Thursday, December 2, 2010

Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions Be Inspired Giveaway | Paint the Moon Photography Boutique

Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions Be Inspired Giveaway | Paint the Moon Photography Boutique:

Fabulous giveaway from Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions - this is one giveaway you don't want to miss out on. Lots of fabulous prizes from many vendors! "Over $1300 in prizes to nourish your creative soul!"


I Caught Santa plus a Giveaway!

This morning I had the opportunity to check out a new to me website -

"Imagine the look of wonder and surprise when a child receives a photo of Santa caught in the act in his or her very own home. is a unique website that helps visitors create those memorable keepsake photos.

In three simple steps anyone can upload a holiday photo, add Santa Claus and print it as proof… or share it via email, Facebook and Twitter. Last-minute shoppers can purchase Gift Cards and eGift Certificates for loved ones with children, making a great gift idea even if you don't have kids yourself.

A personalized photo from CatchACharacter is the perfect gift for any child! In 3 easy steps, you can add a fictional character (Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy or Cupid) to any personal photo. We also make it easy to download, print and share your photo on more than 30 popular websites."

Thanks to  and, I was able to try it out for free. And let me tell you it is adorable! We don't have our tree up yet this year, so I used a picture from last year - check it out:

Santa caught in the act! 

I must tell you I think this is such a fabulous idea! I know my kids are going to go crazy to think that I caught a picture of Santa bringing them their gifts. You know you are only little once, and I love to make the holidays, especially Christmas special for them, and this is exactly the type of thing that helps me accomplish that

The nice folks at have given me 10 eGift Certificates to give away to my readers!

Also, here is a code "MOTHERHOOD" to get 25% off your order @

To enter just leave a comment with your name and email address and I'll pick 10 winners on Monday, December 6th! (I've set it up so that comments will be moderated - so no one will be able to see anyone's email address!)

Thanks again to for giving my readers and myself an opportunity to check out your awesome website!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Card Sale!

I am having a sale for my blog readers on custom made Christmas/Holiday cards. Any order placed between December 1st and December 16th is 30% off. You can check out my designs and get more information here @ ErinShannon Designs on Facebook!

Quick turnaround time - I can usually have your card ready in 24-48 hours! You'll received a flattened .jpeg that you can then have printed off at your favorite printers - Walmart, Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc. You can choose between 4x6, 4x8, and 5x7. One flat price no matter what size.

30% off is good between now and December 16th!!! If you'd like to order, you can either leave me a message on FB or email me @ here. Just be sure to mention the following code "BlogOff30" to get your discount!

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mothers Day Cards

Love You Grandma Mother's Day 5x7 folded card
Find unique and elegant Mother's day cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

5 Tips for Editing & Creating Digital Photos

Do you ever see a photo and just drool over it? Wish that you could take a picture just like that? Well the truth is, that even those of us who aren't professionals can achieve professional looking results too. 

1. Camera - you don't have to have a professional camera to achieve professional results. I've seen some amazingly incredible pictures from a simple point and shoot disposal camera. The truth of the matter is, it's less about the camera and more about the person behind the camera.
That said, don't allude yourself into thinking that any ole' camera will do. Do your research. Compare! Compare! Compare! Go into the store - be it Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc, and feel the camera's - hold them - act like you are taking pictures. Does it fit your hand? Is it comfortable to hold? Can you imagine holding it for a long time while you take picture after picture? Keep in mind what features are important to you. You don't need to have a 12 mega pixel camera  if you are only printing up to an 8x10 photo. So take that extra you would have spent on getting a 12 mega pixel and put it towards making sure that you get other features you want. Make sure you understand the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom - they are two very different things. 

2. Manual and Tutorials - read your manual front to back. When you get your camera, you are going to need to charge the batteries to full power and so you will have plenty of time to get reading that manual. If you don't understand something, Google it. Watch tutorials on YouTube. Read books. Start out in Auto till you get a feel for your camera and then start branching out and take it for a spin. I know I learn best hands on or by watching. Find what works best for you and your learning style and then learn about your camera and photography in general. 

3. Be mindful of your background. I know sometimes it can't be helped - you have what seems like a perfect picture, then by all means shoot it and worry about the background later. But when given the opportunity to be a bit more mindful of that background, do so. I recently had the opportunity to go into my daughters preschool and do a class portrait and portraits of all the children. I am by no means a pro, my passion is just a hobby, but I knew I wanted these memories for my daughter. Well in all the commotion of the day, having 7 2-3 yr olds touching all your equipment, asking questions, hanging all over you, and suddenly the background wasn't even thought of and what do you know - I got a bit of a lamp in the background of some pictures. I was disappointed at my rookie mistake, but under the circumstances, I did the best I could. The parents are happy and that is what matters. 

4. Don't be afraid to edit your images. Again, if you don't know how to do something, Google is your best friend. Just Google it and you'll find a wealth of knowledge just at your fingertips. Whether it be red-eye removal or adjusting the curves of a image, there will be a tutorial out there for it. There are some really fabulous programs out there that you can use to edit your digital picture. I am a huge fan of the Adobe Photoshop and Elements programs! If you have no aspirations to become a professional photographer, then I'd say that Photoshop Elements would be a wonderful tool to have in your arsenal.

5. Duplicate! Ok, this is a biggie for me. Before you begin to play with your image - duplicate it then close the original and play with that copy. See, if you alter it and then save that alteration, you've forever lost that original and what happens if 6 months down the road you realize that you don't like that edit? You can't go back to it if you saved it as a .jpeg and redo it. I always keep my original photos in tact and just play with the duplicates.  Jpeg images lose quality every time they are opened, edited and saved. It's really important to keep the number of editing sessions to a minimum. To read further about this, you can check out this link here: JPEG Myths and Facts

 Just following some basic steps can have you too on the road to beautiful digital photographs. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless. I use my digital photographs and Photoshop to create digital scrapbook layouts such as this:




“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Adobe blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

About Adobe Photoshop Elements:
Get a complete solution for photos. With Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, you can make your photos look extraordinary with easy-to-use editing options. Share your stories in beautiful, personalized print creations and Online Albums. And easily organize all your photos and video clips from one convenient place.

More info:




Holiday Survival Tips 101

It's Thanksgiving eve and I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off! It got me thinking about how others "survive" the holidays. Are you like me? Do you wait till the last minute and make a mad rush to get everything accomplished? Or do you start out weeks or maybe months in advance?
Here are my 10 Holiday Survival Tips:

1. Organize, organize, organize. I can't stress this enough! Even though I am running around tonight like a chicken with my head cut off, I still have my lists going. I have a list of things to do tomorrow - a list of things to buy Friday in preparation for Vicky's birthday party this weekend - a list of gifts to get - a grocery list. Keeping a list helps me from having total chaos. If you aren't a person who does lists, try it out. I bet you'll be surprised at how easy it is to keep things in check, so to speak, when you have a list to go by.

2. Plan ahead. If you are hosting a gathering for the holiday, sit down when you have some quiet time and think about the people who will be attending and what food you'll be serving. Does Uncle Pete have a onion allergy? Is lil Samantha gluten intolerant? Is cousin Julie a vegetarian? You don't want to wait till the last minute trying to come up with food ideas that will work for all your guests.

3. Baking! If you have the room or a deep freeze, don't be afraid to start baking ahead of time. There are plenty of baked goodies that can be made weeks in advance and frozen and still delicious. Just make sure to wrap everything properly to keep it from getting freezer burn or dried out and you'll be good to go. I remember my mom doing this when I was a kid and I'd sneak into the deep freeze and sneak a frozen chocolate chip cookie - oh they were so good frozen like that.

4. Handmade. Consider handmade gifts this year. Some of my favorite gifts have been the things that I know someone put a lot of heart and soul (and maybe blood, sweat and tears lol) into. In the summer you can make jams and jellies from all those fresh berries you picked. Grab a jar of each and a pretty basket, add the jars of jam/jelly, a nice bottle of wine, a cup wine glasses, a gourmet box of crackers, a couple fingertip towels and you've got a nice gift for someone. The sky's the limit - that or your imagination! LOL!

5. Shop ahead! Just because it is July doesn't mean you can't think about Christmas gifts. This summer I got numerous gifts for my kids at K-Mart. They had a 50% off sale on already reduced toys. I spent $30 and got remote controlled trucks, My Little Ponies, Disney Princess, Barbie, and other items. When you see an incredible sale, take it. Rather than spend $ all at once, spread it out over the year and pick up things when you see them on sale.

6. Don't overextend yourself! Don't feel obligated to say "yes" to everyone and anyone. It is better to take on a couple projects that you can really pour your heart and soul into, then a dozen projects that are done half arsed! Don't be afraid to say "no". Only commit to those things that really speak to your heart. Make priorities. And don't forget to keep yourself on that list of priorities. If you are rundown, then no one wins!

7. Help! Don't be afraid to enlist help! Have a gathering at your house? Then don't be afraid to ask/delegate some things to your guests. Most people (ok, most normal people lol) won't mind being asked to bring along something to contribute to the meal. It can be something as simple as some holiday napkins or a green salad or a bottle of wine. Maybe you know that Aunt Pam makes a fabulous apple pie - ask her if she'd like to make one - tell her how much you enjoy it and what an honor it would be to have her pie at your party.

8. Breathe! Take time to enjoy the holidays. Sit down with the kids and watch a Christmas movie. Pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate (or frozen hot chocolate if you are feeling bold lol), curl up on the couch and just veg out. The most important thing at the holidays is family - make sure to enjoy your family!

9. Batteries! It seems that all toys these days take a plethora of batteries of all different sizes. Remember to stock up ahead of time, lest you have a bunch of grumpalumps on Christmas morning when they can't play with their toys cause they have no batteries. Nothing worse than getting that new handheld gaming device and no battery! LOL! One thing I like to do, is as I buy a toy, jot down on a sheet of paper what size battery it takes and how many, this way right before Christmas, I can go out and get all the batteries I need. Be prepared!

10. Decorations! Take your time putting up the decorations - don't get so rushed that you through together your tree and everything else and then never enjoy it. For us, the Christmas cards we receive are part of our decorations. We hang them around the doorways in the living room and we get to reflect all season on all the loved ones who sent us cards that year. A great place to get Christmas cards, is Tiny Prints. Tiny Prints Christmas cards are adorable cards and they really have things to offer for every taste and want.

Tiny Prints provides stylish, modern and unique stationery from photo cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side the Holidays will be a cinch! They offer adorable Thanksgiving Cards, Christmas Cards, Hanukkah Cards, and even New Years Cards. All fully customizable and personalizable.

About Tiny Prints:
Tiny Prints helps you get together, keep in touch and share your love—one little card at a time. Tiny Prints was started in 2003 by three friends and a dream. With a shared a love of babies and an affinity for beautiful paper, they set out to create a stationery company that would offer the experience of a local boutique with the ease of an online retailer. Specializing in the celebration of all of life's special occasions, we're thrilled to offer a fresh selection of exclusive designs, from birth announcements and baby shower invitations to personal stationery and more, delivered with the best customer service you can find online or in stores.

Stop by the Tiny Prints Blog, become a fan of Tiny Prints on Facebook and follow Tiny Prints on Twitter @TinyPrints to discover news, trends and creative inspiration for social stationery, family celebrations and so much more!

More info:
Join Tiny Prints on Facebook:
Follow Tiny Prints on Twitter:

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a $75 Tiny Prints gift certificate! For more information on how you can participate, click here.”


Weaving the Hottest Runway Trends!

Do you ever watch TV or flip through a magazine and wonder how you can be as fashionable as all the celebrities? I know sometimes I look at those runway looks and think to myself, "that would look ridiculous on me" and that it would cost an arm and a leg. But really the truth is, you and I, can have those looks for less!

10 tips for weaving the hottest runway trends into your day-to-day looks:

1. Color - Don't be afraid to flirt with some color in your wardrobe. The truth is, there are very few people who can't pull off color! Don't be afraid to add some color to your wardrobe - be in through a scarf, shoes, piece of jewelry, article of clothing, etc. Take that plain black dress and throw on a geometric patterned scarf full of color - add a chunky bracelet - some fabulous rockin' pumps and hit the road! I find when I am wearing all dark (and yes, sometimes drab colors - black/brown/navy, I just feel kind of "umph", but when I put on something bright and brilliant (fuchsia, light blue, salmon, turquoise, red) I suddenly feel vivacious and alive. Color is your friend!

2. Accessorize - Play up your outfit with fun accessories! Maybe some chandelier earrings, a chunky bracelet, animal print pumps, a hair piece, a bright purse! It's the holiday season - sales are everywhere - next time you are in the mall, treat yourself to a fabulous accessory!

3. Shoes - Oh how I love thee! Shoes are my passion - my obsession! Sometimes I miss working in an office simply because I have no need to wear high heels anymore. There is something sexy about a nice heel in a fabulous color! These days as a stay-at-home-mom, I don't have many reasons to wear high heels, but I still try to find shoes that are in style and funky and fresh but still comfortable and practical for running after a rambunctious preschooler! If you are aren't sure what is in style or what is out there, do what I do and go to some shoes sites and window shop online - I love and

4. Hair - Perhaps you can't afford the stylist to the stars, but surely you can find a hair stylist in your budget who can give you that look you want. Clip pictures from magazines or print them out from the internet and take them with you. You can still get a fabulous cut even if you don't have the wallet that the stars do. I'll let you in on a little secret - I love my stylist - I love my hair cut - she does an awesome job and gives me exactly what I was hoping/aiming for each time and guess where I go? Wal-Mart! Yep, I get my hair cut at the salon at Wal-Mart - it doesn't break the bank but I still get that trendy hairstyle I love.

5. Goodwill/Salvation Army/Garage Sales - Gasp! Yes, it's true - you can sometimes find great items at a steal at the Goodwill/Salvation Army or Garage Sales. My sisters this summer scored some fabulous Vera Bradley purses at a garage sale for next to nothing. I've gotten brand new Tommy Hilfiger apparel before at Goodwill. I've even got the kids name brand clothing - "The Children's Place/Gap/Gymboree/etc" with the tags STILL on. A friend on Facebook just recently posted about scoring a "Coach" purse at the Goodwill. Sometimes people don't realize the treasure they are sitting on and they donate it just to get rid of it and so, you must never discount these places!

6. Shop your own closet - Sometimes we have little treasures hiding amongst our own clothes in our own closet or perhaps even your spouses. Maybe your spouse has a great shirt that you could layer with a cami and leggings. Don't be afraid to repurpose items. One of the things I am some in love with these days is repurposing kids clothing - one of my favorites is taking a girls long sleeve shirt, cut it in half and sew on layers cut from your own old shirts and make a funky and fresh new dress. Check out this tutorial for making a pair of long leggings from an old tshirt - The possibilities are endless - go look in your closet without any preconceived notions - open your mind - don't be afraid to take outfits apart and pair them up with something else. Say you have a pants suit - take that jacket - put a cotton tank under it - skinny jeans - and a fun accessory or two and you've got a stylist outfit that didn't cost you anything.

7. Put on a little make up. This doesn't have to be a full face of caked on makeup - just some simple gloss and a bit of blush across the apples of your cheeks and some mascara and you'd be amazed at how refreshed you look! I admit, I don't leave the house without some make up on - even if it's just some tinted moisturizer, a lil blush, a sweep of eye shadow, some mascara and some of my chapstick! You don't have to look like you are headed out for Halloween - keep it simple and clean but it does make a difference. When going out at night, try for something like a "smokey" eye. If you are unsure how to accomplish certain make up looks, try googling for help or go to Youtube and search for tutorials. Unsure of what looks good on you, then head over to a place like Macy's where you can get a free makeup session. Yes, they'll try to sell you the products, but you are under no obligation to buy.

8. Jewelry - Sometimes it can be something as simple as putting in earrings that can pull an outfit together. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. There are plenty of good costume jewelry designers at there, that you don't need to break the bank.

9. Purge - Get rid of all the clothes that don't fit properly. There is nothing more depressing then wearing clothes that aren't fitting your body properly! And if you have something of good quality but the fit isn't right, don't be afraid to take it to a tailor. A tailor is your friend when you want clothes that fit you in all the right ways. As a plus size woman, I often find that clothes right off the racks don't fit right in every area - sometimes they need to be tweaked here or there. Don't get discouraged when you shop - keep in mind that you can have something altered if need be.

10. Don't stray - don't stray so far out of your comfort zone that you aren't comfortable walking out of your house. Being fashionable and trendy is all well and good but not if you are uncomfortable. Be you but only the fabulous you!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kenmore blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here."

Enter the Kenmore Runway to Washer Sweepstakes
Grand prize includes a Kenmore washer and dryer, a year’s supply of Tide®, and a trip for two to NYC with seats at Thakoon’s show where you’ll meet the designer, and receive items from his collection.

More About Kenmore Washers and Dryers
Introducing the Kenmore Elite Top-Load High Efficiency Washer. With Smart Motion™ Technology, it custom-blends six different wash motions to ensure the right cleaning and care for your clothes. Even designer styles from Thakoon’s collections have been washed in this machine.

About Sears, Roebuck and Co.
With its nationwide network of Sears stores, including 848 full-line stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, automotive and home products and services for families across the country. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through its Web sites, and, a variety of specialty stores and catalogs.

More info:

Twitter: @mysears



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comfort & Joy

What brings me comfort and joy?

The answer is one word: 


I am incredibly lucky to be married to my best friend. We celebrated our 11th anniversary this past April, though we've been together for a total of 16 years. I met him when I was a senior in high school. We moved in together a year later, much to the dismay of my family. People balked....whispered behind our backs....created false stories about where I really was...took guesses on how long we'd make it. But look at us now....I suddenly feel like breaking into that song by Shania Twain - 
Looks like we made it
Look how far we've come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew wed get there someday

They said, I bet they'll never make it
But just look at us holding on
Were still together still going strong
Yes, we've had our ups and downs, and plenty of tears have been shed. But we've always come out of it stronger and for the better. And really it's easy when you are married to your best friend. 
Together we've created these two most amazing little people. Two amazing children that I'd walk on coals for. Two children who are my whole world! It took a long time to get there - to become a parent - but once we got there, we couldn't have been happier. Life was complete. Our circle as a family was complete. 
When I think of my life without my husband and children, it brings tears to my eyes. It literally pains my heart to think of my life without them. I'd never be complete. I wouldn't be the woman/wife/mother I am today if it weren't for them. 
When I am down, I can count on my husband to make me laugh. He's got such a knack for being so crazy and saying the most crazy things are times when I just need it. He finishes my sentences - we share the same thoughts - we share the same crazy, sometimes twisted sense of humor. (If you are reading this honey, think of the bringing  home lost animals" lol) He works so hard to provide for our family, giving me the opportunity to stay home and be the mom I always wanted to be. 

And my children, they can make the worst of times, completely disappear. They cheer me up - they give me kisses and hugs - they color fantastic pictures for me. But really the greatest thing they do for me is love me. They love me as I am - unconditionally - mistakes and all. 
They love me! 

At this time of year, when the holidays are on our doorstep, I am ever so thankful and comforted by my family. 

What brings you comfort and joy? What makes you happy? 
Go on over to the "Softness Worth Sharing" web site: so you can send a free pack of Kleenex tissue to someone special!

About Kleenex®:
The world's first and America's best-selling facial tissue, the Kleenex® Brand is recognized by families in more than 150 countries. Invented in 1924, Kleenex® Brand facial tissues were initially marketed as a sanitary way to remove cold cream and makeup. Once advertising was shifted to emphasize the product's use as a disposable handkerchief, however, sales soared. Always the innovative leader, Kleenex® Brand facial tissue has met the unmet needs of consumers for more than 80 years with products that provide the essential and uplifting touch that makes life better.

Send a friend a free pack of Kleenex:
More info:
Become a fan of Kleenex® on Facebook:

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kleenex blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”



Fresh and Festive Holidays!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just a week away? Where has the year gone? Hardly seems possible that once again we are embarking upon the holiday season. I must admit, I positively adore the holiday season. There is something quite magical about this time of year.

I was given the opportunity to blog about 14 of my own personal ways for for a "Fresh and Festive Holiday"! So without further ado....

1. Holiday Baking - nothing says "Holidays" quite like the smell of baking.I love to make various kinds of cookies, bars, and candies to give as little gifts to family and friends. I love to watch the faces of those I love light up when they taste all the yummy treats that I've made for them.

Another fun thing to do when baking all those goodies is to host a cookie swap. Several years back I was invited to one and I admit at the time I had no idea what exactly it was. Everyone brought a tray of their favorite holiday goodies and then everyone went around and took some of everything and you got to leave with a tray full of yummy goodness!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies - a personal holiday favorite! 

2. Make your own ornaments! Last year was the first time we tried it in our house and it was a huge success! Trevor, who was 5.5yrs at the time, had a blast.We made Cinnamon Dough Ornaments and then snowflakes from plain paper. With the Cinnamon Dough Ornaments we cut them in holiday shapes and then after they were cooked and cooled, we painted them and sprayed them with shellac so that they would be preserved for next year. I don't know if I'd recommend that step though, because it takes away a lot of that smell you get from the cinnamon in the ornaments. On the other hand, if you want them to last longer, then shellacking is the way to go. The paper snowflakes we used glitter paint and decorated them. We also made a batch of plain popcorn in our air popper and strung that and put that on as garland. There really are so many fabulous homemade ornaments you can make. I think when you have small children, it's such a fun way to let them help in decorating the tree.

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Paper Snowflakes

3. Create your own air fresheners - I know you are thinking that this sounds like a daunting task but I promise you it's really quite simple. What I love to do is get some whole cloves and poke them into a fairly thin skinned orange. The juice from the orange permeates the cloves and gives off such a wonderful smell. I can remember my own mother doing this when I was a kid. To this day I just adore the smell of cloves. You can see step by step directions here.

4. Holiday music - it's a must! Nothing says "holidays" like the sound of Bing Crosby belting out "White Christmas". I love having the all music channels on the satellite because I get to have a constant mix of holiday music - some new - some classic - no commercials. And even the kids love the music too - I mean, what kid doesn't love the "Christmas with the Chipmunks"?

5. Christmas cards - I love to give and receive holiday cards. Every card we receive I hang on the wall in the living room. I love to be able to look at all those cards throughout the holiday and think of all the wonderful people in our lives who sent us those cards. I just got done making our holiday card for this year. I decided to go a bit non-traditional as you will see. But the really exciting part is that this is our first year with a family photo! Woohoo! Finally, we have a family portrait. I've already had several orders for my holiday cards this year. I love being able to create a wonderful design for someone! It's such a honor!
Our holiday card for 2010. 

6. Holiday pictures - these don't have to be portraits done by a professional either. I did ours using a wireless remote and a tripod! But the truth is, you don't even have to have a "portrait"....just taking snapshots is wonderful. You'll want to capture all those memories - all the laughs - all the tears - all the excitement. Next year when you sit down and look back at those pictures, you'll be so happy you did. I love to look back and see the growth of my children from holiday to holiday.
Christmas 2009
7. Candles - I love candles especially at this time of year. I love the glow and the delicious smell. Some of my favorite scents at this time of year are cinnamon/apple and pine. I am very much a scent oriented person - be it in the form of the smell of cookies baking or homemade air fresheners or candles.

8. Cup & Book - there is something quite delightful about curling up on the couch on a cold winter day with a cup of your favorite hot drink, (be it coffee, tea, or hot chocolate) and a good book! Cozy sweats, fluffy blanket, cup of coffee and favorite author in hand = relaxation!

9. Movies - remember being a kid and begging to stay up and watch "Rudolph"? Now I get to watch that and other holiday movies with my own kids. It's kind of this surreal feeling that I have my own little people now to continue these family traditions. We pop some popcorn in our air popper, fill up our cups with drinks and up on the couch we go to cuddle and munch and watch!

10. Speaking of movies, "Miracle on 34th Street" is a must see! When I've seen this movie, I know we are really in the holiday season. It is another reminder of my own childhood!

11. Holiday Light Parade - here in our town there is a holiday light parade with all kinds of decorated floats and people passing out candy to the little ones. It's bitter cold but it's fun for the whole family. Does your town/city do anything like that? If so, be sure to check it out. Maybe you've never been before, but there is always a good time to start a new tradition. Take a look at pictures from ours last year -
Firetruck all decked out!

Beauty Queens

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive! Let the holidays begin! 

12. Reading with your children - reading "A Night Before Christmas" is such a wonderful tradition you can do if you haven't started it already. I remember being read this as a child and it was always such a fun thing. I would lay in bed listening to the words, picturing it in my minds eye, hanging on to every word. Reading to your children is such a splendid thing to begin with, why not make it extra special this holiday season? There are lots of fabulous holiday books out there - check one or two from your library today!

13. Visit - perhaps you have an older relative who is shut-in...or maybe a neighbor or friend from church. Take some of those yummy goodies you made, box them up and tie them with a pretty ribbon and pile the kids in the car and go visit. You and your children will make that persons day!

14. Play in the snow - put down the bills, push aside the vacuum, leave the unfolded laundry and head outside. If you are anything like me, you hate the snow and outdoors, but you know that once you get out there with the little ones, you will have so much fun and they will be ever thankful for it.

15. Be thankful - as you sit down to your holiday meal - be it Thanksgiving or Christmas, keep an attitude of gratitude. Go around the table and talk about the things you are thankful for this holiday season (and every day.) What a wonderful gift you give to your children when you teach them to express gratitude!

Oops I went one over - truth of it is, I could go on and on. These are just a few of the ways you too can have a fresh and festive holiday. Leave me a comment and tell me about some of your traditions! I'd love to hear them! 

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Snuggle blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

About Snuggle:
Curl up with Snuggle®, the Ultimate in Snuggly Softness®! Get a $1.00 Snuggle® coupon and enjoy the scent of Blue Sparkle® Ultra that lasts for 14 days of freshness!

About The Sun Products Corporation:
The Sun Products Corporation is a leading North American manufacturer and marketer of fabric care and household products with annual sales of more than $2 billion. Headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut, Sun Products was formed in September 2008 from the combination of Unilever’s North American fabric care business and Huish Detergents, Inc, a leading manufacturer of private label laundry and dish products.

More info:



Friday, November 5, 2010

Our kids teach us....

There is a saying that goes something like this, 
"While we teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life's all about."

It's so incredibly true! My children have taught me so much about life and love, more than I had learned in the 28 years prior to their arrival into our family. 

Trevor called me into his bedroom tonight to tuck him into bed. I had let him stay up for a while in his bedroom playing with his "Speed Stack" cups and he was ready to put himself to bed. I went in and tucked him in and gave him a hug and kiss. As I was bent over, he asked me if I was proud of him. I told him I was most definitely proud of him, how we could see how hard he was trying and how much I love him. He asked if I love him even when he's naughty. I assured him I love him just as much then as I do when he's behaving. I went on to tell him that I love him good, bad, happy, sad ....that he's in my heart always. I started tearing up and so did he. We hugged and kissed. We cried together. We wiped each others tears. He told me that he loves me so very much. He told me how he doesn't mean to be naughty or hurt me. I told him that I know he doesn't. We talked about how far he's come since the hospitalization. He's a different kid. He's our kid - the kid we felt like we "lost" just one short year ago. We ended up hugging and crying some more. 

He showed me where he had written his name inside a couple books of his - the inside cover. He said he wanted to pretend that he was the author. He was afraid I'd be upset. Instantly I was brought back to my own childhood and how I had wrote my name inside my books too. Heck, I still have some of those books and I've passed them on to my kids. But I remember how angry my mother would be. And here I was the parent in the same situation.  And I realized at that moment I had a choice to make. I could flip out like my mother did - I could rant and rave about how he was defacing books - books bought with my money. Or I could tell him it was OK and let him know I wasn't upset. Which did I choose? Let me just say we hugged some more and he knew I wasn't upset at all. Really, it's such a minor thing. He hadn't torn out pages - he didn't write on every page - he simply put one word on the inside cover - "Trevor". So much bigger than that one simple word was the fact he was using his imagination. He was pretending to be the author. How freakin' fabulous is that? 

These few minutes tonight have left me near tears the rest of the night. Tears of joy! I am so incredibly incredibly incredibly humbled by my children. 

I have two extremely smart children and yes, every day, while I am trying to teach them all about life, they unknowingly teach me about life and love!

It's been a really long year. Looking back at the beginning of the year - namely February, March and April and thinking about Trevor's three hospitalizations, and I am overcome with emotions. He's been home since April 12th and yet it's still so very raw for me. Having him hospitalized for a month was by far the hardest thing I've done as a parent, and yet, it was the most incredible thing I've done. We gave him a gift - we gave him back to himself. It was a sacrifice we made as a family but we did it for him. Seriously that was the longest month of my parenting life. But when I see the leaps and bounds he's made since then, I am so thankful that we did what we had to. Between that hospital stay and his behavioral therapist, he's made so many huge improvements. Trevor is trying so hard - we can see it everyday - in the big things and the little things. I'll be honest, I was terrified that Trevor would hate me for putting him in the hospital. So to have him tell me how much he loves me and to know he genuinely means it, to see the tears flow from his perfect blue eyes as he tells me, well its' the very thing my heart needs to hear in order to heal the pain that I experienced that month. 

I love him beyond the moon and back! I catch myself starring at him as he talks to me and trying desperately to remember what he was as a baby...he's growing up so fast....I wish I could slow down time just a little. I wish I could go back to those first days and whisper in his ear, and tell him that the road ahead will present some bumps and struggles, but together will get through it and that we'll always love him. You know just recently I had blogged about how I worried about his future and yes, I still do in some ways, but I know we've been through such a massive hurdle and we got through it together, we can tackle any mountain that comes our way. 

Don't get so caught up in teaching your children, that you don't stop to recognize when they are teaching you! Sometimes we learn the most from those we don't expect can teach us!


Autism Speaks Puzzle Builder - Add your photo to the world's largest digital puzzle

Autism Speaks Puzzle Builder - Add your photo to the world's largest digital puzzle: "

I have created a digital puzzle with Trevor's picture - it allows anyone to buy a piece of the puzzle and the money is used for Autism research! What a great cause and a fun way to go about it!

I try not to beg for money, and especially now with it being so close to the holidays, but I am going to make an exception right now and ask that if you donate to one cause this holiday season, you do so for Autism research! It's a cause that is so near and dear to our hearts and our family!

Thank you!


I need your help!

I am in a rut!

A supper rut! I am sick to death of the same ole' same ole'. But it seems whenever I decide to get a bit creative, it costs a fortune by the time I am done buying all sorts of miscellaneous ingredients that I wouldn't normally have on hand. I love to cook and bake and try new things, but in these tough times, I can't be forking over so much just to create a new meal once a week. 

And by now you are wondering where you come into this? Well, I am in hopes that my readers have some recipes/ideas for me. I want things that are relatively healthy and yet easy on the purse to make. So lay it one me....give me your best ideas! 
What do you make that is healthy and isn't the same ole' same ole'? 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

One more I must share....."And then God created this mother"....

And Then God Created This Mother….

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of 'overtime' when an angel appeared and said,"You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

And the Lord said "Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 180 movable parts – all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that disappears when she stands up, a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair and six pairs of hands, ears that will hear things she doesn't want to hear, a mouth that can gently kiss away scrapes and bruises and yet tear the hide right off of those who try anything against the best interests of her child.

Yes, this model will have to be able to sit patiently and listen to outlandish reports about her child without flinching. She will have to hear how hopeless it all is and know that it isn't so. She will have to have those kinds of eyes which don't tear when she hears other mothers talk about how well things are going for their children."

The angel shook its head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands, yet? No way." "It's not the hands that are causing the problems," said the Lord. "It's the three pairs of eyes this mother has to have." "That's on the standard model"? asked the angel.

The Lord nodded and said, "One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, "What are you kids doing in there?" when she already knows. Another pair here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know and, of course, the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up for the 99th time and say, "I understand and I love you anyway" without so much as uttering a word.

"Lord," said the angel, touching his sleeve gently, "come to bed. Tomorrow…" "I can't, answered the Lord, "I am so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, feeds a family of six on one pound of hamburger and gets her nine-year-old to stand under a shower." The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," it sighed.

"But tough!" said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure." "Can it think?" asked the angel. "Not only can it think," said the Creator, "it can reason and compromise."

Finally, the angel bent over and ran a finger across the cheek. "There is a leak," it pronounced. "I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model." "That's not a leak, said the Lord, "it's a tear." "What's it for?" asked the angel.

"Tears are for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride… this model will know a lot about all that" answered the Lord, "But you know" He continued, "I don't even remember putting that tear there." "By the way", asked the angel, "what will you call this model?"

"I will call this one simply, the mother of an autistic child."

Author Unknown


Beatitudes For Friends Of People With Disabilities

Beatitudes For Friends Of People With Disabilities

Blessed are you who take the time to listen to difficult speech,
If I persevere, I can be understood.

Blessed are you who never bid me to "hurry up"
Or take my tasks from me and do them for me.
For I often need time, rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside me as I enter new and untried ventures, Myself and You.

Blessed are you who ask for my help.
For my greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you who, with a smile encourage me to try once more.

Blessed are you who never remind me
That today I ask the same question twice.

Blessed are you who respect me and love me just as I am.

Author Unknown


Thursday, October 28, 2010

So he was listening!

I blogged last week about our eating issues with Trevor. I had told him one night that I had heard (and I don't know if this is true or not but it sounded good, lol)that you have to eat a good 17 times before you can tell if you like something or not.

So imagine my surprise when tonight at dinner he tells me, "mom I told ______ what you always say"....

Immediately, I started racking my mind, wondering what exactly he might have told this child! LOL! I was hoping it wasn't something "colorful"! LOL!

I said, "what's that?"

He said, "I told him that you have to try a food 17 times before you can see if you will like it."

He then went on to say that he also told another boy who didn't like grapes the same thing! Apparently both boys said they didn't care and they weren't going to eat foods they didn't like, but that's neither here nor there.

I was just so surprised that he had actually been listening to me and had thought to tell his friends! LOL!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Fabulous giveaway from "Paint the Moon Actions and Textures!"

Another giveaway you don't want to miss out on! Run, don't walk over to "Paint the Moon" and enter the "The INCREDIBLE Giveaway"

Over $1100 in prizes!!! Fabulous - glorious goodies!!!

Don't miss out on this! You have till midnight on Friday the 29th to enter!

I am so excited about this - what an awesome giveaway!!!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bigger than sleep!

I am a big softie when it comes to certain issues with my kids. I think of how fast they grow up, and it plays on my emotions and I make some decisions based on those emotions rather than with my brain.

Now this isn't to say I don't discipline or I let them get away with murder, definitely not the case.

But there are certain issues that come along, that I am soft.

Case in point, Vicky has co-slept with us much of her almost 3 years. On the nights she wasn't sleeping upright in her swing, she was in my arms in bed between us. Of course, she nursed, so this did make it extremely easy. I did make many attempts in that first year to get her to stay in her bed all night, but it wasn't easy and we had many bumps in the road. It was Karl who finally convinced me to stop trying so hard, and just let things be.  And from then on, she'd come into our bed whenever she woke up during the night. For the first almost 2 yrs, she slept in our room due to housing situation and only being able to find a 2 bedroom to rent. So really, it was in the best interest of all involved, to keep nighttime disturbances to a minimum and if that meant letting her sleep with us, so be it.

A year ago last month we moved into a three bedroom and we no longer had to share a bedroom. From that point on, Vicky would wake once a night or so, and I'd go get her. I can probably count on one hand how many nights since January that she has slept all night in her room. It's a rare occurrence.

So here she is approaching three years old next month and still coming into our bed. One would think as she gets older, it would get easier having her in here - I mean, she's bigger so it's not like you could even begin to forget she is here, not like when she was an infant and I slept practically with one eye open to make sure she was always safe. But actually, her being bigger is harder. She doesn't sleep well thanks to the tonsils - so she is constantly moving about - thrashing her legs - kicking us in one body part or another - moaning - crying out - tossing and turning - the list goes on and on. Oh and can't forget what I have so affectionately named, "dookie breath" - she has horrific bad breath thanks to those huge tonsils of hers. One whiff of that, has you scanning the room to see who pooped in a corner. It's gag-nasty!

Needless to say we all could use some better sleep.

But the kicker is, she's growing up so fast that part of me hates to have to force her to stay in her room. This is where me being a softie comes into play.

I know co sleeping isn't for everyone and I am not wanting to debate it's merits - to each his own.

But she is my baby - she is the baby that has wanted me - Trevor never wanted to sleep with me - he was much more content to be in his crib in his own room. Even now at 6.5 yrs old, I can't get him to snuggle. So the very fact that Vicky is so cuddly, well, I am weak....I love it!

A month or so ago, we took down the gates in the house  - giving Vicky freedom to go up and down the stairs as she likes. It was a huge step because we've had gates up for about 6 yrs now. Just this week, I threw out her booster seat for the kitchen chair - she's a big enough girl to sit on the chair and eat with us without it. She's going to preschool. She's turning 3 next month.

Truth of the matter is, I am scared.

Scared to stop co sleeping ...scared that every little sign of her being my baby is slipping away from me...scared that we'll never have this again if I let it go now ...scared that if I force her to stop sleeping with us now, she'll never want to cuddle again...scared that if I close my eyes too long, she'll be all grown up and this will all be a fleeting memory in my mind. And I have to ask myself, is it really that big of a deal to let her sleep with us? Or am I being selfish in trying to hang on to any last bit of "babydom" I can?!

I love my children so wholly completely ....but they are growing up way faster than I'd like. Despite my best efforts at willing them to slow down, it has not worked. I just don't have that kind of power. (I suspect if I did, I might try to bottle it and sell it, but that's a blog for another day!) Just recently I was asked where I see us in 10 yrs? I couldn't answer. Truth is, the future scares me. I don't know what the future holds for Trevor. My hope is that he can better manage his Aspergers. But on the flip side, I worry as he gets bigger and older that it will become more apparent to other kids and that he'll be picked on more. In 10 yrs, he'll be approaching 17 yrs old - he'll be so close to be an adult. Wow. I worry about him being taken advantage of...being picked on...struggling to fit in and be "normal". I worry about Vicky and all the sickos out there these days. I don't want either of my children hurt. In 10 yrs, she'll be going on 13 - the teenage years with a daughter - sounds like great fun, huh? :-)

Back to my point, I love them so incredibly much - the years are flying by as it is, is it so wrong to want to hold onto whatever I can.......

(don't answer that....I don't think I am ready to be told I am wrong!)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe Thursday!

I am trying to be better about blogging and I thought it would kinda be fun to do a weekly recipe! And so with that, "Recipe Thursday" was born! Viola! So creative, aren't I? LOL!

Tonight's recipe comes courtesy of Rasa Malaysia: Easy Asian Recipes

Cashew Chicken

Recipe: Cashew Chicken (腰果鸡丁) Ingredients:
1 boneless & skinless chicken breast, about 10 oz. (cut into small cubes)
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 small green bell pepper, about 4 oz. (cut into small square pieces)
5 slices ginger
1/4 onion (cut into small square pieces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon rice wine
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
3 dashes white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt to taste
  1. Marinate the chicken meat with the baking soda for 15-20 minutes and then rinse the chicken thoroughly. (Please make sure that the chicken is properly rinsed clean of the baking soda.)
  2. Pat the chicken meat dry with paper towels and then marinate with the rest of the ingredients for 15 minutes.
  3. Mix the sauce together and set aside.
  4. Heat up a wok with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and stir-fry the chicken meat until the color turns white or half-cooked. Dish out and set aside.
  5. Add another 1 tablespoon of cooking oil into the wok and add in the ginger slices, bell peppers and onions.
  6. Stir-fry until you smell the peppery aroma from the green peppers and add the chicken meat back in.
  7. Add in the cashew nuts and do a few quick stirs.
  8. Add in the sauce and stir continuously until the chicken meat is cooked and well coated with the sauce. Add salt to taste, dish out and serve the Cashew Chicken hot with steamed white rice.
So I am sure you are reading this and wondering what the heck that baking soda marinate is all about. Well, according to the website:

"Baking soda serves two purposes:
  1. to rid the chicken of any potential smell (I am sure you have had bad experiences eating chicken with a foul chicken-y odor,
  2. to tenderize the meat. Just by looking at my pictures, you can tell that those chicken breast cubes are silky and tender."
Let me just say, do not skip this step! I had never heard of this before trying this recipe and it works! It truly works! The chicken was so incredibly tender and juicy! It really made a difference!

So how was this recipe?

Karl - ***** Karl gave it 5 stars - said it was better than our favorite Chinese place back home! So that speaks volumes! :-)

Kids - *** Both kids picked at it - Trevor ate all the chicken and most of his rice. He's not a fan of green pepper or onion. Though, he did eat a piece of each. Vicky ate her chicken and rice and some green pepper. I think they would probably give it 3 stars if they could.

On a side note, I totally thought I'd have to fix them something else but surprisingly both ate almost all of it. All in all, I think it was a winner and I know I will definitely be making it again for at least Karl and I.

I am so glad I bookmarked this site - I will be trying other recipes from there soon. Karl has requested Sweet & Sour Chicken next! We just might not have to go out to Chinese restaurants anymore! 
Let me know if you make it and what you think! And don't forget to use the baking soda on your meat! 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When you don't know the answer....

I am not a religous person by any stretch of the imagination. I've talked about my stance on religion here before. I honestly don't know what I believe. I know how I was raised and it doesn't sit well with me.

Anyways, Trevor lately has been asking me a really big question - "how did people get here?"

Whoa! Talk about stopping me in my tracks.

At one time I would have given him a religous based response but it seems a bit contrived to give him the story of creation when that isn't necessarily what I believe.

To buy myself some time, I told him to ask his teacher.

I honestly thought I had more time before he would hit me with these tough questions....


Kids & Food

Lately we've run into a problem with Trevor and his eating. There once was a time when Trevor was a fabulous little eater. I bragged any chance I got because how many 2 and 3 year olds do you know that would eat suishi, blue cheese, salmon, lobster, etc? He had a fabulous appetite and would eat pretty much anything put in front of him. But over the course of this year, things have changed. I've really noticed it the last 3-4 months. He's no longer eating the things he onced loved. He claims to hate most everything now. He even has said he hates pizza. He used to love it. At first I began to wonder if it was connected to his Asperger's. But after thinking about it more, I realized there is no rhyme or reason to what he hates. It's not as if all the foods are the same color or same texture, etc.

We talked some more and we think there are two things going on here.

1. He's trying to manipulate us. He's coming to realize that he can't get his way in other areas, so he's trying to push the food issue.

2. His BHP worker takes him out twice a week and 98% of the time, they would go out for fast food. Then he'd come home and he wouldn't eat supper. He wants fast food all.the.time! He's been spoiled.

Every night I make supper, I make sure to include at least 1-2, sometimes more, food that both kids like and will eat. My only rule on other foods is that you at least try a bite. You won't know if you like it till you try it.

So what has been happening is, we sit down to eat and he pitches a fit that he doesn't like this or that no time at all, it starts to escalate with him raising his voice, yelling at me (or us if Karl is home), slamming his fist down, etc.

Two weeks ago I talked to his BHP's supervisor about this. She said I shouldn't make this a battle. She said that if Trevor doesn't eat what I've made, to offer him a pb sandwich or cereal. And the other suggestion was to have him pick dinner one night a week.

Well, Karl and I got to thinking more about this and realized this isn't how we want to do things. I realize she may be the "professional" but we are the parents and have been for 6.5 yrs and we know Trevor. Letting him get away with having a sandwich or cereal is exactly what he wants. And it would become a nightly thing - me making him a seperate meal. And while I realize that pouring a bowl of cereal or making a pb sandwhich isn't hard at all, if I start doing it one night, then it will become a daily thing.

I wonder what other parents do in similiar you make your child a seperate meal when you know that there are things on the plate that they *do* like? I would never force either of them to eat something they truly hate, but I don't feel I am being unreasonable in requesting them to have one bite and to eat the foods they do like.



Did you see the new button I put on my blog? Or perhaps you saw it on my Facebook status.

"Keep an attitude of gratitude"

Isn't that fabulous? This time of year, always makes me reflect over everything I have and what I have to be grateful for.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I am not grateful the rest of the year, I most definitely am, but something about fall and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, just brings it to the forefront more than ever.

We are having a rough patch right now. Back in September we had to go downstate for a week so that Vicky could have a sleep study and surgery. In the end, the surgery didn't happen. But that trip required Karl to take a week off from work unpaid. Shortly after getting home from that trip we were called about Trevor having to go downstate for a complete neurological work up. It is a 3-5 day hospital stay. With Karl having had to take off that other week, we've had to put this on the back burner for now. We just can't afford to take another at least 3-4 days off, plus hotel and food for such a trip. Thankfully, this isn't something that is crucial to have done right this moment.

So here we are now in October and we've had another "hit" so to speak. Karl gets paid biweekly - he actually gets paid for a week before he works it. So in order to "catch up", this week, his check was only for one week. As I said, once again another hit to the pocketbook. I've been seriously stressed out this week, there were bills that *had* to be paid right now and that has left next to nothing for the next two weeks. I am sick to my stomach with worry. Not just with the right here - right now but knowing that Victoria's 3rd birthday is coming in a matter of a month and then a month after that is Christmas.

I am sure in the end it will all work out and fall into place, but I will worry every second till it does.

So as you can see, stumbling upon that saying, "keep an attitude of gratitude" is really hitting home right now.

I have so much to be grateful for - two healthy children (save for the typical kiddie germs like colds) - two incredibly smart, extremely funny, positively adorable children. I have a roof over my head and while it might not be exactly where I want to live right now, it's serving it's purpose - we have a roof as I said, we have plenty of heat and hot water and all that goes along with it. I have a wonderful husband, who despite my constant nagging and silly antics, continues to love me every day, even when I don't always love myself. My bank account might be close to empty right now but my heart is overflowing with so much love - love I have received and love I have to give.

So I am going to do my best to keep my attitude of gratitude and ask/accept help when needed. We will get through this together - my little family! We might not have it all together, but together we have it all!!!

I challenge you to ask yourself, "am I keeping my attitude of gratitude?"


Monday, October 18, 2010


I've totally dropped the ball here....things were crazy this summer and sadly it's just continued into this fall. Some days I don't know whether I am coming or going. I mistakenly thought that once the kids were in school, I would have all this free time to pursue all sorts of mind-enriching activities. However, that just hasn't been the case at all. In fact, I might just be busier than ever!

I feel I owe an update - just not sure where to start or where I left off.....I'll be back tomorrow once I figure that out!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another fabulous "My Four Hens" Giveaway! Does it get any better than this?

Gina Rae Miller Photography has teamed up with the uber talented Sarah from "My Four Hens Photography" to have another giveaway!

For those not in the know, Sarah makes these most amazing Photoshop (or Elements) actions that can take an ordinary picture and turn it into something amazing and fabulous. And the best part is you don't have to be a professional photographer to use these actions - they can do amazing things to any picture!

This contest is for a $40 git certificate to Sarah's store! Just think of all the fabulous actions you could get! Woot!!!

To enter the contest, head on over to Gina Rae Miller's blog, which can be found here! Run, don't walk, over to the blog!!! You won't want to miss this one!!!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

The best of intentions....

I honestly really had the best of intentions. I never planned on dropping the ball with my blog. But this funny little thing called, "life", got in the way, and somehow blogging went to the wayside. Strangely enough, I miss it like crazy though. There is something therapeutic about writing my thoughts down for me.

So here I am - jumping back on the proverbial bandwagon - hope you'll join me on my journey once again!!!

Today we had an IEP meeting at school for Trevor. I actually requested this meeting. I suppose I need to back track a bit and start at the beginning. School started for Trevor on Sept 1st. He had a seemingly great first day. He had a seemingly great second day. But on day three, that is where things started to take a turn for the worst. Day three was a  Friday - the day that Trev's support worker works with him. C comes here to the house first, we talk about how things have been going - sort of a review - brainstorm if needed and then C goes to Trev's school to pick him up when he gets out. Well on this particular day, C couldn't work with Trevor for his whole shift - a meeting had been scheduled that required C to leave early. So when C brought Trevor home, I immediately noticed an attitude. C said that within the last 15 minutes, Trevor's attitude and demeanor had changed. When I tried to talk to Trevor, he became angry - demanding things - throwing himself about. It continued to escalate. I did everything in my power to stay calm but also let Trevor know that his behavior was unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Before I knew it, he was hanging onto my arm biting me. In the midst of all of this, C apologizes but says he has to leave.

I won't lie - I was pissed off. Here we are in the middle of a meltdown and his worker, the very person who is supposed to be helping us with this stuff, walks out and leaves me to deal with the situation.

I finally was able to get Trevor to calm down and then the flood gates opened - he bawled his eyes out - curled up in my lap. He hates school - he wants to quit school - he never wants to go back. Apparently a child had pushed him into a locker. Whether it was an accident or on purpose, I don't know but the thing is, Trevor has a hard time separating the two and making the distinction and he takes everything very personal. He also told me how the other kids put their mouths all over the water fountain and he doesn't want to drink from it now because of the germs. (Honestly, I can't blame him - public water fountains gross me out.)

When I finally got him to talk and settled down, I emailed his case manager and asked her to set up a meeting for us. I wasn't about to sit back and let this continue - he deserves a great school year. So today was that meeting!

( I should add that he's come home several other times since that day very upset and taking it out on me.)

Once again, we were told what a wonderful child he is. Trevor is a rule follower. He is polite. He is kind. He listens to his teacher and other adults. He is a joy to have in class. If they didn't hear it from us, they wouldn't believe that he had those issues of anger, because he is such a great kid at school. (Again, I feel it necessary to say that we are thrilled as strange as it may sound, to know he is so well behaved at school and saves those episodes for at home.)

We set up a plan where he will go the special ed classroom M-W-Th for the last 30 minutes of the day - sort of a -unwind/talk about your day- type of thing. We are in hopes that this will allow him the opportunity to work through any issues that might be bothering him from the day so that he isn't coming home and going nuts on me. He'll have the opportunity to talk as well as do some sensory stuff. I think this is going to be a good thing for him. And I like that it is going to be a consistent thing - prior to this it was only when he felt he needed it - well he's 6 and struggles to get his feelings out to begin with - expecting him to be able to vocalize that he needs a break is a bit much if you ask me.

All in all, I think it went pretty good....

Oh I almost forgot - he can bring in his own bottle of water to keep at his desk! He's thrilled and so am I!

Come back tomorrow and I'll fill you in on more of the craziness that has been going on the last month and half.... :-)


Calling all Digi Scrappers - check out the blog train!!!

I haven't blogged in forever....sigh....

Forgive me - please - I promise to catch up soon! But in the meantime, I want to spread the word about a fabulous blog train that is about to happen!

14 fabulous designers @ Sugar Hill Co have come together to create a blog train. It begins on September 18, 2010.

Doesn't that look fabulous?

Wanna bigger sneak peak?

Ok, ok, how about a couple layouts? :-)

I can't begin to tell you just how fabulous it really is! You don't want to miss out on this one!