Monday, November 17, 2014

Create in me a miracle, something clean and something beautiful...

Burst of Creativity

I have always been a creative person, rather than a pragmatic one. I grew up a little dreamy, and loved to give in to the urge to write a poem or sing a song. As I grew, I learned to balance all of that with a more practical side of myself, but I never stopped loving the joy of creativity.

Now that I am a grown-up, a wife and a mother, it can sometimes be difficult to find moments to express creativity just for the sheer joy of it. Women in particular, and of any age, are so busy and carry so many roles. We have ample opportunity to create, to make Valentines for your child’s classmates or put together a Halloween costume. We use our creative muscles to keep our family’s lives going every day. As a woman, my place in my life allows me the chance to share my creativity with the people I love which is an amazing thing! But it’s finding the time to create for no other reason than the sake of creativity that can be elusive.

If you are a creative person, the chance to express that is like breathing. It is something you need to do to live. We can get caught up in taking care of our children, our spouses, our jobs and our friends, but when an airplane is going down, protocol is to place the mask on yourself before helping others. Taking just a few minutes to be creative just for the sheer joy of it can help us better take care of those around us.

And don’t worry, we do not have to bow to the subtle pressures of Pinterest when we pour out our art. It’s not about perfection but, rather, expression. Carry a small notebook in your purse or diaper bag to jot down a few lines of poetry or the outline of that short story you've been dreaming of. If something beautiful catches your eye, snap a picture of it with your phone. Collect those pictures later and create an album or a lovely set of stationary. Get into the crayons after the kids are in bed and draw for the sheer pleasure of it. The time for this might come in short bursts, but even if it is brief, it’s your time to use. Why not use it to express yourself?


These bursts can be the start of something big- staring a blog, writing your novel, painting that mural you always wanted in the living room- or stay small, acting as little anchors of sanity in a sea of chaos. There’s no race or deadline when we create for ourselves, just the pleasure of having created. 













Check these great post from last week out! 


  • 7 Days of Toddler Thankfulness 


  • Everything Bagels Recipe 


  • Woodland Animals Peg Dolls


  • Made to be Loved (not pictured)


  • Please add our button to your page to help spread the word about Time for Mom!


    Time for Mom






    http://cantgoogleeverything.blogspot.com/2014/10/time-for-mom-holiday-craft-challenge.html

    Don't forget about our Holiday Craft Challenge!  Click to see all the details and we hope to see you link up your fun kids holiday craft with us on December 2nd!  Thinking of participating?  Let us know with a tweet or facebook tag so we know to keep an eye out for your Holiday Craft post!



    Thanks for linking up!  By linking up with us you are opting in to our weekly email reminder for this hop and giving us permission to use an image from your blog if chosen for our weekly featured posts.  We will always link back to your post when we use your image when we feature you!

    Be sure to say "hi" if it's your first time linking up!


    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    There’ll be magic, there’ll be fun!

    Just a quick note tonight...


    PJ had his first show tonight with cheer team, the South Jersey Storm. We are back for a second season and so happy to be there! PJ needs me less now- last season, I had to be out on the floor with him for practice. This year, he can be out there with his coach and team and learned his routine all by himself. The routine seems to get better and fine-tuned as the season moves along, so it's likely that tonight's show was just a preview for what we'll see as the year moves along. But all of that aside, there's nothing in the world that can beat watching my son be part of group that loves him so much, and that he loves back.

    In fact, they love him so much that they all leap up to chase him when he decides to be a brat face and make a run for it!!

    I can not stop laughing at this picture! Thanks to my friend Sara for snagging it! 
    This weekend was filled, from start to finish, with so much love and happiness and celebration (more on that later) and this performance was the perfect way to cap it off. I can go to bed tonight (and I can't wait to do so because I am freaking tired!) with my heart full from all of it!




    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    God only knows what I'd be without you...

    I got to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes today- being alone in the car, blasting music. It's a rare thing for me since I became a mother. With PJ in the car I have to watch the content and the volume of the music choices but when I'm alone, I love to blast whatever music is playing and sing at the top of my lungs. I set my iPhone on "Shuffle" and the car filled with "America" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Levon" by Elton John, "Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys. It was mixed in with some LL Cool J, Britney Spears, and the soundtrack to the movie "Pitch Perfect." 

    As the songs ticked by, I started thinking about my taste in music and where it came from. The answer to that is, largely, from my parents. I can score the entire soundtrack of my childhood with the music my parents listened to in the car. My parents had control over the radio, and the music from two Philadelphia stations (Oldies 98 and WMGK Magic 103) would flood the car during every drive. Not all of their choices stuck- I passed on my Mom's penchant for John Denver and my Dad's taste in The Doors (yuck). But I can see now exactly where my parents taste in music influenced my own. I prefer gorgeous voices, lyrics that tell a story, amazing harmonies. Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, The Beach Boys, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, The Eurythmics, and Motown, Motown, Motown- I can see myself sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car, singing those songs. 

    My musical preferences expanded as I got older. School choirs gave me a taste of classical music and my own love of singing took me right to the music of Broadway. A few questionable choices snuck in here and there (ahemDebbie Gibson) and new talents came onto my radar as musical trends changed. But if you take my favorite band from my 20's and 30's, Barenaked Ladies, and draw a line it goes directly to The Beach Boys. The powerhouse vocals of Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy? Draw the line to Art Garfunkel, one of my favorite voices of all time. If you made a flowchart of every song I added to my catalog, they would all trace back to the songs I listened to in my parent’s car. 


    I'm 37 now, and most of the things I do in my life revolve around my son. PJ dictates the games we play, the places we go, the movies we watch and the music we listen to in the house. But in the car, Mommy chooses the music, just as my parents did. Of course, some of it is censored. We don't listen to the soundtrack from The Book of Mormon (hoooooo, boy! Bad words!). But when I set a playlist, PJ gets a taste of the music that makes his parents happy. I am certainly not a perfect person. I make mistakes, every day, but the music I grew up on helped shape the person I am today. That music gave me my love of words, my love of telling stories, my love of theatrics and my love of beautiful sounds. Apparently, that is something that can be passed on from the front seat of car to the back. 

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    You talk, talk, talk about it...

    I wrote this post a few months ago, a little bit on PJ and some of our favorite PJ-isms. Because of Autism, his speech has significant delays but as his skills have improved, he will replace a word he doesn't know with one that makes sense to him. It can be very specific and it always cracks us up! 



    "Green and Orange Cereal"
    Lately, he has added "Jack Apples" to his repertoire, but usually, he asks for these by color. 

    "Thirty Ten"
    Because, duh. That's what comes after thirty nine. 



    "Blue Toy Story"
    If you just suggest Toy Story, he will correct you. 


    "One grilled cheese"
    This can mean that he wants a grilled cheese sandwich (a favorite), but it can also mean that he wants a slice of cheese. Heaven forbid if I don't know which he means. 


    "Green and orange tissues"
    He has a thing for green and orange. Either way, if you approach his nose with anything other than one of these, there will be no boogie wiping. 




    Check these great post from last week out!
      Please add our button to your page to help spread the word about Time for Mom!

      Time for Mom
      http://cantgoogleeverything.blogspot.com/2014/10/time-for-mom-holiday-craft-challenge.html

      Don't forget about our Holiday Craft Challenge!  Click to see all the details and we hope to see you link up your fun kids holiday craft with us on December 2nd!  Thinking of participating?  Let us know with a tweet or facebook tag so we know to keep an eye out for your Holiday Craft post!

      Thanks for linking up!  By linking up with us you are opting in to our weekly email reminder for this hop and giving us permission to use an image from your blog if chosen for our weekly featured posts.  We will always link back to your post when we use your image when we feature you!

      Be sure to say "hi" if it's your first time linking up!

      Monday, November 10, 2014

      It's all a part of me, it's who I am.

      I'm over at the Northeast Bloggers Network talking about the things that inspire me as a writer! Stop by and check out my piece, and stay to read the work of some fantastic bloggers!

      My friend Mary Beth brought me into the literary folds of a writing group that meets monthly. Hosted by a sweet woman named Debbie, it is a chance to share and talk and write with other women who like to share and talk and write. Ironically, Debbie's home always makes me wish I had brought my camera- nestled on the edge of a wood along a lovely stream, the property is exceedingly beautiful and lends itself to serene creativity. I always have the urge to take a photo rather than write about it's beauty.

      We sat at the table and a stack of envelopes was passed around, each one containing a writing prompt. I slid my card out and read the topic question:

      What roles do love and affection play in your life?

      Oh, for God's sake. I sighed and considered slipping the envelope back into the pile and choosing a new one. But one of the reasons I joined this group was to work on writing as honestly as possible, so I sighed and opened my notebook. Everyone else did the same and for a second, I took in the glow of the sun through the leaves outside and the sounds of pens scratching before I started to write.

      *********************************************************************************

      As I age, love and affection become trickier things. When I was young love came to me- and, subsequently, flowed from me- with such ease. I was a hugger, a take-er in-er, a sympathetic ear. I loved meeting a new person and taking in every bit of them. It wasn't a frivolous feeling; it was intense and authentic. When I loved, I loved.

      The danger, of course, is that to love that greatly you have to be vulnerable, an open window to let whatever may be blow in. It's a very risky thing, this love business, and as I become older it becomes a more difficult risk to take.

      I find that I wear love as a measured thing, my windows no long flung open but merely cracked, sometimes closed. Physical affection- hugs and kisses and snuggles- can sometimes leave me feeling naked and unprotected, so I close myself off. It feels safe- and what could go wrong with this method? Being shot can kill you, so why would you put yourself in front of a loaded gun? Stay safe.

      Still, there's conflict, all the time, that free, spirited girl that soaked in love versus the part that isn't brave enough to be her anymore. Safe may be lonely, but risk is too risky.


      Wednesday, November 5, 2014

      I don't know how you keep on giving...



       ~ Treat Your Teachers ~

      “Just because” gifts are my favorite kind of present. The holidays are amazing, and birthdays are so much fun, but there is something so joyful about a little surprise on an ordinary day. It’s a little bit of unexpected love when you least expect it.

      Who is more deserving of a little pick-me-up than your child’s teacher? The people who wake up early every day to preside over classrooms full of young learners often receive the least amount of positive feedback for their efforts. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or spend hours trolling Pinterest and wielding a glue gun to say “Hey, teacher! Nice job! Thank you!” Instead, try out one of these simple, thoughtful treats:
      1. School supplies- Teachers often pay out-of-pocket to keep their classroom stocked with essentials for learning. A bundle of pencils tied with curling ribbon, sheets of stickers, and marble notebooks with a pretty pen attached- all are inexpensive gifts that will ensure your child’s classroom is well stocked. Want to splurge a little? A Facebook poll of some of my favorite teachers revealed that a pack of Sharpies are among the most coveted of the potential “Just because” gifts! 
      2. Gift Cards- Some days, our precious little learners can challenge the patience of even the most experienced, giving, wonderful teacher. Just think of how a five dollar gift card for coffee and a croissant, a few tunes, or even Amazon could overhaul a rough day for the better!
      3. Something Yummy: Do you have a killer recipe for zucchini muffins or snickerdoodles? Whip them up, pile them into a gorgeous bowl (you can find surprisingly lovely dishware at discount stores!) and drop it by the teacher’s lounge for everyone to enjoy.
      4. Words- A few words of appreciation on a lovely piece of stationary or a cute card could mean the world to your child’s teacher. You could even use the Treat app which allow you create, personalize, and mail a gorgeous card right to the school! These are the humans who spend hours each day filling young heads with all of the words and numbers and poetry and science. Get out your nice pen and use a few words to say “thank you.”

      Have you ever treated your teacher to a little something special, something that was obviously well-received? Let me know! 

      Tuesday, November 4, 2014

      We did the Mash...

      I'm over at Central Avenue Chryster/Jeep talking about how being alone in the car is the New Vacation when you become a parent! Stop by and check it out!
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Our Halloween was a good one! It was a perfect fall day- cool and cloudy, but not so cold that the kids needed winter jackets over their costumes. Remember those days?? 

      The day began with the Halloween parade and parties at PJ's school. PJ was not thrilled to be wearing his costume. He took it off so many times I started telling people he was going at Stripper Buzz in the hopes that someone would start throwing dollar bills. But the parade was adorable, despite all of PJ's attempts to turn back into a real boy. The classes all marched by in varying levels of cuteness, the highlight being when the 5th graders broke out in the Thriller dance. After the parade, the kids returned to their classrooms, where many snacks were enjoyed and much noise was made. 

      The tradition, since PJ's first Halloween, has been to Trick or Treat with his cousins. They have walked the neighborhood streets with him dressed as spaghetti and meatballs, Super Grover, Thomas the Train and a dinosaur. This year, the big kids had hit the street before we even made it to Pete's brother's house. They had places go, candy to gather, and teenage things to do. But thankfully, having a ton of cousins means that there will be some younger stragglers to canvas as the youth contingent. The younger kids gathered for a group picture...


      ...and then they were off. 

      PJ's cousin Emi guided her little cousin through in ins and outs of Trick or Treating with patience. Under her direction we watched as PJ was truly able to enjoy Halloween for the first time, running from house to house and delighting as his bucket filled with candy. 



      PJ hit the wall after about an hour, melting into the ground in a tantrum and needing to be carried back to my brother- and sister-in-law's house, where we all gathered for pizza and madness. PJ calmed down once we got there and the big kids carried out the annual Candy Swap, an event of ear-bending noise and high-energy stakes as candy is traded and bartered. Costumes were shed, pizza was eaten, and soon enough, we were taking our tired little Buzz home to sleep. 

      I hope we have a few more years of family Halloween before all of the kids are too old for it altogether. It has been so much fun to see PJ celebrate with his cousins, and I'm hoping we can hold on to it for just a little longer. 












      Welcome to Time for Mom, the best parenting link up around!

      Time for  Mom is a place for mom bloggers to link up and connect with other mom bloggers!  You do not have to link up a post about parenting only, your post can be about anything as long as you're a mom!  We only ask that it is today's post or a recent one, and that you don't link up the same post each week.  Please remember to check out a few others in the hop!  It's no fun to link and run!



      Please be sure to take a moment to follow your host and co-hosts in some way!

      Rachel @ Can't Google Everything

      Larisha @ We're Parents

      Brie @ {...a breezy life}

      Melissa @ Two Miracles




      And if you didn't get enough of us on our blogs, check out our Time for Mom Superstars Pinterest Board!  Each week we will pin some of our favorites from the link up to the board!  Check it out and see who was pinned!





















      We have each picked a blog post from last week to feature!  This may be a fun recipe or kids activity, or a post that really inspired us or that we related with.  Be sure to check them out if you didn't already last week!






      Check these great post from last week out!


      • Making Paper Leaves

      • Nutella Rice Krispie Treats

      • Air-Dry Clay Art Projects

      • Beyond Our Planet Home school Lesson



      • Please add our button to your page to help spread the word about Time for Mom!


        Time for Mom






        http://cantgoogleeverything.blogspot.com/2014/10/time-for-mom-holiday-craft-challenge.html

        Don't forget about our Holiday Craft Challenge!  Click to see all the details and we hope to see you link up your fun kids holiday craft with us on December 2nd!  Thinking of participating?  Let us know with a tweet or facebook tag so we know to keep an eye out for your Holiday Craft post!



        Thanks for linking up!  By linking up with us you are opting in to our weekly email reminder for this hop and giving us permission to use an image from your blog if chosen for our weekly featured posts.  We will always link back to your post when we use your image when we feature you!




        Monday, November 3, 2014

        I'm empty and aching and I don't know why...

        Ugh.
        I was in a dark mood today.
        Typical Monday.
        I felt a step behind all morning,
         while battling a headache.
        I got to the gym and had a great workout,
         but since I only had a slice of toast for breakfast
        I got home and was hangry.
        So I ate all the things.
        Fail.
        Picked up PJ from school.
        He had an outstanding morning, but a rough afternoon
          and was in a mood as dark as mine when I arrived.
        We drove to CHOP for speech therapy,
         a ride punctuated by PJ taking off his shoes
        and throwing them at me.
        Let me tell you-
         tiny Nikes thrown at high velocity are no joke.
        I turned to glance at him just in time to get a sneaker to the face.
        {grrrrr....}
        We found a parking spot and
         PJ threw the Go limp instead of walking
          tantrum.
        It took us 20 minutes to make the 5 minute walk to the therapy room,
          and I tried to stay calm and not dislocate PJ's arm as I propelled him along.
        His speech therapist took him off of my hands so I could check him in.
         I have never been so happy to spend $40  by myself.
        I tried to regroup as the sweet receptionist we see every week swiped my card
         and validated my parking ticket.
        Thankfully, he had an okay therapy session.
        Not great, but not terrible.
        We managed to get home without incident and, soon enough,
          PJ was reminding me of how funny and cute he is.
        He ate his dinner like a champ and sang songs in the bathtub.
        When I put him to bed, he threw his arms around my neck.
        "Lay down in the bed, Mommy," he implored sweetly.
        When he's easy, he's easy.
        But when he is hard, it breaks me a little.
        I patch it up as I wonder what on earth gets into him sometimes.
        Is it Autism?
        Is he just emotional like his mother, or a hot-head like his father?
        And if I was a better mother, could I help ease his little body
         when he's feeling so uneasy?
        Who knows.
        It's nearly tomorrow and PJ is sound asleep,
         ensconced in Minion pajamas and under a Thomas blanket.
        We've both agreed to forgive each other for today.
        Thank goodness tomorrow is another one.

        Tuesday, October 28, 2014

        Baby, baby, how was I supposed to know?

        Our weekend was a busy one, full of soccer and parties and walks. We ran from one thing to the next with little break, but although it was busy, it was wonderful. We got the chance to celebrate the birthdays of friends we love, and spent lots of time with family and loved ones.

        My cousin Matt and I are a week apart (he's older, hee hee!). I have known him every day of my life, and my childhood was punctuated by playing with him and his brothers during family gatherings at my Mom Mom's house or brunch at a place called Food-O-Rama in Philadelphia. He is my son's "Jewish Godfather."

        On Saturday, we drove over to his home to celebrate the second birthday of his second born! Matt and his gorgeous wife Colleen are parents to nearly four-year-old Braelyn and now two-year-old Paxton. We watched our babies play, much the same way we used to:



        It's so crazy that my baby plays with the babies of the people I was a baby with. Crazy and joyful! The people who have been there for me for so much of my life- family and friends- are also there for my son, and even produced built-in play mates!



        Reality tells me that the kids won't grow up to be Best Friends Forever and marry a set of brother/sisters or best friends and live in mansions next door to each other. They could grow up as close as my cousin Matt and I have, or they can just be people who know each other. But right now, while they are still so young and sweet, it's easy to imagine that their babies will play together, too!





        Big news everyone!  We are so excited to announce our first ever Time for Mom Challenge!  Do you have an awesome holiday kids craft idea you can't wait to share?  This contest is for you!  Read on for more details!






        We hope everyone is as excited about this as we are! Please read below for the guidelines on how to enter!




        Rules & Guidelines:


        • Craft should be kid friendly (you can do it together with your kids, or kids can do it on their own) and holiday themed (winter holidays)


        • Write a post about your craft and link up on December 2nd, post should be recent within a week before the contest and must be your own, original post.  Post should include at least one photo of your craft.


        • Encouarge your friends and followers to come vote for your link up during the week of December 2nd - 8th!  Voting ends December 8th at noon EST.


        • The top 3 post based on votes will be featured in our Time for Mom post on the 9th!


        • The Time for Mom hostesses will select one winner to win the $50 giftcard!


        • All valid entries will be pinned to our holiday kids craft board.


        • One entry per person, household or blog.



        • Start brainstorming now and then show off your awesome holiday craft on December 2nd!   Whose in for the challenge?




          Let us know if you have any questions!





          Welcome to Time for Mom, the best parenting link up around!

          Time for  Mom is a place for mom bloggers to link up and connect with other mom bloggers!  You do not have to link up a post about parenting only, your post can be about anything as long as you're a mom!  We only ask that it is today's post or a recent one, and that you don't link up the same post each week.  Please remember to check out a few others in the hop!  It's no fun to link and run!



          Please be sure to take a moment to follow your host and co-hosts in some way!

          Rachel @ Can't Google Everything

          Larisha @ We're Parents

          Brie @ {...a breezy life}

          Melissa @ Two Miracles




          And if you didn't get enough of us on our blogs, check out our Time for Mom Superstars Pinterest Board!  Each week we will pin some of our favorites from the link up to the board!  Check it out and see who was pinned!





















          We have each picked a blog post from last week to feature!  This may be a fun recipe or kids activity, or a post that really inspired us or that we related with.  Be sure to check them out if you didn't already last week!







          Check these great post from last week out!


          • Pull Apart Cinnamon Apple Loaf 


          • Caramel Popcorn Balls


          • Taco Pinwheels


          • DIY Lego Movie Costumes 



          • Please add our button to your page to help spread the word about Time for Mom!


            Time for Mom






            Thanks for linking up!  By linking up with us you are opting in to our weekly email reminder for this hop and giving us permission to use an image from your blog if chosen for our weekly featured posts.  We will always link back to your post when we use your image when we feature you!




            Friday, October 24, 2014

            ...I'd build a tree-fort in our yard!

            {Friday Five}

            Five Things I Would Do With An Extra $100

            1. Buy PJ some huge, ridiculous Thomas the Train toy. Now, to be honest, the really big mamba jambas cost a lot more than $100, but it would take a big chunk out of some big, important train....thing and make PJ a very happy kid!

            2. Do this to my hair:

            Short Wavy Purple Hairstyle
            click picture to visit source!
            LOVE that!!! Yeah, it's purple!! And it's gorgeous! Hair like that needs to be splurged on!

            3. Book store shopping spree!!! Is that nerdy? A little bit. But there is nothing I love more than a big stack of brand new books that will make that "crack!" sound when you first open them! 

            4. Endless Candy Crush lives. Don't you judge me!!! It's a drug and I'm addicted. I love that crunch sound it makes when you clear a square! 

            5. Cheese and Onion enchiladas from Don Pablo's every night for a week! And I wouldn't get tired of it- I could eat those every day of my life! Whenever my sister and I go to Don Pablo's, we always swear we are going to try something different, but we just can't stray from our one true enchilada love!

            Want an extra $100? You can pocket that by joining the Dollar Shave Club! Members save an average of $100 per year using the service, having high-quality razor blades delivered
            right to their front steps vs hitting the stores for name-brand razors! 
            this is not a compensated post- just a fun writing prompt inspired by the folks at Dollar Shave Club!


            Linking up!!!