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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Things That Ring

In July I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to San Jose for the tenth annual BlogHer conference.  (Side note:  The city of San Jose was a pleasant surprise, with lots of palm trees and architectural charm!)  From the ride to the convention center with the Ukrainian cabby, to the shirtless, homeless, delightfully quirky dude asking me if I was Keith Richard's wife (say what?), I knew I was in for a treat!

At the conference there was an abundance of good food and awesome swag.  The classes were informative and inspirational.  People were kind.  And holy moley, talented and creative women were everywhere!! 

In the midst of all the parties and workshops--the late nights and the early mornings, the motivational discussions, the laughing and socializing, and dancing with Rev Run--I learned a few things.  Relevant maxims applicable to bloggers and non-bloggers alike; things shared by women and for women to embrace.  Adages that struck a chord and rang true to my soul:

#1--Self-pity is for suckers.
#2--Don't be mean.
#3--Everyone has a story.
#4--Have passion.  Do the things that bring you the most joy.
#5--People are valuable.
#6--Your words mean more than you could ever know.  Choose good ones.

Words matter.  And these are my words, my friends.  The ones I choose to share with you when my small corner of the world is filled with light; the ones I choose to share with you when I am depressed by life's dark clouds.  Like a well-loved book with a spine that's cracked, I open myself up to you over and over again.  With sincerity.  With humor.  With love.  With a knowledge that you are much like me:  Seeking joy, facing pain, working hard, loving fiercely, fighting in trenches, shoveling discouragement.

Why do I do it?  Because someone in San Jose thinks I might be Keith Richard's wife!

But mostly because of #3.  And #4.  And #5... 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Ruthie's Blog Birthday; A HUGE Giveaway!

We're celebrating around here today! Whoot-whoot!
It's Cooking with Ruthie's 3rd birthday party and we're so happy you came :)
Our fabulous group of bloggers and y'all are here to get 'jiggy with it'.
The best part is... EVERYONE'S a winner!
Everyones a Winner Birthday Giveaway! on  
Everyone's a Winner: FREE itunes download of Cooking with Ruthie's Family Favorites Cookbook!!
Grand Prize: $300.00 IKEA gift card
First and Second Place: $100.00 Amazon gift card
Let's get this PAR-tay started... just fill out the Rafflecopter entry below and then download your free cookbook. YAY!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway Image Map *This promotion is sponsored by the above specified bloggers and IKEA and is in no way affiliated with Amazon, Pinterest, Instagram, google+, or Facebook. We hereby release Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and google+ Inc. of any liability related to this promotion, the receipt of prize winnings, etc. The giveaway will run from Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:01 AM MDT and ends Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at midnight MDT. Once the giveaway ends, winners will be chosen using and contacted via e-mail within 24 hours. Winners will then have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to US residence only except where prohibited by law. Winners must be of full legal age in the jurisdiction in which they live. This group of bloggers are only responsible for sending out the prize. They are not responsible for loss, damage or theft once the prize is shipped. Participants will be responsible for any taxes, tariffs duties, etc. due upon delivery of the prize.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Back-To-School Giveaway, OH MY!

I love this time of year!  I love when kids start sharpening their pencils and buying new backpacks, all in preparation for the start of a new school year.  I love the clean, white, "crispness" of unused notebooks and the smell of textbooks that have yet to be opened.  "Back-To-School" prep is the best!

Would you like some help getting ready for school?

I've teamed up with some really cool chicks, and we're hosting a GIVEAWAY!

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Simply fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win, my friends!  Who wouldn't want 150 shmacks to spend at  I know I would!

Best of luck...and if you need me, I'll be in the school supply aisle at Target.  Looking at staplers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

UncommonGoods is...well...GOOD!

I have always loved literature.  As a child, I devoured books like candy.  I'd stay up late--hidden beneath bed covers and with a flashlight in hand--and read Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary.  With age, my reading selections turned to Harper Lee, William Shakespeare, and Jane Austen.  My love of reading and books and classic literature led me to pursue an English degree from Utah State University.

Imagine my utter delight when I discovered a "lit lover's" infinity scarf on the Uncommon Goods website!  A beautiful, cream-colored, circular scarf with a passage from Bronte's, "Jane Eyre," silkscreened on it.  It was gorgeous, I was in love, I knew I had to have it!  (It can be purchased here!) 

And friends, in finding that scarf I also found a wonderful online retailer; a site offering a glorious   smorgasbord of art, jewelry, clothing, pottery, and hundreds of other unique and creative products.  One night (once the kiddos were in bed), I spent hours perusing all the gift possibilities.  (Looking for a birthday gift for that "hard-to-shop-for" person?  Like my mother-in-law?  Ahem...I mean, YOUR mother in law?  Check out this list of goodies: )

UncommonGoods is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and all business operations are conducted within the Brooklyn Army Terminal.  The best part?  The company makes it a priority to support designers and artists, with half of their products being handmade.  That matters to me!

So read a book and buy a scarf!
Happy shopping, my friends! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Marshmallow Towers

It has been raining here.

For the past week we've had skies as gray as pencil lead.  We've had downpours and thunderclaps.  And as much as I love summertime rain storms, it's made my children nutty!  I have the perfect activity to beat the stormy "blahs."  Marshmallow and Toothpick Towers!  It's an activity that is both easy and engaging.  (Eating marshmallows while you are building is optional...but recommended!)

Hope you are enjoying your summer, Party People!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Night Ride

At night--when the sky is not yet navy, and when a sprinkling of stars barely begin to dot the sky--I slip out the backdoor with my beautiful, red beach cruiser, and quietly push it to the waiting, welcoming sidewalk.  I listen to the muffled hum of distant traffic and the shrill chirping of crickets in the brush.  I listen to the pedals click, click, click that moment before I take off.

I ride past the pond in my neighborhood--ducking beneath low-hanging branches of trees, avoiding mama geese and their trailing goslings.  The tang of murky water, the aromatic bite of overgrown weeds, and the earthy smell of soil fills my nostrils as I pedal and pedal.  I listen to the sound of the water.

There's a summertime breeze playing a song in my ears.  I let it lift the hair from my forehead; I let it kiss my cheeks.

And I feel a sort of freedom as I pedal through quiet, residential streets.  The kind of freedom you find in childhood.  The kind of freedom that reminds you of nostalgic times, of when your deepest concerns were Popsicle flavors and Saturday morning cartoons.  The kind of freedom enveloped in innocence.  The kind of freedom that carries simplicity in it's palms, to show you the complex contrast of adulthood.

Suddenly I wish I could run through sprinklers with my siblings.  I wish my mother could tuck me into bed.

My only company is a crescent moon--hanging low, shining true, casting light on darkened rooftops.  Like a lopsided smile in the sky, it beckons.  Urging me onward as an old friend would do.  The faster I pedal, the closer that moon seems.  And the farther away my worries become.  Autism and potty training and IEPs fall away.  Depression and anxiety falls away.  The heartbreak of criticism, the pain of human error, the monotony of maintaining a household, the chaos of busy schedules and "to-do" lists fall away--all left in the dust of a receding distance.

My white-walled tires whir around corners, and it's time to point my compass home.  It's getting darker.  I know I should turn back.  I know I must keep going.

The moon is right there.