Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- Merry Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas. . .

merry christmas I love Christmas. The lights. The poinsettias. The way people treat each other even if it's just for that little while. Snow- when it happens (they are forecasting it for toniiiiiggghhhttt!! Yes- that's my note of happiness). Being with friends and family. Lots of treats that we have only this time of year. Presents. Christmas stories and Christmas Traditions.

Maybe you like to celebrate The Nativity. You might be a big fan of Santa. Perhaps you celebrate Chanukah. But from where I'm sitting, they all have a common theme. . . giving. And for a little while, we all give to each other. We give gifts wrapped up in beautiful bows and pretty paper. But more importantly, we give to each other a little more of ourselves. We give more patience. More grace. We smile at people. We give hope by putting money in buckets for people we don't even know.

Whatever you believe, whatever your celebration, enjoy your Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

(Karen and I will be taking some time off this holiday season, so we’ll be talking to you again in 2010, unless we just can’t help but to share something with you before then!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



I was SO on top of things. DH had bought 90% of the boys’ gifts on line (thanks, honey, but really, did you have to go WAY overboard?), I didn’t make Holiday cookies this year because of the whole Weight Watchers thing (I know myself, and cookie batter is one thing I have absolutely no control around), friend and family gifts were purchased, Christmas dinner was planned, decorations were up, cards were sent out… I was ROCKIN’!!!

Then Monday rolled around, and suddenly I realized “OMG, I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO DO!”


So now of course I’m in panic mode. I still have to finish wrapping the gifts, taking care to use different wrapping paper on the gifts from Santa. Since I didn’t bake cookies, I need to get cookie tins or something of the sort for DH’s employees, and that needs to be done today since this is their last day of work until after the holidays. (I know, you’re wondering why this is my task, and not DH’s. Don’t go there, okay?!!)

Hey, wait a minute. That’s all I have left to do? Whoa! I got more done Monday and Tuesday than I thought. Yay for me! I’m not in panic mode any more.


So here’s hoping you have all your errands run and all your holiday tasks completed so you can sit back and relax and ENJOY your holidays!

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- Those "Y" Chromosome People

Three days until Christmas! Every year I know it's coming and I begin planning and saving, so we won't go over budget. I get the Christmas shopping done and DH says,"What else do we need to buy?" And I say,"Honey, we're all done." And he goes out and buy more presents.

Why do they do that?

He's been in bed for about six days now. I finally put my foot down yesterday and said," I'm making the appointment with my doctor and if I have to throw you over my shoulder and haul you in myself, you are going." I knew he had had the flu, but something was lingering and I was afraid it would develop into pneumonia. He argued with me about it, but guess what the doctor said after he checked him out? Pneumonia.

Hmmph. Turns out I can be right after all. Who knew?!

I have a wonderful friend who does not imbibe. Ever. Yesterday, her facebook status update read: "I'm trying to get out of West County Parking lit." I knew it! Yeah, Christmas shopping will drive you to it.

Z1 broke the head off the Angel Gabrielle yesterday in one of our nativities. Par for the course. Beats last year's score or 3 ornaments, 2 nativity figures and a priceless recording of Z1 giggling when he was 9 months old. Nope, still not over it. Neither is he. He's still grounded from ever touching it as long as he is breathing.

Well, time to start wrapping. Let's hope I don't run out of tape. I HATE that!

Yours, wishing you a Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 21, 2009


Christmas is only 4 days away, and I’m trying my best to create a calorie deficit by then. But it’s not just Christmas I’m worried about. My mom and my sister are both coming in town the day after, so of course that means most of our meals will be eaten out. In fact, the majority (okay, all) of our activities will be built and planned around our meals.

And it certainly doesn’t help that I actually gained 1/2 pound last week.romantic dinner I mean, really, who gains the week BEFORE Christmas? Me, that’s who! Then this weekend was a total bust. DH and I went out for a nice romantic dinner Saturday night (well, the restaurant was romantic, the candlelight was beautiful, the service was fabulous, the food was to-die-for, but, oh yeah, his seat was facing the bar where he could see the Saints/Cowboys game playing… not that he was watching!) where I ate WAY too much of course. Then our own pitiful football game on Sunday where it’s impossible to eat sensibly at a stadium, and out to eat again Sunday night after our horse-drawn carriage ride with the boys to see the lights.

spin class So now it’s Monday morning, and I’m getting ready to go to spin class at the gym, where I will be EVERY morning this week until Christmas, trying to build that calorie deficit. Oh shoot, I just remembered, I have a holiday lunch with a friend at an Italian restaurant today, so that’s a wash. Tomorrow I can be good, though.

**Sigh** Wish me luck!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- No WAY!

So you all know I have been on a bent of simplicity, right? And with the Christmas Season here, I have to admit, there are still some things to which I would like to be able to continue doing. I LOVE sending out Christmas Cards. Last year, try as I may, they just did not get done. (Well, considering the fact that Z1 PUKED all over them during his bout with the flu, I'm sure my friends and family were quite delighted that I threw them away). It usually takes me about three evenings and by the time I am finished, my hand hurts horribly and I'm mentally spent. My list is about 100 people- relatives and lots of people I don't see through the year but still want to keep in touch with, and a lot of my in town friends. And I have always been taught that the proper way to address envelopes is in your own handwriting. No exceptions.

My husband has been after me for the last three years to put every one's name and address into a database and print label. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I mean, what would people think? Would they be offended that I couldn't take the time to write out their names? This past fall has been one of the busiest seasons I have ever known. Either it's getting busier or I'm just getting old. (Yes, it's getting busier!) So DH took matters into his own hands. Generally, I cringe at the thought. Mind you, he's a fantastic man, but you know men, when they do something it is mostly functional, with not too much thought to form or style. They just get it done.

He typed all those names into his computer and printed out labels. Today, we did our Christmas Cards- and he is even sick with the flu!- in RECORD time. . . .

One hour and fifteen minutes.

I'm not even lying.

Or exaggerating.

It was unbelievably aMAZing!!!!!!

And as I sit and post this, I can hear the mail lady coming by to pick up our cards. I cannot tell you the relief I am feeling at this moment. Sure, I still have a few to get done. (When DH did the list, he mistakenly omitted some of my relatives. . . ) But the big chunk- DONE! (Yes, cue the angelic chorus and the clouds parting with the sun streaming in).

I think I'm hooked on this label thing. Well, maybe. We'll see next Christmas.

Yours, basking in the simplicity of our Christmas Cards this year,


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I love having holiday traditions. As a child, I celebrated Chanukah, and chanukah we certainly had our share of traditions during those 8 days and nights. We’d light the Menorah, sing songs (with the dog howling in the background) and exchange gifts, always with our “big” gift saved for last.

But there’s nothing like forming our own traditions as a family with my own children and husband. (Okay, I have to admit, the Menorah has been replaced by the Christmas Tree and the Dreidel songs have been replaced by Christmas Carols and, well, you get christmas tree the picture!) I mean, Chanukah was fun, but it wasn’t ANYTHING like Santa and the anticipation of Christmas morning, you know? (Just a note to my Jewish family – it’s all done in fun, nothing religious about it in this household!)

So we have the usual customs of tracking Santa’s sleigh on Google Maps (well, maybe that one’s not so usual!) and putting cookies and milk out for the big guy. Then rushing to put everything under the tree and in the stockings after they fall asleep (luckily, we are blessed with 2 very heavy sleepers, so we never have to worry about them waking up!), eating the cookies and milk, and then falling into bed ourselves, exhausted. Only to be woken up at the crack of dawn so the boys can run downstairs to see what they got!christmas lights

But the one REALLY special family tradition we have is to take a horse drawn carriage ride through a beautiful light display called Winter Wonderland. It’s freezing cold, but we dress warmly and they have blankets for us, and we all snuggle together and look at the lights while we listen to the clip-clop of the horse’s hooves.

***Sigh*** Pure Magic!

So please share with us, what are your holiday traditions?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- The Best Eggnog Ever!

Christmas Tiiiiiiiime. . . is heeeerrrreee. . . (yes, that's the Charlie Brown Christmas Song). And with Christmas comes eggnog. I used to hate eggnog. I would practically gag when I tasted it. Then I married DH and his mother gave me the world's best eggnog recipe. At great personal risk, dear readers, I bring this recipe to you. So enjoy EVERY SIP!

*This recipe may be halved*


Beat 12 whole eggs
Beat in 1 lb. of powdered sugar
Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 cup of vanilla
Stir in 4 cups of evaporated milk, 1 1/2 cups of water and 4-5 cups of cream.
Top with a sprinkle of nutmeg and enjoy!

PS- Yes, you may add whatever you wish to the Christmas Eggnog. I'll never tell. :-)



Monday, December 14, 2009


Last week I told you about a 50% off sale we are having on our book, By The Book: How To Take Care of MY Kids, and I was very specific in frontcover2reduced saying that it was a ONE WEEK ONLY promotion, right? And I really meant it! But then I asked my AWESOME Facebook business associates to help me spread the word about it (I love social media!), and when I told them the end date, I told them it was December 20th, instead of December 13th. (I swear I was looking right at the calendar when I typed this. I guess I didn’t know what day it was or something!)

So, I certainly can’t go back and tell all those people, and everyone they told, that I goofed and the promotion ended already (obviously!), so… drum roll, please…




Okay, now just so you don’t think I’m going all salesy on you, I have a cute story, sent in by my sister, Margee about her daughter, Emma. (Well, “sent in” might be an over-statement. Actually, she emailed it to me and I am taking the liberty of repeating it to all of you. Is that wrong?)

This morning while Emma was in the pantry looking for a snack to pack, she asked me what ‘virgin’ means. I was a little surprised, but proceeded to tell her the most common meaning of the word. She looked thoughtful, re-entered the pantry, and asked, “Then what is extra virgin olive oil?”

Next time I’ll ask her to use the word in a sentence first.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Funny-Christmas Questions

When you become a parent, there are certain things you expect to deal with, to have to explain. And then there are the questions that you had absolutely no idea would come. One that I was remembering today came from Z1 when he was deeply into dinosaurs and them having everything to do with everything. Z1, in all his innocence wanted his dinosaurs to be a part of our nativity.

Z1: Mommy, can T-Rex eat the Wise Man?

M: No honey, he probably should not do that.

Z1: How about Joseph and Mary?

M: Not the best idea, either, Love.

Z1: Well how about Baby Jesus? He's already missing a hand anyway. . .

Please, feel free to add your Christmas Stories. We would love to hear them, even if it is only for our sense of "Yea, it's not just my kid!!!" :-)

Yours, off to finish some Christmas shopping,


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- Uhhhmmmm

Yes, esteemed readers, it is time for Thursday Thoughts. And my mind is clear as a blue June sky. My thoughts today are running all around- nearly schizophrenic. So here's a glance at my brain today:

1.) Why can I not go into Walmart without spending twice what I planned on spending?

2.) I wonder if Karen is going to be ticked at me for posting so late?

3.) Dagnbit, if it's gonna be cold, I better see some snow! My snow dance is not working and I don't know why!!?!? (Karen, are you dancing? C'mon, people! Dance for STL snow!)

4.) My friend and I exchanged Christmas presents today. We each bought the other one a ticket to the John Mayer concert in March. I love tax deductible Christmas gifts! (Is that wrong?)

5.) My songwriter friends are coming over for our Christmas Party tonight. Guess that means I better mop in the kitchen, huh. I've never understood that. Why do I spend sooooo much time cleaning up the kitchen floor before the party when by an hour into the party it's all mucked up again? Why don't I just wait until everyone leaves and do it only once?

6.) OH! Can't wait to unveil our new website in the new year. It's going to be so much easier. And the book is still on sale this week at if you are looking for an inexpensive, very unique Christmas gift for someone who is having a baby.

7.) I'm swearing off musical gigs offered to me that start by the person saying,"I KNOW it's your business and everything, but we'd have to do it for free. But you'll have so much fun! It's like therapy!" What you meant was that I would NEED therapy by the time we are through. But I digress. . .

8.) My DH said the sweetest thing to me last night. I was dusting in the bedroom where he happened to be reclined in the bed watching TV. I was kinda having to move him to get the headboard done and he smiled at me and I said,"Yeah I know. You love me." And he looked at me with all sincerity and said," Yes, baby. I do. I've seen the future and I choose you." Where is my husband and what have you done with him? Or is he just trying to get a really nice Christmas gift this year?

Told you it was schizo in here. :-)

Yours, wishing you a relaxing evening,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It’s blustery cold here today in St. Louis. The temperature is 26 degrees, but I’m sure the wind chill is much colder than that. (For those of you who live in nice warm climates, the wind chill is how cold it FEELS, not how cold it IS!) And there’s snow blowing around. But I’m pretty sure it’s the same snowflakes just blowing, and not landing, because I’m not seeing anything on the

Missouri is the “Show Me” State, and we like to SEE things for our suffering. So darn it, if it’s going to be this cold out, I WANT TO SEE SNOW ON THE GROUND!!! Don’t give me this wimpy snow blowing around, give me something to show for all this cold.

It’s kind-of like when you get something that hurts you really badly, right? You don’t want to just limp along quietly or hold your arm lamely, you want something to show for it. Crutches, or a sling or lots of blood, or something that screams “HEY, I’M HURT. GIVE ME SYMPATHY!”

salvation army Or when you know you’re going to give your change to the bell ringer as you leave the store and the bucket is there, but he’s not. Who’s going to say “Thank you and Merry Christmas, Ma’am” to you and recognize that you put change in the bucket? Sure, you’re not doing it for HIM, but still… I’m just sayin’.

Okay, perhaps I’m given you a bit too much insight into my mind today. Maybe it’s time to shut up!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- Open Letter to the President (Part II)

Dear President Obama, About a month or so ago, I wrote you a letter about public perception and the use of media and the view of your presidentialness. I expressed that while I understood you wanting to be embraced as just like us, that you understood us, I was not ready to see you as someone just like me, rather that I wanted to view you as a brilliant leader of the free world. Your staff kindly sent me a form e-mail. While I doubt that those comments ever reached you, and the possibility of this letter reaching you is slim to none, I just wanted to tell you that I watched your address to the Westpoint Cadets the other evening. I have been following the entire process of your military decisions through the media. I just wanted to tell you, that in the process of making the decision and delivering that decision, you were everything I want the president to be. You thoroughly investigated all of the information, choices and consequences. You weighed it out. YOU made the decision based on the information at hand and what you believe the best course of action is for this country, even if you knew you would take a lot of heat from both sides. You delivered your decision in a clear, concise manner and addressed concerns and questions. Who knows what will happen and if this will truly prove to be the best course of action. But I believe that in the way you have handled this, clearly, you are fulfilling your role as a strong leader, one worthy of the calling of president. Thank you, President Obama, for stepping up and leading. Best wishes to you and the First Family for a wonderful Christmas, Melissa Bishop

Monday, December 7, 2009


Macaroni and Chicken Fingers was originally developed to help us sell our book, By The Book: How To Take Care of MY Kids. But, like most frontcoverreduced children do, it eventually took on a life of its own. So while it can be time consuming, it’s the “fun” side of our business! We get to vent, joke, ponder, and basically talk about whatever we want to here.

Every so often, though, we need to come back to the basics of why it began, right? (Yes, that’s the business side of me coming out, sorry!) But now is a perfect time to bring it up, with gift giving on everyone’s mind.

So basically, here’s what By The Book is all about:

By The Book is a workbook that parents fill out for their caregivers, whether it's for a nanny, grandparent, occasional babysitter, or anyone watching their kids. It's the most complete and comprehensive book of its kind out there, and it's packaged in a 3-ring binder so parents can update the pages as necessary. By The Book includes everything from basic schedules, to likes and dislikes, to emergency information, to household information, such as how to work the remote control.

frontcover2reducedSimply put, it’s a binder filled with pages that you fill out for your babysitter with information all about your little, or not so little, bundles of joy.

And bottom line: IT MAKES A GREAT GIFT FOR ANYONE WITH KIDS, but especially for new parents or parents-to-be. Anyone like that on your gift list this year?

So… THIS WEEK ONLY you can get 50% OFF a hardbound book (either cover) of By The Book by using coupon code BTBKHOLIDAY at checkout on our website.

So hop to it, and spread the word!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funny: The Toilet Flapper and the Damsel in Distress

Dear Readers,

Please welcome guest blogger, Ru Brea. Enjoy!
I have to of my toilets has not been working for over a week. You know the thingy which is connected to the other thingy, that moves when you push the handle down? Yeah that...well it broke. I have been feeling quite defeated and hugely inconvenienced by actually having to climb the steps to go to the bathroom. I also feel it has been quite unjust for me to have to be the one to dive into the back of the toilet (which although I logically know has clean water - still makes me feel like I'm putting my hand in pee) every time one of my children forgot it was broken - which has be A LOT! Anyway, I got back from work tonight and thought "Darn it...I'm going to conquer this thing" "It will be fixed" I declared in my slightly overzealous heart. I proceeded to try remove all the knick knacks and patty whacks that have accumulated on the shelf I have behind the toilet. The first sign of things to come was my inability to lift and remove this shelf from behind the toilet. Not to worry...I plunged on anyway...determined. So I had to do most of my attempting to remove - some part of the thingy- without,fun....My reasoning was I needed the part to take to one of my favorite places - Home Depot - to give proof of what I needed. I'm done with going there and giving vague information to the "specialists" there. They always ask for sizes and dimensions, and weights, and everything I have NO idea about. Anyway...I was not successful in removing any part of the thingy or the thingy it was attached to. 7:32pm arrived. I jumped in my car...determined "This toilet will flush tonight!" and off I went.

Now, I also have to confess that I have changed my approach to going to Home Depot. When I used to go there and immediately find a salesperson (which would take FOREVER) and I would proceed to pour out my complaints, confusions, and requests for assistance. Upon the completion of my dissertation in ineptitude, the salesperson would always ask me aforementioned questions which would leave me further confused...and without the part I needed. They would always leave me with an assigment "You need to gome home and......then......after......if......and come back" Well, after a few frustrations and near cursings...I have given up on that approach. I now use the "Damsel in Distress" approach (a.k.a the D.I.D. approach)...and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Yup, I DID it! I go into the aisle which I think holds the part I need. I then look around for or wait to see a guy in jeans- now..if the jeans are clean...I don't even bother with the Damsel in Distress approach. He's probably just as lost and confused as I am - but will pretend to know what he's doing. Anyway, when a guy who looks like he hasn't slept well in 3 years, who's wearing paint smattered or better yet smeared jeans, some type of work boots, and who has hands that look like the helped drag the blocks for one of the pyramids in Eygpt shows up I begin my appoach. First, you wait until he is near by...close but not TOO don't want to be obvious. You then randomly pick up and look at several varities of the same thing...if you can...turn them in funny directions making it obvious you have no clue what you are the perfect moment (this takes time to develop - be patient) just as he begins to turn his head to look at the nutcase playing with the _______ heave a heavy and heartfelt sigh. One slight modification I have had to make is due to my height. If said gentleman is significantly shorter than me I slouch...this then becomes the Discouraged Damsel in Distress (a.k.a. the D.D.I.D) approach which is equally effective. Anyway, after the sigh and his "Can I help you ma'am (I love the ma'am part but would much rather hear "miss"...yeah I know, the years for being called miss have floated downstream)- turn and use the best wide eyed, dear in the headlights, woe is me expression you can muster. Now, be careful, if he suspects you are acting he is likely to back of never pays to over do! Anyway, that usually leads to advice that really helps.. along with the actual part you need.

Unfortunately, I was unable to use my approach tonight...there were just store "specialists" around. So I had to do the unimaginable...figure it out on my own. What does that mean for me? I GUESSED! I wondered down the toilet aisle, came back and picked up something that said "universal" on it...and off I went. Now I also have to confess that tears came to my eyes in the aisle - but...I did not let them fall...."I AM WOMAN HEAR ME...FLUSH! I left and came back to the house...entered the bathroom and began the instructions. I am so glad that they included "Turn off the water first" I wouldn't have thought of that...haha...anyway after a brief 5 minutes ...drum roll please...I got the toilet to flush..! TADA!!! No Damsel in Distress approach required. Yippeee!

What does this mean for the future? Hopefully, I will be less traumatized by things needing repair in my home. I have to be honest though....I'm not throwing out the DID approach...I just works too well.....Yeah I'm weak...but at least I'm honest! LOL


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- Planning for Christmas

We survived through Thanksgiving. It was actually pretty nice, especially since I didn't do a lot of clean-up. :-) But now we are full steam ahead to Christmas.

Here at the B house, we are fully decorated. That's our tradition. The day after Thanksgiving, up go the wreaths and garlands, with an abundance of white lights and poinsettias. You can never have too many white lights and poinsettias.

But you all know that I have been on a simplification path. Usually, by this time in the year, I have shopped for nearly everyone on my list. In fact, I'm down to wrapping presents and baking and that's it! Yet, here it is, Dec 3, and I have four presents purchased. OY. I am in deep, deep trouble. To be fair, I've been completely overwhelmed lately with other projects, but the fact remains, I have some heavy duty catching up to do.

So I'm keeping it simple. Most everyone at school? Getting the same gift. The service people in my life? All getting the same gift. Family members? We drew names. That cuts out about 18 gifts. Seriously. So today, I'm making the master list. I'll check it a million times to make sure, draw up my plan of attack, keeping it simple.

I'll start with the things I know I can get online because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE online shopping. Why? Because I can visit a ton of different places all while in my pjs drinking cocoa by the fire. Unabashedly American, I know, but I love it. Then I'll make the list what's left and driving path. And off I'll go- AFTER I change out of my pjs and throw a ball cap on. :-) I'm keeping it simple this year and I'm loving it.

Yours, drawing up my plan of attack with more fierceness than the CIA,


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I love guest blogging! Isn’t that funny, because when Melissa and I started this adventure 4 years ago, she was the writer and I was the “business-person.” Now our roles have definitely blurred into each other’s, and I’m loving it!

So this has absolutely nothing to do with the title of this post, does it? (Ha, great writing, Karen!) So here it is: I was invited to write a blog momologie post on a great blog, which is an extension of the website Momologie. If you’ve never been there, please check it out (and not just saying that because I’m on there!). The best way I can describe it is that it’s “grown up family stuff.” (I know, another sterling example of how my writing skills have developed!) They have wonderful family tips, but with class and style and maturity. If you like what you see, sign up for their daily newsletter. It’s free, of course! (Okay, I admit that sometimes it’s a bit too classy and mature for me, but probably not for you!)

frontcover2reducedYou can find my article here.  And it’s not just a blatant sales piece to get you to buy my book, (although if you want to buy it, you can go to!), but it actually gives helpful advice how to really enjoy your time away from your kids so you can come home refreshed and relaxed.

So take a look. It will be like getting 2 blog posts for the price of 1 today!



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- We DID Survive Thanksgiving

Hello, faithful readers. That was QUITE the day before Thanksgiving! Wow! But I did manage to make a FABULOUS dinner without maiming, torturing or drawing blood from any family member. I'm so proud of me.
Curiously, my DH must have read my blog that day. On Thanksgiving Day, while I was cooking most of the day, he cleaned the basement, the main floor, set the table (and I mean china, goblets, silverware, the works), poured my coffee after dinner and did the dishes- ALL WITHOUT BEING ASKED. In fact, my kitchen was cleaned up three times this past weekend and not by me. Twilight Zone? Alternate Reality? I'm not sure, but I'm not complaining. I'll take it.
So the apron and tiara have been put in a safe place until the Christmas Baking Craziness kicks in and I need to let them know who is in the kitchen. I promise, I'll take pictures and post. :-)

Yours, hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday and is fully recovered,


Monday, November 30, 2009


I am not one to get “obsessed” with technology. But I got a new phone this weekend, and have literally not stopped playing with it since I samsung momentbrought it home. Well, maybe “playing with it” is not the correct choice of words. Perhaps it’s more like, I don’t know, trying to figure out how to make a telephone call and send a simple text. And then moving on to the next step of trying to import my Outlook contacts into the phone, which I was ASSURED by SEVERAL salespeople that it was an extremely easy process to do. Lastly, putting my music and photos on.

So let’s start at the beginning: making a call. Okay, I exaggerated on this one. Yes, once I figured out how to bring up the dial pad, I was good there. Then texting. Nope, kept getting an error code. Well, I decided to skip that and move onto getting my contacts in there. Hmmm, didn’t see anything in the book on importing anything from Outlook. Okay, got my emails set up, but my contacts aren’t in my email accounts. Kept reading, but no, nothing there. So I decided to wait until morning and call them.

customer service I was on the phone with Sprint for (and I am NOT making this up NOR am I exaggerating on this one) OVER 2 hours. The end result? After going up FOUR levels of technical support, I finally got my texting fixed, and I found out (now get this) that there actually is NO WAY to import anything from Microsoft Outlook. Really! The only thing I can do is export my contacts to my newly set up Google account (which you must have for these new Android phones, because Google actually designed the software) and then Google’s address book will sync with my phone.

Now truly, this is a pretty easy process, but WHY did the salespeople tell me it could be done directly from Outlook and WHY did it take 4 technical support reps to come up with this solution? One of the reps actually even conferenced in Samsung, the maker of the phone! (Which, by the way, I thought was very service-oriented of him to try to find a possible solution for me. Who would have thought that the Samsung rep would know even less about the phone than the Sprint rep?)

Okay, so I get over that hurdle, and attempt my music. Coming from the iPod world, I’m a little worried, and sure enough, I can’t figure out how to manually transfer songs from iTunes to my phone. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that all my music was also in my Microsoft Media Player. No playlists, but at least it’s all there. I’ll work on playlists later.

Lastly, I try to put photos on, but find I’ve already angry babyrun out of memory. Crap! So now I have to get a larger SD card and pray that when I change cards, I don’t lose everything that’s on there already. Maybe I’ll call them to ask them to walk me through it. Any guesses on how long I’ll be on the phone?

Oh, and by the way, if you call or text me and I don’t answer, sorry. I haven’t learned my new ring tones yet!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I know this time of year we’re supposed to reflect upon all the things that we are thankful for, like our health, our families, etc, etc, etc. Not that I’m not thankful for these things, but I want to dig a little deeper and confess what I’m REALLY thankful for.

Here goes:

  1. Saturday Morning Cartoons. I know, you’re thinking that those cartoonshave been around forever. Well, not in my world, they haven’t. We weren’t allowed to watch cartoons in the mornings like everybody else in the world. Really! So to me, snuggling with my kids in bed on a Saturday morning, watching cartoons, is a real treat!
  2. On-Line Banking. I admit it – I’m REALLY bad at paying bills. So the fact that I can wait until the very last minute and send it off via the internet and know that it will get there on time is a HUGE relief!
  3. Drive Thru Pharmacies. I’ll admit this one, too – I’m really lazy! If I can accomplish an errand without actually leaving my car, I’m all for it.
  4. Social Media. WOW, what a great place to meet new friends, find old friends, and market my book. I am amazed at how many really good friends I have on sites like Twitter whom I have never met, and probably never will, but we’d probably do almost anything for each other. And I’m thrilled at finding some friends from years and years ago on Facebook. They were never forgotten, but I certainly never thought they’d be in my life again. So, so glad they are (you know who you are, especially my Central School buds!).
  5. Washable Markers and Paints. Need I say more?
  6. Roomba (Robotic Vacuum). I HATE to vacuum, but now I can roombado it every day without lifting a finger. How awesome is that? DH programmed it, and it runs every morning at 9:00 am. Every so often it escapes where it’s supposed to be and picks up something it shouldn’t, but to occasionally look for it under a couch is a small price to pay!
  7. Digital Cameras. Kids (and husbands) can take as many pictures as they want!
  8. Mindless Books. When I read, I don’t want to learn anything. I just want to be taken away into a mystery or a steamy romance or a comedy. (Yes, I’m a book slut!) The most I want to think about is Whodunit or Whosgonnadoit? And there are PLENTY of books that fit the bill on this one!
  9. Craig’s List. As long as you can avoid the scammers, it’s a great place to buy and sell. Especially those non-returnable impulse buys!
  10. But, of course, all kidding aside, I’m thankful for my awesome family (yes, that includes my sisters and my girlfriends who are like sisters to me!), our good fortune and our good health. I never, ever lose sight of how truly lucky we are.

Karen thank you banner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- Uh, oh.

It is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I would like to be able to tell you that I have it all together. I would like to be able to tell you that I have all my grocery shopping done, that the house is nearly clean and I'm baking my pies ahead of time. I would like to be able to tell you that I have THE BEST recipe for turkey, but I can't because I lost it. No, I can't talk about it nicely yet.

What I will tell you is this. Here it is, my big, grand, great, fabulous, cure-all advice that will save the day for those gathering at my house for Thanksgiving. . . .

If Momma is in the kitchen with the apron AND the tiara on, don't go in. Even if she calls you. If she calls you a second time, you might peek around the corner, but only if you are wearing protective headgear. And a shield. Better yet, just wear full tactical gear until the meal is on the table. And afterwards offer to help clean up.

Seriously, now, it's not that bad. I'm a little overwhelmed with putting the house back together as DH insisted that the new carpet (which I, admittedly, absolutely Love! Love! Love!) installed the Monday before Thanksgiving. And I just tallied up an extra six guests for dinner (but since it IS my sister, it's perfectly wonderful). And I still have to find time to swing by the mall before my VS coupon for free underwear expires on Friday, and you know I am not going anywhere NEAR the mall on Friday. But having my apron and tiara on, well, just helps me put it all in perspective.

To all the women in charge of preparing the house and meal this coming Thursday, I say, do what you need to do to help yourself along. If that means it's a tiara and apron, go for it. If it entails buying the extra pie instead of baking it, I give you permission. If you need to let the phone ring off the hook and not answer it until this coming Saturday, by all means, please do. If you happen to be a man preparing and cleaning, the tiara and apron is not as advisable. . . but hey, I'm willing to have an open mind here.

Whatever you need to do, just remain thankful and all will be well.

Yours, wishing you the happiest Thanksgiving,


Monday, November 23, 2009


An amazing thing happened to me the other day. My sister and I were having lunch at Ghengis Grill, which is one of those places (in case you don’t have one where you live, because if you do have one and havestir fry never been there, you are CRAZY!) where you fill up your bowl with a protein and veggies and pick a sauce and a carb, and they stir fry it all up for you. (Mmmm, I think it’s time to go back already!)

We were taking a while in line because, of course, we were talking about everything except what we were putting in our bowls, when we realized that there was a gentleman being very patient in back of us by himself. So we offered to let him go ahead, but he said it wasn’t a big deal and stayed behind us. Now my sister and I can make conversation with just about anybody, so of course that’s what we did. We chatted with him for the 3 or 4 minutes we were in line, and that was that.

Or so we thought.

When we asked for the check, our waitress told us that our lunch had already been taken care of by somebody who wished to remain anonymous. We were floored. Frankly, we had already forgotten about the nice man in line, but we asked her if it was him. She wasn’t kindness supposed to tell us, but since we didn’t know him anyway, she confirmed that he was the one.


I mean, how wonderful to be a recipient of a random act of kindness. I absolutely must “pay it forward” and do the same for another, so hopefully I will recognize the opportunity when it presents itself to me.

So THANK YOU to the wonderful, anonymous man who showed us what true kindness looks like!

Karen (and her sister, Margee)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funny-Thanksgiving Baking Gone Awry

In light of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I feel it is my duty to call to mind one of my absolute favorite kid stories. It's probably one of my favorites because unlike most of my stories, I was actually a spectator in this one. For me, it was PK (prekids). So, forgive me if I am repeating this story, but I laugh at it every single time.

My older sister and her husband came over to be with the family for a little while as my mother was baking her traditional pies for the Thanksgiving meal. After all, what would Thanksgiving be without chocolate pie, cheesecake pie, pumpkin pie pecan pie, and the family favorite, coconut cream pie. We were all gathered in the kitchen, talking and playing with their son, who was all of 2 1/2 while mom was baking her wonderfully flawless pies.

Now, my nephew, being their first child, was being schooled by his father in all things male. As I said, being their first child, it is easy to see how one would not think about the possible ramifications of schooling him in such a fashion. His current word that he had been taught (and I have no idea what lead up to this lesson, nor do I think I WANT to know) was "kahonies". /Kuh- HOHN- ays/ as in, yes, those male body parts. Apparently, there had been some issue earlier in the week and my DBL (Dear Brother-in-Law) felt that was an appropriate lesson to learn. Now that I am eight+ years down the parenting path, I can see why this might have been an option.

Back to the pies. In the interest of keeping my nephew entertained while all the pies were being baked, DBL began juggling a few oranges that had been sitting on the table. My mother had just filled and covered the chocolate and pumpkin pies. Mind you, they were beautiful and perfect. My nephew was watching with great intent, as my DBL, dressed in sweats and a long-sleeved t-shirt, was juggling those oranges. Now, who knows what goes through a little boys mind, and how they connect things, but as DBL was juggling those oranges, my sweet, precious nephew toddles up to him, reaches up his little hand, grabs onto DBL area and TWISTS, all the while saying "KaHONAYS!" as if having a true revelation as to what they really were.

Immediately, the oranges being juggled got a boost into the air as DBL's hands went to the area of pain and he doubled over. All three oranges landed, leaving permanent dents in mom's beautiful pies. All we could do was laugh at DBL as he recovered in a heap in the floor. My mother, in fact, laughed so hard that she fell off the swivel chair and broke it.

The moral of the story: Be very careful which words you teach your little boy. You just never know what the ramifications will be. (This includes me teaching him the word"Fathead", but that's another story for another day).

Yours, still giggling so many years later!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Thoughts-Simplifying Thankfulness

Thankfulness is defined by Wikipedia as a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Webster's dictionary defines it as conscious of benefit received. In today's society, it's so easy to be flippant or jaded and not recognize things for which we can truly be grateful.

Can you imagine living in the 1800's? Think about taking a full three months to travel across the States- by wagon nonetheless. How about living without air-conditioning? Central heat? Internet? Cell phones? How about knowing that if it really comes down to it, if you needed a meal, you could find a friend who would be more than willing to help out. At the absolute least, there are many government and charitable programs that are willing to feed those in need. (BTW, please see Karen's Monday post if you are interested in helping out a family with Thanksgiving dinner this year).

I know that we are in rough economic times. We can find plenty of things to complain about. But if you have a friend to your name, a family member that loves you, a place to lay your head, you have something to be thankful for. If you're reading this post, you are a literate, breathing human being, with at least an elementary education (which is more than a lot of African and Southeast Asian Cultures get) and you are breathing in and out. And that is something for which to be simply thankful.

Yours, getting down to the basics of thankfulness,


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The other day, Melissa and I were working, checking out templates for our new, and hopefully improved, website. I started playing around on one of them (you know how when you run your arrow over a menu selection, it makes a funny noise and gets bigger or something?) and she looked at me (with love in her eyes!) and said “You’re such a child!”

I took that as a huge compliment, but I’m really pretty sure she didn’t mean it completely like that!

Let me share one very important fact with you: Melissa is still in that Thirty-something stage (youngster!), while I am deep into my Forty-something stage. I only mention that because here is one thing I have observed about how we age:

  • When we are in our teens, we think we know everything and weteens can’t wait to grow up.
  • When we are in our twenties, we realize we knew NOTHING while in our teens. We are feeling very grown up now because we have real jobs and our own apartments and pay our own taxes now. However, we actually feel we have some insight, perhaps because we work with older (ahem – in their thirties!) people who are much more tied down, so we realize that now is the time to have fun. And we do!
  • Suddenly, we are the ones in our thirties, and realize that we knew NOTHING in our twenties. We have families and mortgagesminivan and pets and mini-vans. We chide ourselves for wasting time by having had TOO much fun in our twenties, and try to compensate by being VERY grown up. Sometimes it seems that the word FUN is rarely in our vocabulary anymore. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there are times that it seems as though we are so busy trying make something of ourselves, that we tend to have tunnel-vision.
  • Then we’re in our forties. Maybe our kids are older, maybe we waited to have families until we were older ourselves, maybe life just threw 120 us a curve ball or two. But by now our life experiences have taught us that we need to have more fun! We know that we don’t know everything, and we know that we never will. We’re learning (hopefully) how to prioritize the big things in life, and how not to “sweat the small stuff.”

As my brilliant (she made me say that!) sister said, “We are not childish, we are child-like.” And I think that’s a great way to be!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit-Holiday Baking Prep

It's here. At least, it's right around the corner. Can you feel it breathing down your neck? Like an lion on the hunt, here it comes. . . . Holiday Madness. For me, I like to try to have the crux of things together by Thanksgiving. And to my absolute horror, I find that Thanksgiving is here NEXT WEEK. How did THAT happen? I love Thanksgiving- a day to feast with family and friends and to simply reflect on the goodness of life. And while things may not be what they have been in years past, this Thanksgiving will still be a very good day, with so, so much for which to be thankful.

Now, it's the days following Thanksgiving that create an absolute frenzy. But in the spirit of SIMPLIFYING, I'm taking a few moments to streamline some shopping trips before all the craziness begins. I'm a holiday baker. I can't help myself. christmas cookiesThanksgiving and Christmas are a MAJOR reason to make 8 different kinds of cookies and breads and candies and pies and whatever other delicious recipe presents itself. So one of my  Thanksgiving habits is to shop for my Thanksgiving meal and all of my keepable baking supplies (butter-because it can be frozen-, flour, chocolate chips, sugar, chocolate chips, candies, spices, cream of tartar, chocolate chips . . . ) at the same time.
This helps me with three things:
  1. I get the supplies on sale. This is usually the best price on baked goods for the entire season.
  2. I now have the supplies and can bake at my leisure without having to make a separate baking supplies trip.
  3. I don’t know if they do this where you live, but in order to get your turkey for, I don't know, $.059 a pound, you have to spend $50. Otherwise, your turkey is $1.99 a pound. Since we cook a huge bird, I have no interest in paying that amount. And baking supplies add up quickly, so it easily helps me meet the $50 condition.

So, while you are planning for Thanksgiving, if you plan on doing any major holiday baking, make your list and take it with you. That way, you kill two birds, or turkeys, if you please, with one stone. I'm taking 15-20 minutes to make my list today!

Yours, relishing the thought of turkey and Nieman Marcus Cookies!!!!!