of playground time, and I have to say, he passes out after his nightly bath now. I get him in those jammies and we do one story and he's OUT. Which is good. Because I know he's learning, having fun, and gaining social skills. :-)

It's Thursday! I am tempted to make my crockpot chili recipe, but I think it needs to be about ten degrees colder for that one!

Hope everyone has a great day.

Friday, September 02, 2011

I need to get to Belk today. Their clearance is like a bazillion percent off, plus our associate discount PLUS the coupon, so all the clearance clothes will be like, 90% off or something crazy like that. I need to stock up on shirts and shorts for my boys in a size larger, because I have a feeling, with the way they're growing, they will both be in different sizes by Spring.

I'm resisting the urge to put a Fall wreath on the door. I want to wait until the last week of September. I know every time this time of year comes around I say this, but I LOVE the months of October through December. My absolute favorite times of the year are those last three months of it. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. So festive, the weather is (more or less) not sweltering, and everything is fun.

Thing Four had his preschool open house yesterday. Like a complete idiot I had put into my phone that the open house was TODAY (still not sure how/why I did that) and by a stroke of Providence, I ran into one of the moms at Target yesterday, whose daughter is in my son's class. They had just come from the open house. I dropped everything and Thing Four and I ran out of Target immediately, and drove straight to the school and caught the tail end of Open House, thank heaven. I would have been so embarrassed to miss it and show up on the wrong day. We got lucky.

Tonight should be fun. I am cleaning the house from top to bottom, and we're having company over for homemade chicken alfredo pizzas. They are SOOOO delish:


INGREDIENTS: 1 pound boneless chicken, cut up into pieces, 1 large onion chopped, 1 package sliced mushrooms, 1 jar Alfredo sauce, 1 large loaf French bread, cut horizontally in half, and in pieces, 1 Cup shredded mozzarella. (I usually use more than a cup of mozzarella.)

Cook chicken, onion and mushrooms in skillet over med-hi heat, stir in Alfredo sauce. Place bread slices, cut sides up, on baking tray. Toast in oven on broil setting until crispy on top. Remove from oven, spread with chicken mixture, sprinkle with cheese. Broil in oven until pizzas are hot and cheese begins to brown.

Serve with a green salad!

Of course you can substitute Italian sausage for the chicken, which was what the original recipe called for, but we thought chicken was a healthier alternative. These are SUPER yummy, and super easy. Try them. You'll like them! ;-)

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend! Stay safe, and have fun!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's September Already???

I'm officially freaked out by how fast this year is going. The Back-to-school stuff has been cleared away, and now they're filling the seasonal aisles with HALLOWEEN STUFF in the stores. Candy, costumes, creepy knick-knacks (is it me or is stuff getting more macabre and scary every year?). Oh well. Such is the way of retail. By the end of September they'll have the Christmas stuff out, to be sure. All the craft stores already do.

I'm not putting a Fall wreath on my front door JUST yet. I'm savoring the last days of Summer, and rejoicing that it will be in the 80's during the day soon, instead of the upper 90's. :-)

I'm a little disappointed, I have a total dinosaur of a laser printer (an HP Color Laserjet 2600 I love) and now that I've downloaded Lion on my Mac, I can't print duplex printing. As in both sides of the paper. For someone who prints up manuscripts now and then, and wants to save paper, this is a problem. Especially if you have a 300+ manuscript to print up. It would be WAY better to print it on 150 pages, right? I tried and tried to get around this glitch but ended up hooking my HP mini to the printer and printing the story that way. It worked like a charm. Unfortunately I haven't found any updates or software drivers I can install. But I love my printer. Even if it is 100 years old. I've never had a problem with it. Well, until NOW. :-(

Tomorrow is Friday! Monday is Labor Day! No more white shoes and handbags after that! I still can't believe how fast time is flying...