• Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Food,  Fun in Knoxville,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    The Thrill is in the Hunt.

    I used to throw themed parties all the time. My boys were raised with big birthday parties that had tons of elements that coordinated with whatever show, movie, or thing they were into that year. The ability to take a theme and run with it, usually far further than the average person would care to and what I mean by that is “until said theme is nearly dead and gasping for breath but in a good way,” is something I come by honestly: my sister and I both get it from our mom. While I have contributed ideas for themed parties in the past few years when my friends have…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Food,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    Another Brilliant Idea That Definitely Won’t Happen

    You may remember my ranting about my elaborate plan to renovate the music system at our neighborhood pool back in June. My fantasy blueprint included a jukebox, volume control, a seniority system for music-playing prioritization, underwater speakers, and more. It was one of the most imaginatively complex ideas I’ve ever had that will definitely never see the light of day. Well, I have another one. Try this on for size: a national chain of grocery stores that caters to single people and couples from all walks of life, including people who live in small apartments in Manhattan. I’m not only talking about the people who don’t shop at huge warehouse…

  • Family Fun,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    We’re Exactly Like The Incredibles, But Different

    When he was a teenager, I used to give Dylan a really hard time because he hardly ever wore sunglasses. I’d sit in the passenger seat of the car as he drove us around and say, “Don’t you want your sunglasses? It’s so bright out today!” He always replied with some B.S. to the effect of, “Sunglasses? I don’t need sunglasses. My eyes have a sun-resistant coating.” Commence eyeroll. I have not let him live this down a decade later, making comments about his sun-resistant eyes whenever I find myself near him on a sunny day. That’s why I have to laugh at myself on these chilly winter evenings when…

  • 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.…

  • 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…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Writing

    The Lost Craft

    Did you know I used to be a crafting wizard? It’s a fairly well-known fact among those who know me that I’m very creative and know my way around a wide variety of supplies from any arts and crafts store, but most of the friends who I’ve met in the past decade have no idea how big my obsession was. (I did craft shows, for goodness’ sake!) I come by it honestly; a love of creating with our hands runs in the family. I vividly remember following my mom into Lee Wards Craft Store when I was very young. At every visit she picked up the supplies she needed for…

  • Blessings,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Tradition,  Writing

    Eleven.

    I completely missed my eleventh “blogoversary”, which happened last week, on October 28th. It’s funny how, in the early days of blogging, the annual anniversary of our first post was a huge deal. The community was different back then; each of us bloggers had our own little community of readers within the larger community as a whole. People actually commented on blog posts and we found new blogs to read by checking out the sites belonging to our commenters. Facebook was fairly new back then and word of mouth was how we grew our sites. The fact that I didn’t even think about my anniversary on the day it happened…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Motivation

    There Has To Be A Life Lesson In Here Somewhere.

    I throw my back out approximately twice a year, and when it happens my my ability to move normally is impaired for a week to 10 days. As someone who exercises every single day for between an hour and ninety minutes (and gets crabby when she can’t, even for a day), this semi-annual event makes me ragey. I have a few risk factors for back woes: both of my parents have a history of back problems, I carry extra weight around, and there’s that aforementioned daily workout nearly without fail, without days off for recovery. It happened again nearly three weeks ago, under stupid circumstances: I yanked my back out…