Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Military Spouse Poll

I try not to post twice in 1 day, but I had something on my mind.  (And since both posts are uncharacteristically brief, I hope you won't roll your eyes and move along to the next blog in your reader!)

I know a lot of my readers are military spouses, and I was wondering....

How many of you are currently enduring a deployment?

How many of you are gearing up for a deployment?

How many of you know where to go for help?

How many of you are finishing up a deployment and wish you had known where to go for help?

Top 10 Tuesday!

Top 10 Fictional Characters I’d Like to Have a Conversation With

1) Bridget Jones

2) Elizabeth Bennet

3) Dr. Gregory House

4) The Cat in the Hat

5) Holden Caulfield

6) Atticus Finch

7) Carrie Bradshaw

8) Stephanie Plum

9) ET

10) Liz Lemon

Who tops your list?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Balancing Act

I am writing this is in spurts. A handful of paragraphs will probably take me several hours to complete because I can’t sit down and write for any lengthy period of uninterrupted time. If I’m lucky, I can post this before Big C comes home from kindergarten.

My most productive writing time comes at night after the kids go to bed. But that’s also my grown-up time with my husband. There are some nights when he wants some down time to play on the Internet, and for awhile he is content to sit on the couch with his laptop while I’m on the desktop typing away. But most nights, that time is ours to retell the stories of our days, cuddle up to some good television, and if we’re feeling especially adventurous, break out the Scrabble board.

My job as a domestic engineer may allow me plenty of time at home, but I certainly can’t ignore my children to log in writing time. And I may have a good 3 hours of free time between the kids’ bedtime and mine, but I certainly can’t tell my husband I’m unable to spend time with him because I’m having an affair with my Dell. Some nights my head hits the pillow with the disappointing knowledge that I only composed 2 sentences all day.

It’s all a balancing act, and I have yet to find my footing.

From reading thoughts of other writers, I know I am not alone in my quest for more writing time. Whether your schedule includes juggling motherhood, a full-time job outside the home, family time, or life in general, how do you find the time to write? How do your significant others feel about the time you spend writing?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Operation:Slow-Cooking Dinner Preparation


I worship my slow cooker.  Fifteen minutes of tossing ingredients in there at the start of the day, and voila, a few hours later dinner is ready.  The aromas remind me throughout the day that I don't have to carve out an hour in the late afternoon to cook (while my children use that unsupervised hour to mishave). I have no idea why I don't use my slow cooker more frequently.

If you've never heard of Stephanie O'Dea and her personal challenge to use her slow cooker every day for a year, her blog and her challenge-inspired cookbook Make It Fast, Cook It Slow are worth a look.  If she can use her slow cooker every day for an entire year, I can surely manage a week, right? 

Normally I would ask you if have any slow cooker recipes for me to try this week, but being the incorrigible planner that I am, I've already made up my menu and completed my weekly commissary run.  But I'm always up for new slow cooker recipes so if you have any please share!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week In Review (Operation: Literary Inundation)

My challenge this week was to read an entire book.  Seems like a simple task right?  Apparently not because it didn't happen.

The problem isn't that I don't read.  In fact, I think the problem is that I read too much.  Between magazine subscriptions, other blogs, and research on jumping into the world of published writing, novels don't seem to get priority.  Add to the mix parenting, writing, working out, and sleeping, well, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Two of my readers recommended Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, and because it was already sitting on my nightstand waiting to be opened, I chose that for my challenge.  I'm more than halfway through it, and I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the weekend.  So I almost reached my goal.  One book in 8 days is pretty impressive in my world!  (And it's a great book by the way.  I highly recommend it.)

On a deeper level, this challenge illustrated the importance of establishing priorities in my life.  Is reading a good novel a priority?  Not as much as feeding my children or bathing every day, but it's a priority nonetheless.  I find it relaxing, and in our busy lives, it's important to pencil some relaxation into our bustling schedules.  Is it feasible to trade 30 minutes on the computer for 30 minutes of quiet reading time?  Absolutely.  Should I spend more time on writing I hope to get published and less time on blogging?  Probably.  Should I skip American Idol to mop my floors?  Let's not go overboard.

What things would you like to prioritize in your life?

Friday, March 26, 2010

OPSEC Revisited

When I wrote my post yesterday, I had no idea it would generate the feedback I received. I started to respond to your comments, but my draft was so long that I decided to devote another post to the topic.

First of all, please don’t think I am so naïve as to believe that withholding a profile picture and my full name would protect me in a bubble of total anonymity. You all are absolutely right that that's impossible, and if I expected that, I wouldn’t have started a blog and I wouldn’t opt to attend a blogging conference. If someone had the time and inclination to find out who I am, I have no doubt that they could. But I don’t possess the hubris to believe that what I have to say is earth-shattering enough to warrant that kind of research.

Moving on to other issues mentioned that I've thought about before too…Do I censor myself? Yes, but primarily by refraining from disclosing information that would compromise my husband’s career. Unfortunately, by not sharing that information, it means I am unable to share exactly how that information affects me. Basically, I don’t post anything I wouldn’t want my husband’s commanding officer or my daddy to read.  And I think most bloggers censor themselves in a way.

Do I feel that my censorship chips away at who I really am? I hope not. I still write about my life in general as a military spouse without revealing anything that jeopardizes OPSEC.

Do I understand why some people chose not to blog anonymously?  Absolutely.  It's about personal preference as well as the nature of your blog.  For example, if you are an aspiring or published writer trying to get your name out there, blogging is the perfect platform.

Why do I like being anonymous? Partly because I write about my family, and they didn’t choose to be part of a blog, I did. My anonymity protects theirs. And partly because I’d like to think that what I have to say has enough universal appeal to military spouses, mothers, writers, etc. that I don’t need to reveal who I am. I’m simply someone with whom you can identify on some level, regardless of what I look like, where I live, or who my husband is.

Will I ever shed my anonymity?  It's not outside my realm of possibilities.  We'll see how it goes.  I've only been blogging for about 3 months, so in a way I'm still new at this.

I also don’t want you to think that I have an opinion one way or the other about how you choose to present yourself.  I agree with many of your comments that it's whatever you’re comfortable with.  There are so many blogs I love to read, whether they share their names or not.  A lot of times I don't even notice their names...I'm just enjoying what they have to say. 

Your comments made me wonder just how easy it would be for someone to discover my true identity (great, now I sound like Batman). So I Googled myself. It took sifting through several pages of people who were not me (one of which was eerily an obituary) to find a hit that was indeed me. I was shocked to see a comment I had posted on a discussion board in one of my blogging groups. I realized I had falsely assumed that the information I provided to join the group, including my full name and the city in which I live, would not be publicly displayed. Oops.  (That has now been remedied, and if you are a member of that group and took notice of it, then you can get a hearty laugh at my assertion that no one knows that information.)

In light of some of the comments I received yesterday, I now have new questions.  Do you feel you can identify more with bloggers who have a name versus those who don't?  Do you feel less inclined to share with anonymous bloggers because you feel they don’t share all of themselves with you? 

These are things that never occurred to me until I read your comments.  This is one of the reasons I LOVE blogging.  How boring life would be without varying perspectives.  It almost makes me want to write about something really controversial just to read your comments! 

I appreciate the time you took to share your responses!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I am an anonymous blogger. You may know my first name, but you don’t know my last. You don’t know my children’s names, and although you may know the color of their hair, you’ve never seen a picture of their full faces. You don’t know my husband’s name, his title or rank in the military, or what branch of the military he proudly serves. You don’t know what state we live in, which YMCA we frequent, or what kinds of cars we drive. You don’t even know what I look like. You could walk by me in the produce section of the commissary and never know I was that girl riding the roller coaster.  We are an anonymous military family, living an anonymous life.  At least in the blogosphere.

My primary reason for maintaining my blogging anonymity is for military OPSEC purposes (that’s Operations Security for you civilians). Basically that means that I can’t reveal any bits and pieces of our military lives that would lead one to piece together a puzzle of secrets. More specifically, you will never know the details of the events that most affect my life. You will never know particulars about my husband’s deployment: where he is going, when he is leaving, how long he will be gone, what he will be doing, or when he is coming home. These are all extremely influential parts of my life, but sadly, unless you happen to be a reader who knows me personally, you will only learn generalities about my life. As a person who tends to lean toward introversion and secretly fears pubic scrutiny, I like hiding behind the façade of anonymity. 

But I wonder how long my anonymity will be maintained. Next month I am attending the Milblog Conference. My hotel room is booked, my child care and travel plans are secured. As much as I look forward to meeting other military bloggers, I realize that my anonymity will be lost the second I exchange my first business card.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

Do you blog anonymously?  If so, do you feel you can be more candid than if you provided readers with your full identity?  And if you don't blog anonymously, do you wish you did?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday!

We all wear many different hats in our busy lives. Choose one of your hats and list your top 10 reasons why you DON'T love wearing it.

I have a love/hate relationship with the military and my expected duties as a military spouse.  Last week I shared the love side with my top 10 reasons why I love being a military spouse.  This week I explore the other side...

Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Love Being a Military Spouse

1) I spend a lot of time missing my husband.

2) I frequently endure the exhaustion of single parenthood.

3) A cell phone inevitably rings the minute you finally sit down to eat dinner with your husband who came home an hour later than usual. 

4) I’m not a big fan of the Hurry Up and Wait philosophy.

5) Ironing uniforms!

6) Moving frequently…this made my list for why I love being a military spouse. Seems I can’t decide whether I love moving or hate it.

7) The typical questions that civilians ask only exacerbate your frustration at not being able to answer them. How long will you live here? When will your husband be home? How much longer until he retires? Why doesn't he just get out?

8) I’m the one left behind to explain why Daddy isn’t home for a birthday party, why he missed the whole baseball season, or why the Easter bunny couldn't squeeze him into a basket with the Cadbury eggs.

9) Drastic changes in plans are the norm rather than the exception.  One day you're researching the housing market in Virginia, the next you're on a flight to Japan. 

10) Deployments. That’s all I have to say about that.

What tops your list?


Fictional characters I'd like to have a conversation with.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hit Me With Your Best...Writing That Is

I’ve been blogging for only a few months now, but I have collected quite an extensive and eclectic list of blogs I follow. I read some because of common interests. Some inspire me. Some make me laugh. And some give me my fix for good writing.

Going along with my reading theme this week, I started thinking, what if I could go back through all of these blogs and read their best posts. But that would require a whole lot of time that I simply don’t have. So I’m putting YOU to work.

Do you have a favorite blog post? Maybe it’s a post that showcases your writing skills or one you wrote about something you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s a post that someone else has written, a post that pulled at your heartstrings or inspired you in some way. Whatever the reason, I want to read it.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find that favorite post and add the link below. (If you would like to share a post written by someone else, please make sure you notify that blogger that you are bragging about his or her work.) Leave a comment explaining why this post is so meaningful to you, or don’t if you want your post to speak for itself. This isn’t like some of those other carnivals out there. You don’t have to post something today and include my link on your blog. You aren’t required to visit anyone else’s blog or follow anyone. The sole purpose of this exercise is to share a post that means something to you.

Of course it would be nice to visit some of those other links, because if you choose to do this, you’re probably like me and enjoy a good read. At the very least I’d hope that you choose to visit the person listed above you, maybe leave a comment, and if you like what you see, become a follower. But seriously, no obligations. No offense if you follow someone and they don’t follow you back. No strings.

And like our mamas taught us, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Let’s be the encouraging and supportive bloggers I know we are.

Now let’s get reading!

Operation: Literary Inundation


I love to read. I used to devour books. But between the stack of untouched magazines, my Google reader filled with unread blog posts, and of course my duties as a domestic engineer, reading books has dropped down to the bottom slot on my to-do list.

This week I am challenging myself to read an entire book. In one week. That may mean turning the tv off one night or prying myself away from the computer, but I need to return to that world of make-believe that appears whenever I dive into a good novel.

Any suggestions for a good (quick) read?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week in Review (Operation: Ultimate Meme Participation)

My challenge this week was to participate in as many blog memes as possible to (a) determine if it’s feasible to maintain a blog by riding on the coattails of other people’s ideas and (b) to see if I can stumble upon memes that will inspire me during my creative droughts.

In the past 7 days, I participated in 13 memes.  My results?  Yes, it is absolutely possible to (a) maintain a blog by writing nothing but answers to other people's questions.  For a week anyway.  I'm not sure if I could hold the interest of anyone, including myself, by solely participating in memes, but it was fun for a week.  And yes, I did (b) come across several memes that I will refer back to in the future when my brain is clogged by writer's block.  So thank you to those bloggers whose memes helped me complete my weekly challenge.

Writing is not a process that can be successfully executed within a vacuum.  You have to experience life, read other people's thoughts, and express an opinion about various topics.  Some days it's tough trying to generate an interesting topic to blog about.  We could all use a little help.  Whether that help comes from newspaper headlines, a controversial television program, or yes, memes offered by fellow bloggers, we need to take advantage of those prompts to get our creative juices flowing.

A big thanks to Dondi at Confessions of a Housewife for directing me to a fabulous list of memes at Our Mommyhood.  Check out both blogs when you get a chance.

And if you're a hardcore meme enthusiast, check out The Daily Meme, which is a directory for any meme you can possibly think of. If you need more memes in your life or you want to list your meme in the directory, I'm pretty sure this is the place to go.

6 Word Saturday

6 Word Saturday hosted by Show My Face

Time dwindles, but today is ours.

My meme week is officially over.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Dear So and So

Dear So and So...
Dear So and So hosted by 3 Bedroom Bungalow

Dear Military Spouses,
Every now and then tragedy hits way too close to home. I’m thankful and proud to be part of such an amazing community of supportive women who take care of their own.

Dear Spring,
I’m so happy to finally see a glimpse of you. A 4 mile run in the sunshine was exactly what I needed this morning.

Dear Left Hamstring,
You pulled yourself 7 months ago. Now pull yourself together so I can start running again without you paining me!

Dear Weekend,
Please pass slowly.  Time is getting shorter.  I have too much to do.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Military Spouse In Need of Prayers

I just learned that tragedy has hit a fellow military spouse blogger, a tragedy that no one should have to endure.  The biggest fear of any military spouse is getting that knock on the door, and when we hear that someone in our military community has heard that knock, we need to pull together with support, prayers, tears, encouragement, and love.  Although we've never met, I feel like I know so many of you out there through your words, and I can only hope that words can bring some solace to this grieving family.  If you get a chance, please visit a brave military spouse and offer her some comforting words and prayers as she and her family mourn the loss of their fallen hero. 

I Won't Grow Up

Once upon a time, I was cast as a Lost Boy in my 5th grade production of “Peter Pan.” (Go ahead, laugh it up, but as a tomboy who boasted no acting skills whatsoever, I much preferred my role as a ragamuffin than the coveted ultra-girly roles of Wendy or Tinkerbell.) Although I have the world’s worst memory, I can clearly remember the lyrics to what could now be one of my theme songs: I Won’t Grow Up.

Unlike some kids, I don’t recall ever wishing to be older. I thoroughly enjoyed my carefree childhood lifestyle. Kids get to run around on the playground. They get to play hopscotch and jump rope, chase fireflies and eat popsicles, play Barbies and ride a pink dirt bike. Why would anyone want to wish that away to be a boring grown-up? Nope, being a kid was just fine with me.

Even in high school, when I was approaching the dreaded state of adulthood, I was still content to dwell within the mind of a non-grown-up. When I graduated from college and joined the work force, I still didn’t feel like a grown-up. Then I figured adulthood officially began when I got married. But the wedding bells came and went, and still, no grown-up appeared in my mirror. Ok, so parenthood must be the mark of adulthood, I told myself. But the pitter-patter of little feet joined our household once and then again, and still, you guessed it, I refused to believe I was a grown-up.

Now I'm a 30-something wife and mother.  Every now and then, when my youth seems lost beneath a mountain of laundry and a stack of bills, it suddenly hits me: I grew up. When did I become the grown-up responsible for washing that laundry and paying those bills? When did I become the grown-up responsible for molding the lives of two helpless human beings? How could this have happened? I don’t feel like a grown-up. When did I pack up and leave Never Never Land?  (And can the military please PCS me back?)

No, I never wished to be older. And whenever my son says he can’t wait until he’s 10 (so we’ll consider buying a dog) or until he can drive (because he thinks that will earn him some freedom) or until he has his own family (so he can boss his kids around like I boss him around), I laugh and sing him the song of the Lost Boys. I won’t grow up. Not me. No sir. Not me.

Need a reminder of your youth? Take a listen…
- I WON’T GROW UP lyrics

Mama's Losin' It
Writer's Workshop hosted by Mama Kat

My Chosen Writing Prompt: When do you first imagine yourself wishing you were older or bigger?  Write about it.  (I think I got a little off track, but that's the point of a prompt right?)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do You Believe in Karma?

"Coincidence is God's way of staying anonymous."

I am not old by any stretch of the imagination, but I graduated from college a lifetime ago. (To give you some idea of my age, I didn’t have to cite an Internet source in assigned papers until my senior year, and even then I had only a vague idea of what the Internet actually was.)  I had my fair share of friends in college. But thanks to time and geography and an era that predated virtual social networking, I lost touch with every single one of those friends.

Because I feel very little connection to my old stomping grounds, I never read my college’s alumni journal that showcases the successful doctors and lawyers and do-gooders the school produced. But for some reason, when that journal arrived in the mail the other day, I opened it instead of tossing it directly into the recycling bin. As I scanned the highlighted names, one caught my eye. Oh my gosh, I thought, that’s Schmoopie! (Obviously not a real name, but a significant one nonetheless.) I read on and learned that she was a regular contributor at a popular blog. Within 5 minutes, I found her personal blog, left a cryptic comment trying to explain who I was without jeopardizing public anonymity, and got a response that practically glowed with smiles.

Now 2 days into our reunion, I can’t help but wonder about coincidences. Sure, I’ve reconnected with other long-lost college friends. But that wasn’t coincidence. That was Facebook. Some karmic force made me open that alumni journal instead of trashing it. I was meant to find this person after all this time.

I am a true believer in karma and destiny and the everything-happens-for-a-reason philosophy.  After all, a series of coincidences introduced me to my husband.  So thank you coincidence, thank you God for staying anonymous.  

Do you believe in karma? Have you experienced unexplainable coincidences that have impacted your life?

Oh, and Schmoopie, if you’re reading this, wait until you see the pictures I dug up!

This post has been linked to Words of Wisdom Wednesday hosted by Me and My SoldierMan and Pour Your Heart Out hosted by Things I Can't Say.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday

Post It Note Tuesday hosted by Adventures of a Wanna-Be Supah Mommy

This or That? & Random Tuesday Thoughts

The Winey Mommy
This or That? Tuesday hosted by The Winey Mommy

You show up at a party of an acquaintance. It's an evening party and you don't know very many people there. For whatever reason you decide to show up alone--and pray that your friends will indeed make it.

Would you rather show up under dressed or over dressed?

I'd have to go with overdressed.  I'd much prefer that strangers stare at me because I look fabulous as opposed to receiving stares because I look like a bum.  But maybe I only think this because, in actuality, I tend to be the underdressed one, and it's not fun.

Random Tuesday Thoughts hosted by The Un Mom

Do you remember the father in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and his belief that Windex was a cure-all?  Well, my Windex is A & D ointment.  Seriously, you'll never buy Chapstick or hand lotion ever again.

I wonder if handed-ness is genetic.  My parents and my brother are all right-handed, while I turned out left-handed.  I married a lefty and gave birth to a lefty.  But my daughter is a righty.  My theory?  No genetics.  My daughter and I just wanted to be different.

Why is it that every time I cook salmon my husband comes home late from work?

Have you noticed that the new Wal-Mart brand logo looks a lot like the Dharma Initiative logo from the show "Lost"?

Do you know what happens inside a sippy cup filled with milk that is misplaced for 10 days because your daughter hid it under your bed?  Trust me, you don't want to know.

Random thoughts over and out.


Top 10 Tuesday!

Top 10 Tuesday

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We all wear many different hats in our busy lives. Choose one of your hats and list your top 10 reasons why you love wearing it.


Top 10 Reasons I Love Being a Military Spouse

1) I've traveled to parts of the world I never thought I'd see.

2) I have learned the fine art of independence.

3) Some of my closest friends are fellow military wives, and I have no doubt that we'll be friends for life.

4) Living in so many different places helps to make an informed decision regarding the best place to retire.

5) Military life has forced me to finally graduate from assertiveness training.

6) I'm a part of an amazingly supportive community.

7) Military discounts!

8) My family enjoys free health care and prescriptions.

9) There's nothing like the joy of homecomings.

10) I'm so proud of my husband and the work he does.

What tops your list?


Remember that hat you love wearing so much? Next week, list 10 reasons why you DON'T love wearing it. Feel free to stick with the same role you chose this week or pick a different one. See you next week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

All About MEme Monday

All About MEme Monday hosted by Adventures of a Wanna-Be Supah Mommy and Mommy Brain.

Oh prom night.  Fabulously wonderful carefree-night-of-a-teenager prom night.  Wasn't it just yesterday?

My prom night was supposed to be drastically different than it turned out to be.  My boyfriend and I attended different schools, and he convinced me to go to his prom instead of mine.  I was disappointed to be missing out on the fun with my own friends, but one of us had to give in.  As usual, it was me. 

Less than a week before prom night, my boyfriend broke up with me.  Surprisingly undaunted, I called up my best friend, who did attend my school and who didn't have a girlfriend, and invited him to be my prom date.  Within hours, the plan unfolded that we would be picked up by a limo with 6 of our closest friends, eat dinner at a fancy Japanese steakhouse, dance our faces off at prom, and spend the night in a hotel. 

Prom night happened to fall on my 18th birthday, and my friends had a birthday cake waiting at the hotel.  We stayed up all night laughing, singing, dancing, reminiscing, and having the time of our lives.  It was one of my most memorable high school moments.  And the best part?  Even though the 8 of us went our separate ways shortly after that night, I've recently reconnected with every single one of them thanks to Facebook.

And that boyfriend who dumped me right before prom?  Last I heard, he did a brief stint in jail.  Serves him right.

Mama Guilt Monday

Mama Guilt Monday hosted by Cop Mama

I am the perfect mother.  I never yell at my angelic children.  I serve only nutritious meals and snacks.  I read  10 books a day and do daily art projects with the little angels.  I possess a limitless supply of patience, and I'm never tired.  And I certainly don't indulge in time to myself because the children need my constant nurturing.

And if you believe that, stick around for my Oscar acceptance speech.

Although I may sometimes wish to be that kind of mom, I'm well aware that I'm not.  Anyone who says she is that kind of mom is either lying or has a nanny, nutritionist, chef, personal trainer, housekeeper, masseuse, and therapist on call 24 hours a day.  Because I'm not that mom, I can't help but feel guilty for those nagging transgressions that make me the kind of mom I swore I would never be. 

What mama guilt can I lay on myself from the last week?  Oh, let me count the ways...

I feel guilty for watching my 2-year-old Little C savor a spinach and feta filled hamburger, twice baked potato casserole, and mozzarella and tomato salad, while my 6-year-old Big C chokes down sauce-less meatballs and half a banana.  How did I allow Big C to develop such abysmal eating habits? 

I feel guilty for threatening Big C that we would leave the YMCA with or without the treasured toy he lost, making him fight tears in front of his macho buddies.  (Thank goodness we found that stupid Gormiti, or else I'd really earn the World's Worst Mommy Award.) 

I feel guilty for focusing so much more attention on Little C than Big C, not only because she's younger and isn't as independent, but because she's just so darn naughty. 

I feel guilty for wishing Little C would sleep a little longer so I could cuddle alone with Big C in the early morning's peace and quiet. 

I feel guilty for putting the kids to bed early because I was tired. 

And I feel guilty for not knowing what to tell the kids about their daddy's impending deployment.

Now that I got that off my chest, let me go cook up an organic snack while I read the kids an entire chapter book, lay down the newspaper for fingerpainting, make the rain stop so we can play outside, and squeeze in a 5 mile run all with a smile on my very patient face.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slapdash Sunday

Slapdash Sunday hosted by The Eclectic Element
Slapdash Sunday is a day for your proverbial week 'leftovers.' Is there something you wanted to say, but just forgot? Is there something you want to write about, but isn't worth a whole page? Do you have a random thought, funny or otherwise that needs to be written down?

That is what Slapdash Sunday is for!
Do I have any random thoughts?  Well, does my daughter insist upon wearing 2 pairs of Spongebob panties every day?  (That would be a yes on both counts.)  I think my life is made up of a million braided strings of random thoughts.  Let me just tug on one that's short enough to meet the qualifications for Slapdash Sunday...

When I first started this blog, one of my self-imposed challenges was to take a photograph every day for a year.  For awhile I was posting my daily pictures.  But I've decided to discontinue that practice unless a picture is directly related to my written post.  Not to worry, though, I am still taking a picture every day.  I'm just choosing not to bore you with them.

Getting to Know You Sunday

Getting to Know You at MannLand5

1. What's your favorite Easter candy?  
     How to pick just one favorite Easter Candy?  As a kid, I was obsessed with Cadbury Cream Eggs.  Now I think they're gross.  Anything dark chocolate will work.  And LOTS of jellybeans.

2. Who do you think is cleaner..men or women?
     In my experience, I'd have to go with women, but that is such a gross generalization that I'm sure I'll regret saying that.  I think it also depends on your definition of clean and what it is that you're cleaning.  If your "clean" refers to tidiness, then I definitely rule in my house.  But if you're talking about clean in reference to something like washing the car, then my husband wins that award.  Ok, I'll stop over-analyzing now and stick with my original answer.

3. Which do you prefer..wordy blog posts or ones with pictures?
     I truly enjoy both, but the wordy ones should be well-written and the photog ones should include catchy captions.

***Sidenote: If this meme does nothing else, it is proving my inability to make a concrete decision. ***

4. Were you popular in highschool?
     No I wasn't.  And I didn't want to be. 

5. What's your bra size?
     Wow, that's a bit too personal for my taste.  Can I pass on this one?

6. How many states have you lived in?
     I'm a military spouse, so this one will be fun.  Let's see...7 different states, and I've doubled up on 2 of those states (meaning I've lived there 2 different times).  And I lived in Japan for 3 years.  Can I count that too?

7. What's one blog you read every day?
     I read several blogs every day.  I'm going to pick one at random so as not to offend anyone...Parenting Ad Absurdum

8. Peanut butter or Nutella?
     No thank you to either one. 

Operation: Ultimate Meme Participation


A couple of weeks ago, if you had asked me what a meme was, I would have looked at you with a blank stare of confusion and embarrassment for having not a clue as to what you were asking me. Now, I not only know what a meme is, I have started one myself.

(By the way, if you’re looking at your computer screen with that same blank stare I had a couple weeks ago, a meme is a question posed by a blogger that you answer on your own blog, then return to the original blog to link up and share your post with the other participants.)

I’ve been participating in other bloggers’ memes without knowing that I was meme’ing (ok, now I’m just making words up). Sometimes I join in for pure amusement, but sometimes the memes help to awaken my dormant creativity. Good memes are like writing prompts, offering something, anything to write about when your imagination is all tapped out.

The other day, a day that was particularly popular for memes, I noticed that entire posts were devoted to answering other people’s questions. So I started to wonder if a person could sustain a catchy, unique, and memorable blog by the sole means of meme participation. After all, the memes floating around in the blogosphere are limitless in quantity and variety.

So my challenge this week is to join in on as many memes as possible to (a) determine if it’s feasible to maintain a blog by riding on the coattails of other people’s ideas and (b) to see if I can stumble upon memes to refer back to when I need inspiration during creative droughts.

Do you participate in memes? If so, do you have any favorites?

Do you have your own meme that you’d like to shamelessly plug by asking me to join? (Don’t worry, I’m about to shamelessly plug my own meme…)

Don’t forget to join in on my Top 10 Tuesday! You can scroll to the top of my blog to see this week’s theme!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Looking for Advice!

Have you ever attended a blogging conference?  If so, help!

I just registered for the MilBlog Conference next month, my first ever, and I have no idea what to expect.  Do I need to make "business" cards?  How much information should I include on them?  Is there anything else I should prepare for?

I'd love any insight my more experienced blogging buddies can offer!  And I look forward to possibly meeting some of you in real life.

Week in Review (Operation: Experimentation)

My challenge for this week was to perform a science experiment with the kids every day after school. Who knew I was such the scientist? Granted, my scientific experimentation was limited to the skill level of a kindergartener, but hey, I’m not as science-challenged as I thought.

On Monday, we performed not just 1, but 3 science experiments. Never mind that only one and half were successful. It’s the journey, not the destination right? Three more on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and the grand finale on Friday.

I was thrilled that both kids thought our science week was “awesome.” Even if they don’t remember that vinegar and baking soda combine to create carbon dioxide, I’m more than happy knowing they had fun. And Big C must have retained something because by the end of the week he was forming hypotheses that were actually correct.

I don’t think I’ll be breaking out the beakers and Bunson burners anytime soon, but if I can continue finding entertaining, age-appropriate science-related activities, I’m definitely going to keep this up. Another advantage?  Because both kids responded so well, I now have another trick to add to my bag of bribes.

Monday: Melt & Freeze

I never imagined my children would get so excited over an ice cube sticking to a salted piece of string.

Tuesday: Blowing Up a Balloon

We repeated this one several times because the C's couldn't get enough of the "fizzy bubbles" (that would be the vinegar and baking soda mixture) blowing up the balloon.

Wednesday: Balloon Expansion

Did you know that if you put a balloon on top of a bottle and dunk that bottle in ice water, it does nothing.  But if you submerge that bottle in hot water, the balloon blows up?  I didn't either.

Thursday: Oobleck

Big C had no problem whatsoever getting ooey gooey with the Oobleck (corn starch mixed with water and food coloring), but Little C was more skeptical.  She liked playing with it, but ever the girly-girl, she didn't like getting dirty.  I intended to incorporate some literature into this activity, since Oobleck is a Dr. Suess creation, but the library didn't have any copies of the book available.

Friday: Lava

The piece de resistance. No science week would be complete without lava. That volcano erupted so many times I almost ran out of vinegar. And it took a couple of eruptions before I realized how much cooler this experiment is with red food coloring.

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