• Confessions,  Motivation

    Keep Moving

    It’s been a day (and a night: I’m running on an hour of sleep) so I decided to take the easy way out for today’s post and find a quote that speaks to me. Maybe it’ll speak to you, too. It’s from dancer Twyla Tharp: To survive, you’ve got to keep wheedling your way. You can’t just sit there and fight against odds when it’s not going to work. You have to turn a corner, dig a hole, go through a tunnel – and find a way to keep moving. Let’s keep moving, shall we?

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments

    (Almost) Done.

    A couple months ago when we were talking about going to Chicago for Thanksgiving I decided it would be a good idea to get the boys’ Hanukkah gifts all set and ready to throw in the car so I wouldn’t have to ship a box basically as soon as we get home: Hanukkah is early this year! (By the way, did you read my tips for the gift-giving challenged? You should.) The other day when we returned home from Maui I was all, “THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET THE SHOPPING DONE FOR THE BOYS.” Then yesterday, I changed my mind again. I decided to give it a shot.…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things

    I’m One of Those.

    I finally switched out the clothes in my bedroom closet today, trading tank tops and Capri pants for sweatshirts and jeans. I am SO HAPPY. Don’t get me wrong; I really like summer, especially now that we have access to a pool just up the street. As much as I enjoy driving with the sunroof open though, I get a little giddy when autumn kicks in. Just a few things I love about fall: Changing trees and fallling leaves Running our fireplace Hot cocoa with whipped cream The aforementioned sweatshirts and jeans Curling up on the couch with a blanket The seat warmers in my car Chicken matzah ball soup…

  • How To,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    6 Tips for the Gift-Giving Challenged

    One of my very favorite things to do in the whole wide world is give gifts to others. I’m no Martha Stewart or *insert the name of any other famous and professional creative person here* but I do take lots of pride in coming up with gift ideas that seem like perfection. We’re coming up on the holiday season and I am already seeing requests for ideas on Facebook that look something like this… “What to buy for a 13-14 year old? Anyone?” …so I think my advice might be useful to some of you out there, during the December holidays and year-round. Of course, the easy answer for that…

  • Blessings,  My Sister Has Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting

    Shutterfly Kills Me on a Weekly Basis.

    Shutterfly’s masters of marketing send regular emails with subject lines that say “Your Memories from This Week *insert number here* Years Ago.” I love looking at the old pictures they send, but boy oh boy, do they ever remind me of how time flies. Take these pictures, for example. My sister snapped them thirteen years ago this week. It feels like a whole lifetime ago. I miss those little boys sometimes, but also I can hardly remember what life was like—other than BUSY—when they were that age. Additionally, I miss that dog so very much but also I can hardly remember what life was like when we had a dog…

  • Random Thoughts

    How I Roll

    We landed back in Knoxville late yesterday afternoon after 18 hours of travel and very little sleep. There was the flight from Maui to Los Angeles followed by an extra-long layover (12:15am-6:00am PT) and a flight from Los Angeles to Dallas/Fort Worth followed by an extra-short layover (we made it to the gate for our flight to Knoxville with less than ten minutes to spare), and then finally the flight home. We picked up dinner on the way home–it was 4:00pm Knoxville time but 11:00am Hawaii time, so technically it was lunch, or was it? We didn’t care: we just wanted to be able to get home and not have…

  • How To,  Travels

    First Time Going to Maui? Here Are 12 Travel Tips from a (Former) First Timer.

    Are you headed to Maui? Exciting! I’m sitting in the airport like a sad sack, on the way home from our first-but-definitely-not-our-last trip, and I thought I’d write up some suggestions for other first-timers. Hopefully you’ll find this list helpful and, even if Maui isn’t in your future right now, you can use many of these tips when heading to other destinations as well. With that, here we go, in random order: 1. Book your flights early. When we first started checking out our options many months ago, we found some that were only two flights: Knoxville to Dallas or LA, and then right to Maui. Because we waited too…

  • Childhood Memories,  Random Thoughts,  Travels

    They Put the Umbrella in Umbrella Drinks

    Since being on Maui, I’ve had a few umbrella drinks (to say the least). The other night I wondered out loud where those umbrellas came from. They’ve been around forever, I know. I used to use them with my Barbie dolls! i told Jim I was going to research the history of those colorful parasols, but as it turns out someone already did the work for me: I love when that happens! Are you as curious as I am? Check this out. 

  • Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Travels

    This Is (My) Fifty, Part 2

    I have to say, for being as distressed as I was about turning fifty, I sure had a memorable day. We got up at 4:00am, showered, and headed to the Knoxville airport during the worst part of a line of thunderstorms rolling through the area. It was a white-knuckle drive and wet leaves were blowing everywhere (as well as covering the streets), which added insult to injury because I knew that traction wouldn’t be good if I had to brake suddenly. I even drove over a downed power line (oops) before I realized what was happening. It wasn’t live though; I’m pretty sure if it was, I would not be…

  • Amazing People,  Music

    Sold Out.

    Back in the day, companies had original product jingles for radio and television written by their advertising agencies. It was unheard of to have popular music playing in the background on advertisements for everything from computers to cars to cleaning products. When bands started selling the rights to their music for the purpose of marketing things to the public, it was considered selling out. Of course, money talks (as does exposure!) so over the past couple of decades jingles have become more extinct and pop music, either well-known or not-yet-discovered, is the soundtrack of choice. Musicians are no longer accused of selling out; it’s a point of pride to be…