Monday, August 29, 2016

My School Year FAILS

Although I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing my friends post photos of their kids' 1st day of school, I have yet to do so. Out here on the island, we don't start till September 6th!! It's sooooooo far away...

In the meantime, I've reflected on some big FAILS from last year that I didn't want to repeat. Some funny, some frustrating, and others just learning experiences. Hope these will help you in making the school year a total win-win. Or if anything, give you a good laugh at my expense!

MY BIG FAILS OF THE 2015-16 SCHOOL YEAR!!!
 
note the "not having it" attitude
1. Telling pre-teen daughter what to wear the 1st day of school in a...threatening manner. (uniform school and I wanted a dress while she wanted pants; worst 1st day pic ever)

2. Assuming homework is done by the time I'm home from work. (and then believing them when they swear it is because you're too tired to check. Hint: they're 40% right, always check check check)

3. Not paying attention to the fact 2nd daughter keeps wearing the same shoes (holes, people! Quickest way to wear them out and have you back at the shoe store.)

4. Brushed teeth/hair done by the time we rush to the car. (basically if you didn't see it, it didn't happen; the rule of kid hygiene)

5. Littlest boy, crumbs, and backpacks (let's not go there...)

6. Any of the kids, bananas, and backpacks (kill me now...)

7. When my middle school son states that the teacher said it didn't need to be turned in right away. (believe nothing; you hear me?? Nothing!!)

8. The start of explaining to pre-teen daughter that being annoying to her crush, or boys in general, isn't attractive. (glares, got lots of glares)

9. Telling daughter said crush is not allowed because he's annoying ME. (the ban has not been lifted as of yet even with said glares)

10. Reminding oldest he is to protect all siblings as an older brother (must not have repeated "protect" enough as he heard "discipline as a parent would")

Question to the Reader::: What are some of YOUR FAILS?

Well, GOOD LUCK out there parents! Let's make this new year as awesome as we can with lots of fun! Just think, I may be doing worse than you! Now, doesn't that make you feel better already??

Hope to see you Wednesday for the reveal on what trend made a comeback for Fall!!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Back to School Blues

It’s that time of year again. Social media will be flooded with back to school pictures of kids holding intricate chalkboard signs declaring their grade. Their hair is gelled and bejeweled, their clothes new and some kind of brand name. Moms everywhere load those sparkling kids up in their cars and drive them to school, singing We Are Family.

Probably.

And then there’s me. My kids will eat cereal. Because it’s too early to cook. My daughter and I will fight over her mismatched outfit. One of my children will not be able to find their shoes. The oldest child will need to be woken up at least three times. He will certainly insult me and probably swing blindly at me. Someone will probably spill something. And they will all leave their food out on the table, along with a generous scattering of crumbs on the floor.

There will be lectures. I may or may not forget to take pictures (it totally counts if you take the picture AFTER school. Or the next day. Really, sometime in the first month totally works). There will be strange sounds from upstairs—something that can only be described as a mixture of the intricate mating dance of a male ostrich and the death howls of a pack of hyenas. I decide not to investigate unless there’s smoke or blood.

My oldest child will probably miss the bus, and some way or another, it will be my fault. But they will all get to school. On time. With their teeth brushed, hair combed, and matching shoes on their feet.

Probably.


Amber Argyle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. Amber is the bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. She currently has completed two series and is working on a third. You can receive four of her books for free. Simply tell her where to send them, here's her website.



It was great getting to know Amber better this week! She put several things into perspective and showed us how to figure out what's most important and take care of it. My favorite quote from Amber this week:

"There are three things that are worth our constant efforts: working hard, being happy, and serving others. Everything else is just clutter." - Amber Argyle

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cook Once, Eat Twice Lasagna

*I always prepare two pans of lasagna. One to cook, one to freeze.*

picture credit
Cook Once, Eat Twice Easy Lasagna
Prep: 20 min l Total: 1 hour, 35 min

2 lb. ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 containers of 15 oz cottage cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/3 cup dried)
2 jars (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
2 cups water
24 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350. Brown meat in a large skillet. Meanwhile, mix egg, 2 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese, the ricotta cheese, ½ cup parmesan cheese, and parsley until well blended; set aside.
Darin meat; return to skillet. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Add water to empty sauce jar; cover with lid and shake well. Add to meat mixture; stir until well blended. Spread 1 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of two 13X9 pans; top with layers of 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, and 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining 3 noodles and the remaining meat sauce (4 total layers). Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Cover with greased foil. Write bake time and temp. on one pan’s foil and put in the freezer (to bake, go directly from freezer to 325F oven for about 2-2 1/2 hours ).

Bake 45 min. Remove foil; bake an additional 15 min. or until heated through. Let stand 15 min. before cutting to serve. Makes 12 servings, 1 piece each.


Amber Argyle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. Amber is the bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. She currently has completed two series and is working on a third. You can receive four of her books for free. Simply tell her where to send them, here's her website.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Healthy Sense of Pride

This week we welcome Amber Argyle to the House! She's got advice, an awesome recipe, and fun, relatable beginning of school woes... I hope you'll join us as she shares this week!

All my life, I have been taught two contradictory ideas. One from my church: beware of pride, because it proceeds the fall (meaning your downfall). The other from my school: have pride in myself, my appearance, my team. I didn’t understand how pride could be both a good and bad thing. The question continued to morph as my life changed. Was it bad that I had such swelling feelings of pride in my son’s kindness? Or my best time at a 5K (32 minutes, with steep hills, if you must know)?
www.kevinspear.com
This seeming oxymoron came to a head when my career as an author finally began to take off. After years of struggle, I was finally making good money, my books were well-received, and I was respected by my peers. I was proud of myself. Of how far I’d come and how much I’d accomplished. Was that wrong? Was I doing something wrong?

And then everything changed. My income dropped by a third from one year to the next. And then dropped by a third the year after that, even though I had more than doubled the amount of books I had for sale. I began looking around at other authors (granted, there weren’t many) who were still succeeding, despite the indie market crash. I buckled down, wrote more books, and released them faster. I had a strict deadline and often pulled ten hours five to six days a week.

It didn’t work. My sales continued to hover right around unimpressive. I was devastated. I’d worked so hard, sacrificed so much, and I tasted success. And then it was gone.

For what had to be the 100th time, I wondered if it was time to quit. Get a real job with a steady paycheck. But I still loved creating stories. It was the schedule that was killing me. And maybe not making fantastic, life changing money was a blessing. Because I was free to stop. Or at least go to half-time. Free to say yes to lunch dates with friends or a spontaneous trip to visit family for a week. Free to add working out back into my schedule. Free to help others who need a meal or a cookie or a pair of strong arms to move boxes or wipe tears.

It was around this same time that I found a quote by C.S. Lewis and I finally understood. “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man . . . It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”

The danger of pride is comparing yourself to those above or below you: “I wish I could be more like them!” or “I’m so much better than them!”. Neither is fair to you or the other person. The key for me was that even if that comparison was (mostly) to myself, it was still harmful.

I’m not making the money I was before. And that doesn’t change my intrinsic worth one bit. It never did. There are three things that are worth our constant efforts: working hard, being happy, and serving others. Everything else is just clutter.


Amber Argyle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. Amber is the bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. She currently has completed two series and is working on a third. You can receive four of her books for free. Simply tell her where to send them, here's her website.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sometimes I get a good feeling - Video Scrapbook tips

Today on Friday Free Day, I'm sharing some advice about digital scrapbooking...

I love making scrapbooks! But I limit myself to special occasions for all the time they take. My oldest son is about to graduate from high school, so you know this is a huge scrapbook opportunity. Unfortunately, scrapping has lost its steam, has anyone else noticed this? Plus, guys don't seem to appreciate them as much as girls... So instead of making a video/slide show AND a scrapbook, I'm making a VIDEO SCRAPBOOK.

And as I put it together, I thought I'd share some BACKGROUND tips to add TEXTURE...
Take pictures (closeups are great!) or Scan items to use for backgrounds. These things make the scrapbook that much more personal than just googling a background (which I also do). Here are my examples:

My guy loves baseball - I also have baseballs, a bat, grass, the baseline, the fence...

and sunflower seeds!

beads are a fun, colorful background - as well as crayons, legos, even post-its!

I love 3-D cards and keep special ones, like this one! (scanned it!)

Felt is svelt! I scanned these too!


Our team is the Grizzlies - so I scanned this shopping bag!

I also took pics of favorite stuffed toys, baby blankets, his trophies, stuff hanging on his walls... Lots of memories, now digitally immortalized to his favorite music!

Have you ever made a video scrapbook? 
Any advice for this weepy mom? *sniff, sniff*

Have a great weekend wherever you may be!

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