Christmas Highlights

I painted Abbey's door because I thought it would be fun and cool. Her response when she saw the pics was "its out of proportion but okay." oh and in case you didn't notice it. It says 221B which is Sherlock's apartment number. Her thought on that was its crooked.

I took my Christmas tree down on Christmas Eve, We had already opened our gifts so I didn't see any reason to leave it up. It had become a play structure for the cats. Sadly the lights (its a pre-lit) got tangled between two of the pieces. I was tempted to cut them loose, but then the thought of stringing lights was enough to make me shove the tree in a box still stuck together and hope it untangles by next Christmas.

I painted my kitchen I LOVE the color but I was so tired after spending two days taking ugly border down (I had to buy a steamer to actually steam it off the wall) that the paint job is kinda lazy. Meaning I got spots on the ceiling and on the trim. So now painting the trim and ceiling have to be added to the to-do list. I'll show you pictures of my kitchen once I get everything put back into place.

I listened to a podcast while I worked. If you like true crime, and podcasts. I suggest Serial Podcast. Its awesome!!! I have been drying to talk to someone about it, but no one I know has ever heard it. So please someone listen to it and then talk to be about it.

My dryer died. I am pretty sure its the belt, but I have no idea who to call to fix it. It came with the house, so I'm guessing it isn't under warranty. I keep telling myself that I'm going to fix it myself. I even went so far as to take a pic of the model number of my dryer. Somehow though my phone uploaded that pic to Instagram. Not only did it do it once, it did it twice. So my phone must think its REALLY instagram worthy that you know what make and model my dryer is. In case you aren't in my Instagram and keep missing my dryer details here it is.
So how was your Holiday?


How I finished Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving

love giving presents. I put a lot of thought into what I give. I usually start thinking about gifts in May or June. Christmas shopping is a multi step process. 

Step 1: make a list if everyone I usually shop for. I think about their likes, dislikes, and things they may have mentioned they want.

Step 2: I plug this list into my Christmas list ap. I bought this ap last year and LOVE it. I don't receive anything for telling you about it, I just REALLY love it. I had downloaded some free ones but they really weren't as good. 

Step 3: I start listing what I'd like to get them. You can Change and delete as you go along so it makes it really easy. In case you look at the ap and see that it still say I need to purchase some...I don't I just forgot to go in and click purchased. 

The ap keeps track of your budget, what you still need to purchase, and how many shopping days you have left. 

You can also pass lock it which is great if you have kids or spouses that are snoops.  When you are finished shopping you can enjoy this Christmas drinking game. I totally stole this from Facebook. 
Hope you have a wonderful holiday. I will probably be MIA until Monday. I have one more Christmas celebration and then it's painting my kitchen and hopefully my new hutch. Too bad I didn't ask for a lowes gift card for Christmas 

Christmas Party take 1

I had a great weekend. I hosted gift exchange for my parents and sister. My parents are divorced so that was fun. Imagine two adults completely ignoring each other. We all just go along with it. While my sister was up we ventured into my attic for the first time. I was excited to see it wasn't super scary and that it had tons of room to store boxes. I may be able to put off getting a storage building. While upstairs we found a mirror. My sister pointed out that in horror movies when you find an old mirror it usually brings ghosts. When I came down from the attic with the mirror, Emmy said she bet it was cursed. I'll keep you posted if I suddenly have an infestation of ghosts.

After opening presents we finally got family pictures taken. We had a blast. 

Then we went to a park and walked around looking at the lights (then shopped) It was the perfect weekend.

Worst. Present. Ever

I once got a shirt for Christmas. It was off the shoulder and the oddest shade of orange, almost a persimmon color. I loved that shirt. But. it took me forever to be able to wear it because for some reason I felt like my socks had to match my shirts. Anyway....

The shirt came with a pair of pants. I am not exaggerating the pants were jungle print MC Hammer parachute pants. This was at a time when even MC Hammer wouldn't be caught dead in parachute pants. I wish I had a picture of what they looked like. It was something like this.
 I try desperately to pick presents that people will love, but sometimes you make mistakes. I still cringe at a present I once gave someone. This may be up for debate but the present that I think is the worst I ever gave someone was to my moms husband the year they got married. I should preface this by saying that I didn't really like him then. Now that they have been married 14 years, my feelings haven't changed. But the year I had no idea what to get him. I waited until just a few minutes hours before our gift exchange and ran into a store to grab something. I ended up buying him a bathroom soap dispenser.
So whats the worst present you've ever received or given?

Tour around Blogland

Thanks Jen, for adding me to the tour around blogland.Welcome to anyone new.

What are you working on now?

At work I am getting ready for my yearly evaluation, finishing up any projects and jut trying to catch up on things so I can take time off without worrying if someone may need me while I'm gone. 

Some things on my to-do list for my blog this month is:

  I bought a domain name, I did that last year too, but could never get it to work right even after talking to a live person for help. This year I am hoping to get it to work. I also would like to get a new background.

Some things on my to-do list outside of the blog:

  •   Paint my kitchen, I really just can't stand that dark red much longer. I don't want to get rid of red completely though. I'm thinking that will be the color of my hutch I got for Christmas. 

  • Keep marathon watching Gilmore Girls 

How does your blog differ from others in its genre?

  I really don't think it does. Unless it differs by being a lame version of others.

Why do you write/create what you do?

I write because I want a record of my life. I know I could just have a diary but I like the interaction with others. I enjoy reading other blogs and commenting.

How does your writing/creative process work?

  Basically a topic will pop into my  head, usually in the shower and I will write it down on a piece of paper or in the notes section on my phone. Sometimes I then forget its there, but sometimes I will remember I wrote the topic down and will actually finish the post.


Bad Santa

Isn't it funny how things can trigger a blog post. I had no idea what to write about today then I heard Johnboy an billy  do a skit on the ways you can tell you have a bad mall Santa. That's when I realized I had a story about a bad Santa.

My mom worked for a company that loved families. They had kids holiday parties for everything. One year when I was about 13 I went to the company's Christmas party for the kids of the staff. Santa was there and we all had to sit on Santa's lap and have our picture taken.

So I sat and they took the picture. After the party I collected my picture of me and Santa and that's when I noticed....Santa was really happy to see me. He had a bulge in his suit and became boner-clause. I would show you the pic but it was an old Polaroid and hasn't held up well over time.

But I told my mom and she was horrified. Santa was a coworker o f hers. Needless to say he was never Santa again, or the Easter Bunny. I also never got  near him again.


Christmas Traditions Simplified

Last week I mentioned that this year my girls and I decided to simplify Christmas by only doing things we want to. No more feeling obligated to do anything. It may make some family members mad but at one point everyone has to make there own memories and traditions. Here are a few of things that we are doing and not doing.

Decorating the House: We (and by we, I mean my sister) decorated my mantle for us. We put our tree up and the Christmas Village, and wreaths on the doors. 

Cookies: We haven't done this yet, but its on the to do list. I am a terrible cook so fingers crossed that I don't burn the house down. I think the girls just want to decorate them so maybe I can pass off store bought sugar cookies.

Charity: We made and donated boxes for Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child. The girls wanted to do a box for each age group so we did 3. You can read about it here. We also adopted an angel off of the angel tree. We chose a 14 year old girl. Because older kids often get forgotten about. Plus its easier for us to shop for teenage girls.

Presents: We shopped for people, but stopped at those we care about. We felt it better to give to charity than random people we never see. In the past we have made our own bows and gift tags. This year if we have time and do it, then great. If we don't get to it, then we won't stress about it.

Traveling: We aren't doing it. Its the same as it was for Thanksgiving. We want to celebrate at home.

Cards: Nope not doing them. We will possibly take pics and maybe do a digital card but I won't be ordering and addressing cards. We also aren't doing a yearly newsletter. Sorry but If they haven't kept up with us throughout the year then the chance that they even care enough to read the letter is slim. Besides they can always come here and read what we've been up to.

Food: We haven't really talked about this much. Growing up we would have dinner at my moms parents and open presents. As I got older the dinner turned into finger foods. I really hated that. Then I got married and my ex and I would alternate years with out families. His family would do Christmas Eve service at their church then go to their grandmas house and eat roast and open presents and the next morning they'd have a big Christmas Day breakfast.  We may do a combination of this. It will probably only be me, the girls and my dad and sister so a big meal would go to waste.

Entertainment: We do have plans to drive around and look at lights. This is one of our favorite things. We also have to attend the Christmas programs that they are in. But, we are skipping the Christmas parade. We hate the cold and standing. So standing in the cold to watch the parade is too much like torture.  We went shopping last weekend and enjoyed the piano player in  the mall. He was playing Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera and I totally geeked out. My high school band played Andrew LLoyd Weber so much I can still play that song if someone handed me a Clarinet.

November Chose Your Own Adventure November Recap

I've been participating in Chose your own Adventure with Stephanie, Steph, and Ashley. November's theme was organize. I didn't get every troubled spot organized, but I did accomplish a lot.

I added a series of baskets in my kitchen/entry way, its an old house, and this area is hard to explain. Technically its in the Kitchen, but could be considered an entry/hallway. Any, whatever..... I wanted something that I could store hats, scarves, gloves and lunch boxes in. I bought plastic coated wire bins from the kitchen storage section. I used walmart but seriously any store would have them. I spray painted it with my new favorite color spray, oil rubbed bronze. I also did this for the laundry room.
I also added a lid organizer (from the same department) and organized my pans and baking dishes.  I have what I think is the most narrow cabinet known to man. The lid organizer barely fit in this cabinet. but now I don't have to dodge the falling backing pans. They are all lined up waiting for me to make my choice.

Then I added this shelf to my bedroom and hung my bags from. Now I can see what I have at a glance.

I dodn't get a picture of it but I rearranged some things in my bathroom too. I had two towel bars on different walls. For some reason it really drove me crazy. So I moved one and stacked them. The wall behind the door is now for hanging up towels. Where the towel bar use to be is now an organizer for hair accessories. I seperated them, elastic ties in one, headbands in another, and misc hair things, like the gadgets to make buns, or clips are in another. It really has made finding things easier. 

December is  Simplify. We (the girls and I) have decided to only do the Christmas things that make us happy and bring joy to our lives. No caving in to "you have to, because its Christmas" nope we don't. I will talk more about our Christmas traditions in another post. We are finished with most of our after school activities. Emmy still has Drama and Choir, other than that, we have been coming home, fixing supper, and then literally falling into my bed to watch tv under the electric blanket. You can't get much more simplified than that. I'm really hoping that we can continue this trend all winter. Its been so nice hibernating. 

Not Entirely Perfect

Wednesday Confessions

Wednesday is probably my favorite blogging day, because I can turn a bunch of random sentences into a post.

  • I am probably way too happy about GhostBev being back. The whole saga back during the summer, helped me get through the home buying process, I definitely needed the laugh it provided. 
  • I remembered I had downloaded, to my kindle, the Sophia Kinsella book "shop a holic to the stars" Its like Christmas came early for me. 
  • The dreary rainy weather is depressing me. I need sun and warmth. 
  • I finally started watching Gilmore Girls. My girls and I have spent every evening this week curled up under the electric blanket watching it. We laugh at how similar it is to our lives. Even some of the lines are things that we have said to each other. 
  • I've been peer pressuring my coworker to start a blog. She has a lot of great stories to tell. I hope she actually does.  
Confession Wednesday Button

Have I mentioned that I'm the tooth fairy

Yesterday I mentioned that I never told my children that there was a Santa. That also went for the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and my parents creation the Birthday Bear. A bear that delivered birthday presents. I swear my parents really must have enjoyed making up fictional creatures to bring gifts.

When my daughter was in Kindergarten she lost her first tooth. The kids in her class told her all about the tooth fairy and how that night she would put the tooth under her pillow and the next morning money would appear. As soon as she got home, she told me all about the tooth fairy.

I explained the tooth fairy is like Santa Clause. He isn't real and that I am the tooth fairy for you. I said I would put money under her pillow. The next day she goes off to school, excited to tell everyone that her mom was the tooth fairy.

When I went to school to pick her up the next day, the kids were so excited and asking me a million questions how do I know when they lost their teeth? How did I get into their house and back out? How did I make it to every ones (who have lost teeth) house in a night? What did I do with the teeth?

I had no clue what to say. So I just laughed and said it was magic. I don't know how long these kids believed that I was the tooth fairy, but I did get several phone calls from parents wanting to know why their kids are insistent that I was the tooth fairy.


What do you mean there is no Santa Clause?

I mentioned last week that I got into an argument, about whether or not you should tell  kids there is a Santa. I don't care what people do concerning Santa, but I really didn't like being told I was wrong because I went the no Santa route. See, I was raised believing in Santa. My sister (obviously) was raised believing in Santa. But neither one of us are big fans of Santa. When I got married and had Abbey we talked about Santa. I wanted what I remembered most about Santa, The pictures. I loved my pictures with Santa, and I wanted that for my kids. Other than that, I really didn't care. My ex came from a household where they didn't tell their children about Santa and he didn't want to tell ours about it either. We compromised. I could have the pictures and the kids would know Santa wasn't real.

Later the whole pictures with Santa seemed crazy since the kids didn't believe, and that was ok by me. After years of living with no Santa, I realized its actually a good thing. Here's my reasons for being Anti Santa.

1. We could be somewhere other than our house and not have to worry about how Santa was dropping the presents off. We could either open them before we traveled or when we got back and the girls didn't worry about if they were being delivered.

2. Call me selfish but I didn't want some fat white haired guy getting the glory for buying that perfect present.

3. I didn't have to worry about NOT finding that perfect present, I could just explain that the store was sold out and we can get it after Christmas. (Yes, I had to do that once.)

4. We used not believing in Santa as a teaching tool. We should be Santa for those less fortunate. We've rang bells for the Salvation Army (dressed as Reindeer) and we've adopted Angels off the Angel tree. This year we did the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child.

5. Not getting a pile of presents didn't mean they were bad

6. I didn't have to rely on a fat white haired man (or an Elf)  to help me keep my kids behavior in line. I still think the "he sees you when your sleeping, He knows when your awake" is creepy.

7. I didn't have to worry that someone was going to let it slip that Santa wasn't real. 
On a different topic. I was getting ready to leave my house yesterday and heard water dripping in the closet. I opened the door to find my water heater gushing water out of the pressure valve.
 I screamed, I ranted, I frantically texted my sister who posed the question to FB that I had water gushing from my water heater and did anyone know how to fix it. I got several responses from guys saying that I needed to replace my water heater. I googled the problem and realized that by turning my temp up (I like HOTT showers) I created steam in the tank and it built up pressure and resulted in the pressure valve releasing the pressure in the form of dumping scalding hot water all over my floor. I turned all the gas off to my tank. Then I held the valve up (Releasing pressure) until it was no longer leaking water when the valve was down. Then waited a few minutes and reset it all. Voila no more leaking water heater. Then of course I commented to the guys and told them how I fixed it and thanked them for their advice.

Things I'm thankful for

I meant to do this earlier but waking up with a migraine, and still having a thanksgiving meal  to fix meant it just didn't happen.

1. I'm thankful for my girlies. I love them to pieces. 

2. I'm thankful for my sister. She helped me cook, and brought desserts and rolls, and helped me decorate my house for thanksgiving. 

3.  I'm thankful for all my animals. Especially my snuggly Westley. Even if he does have weird hair that always makes him look like a homeless dog, and even when the cats want to sleep laying right on top of me. 

4. I'm thankful for my house. It took me what seems like forever to finally have a house of my own and I couldn't be happier with it, or with having a mantle to decorate.

5. I'm thankful for my migraine medicine. Within an hour of taking it, I was able to finish the meal pain free.


Holiday Confessions

  • I could be done with Christmas shopping right now. I know me well enough to know I will still be buying odds and ends all the way up to Christmas Eve, but in theory, I am finished shopping.
  • I'm excited/nervous about tomorrow. I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house. I haven't cooked a turkey in 14 years. I really hope I don't burn the house down. 
  • I got into an argument over telling kids or not telling kids about Santa. Yes, this will be a blog post as soon as I get it written. 
  • I do not do black Friday. I just don't have the patience for that insanity. 

My Daughter is a Princess

Some little girls dream of being a princess when they grow up. I just so happen to have given birth to a Princess.

My friend owns a company that provides characters for parties. He had a party for a little girl who is sick with a immune disorder and couldn't have a traditional party for fear of becoming sick. Thankfully Abbey has recovered from the plague she had. The little girl wanted Elsa and Anna (Frozen) to come to her party.

Abbey got to be Anna. She didn't even need to wear a wig. Just a few hours earlier she was being a hateful teenager and driving me crazy. Seriously we stormed out of the mall, because I wasn't about to take one more second of a pissy attitude.  But when it was time to be Anna, she was a princess. She was sweet and nice and made the little girl have a birthday she will never forget.

Her eyes were sparkly and she was bubbly and happy after the party. She told us all about the girl and how the girl wanted to show Abbey/Anna her princess bedroom and play games with her. When the girl asked her where Olaf was Abbey/Anna told her that Olaf wasn't feeling well so he stayed home. I still haven't watched the movie but I am proud that Abbey was willing to take time out of her drama filled teenage angst having life to put a smile on someones face. 

While in the spirit of helping others, the girls decided to do a shoe box for operation Christmas Child.
They chose to do 3 boxes to cover all the age groups. It was fun watching them pick out items that they thought a little kid would want. I paid the 7 online to get a special bar code so we can track our boxes and see where they are going. My plan is to use it as a geography lesson and learn about the country the boxes have gone to.
Seriously overlook the phone pics. It was pouring the rain and my lens kept fogging over....or my phone is crap and I need a new one.... or both.

loopy Friday

How do my nice, sweet, wonderful children repay me for letting them stay hone nearly all week and recover? By giving me the plague.  I am hopped up on Sudafed and Dayquil. I am hoping I kick this soon. My Christmas decorations are being delivered tomorrow. They've been in storage since my move. I don't have a storage building yet. That and a fence back yard on high on my Spring to -do list.

I am moaning that even with the drugs in my system I feel no better. My head is so congested. I even bought the real Sudafed that you have to ask the pharmacist for. Do you have to do that in your state or is that something Kentucky does because we have too many idiots making Meth?  Anyway, I feel loopy.

Holy Cow

I can't believe it is Thursday already. Having sick kids all week really blurs the days together. Even though I didn't miss any work.They have been  to the doctor and tested negative for Ebola and the Flu. Since the fever has passed I believe its time for them to rejoin the world of the living.

So awhile back I mentioned that I had no clue where I want to go with decorating my house. Whenever I ask moan to people that I am stuck and need help, they so helpfully tell me that its my house and that I can do whatever I want. Completely missing the part where I don't know what I want. But, tonight it all came together. At least for the kitchen it did.

I had to drive to Lexington after work to get my stitches out. I had visions of all the pinterest wreaths dancing in my head, so I swung by Hobby Lobby to get some supplies. While there I walked through the wall art (because it was 50% off) and I was hoping to get inspired. OMG did I ever.

I love cows. I have a cow tattoo, of my stuffed cow I use to sleep with, but now has a place of honor in my bedroom. I have paired down most of my cow stuff over the years because as much as I love cows, I am not a fan of country. At least not the kind of country I am use to seeing. Most of the cow things I have now are based on the Cow Parade Cows. I'm sad several of my cow parade cows died a premature death thanks to the pets/kids/drunk visitors.

Anyway......I found this print. Please overlook the lovely iphone quality.  It was on sale and I had to have it. It already matches the red walls that the house came with, I'm still iffy on keeping it red or painting. But I know for sure the rest of the kitchen will be decorated around this cow. I feel like I need to give him a name. (my stuffed cow/cow tattoo is named Cowvin) just in case you were curious.


Keep Calm and Love a Shih Tzu

Its the time of year when people start
A. Thinking about all the things that they should thankful for, and wanting to give back
B. Possibly looking for a cute cuddly puppy to add to your family.
C. Wanting to donate a huge amount of money, to help with tax time.

I can help you with all of those things. Recently I discovered a rescue organization in my state, Bluegrass Shih Tzu Rescue. They have several dogs up for adoption (or as foster dogs). And look at these cute faces. Don't you want a dog that looks like an Ewok?

I'm not able to adopt, because I don't have a structural fence up yet. But, What I am able to do to help is set my amazon account to smile. Amazon smile donates a portion of what you spend to a non profit of your choice. I chose this wonderful organization. I also follow them on facebook because I love the update posts from the foster parents. Here is the website where you can learn how to donate, or adopt. You can also sponsor a sanctuary dogs that will be on foster care for the rest of their lives due to illness or other concerns. 
(My sister's Shih Tzu Inigo Montoya....yes he is dressed as a punk)

So if you are looking for a place to donate money before the end of the year they are a  501 c3 non profit, so all donations are tax deductible. If you are looking to add a pet into your life. I absolutely adore my Shih Tzu. Westley is my boy. I couldn't imagine life without him.

                   Isn't my boy a cutie?   

*** This is not a sponsored post and I am not receiving anything in return for my post. I just really think its a great organization and want all the dogs to have a furever home for the holidays.***

The poor house

We are at Ebola level of contagious at my house. Be glad you are reading this from the safety of your own house. There is a whole lot of fever, snot, and me screaming "cover your cough." I may not survive.

 The other day I was waiting in line and heard the guy in front on me use about 4 idioms. One that stuck out in my head was "if you run with a dog you'll get fleas." I had always heard the saying "If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas." Which I guess is close enough. This got me thinking about where these old sayings came from. 

A while back I was riding in the car with my coworker and she pointed out this house. I thought it was gorgeous. She said its the poor house. HUH?!?!? The poor house is a real thing? Apparently so. This house is no longer the poor house, but at one time it was used to house people who couldn't provide for themselves (or who were caught begging in public) 
Going along with the theme of poor....

If you relied on selling your urine to the tanneries for a living, you were considered piss poor. If you didn't have a pot to collect your urine in to sell, you didn't have a pot to piss in. My mom use to add to the or a window to throw it out of. No clue where that came from.


We are having our first real cold front. Its only 30ish degrees, which is just a taste of the horrible cold that, if last year was any indication, of what we can expect. I have been walking through the house and finding pockets of cool air. So far my electric bill has been good, but I don't want to waste any money on heating the outside.

So far I've insulated behind the outlet covers that are on an outside wall. I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but when I was buying weatherizing material it was only 3 for a box that would do the whole house.

The house was built in 1950, so I still have a floor furnace. It doesn't work, I have central air, but I do still have the big old vent in the hallway floor. I have a rug over it because it hurts to walk on. long term goal is to pull the furnace up and add some inlaid tile there. Short term goal is stopping the feel of Siberia when walking in the hall way. I laid plastic under the vent for the time being, however I really think it needs to have insulation too.

The house had new windows in two of the rooms when I moved in. I am now noticing that there is a gap around the window where it wasn't caulked and you can feel a nice steady breeze.

When I moved in there was a weird particle board covering half of the crawl space. I knew that was just asking for frozen pipes. A friend made me a door that fits right in the opening. Yay for friends that build things.

I still don't want winter to come, but at least I can hibernate and not worry about my electric bill.

protect your skin

There won't be any pictures in this post. Believe me you wouldn't want to see it anyway. About a month ago I made my annual dermatology appointment. I have a family history of skin cancer, and a personal history with skin cancer.  I was dumb and started using the tanning bed in 7th grade. I have always been naturally tanned (perk of being part Sioux) But I wanted to be REALLY dark.

Now, years later, I am dealing with the aftermath. I have had 4 displastic moles. That means the area has skin cells that are going rogue. They aren't normal. They have to be removed. Its not fun or pretty.

This time when I got the call that the biopsy was not good and they wanted to see me again to remove more. The nurse on the phone was so sweet and started to explain the process.. I cut her off and said I understood, I've been there done that and just needed my time to come back. She gave me a date and I showed up.

Several stitches later, in a spot I can't reach, but everyone I see wants to hit. Who knew so many people patted me on the back? I never noticed before. I know its getting to be tanning bed season. At least it would have been for me. I loved the feel of the bed on a cold day. It was like the best spa treatment. Totally relaxing and warming me literally from the inside out. I still find myself craving the feeling of the bed. But then I think about stitches, and wound care, and the allergy rash I will get from the adhesive, and the possibility that the next displastic mole isn't caught in time..... its just not worth it.

While I'm handing out advice let me say make an appointment for a full body check by your dermatologist. If you are in the Central Kentucky area I will highly recommend mine. Not all dermatologist will do a full body check, unless you ask. Its really important. Every problem area that I have had has been one that didn't concern me. The places I had concerns about have never been anything to worry about. So ask for the full body.  

What to do when your phone dies

Saturday morning, at the ungodly (for a weekend) hour of 8, I heard sobbing. It sounded pretty pathetic. I opened my daughters room. She was cradling her phone and crying. Upon further inspection it looked like the phone was in the middle of the blue screen of death. Only this was more like the stripped, flickering screen of death. We watched it  take its final digital breath and die.

What made this ordeal even worse was the phone 1. was long past warranty. 2. Didn't have a service plan. 3. Was 3 month shy of the upgrade date. Now I wanted to cry. I thought long and hard about what we could do that wasn't going to cost me a fortune to replace the phone.

First I called AT&T they wanted me to go with the NEXT plan. Which means I buy a phone and pay it off monthly. I really don't want to add to my bill, especially since it was so close to the time that I could get the same phone they want me to pay 30 a month for, for free.

Next I went to Verizon. All of my lines are close to the upgrade date so I thought maybe it would be ok to just switch carriers. Only the deals they have online they don't have in the store. Like the phone my sister wanted. Which is 100 in the store, but free online. Then my number and my sister's number wouldn't "port over". Because of this I wouldn't have gotten the 150 credit to our second bill (notice they don't credit that first big bill.)  After sitting with her for an hour and a half trying to make it work and determining to keep what I have with AT&T I would be paying 40 extra a month. She said maybe I should just do it online. I took that to mean, maybe you should stick with AT&T.

Finally I decided to add a line. It cost me 1.50 for the phone. I will pay for the extra line, until the upgrade date on the broken phone and then cancel that line. I'll still be paying the 40 extra but only for 3 months instead of the forever with Verizon, or 24 months with AT&T NEXT plan.

Food Fail

In October I joined the Choose your own Adventure. The theme was food. My challenge was to try something new every week. I cheated big time. I went to a festival and had a Grater Tater. It was a fundraiser from my former high school band. OMG it was good. They use a drill and spiral thingy and shave the potato so it is one long spiral potato chip like creation. Then they deep fry it and add cheese and sour cream. It was divine and well worth the 30 minutes I stood in line for it.

I also added one of the Campbell (Marsalla) packets to a chicken I threw in the crock pot. It was something I've never tried so I counted it. Of course I didn't think to get a picture. In my opinion the month of trying new things was a total fail.

I hope I do better in November for Organize. I have lived in my house for almost three months and I feel like I will never get it straightened out.

Life According to Steph

Moving Tips to Make Life Easy

This weekend I was asked about my moving tips. When you move as many times as I have, you pick up some tips and tricks for moving. A friend of mine is moving in a month. She works full time, goes to school full time, and has 4 busy kids. She asked me how I do it.

I was busy at t he time, freezing to death at the last band competition of the season. I couldn't even think at that moment. Once I arrived home, and had time to thaw out. I made a list of the big things I do when I move. In case you are new here, I have moved 6 times in 5 years. Before that, I moved 4 times in 6 years (not counting college moving home at the end of the semester).

  1. Label all Boxes with the name of whats in the box. No boxes should say Misc.
  2. Pick a spot in your house to store the boxes before you start packing. As you clear room you can expand the spot. This way you aren't tripping over boxes while you pack. 
  3. Start with the things you aren't using or don't use often that way you can start right away.
  4. Don't wrap breakables with clothes, like socks, you may think it sounds like a good idea but do you unpack knick knacks right away? You end up forgetting you've wrapped everything in your socks and then wonder what happened to all your clothes....then you buy more. 
  5. If you can keep your clothes on your hangers and move them together it saves having to rehang stuff. 
  6. Don't pack bedding instead use it to cushion breakables. 
  7. Have someone watch your pets until you have moved the final load. Its hard to move when you are worried about your scared, freaked out pets.  
  8.  Pack an over night bag with your toiletries and Pajammas in it. I am always exhausted after a day of moving and don't feel like digging through the piles. Numbers for take out is good too.
  9. As you move boxes into your new place, try to store them in the room that they will go into. But, line them against the wall so you can move around inside the room. 
  10. If you have children with stuffed animals you can pack them in trash bags, but remember to label it stuffed animals. I almost threw all my daughters stuffies away.


A Night at the Funeral Home

Karen shared a scary story today for Halloween, and since its been a crazy busy week getting ready for state this weekend that I hadn't given the holiday much thought. Like seriously, I was buying candy and costumes last night. Procrastinate much?

This story starts the week of my 19 birthday and culminates a week later.

The week of my 19 birthday, I had a bad feeling. Like something awful was going to happen. My feelings were so strong I started settling my affairs and destroying anything I didn't want people to find if I was dead. My foreboding feeling was really that strong. We were making our yearly trip to Kings Island, an amusement park a few hours away. I couldn't shake this feeling so I got it in my head that I must be going to die on this trip. I know, that's dramatic, but I couldn't think of anything else that would cause me to have such a high level of anxiety. My douchebag of a boyfriend broke up with me on my birthday...and the feeling still stayed with me that something even worse than that was going to happen.

The trip came and went and nothing happened. Unless you count stopping for breakfast and every single thing we ordered tasted rotten. My cousin Eric was with us and he said "your water looks tasty"Even the bacon was gross. I'm surprised none of us got sick.I was happy that I was still alive but the feeling didn't go away.  I went back to school and tried to calm myself because this had to be some weird hormonal issue.....right?

My mom called me a week after my birthday to tell me my grandma, was in the hospital and it didn't look good. She came home from registering my cousin Eric for high school and started throwing up blood. (She adopted Eric from my aunt) School was an hour away and I didn't have a car on campus. Mom was coming to get me while dad stayed at the hospital with his mom. On the trip home from school, I saw the biggest, reddest, fullest moon I had ever seen. The feeling of anxiety and anticipation of some huge awful event, left me as quickly as it came. I said, she's gone. And she was. 

My family has a tradition that we stay up with the dead. Whenever someone in my family dies someone or a group of someones stay at the funeral home the entire time that they are there. We always use the same funeral home and they are just use to us doing that. I've spent the night there with several of my relatives so this night in question was not a new experience. However, what happened while we were there was a new experience.

 On the night she was laid out, after the last visitor left, the group I was with, consisting of  my mom, dad, sister, my aunt and uncle, went out to the carport and sat. My grandma was in the first room on the right. There were no other bodies laid out at this time. We sat out there for hours with the door to the funeral home propped open. We told stories and reminisced. While sitting out there I started to shiver and feel cold. This was early August so the temp in Kentucky is always hot and sticky humid.I had no idea why I was shaking so badly and my teeth were starting to chatter. I noticed the swirling of shadows above the covered carport. I didn't feel concerned about this though. Looking back, I'm really not sure why I didn't feel concerned. We all stood up after awhile to go to the restroom, stretch our legs, and go back inside where grandma was. Just as we get to the door (which was only a few steps from where we were sitting) We heard my grandma speak. She said Carrie three distinct times. We froze and stared at each other. Trying to determine if we were having a collective hallucination.

We walked in a scared huddle into the room she lay in and nothing was out of place. I don't know if I half expected her to be sitting up and wondering where we were and what the fuss was about, but she wasn't. She was still in the position the funeral director placed her in.


My superstitions

I'm linking up with Helene again  today. I couldn't resist talking about what I'm superstitious about. I have always had black cats so that doesn't bother me. I don't mind 666. I don't even mind 1313 that was the room number to my dorm for several years. But here is what I am superstitious about.

  • I knock on wood 
  • I make a wish on eyelashes.....I also make a wish when my necklace has turned around to the clasp in the front. I don't know where I learned that from or why I started doing it, but I do.
  •  Another one I have no idea where I got it was, if I see a full moon through a window (for the first time that night) I have to flip a coin in my pocket. I keep change in my car just in case I have to flip something. That one is crazy, I know.
  • If I see a penny I pick it up, but only if it is heads up. 

Helene in Between Blogtober

a creepy story for Halloween

In celebration of Halloween this weekend. I wanted to share a creepy story with you.

It was a dark and stormy night. Ok no it wasn't. But it was night. This happened way back in high school.  I was spending the night with my best friend. Her dad was a farmer and they had bought land that had an old house on it. They never used the house, just the field and the barn. Then the house they lived in burned and they were forced to live in the old farm house until theirs was rebuilt. This house was in the middle of no where, at the county line, and beside a cemetery.

Her dad was working late in the field, so the only people home were her mom, me and her, and her brother and a friend of his. I was in her room while she ran down stairs to get something. No one else was upstairs.Her bedroom was at the top of the stairs and her bed faced the door. I saw a make figure walk up the stairs, walk past her room and walk down the hall.

I don't know why but I got up to follow this person. The hallway was dark and the end of the hall only had 2 rooms. Her parents room and a storage room that they had never been able to get the door open to. I got to her parents room and it was empty. I turned to leave and heard something moving in the storage room.

I went downstairs and found everyone sitting on the couch. I told them about the man walking up the stairs and the noise in the storage room. That's when they told me a previous owner of the house had committed that room.

Who do you decorate for?

I am addicted to reading Addicted 2 Decorating. She is a wonder woman. She just remodeled her kitchen from the studs up and 90% on her own. Our homes were built the same year, however hers is a little bigger than mine. So, I soak up every post she writes and dream about the day that I take the plunge and do something daring with my house. She just painted her kitchen cabinets green. It looks AMAZING!

A couple of days ago she wrote a post about decorating for yourself, not for resale and some future unknown buyer of your house.  I have moved 6 times in the last 5 years. Even when I thought I was settled and wouldn't have to move again (with moves 2,4 and 5) I still ended up having to pack up my life and move. The longest I have lived anywhere Since I was 18 is 5 years. At the house I lived in for 5 years, I was daring. I painted the bathroom a brownish colored called Brown Paper. You can guess it looked like brown paper. I did a faux paint treatment on the livingroom and hall way so it looked like suede. I thought it was amazing. People visiting would always reach out and touch it because it looked textured. Abbey's room was a teal. Emmy's room had a ladybug theme so I took the paddles off the ceiling fan and painted them and added lady bug spots. I had no problem wielding a paintbrush. Its just paint after all. It can be changed. I think the constant moving has messed with my creativity.

Now I live in a house that I bought and not one that I share with a significant other.  It makes a difference. I know I won't have to ever move (unless Chase bank makes me) But now I find myself in a almost decorating paralysis. Big ideas I had several homes ago, I have no drive to do now. I second and third guess myself at every turn and other than unpacking the only thing I have done is paint Abbey's bedroom. I have a box of paint chips that I have collected over the years. I have pinterest boards and Houzz idea books. Basically,  I have ideas that I can't settle on.

Why is decorating for yourself so hard? Or is it just me that thinks having free rein to do whatever I want is such a scary and daunting task? I literally have no idea where to start. Hell, I was so excited to buy a house with a fire place and I still haven't even done anything with it.

There is a house on my street that sold the week before mine. They have been busy since the moment they closed. Ive seen them drag all their cabinets into the carport and refinish them (btw...they look awesome and I kinda want to ask them to do mine). If I can ever decide what exactly I want.

I have never really been an indecisive person. I've always just used my gut and jumped feet first into every idea I have. I have no idea where this fear of change is coming from.  But, I hope it goes away soon. I want to be able to show you pretty before and after pictures.

Biggest Fear

I'm linking up with Helene today for her Blogtober challenge. Today's promt is my biggest fear.

Fear is a weird thing. Its something that varies from person to person. For example, sometimes I feel like the only girl in the world that doesn't have a fear of spiders. I do have a mild paralyzing fear of the dark. I don't like not being able to see what is hiding in the shadows. That is seriously the moment that a zombie, vampire or crazy escaped psycho will come to kill you.

I wouldn't even remotely consider that my biggest fear.

I fear falling, car wrecks, house fires. But those aren't my biggest fear.

I fear snakes, lack of cell service. oh, especially lack of cell signal. I have become way to reliant on my phone for everything. Just the thought of not having service sends me into a panic. But that's not my biggest fear.

I fear making a huge financial mistake that empties my bank account. I fear losing my home, living in my car, and eating from a dumpster. But even that is not my biggest fear.

My biggest fear is something out of my control happening to my kids. When Abbey was really young, I read a blog (Back in the babyhood years of blogging) of a mom whose daughter had cancer. I held Abbey as I read about the passing of her daughter and couldn't wrap my head around what the mom must be feeling. But, my fear for them goes beyond cancer. Anything that can cause them extreme pain, suffering or death terrifies me. Its a hard balance of letting me them independent people that have some freedom to grow and learn and lock them up in a bubble and keep them safe from everything negative that might be out there. Its far scarier than anything that might me lurking in the shadows.

Whats your biggest fear?

Helene in Between Blogtober

I made a mistake

I switched my comments to Disqus. I hated the constant spammy comment notifications. I thought that Disqus would help. I guess it has to an extent, but the problem I am having is that I now all my notifications go to my spam folder even when it isn't spam. I am also getting duplicate notifications randomly. I wish I had kept my blogger comment area. Does anyone know how to go back? I've tried goggling but haven't been able to figure it out.

Dyslexia Awareness

In addition to Breast Cancer Awareness month it is also Dyslexia Awareness month. I have tried to remember to post a dyslexia fact on my facebook page everyday, but I forget. Because, really I hate facebook and only check it randomly.

If you have battled the boredom that is my dyslexia link at the top you may have read that my youngest is dyslexic. Since her diagnosis 2 years ago I have really picked up the cause. There are so many misunderstandings about this disorder.

I remember when I was in college, I heard on the news that Bill Cosby's son was dyslexic and I remember thinking how sad is that, that he will never be able to read. A few more years of college and I knew a little more about the disorder, But nothing compared to what I have learned over the last 2 years.

I do a literacy training for teachers and one of the things I focus on his what is dyslexia and what you can do to help someone with it. These are the answers to the top questions I get asked about dyslexia.

  • You never out grow dyslexia but you can learn to read and read well with the proper intervention. Emmy is finally reading at grade level. Now if we can just work on her fluency and speed, which school puts a lot of emphasis on.
  • Orton Gillingham style literacy programs are the best for dyslexics because it uses a multi sensory approach to teaching. There are some school systems in Kentucky that use this style in the RTI programs. Our school district does not, but that didn't stop us from purchasing a program and tutoring at home. It really made a world of difference.
  • Reading ability has nothing to do with intelligence. It took me a long time to adjust to this. I use to be all about standardized test scores and reading levels. Now I care about what she really knows not what is regurgitated for a test.
  • There are some awesomely famous and successful dyslexics like Henry Winkler, Charles Swabb, The virgin mobile (and airelines guy) 
  • Dyslexia affects about 10-20% of the population and runs in families. I didn't realize until we had Emmy diagnosed that dyslexia has levels like autism does. Emmy is moderately to severe. I would be considered mild. I was able to get through school without too much reading trouble. But it really is more of a problem with numbers for me. Numbers still move around on me when I try to read them. Yeah balancing a checkbook is is dialing a number. My sister is also dyslexic more on the moderate to severe level like Emmy. Thankfully Abbey seems to have taken after her dad.
  • Having dyslexia is a real kick to the self esteem. You really need teachers who understand and will be a cheerleader for your child. I have been so lucky to have some awesome support from Emmy's teachers these last two years. I can't even tell you how wonderful they have been and how encouraging of Emmy to do more and grow as a learner. I get teary just thinking how her teacher last year started the process of turning Emmy and her struggles around. She will always be remembered fondly at our house.
I don't want to plagiarize someone else's work so if you want to learn about signs and symptoms of dyslexia please go check out this page Bright Solutions for Dyslexia. I strongly encourage you to do so. I never fail to encounter at least one family who suspects someone they love has dyslexia when I speak out about it.

How I choose NOT to vote for a candidate

I don't know about you, but I didn't think this day would ever get here. I get so tired of hearing about candidates. I get tired of them showing up at my house, the ads everywhere and their smiling faces  from every print source.

I originally wrote this post for the primaries. Since today is the general election I thought I'd share some ways I chose a candidate, when I can't  decide another way.

 Here is the top 5 ways I eliminate candidates.

1. If you feel the need to tell me that you are a "life long resident" of this great county. I will assume you are saying non life long residents like myself are less qualified, no matter if we have lived here for 20 years.

2. If you feel the need to plaster crosses or any other christian symbols on your sign, I will avoid you. I have no problem with Christians. I'm a proud Methodist. But, I don't believe in using Christ to gain voters.

3. If you have a dumb nick name. People you are running for office, its time to let go of your fraternity days and go by a real name. For the love of all that is Holy, how can I take a person called buttermilk seriously. I just keep wondering how did you get this name? Do I even really want to know? There was a whole news piece on nick names among Kentucky candidates. That's hard hitting news here.

4. If you chose to tell us your party affiliation when its a non partisan race, I'm going to assume you are not really willing to be bipartisan. Therefore I am going to keep looking for a better candidate.

5. Ok I know this is super shallow, but I will judge you based on how you look when you put your picture on your campaign material.

6. If your ads are super dumb and childish

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