10 reads to bring a smile your way

For your reading delight on this Thursday morning:

“A snow day on a Monday is the ultimate parental kick in the crotch.”   ~ Valerie

Snow days tweets by the parents that are all of us.  Huffington Post, 2/9/17.

“Dear Ms. Johnson, 

This law firm represents Ore Sebastian Johnson, your miner – correction, minor – son.  You are hereby directed to cease and desist all defamation of Mr. Johnson’s character and reputation on social media.  Mr. Johnson has cause to believe you have been spreading false and exaggerated rumors about him to family members, friendly women from the Trader Joe’s checkout line, and high school classmates who are now nothing more than schadenfreude units of measurement.”

Baby Cease and Desist Letter – Sass and Balderdash

Continue reading

gratitude: another southern staple

I know I joke around about living in the south.  They have a strange obsession with Cheerwine here and a bizarre inclination to deep fry anything.  When we go out to eat I have to ask BrightSide to remind me which kind of sweet tea that particular restaurant serves – moderate, hummingbird, or put me into a diabetic coma sweet.  Don’t even get me started on why chicken and waffles are offered together as a breakfast order.

But I’ll tell you something this glorious state introduced me to: the delectable dish that is chicken pie.

I mean, chicken pie in general is delicious, but there’s this place in town called Michelle’s Catering.  Oh, my…Michelle’s chicken pie…

Anthems could be written about the savoriness of this pie.  Its tender chicken, the scrumptious sauce, a flaky and fabulous crust.  I have dreams about this pie.  The mere thought of it makes me salivate just a little.

I just texted my husband begging him to bring home this pie.  Tonight.

Some might say I have a problem, but I figure it’s better than being hooked on deep fried Twinkies.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

just a few favorites

I’m on a bit of a Sound of Music kick.  I even caught Bear humming some of the tunes, which I have to say warmed my musical heart.  I just can’t get one of them out of my head, though.  No matter how hard I try this one particular song is on repeat.

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!”
Continue reading

gratitude: words of gold

I’m a reader through and through.  My mom and I would check out piles of books from the library, dive in, then exchange them for a new set every two weeks.  It was like going to the toy store and picking out treats all summer long.

That kind of passion never dies.

Sometimes I’ll discover an author or genre and read until I’ve exhausted my options before finding something new.  Right now I’m reading a smattering of youth fiction, adult fiction, and adult non-fiction depending on my mood, but the reality is that I’m never more grateful than when I’ve got a good book in my hands.

Before the kids came along BrightSide and I enjoyed a fixation that spanned John Grisham, the Kellermans (both Jonathan and Faye), Tom Clancy, and Patricia Cornwell.  The list was a bit heavy on murder mystery and intrigue, but they were terrific reads.  We’ve still got most of them on the bookshelves around here, as a matter of fact.

BrightSide has become interested in reading biographies about people like Thomas Jefferson, but I still fall mainly into fiction.  Some of the treasures I’ve discovered along the way:

  • Jodi Picoult.  This author’s work bridges youth and adult fiction.  She’s tackled subjects like suicide, friendship, faith and religion, the media, illness, medical ethics, school shootings, and so much more.  Her latest novel, Small Great Things, is waiting patiently on the bookshelf for me to crack it open.  I can promise you this – her books pull you in, so be prepared to read late into the night.
  • Glennon Doyle Melton.  A woman who’s recently published her second book, Glennon is one of the few nonfiction writers that completely captures my attention.  Both works are about her personal journey; she doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad, or the ugly, so by the time you’ve finished you really know her truth.
  • Harry Potter.  Sorry, but it had to be said.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians.  Rick Riordan captures a mythological storyline that has a Harry Potter essence with characters you can’t help but lean into, which is saying a lot coming from someone who wasn’t exactly into Greek Gods back in the day. This is a five book series that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until you reach the story’s resolution.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy.  I found these books fascinating, although I have to say I was surprised to see them in fourth graders’ desks at school.  That may have more to do with the subject matter and my own child’s sensitivity to difficult themes than anything else, though.  They’re set in a post-apocalyptic nation where districts are required to annually sacrifice two of their youth to a televised blood sport where participants fight to the death.  The trilogy’s arc examines the disparity between rich and poor, suffering as entertainment, and the role appearance plays in society, among other things.
  • The Giver series.  These four young adult novels by Lois Lowry are set in a futuristic era and examine themes such as Utopian societies, sameness versus individuality, euthanasia, the relationship between pain and pleasure, a technology-free state, generosity versus selfishness, and the power of love.  They’re powerfully thought provoking and high on my list of books I want to reread.

What are some of your literary treasures?

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

Feature Friday

Forever Family is on hiatus this week due to what can only be called complications resulting from Life.  So be it.

In its stead, I’m sharing some Friday reads I think you’d enjoy.  Give them a try (and have a wonderful weekend!).


Gracie and Phoebe are beyond adored in this house, much like your own furry friends.  They love us without limit, but in turn they’ve endured much (especially from the kids) in the way of misplaced displays of affection.  Check out this terrific article about showing your dog affection in their own language.

5 Ways To Tell Your Dogs You Love Them In Their Own Language – iHeartDogs.com


Celestial.  Paytyn.  Shiraz.  Draco.  Primrose.  Austin.  Chaplin.  Moxxi.

Let’s just take a moment here, shall we?

I understand the monumental importance of naming your child, and I even (sort of) get your drive to make the name stand out from the crowd.  But Celestial?  And Draco?  And these are the ones you can pronounce!  Forget about the ones that are a giant mishmash of consonants with a vowel or two thrown in.

Click to read Elizabeth Broadbent’s particularly passionate take on the matter.

Dear America, Don’t Name Your Kid Something Stupid 


I talk a lot about girls and self-image.  The importance of asserting boundaries, believing you’re worthy of claiming your power, and handling conflict.

Let’s all take a field trip to visit this young lady ‘cuz she’s got this on lock.

Fifth Grade Girl Writes List Of Boundaries For Boy At School


For the new neighbor, who just doesn’t quite get the insanity that is your life:

“…I also wanted to explain the conversation you heard in the backyard the other day.  As you’ve seen, I have three boys between the ages of 7 and 12.  It gets a little wild here!  I was not really going to tape up my son’s butthole with duct tape if he did not stop farting on his brother’s head.  I mean, I would love to (because the farts are never-ending it seems), but I would never really do that.”

Dear New Neighbor, Let Me Explain

confessions of a blog binge reader

I love a good blog.  Ones that make me laugh or cry, think about something in a different way, or simply appreciate the power of words written beautifully – they’re a precious gift.  Some I’ve found through Facebook, others through the community of bloggers on WordPress, but I enjoy them all for different reasons.  And if I’m following a blog it’s because that person’s work moves me.

So why am I such a crappy blogger friend?

Yeah, I’m owning this.  There are bloggers who support RFTM…who visit, check out what I’m up to, sometimes leave their thoughts behind…and they’re a loyal group.  We notice when someone’s been gone for too long, or if a post seems particularly off, and we’re not afraid to ask if everything’s okay.

It’s a blessing, but one I’m not great at reciprocating daily.  I get lost in the muck of things – pets, errands, doctor’s appointments, volunteering, singing, writing, laundry – all the things it takes to keep a life spinning, and reading blogs often falls into the “when I get a chance” category.  And we all know how that usually works out.

For me, that usually means every three to four days I throw up my hands and say Enough!  I’m out of touch.  If BrightSide asks what I’m doing in those blocks I’ll tell him “blogger networking,” mostly because it’s simpler than saying I’ve disappeared for too long, I need to check in, so I’m binge reading blogs.  (Also, because “networking” makes it sound slightly less flighty than serial blog post consumption.)

If you’re one of my blogger friends and have noticed this odd week on, week off pattern, it’s not because I’ve suddenly realized I don’t give a rat’s patootie what you’re writing/posting.  The world has gotten the best of me but I’ll be back soon.

I know there’ll come a day when the schedule nuttiness of two kids, two dogs, a household, and me will ease, and maybe then I’ll finally be able to set aside an hour a day for checking in with all of you wonderful folks.  Until then, I guess I’ll keep on binge reading.

ps – I totally acknowledge the irony of this post after yesterday’s “maybe we’re not as busy as we think.”  

In case you’re in a binging mood yourself:

Photography –

Cee’s Photography

Laura Macky Photography


Humor/Life/I have no idea what to call this category –

Coach Daddy

Joeyfully Stated

Behind The White Coat

Thought Provoking/Culture/Cannot be pigeonholed –

Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

fourth generation farmgirl

But I Smile Anyway

rachelmankowitz: The Cricket Pages

TBT with all the loves

For someone who was slow to jump on the social media train, there’s one particular facet that I’ve been an enormous fan of from the start.

Throwback Thursday.

It’s a perfect fit for me, really.  Photos, flashbacks, remembering the good old days (because all memories of the kids at those perilously young ages are filtered through the kindness of time).  Love every single bit of it.

And then I came across this.


Continue reading

cows (and more cows)

I’ve had a lifelong and somewhat random fascination with cows.  I’m not really sure how this came about…there weren’t a lot of cows where I grew up, so it wasn’t from immersion in cow culture.  If pressed I probably would have to say I was a city girl (not CITY city, but you get the gist) and I don’t recall being exposed to an unusual amount of cow literature.

And yet here we are.

Continue reading