Sunday, October 30, 2011

Remember the Giveaway?

My last Shutterfly promo code for 25 free holiday photo cards has yet to be claimed! AZPartyMomma, your name was drawn as the winner, so e-mail me to get it! Otherwise, I'll draw another name from the comments on that giveaway post in a few days.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Motherhood is my Marathon.

Today I am taking Genevieve to a group playdate with some friends in the morning, volunteering to help run Julia's 2nd-grade classroom Halloween party in the afternoon, going out to our CSA farm for last share pick-up of the season with the girls after school, and attending a family Halloween outdoor movie party (including bundling up in everyone's warmest clothes, bringing tons of blankets, and huddling around a fire pit) in the backyard of Genevieve's best friend after dinner. Hold me. Or give me a caffeine IV drip.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shutterfly Remedies the Situation

Well, you'll be happy to know that a few hours after I posted this --oh, and tweeted about it a few times (thanks for the retweets, followers!)--I received an e-mail from Shutterfly Customer Service saying that they were refunding the charge. Apparently I was "provided with misinformation." Mmm-hmm.

I'm just glad they decided to do the right thing. Because, again, it's not that eight dollars is a lot of money. I probably spent more than eight dollars' worth of time writing and talking about it. And eight dollars when I was just given a free order may seem like a small price to pay. It's just that I was promised that eight dollars in the beginning, and I knew that Shutterfly didn't need my measly eight dollars. It's the principle of the thing. It's always the principle with me.

Anyway, social media strikes again. Thanks for fixing things, Shutterfly. That was a good decision.

Shutterfly Makes a Poor Decision

Well, you all, I've got some disappointing news. And because in my recent Shutterfly Holiday Promotion post I raved and gushed about how much I love Shutterfly and what a devoted Shutterfly customer I have been (I've used them for many gift items and photo books in addition to holiday cards over the past several years), I can't in good conscience keep it from you. You deserve to know that Shutterfly isn't as great a company as I thought it was. Yes, they gave me 50 free cards, and 75 more to give away to others. But then they refused to help me with a frustrating mix-up with my card order, one that resulted in me paying the shipping charge for my cards even though I was supposed to get free shipping. And it's true, shipping was only $7.99 or so. But that's hardly the point.

In Shutterfly's original offer to bloggers, sent to me on October 15th, certain instructions were confusingly worded. At the very end of the e-mail detailing the free card offer and the promo codes for obtaining the cards, there was a line that said:

"Please allow 48-72 hours for the free shipping credit to be applied to your account."

I published my Shutterfly Holiday Promotion post on October 17th.

I ordered my free cards on October 21st. When I did so, I was charged shipping at checkout. At the time, I assumed I'd misunderstood, and that the original offer was for merchandise only, not shipping--so I used my Visa to charge the shipping and tax ($8.56 total).

Almost immediately after I placed my order, I received another e-mail from Shutterfly, which provided a free shipping promo code to use for my free card order. Except I'd already made my order. And paid the shipping. And I'd certainly waited the "48-72 hours"....after what? The message didn't say. After my blog post? After some unknown event? I don't know, but since I had waited several days to do anything, I should have received free shipping WHEN I ORDERED MY CARDS.

I was not concerned, because of COURSE I assumed that Shutterfly, being a huge, well-known corporation to whom $7.99 or $8.56 or whatever would surely be peanuts--less than peanuts, actually, more like peanut shell scraps--would apologize for the confusion and refund the shipping charge to my Visa card. You know, since I endorsed their company 100% in my blog post, and since they had told me I would get free shipping, and since their instructions were confusing, and since I'd waited 48-72 hours to do anything.

I sent a polite, cheerful e-mail to the original blog outreach contact person explaining the situation and requesting help in fixing the problem. And last night I received a reply from Shutterfly Blog Outreach (no longer the specific person, Stuart Leung, from whom all previous correspondence had originated, and to whom I'd appealed for assistance), which said:

"Hi, Shannon. Our apologies, but we're unable to credit back the shipping on your order."

Whaaaaa....?

Seriously, Shutterfly? You're "unable." Really?

Shutterfly is unable to refund a $7.99 shipping charge to my credit card. Really. Hmmmm. Let's think on that a moment. Why would they be "unable"? Has their entire computer system just exploded, eliminating all financial transaction abilities? Did Shutterfly go bankrupt and shut down between October 21st and yesterday? Does no one there have any fingers anymore, so no one can type into their computer system a command to refund my shipping? Do they not have my credit card info? Has our national currency system died out?

Sorry, I don't mean to be sarcastic. Well, actually I do, because that reply was about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I guess Shutterfly feels that, since I didn't pay for those cards with my own money (I "just" provided them with glowing publicity), they don't need to do the right thing by me.

Don't ask me why Shutterfly cares about some tiny sum like $7.99. It makes no sense whatsoever. But this is what I now say about Shutterfly: Be warned if you use them; they are not in the business of treating customers well. If I were you, I'd go over to Snapfish from now on.

Home Poem


Genevieve started bringing home kindergarten homework this week. It's the school-wide reading program, "Book-in-a-Bag." The children take home a book picked for their reading ability every day, and are supposed to spend ten minutes or so reading it aloud to a parent each night. The parent signs off on a record sheet for each day, and the child brings it back to school the next morning and gets a new book (or continues on with the same book, if it's a chapter book). Actually, in kindergarten, kids usually start with super-simple picture books with a few words on each page, and the parent reads first, pointing at each word; then the child points while the parent reads; then the child reads (or tries to). I remember doing that with Julia during the fall of her kindergarten year. Those early "See Jane run" type of books are Level 1 or 2, if I remember correctly, and are where most kindergartners begin.

Genevieve's Book-in-a-Bag is a Level 18 short chapter book. She can read it fluently and it's not a challenge at all. Truth be told, I pretty much ignore her while I make dinner and go through school bags. We both know I hear her read a whole lot more--and a lot harder--than that every day, just during her normal at-home life.

There's also a "Home Poem" the kids are supposed to read each day. This week's poem is "Jack Be Nimble." You know: "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick." After they read it, they are meant to do a brief "activity" that goes along with the poem. This may be pointing at the words as an adult reads them, or focusing on learning to read particular words, or something similar. The first time I read those instructions aloud, Genevieve and I just looked at each other and laughed.

We currently skip the Home Poem.

Oh my goodness.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rot Your Teeth Out. Go On. Do It.


I just made Candy Corn Fudge with Genevieve for two gatherings later this week. (Note: the magazine photo's fudge is way prettier than mine. They put less candy corn on the top, so more white chocolate showed through. I followed the recipe measurements, people!)

It makes an 8 x 8 pan which is supposed to result in 64 servings. Although I think I may need some sort of special tool to cut pieces that small, now that I've made the recipe I can see why. It involves two cups of powdered sugar and three cups of white chocolate chips, for one thing. (Among other ingredients.) And one cup of candy corn on the top.

Never fear; there are also pretzels, dried cranberries, and cream cheese in there too. Grains, fruit, and dairy! You're good!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are You a Fit Mom?

"Exercising" with an eight-month-old and an almost-three-year-old, 2007

Happy Monday morning, all. Need any reminders about why exercise is important for busy moms? Read my new piece published at It's All About Women today, here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BlogHer Asks: How Do You Start Your Day Off Right?

I have this cherished recurring fantasy about mornings. It's kind of on par with my longstanding big-gorgeous-country-house fantasy, in the sense that it too stems from glossy magazine features about make-believe (or at least unknown to me) families who inhabit houses and lifestyles that make me drool: perfectly, prettily casual and relaxed, with plenty of space and light and expensive coffeemakers and granite-topped islands and children in barefeet looking sweet and never cranky, and everyone lounging around in the spacious kitchen drinking espresso and making pancakes on a weekend morning and looking very, very happy.

In reality, mornings in my household involve children arising before the break of dawn and calling for milk and toast when the clock has yet to strike six a.m., and then after that, plenty of arguing and crying while I try to revive my brain with as much strong coffee as possible. So that's nice.

Fortunately, I've discovered a way to make my mornings start a bit more pleasantly, and not long ago, BlogHer invited me to join the BlogHer Life Well Lived Panel and answer the question, "What do you do to get your day going on an upbeat, positive note?" for their BlogHer feature on bloggers' tips for happiness.

That's where I shared that my go-to strategy is to get up an hour before everyone else, so I can at least brush my teeth and make my coffee and check my e-mail before the troops wake up and start calling my name. Yes, that means I arise at five a.m., when the world is dark. But that dose of time by myself (which, in practice, never ends up being a full hour) means that my day begins more positively, because I've attended to my most basic needs before I must attend to those of others.

So, what's your strategy? Do you have any awesome morning tricks? How do you get your day going on a positive, happy note? BlogHer wants to know, and so do I! You can share your answer in the comments of this post, and read others' ideas, too.

Of course, life is about more than just happy mornings, and BlogHer is also holding a Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes right now too. It's so easy: Just share what kind of little life moment makes you the happiest -- a simple pleasure, so to speak -- and get a chance to win $250! I've already entered, and so should you! Wouldn't $250 make your Life a little more Well Lived? You know it would.

So tell me: How do you up your daily happiness quotient?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Second Day of School Break




On day two of school vacation, we have finished icing and decorating all the rest of the sugar cookies from yesterday. Then we delivered plates of them to some of our other friends and neighbors. What do you think of those little ghosts? Pretty cute, right?

Shutterfly Holiday Card Giveaway Winners


It's time to announce my first giveaway winners! I'm so excited. Your names were drawn randomly out of a bowl, by my daughters, who had their eyes closed and took their job very seriously.

The three winners of 25 free holiday cards each from Shutterfly are:

Anonymous (2nd comment -- are you a friend of mine?)
AZPartyMamma
my sister, Heidi Mann (just lucky, no favoritism involved, we swear)

Hey, you three: e-mail me at shannon@tassava.com and I'll send you your promo code to type into Shutterfly when you check out to pay for your cards. I don't have any further instructions other than your promo codes, so be sure to just follow all website instructions for your order and look for the Promo Code box at check-out.

Congrats! And thanks for reading and commenting.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Cookie-Decorating Party






There were guests, too. But I didn't get their moms' permission to post their photos on my blog. The kids are on school break so it's the perfect time to make some fun childhood memories.

Enough About my Assets

Well, were you wondering about the state of my behind? Sadly, I am currently limping around like an old lady. But that's only because after a cortisone injection in your hip (maybe anywhere, I don't know), you typically feel worse for a few days before it starts to feel better. So I'm not concerned. I will say this: I'm not a big fan of cortisone injections in my "assets," as my across-the-street neighbor says. First of all, I had to get two injections, and because one of them involved an ultrasound to figure out exactly where to place it, the procedure wasn't exactly quick, and it involved extra people in the room. One of the people was the ultrasound tech who did my daughter's kidney ultrasound the morning before. She was like, "Huh? What's up in your family??" Actually the other two people were the least of my concerns, since they were both women and besides the nice ultrasound tech, the other was my doctor's very sweet and solicitous grandma-age nurse. Love her.

OK, this is way more than I wanted to talk about my cortisone injections. You may not believe me, but I do not enjoy talking about my rear, nor anywhere surrounding it. Let's just say this: it could have been worse, but it was fairly horrifying. And let's also say this: that thing better work.

Now that yesterday is over, my daughters are on school vacation for the rest of the week. We are hosting a small Halloween cookie-decorating party at our house today for a couple of my friends and their children. Julia and Genevieve and I need to make and roll out/cut out the cookies this morning so they'll be ready to ice and decorate this afternoon. With seven little girls between the ages of 1-1/2 and 7 years old at the party later, there is likely to be much hilarity, mess, and sugar consumption. Just as it should be for Halloween.

Oh, and in case you're wondering how late my daughters slept today, since it's no school and all? That would be 5:45 a.m. Mmmm-hmmm.

[Have you entered my giveaway for 25 free Shutterfly holiday photo cards yet? This is your last day to leave a comment to enter! Your odds are really good, have you noticed? Do it! I'll draw three winners randomly on Friday and announce it here. You'll need to e-mail me if you win, so be sure and check back to see if your comment was picked!]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun House

In case you were wondering what else I am doing this week other than planning my holiday cards (and you should, too! have you entered??), well, today I am getting a poke in my rear. Two pokes, actually. Yes, today's the day I get to have a cortisone injection for my persistent running injury. In fact, it is the first thing I am doing today. I get to expose my bum to a handsome doctor at 7:45 in the morning. I can hardly wait! It's going to be so fun! And then later today I get to have my eyes dilated! More intense fun! And this is a day after I had to take Genevieve for a kidney ultrasound (she's fine). And remember how all my hair is falling out (again)? Today when I combed my hair wrong I actually spied a bald spot. Always fun! Seriously, the level of fun is overwhelming. I don't think I can take this much fun in one week.

In other news I also went to parent-teacher conferences where I found out that my children are so advanced in their academic skills that they're basically beyond testability. Like, the scale doesn't go that high for kindergarten and 2nd grade. I don't remember all the details. Something about the challenge of finding books hard enough for my daughters to read that are still age-appropriate, and something about a life ahead during which I will wonder daily if I should be homeschooling and then want to procure a strong cocktail and cry at the thought of homeschooling. OK, I made that last part up. But when you can easily read at level 34 in your kindergarten room, which is the highest the numbers go, and everyone else is reading at, like, a level 2 or 3, well...you might have a difficult time being appropriately challenged at school.

In other words, my children are doing awesome at school.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go prepare myself for the oodles and oodles of fun.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shutterfly Knows Holidays

Over the weekend I got out the hats and mittens for the first time. No, it hasn't snowed here yet, but it's that time of year when it can be warm enough for sandals one day and then drop 40 degrees the next. It's good to be prepared.

That's my philosophy when it comes to holiday cards too. Oh, sure, I know you're in the middle of decorating your front stoop with pumpkins and planning Halloween costumes, but it's never too early to get organized for that moment in December when you receive your first holiday card in the mail and realize that you too should be sending out your Christmas greetings.

I'm a devoted Shutterfly fan and have used them for our family's holiday cards for years; their holiday photo card selection cannot be beat and the end results are always beautiful. You can spend a LOT of time perusing your choices, which run the style gamut from classic to contemporary and more, and playing around with how your family photos would look in various designs. Personally, I love the retro-whimsical style of this design, called the "Peppermint Joy Wreath":



But you really can't go wrong with the classic look of something like this ("Sprinkle of Snowflakes"), which comes in a cool square format:



Or how about showing off your little sugarplum(s) in something like this design ("Sweet Gingerbread Men")?



Or wait! How cute is this, the "Dear Santa" Christmas card?! Love.



As you can see, I could go on and on. And while I evidently lean toward non-traditional colors, Shutterfly has plenty of red- and green-themed holiday cards too. In fact, with hundreds and hundreds of styles, you'll be sure to find one that's perfect for you.

Shutterfly has hooked me up with 50 free holiday cards as part of their 2011 Holiday Promotion (thanks, Shutterfly!), but you can join the fun too. Shutterfly has offered me three extra promotion codes for 25 free holiday cards each, to give away to three lucky readers. If you'd like to win 25 free cards from Shutterfly--and really, who wouldn't?--leave a comment here by Thursday, October 20th, at midnight CST, and I'll randomly pick three winners and announce them on Friday, October 21st.

There's more! Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here: http://goo.gl/DDw7Q.

Awesome! Now you can feel all smug and organized. Happy (early) Holidays!

Scenes From the Weekend

heirloom tomato gratin

This weekend I:

Made this incredible recipe from Woman's Day magazine. (See above.) Words cannot describe the amazing deliciousness. Trust me.

Downloaded this MP3 to put on my running iPod. Sue me. It's super sweet and catchy and puts a spring in my step. Yes, I did just say "puts a spring in my step."

Watched this half-marathon, and failed miserably at catching my husband on camera or even noticing him soon enough to cheer as he went by, because the girls and I had already been standing in the freezing wind watching for him for an hour and thus had race-watching-fatigue, and also because he was wearing a red shirt whereas when he left our house earlier that morning he was wearing a white shirt, thus we were watching for a white shirt. Uh....sorry, babe? it was hilarious?

Went to this town for some autumn family fun.

Discovered this recipe and decided that life cannot go on unless I make it.

Planned a kid Halloween cookie-decorating party using this adorable online-invitations website.

Ruminated a little more on getting an injection in my backside this week.

Finished watching Season Two of "Friday Night Lights" with my husband, whom after 5+ years I have fully and successfully indoctrinated into the Friday Night Lights Obsessive Fan Club, and who now admits he should have been watching this fantastic show all along, for the five years it was actually on TV. To this I say, NO KIDDING. And then I roll my eyes.

Was awakened at roughly 5:30 a.m. each morning, because I have children, and my children do not believe in sleeping in on weekends. And my definition of "sleeping in" is currently "past 6 a.m.," so really, I'm not setting the bar all that high.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Simple and Delicious Family Cooking: Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Banana Bread


I created a delicious autumn recipe yesterday, combining my love for all things pumpkin with some overripe bananas I needed to use up. The result is a moist, whole-wheat, low-sugar, nutrient-packed pumpkin banana loaf suitable for breakfast, lunchbox treats, after-school snack, or even as an accompaniment to a bowl of soup or chili for a belly-warming fall supper. My daughters loved it, and didn't even care that they were consuming loads of vitamin A and beta carotene. Neither will yours. Enjoy!

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Banana Bread
makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
roughly 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large or 2 small very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease* a loaf pan (my pan is labeled "large" on the bottom; a standard-sized loaf pan would work fine, I'm sure).

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, pumpkin, banana, vanilla, and milk. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients; stir until incorporated but don't over-mix the batter.

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, and the top is golden brown. (Check the bread at 30 or 45 minutes, and if the bread is browning too quickly, lay a sheet of foil over the top of the pan for the remainder of the baking time.) Leave in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack before slicing.


*I have recently become enamored with Pam nonstick baking spray. It is made with flour (wha...?) and smells like cake mix, and it comes out of the can with some crazy velocity and kind of sprays all over the place, but boy does it do the trick, much better than regular nonstick cooking spray. Try it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Literally, a Pain in the ***.

In southern Minnesota, where I live, we have been having summer-like weather for a week and a half. Seriously, until yesterday it had been sunny and in the 80s for something like 9 or 10 days straight. And then yesterday was cloudy and 75. Which isn't bad for October.

We have been doing things like wearing sundresses and running through the sprinkler. In October. The girls come home from school in the afternoons with their jackets stuffed into their backpacks, their cheeks rosy red. I've been going running (uh, running/walking? hobbling? trying to run? running a little bit?) as often as possible despite my nagging injury, because come on--sunny and 80 degrees? In October? There have been years I've been in gloves by this time.

I could not feel more grateful for this lucky string of extra summer. Winter is hard on me. I don't remember it bothering me this much when I was younger, but in the past few years, the cold and dark days of late autumn and winter have really done a number on my brain. I start to feel a sickening dread round about now, and it doesn't really go away until spring--which last year didn't start until May. Even this year, with all this extra sunshine and warmth, my brain knows that it's only daylight until 7 p.m. or so, and that's if you count the fading light of dusk. My brain can tell that the angle of the sunlight is different; the sun isn't as strong. I know I should order the lightbox that my nurse practitioner and my psychologist best friend have recommended since last spring (my NP made me promise, back then, that I'd start using one by August, because that's how early the sun starts to change--crazy, right?), but Christopher and I both lost our part-time jobs this fall, and lightboxes are expensive. And I have a lovely backlog of medical bills piling up at the hospital across town for a summer's worth of physical therapy and MRIs.

Having said all that, I think I had better get my hands on a lightbox fairly soon, because I will surely need something mood-altering next week, when I will be getting a cortisone injection in my injured hip and inflamed glute muscle. Because that will involve my handsome and charming (male) sports medicine doctor--the one who was the team doc for the U.S. 2010 Winter Olympics, and who therefore has no doubt seen his share of perfect, uh, glutes--stick me with a needle in my bare behind. Which will definitely alter my mood. But not in the direction needed. Because "mortified" isn't quite the mood I'm going for.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Simple and Delicious Family Cooking: Pumpkin Muffins

It's time for pumpkin muffins!

No, not this kind of pumpkin.

although isn't he cute?

This kind!

frozen organic pumpkin puree

As you can see, I use fresh pumpkin, because I belong to a CSA farm and we get pie pumpkins as part of our farm-share. You bake a pie pumpkin just like any other squash, and scoop out the soft insides (minus seeds and strings), mash up a little bit, and use right away or freeze in 1- to 2-cup portions to use as needed throughout the fall. But you can use a can of pure pumpkin puree from the store if you want.

Pumpkin Muffins
makes 12

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 large egg
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/2 cup milk

0ptional--add 1/2 cup of any of the following:
raisins
chopped walnuts
shredded coconut
dried cranberries
mini chocolate chips
(Note: You don't need any of those. The muffins are absolutely delicious as just plain pumpkin, which is how I made them yesterday. But sometimes you might want to jazz them up a little.)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-well muffin tin or line with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl, combine the white flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add pumpkin, oil, and milk, and combine well.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until combined but not over-mixed. Add any optional ingredients you like. Bake muffins for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not overbake! Let sit for a minute or two before removing muffins from pan. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before you store them in a well-sealed container or in the freezer.



Friday, October 07, 2011

My Surprise Box from iHerb

Remember when the nice folks at iHerb.com e-mailed me to say they were sending me some free products to thank me for the nice endorsement I gave them when I wrote about Dandy Blend?

My box arrived in the mail yesterday.


In the mix: CocoCardio dietary supplement (it's made with organic cocoa, beet juice extract, and hibiscus extract, and you mix it with water to make a beverage; it looks to be an antioxidant supplement for heart health and good cholesterol); St. Dalfour organic green tea; a single serving tube of sugar-free, high-vitamin, berry-flavored instant tea; a single serving packet of CafeCeps instant organic coffee blend with special mushroom extracts (?!) for fighting fatigue and promoting high energy; and Desert Essence Lip Rescue Ultra Hydrating lip balm.

Thanks again, iHerb! I'm looking forward to trying out these products! (Well, not so sure about the mushrooms in the instant coffee...)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Free Time is Expensive.

Autumn in a bowl.

Ha ha ha ha, I like how the second I say "OMG I have so much free time,"* I immediately have too much to do and can't remember why I ever said I had any free time. And by "like," I mean "hate."

Seriously, doesn't this kind of thing happen to you all the time? You get super excited and one morning you crow, "OMG the baby is sleeping through the night!" and IMMEDIATELY, AS IN THAT VERY NIGHT, the baby wakes up five times between 10 p.m. and dawn. Or, you're like, "Wow, my part-time freelance job is going so well that I think I can actually start sending more then ten cents per month to my student loan** company!" and then within days your freelance job has mysteriously evaporated without so much as a warning.

So what am I busy with now? Well, I have my book manuscript back, for one thing, with more things to work on there. And, because I just spent the last of my freelance money to pay a doctor bill and get my hair done because God knows if you're going to be broke and busy, you at least deserve to look pretty, I'm also spending a lot of time searching for a new part-time job. Let me tell you, part-time freelance work-from-home jobs that pay more than $2.50 per 400-word written article are not that easy to come by.

Lastly, by the end of this week I will have been to three doctors in three days, which takes time. Time that would otherwise be free.

That's all right, though; I'd rather be busy than a number of alternatives. After all, being busy means you have a lot going on in your life, which by definition means you have a lot in your life. You know what I mean?

Carry on, busy moms! You're in good company.


*Translation: "so much free time," to a mom, means anything more than five minutes. **No, I'm not 25. I'm FORTY, YOU ALL, and I still have student loan debt! Big student load debt. Ha ha, so funny.*** That's what you get when you go to school until you're 29 to get a Ph.D. in a low-paying profession. ***And by "funny," I mean horrifying.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Update

Don't get too jealous of all my free time, you all. An hour after Genevieve left on the afternoon kindergarten bus yesterday, new book edits came in for me to do. I have a feeling that's more how things are going to go. I'm not complaining; I'm thrilled to be working on my book. But it is true that, should I get an occasional free hour while both girls are in school this autumn, I'd better savor every minute, because most likely before I know it I'll have a new freelance job, a book to promote, a next book to write, and my coaching practice to launch.

In other words, I should have watched The Doctors while I could. Like, on Monday.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Maybe I'll Grow to Like Being Broke.

I have been laid off (temporarily, I hope, but who knows?) from my part-time freelance writing job for over two weeks now. Prior to that, I had been working at least 15 hours a week from home, writing health and nutrition articles for Livestrong.com. All of a sudden I'm not working 15 hours a week. In addition, my (final?!) book manuscript is with my editor, and school volunteering has not yet begun.

People, I am B-R-O-K-E, but OMG the free time! It is a revelation. I have not had measurable "free" time in...well, let's just say almost 7-1/2 years. Before my part-time job, I had a child at home with me at all times and/or was writing a book. Once both children had at least some school, I was working. Now both children are in school daily -- albeit only three hours for Genevieve -- and right now I have no part-time job.

OMG.

Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have money than free time, if only to fulfill basic adult responsibilities like, you know, paying the doctor bills and feeding my kids, but seriously, it is a shame that as soon as both kids are in school many stay-at-home moms resume working (at least somewhat) at another job. Because ladies, if you've been a full-time stay-at-home mom for some 7-1/2 years, YOU DESERVE SOME FREE TIME! This is your first opportunity to use the bathroom alone and actually sit down to drink a cup of coffee. You can return phone calls without a child shouting, "Mama, look at me! Mama, look at me! Mama, look at me!" for the duration of your conversation. You can go to the supermarket alone. On a regular basis.

I know that, as a stay-at-home mom, there's always work to do, even when the children aren't around. It's not like anyone's sitting around eating bonbons and watching The Doctors on daytime TV. But maybe they should be. At least a little bit.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Holiday Whimsy, Only $2.50

I found this candy dish in the dollar section at Target on Saturday. If you could resist spending only $2.50 (what up, Target? that's not a dollar!) on this, you have no sense of holiday whimsy.

OK I totally came back here and took a new photo
that had the dish more properly centered.



The bottom of the dish says "Boo!"

Adorable.

Maybe iHerb Has an Herb for Hair.

Remember my Mama Essentials post on Dandy Blend? I order it from iHerb.com, and the folks there saw my post. Their social media person, Abby, e-mailed me the other day to say that, to thank me for my recommendation, iHerb.com is sending me a package of a few free products. So nice, right? I can't wait to see what Abby picked out for me. Seriously, people, this was a very nice and much needed bright spot in a week that involved personal illness, child illness (missing two days of school), the stress of being on call for jury duty, continued hip/glute pain from my running injury (over five months now, if you're counting), losing my much-relied-upon part-time writing job and therefore a large chunk of income, and realizing that half my hair has fallen out. Dang, you all. Tough times.

Thank you, iHerb! I needed that little spot of happy in my week. I'll post more when I get my box and see what's inside.