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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Ah, Halloween.

A holiday I look forward to celebrating every year, merely for the simple pleasures it brings me.  Like enjoying a pumpkin bagel with pumpkin shmear on Halloween morning.  Like pulling out my "Michael Jackson Number Ones" music video DVD and watching Thriller in it's entirety.  (Those special effects circa the 1980s are too rad for words!)  Like dressing my kids up in their costumes, then watching them trick-or-treat until their candy buckets are full.  Like tip-toeing into their rooms late at night--when the festivities are over and they are fast asleep--and stealing those candy buckets!  (Every year, I look forward to spreading their loot across my bed-top and going through it piece by piece; dauntlessly searching for my favorite sweets!  When I've made my selections, the buckets go back to the bedrooms and my tots are "none the wiser."  Sneaky!  Sneaky!)

No matter what you do or what you enjoy about "the day of the dead," whether it be...

hair raising...

or creepy...


or zombie garden gnome-ish...

I hope it's wonderful and fun and sugar-induced and safe!  Thanks for reading, for your BOO-tiful kindness, and for making my life more SPOOK-tacular, my friends!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Call The Police!

It was a a few minutes past noon when the yellow school bus pulled up to the curb in front of me.

The dark, accordion doors popped open and I watched as my Lilly Girl came bounding down the stairs.  Her pigtails swish-swish-swished as she ran towards me--a big grin plastered across her pixie face.  I noticed she had a tiny, white piece of scrap paper pinched between her thumb and forefinger.

"Mom, Mom," she exclaimed, as she ran into my open arms.  "Guess what?  This is the best day ever.  Nancy gave me her phone number!"  She held the piece of paper up for me to see.

"She did!?," I asked.  "That's great!  What a nice friend."

"She gave me her number on the bus, on the way home.  Nancy said I could give it to you and you could call her mom, then you guys could plan a play date for us!!"

Lilly happily jumped up and down, jostling her purple backpack and all it's contents.

"That's wonderful news, Lil," I replied, "and a play date would be fun."  I held out my hand and asked to see Nancy's number.

"Oh, you don't need to see the paper.  I can just tell you what her number is.  I learned it!  It's really easy to remember."

"Alright," I said, obviously leery, "what's Nancy's number?"

"9-1-1," Lilly shouted.  "9-1-1!  See?  Easy!  Can we call her?  Can we call her?  Pleeeeaassseee!"

"Oh Lilly," I said, stifling a giggle, "I don't think that's right.  I can't call that number."

Lilly's face fell; pronounced disappointment written all over it.

"Why not?," she inquired.

"Because...that's the number for the police."

Lilly's jaw dropped to her chest.  Her eyes popped out of her head.  She gasped in shock...


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Winner, A Halloween Craft...FAIL?

A BIG congratulations to the beautiful witchy poo, Stephanie!  She won two tickets to "Ride To A Witch," at Gardner Village!  Hope you have fun visiting the witches, Stephanie.

Today, I made Halloween crafts with the kiddos.  I racked my brain, scoured Pinterest, and consulted my uber-talented mommy friends, all in search of ideas for fun and kid-friendly Halloween crafts.  I rounded up some orange paint, construction paper, cotton balls, and googly eyes.  I thought, "Surely, surely, this is going to be AWESOME.  Surely, my kids will love this."

Craft Number One went well, and Lil seemed to enjoy it.  Paint a paper plate orange.  When dry, color a Jack-O-Lantern face on it.  Or cut pieces of the face out of black paper and glue it on.  Add a stem.  Done.

Craft Number Two was a smash!  It was my moment of glory!  It was a success!  First, I cut ghost shapes out of white cardstock paper.  Then the kids glued cotton balls all over the ghost shapes.  They added googly eyes and black construction paper ovals for their ghosts' mouths.  Spoooooooky cute!

Craft Number Three...oh you craft number wart on my witch's Halloween FAIL!  In my mind, craft number three had the potential for greatness.  Trace your child's hands on black paper, then cut it out.  Draw a "bat head" on black paper, then cut it out.  Glue it all together and VIOLA, a charming little nocturnal "flying rat."  Lilly was not having it!  She made the following criticisms:  

"That does not look like a bat!"
"Handprints are for making turkeys, NOT for making bats."
"I don't like this craft.  It's weird."

And my personal favorite (said through tears), "My bat does not look scary at all.  It's supposed to look scary.  I want it to be a scary bat."

SO, we retraced her hands, keeping her fingers together for "round two."  That seemed to appease her.  Somewhat.  She felt her bat still lacked "the scare factor," so her solution to this--and this is the real kick in the head--was to DRAW HEARTS ALL OVER IT!!!  What?????

I admit that at one point I thought, "Why do I do this?  Why do I even bother?"  Lilly's bat-tastic "bat fit" was disheartening.  It's hard when you plan something fun to do with your kids, and then have it tank with their bad attitudes.  When that happens, it's only natural to feel frustrated and ornery.

Why do we do it?  Why do we bother?

Because in the midst of all the bad--the whining, the crying, and the hand-print bat crafts--you also have the glorious and enjoyable good--the ghost crafts.  The shining moments.  The joyful times.  The times when everything comes together beautifully and the family has fun.  We do it because we're making memories.  We do it because we care, because our roles in our homes are important to us.  We do it because we love our kids.  We do it because we're good mothers.  

And because we're awesome, too!         

Friday, October 19, 2012

If I Was A Witch; A Giveaway

If I was a wacky witch,
I know just what I'd do.
I'd move to Cricket Swamp Hollow,
And learn to make eyeball stew.

I'd wear a big, fancy hat,
Made of glittery skulls and bones.
I'd have a giant spider for a pet,
And invite "tasty" children to my home.

I'd visit my cockroach cemetery,
And pay my respects to the dead.
I'd take a slime bath after a day of spells,
Then find a spooky space to rest my head.

If I was a wacky witch,
I know just what I'd do.
I'd have a blog and write a poem,
And give a prize to you!

* * * * * *

Gardner Village in West Jordan, UT is one of my favorite places in the world!  It's a charming, historic place with to-die-for shops and spine-tingling scenery.  I love the village in the summer, and I love it in the winter.  BUT, I most especially look forward to visiting Gardner Village in the fall...specifically, the month of October.  It.  Is.  A.  Hoot!  Witches, witches everywhere--live witches and BIG puppet-like witches on display!  Hay bales and pumpkins and caramel apples abound!  To celebrate the Halloween holiday, Gardner Village hosts an event called "Ride To A Witch."  It involves a tractor ride to a witch's house, where you'll dance to the monster mash and learn how witches make brooms fly.  Visit Cricket Swamp Hollow to ogle the AMAZING witch wardrobes and to enjoy a few laughs.

If you would like to win TWO tickets to RIDE TO A WATCH, simply:
1.) Follow "the Mama" via GFC, if you don't already.
2.) Like "the Mama" on Facebook, if you don't already.
3.) Then leave a comment stating you have completed "task 1 and task 2."  That's it!  (Or, if you'd like to comment on my poetical prowess, please feel free to do so!!!)

*Have a spellbinding weekend, my little witchy poos!*    

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Simple And Sweet

Sometimes life gets hectic,
and I fail to truly see,
the simple and sweet pleasures,
that bring sunshine to me.

Like a "petite" Coke Slurpee,
on a wet and cloudy day.  
And the giggles from my children,
when they...Hallelujah!...peacefully play.

Like going to the mailbox,
and finding a brown package inside--
Knowing that as soon as kids are asleep,
I'll take my "October reads" and hide.

Like quiet times and blankets,
a beloved thumb and a brown-eyed boy.
A moment of calm to remind me,
that this is what I call joy. 

(What are your simple and sweet pleasures?  Remember to find joy today!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Born Brave; A Girls' Night Out

I climbed the stairs to the red Victorian house--cursing my decision to wear high heels despite the fact they were BRIGHT yellow and GORGEOUS.  My little piggies were painfully scrunched into the pointy tips of my shoes, and my feet already hurt!  After a quick, "fluff of the hair," I pulled open the heavy, oak door and tentatively peered inside.  I was greeted by a lovely, dark-haired woman who complimented me on my accessories; instantly warming my heart and making me feel comfortable.

I scanned the crowd--taking in the large and elegant foyer, the soft lighting, and all the dolled-up, socializing women.  Some were laughing.  Some were taking pictures.  Several were eating refreshments.

Then, I saw her, standing on the left side of the room.  Cowboy boots.  A beaded cuff bracelet.  Brown hair twisted and clipped at the back of her head.  Dark eyes as deep as wells, perhaps to reflect the depth of her spirit...

Katherine Nelson.  Singer, songwriter, wife, mother, actress, advocate of women everywhere.  Member of a band.  Member of a community.  Member of a church and family.  Brave and open.  Funny and gracious.  A woman on a mission to reach and inspire other women.

I walked into the historic sitting room--an inviting space in its shades of butter cream and ivory.  Eager to enjoy an intimate concert with my fellow bloggers, I took my seat (and rested my toes).

What happened next was amazing.

Katherine touched all of our hearts; inspiring us with her deeply-rooted wisdom.  She sang songs from her album, "Born Brave."  She shared her thoughts with us on what it means to be a woman in today's world; the courage it takes to face our female-oriented adversities.  She told stories; she made us laugh.  She cried; she made us cry.  She made us want to cheer for the special women we are; she made us want to dance for the women we could become.

Katherine's, "Born Brave," album is particularly precious because it not only carries a powerful message in it's lyrics, it stands for an empowering and worthwhile movement.  According to Katherine, "When we strengthen women, we strengthen the world.  We are all born brave."   

As I listened to Katherine's velvety and soulful vocals, and looked at the women around me, and thought about her message, I became keenly aware of how incredible we all are.  Women are amazing!

We are the homemakers and the character shapers.  The cookie bakers.  The picture takers.  We battle the bullies and the boo-boos.  We fight the flu bugs and the learning disabilities, the infertility and the long checkout lines at the store, the desire to pull the covers over our heads and stay in bed.  We juggle the bickering children, the contentious coworkers, the demanding bosses.  We carry band-aids and juice boxes and briefcases and Matchbox cars and grocery lists.  We fight hard, love hard, work hard.  We step up to the plate, with our heads held high and our shoulders back, because we know that whatever curve ball life chooses to throw at us we can knock it out of the parkWe do not have to be afraid.  We just need to help each other; strengthen each other through godly love, kindness, and compassion.

I pondered on what I could do to strengthen the breathtaking women around me, as I walked to my parked car at the event's end.

I can write, I thought, as I kicked off my yellow heels and drove home in my bare feet.

I can write, and hopefully the beautiful women in my life--the ones who are near, the ones who are far, the ones I know well, the ones I haven't personally met yet, the ones I laugh with, the ones I cry with, the ones who inspire me to be better--can feel of the love I carry for them, the sincerity that resides in my heart, that manifests itself in the words I write, in the sentences I create.

I can write for them.

 And I can write for her...

...the littlest (and most important) woman in my life.

* * * * *
Additional resources AKA super cool links:  

(where the first picture was taken from...thank you, thank you!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Winner, A Birthday

Happy Tuesday!  I'm sure it's a VERY happy Tuesday for one of the crafty chicks who entered my Wood Connection giveaway.  I've got a winner, I've got a winner, I've got a winner, hey, hey, hey, hey!  And her name is JESSICA!

(That's her on the left.  Isn't she a doll?)  Congratulations, Jessica!  I can't wait for you to get your craft on!  Thank you a million billion to all the wonderful women who entered.  I wish I had gift certificates for all of you!  Stay tuned, as more Wood Connection giveaways will be coming in the future.

It's a happy Tuesday FOR ME, as my gorgeous, easygoing, hilarious, dreamboat-of-a-little-man, Cam, is THREE YEARS OLD TODAY!  Holy moley, where did that time go?!  He's grown up lightening fast...much to the dismay of my mama heart.  Oh dear, maybe my Tuesday isn't that happy!  Hmm...I suppose I'm happy to celebrate with him today, but NOT happy about that growing up stuff.  *sigh*

Over the weekend, we had a big shin-dig to celebrate Cam's beautiful three years of life.  We partied it up "Halloween style," complete with spiderweb cupcakes, pumpkin decor, hilarious costumes, Halloween candy, and a showing of, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  (Remember how my boy is like Linus?)  It was a hoot! 

We borrowed a projector from my super cool neighbors, hung a sheet from our ceiling, and watched as poor Charlie Brown's treat bag filled with rocks on Halloween night.  ("Who are these people!?!  Who gives a trick-or-treater a ROCK instead of candy!??," I exclaim, outraged.  "It's just a cartoon, Aleisha," answers James.)

I cannot adequately express how elated I became watching my kids, my niece, and my nephews watch that movie.  They sat together on the floor--popcorn bowls and treats in hand--and "ooohed and aaahed" and laughed and squealed over a Snoopy that was larger than them.  The projector provided us with a fun (and hilarious) movie theater-like experience.  It made me happy to see those precious children so happy.

I feel blessed by the amazing people in my life--true "lights" that illuminate my everyday, that serve as my beacons on the hill.  (Did you know that one of the definitions of "beacon," that Webster provides is a person or thing that offers support?)  And though these loved ones may be wacky, crazy, nutty, and utterly ridiculous, one marvelous fact rings true...

They're mine.

* * * * *


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why Are Your Favorite Bloggers Mormon?

As many of my readers know, I have a wicked sweet tooth.  I seem to blog about cookies and cupcakes and chocolate bars ALL THE TIME!  But here's a little something you probably don't know about me:

 I hide my candy in my underwear drawer.

It's true!  I do!  It's the darndest thing.  I have been known to stash peanut butter cups in the farthest recesses of my underwear drawer--way back in the corner, where no one will find them.  I'm like a crazy squirrel stashing acorns for the winter.  (Squirrels DO do that, right?)

When I was pregnant with Lilly, my favorite things to hide AND eat were Hershey's kisses and peanut M&Ms.  I loved them, I craved them, I hid them.  I'll never forget the night my husband came into our room, looking for a snack.

"Gosh, I could really use a treat.  Do you have anything?," he asked.

"Check my underwear drawer," I said.

I have thought long and hard about why I do this--stash sweets in my bureau.  It has been a habit (um..quirk) since I was in college, many years ago.  The only conclusion I can draw--after serious and careful pondering--is this:  I don't like to share!

Isn't that terrible, rotten, no good, horrible, awful?  I don't like to share!  I am a mother, dutifully teaching my children the important principal of sharing, and I can't even share my Hershey kisses!  I'm frequently harping on my children to share toys, share the crayons, share books, share the last package of fruit snacks, share, share, share.  But if I hear their little feet padding across the living room, making headway into the kitchen where I am eating a chocolate chip cookie, what do I do?  I quickly scarf it--shoving a much-too-large and unladylike portion into my mouth--and reply, "Nuffing," when they ask me what I'm eating!

AAHH!  I can bear my hypocrisy no longer!  It's time to change my ways.  It's time to embrace the concept of sharing that I've been preaching to my little ones.  And though I'm not quite ready to share my candy bars (baby steps, baby steps), I WILL share something that is equally sweet...and more meaningful and more precious than anything else I possess.  Ready?  Here goes:

I am a Mormon.  I am an LDS woman.  I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  My membership in my church is a tremendous blessing in my life; the gospel of Christ a most precious gift.  And I really, really love it.

So, why be Mormon?  Why would anyone want to be Mormon?  Why are some of your favorite bloggers Mormon?  What do Mormons really believe?  These are legitimate questions you might be asking.

I have joined with an AMAZING group of women bloggers to answer some of these questions.  These beautiful and talented women want to share with you.  And while we might not be offering cookies or peanut M&Ms, we are offering you a very special chance to hear from us.  A FREE packet, to include a Book of Mormon and the personal thoughts of the following bloggers:

 Mariel - Or so she says..
Camille ~ Six Sisters Stuff
Leigh Anne ~ Your Homebased Mom
Megan ~ Brassy Apple
Reachel ~ Cardigan Empire
Caroline ~ Armelle Blog
Carrian ~ Sweet Basil
Melissa ~ 320 Sycamore
Shandra ~ Deals to Meals
Kristyn ~ Lil' Luna
Kelli ~ Lolly Jane
Stephanie ~ Somewhat Simple
Becky ~ UCreate
Arianne ~ Still Parenting
Shawni ~ 71 Toes
Lindsey ~ The R House
Kirsten ~ The Crafting Chicks 
Melanie ~ Sugardoodle
Kierste ~ Brown Paper Packages
Shelley ~ How Does She? 
Brooke ~ The Crafting Chicks
Ruthie ~ What's Cooking With Ruthie?
  And ME!
If you are interested in receiving a packet from me, all you have to do is email me at  Be sure to include your mailing address.  I promise I won't give out your information, nor will I send the Mormon missionaries to your door!  I'd love for you to have this gem-of-a-gift; no strings attached!

I know that we are all God's children and he loves us beyond our comprehension.  He blesses me with the courage and strength to face my challenges.  He brings comfort into my life when the days are long, when the parenting is challenging, and when the stockpile of treats is running low.  Our beautiful Savior loves us too.  This is evident in the most sacred and precious gift he gave to mankind.  Himself.

I have loved sharing this blog with you, my dear friends.  I have shared my thoughts and fears, my wacky "Lilly anecdotes," my lessons learned, and my adventures in motherhood.  At the very core, my faith is a part of it all.  Thank you, thank you, for being kind and open.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for letting me share a part of myself with you.

* * * * * *

*Note:  If you are interested in additional resources, check out mormon.orgIt's a super cool website!  Be sure to look at the "I Am A Mormon" videos under the "Our People" tab.  They are cooler than the yummy goodies I love to hide and eat!  (HA!)  Like this video from my dear friend, Erick, a wounded Iraqi war veteran:


BATS, Guest Post, A Giveaway!

Ooooh, I love this time of year!

The changing leaves, the cooler temperatures, the pumpkins, the Halloween candy, the apple cinnamon tea...all of it has me going "batty!"  (But in a good way!  Like..."batty" with joy!)  Every year, I rummage and dig through my ridiculously unorganized and DISASTROUS storage closet to find my Autumn/Halloween decor.  I pull it out and get busy.  I thoroughly enjoy decorating my "bat cave," ie house, with items that celebrate this spooky-fun (and beautiful) time of year.

Are you looking for a "bat-tastic" project to do for Halloween?  Something cute to adorn your haunted home?  Never fear!!  I have an adorable project/tutorial I'm sharing at the Wood Connection's blog today.  Check it out here:

A big THANK YOU to the Wood Connection for allowing me the opportunity to guest post!  (And of course, thank you for being one of my favorite haunts!)  The Wood Connection has generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given to one lucky "Mama Leisha" reader.  Entering the giveaway is easy:

1.)  Simply follow Mama Leisha via GFC!  (Google Friend Connect on the right side bar!)  If you already follow, THANK YOU!
2.)  Like "She Calls Me Mama Leisha" on Facebook.  (You can click the "F"circle on the sidebar!)
3.)  Leave a comment stating you are a GFC and FB follower, and that you'd like to win.  (And who wouldn't want to win this?!)  Optional:  Tell me how YOU like to decorate for Halloween!!

The drawing will close Sunday, October 7th at 11:00pm MST.  The winner will be announced Monday, October 8th.  There is one caveat:  The Wood Connection is located in Murray, UT.  They do not ship their products.  The drawing would most benefit Utah residents, people who visit Utah often, or readers willing to travel to Utah to claim their prize!  (Thanks for understanding, and if you're willing to travel I'll take you out for a cheeseburger!) 

Happy Halloween and Happy Crafting!  

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Shortage of Pumpkins?!

A Conversation Between a Super Hip Mom (HA!) and Her Hilarious Daughter

(Scene:  In the car, cruising home from a trip to Target.)

Lilly:  I'm really, really worried.

Mama Leisha:  Oh dear!  What are you worried about?

Lilly:  I'm really worried that there won't be any pumpkins for Halloween.

Mama Leisha:  There are plenty of pumpkins everywhere, Lil.  Why on earth would you be worried about a thing like that?!

Lilly:  Well...that man on the radio said something about the SMASHING PUMPKINS and I got really worried that someone out there in the world is smashing all the pumpkins.  And I really, really wanted to have one for Halloween.

Mama Leisha (giggling):  Lilly, "The Smashing Pumpkins" is the name of a group of people who play music.  LOUD music.  That's what they call their band.  I promise you, you have nothing to worry about!

Lilly:  Oh...  Thank goodness!

It's OCTOBER!  Hope your day is a SMASH!