Sunday, December 09, 2012

New Year's Resolutions are LAME.

...only because I never keep them long. I know. Don't judge. (But if you do, remember you have to be perfect the rest of your life. *wink*)

The only reason I say this is because I have made more regular blogging a New Year's Resolution. Among about ten others. I have been so stinking busy lately (see previous post) I have turned into one of those people I loathe: People who are too busy being busy while being busy. Yep, that's me.

I need to organize my time, better. I need to prioritize. But I also need to take time for me. "Me" time has been very scarce. Lately, the few precious hours I have for myself have been spent cleaning my house, because it seems I've been too busy to do that too. ;-) I may be a stay-at-home mom, but lately, the "stay-at-home part" has not been happening. RUNNING AROUND LIKE CRAZY FROM ONE THING TO THE NEXT has been happening.

I hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday spirit. Mine was just about killed because of all the running around I was doing, so a few days ago I slowed down, put on the Christmas music and made myself sit in front of the Christmas tree for about 15 minutes (yes, I watched the clock-- I totally suck) and re-assessed what I was doing. Whatever it was, there wasn't room for celebration and joy and things that were important. I've been counseled not to run faster than I am able and pace myself, and I have not been heeding those warnings.

So, I've made some resolutions. Written down some goals. Tossed out the frivolous stuff. Wished there was more frivolous stuff to toss out. But I've started to hammer out a plan, and I want to be more organized with my time and stuff, this upcoming year. 2013. Wow. 2012 went by almost faster than 2011. Is that how it goes? The older you get, the faster time flies? I don't like that, not at all!

So, bring on 2013. No, I am not in the camp that believes the world will end on December 21st. I think it will be a day much like Y2K, when everyone suspected everything would cease working and go dark. And nothing happened. At least, that's what I hope.

Are you all making your New Year's Resolutions??


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. A lot of people I know and love were affected by this storm.

I have been...absent lately. Not by choice, for sure. I think it's because my kids are finally at the ages where they are doing SO many things, I am running circles (or more appropriately DRIVING circles) to keep up/get them where they need to be. Things were so much simpler when they were young and not into many extracurricular activities.

We didn't do soccer this year (I know, weird, right?) but we are HEAVY into Taekwondo and Basketball. Oh, and Driver's Ed. I am very excited about that. I get to pick up my daughter from school at 6pm every day for two weeks. And then she gets to start DRIVING. Woo hoo. (And yes, in case you are wondering, that's a mild undercurrent of sarcasm you are detecting.)

Where has the time gone? Thing One turned fifteen a few days ago, Thing Three is about to turn 12 in December, and yes, Thing Two is already a teenager. Thing Four is in Kindergarten, and I'm Room Mom, so that's keeping me busy.

We did the "Pumpkin farm" experience today, and Thing Four had fun pulling the little wagon, as we looked for pumpkins to carve tonight. **note to self, pick them up a week earlier, and there will not be just SUPER HUGE and super small  pumpkins left.**

And now we're hunkered inside from the cold, I've got crockpot chili going, a batch of sugar cookies baking, and things are calm. For an hour more, at least!

;-) I love Fall. LOVE it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's SO Tempting!!!


I can't even watch the debate tonight. Too nervous. I will just sit in my room and read Twitterfeeds on my iPad. That's good enough for me.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Best. Honey. Wheat. Bread. Ever.

We LOVE us some wheat bread at my house. Hubby and I love to try new wheat bread recipes once in a while. Yesterday, we found the PERFECT Honey Wheat Bread recipe. Am totally stealing it. Here it is. You won't go back:

“Awesomest Honey Wheat Bread Ever”


1 (25 oz.) package rapid rise yeast 
1 teaspoon white sugar 
½ cup warm water (110 degrees F) 
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk 
¼ cup water                        

¼ cup melted shortening
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons salt  
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour 
3 cups Bread Flour  
1 stick butter, softened


1)   Dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ cup warm water in small bowl.

2)   Combine milk, ¼ cup water, shortening, honey, salt, yeast mix and wheat flour in bread mixer with dough hook. Mix until blended and let rest 15 minutes. Add bread flour, and process until dough forms a ball. Knead the dough by processing about 1 ½ minutes in mixer (or knead 10 minutes by hand). Place the dough in a BUTTERED bowl, turn to coat. Spray plastic wrap with PAM and cover the bowl. Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.

3)   Punch down, and divide dough in half. If there are bubbles, roll dough out, pound out bubbles. If not, form into loaves and place in 2 buttered 9X5 inch bread pans.  Butter the tops of the dough, and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with PAM. Let rise in a warm area until doubled. Second rise should take 40 minutes-ish.

4)   While dough is rising, place a jelly roll pan half full of water on the bottom rack of the oven, and preheat oven to 375° (You will bake the bread with the jelly roll pan on the bottom.)

5)   Bake for 25 to 40 minutes or until tops are dark golden brown. (But not too dark! Gotta watch 'em!)

6)   Empty loaves onto cooling rack, butter tops immediately. Slice bread when cool.

*This recipe makes two loaves, can double easily. Total prep/baking time 2 ½ hours

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Book!!!

Hubby was in Boise this week for the BYU/Boise game, and he went to the local Deseret Bookstore, and look what he found!
My book, face out, thank you very much!
Stacked out on a table, too.
He was so proud, he bought one. Too cute.
I'm all tickled! :-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just a Little Bit of Paint...

...can transform things. Every DIYer knows this. I have had this nook in my house that has been bugging me for a year. We call it our "mud room," but really it's just a tiny alcove off the garage door entrance. There's a bench for backpacks and hooks for coats, etc. And it looks TACKY:
The bench was a build-it-yourself from Michaels, TWELVE years ago. The hooks were from Home Depot, and the baskets underneath from Wal-mart. It just
So, I got out my trusty black primer/spray paint, and went to work. I sprayed the bench first.:
The coat hooks were relatively easy. I covered the edges of the hooks with painters tape v-e-r-y carefully, and used Press n Seal (yes, really!) to cover the hooks. I love Press n Seal. You can do a million things with it. And I do.
And when everything was dry...CHECK IT OUT!!!:
New Baskets:
The hooks turned out great:
After all was said and done, the whole re-do was $30 with new baskets and paint. I'm pretty happy with it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent??? No Way!!

Well, actually, way.
I took the plunge.  After reading about so many people exclaiming on Pinterest and other places about saving bazillions of dollars with their own homemade laundry detergent, I decided to try it. Hey, I'm all for saving money!

Let me preface this by saying I do laundry for a family of six. I have one girl and THREE boys. Which basically means I do a few loads of laundry every day, or it would be BAD. (Want to know what I mean by "bad?" Look up a picture of Mt. McKinley online, and that would be about right.) And my detergent of choice? Tide. At $17 on average for a bottle, which I buy twice a month, that's $32 a month. $384 spent on laundry soap in a year. Yowza.

Anyway, here is the recipe for homemade laundry detergent, and no, it's not my own, I totally copied it from someone else, who copied it from someone else, and so on, and so on. It is for POWDER. So if you use liquid and have an aversion to POWDER laundry detergent, this isn't for you. I used to have an aversion, but I got over it.
Here are the ingredients you need (I found every single one at the local Super Wal-Mart):

--> 4lb box of Baking Soda (I could only find 2lb boxes so I used two of them)
4lb Box of Borax (You can find this in the laundry aisle)
4lb Box of Super Washing Soda (it was right smack dab next to the Borax)
Oxi Clean Powder (I used the 1.3 lb size. *This is optional*)
3 bars of Fels-naptha soap (I found the this right next to the Borax too, I imagine a lot of people make their own laundry soap so they merchandise them together.)

I would also have on-hand a medical mask and some hand protectors. Or you can tie a scarf around your nose and mouth and wear dishwashing gloves. Because you can breathe in the powder and soap, and get it on your skin, which wouldn't be fabulous.
Once you have all the ingredients, grate the 3 bars of Fels-naptha soap. I used a hand cheese grater, it took about ten minutes. Some people use a food processor, but I am thinking unless you SUPER clean it, your food will taste like soap for a while. YUCK.
Now, take a large contractor-strength black trash bag and line a small garbage can with it. Then dump all the ingredients into it. (I did this outside my garage, I'm sure the neighbors wondered what I was up to, mixing a bunch of household chemicals together, but oh well.)
Then take the bag out of the garbage can, twist it up really good midway and shakeshakeshake that puppy to mix everything together.
Next, snip one corner with scissors and let it funnel into your container of choice. I chose this one (it made so much it actually filled up two of these big containers but I'm only showing one:
And voila! There you have it! Homemade laundry detergent! Now as far as use, I have tried it. I use 1/8 cup of detergent (yes, really that's it!) for my front-load washer, and I've washed in cold and hot and warm, and the clothes are CLEAN. I almost think it's better for HE washers because this detergent is extremely low-sudsing. And my clothes don't smell perfumey or anything like that. They just smell clean. Which I like. Because I love my fabric softener sheets and I'd much rather my clothes smelled like those. ;-)

So, this batch cost me around $20 to make when all was said and done. Since I only use 1/8 cup per use, it lasts forever. Let's say I make it only twice a year. That's $40. Compared to the $384 I normally spend?



Tuesday, September 04, 2012

You Could Hear a Pin Drop...

The house is soooo quiet! Today was the first real day that all my kids were in school (Thing Four had staggered start kindergarten last week so this week is his first normal week). I have to be honest, it feels weird to not have someone around all the time.  Just me and Maggie, my maltipoo puppy. She's a whopping four pounds, now, by the way. I think if she ever got to five it would be a miracle. She's one dainty dog! But that's perfect for our family, because I like small poops. ;-)

ANYWAY, I have so many lists and lists of things I need to do, it's a little overwhelming. Now that my 5-year old is in school and  I don't have to worry as far as what he's getting into/how he could endanger his life in the house, I can immerse myself in projects, writing and home. I have a feeling the days will pass pretty quickly!

I am finally pneumonia free! It CAME BACK last week--apparently the first course of antibiotics didn't kill it, and I started feeling yucky again on Friday. So apparently I am now on the Mother Of All Antibiotics and apparently they are working because I feel SO much better than I have the last ten days!

Well, it's off to the vet and a half dozen other places. I am feeling good. As long as I can stay on top of things, (he he let's see how long that lasts) I won't get overwhelmed.

Just a bit of irony: when I have no time I want to write so badly, and when I DO have the time I am completely blank. How is that fair?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Such an ugly word. And can I just say, an U-G-L-Y sickness to have? Apparently I had "walking pneumonia," and when my body finally couldn't take it any more it said I QUIT THIS and I instantly had a high fever and chills and aches that made me insane. In fact, I spent the better part of three days curled up in bed in a fetal position, wishing the monsters would go away.

I run a household of six. You can imagine how this all went down, with ME being the sick one, for once. Thank heaven school wasn't in yet and I have a 14-year old daughter who can cook and clean. And Hubby came home from work and stayed home and took care of me and the kids. He took them school shopping. He even spent a day taking our teenage daughter school shopping, which was a bit of a debacle but I took her last night after the first day of school so it all worked out in the end.

I am feeling much better--after seeing my chest x-rays on Thursday they wanted to give me a shot to "jump start" things, but I was allergic. So I got probably the dose of antibiotics they usually reserve for elephants and horses, because twenty-four hours later, my fever broke and I was MUCH better. 48-hours later I could breathe easier. Today, I'm glad to have all of it behind me, except for being really weak and tired.

Crazy, huh? I haven't been sick like that, EVER, I think. But no one else got it and the kids all started school yesterday without problems and life is better.

Although, can I just say, the high school here has it wrong? They don't give out school supply lists until the first day of school, and they HAVE to know that every binder and dry-erase marker and pair of notebook dividers has been sold out for a few days! Grrrr. We had to go to three stores, and finally got ONE binder from Target (it was accidentally in the photo album section and had a mark on it but we snatched it up) and got the other stuff at CVS. Yes, CVS.

Thing Four has staggered start Kindergarten so he doesn't start until Thursday. I will be an emotional wreck most of that day. Ugh.

Sorry I don't have anything funny to say, the pneumonia temporarily disabled my sense of humor.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Why I Should Never go to Hobby Lobby.

Love crafting? Love DIY projects? Love to decorate your house? Hobby Lobby has everything you could possibly want. And I mean pretty much everything.

I went there yesterday, just looking for some cute scrapbook paper to make tags. All innocent and everything. What did I come out with? Wall art, a ton of cute fabric (don't worry I don't sew), craft tools, three HUGE books of the most adorable/expensive scrapbook paper ever, and about nine spools of ribbon. Don't ask me how much I spent. Because you'll gasp and shake your head at me.

This is why I must NOT go to Hobby Lobby. A) It's like CRACK for the crafter, and B) All those little things add up and you end up spending about 600% more than you anticipated.

If you are someone with unlimited funds, by all means, live there and knock yourself out. But I certainly will only be going to Hobby Lobby a few times a year. Because my house really doesn't need another knick-knack. I think.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Is it REALLY Almost Fall???


Love and Kisses, 


Yep, that's about how I'm feeling lately. August is in two days. AUGUST. Sorry I'm a little caps heavy today, but honestly? We are in AUGUST? This means Back To School. This means the craziness of homework and schedules and soccer and other sports and running from one activity to the next and homework and the headache of buying cool school clothes and expensive calculators and HOMEWORK etc. etc. etc. (And now that I mention it-- is it me, or are calculators getting more pricey the older my kids get? Pretty soon the required calculator will be $500 and possessing artificial Intelligence, I swear.)

ANYWAY, as I was shaking my head at the calendar this morning, I was trying to think of what I've done this year so far, and answering the questions of A) have I met any of my goals? And B) have I done any of the things I wanted/needed to do? The answers: Not Really and Kinda Sorta.

That's what I get for having four kids and having to juggle my time evenly between them. Which is a virtual IMPOSSIBILITY, let me assure you. There's only one of me. Maybe when I'm at Staples in a few weeks buying my super-expensive calculator I can look at the prices of CLONE-ME machines. Because they have those in stock, right? How do women with more kids than me do it all?


Breathe, Lara. Just breathe.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Scared.

Read a crazy post a few days ago, by a blogger who used a picture (off of Google, who doesn't?) and apparently even though she linked her picture back to the source and gave credit where credit was due, the person who owned rights to the picture sued her. And WON. And it wasn't a little bit of money.
So, no more Google image searches for me, unless they have ZERO copyright restrictions. I have decided that if I can't find it, I will draw a really, really SAD rendition in stick-figure form, of what I want the picture to look like, or take the picture myself. That way, I cover my...rump. Because I LOVE to google image search. With reckless abandon. Well, no more. So, if you see posts with crudely-drawn stick figures (because I can barely draw a straight line, that is why I'm a WRITER not an ILLUSTRATOR), it's because I couldn't find a picture of what I'm looking for. I am apologizing in advance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Found this recipe on Pinterest. It is TDF. Seriously. It has FOUR ingredients, and my kids loved it. Like, they wanted to marry the cookies.

1 box yellow or white cake mix(I used yellow)
2 eggs beaten
5 T melted butter (don't skimp on this, use REAL butter!)
2 C M&M's or chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet because that's how I roll)

Mix together, put in a GREASED 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 min!
 Mine turned out like this, and seriously, this was all that was left after they cooled:
Thick like cookie bars. Didn't feel or taste like cake at all. YUM.

Now, in other news, I have a Stylus problem. As in, I have a stylus for my iPad, and it keeps GOING MISSING. This is highly annoying. Think of a tiny pen. Think how easy it is to lose said pen. That is a stylus. It's so tiny, but I can't live without it! Why? A stylus is soooo much better than using my finger! Especially since when I'm bored (never at home, usually when I'm waiting in the car or at Taekwondo) I like to play Big Fish Adventure/HOGs. So much easier/bettter with a stylus.

But not so much when THE STYLUS IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. Yes, I'm using shouty capitals. Yes, that's how annoying it is to me! I've tried clipping it on, magnetizing it on, etc. etc. Yet it manages to go missing. And no, my kids aren't the culprits. They swear up and down they don't take them.
How do I keep my stylus with my iPad? Does anyone else have this problem?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Think I'm in Love...

Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw THIS in the grocery store today! Yes, it's a 24-oz. Diet Mountain Dew. Yes it's twice the size I normally drink. Yes, I'm bad and I drink diet soda. Don't judge.

I will say it was a tad awkward to tip back, because it's sort of like trying to tip a Duraflame Starter Log back to sip from, but I figured it out. Don't know if I will buy more of these, but wondering if this is our future? ;-) Yes, please.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Officially Sucked In. Soooo Pretty...

No, not my stomach. Although I might need to after yesterday...ahem...but I digress...

I joined Pinterest last year. Got accepted, activated my account and did...nothing. Avoided it like the plague. Even slammed it a little to friends. I dubbed it the "ultimate in time-suckage" because, let's face it, anyone who Pins knows--Pinterest is a giant vortex of suck-you-in-make-you-pin/read/foam-at-the-mouth/covet/exclaim/browse-for-DAYS. I'm calling a spade a spade, here. I could spend hours on the boards, looking at all the domestic tips and recipes and handy DIY projects, all with tantalizing pictures shot in that super awesome camera filter that makes them look flawless and perfect.
Photo courtesy of

I call Pinterest "Web Candy." Because I feel like I've ingested 870574 spoonfuls of sugar after each re-pinning/browsing/liking episode. I LOVE it. I do find it funny, however, when Pinners pin things like "How To Avoid Sugar--the recipe book" and then go on to pin recipe after recipe for things like Super-gooey Chocolate Frosted Peanut Butter S'mores Bars, etc. (haha)

And apparently there are about nine hundred recipes for peanut butter cupcakes. It's mind-boggling.

Don't believe me? Go over to Pinterest and surf for free. And check out my boards while you're there. I'm still an amateur "Pinner," but I'm getting the hang of it.

Happy Pinning/Getting Sucked In!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Surviving the Washing Machine.

Photo courtesy of
You wouldn't believe the stuff I have pulled out of pockets AFTER being washed, or found in the drum of the dryer.

The latest survivors? Two of my son's 3Ds games. I have to hand it to Nintendo, they made those things pretty indestructable. I have washed and dried quite a few DS and DSi games over the years, and they always work just fine afterwards. (Although we have a few that are identified with black sharpie, because the labels melted off in the wash.)

Legos, rocks, candy wrappers, action figures, lego mini-figures, coins, paper money (eek!), you name it. I've washed it. Don't judge. I have three boys and a daughter. You think I have TIME to check all their pockets before I wash their stuff? ;-)

In "gross" news: I finally figured out something VERY important about my front-loading Neptunes. They need to be CLEANED, and on a regular basis. I won't go into major detail, but there was a smell involved, and I got curious and inspected the drum of the washer, and I won't tell you what I found. Safe to say, leave the door to the washer cracked open between washings, so...stuff can't grow in the drum. Because the water never completely drains. Add that to all the crap you wash out of your clothes and...yeah...GROSS, I know. I also discovered a handy little cleaner by Tide:

You dump this into your detergent tray (it comes in pre-measured packets), and run a cycle on hot, once a week, and it keeps your machine daisy fresh! Just make sure to check that drum weekly too. Yuck.

This completes my public service announcement. Should I step off my soap box? (HAHA)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Releases and Exploding Heads.

 Today is the release day for my book, UNEARTHED! Hurrah! If you feel so inclined, you can purchase it here or here or here.

Moving on, I think my head might explode soon. I think as mothers, we tend to feel like this. We have lists. We have calendars. We have appointments and errands. We have jobs, some of us, and all the stuff we have to do can get...overwhelming. That's where the head-exploding comes in. I've felt like that a lot lately. I think it's because I signed my kids up for so much stuff this summer. Sure, they have camps and classes and sports to keep them occupied, but it all means I get to live in my car and run around a lot.
Photo courtesy of
Not that I'm complaining, because I'm glad I can do these things for them, but it's a juggling thing. And guess what? I was never good at juggling. ;-)

And now, off to the races!

Monday, July 09, 2012

My Book Is Out Tomorrow!!

My LDS YA novel, "UNEARTHED," comes out tomorrow! Woo! I have to say, I am super excited! If you want to pre-order you can do it at, (they only have a few left) and B& for all your support!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The House Will Explode.

As a stay-home mom, I have a massive juggling job that I've pretty much fine-tuned (but it still gets out of tune pretty quickly, ha ha) from lowly things like making sure the plants get watered to reconciling the house budget and paying bills on a spreadsheet. I have a system. A checklist. A schedule. Every day, I get up and tick things off my list. I have five other people dependent on me for a lot of things, and if I'm suddenly not there...what happens?

Yep. Pretty much.

So, I am leaving on Saturday, and I will be gone FIVE WHOLE DAYS. I am attending a family get-together in my parents hometown, and I am going by myself. No kids, no husband. Which means, they are home to fend for themselves. This makes me...nervous. I will be honest. In fact, I told Thing Four (who is 5) that I was going away for a few days, and his immediate response:

"What? Who will give me baths and turkey sandwiches and take me to Taekwondo?"

See? Even at the tender age of 5, he gets it. Luckily I have a 14-year old daughter, who is VERY capable, and sons who are 13 and 11. They are going to be fine. I have coordinated with neighbors about rides to their summer activities, the swim lessons are literally at the clubhouse pool down the street, and I am going to plan/cook meals that can be heated up for the duration of my trip. I will make sure they have clean clothes and SOMEONE waters the flowers, walks the dog, etc. etc. etc.

Everything should be fine, right?

Pray for us.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Summer, What Can I Say? Oh, and SNACKS.

I've been a baaad blogger. I think this might be some sort of record! Now that I have a book coming out soon, I need to keep up with the blogging. I think more book-oriented posts will be over at my writing blog, The Potted Pen, but for now, I just need to keep up with things!

We got through all three graduations: Pre-school, Fifth grade, and 8th Grade. I now have a High School Freshman, two middle-schoolers and a KINDERGARTENER. Yikes. Talk about a spread-out brood! But this is good news. Why? With all four kids in full-time school, that means I get a LOT more writing time.

Just not this summer, ha ha. Why? Well, like a fool, I signed them up for all sorts of stuff. The boys have Taekwondo six days a week, and Swimming lessons four days a week. Which means we are busy busy busy. I have friends who are laying around their houses watching movies and doing nothing with their kids the first week of Summer, and I am JEALOUS.

A friend of mine told me something eye-opening last night. She said "I have cut our grocery bill in half by doing one thing." I asked her what it was, and she said "SNACKS. I just don't buy them anymore. I buy fruit, and I buy veggies, and if they want a snack, they can have something like that."

GENIUS, if you ask me. I mentally calculated, and I bet about half of my grocery budget every week goes to...snacks. Chips, crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, cookies, pudding cups, jello cups, candy (gasp, I know) etc. etc. etc. etc..

So, I'm going to try it next week. No processed "snacks." Just fruit and maybe I'll bake some cookies for the cookie jar. We'll see what happens.

Genius, or Insanity?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Speechless. Amazed. Blessed. Part II

But wait, there was more...

Friday night was the ultimate surprise party to date--with my parents and siblings and good friends and family flown in, and I honestly thought it couldn't get any better!

Then, Saturday night happened. OH. MY. HECK. We were going to dinner at Firebirds in Southpark. I am thinking just with the family. I walk in, and Hubby has ANOTHER surprise party with local friends and don't worry, my childhood friend, Aimee, who I hadn't seen in 15 years, was there! I am embarrassed to admit there was a good deal of jumping up and down and screaming, but afterwards we spent a wonderful dinner catching up and listening to family and friends take turns talking about me. A little overwhelming, but what a great time! At this point, I was wondering if my name spelled out in fireworks or a hot air balloon ride back to the house was in store (hehheh). Little did I know, Hubby had also arranged for me, Aimee, and my MIL and SIL's and girlfriends to spend the morning at the spa getting Swedish massages and manis and pedis. Then we shopped, we ate, laughed, lounged by the pool, had the BEST. TIME. EVER.

I can't thank enough all my wonderful friends and family, especially my bestie Kim, and EVERYTHING she and her family did to help my Hubby plan and execute everything so beautifully and perfectly. And to my Hubby, what can I say? You are amazing. I'm lucky to have you.

The best part? I didn't have a clue any of it would happen. Honestly. NOT ONE.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Speechless. Amazed. Blessed.

Yesterday I was rendered speechless. The surprise was perfection. I have to say, I didn't have a clue. They dropped false hints and clues and had me going in different directions. My wonderful AMAZING husband and family and friends, they planned for months and flew in from all over the US and coordinated a massive 40th birthday party, for ME. Can you say humbled and awed? Seriously, when I walked into that party last night, and saw my family (from both sides!) and dearest friends all there, I felt like the luckiest person in the world.

I am the luckiest person in the world. I am so blessed to have amazing people like this in my life. I'm still kind of speechless. And you know how often that happens.

So, to my astoundingly AWESOME Hubby and family and friends, THANK YOU, I can't manage anything other words. You made yesterday one of the best days of my life.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

I'm Amazing.

Okay, I'm totally NOT, but it got your attention, right? ;-)

I just made up a phrase. It seriously just came out of my brain. And I'm sure there's 979468 variations of it out there (I googled and didn't see any but it's not like I'm going to sift through 10584769586 pages of hits to verify).

ANYWAYIRAMBLETOOMUCH, here is my inspirational saying of the day:

"After trying and trying, sometimes it's best to acknowledge the existence of a brick wall. That's when you go and get yourself a sledgehammer."

That's me sometimes. I try and try, and FAIL, miserably (as I suspect some of you do) and I guess sometimes we just need to think outside the box, and try a different approach. A sledgehammer is definitely harder than my skull, so there you go. ;-)

I am off and running today--the kids' basketball hoop is going in tomorrow! They poured the concrete for it last week, and tomorrow they set it up, but I have to run to Home Depot and get gravel to weigh down the sandbag thingies on the ends of the ball return net.

Am starting to not like the fact all my favorite stores are at least 15 minutes away...

Oh well. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Yes, I have now joined the Land of the Living. Three weeks. THREE WEEKS of being sick and finally battling a sinus infection. (Heh heh, one of those weeks was spent tending the other sickies in the family.) I've always wondered why we can't win the lottery with viruses. Instead of getting a nasty virus all at once and all of us being sick in one week (and DONE) we get sick ONE. AT. A. TIME. and when you have a family of six, you're down for a month solid. I think my washing machine will fall over dead from shock if I program it to anything other than the "sanitary" cycle at this point.

So, all is well in the household. I am super busy, but busy is good. I started working out with a personal trainer on Monday (is it bad that I'm still so sore I can't go DOWN the stairs and I scream whenever I have to sit down on a toilet seat?) and he's got me on a nutrition plan (BOO) and a workout plan (YAY) and I'm lucky because Hubby is super fit and we have a whole room in our house full of workout equipment. A gym, elliptical, treadmill, free weights, bosu, medicine ball, bands. etc. etc. etc. and really the only thing I had to buy was a large and ridiculously heavy workout thingy called a kettle bell. A 20-pound thing I have to swing between my legs and up into the air. (I don't question the trainer, I do the ridiculous things that will somehow mold this pudgy body back into shape.) Even if I look...special while I'm doing them...

I'm dejunking my house, writing away on my sequel (I already have 25K!) and every once in a while I glance at my "to be read" pile of books wistfully, but that just isn't going to happen anytime soon. Because even when my family goes on vacation, we don't RELAX. We run around and around looking at all the cool stuff and cramming activities into our schedules until we fall, exhausted into our beds at night. (Kinda like being at home, only in a more tropical setting.) So, my stack of books will probably get read sometimes in late 2014. No one's perfect.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Wednesday!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Letting a Head Cold Get Me Down...

I've been battling a sinus infection. We're talking MAJOR teeth and face pain. I went to the doctor, got my three-day course of antibiotics, and six days later---I still have some pain. As in, really? The antibiotics didn't work? Of course while looking it up online I stumbled on stories where people have sinus infections for so long their facial bones become infected, etc. etc. so you can bet I will be heading to the doctor tomorrow, AGAIN, if this pain doesn't go away.

Just finished the last round of edits for my book and sent them off to my editor. STRESS! Luckily they were just little things, but sometimes, even a misplaced comma can change things drastically. You know the old example:

Let's eat, Grandma!" He yelled.


"Let's eat Grandma! He yelled."

See? Little tweaks can make all the difference. :-)

I'm toiling away on a novel between dejunking my house, room by room. It was Thing Four's room a couple days ago. I organized all the toys, drawers, closet, etc. Everything is perfect. Now on the the next one!

I just hope I kick this. Being sick sure puts a crimp in one's life...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Summer Cold (whymewhyme???)

First off, I'd like to give a shout out to mah hubbs--HAPPY SIXTEENTH ANNIVERSARY, BABE! It feels like it hasn't been that long. Truly. On most days. ;-) (I'm kidding!!!)

Okay. I have a head cold. More like my head is deciding whether it's filled with cement or wants to explode, somewhere in the region around my right eye. Let me tell you, I am a HUGE wimp when I can't breathe through my nose. HUGE. As in, I freak out. So, I take all the drugs I can and hope they work, and I use my trusty standby, Severe Congestion Afrin Spray (the horror!) but only at night. Although I will say, every time I use it, I end up with a sinus infection. So, which is the lesser of the two evils? Five days of cement head stuffiness, or a day of woeful-wanna-rip-my-eyeballs-and-teeth-out pain, followed by a 10-day course of antibiotics.


Difficult choice, right? If you're a freak like me, who can't handle NOT being able to breathe through her nose, sometimes you opt for the latter. You should see me when I snorkel. Complete mess.

Anyway, lots of stuff to do today--I spent a lot of time writing yesterday, so today I must pay the fiddler--in the domestic sense. I have a kitchen and laundry room screaming to be paid attention to--so I'd better get on it.

And then it's off to the Dr. for my antibiotics. Boo.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gas Woes.

I am super jealous of my one friend, Michelle, who has a Prius. I mean, it gets 40+ miles to the gallon! Then there's my gas-guzzling monster, the Sequoia, which gets...drumroll please...a whopping 14. (**Lara hangs head in shame**)

I had to get gas in North Carolina today, because silly me, I forgot to fill up after we got home from the beach and I was headed for the carpool line when my gas light went on. After dropping off Thing Four, I drove to the nearest gas station and filled up. Eighty dollars. EIGHTY DOLLARS. For one fill-up! And it wasn't even a completely empty tank!

Hubby suggested we get a smaller SUV, but we need the 8 seats. And none of the big SUV's are exactly gas sippers, if you know what I mean.

So, I am thinking of all the moms out there, who like me, drive their kids everywhere. School, Sports practices, games, activities, and on top of all that, run errands. And then there are the moms who drive to work ON TOP of these things. I can only wonder how these sky high gas prices are affecting them.

Let's not stop there--I think this is affecting everyone. They are saying gas will be $5 a gallon by summer.

Time to tighten the belts a little, non?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back from Vaca!

We took the kids to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break, and got back last night. It was sooooo nice! The kids got major beach time, and I know the best pancake houses in the vicinity! (har!) We left on Friday. It was relaxing and so very awesome.

Now, it's back to reality, of course. My pre-Spring Break Cleaning plans sort of fizzled because I was running around buying beach gear and planning for the trip, so next week is my cleaning week! Right now I'm just enjoying having Hubby home while we run around and nap, alternately. ;-)

I resurrected an old WIP (I know that's writing blog material but I had to mention it here) and I have been pecking out a few words a day on it. I love how all you need to do is read and all the thoughts and ideas you had come rushing back. The world is very real right now, so I'd better run with it.

I think we have birds in our attic. SOMETHING was making a lot of rustling and thumping noises above our heads last night, and they definitely weren't there before we left for vacation. Either it's BIG, or it's a LOT of mice. EW EW EW. I guess we'll find out tomorrow when our pest guy comes!

I hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Now, I'm off to do about 17 loads of laundry!!!


Tuesday, April 03, 2012


One thing I detest about a new lawn: weeds. Especially since the sod is new, and really all we could do last year was fertilize it, because WEED and feed would have hurt it. Now, I'm wishing we might have taken the risk. Our back yard, for some reason, looks fabulous and thick. But our front (of course the part EVERYONE sees) has horrible, and I mean HORRIBLE weeds. Broadleaf weeds, the hardest to get rid of. We had Tru Green spray last week, and all the other weeds are dying, but I swear the broadleaf weeds are thriving. UGH.

Let me give you an example. We mow the grass, and the NEXT day, we have weeds sticking up above the grass. Do we mow the whole thing again? I have taken a weed whacker to the lawn and let it live up to it's name, but it's still a pain. These weeds MUST GO.

I am driving around a little silver Chevy Impala. My rental car du jour. Well, make that for this week. I have to say, as cramped and tiny as the kids and I feel in it, it gets AWESOME gas mileage! I would already be down to half a tank in my Sequoia. (A gas-sipper, it aint!) And the gas needle in the Impala is JUST below Full. Amazing.

I still miss my car. I get to pick it up Friday morning, and it will be all shiny and dent-free. Nice.

I forgot to take my Zyrtec D this morning, and I'm starting to pay for it. Because, like a fool, I just went out and weed-whacked the weeds. ACHOO!!!


Monday, April 02, 2012

Car-less. *Sniff*

A while back, I had an unfortunate run-in with a gas pump. As in, I was trying to back up and whacked into it with my front left bumper of the car. Big dent. I also got a THIRD flat tire from all the construction debris in my neighborhood, so the spare is on the car. I also need an oil change.

SO, I am turning in my beloved Sequoia this morning, for FIVE WHOLE DAYS, while they replace the bumper, and the tire, and the oil. I will get a fixed-up car back on Friday, (HOORAY!) but, I have to schlep around in a little pinto for five days! (or whatever they give me at the rental place!) Not so fun. I live in my car. And you know what rental cars smell like. BLEAH. I guess it could be worse. I could have NO car...

Spring Break starts next week. We are going to the beach and my kids are so excited. We've never been as a family. Because we've never been close to the beach! We've always been land-locked wherever we've lived, and vacations were always to VACATION spots, like Disneyworld, etc. Can't wait!

Anyway, I have decided to deep clean the whole house, in anticipation of Spring Break. Because when we get back, it will be nice to have a clean house. It's going to take a lot of work, and I expect to be severely grumpy this week, but I can do it.

Had a good weekend, except we're all coughing with sore throats. Nice to have THAT on top of all the allergies. Thing Three and I are going to the Allergist to get all pricked up and figure out what's been kicking our butts these last few weeks. Although I can venture a guess! Hubby's black car is YELLOW with pollen! Everything around here is! They say the pollen level for NC is three times the level it was this time last year. That's what we get for a hot/early Spring! Today is supposed to be 85.

Makes me a little nervous for summer....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Procrastination + Me = Misery.

I'm having a weird week. Sometimes, when you're a procrastinator like me, you put things off. And more things. Then, finally, by the time you realize you might want to do something about the "put off" things they've grown into a massive pile of To-Dos that is completely OVERWHELMING.

Take Laundry, for instance. Yeah, that's the Battle Without End. And the Kitchen. The major gathering place for family, cooking, snacks, homework, school-project assembly, you name it. I have to keep up with that or...(**insert dive-bombing sound resulting in loud explosion here.**)

And Writing. If I neglect the writing long enough, the Muse flashes a highly inappropriate finger at me and leaves. And a plethora of other things that normal people do and seem to juggle just fine but I can't seem to because I PROCRASTINATE.

So, please forgive me if I seem out of touch, or just a little bit wonky. Because, frankly, I feel out of touch and just a little bit wonky.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Thursday! The weather is beautiful!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm Doing It Again...

I'm forgetting to blog every day! Please don't think it's because I "don't have time." Because I do. I can ALWAYS make time to blog. It's just that my life as of late has been pretty mundane. I've started eating clean and working out more. I am Spring Cleaning. Shuttling my kids to soccer practices and activities. Trying new recipes. Weeping whenever I fill up at the gas station...

...but I digress...

Things have been busy and boring, for the most part. I will say the one thing I haven't had time to do is WRITE. I am excited because when Thing Four goes into Kindergarten in the Fall, I will have much more time to write during the day. I spend an hour a day as it is driving him back and forth to pre-school, and he is only there 4 hours. That's barely enough for a trip to the grocery store and a good house tidying.

Things are turning green and growing...unfortunately that includes the weeds in our lawn. New lawn, new sod. We have the TruGreen guys coming out to fix our lawn. Yes, I know what they charge per treatment could be considered Highway Robbery, but our lawn really really really needs help.

I am getting the de-junking itch too. Cleaning the garage, deep-cleaning closets, I am gearing up to do some SERIOUS cleaning next week.

See? B-O-R-I-N-G. Not exactly newsworthy. But I will try to think of something. Hey, it's Tuesday Taco night!! ;-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To Pinterest...or NOT to Pinterest...

I won't lie--Pinterest is pretty dang cool. I liked the idea from the start, that's why I signed up. But then I got busy. I mean, I have a book coming out, soccer practices, a household to run, scouts, church activities, thank heaven BASKETBALL finally ended, I have so much going on during the day (and I already am on Facebook, which sucks away some of the time) I just don't think I can do one more thing. For example: The Hunger Games. Everyone has read it. Everyone is foaming at the mouth to see the movie. I fired up the Kindle two weeks ago, got through 30 pages of the Hunger Games and put it down, and I haven't picked it up again. I just don't have time! So, if I don't have time to even read a book that everyone says I should read, how will I have time to Pinterest? (Is that even a verb? I think it is!)


Pinterest is so...COOL! I've seen my friends on it. My sis-in-law showed me cool things on it. It is very very COOL! I want to do it! But, once I start, will it be a major vehicle of Time Suckage? Will I get even less done than I do now? I am not a very good juggler. This you all know. I can't do several things at once. It's just not my forte.

Hmmm....decisions, decisions...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quickie Post

On the run this morning, but wanted to give a shout out to my dear friend Devon Ellington, and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope it's a great one! Love ya Dev!! And I hope your mom is recovering well!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

"UNEARTHED" Cover Art Released!


I'm thrilled to present the cover for my novel, Unearthed! The book will be released July 10th, 2012! I'm pretty darn excited about it!
Here is an overview:
 Matt's spent years resenting his father and the church, but a once-in-a-lifetime archaeology trip forces Matt to face more than he bargained for as he and his father unearth a city that's been lost for centuries. This thrilling adventure is bursting with laugh out loud humor, a touch of romance, and more than a little mystery. A fun read for the whole family!

It is available for preorder now at and Barnes &, and lots of other online sites!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I'm a Pushover. For a Reason.

Kids are so dang CUTE when they're little. Those chubby cheeks. Those big, inquisitive eyes. The hilarious things they say. Their uncluttered/unjaded optimistic view of life.

Hard to say no to them when they're so sweet, right?

Then they get older. The chubby cuteness melts away, the hilarious remarks turn to sassy tongues and mean-spirited words, and you wonder at which point the Aliens made away with your darling child and left this...person...behind pretending to be your child. And it becomes easy to say no.

"Mom, I need Toms. Can you buy me some?


See? Easy. Unless they put The Moves on you.

"Mom?" (*while making HUGE doe eyes*): :Can you please please please buy me some Toms? I really like the way they look and I will clean the whole house for you and babysit for free for a year and stop raiding your closet forever if you just buy these little teensy weensy shoes for me..."

"Uh...I guess so?"

See???? SEE???? When they put it that way, all my resolve to deny melts away. I'm such a pushover. Granted, one day, I will totally collect on the promises made, because at this point, they owe me A LIFETIME OF HOUSECLEANING, not to mention FREE SHOULDER RUBS FOR LIFE and MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

Yes, one day, this momma's gonna collect. ;-) There is a method to my pushover syndrome. Because I'll have a weapon to use any time, any where, as needed. It's called GUILT. It's every mother's God-given right to make their children feel guilty. And I will. I will.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Life is Full of Awkward Moments.

I am finally realizing this. We aren't supposed to "sail" through life--it's meant to test and try us, and be SERIOUSLY awkward at times. Sure, there's awkward moments like the time you might realize you have no cash to tip the guy who just spent ten minutes detailing the inside of your SUV, or that time when your slip falls down around your ankles in the middle of church. Or when you get a popcorn popper for your wedding and you send a detailed thank-you about how you've already made popcorn with it and thank you SO much blah blah blah, and you open the box a month later to realize they've recycled the box to wrap six gorgeous crystal goblets inside. THOSE are awkward moments.

Then there are the BIG ones--usually happening in front of large crowds of people. Like flubbing your lines at a play when you know the director for the next part you want to audition for happens to be in the audience. Or sending a query letter to one of your dream agents and you accidentally leave the name of the previous agent you queried at the top. Or singing in church in front of a LOT of people and you lose your place twice and your voice cracks because you have a COLD. Or my personal favorite: you are sitting on a bus with your toddler and she points to a well-endowed woman and says in her very loudest outside voice: "MOM! LOOK AT THE BOOBIES!!!"

AWKWARD. Even the word is a bit...well...awkward. I have finally realized that instead of collapsing into a puddle of embarrassed melted goo when these moments happen, you need to Get Over It. Soldier on. Life is too short. You have lots of more awkward moments waiting to happen, so you might as well greet them with a smile. 

Right? ;-)