Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama or McCain?

OK....I know I am risking a lot by even mentioning the names of the Presidential Candidates but I am interested in being a part of the wealth of knowledge I know moms can bring to a forum such as this. A forum like this, when used responsibly for gathering information, can be a fantastic way to inform and educate. I know I am even MORE risky to tell you that I can't stand the whole political thing. I am not a dunce, I know it is of the utmost importance for people to vote, so please don't leave me comments about how un-American I am if I am not jumping out of my skin and throwing on my red-white-and-blue lipstick on voting day. I think my reservations lie in respecting grown men (and women in 2008's case) who play the mud-slinging game for months before the election. Why can't the candidates simply state their qualifications? Why must they take the "Oh, yeah? Well guess what HE did?" a podium....for the whole country to see? Are they embarrassed later when they watch the out takes? I just don't get it. When I watch the debates, I don't see grown men, I see little kids dressed up like grown men and it makes me so angry. Our schools want us to let our children watch so they will learn how to be informed voters when they are of age. But when my 10 & 11 year olds say, "Mom, if we said bad things about someone TO THEIR FACE the way they do, you would ground us." what is my answer to them? "You bet your BIPPY I would!" Maybe it is the teacher in me. Maybe I have seen, one too many times, the way a group of high school kids handle an Student Government election without ANY mud-slinging. These 16 and 17 year olds who are asked to handle themselves like adults (and apparently NOT like politicians) put on a beautiful example of people I WOULD VOTE FOR. They are mature and responsible in word and action. Should we have candidates take a class prior to The Race? I am curious what our opinions would be if we could not SEE the candidates or hear their voices. If Americans just got a list of information regarding their platform, their "yeas" and "nays," their expertise, their experience and of course their (lack of) criminal record. Would we feel differently? Would we SEE them differently? Would we vote differently? I will vote. I know WHO I am voting for and WHY. I just wish I had the respect for the adult candidates that I had for high school ones. Please feel free to GIVE INFORMATION about candidates below. NO MUD-SLINGING or NAME-CALLING! If possible, please leave a link to your source.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

VOTE for my POST...

I just joined MOM BLOG NETWORK and posted my "How to have the TALK" story from a couple weeks ago... Go vote for me here! Vote for my post I am so sorry I asked... on Mom Blog Network Check out my Jon & Kate post below and my newest coloring page for Halloween!

Kate I come!

I am sooooo excited...
On November 14th I will be spending the afternoon with someone I have recently bonded with although she doesn't know we have bonded. Someone I think has an amazing head on her shoulders. Someone I admire for her strong Christian values. Someone who may dislike messes but sure knows how to show her kids a good time. Someone who is not afraid to be real. Someone who doesn't pretend to have it ALL together ALL of the time. Someone who hopefully won't think I am a stalker when I say,


On November 14th I am headed to the WOMEN OF PURPOSE conference in Hershey, PA. Kate is one of the speakers and although my friends that I am going with think I am going to tackle her and embarrass them with my giddy squealing, I assure them I will be composed and normal. LOL! They giggle when I refer to myself as normal! Just because I am fun! Really fun!

In all seriousness though...I am truly not psychotic. I just really hate when people who insist their poo don't stink throw slander in the direction of someone who is NOT asking for it! Kate has never asked for anyone's opinion and yet there are people who spend hours each week blogging about her and usually not in a nice way.

I love that Kate has scripture hanging from every cabinet in her kitchen. I have scripture in my kitchen. It helps to keep me focused. It helps to remind me of where my mind should be when someone pees on the floor or feeds play-doh to the dog.

I love that Kate is REAL on the show. She doesn't fake anything. If she is annoyed with Jon, he is quite aware. And you if you watch the show enough, he has said more than once that they are not the kind of couple that WANTS to hold it in...they find comfort in letting it out. Now if she was whacking him in the back of the head with a frozen turkey leg, that might be a bit extreme, but she is simply being honest and open. How can anyone find fault with that?

So, I am so excited to meet Kate and have her sign their new book and give her 8 NAMESAKES! Yes, between now and November 14th, I will make each of the kids their own NAMESAKE. Ironically, I make NAMESAKES to raise money for Childhood Cancer Families and Jon & Kate's charity of choice is Childhood Cancer. Even more ironic...I instituted a new facet of fundraising to my foundation its4thekids and it is a YARD SALE fundraiser - kind of similar to an Alex's Lemonade Stand...hold a yard sale and donate your profits to its4thekids! Jon & Kate just held a yard sale and raised $1000 for Childhood Cancer! Good minds think alike!

I love their new website! Check it out!

This post is in SUPPORT of Kate. Let me know your favorite thing about the Gosselin 10! If you have nothing positive to say, please don't bother leaving a comment, I am not interested in your opinion.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coloring Page...

Here is another (My Semblance original) Holiday Coloring page to prepare your little ones for their night out on the town! Have some fun stuff to post but I am sleep deprived and I have left my glasses upstairs so I can barely see the monitor, let alone the words I am typing on it! A new post will come later today or early this evening. Please feel free to FWD, print and share!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

7 Random Things MEME...with all NEW things...

Jane over at Life & Times tagged me for a fun MEME! You all know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing MEMEs - so here goes - thanks Jane! I have done this one a couple times before (here, here and here) which will make THIS time a little more challenging...I am really not that interesting...although QUITE random! 7 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME... 1. I have all of my children's teeth that have fallen out in little baggies with their names on them in my jewelry box. (that's about 40 teeth, so far) Even my 3 year old has lost 4 (although, I only have 2 b/c his birth mother insisted on having the first two - whatever). I have gotten many comments each time I post a smiling picture of him asking WHY he is missing so many teeth. So, I guess this is the perfect time to answer. His bottom two were fractured under the gum - how? Know one knows. So, they just wiggled their way loose. The top two has a cute little space between them which was actually where his frenulum (the taut piece of skin that attaches your top lip to your gum) went through and was attached BEHIND them. When he started talking, this skin would wiggle and push his teeth apart and made his gums recede...soon there was nothing to hold in those teeth. There is no harm done to his permanent teeth from either issue so he will just look like a mini hockey player for a couple more years...oh, and no corn on the cob! 2. I am a vegetarian wannabe! I have been vegetarian a couple times and I admit it is TRULY a BAMBI reason. I hate hate hate that living things have to die for people to eat. I am just too lazy to stick to it. I would have to make so many different versions of the same meal at dinner b/c my husband and children would never make it without meat in their diets. They may just turn on me and turn ME into dinner. The first time I was a "veg" it was because my high school boyfriend and I were on a road trip and we passed a truckful of pigs. I was all giggly and said, "Awwww, look. How fun! They are going on a field trip! I wonder what kind of field trip they are going on!" Just then he decided to pass the truck and to my horror, the words HATFIELD HAMS flashed before my eyes from the driver's door. My boyfriend laughed and said, "The kind you don't come back from!" I was meat free for 2 1/2 years!! 3. I once had a panic attack while driving and blacked out in a tunnel! One of my best girl friends from Penn State was killed in a car accident on the way to a wedding. November 8th, 1996. The next year was when Princess Di died in the tunnel. Two years later I was on a Girls' Weekend with my high school BFFs and I got a late start heading home. It was dark, I was 2 hours from home and I passed through the town my PSU friend lived in and had to go through a tunnel. I was thinking about Michelle (yes, another Michelle BFF) and Princess Di and I was IN a tunnel. I freaked. My husband had to get two kids out of bed, pick up his dad and drive everyone 2 hours away to get me. His dad drove my van home. Gotta love the creative mind on overdrive! Sheesh! 4. I have never seen Grease or The Breakfast Club. And, yes, I was a child of the 70's and 80's. I know. I know. Ridiculous! DON'T SEND ME THE MOVIES...people have. I still don't have the drive to see them. I have seen bits and pieces of each and knew the Grease Soundtrack by heart...but further than that? Nah. Thanks. 5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE OTTERS! Obsessed actually. I don't collect them although a sweet sweet friend, Kendra from Barely Controlled Chaos, who can see an otter whenever she wants because she lives in Oregon sent me a gorgeous coffee cup/mug with an otter on it. I think of her each morning when I see it on my windowsill! This is my favorite otter video! You can spend HOURS on YouTube watching otters....I heard....I haven't done it...well I kinda have. 6. I once painted a nude self-portrait for a Master's class just to get an "A." It worked and I was even 8 1/2 months pregnant. (No, I won't be posting pictures) The portrait is in my studio in our basement. Once my kids were headed to the basement with friends to play and I heard my oldest say, "When we get to the bottom, turn your head so I can make sure my mom put her naked pictures away!" Nice. Breathe deep and let it go. 7. I did a surprise lip sync for my hubby at our wedding reception. My bridesmaids and I had stayed up the night before and choreographed this huge dance and we had the DJ in on it, too. At the end of the song our best man ran over to the DJ's booth (unannounced to us) and then they came back with an off-the-cuff response! It was priceless! I think we were the first REAL contestants (1993 and way ahead of our time) from that new Reality Show Rock the Reception! I was going to use my digital camera to digitally record my reception and post it on YouTube so I could show you but... I.CAN'T.FIND.MY.WEDDING.VIDEO! I.AM.FREAKING.OUT! Hope you enjoyed (hope I find my tape or I may have to be committed!!!!) this MEME...if you are reading it and wondering if I will TAG YOU....consider yourself tagged!!! Link back to me and then comment so I can come read your RANDOMNESS! *rips house apart looking for wedding video*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What are you afraid of?

I had to explain 'irrational fears' to my 11-year old tonight. I hate that his little mind races and he worries about things that seem silly to anyone but him. But he is 11, he is relatively new to this world and he is very creative so his mind NEVER shuts down. Hmmmmmm. I know someone else with this affliction! And who HASN'T had irrational fears? I told him that if he was standing in the middle of the road and a car was coming - that was a RATIONAL fear. But if he was sitting on the couch and was afraid a car would come careening through our house and hit him - that was IRRATIONAL. I wanted to put things in perspective for him. So, I went to the best place I could think of to find examples of irrational fears...Google! And I hit the jackpot!! There was an alphabet listed so I just started clicking on letters to see what came up, I really wasn't looking for any ONE thing. Just some examples to add a lighter tone to our conversation. It worked! Judeophobia! A fear of Jews? Are you kidding me? No, that was NOT the one I was going to start with. I needed something funny. Something that would make him giggle. Something Vitricophobia! A fear of one's step-father. Hmmmm. Yeah, no. This is NOT what I was going Dendrophobia! A fear of trees. OK. Don't get me wrong when I say....WHAT THE CRAP?! Now, I am all for equal rights for all phobias and I would never make fun of anyone for being afraid of something, except for my friend Goose who has a fear of watching my video blogs. But a fear of trees? Would that be falling trees? Rotting trees? Infested trees? Grumpy trees? Next!... Myxophobia! A fear of slime. Oooooooo Oooooooooo! I had this! I did, I did!! When I was 14, I worked at a local mall in the food court. My shoppe was called Coney Island. We sold hot dogs, hamburgers and cigarettes (for $1.25 a pack). My bosses were brothers and they were C.H.E.A.P! Every morning it was my job to take the thawed boxes of hot dogs to the sink and wash the white-ish slime off of them before placing them on the grill. Ewwww. Hey, I was 14, I wasn't old enough to have an opinion about food safety and there was a '65 Mustang with my name on it just waiting to be paid for! Gimme another one....I am on a roll.... Thalassophobia! A fear of the sea. One word...JAWS! I get it! Trichopathophobia! A fear of hair. Ah HA! I have found the answer to the unexplainable...the Brazilian Wax! Agateophobia! A fear of insanity. Well, holy cow. People are afraid of this? My daily insanity is my comfort. It's the only way I know how to be productive. How could I drink my coffee WITHOUT finding a lego at the bottom (or 1/2 way down my throat)? What would my day be like if I didn't make breakfast, sign permission slips, change a diaper, yell at the dog, talk on the phone and count calories all inside 60 seconds? And I can't imagine a day without saying, "Don't stick that/eat that/throw that/pick at that/squeeze it/hit/touch ...." ~ choose your own noun(s) to finish this sentence. It's my drug. I like my insanity. Don't be afraid. See the light? These need to get Cathisophobia! A fear of sitting. OK. Can you please picture this? Again, I am not making fun. I really think that there are people who sit and make up these words just for a good laugh. I really cannot imagine there is a soul (call me naive) that is afraid of sitting. Sitting? Entertain me for a minute and close your eyes, well, then you can't see what I am going to say....squint, just squint and picture this. A guy in a shirt and tie walks into an empty apartment. He is beat. His flight was delayed and he is getting home 4 1/2 hours later than he thought he would. He drops his briefcase at the door, loosens his tie, unbuttons a couple of buttons and slides his feet out of his shoes. He grabs the mail, a beer out of the fridge and the remote. He throws his head back and sucks in the golden quench of a thirst that consumes his whole being. Click. The game. Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs and bases are loaded. His knees bend as his body wants to collapse into the $3000 La-Z-Boy that is situated across from his 52" screen. But no. He can't. He is Cathisophobic! HE HAS TO STAND TO WATCH THE GAME. "Steeeee-riiiiiiiike!" Games over. Time for bed....wait is there a fear of laying down, too? Poor guy! have been kind to stick around this long....I will pick one more...just one.... *closes eyes and blindly points at the screen* Chorophobia! A fear of dancing. My husband has this. But he's not fearful of his OWN dancing. It's mine he is worried about. And then I do this... you loved it I wanted to treat you again! (sorry Goose!) Thanks for being a part of my irrational fears post...leave me some LOVE and tell me what fears you have heard of (or have) that are a little...shall we say...QUIRKY! And please, no HATE mail for this post. I meant no disrespect. Just having a little fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't EVER look away...

So, when someone says to a Childhood Cancer Activist, "Do you want to do a Cancer display at XYZ event?" She would most definitely say, "yes!" Even if she is supposed to be re-writing the church website, filling NAMESAKE orders, reading for her Bible Study, making phone calls for her church group's hospital visit to deliver blankets they made last year to sick kids, planning her daughter's Class Fall Party, writing an article for Root & Sprout, researching for her job @, writing her Gift of Gab Column, wasting a little bit of time on FACEBOOK, cooking, cleaning....and you know the rest.

You know what?

I think I saw 3 people looking at these kids...the kids I cry for... the kids who deserve that attention...YOUR attention...EVERYONE'S ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the left panel of my display were 46 of the most beautifully precious children, there were stars placed on the photos of those children who have passed through the gates of Heaven. Why 46, you ask? Because 46 children are diagnosed with cancer EVERY DAY! EVERY DAY!

The center of my display was Coleman, his story and my favorite quote from him,

“It’s hard to be hooked up to a pole all day when it’s a sun-shiny day, ann be in your hos-pita woom all day when yoa don’t wanna be there ann wish ya tould be outside in-said, but NO, ya tan’t. I wish that no more tids would det tancer, tuz it's tewwible to haffa do all-a the suff what ya dotta do. If no more tids dot it, then we tould all yust be no-mal wif no more pokes."

Julian's story and pictures of Mimi, Ken, Sam, Alex and William without him were under Coleman.

COOLCOLE and Jessica Easley and their struggles were at the bottom in a "Before & After Cancer" segment that showed the effects cancer has on our children.

The right panel was a collage of children who ALL passed away in one weekend a couple months ago and information about its4thekids.

I also had The Childhood Cancer Petition available for people to sign. 2 people signed. 2! If you haven't already signed the petition, you can do it online - it is easy and, address, email. The email address is used as a verification tool not a way to fill your WON'T get any emails. Bob Pinewski (carepage: AJspace) started the petition with a goal of 1,000,000 signatures because that's what it takes to get media attention...there are roughly 17,000 signatures so far.

I even had JuliansWorld, SuperBay, Team Larson and John Eric bands sprinkled across the table.

It doesn't bother me that I spent a large number of hours preparing for the event and putting the display together...

What bothers me is people see the word "Cancer" and see children's photos and they run the other direction.

"It's just too hard to look at."

"It's too sad!"

Maybe this is why these sweet kids who fight for their lives, LITERALLY, every frippin' day only get 1% of the money raised for cancer research. Because NO ONE WANTS TO SEE IT!


Is that what they are worth to you?

it's 4 the kids is a non-profit organization made up of artists who sell their wares to supports cancer families in need by helping to offset bills, sending gifts to siblings after the passing of a sister/brother, donate to CureSearch, etc.

If you can't bear to look, can you at least FWD the its4thekids link or this post to everyone you know. Christmas is coming. Wouldn't it feel good to spend money that you know 50% or more is going to a child who may not see another holiday?

Can you at least do that?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Contemplating Perfection...

If someone stopped me on the street corner and asked me to describe my own personal “prefect scenario” I am not sure what I would say; let me give it a try: *Some “Me time” that doesn’t include Bob the Builder, diapers or homework? *A healthy portion of amazingly delicious desserts that will not show themselves on my scale the next day? *A shirt that lasts all day with not an ounce of someone else’s bodily fluid sprayed, spit or flung on it? *A day where I do not have to utter the words, “Can you please STOP it?!” to each of the children, the dog and my husband? *One solid, straight-through-till-morning, back-pain-free sleep? *A hammock, my favorite magazine, a bit of chocolate, a drink with an umbrella and hours on end to enjoy it all. Oh, and the waiter to serve me, the maid to clean the stains from my shirts, the masseuse for my aching back and the Nanny to say, “Can you please stop it?” for me? That’s it. That’s what I would say! Michelle Kemper Brownlow has defined her vision of perfection, for today. It will change tomorrow. Isn’t that how it goes, though? We spend years of our lives striving for something- a bigger house, a better job, more money, an empty nest- only to find what we waited so long for doesn’t feel as good as we thought it would after all. When we find ourselves stuck in this rut of misconception, we need to sit down and contemplate perfection. My ‘perfect’ scenario sounds good and by golly it would feel good but it truly isn’t my idea of true perfection. It honestly changes everyday. Knowing that that is OK, is quite freeing. Society will tell us that fame, fortune and the perfect body ranks right up there on the “perfection” list but then I see poor souls like Lindsay Lohan, Michael Vick and Britney Spears as I scan the channels. If that’s what perfection looks like, keep it! I want no parts of it. The business world will tell you that dual salaries and a well-over six-figure income will fulfill your heart’s every desire. I look at the looming divorce rates of those who are fueled by the hunger for “more” and swiftly turn my back on the idea that any of them have found anything worth calling perfection. I read an article this week in Hallmark Magazine (thanks, Mom!) called “Letting Go of Perfect.” The gist of the article by Karen Houppert is to embrace your own perfection, not someone else’s idea of it and let that idea change from day to day. Today, my idea of true perfection may be spending an hour in a blanket-tussled bed that hasn’t been made for days with my husband and three children as they giggle listening to stories we have told a million times. After a busy day of church, home improvements and chasing the baby at a family reunion, my husband’s idea of perfection would most likely be similar to mine although he would prefer the bed neatly made with hospital corners. But sometimes close-enough-to-perfect is just as beautiful. In a world where even the food in a magazine has a stylist, we need a reality check every day. Sit down and make a list, I mean it – get out your paper...find a pen! Jot down everything in life that resembles perfection. My list goes something like this: · the sound of my children giggling even if it is at my expense · birds chirping in the morning before anyone but me is awake · a good cup of coffee · feeling how much someone loves me just by the way he looks at me · and my list goes on… By looking at life in the simple terms we identify on our list of “perfects” makes perfection so much easier to achieve. Imagine a week of perfect days. It’s up to you to change your idea of perfect and choose to live your life in perfection redefined. You get what you set your sights on. You only see what you look for. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” It’s your turn…contemplate your own idea of perfection.


Friday, October 17, 2008

October Weekend Craft...

When all else fails...and your readers get scared of your promiscuous usage of glue...
Draw a pumpkin and choose two colors: VOILA! Simple, neat, easy craft!
Wow! I can hear you whining all the way from Amish Country....
"buuuut I caaaaaaan't draaaaaaaaw like thaaaaaaaaaaat."
But you can tell your kids you can...
VOILA #2 - your FREE coloring page!
Right click the image, scroll to "save as picture" and name it. Print. YAY!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Glub, Glub, Glub....

...last week was one of those weeks where my head was barely above water! Did ya ever have one of those weeks? You know the find yourself at the bus depot trying to sneak on a bus headed anywhere but somewhere that you'll have to get things done, be productive, and put on a brave face about it. Why would I be sneaking, you ask? Well, because I spent the last of my grocery money on STARBUCKS and I have no money left for a bus ticket to the place where moms get to sit and relax. Because, as an at-home mom I have "no job" as far as the bank is deposit makes sure I have enough for Cheerios and Cream Cheese but I get no salary because I choose to stay home. "No bus fair for you," says the Ticket Nazi! Anyway, I wasn't all the way to the bus depot last week but almost! It all started with my husband reminding me on Saturday that he was leaving for Las Vegas on SUNDAY after church. WHAT THE SNOT??! I totally forgot. I have a bit of an anxiety disorder that gets a bit worse when I have to stay alone over night. My parents (who live less than a mile from me) were at their beach house - guess they found the bus depot with some cha-ching in their pockets - and my neighbor works nights. GREAT! Home REALLY alone! We have a very close friend who is on the SWAT team so I know I could call him right after dialing 9-1-1 if anything happened...but he is also the crime scene photographer so I would be afraid I would jinx myself if I called him! So, for three nights I hooked up my STARBUCKS IV, propped my eyelids open with toothpicks and tried to stay awake so I could head off any intruder with my super hero strength. I laugh! There were also cheerleading practices, hip hop dance classes, homework..blah blah know the drill. Single-mommin' it STINKS big time! When he is away, I can't get anything productive done. I have to just focus on NOT hearing the noises of the army of crazed lunatics that might be jimmying my basement windows open. CRAP! So, what do I do to get through the days following the sleepless nights? CRAFTS, of course! (Renee Garcia, close your eyes!)

...thinking about doing a kids' art "how-to show" on - something regularly occurring....could be fun.... I think he went to the Coleman School of Glue...

This is Coleman doing arts and crafts in the Ronald McDonald House in NYC! If you have not been blessed by Coleman Larson, please head over to and register (it's free). Click on VISIT and type in ColemanScott (all one word). He will soon become your hero...he is already MINE! Then upon my husband's return, I kissed him, stole his wallet and me and my 3 BFFs headed for HEAVEN! A shopping/scrapbooking overnight... Ahhhhh, cooling towers just say, "SHOPPING!", eh?

Our booty! Why the pirate lingo, you ask? Because.... We had a PIRATE THEMED SUITE, of course! Duh!

LOL! It was a fluke thing - we had no idea this is what we were getting! We were hysterical...snorting and all...when we walked in! Seriously?

If it's true that laughter adds years to your life....we will all be around a LOOOOOOOOONG time! Michelle and Michele (aka Bob!)

Michelle (aka Goose!) and Anne-Marie

Yes, there are 4 of us and yes, 3 of us are Michel(l)e! We are THAT cool!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The newest artwork...

It's been a while since I showed off (I really don't show these to show off!) my latest NAMESAKES! But, as much as I know this could keep me downing Vivarin and hooking up my STARBUCK'S IV to my veins, Christmas is coming so think about getting a NAMESAKE for those children in your life and blessing a little Cancer Kid at the same time! As always, 50% of the proceeds (that's $20, b/c each NAMESAKE is $40) will go to a Cancer Kid! I know I lost a lot of readers when I was posting almost everyday about the kids who were just being eaten alive by this disease...but you know what? If it was your child, wouldn't you want someone to spread the word about this disease? Every day 46 children are diagnosed with this MONSTER! Every single day! So, here are a couple of the latest NAMESAKES I recently mailed out!

And it's kids like THIS that I do it for...

I love you Coleman! Praying hard for day #2 of this round of chemo!

Monday, October 13, 2008're it!

So, I am doing a new twist on an old MEME! If you are reading this...consider yourself TAGGED! Do the MEME, link back to me and leave a comment so I can go peek at your answers! I LOVE THESE THINGS!!! 8 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME! So, are ya ready? Here goes! 1. Four of my toes are completely numb. Two on each foot! 2. I can make my tongue into a three-leaf clover shape. 3. I can tie a knot in a cherry stem INSIDE my mouth. This was my claim to fame while I was at Penn State! 4. I pierced my own belly button in 1991. 5. I have seen FOOTLOOSE over 30x. 6. I learned how to do photorealistic portraits this summer. See... (can't find the scanned image....check back) 7. I recently quit my Hip Hop dance class. 8. I was a teen model. GO forth and be RANDOM!!!


Well, I have to say that these past two contests were complete LET DOWNS!
I know I am "preaching to the choir" here, but, man oh man!! I used to have over a hundred comments when I ran contests and so many entries that I couldn't keep up with my email. It's more fun that way!!!
For those of you who enjoy reading me, I am asking you to give me the scoop, what is it that you think has chased away my most loyal of readers? Hmmmmmmmm. I am stumped. :) If you would like to help out and boost my readership so we can go back to the fun contests with lots of entries (because I have some book review requests sitting in my inbox), please call 1-800-Email-my-blog-to-everyone-in-your-address-book-please-NOW! Just kidding (well, kinda)! :)
Anyway, on to the contests.
No one chose one of my top 3 favorite NO PRIZE!!! Just kidding! You know me better than that! But someone chose a book from my Top 10 list!
Hooray for Kim Weedleton from Bugs & Bunnies!! I will have your one-of-a-kind ORIGINAL illustration mailed out to you sometime this week! Thanks for playing!
We had one....count them...o.n.e...entrant!
Quite honestly, I think she would have won regardless who entered...yeah that's a challenge!!
Winning for most LABOR INTENSIVE costume..... this little chick!
Hooray for a Sassy Redhead of Tiaras and Tantrums! You will receive a signed copy of...

Well, I must get back to my lab and mix up a concoction. Something with billowing smoke and slime that will entrance the next 100 readers to stay and visit awhile...join the next contest...or just amuse me with their comments!

You'd think that with a friend like Dawn over at Because I Said So, I would get the hang of keeping readers around! She is the master! If you haven't checked out her blog in a couple days, head on has been revamped and it is AMAZING! She is in LA and is Twittering....go check out her latest adventure...(spoiler alert) she is meeting up with Courtney Cox (aka Monica from I had to tell you that!) later!! Seriously!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Be a blessing...

Along with your morning cup of coffee some of you made transfers while checking your bank accounts online, grabbed your keys and headed out for the day’s groceries. Annoyed with the long lines you jumped behind another rushed patron at the ‘self check out.’ Nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time. But what is missing from those harried mornings are casual chit chat with a stranger, a chuckle with a cashier and simple human interaction. We have become a self-centered society running on hyper speed. Our focus lies more in technology than good conversation as our radios and ipods are programmed to exactly what we want to hear, we TiVo to cut down on the wasted time of commercials. Pay at the pump and even grocery shopping online makes life a bit easier but it’s cheating us out of the joys our grandparents’ days were sprinkled with…the blessing of personal contact. Even caller ID keeps us from answering the phone if the person on the other end tends to be chatty and we are headed out the door to the next thing on our “To Do” list. Years ago, I watched my grandfather head out to the post office; he was not in a car with his windows rolled up and a Bluetooth in his ear. He was on foot, calling to his neighbors and throwing up a wave from dew-sprinkled sidewalks. His day was laid out with friendly banter planned into it. He didn’t know who would stop by to chat as he repainted his garage door or mowed his lawn, but he welcomed the interruption. Personal contact was on his “To Do” list. “Stop in to see if Mary needs help with the lawn, go check on Hannah and make sure her air conditioner is still working.” I heard Vince Donnachie, a local pastor, once talk about the phenomenon of the ‘Front Porch.’ The gist of his message was that years ago it was the norm to keep connected with your neighbors and revive the heartbeat of your community each night on your friendly neighbor’s front porch. Vince illustrated this point by telling a story he had heard growing up. A relative had fond memories of seeing his grandmother’s front porch thriving with smiling neighbors and laughing children. This perfect memory screeches to a crushing halt as his uncle’s memory conjures up the day his family arrived only to see an eerie blue glow coming from the front windows. There was no lemonade, cookies or family on the porch and no one was playing outside. The few people who gathered sat inside mesmerized by the black and white television on a stand in the living room. His grandmother’s porch was never the same. The visits from that point on were done inside and were a lot less memorable. There is no substitute for human interaction. The children who are tormented enough to take out their sadness and aggression in the form of violence against their classmates are almost always reported as being “loners.” This is so sad. We didn’t hear about these travesties when my grandfather was leaning on a fence talking to his old friend mid-way to the post office. As we go through life we never know who we will meet or come in contact with from day-to-day. There is no doubt you have smiled after a store clerk commented positively on your child’s behavior or when a stranger helped make your day less hectic by reminding you that your coffee still sat on the roof of your car. Maybe you have been a blessing to someone by chasing after them with the bag of groceries they left behind or helping a child to find his mother in a crowded store. Some of you have been a blessing and didn’t even know it. These interactions cannot happen from inside your home while screening your calls or while punching in your P.I.N. number in the self check out. I guess the moral of my story is also a reminder to myself to slow down and enjoy the people around me; a reminder to take my new neighbor some cookies and stay long enough to chat. Unlike the houses of your grandparents, your porch is most likely on the back of your home, but don’t be afraid to use it. Invite your family and friends, open the door to someone new. Slow down and take the extra minutes to talk to a stranger, to make someone’s day or lend a helping hand. It will be a blessing to you as well. I have to go for now, my phone is ringing and my chatty friend is waiting on the other end.

**Contest news to be posted Sunday evening!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The GREAT 2008 Halloween Costume Contest...

It's the second week of October...has it crossed your mind? Have you asked the kids? Have you started your shopping or web surfing for JUST THE RIGHT ONE? I am talking HALLOWEEN COSTUMES! Are you the Mom that forgets about needing Halloween costumes until October 30th and you are forced to throw your child into Daddy's over sized shirt and tie for 7th year in a row as she squeals, "I don't WANT to be a computer geek, AGAIN!"? ...or... Are you the mom that has a college degree in Halloween Costuming? You know who you are...spending hours searching the internet for specialty fabric, making organza flower petals the size of Montana until your fingers bleed and then constructing thick green stems taller than your husband just so your little FAIRIE looks realistically tiny next to her GIGANTIC flower! ...or... Are you the resourceful one? The one who can turn a clear garbage bag, some blue packing peanuts and some colorful fish cut-outs into a wearable fishbowl? Handle-ties never looked so good as they do over your shoulder in tank-top form! Right? So, which is it? Well, in the spirit of the DRESS THEM UP AND FILL THEM WITH SUGAR season, you can join in the fun and post your Best Last Minute, Labor Intensive and/or Resourceful Halloween Costume on your own blog with a supply list and directions and link back to My Semblance. Invite everyone you know (and some that you don't, if you want to win) to come vote for your all week this week. Results will be tallied Sunday night, October 12th. The winner from each of the 3 categories will win a signed copy of:

This sweet story of the Halloween Fairy, Eve, is a non-scary alternative to Halloween picture books. Creative tie-ins to jack-o-lanterns, candy treats and dressing up are all a part of this rhyming book's new approach to October's favorite holiday. It's a birthday party! It's not a coincidence that the publisher of Lisa Sferlazza Johnson's book is Positive Spin Press! Gorgeous illustrations by Tucker Johnson bring this story to life. The best part? It is one in a series of 3. Christmas Eve and Winter's Eve will be the focus of contests to come.

Find your best photos and enter any one or all three categories:

Best Last Minute Costume

Best Labor Intensive Costume

Best Resourceful Costume

**Don't forget to post your picture on your blog, include the supply list and directions. Then invite others to come vote for you on this post! Look at it this way...this post will then be a giant craft book of ideas YOU can use THIS year...and you might win!!

Now go! Get posting!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You know it's Friday when...

All the lollipops are hairy...
Your motorcycle gets stuck in the A/C vent...
Your children have come down with Purple Stripe-itis...

The dog's sweet tooth can't be tamed.... The Pokemon Cards explode.... and all the characters you can't pronouce are loose in your house...

There's a "something-a-saurus" in your decaf...

Your offspring's legs are

All your shoes feel too tight...
Even these... (yes, that IS what you think it is!)
It's not even 9am and you feel like this...
Has anyone seen the Vodka Calgon?! HAPPY FRIDAY!!! Today is the last day for the CHILDREN'S BOOK CONTEST! <----Click there...and enter!

My brain...

* notebook of ideas for new series of picture books and/or early chapter books *boy main characters, of course *totally RE-vamping a picture book manuscript I had critiqued @ my conference. *new hamsters keep me up *stream of consciousness telling me I have way way way too many ideas in my mind to solidify just ONE! *WEEKEND IN ALMOST HERE!! Maybe I will sleep in! Snort! *Men still "JJJJggggggttttttttt JJJJJJgggggggttttttttt" in my basement *having fun on facebook - come "friend" me! *hating Childhood Cancer - praying for Coleman and Bay and Mikayla and all my other little babes fighting a fight none of us can imagine *I am HOMEROOM MOM!! * is up! *Back to reality!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy October...

I am not condoning drinking until you puke... laughing until you puke is a whole 'nother story! See my contest in the last's a great one! You can win an ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATION by Moi! I was sitting here, minding my own business. Being a writer. Not bothering anyone while trying to edit a manuscript until I heard men yelling... A giant hole is being cut into the basement wall of my house as I type. We are adding a daylight window and of course they come during nap time... Most children can't sleep with a jackhammer vibrating every surface of their living space. But he's sick so I think Dimetapp is keeping him intoxicated enough to ignore the "JJJJggggdddddt JJJJggggdddddt" going on below my feet. Trying to get into the zone. The writing zone. The vibration in my office makes me have to pee. I get distracted easily...I think I have adult ADD. Yeah, cuz now I am thinking about ice cream. I am working on a great picture book that will dispel a mystery about something you may never have considered being a mystery! It's set in a Saloon...and that's all I am sayin'! (Grrrrr. Phone is ringing. Friends IMing. And a partridge in a pear tree!) Anyway, my sweet "mammau" (grandmau) was Pennsylvania Dutch...we live in Amish Country...and she had the funniest reasoning behind the most mundane things. Things you NEVER thought you cared about, until she told you the reason it happens. Then you spent the next 9 days thinking about it! (oh, crap...I forgot to email my editor to tell him which humor column to use for this Friday's paper! Emailing.....) So, anyway ("JJJJggggdddddt JJJJggggdddddt") I submitted my manuscript to two different critiques at the SCBWI conference I attended last weekend and got some amazing reviews and tips! A group of 10 esteemed writers made comments and scribbled ideas. And Caroline Abbey from Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and I had a one-on-one and we chatted about my idea. She loved the idea for my book which thrilled me to no end. I wasn't as excited for me as I was for my Mammau. It's her creativity that tells this story, I am just the vessel this time. A vessel with creative license, of course. So, needless to say, I have been editing non-stop since Saturday night. I have had my manuscript in the sandbox, in the driveway with sidewalk chalk, on the couch and dare I say, the toilet! (LOL! My mom will just DIE if she reads this!) I have cut about 400 words, gotten rid of an underlying theme that was making it difficult to follow and I am now changing around the characters. This is why I love writing! It gives me goosebumps! I am very excited to get Mammau's words into print. Kids will love her story. OK....enough "JJJJggggdddddt JJJJggggdddddt" I have to go do something....sheesh!