Friday, November 12, 2010

RESCUED...a book review

RESCUED by Tom and Yolanda Barbagallo is not just a book I agreed to read for a's a book written by a couple I have known almost my whole life. I didn't know them well, we have gone to the same church for about 30 years, but I knew who they were...their daughetrs were close in age with my sister and I.

Now, having read their book I feel like I truly KNOW them, and I feel blessed to know their story. A story of strength, faith, perseverence and above all LOVE. Love for each other and love for Jesus, the only one who could have seen them through the trials you will find in RESCUED.

So, you haven't gone to church with the Barbagallo's for 30 years, why would YOU want to read their book?

Amazon's description reads: "A twenty-six-year-old woman, married only three weeks, I found myself behind bars in southern Vermont." So begins the compelling, true love story of Yolanda and Tom Barbagallo, two New Yorkers who fall in love and move to Vermont with high hopes for their future together. How could Yolanda, a young bride with no police record, end up in jail three weeks after getting married? Now that she finds herself behind bars, what will happen to her mental state? How will Yolanda, who was at an emotional breaking point that led to a drug overdose and elopement, survive?

When they leave New York City full of hope for their future together, the Barbagallos cannot imagine the gripping events that would unfold and completely change their lives. Discover how their crisis, emotional pain, and hopelessness turn around. This dramatic love story will refresh and delight readers and can bring hope to anyone who may be going through tough times. Join this couple on a journey that is sure to win your heart.

This is definitely one of those books you won't want to put down. Their story of passion and love for each other is breathtaking and refreshing. It is rivetted with the unexpected, sprinkled with humor and blessed with two very good story tellers.

Tom and Yolanda are honest, raw and gripping. You won't want to put this one down. If you know of someone who enjoys love stories or someone going through a rocky relationship, this book should find its way under their Christmas tree this year. Be that person to bless them with this gift. A gift Tom and Yolanda were so free to give.

Tom and Yolanda's website gives you great info on their background as well as info on getting their book as en e-book.

Monday, August 23, 2010


If you are looking for an AMAZING FAMILY DAY next summer ... head to Langhorn, PA for some SESAME STREET MAGIC!

There is wet fun for the hot days and dry fun for the days that water just isn't on the schedule!
This year is SESAME PLACE's 30th birthday so the daily parade is definitely a must see!
These are my favorite "boys" on the planet... the middle shirtless one was enjoying his 5th birthday with all the friends of Sesame Street. And because of the 30th celebration, I had him convinced that THAT BIG CAKE was for him and ELMO made it! :)
SESAME PLACE is easy to get to. Simple to plan for. And unforgettable even for us OLD people. Just look at that smile... it is well worth the visit!
Hope you will find the time to enjoy, too!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

'Between God and Me' by Vicki Courtney - A BOOK REVIEW

This is my new favorite book for my daughter and I to read together! I am also a 5th & 6th grade ministry leader and found so much info in this mag/book pertinent to tweens - both BOY and GIRL...and with just a little bit of tweaking, the boys never knew it came form a "girl magazine."

In a world of songs that promote immoral behavior, stores that advertise small swatches of fabric as appropriate clothing and magazines aimed at children preaching the "if it feels good, do it" message, we as mothers NEED Vicki Courtney's support.

Vicki leads the young women of today using the gentle guidance of TRUTH. If you have a tween girl in your home or one close to your heart, this will be the best $13 you EVER spend!

With games, quizzes and journalling spaces on topics such as "Lies to Wise," "R U Following the Right Crowd?" and "Generosity vs. Geed" this journey through Proverbs will have you and your daughter connecting on a level most likely deeper than before.

These are critical character-building years and Vicki Courtney can "bring it home' like no one else I have read.

I have worked with teens for years and Vicki has a way of bringing the information and sparking the heart in such a gentle way, teens will open up and discover as much about themselves as they will the Bible.

Head to AMAZON and get your copy now. Mine is too dog-eared and worn to offer a borrow.


Friday, August 20, 2010

MobiGo - A VTech REVIEW

I love VTech toys...and so do my kids. So when VTech contacts me to do a review, they know they are going to get a "YES!" from this Mommy Blogger.

The MobiGo is our NEW favorite toy! The screen is so clear, like a TV, no pixels here! It slides open like a cell phone to reveal a QWERTY keyboard and the sounds are clear - it is just one of the best toys we have.

The games are inexpensive and now, as of mid-July, Vtech offers downloadable games right from their website.
Take the guided tour here: MOBIGO

My son's best friend was drawn to this game like a we let him borrow it for a couple days - he was addicted. Of course, VTech had sent it to me before it was even available in stores so his mom was chomping at the bit for its release date.

We were leaving for a LONG trip in the car and needed the MobiGo back...the hesitant hand-off was like watching a tear-jerker movie live. Shaky hands, painful grimace on one side and a joyous boy reunited with a favorite toy on the other side.

Our young BFF now has his own MobiGo and even bought  my son a NASCAR game for his birthday! Everyone is thrilled. I LOVE VTECH!

I was given a MobiGo by VTech for my review. I was allowed to keep the product, but the opinion I am sharing remains my own.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

AMISH PROVERBS - Book Review & Contest!

A couple  months ago I reviewed an amazing book, The Choice by Suzannne Woods Fisher. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was THRILLED when LitFuse contacted me to review Suzanne's next book, AMISH PROVERBS!

I live in Amish Country, PA so I am well aware of the wisdom of my "plain" neighbors. Their lives are amazingly simple and their faith is pure and unshaken. I have often thought that a day on the farm with no electricity or phones may just be a blessing compared to my world of cheer practice, iPods, emails and Facebook. Did I say, "may be..." I am sure it WOULD be!

Some of my favorites in this book..
"Don't believe everything you think."
"It is better to give others a piece of your heart than a piece of your mind."
"A child can read a parent's character before he can read the alphabet."
"A truly happy person is one whi can enjoy the scenery of a detour."

Each section of the book has beautiful photographs of Amish lifestyle and a short poignant story followed by short proverbs from the Amish culture. This is a book you could leave around and pick up when you need a "pick me up." With sections such as Work Ethic, Children and Family, Handling Adveristy and many more, there is no stone is a soul's refresher course in living the RIGHT way!

Suzanne's Amish Proverbs just hit the shelves. To celebrate she's giving away a KINDLE and throwing a party! Let the fun begin. See below for info and links.
Find out more about the book, Suzanne and the blog tour here.
Enter Suzanne Woods Fisher's Simple Wisdom KINDLE Giveaway!

Simple Wisdom giveaway=

One Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle preloaded with Suzanne Woods Fisher titles. The Prize Pack (valued at over $205.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, Free 3G, 6", Latest Generation

* Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on September 1st.

Sweet Kindle Giveaway 

Join Suzanne for a Wrap-up Party on September 1st!

She’ll be announcing the winner of the Simple Wisdom KINDLE Giveaway, chatting with readers, and giving away copies of Amish Proverbs and The Choice! Be sure to join us on Wednesday , September 1st at 8PM EST at Suzanne’s Author Page

Be sure to check out the blog tour here or purchase a copy of Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Child? A Bully? (Guest post by Annie Fox)

My dear friend Annie Fox is one of the biggest teen/tween advocates I know. She is the founder of the very informative website ANNIE FOX.COM which is the motherload of information, support and advice for PARENTS, TEENS and EDUCATORS.

I am always thrilled to have Annie post on my blog! You won't be sorry you read this post. You can read PART 2, HERE!

You can find Annie and her CRUEL'S NOT COOL brainchild on Facebook! It would be in your best interest to stay connected to this woman! She will change the world!

Take it away, Annie!

My child? A bully?!! Part 1

July 2, 2010

Me? A Bully? Yeah, right!

This won’t be an easy read. But if the title pulled you in, you may already have some suspicions (or hard evidence) that your kid engages in mean-spirited behavior that hurts others. No parent wants to admit their kid is a bully, but according to a recent U.S. Department of Justice study, 77% of students nation-wide reported having been bullied, verbally, mentally or physically, in school in the past month. Lots of tormentors. Each one is somebody’s child. Would you know if (s)he was yours?

Hints that your child may be a bully:

1. You or your partner is a bully. The family is Ground Zero for learning about emotional responses and relationships. If a parent consistently yells or uses verbal threats, emotional blackmail or physical violence to manipulate family members, that’s what the child learns. And that learned aggression is likely to come to school with him/her. If you’re a bully it may be difficult for you to see it. If you’re wondering, ask your partner or your child “Do you think I’m a bully?” Hopefully they’re not too afraid to tell you the truth.

2. Your child is bossy at home. Is she demanding? Do things have to be her way or she throws a fit? Curses at you? Threatens? Gives you the silent treatment? Refuses to cooperate? Takes it out on siblings? If you made a short list of adjectives describing your child would you paint a portrait of someone you admire? If you admit she’s self-centered, controlling, insensitive at home, why assume she’s consistently caring and supportive at school?

3. Your child’s close friends are not the nicest people. You may not trust them without knowing why. Or you may have good reasons not to respect the choices these kids make. If so, talk to your child (calmly and respectfully) about these friends. This isn’t about labeling or demonizing. And it’s surely not about getting into a power struggle with your child about who she can and can’t be friends with. This is about understanding your child. Be compassionately curious about his friendships and he’s likely to open up. Your intent is to find out what your child likes about his friends and which ones, if any, your child may not be 100% comfortable with.

4. Your child makes rude comments about other kids. Tune in to conversations between your child and her friends. What kind of language do they use to describe other kids? How often do you overhear gossip, a rude put-down, or a “joke” being made at someone else’s expense?

Ask your child to tell you about the social hierarchy in her grade. Kids often like to display their expertise and you’ll be surprised at how detailed they get about who’s “in” and who is so not. Some kids will literally draw you a picture of the school’s social landscape! Listen closely as your child describes the kids who aren’t popular. Or the ones who are. Do you hear derogatory language? (“He’s such a loser.” “She’s such an ugly bitch.” ”Fat!” “Retard!” “Whore.”) If your kid freely talks this way in your presence, there are no barriers to the hurtful words (s)he’ll say, text or post when you’re not around.

Parents of tweens and teens assume that their days of influencing their children are over. Not so! While it’s a fact that friends’ opinions are important, so are yours. You still have tremendous influence on your child’s values and behavior, and you always will. Even after your kids are grown with kids of their own.

If you are aware that your child is a bully or leaning in that direction, it’s up to you to provide a course correction. When each parent does their job… bullying problem solved.

Next week: What to do if you now realize that you’ve been contributing to a bully-in-the-making? How can you begin to help your son or daughter change… for good?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


 If you don't know what 'KATE*VERSATION' is, check out the first one HERE!

I am so excited to be bringing you KATE*VERSATION #2! We spent the last week camping...and if you remember I HATE CAMPING! So, it was so nice to plop down on the couch and check in with Kate while my husband got all our little campers to bed. Thanks Kate, nice hanging with ya!

Kate ended the first Kate + 8 by saying,
"There's no manual, there's no right or wrong, you just have to feel your way though it and see what works."

What a poignant way to lead into tonight's episode or Kate + 8. This was the CHICKEN episode and in my honest opinion, a really good example of a skill I do not come by naturally. A trick of the mom-trade that I would LOVE to say I have down to a science, but sadly I lack this virtue that I am SURE would make my life run smoother and prepare my children for life outside our house more effectively.

So, I am declaring that this CHICKEN episode had a WORK ETHIC message, and a dang good one!
If you know anything about the Amish, you know they never stop working and NOTHING is ever done half-a**ed! Kate and I can attest to that, we share Berks County, PA, Amish country!

Two of my favorite Amish sayings are:
"God has work for all his children, regardless of age or ability."
"If you want life's best, see to it that life gets your best."

As I watched this week's show, I couldn't help but admire Kate's work ethic. She is not a woman who would walk past a stray shoe in the middle of the floor to get to the laundry waiting in the other room. I would bet a good deal of money that she wouldn't pick up that shoe.


You thought I was going to say she would pick it up and put it away. No, I am pretty certain she would call in the troops and the one who left it behind would be carrying it to its home.

I have to admit, as much as I want to be THAT mom, I would most likely trip over that shoe a couple times before I would NOT call the kids to get it, I would sigh, feel sorry for myself and trudge...shoe in the appropriate child's shoe bin.

And what is that teaching MY children? Not a darn thing.

I watched as the little mini barn (coop) raising was in progress and how the eight children pitched in and carried pieces of the structure off the truck. One of the boys started by simply grabbing the piece closest to the edge and like little army ants, the rest of the kids followed suit! BEAUTIFUL!

Have you ever seen an Amish barn raising?

Did you notice that the sun never went down in that video? That was only 10 hours of work. THAT is the kind of ethic I want my kids to have, how about you?

I think Kate's chicken coop was a mini lesson in working together to get the job done and doing it with a smile! They had fun. Yes, it was work. But when Collin was struggling with how to get the water jug, that weighed almost as much as he did, from the hose at the house to the coop in the pasture he uttered, "I love these chickens but this is really heavy." He then turned the jug on its side and started rolling it. This is when Farmer Daniel stepped in and showed one if HIS tricks of the trade. He had raided the toy bin and found a foam bat. He had the boys slide the bat through the handle and work together to carry what then weight HALF of their combined weight.

While racing back to the house and having fun with the kids it was evident that Kate wanted this project done right, done well and done efficiently so it was only done ONCE! She even had the farmers move it six inches to the left so her view out of the kitchen window would be JUST as she wanted it. And why wouldn't you insist on YOUR things being the way YOU want them? Looking out the window and having the chicken coop that brings back such sweet memories sitting exactly where you want it would be a gift. Peering out every morning and being annoyed because you didn't speak up because you just wanted it DONE, would NOT start your day off the way it should. A seemingly little thing that could make or break your sleepy morning.

Here is a run down of the things I noticed that I would have just thrown my hands up and sighed:

When the chicken coop was done, there were specific instructions given which included that a new discipline tactic would begin immediately. Anyone who disobeys is on chicken poop detail. Instructions and consequences delivered plain and simple. Done RIGHT, Done WELL, Done EFFICIENTLY and Done ONCE!

Immediately after children were done eating lunch Kate retrieved the hose to hose down the picnic table and patio only to find the hose was not working. She then went, got another hose, hooked it up and finished the job. SIXTEEN little brown eyes absorbing the work ethic along the way. Done RIGHT, Done WELL, Done EFFICIENTLY and Done ONCE!

Then, my Mom Goddess Kate, speaks a language a wish I shared... "The Gosselin Household's Systems аnd Maintenance Manual: Everything a Single Mom Needs tο Know tο Rυn ουr Lіttlе Piece οf thе World.”

She explained that she is not someone who just wants to "have it fixed;" she wants to know WHY it stopped working, what it NEEDS to be fixed and how to MAINTAIN it so it stays functional. Done RIGHT, Done WELL, Done EFFICIENTLY and Done ONCE!

When she finished her day of manual writing, learning about the maintenance of her water softener, having privacy shrub plans approved, power-washing the house, she said, "I did what I set out to do and my goal was met."

Wouldn't it be nice to lay our heads on our pillows at night and KNOW we Did it RIGHT, Did it WELL, Did it EFFICIENTLY and we only had to Do it ONCE? (Well, if we are talking cleaning toilets and doing laundry we will have to do it more than once...)

And wouldn't it be a gift to one day see our grown children with that same WORK ETHIC? Done RIGHT, Done WELL, Done EFFICIENTLY and Done ONCE!

Well, now as I head to bed with a resolve to improve our work ethic gently but effectively, I will also be taking up first project? A pillow stitched with this,"I did what I set out to do and my goal was met."

Keep it up Kate, you are inspiring great moms to be even better moms! AWESOME!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Semblance of a Tornado!

June 24, 2010 something happened at our house that I hope we NEVER EVER repeat... A TORNADO!

The following pictures were taken upon leaving the house right after the storm. Our house is still standing but we lost a bunch of trees and our playset was hurled from the back yard ----> to the front yard ----> and across the street.

My thanks be to God for keeping me and my babies safe!

This was the only piece of our playset left after debris was removed from our property.

It will be a part of our house for as long as we live here!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

CONTEST WINNERS! *(updated)*

(updated with another winner!)


Congratulations, you are now THE COOLEST MOM on the PLANET!

Head over to her blog and say "hi!" and "Congratulations!"

Jen, please send me your mailing address - - so I can get your 5 packs of Googlybands out to you ASAP!


While our ACTS OF KINDNESS CONTEST was filled with amazing acts, I am sure you all will agree that Felicia deserved the prize with her story! Well, Daedra from Strawesome felt the same way, too!

Felicia, please contact Daedra - - as soon as possible so you can give her your mailing address and you can soon be the owner of your new STRAW!



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fed Up Friday!

Exactly what are "skilles"? And what makes them so special?!

If you are going to try to entice me to fall for your $950/wk load of CRAP... you might want to use spell check! Guess you didn't need any SKILLES to get the job writing copy for this company either!

I emailed them right back and said JUST that!

WINNERS of last week's contests will be announced tomorrow...
that's why FED UP FRIDAY is a little early!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Scars and Stilettos by Harmony Dust: A Book Review

"You will want to get a copy for every person you know... Once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be encouraged, you will fall in love with God all over again."  Holly Wagner, Author and Founder of GodChicks

If this doesn't make you want to read this book, I don't know what will.

LitFuse Publicity group once again sent me a PHENOMENAL and INSPIRING book to review! I love when they do that!!

Harmony Dust's raw account of her life and the struggles that began while she was still in her teens and drove her to make some life-changing decisions will chill you to the bone. But her resilience once she turned her life to Christ will warm your heart like no other book you have read.

Scars and Stilettos is an encouraging story of how God can pull you out of what feels like an abyss and plant your feet on solid ground. Harmony Dust has a MA in Social Welfare & now leads Treasures, an organization helping women in the sex trade discover their true worth & value. For more information about Harmony or her book please visit her website:

The transformation of this exotic dancer started when the fear of being abandoned kept 19-year-old Harmony trapped in an abusive relationship. She was tens of thousands of dollars in debt and struggling to get by when someone tells her how much money she could make taking her clothes off. For the next 3 years, Harmony lived a double life as Monique, a dancer in a strip club.

Harmony's downward spiral started at age 11 and continued through losing her virginity at 14 and trying to hold her head high as she endured multiple rapes, her parents' divorce and other heartbreaks. By 15 she was financially supporting the only man who hadn't left her yet. By 17, she was stealing from the cash register at her job to fulfill his monetary needs. But unfortunately this supremely unhealthy relationship would only get worse. Harmony's predicament left her with a boyfriend who in essence became her pimp.

Her quiet and conservative college student "costume" was the only thing holding her double life together. By night she was someone else's fantasy girl.

We have all heard stories of those who hit rock bottom and found Jesus. But Harmony's story rings authentic. The pages turn themselves as you get just as sucked into her world as she was. Entranced. Unable to look away.

Harmony has taken her heartache and grief and turned it into something so beautiful... TREASURES! We are all God's treasures...HE is sucked into our matter how evil they are...HE is entranced by us...HE is unable to look away. And sometimes those who suffer end up being OUR angels sent to save US. This is what Harmony Dust does on a daily basis!

Today she would introduce you to her savior like this, "Like a gentleman, He pursued me with his infinite love until he captured my heart. I finally met a Lover who would never leave me—the only One who could satisfy my needs. He took the hollow and empty pit inside me that had been carved out by a lifetime of disappointment and despair, and He filled it with hope, love, and purpose."

Go out and by SCARS AND STILETTOS for every woman you know. Let them know THEY ARE WORTH it.... THEY ARE WORTH HIM!

Thank you Harmony for being an angel! This book will remain on my shelf...and inspiration like no other.

Want to WIN this book?Kregel Publishers is graciously donating a $50 gift certificate for the Litfuse Blog Tour Contest! Woo-hoo (thanks Kregel!)

To enter...

SHARE the book on Facebook using this link:
Scars and Stilettos-story of ex-stripper #HarmonyDust & her work now to reach out to those still in the sex industry.

(must use hashtag #HarmonyDust to be entered into gift certificate drawing)

If you would like to read more reviews of this book, head over to the LITFUSE BLOG TOUR LINE UP

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kate Clip from TLC's KATE + 8

I just HAD to post this! This was my favorite scene from the premier KATE + 8 episode! Makes me giggle!

Megan from TLC contacted me this week and LOVES the new KATE*VERSATIONS I will be doing on My Semblance after each make sure you tune in every Sunday night (or Monday morning).

KATE*VERSATIONS will be highlighting lessons we can learn from America's strongest mom in each of the new episodes! So, STAY TUNED!

*Make sure you scroll down and check out the previous two posts ... THERE ARE PRIZES!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Googlybands REVIEW and CONTEST

No doubt you have seen them.
You may have even driven a sweaty-handed child to the closest retail establishment to clean out their inventory. They are Googlybands! You can find them at Walmart, Toys 'R' Us, Walgreens, Supervalu, Publix, Rite Aid and Christmas Tree Shops.

The wonderful people at Googlybands asked me to review their instant trend that has taken the country by storm. Of course my kids, all three of them, were thrilled the day the Imperial Toy Compant envelope showed up...we split them up evenly and everyone was giggly for their googly!

As an artist, I think these things are so STINKIN' creative! I love looking at how the peace sign is in one piece and how the recycle symbol actually looks like one! I am even thinking about entering their DESIGN CONTEST! Not for the $50 gift card but b/c I think I would be THE COOLEST MOM EVER if I actually designed some of these HOT new BANDS!
I love the colors, the themes. I love that some are glittery, some glow in the dark. I love that there is no subject matter that is questionable. I love that they encourage fairness and trading. I REALLY, REALLY like that their packaging is recyclable! WOOHOO!Of course the collecting is really fun, too.

I have a pink hippy bus and a purple electric guitar on my wrist and have since we first discovered them!

Find them on Twitter
Find them on Facebook

Now....wanna know what you have to do to win 5 packs of Googlybands?
All you have to do is leave a COMMENT and become a FOLLOWER My Semblance of Sanity.
Yep, that's it!! You don't even have to leave the house, brave the crowds or console a tearful kid.

I will use on Friday @ 5pm EST to choose the winning comment!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A BIG REVIEW WEEK...starting with Strawesome!

I have some GREAT reviews and contests running this week! I am so excited to introduce you to all the great products I've been asked to review!! Some of the reviews will include a chance to WIN that product!

Come back! A new review and contest EVERYDAY!

Today I am THRILLED to introduce you to Daedra Surowiec, artist and owner of

During the spring I took a leap and went RAW... meaning everything I put in my body was raw... veggies, fruits, etc. NO meat. I have since added cooked foods but remain mostly vegan. So while I was looking for vegan/raw recipes I came across STRAWESOME and since I had been getting much of my nutrients through some amazing smoothie recipes, I contacted Daedra and asked her if she would like to do a contest on my blog!
She mailed me a straw and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

Why STRAWESOME glass straws?
~ reduce toxin exposure from plastic
~ imagine every straw you have ever used laying in a landfill

~ she even personalizes her functional art!
~ need I say more?

~ serve a bright colored smoothie with one of these straws and WHAM, your kids will be SOLD!
~ add to your water consumption! It's more fun with glass!
Who is Daedra?

Daedra is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy with a bachelor degree in fine arts and architecture and with studies abroad in Italy. Surowiec worked in the corporate world for five years following graduation. It was less fulfilling than she imagined.

Following her first son’s birth and her decision to start a home based business, Surowiec took a class in torch work at the Glass Academy in Dearborn and discovered that she could apply her artistic skills to create functional pieces of art with glass straws and develop a viable business.

Surowiec admits to having a special advantage over other start-up businesses. Her husband Brian Surowiec, owner of Essential IT, is a developer of e-commerce web sites including

I asked Daedra when she finds the time to work her business...
The beauty of this business is that it’s online and whatever is seen in the shop is what I have in stock. I don’t have to hurry up and make straws everyday to complete a order. I usually create straws once a week to keep my stock up. I receive orders throughout the course of the day and then when the kids are in bed I take a few minutes to wrap up all the orders of the day. It’s pretty simple and I enjoy every part of it immensely.

Daedra and I chatted about what our contest would be and we decided on a
Leave a comment with something KIND you have done recently...Daedra will choose the KINDEST Semblance of Sanity reader and you will win your very own STRAW from STRAWESOME!

So, here's your chance to BRAG! Go!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kate + 8 Series PREMIER and KATE*VERSATION #1

(photo courtesy of TLC)

Aaden, "Everything's back to normal!"

These were the some of the first words on the new show when Kate surprised this kids with the camera crew on the first day of filming! I loved that he said that b/c it dispells the common notion that the kids hate having the cameras around and it is harmful to them! Go Aaden! Love ya!

I have to say, Kate seems so much more at ease in this show than she did in "Jon & Kate," makes it even more evident to me that she made the right choice and it, in turn, is making a better, happier life for her and the kids!

The hour long show didn't hide the stressors that cause most moms to lose it. TLC didn't choose to only show the happyhappyjoyjoy times to sugar coat what their life is like now. Let me run down the list of things that happened in the first 24 hours of them arriving at the airport to head to Florida...

*their plane was delayed over an hour
*there were multiple meltdowns before the plan even left the gate
*Alexis pukes and has to return to hotel with Jamie leaving Kate alone with 7 kids
*wet suits refusing to slip onto seven sweaty, sandy bodies
*Mady's temper tantrums

Is there ANY mom reading this that thinks she could handle even 3 of these events in one day without completely LOSING IT? Yeah, me neither!

Did you notice how calm she was? Did you notice how much she smiled? Kate's personality does not lend itself to being "fake" and it was obvious she was NOT faking her sincere adoration of the opportunity she had to spend with her kids on their very special birthday celebration.

At the end of the show she said this about motherhood, "There's no manual, no right or wrong way. You just have to feel your way through it." Isn't that the truth! In the heat of the moment when I am angry and frustrated with any one of my three kids, in the back of my mind I am thinking, "how would so-and-so handle this?" and "I am flipping out, what would so-and-so think if she saw me now?" When what I should be thinking is, "How do I need to handle this for MY child? How does he/she NEED me to handle this situation?" No one can tell you how to be a good parent. But if you listen to your kids, know them inside and out and act from your heart, you will give them the best of you...and that's all they need.

I saw Kate give her 8 the best of her in this episode.

You go girl! So happy you are happy!

Then there was the INSIDE KATE'S WORLD special.

All I can say is WOW!
If I had Meredith Vieira (Today Show), Jim Moret (Inside Edition), Steve Neild (security) and Kate Coyne (People Magazine) in my corner I would be skipping up and down the streets singing my own praises!

I was happy to see prominent faces in support of someone who is outdoing many of us in the "MOM" category!

As Steve Neild was talking about the personal threats ending up in Kate's mailbox and on the front porch (which is scary b/c someone would have to scale the tall fence around their house to get to the porch) I was thinking how obscene it is that people have the audacity to think they have the right to pass judgement on anyone, let alone a woman whose shoulders are carrying daily what most of us couldn't handle in a WEEK!

I would LOVE to produce a new reality show...I am not sure what it would be called (help me with coming up with something creative) but here is my proposal...

Gather 10 Kate-haters (they are easy to find, they lurk on every Kate-centered website and make themselves known with their "holier than thou" comments) and each week you drop 8 kids and a cheating husband who spends all their money into their judgemental laps and see how they fare. I have a feeling they would soon change their tune

I think Meredith Vieira said it best, "When you're a strong woman and you have opinions, people think you are a b*tch. I think people should get a life!" AMEN, SISTER!

Kate wrapped up the show by saying, "When you love your work and you love being home, balancing the two is what makes your life work." Isn't that the truth! Thanks Kate!

So, this was my first "Kate-versation" (Kate conversation) this year. In further Kate + 8 conversations I will not be pushing my opinion this far. I will discuss parts of the show that pertains to WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM KATE as moms. If you wanna hate on her, go somewhere else. Those of us who are truly commited to being good moms and not hating someone because they are stronger than us will be able to maturely garner some good skills, tricks of the trade and parenting lessons. If that's what you want, come back!

I hope you enjoyed the show and I hope you will join the nex Kate-versation!


Kate + 8 Series PREMIER! TONIGHT!

TLC 9 - 11pm EST

I am so thrilled for Kate's return!
Come back after the show for MY take on the Gosselins!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review: SIDE EFFECTS by Amy Goldman Koss


As my loyal readers, you know I am super passionate about Childhood Cancer! So, when Amy Goldman Koss, who is on my Facebook friends list, posted that she was looking for people to review her book I did the "Horshack thing," "OOoooo! OOOOOooooo! OOOooooo! ME! ME! ME!"

Now, I read the book in two days (yep, it's THAT good!) but it has taken me almost a month to get it here for my review! Thank you, Amy, for being so patient!

On page two of Side Effects, 14-year-old Isabelle complains of a swollen gland that won't give her a break and her mom makes a doctor's appointment. Isabelle was annoyed that the stupid gland just never went down after having the flu a few weeks ago. And that's where her story begins....

The "C" word! CANCER! Lymphoma to be exact.

Not only is CANCER every mother's worst nightmare, it is every teen's worst nightmare...especially when your mom turns into a bumbling idiot at the mention of the word.

"If the cancer didn't kill me, the ride to the hospital would. My mom's eyes were streaming tears and she was babbling in general."

Izzy was usually annoyed, she was a teenager, it's what she did best. Izzy's indignant personality rarely fades as she and her best friend Kay try to stay one step ahead of this roller coaster that may just kill her. But when you are running on foot down the steep track with CANCER-on-wheels barreling down behind you going ten times faster, it may just be easier to lay down and die than try to beat it.

Izzy makes her cancer diagnosis frightening, livable, somewhat doable, sometimes humorous, and oh so REAL! Who knew you could crush on someone, while he crushes back, all the while having poison pumped into your veins, romantic. NOT!

Having been virtually "in" the cancer world during my short stint as a Childhood Cancer Awareness Advocate through my blog its 4 the kids, I can say this book is a bright-side view of cancer but at the same time a painful peek into Izzy's world as she battles a monster bigger than she had ever imagined. While Izzy's story is real and raw, it is humorous but truthful.
Not only would a child with a recent diagnosis benefit from the TOUGH HOPE throughout Izzy's journey, this book is a PHENOMENAL resource for the friends and family of a teen with cancer. Izzy's thoughts relay what she wishes her mom would say, what she wishes her best friend knew, what she hoped the boy she liked would not say. Everyone could benefit from reading this book...maybe people would acknowledge little bald heads instead of look away. Izzy would kick you if you were so rude!

Goldman Koss did an amazing job of writing from inside the mind of her fictional Izzy. While I read I truly felt for her, wished I could clue her BFF in and hoped she would be OK. Izzy's thoughts are so vivid and the descriptions of her physical AND emotional side effects paint the painful picture of what cancer can do.

I thank Amy for this poignant book that reveals the truths I know cancer patients would love to have their loved ones, doctors, nurses and BFFS know as they run from that coaster car that's breathing down their necks!

Cancer is serious. It is horrific. 46 children are diagnosed with it EVERY school day! It's not a subject to make light of and Amy Goldman Koss gives this subject the respect and seriousness it deserves while twisting it with a bit of crass teenage wit.

Thanks Amy! I hope hospitals buy oodles and oodles of this book for their oncology floors!