Thursday, March 29, 2012

Distractions and Spring Break

Apparently my mind is already on Spring Break. It's long gone.

Because my days have been messed up all week...which is why I missed my Tuesday post. I thought it was only Monday. Ahhh!

It's also why I ALMOST missed today's post. A confused mind...and American Idol. :)

Anyone watching? I just have to say now that my predicted winner is Colton Dixon. Or I'm just a sucker for a cute guy and a piano.

(Okay, I need to get off my computer now since I just squashed ant #4 as it scurried across my screen. And now I feel like they're crawling all over me. I hate bugs!! Even itty bitty ants...cause magnified, they're hideous!!)

I'll be taking a blogging break next week since my kids are out of school for Spring Break. Time to dye some eggs! :)

Happy Thursday Everyone!


Happy Easter!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hunger Games - One More Day

If you've been counting down the days until The Hunger Games movie is released - like I have - tomorrow is IT! It's finally here!

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I've watched interviews with the actors and the trailers numerous times trying to pick up on more details inside the movie. I'm a bit crazed.

I can't wait! I've got my tickets safely purchased and tucked away for my date night tomorrow with my man. Good times! (Which means, he'll probably fall asleep in the theater and I'll get all the popcorn. :) He's not a big movie guy. And he hasn't read the books, so I love that he's taking me to see the movie on opening night...)

Anyway, there is just something about these books! I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why they are so awesome. Is it the constant threat of death? Is it the unfathomable circumstances that makes you ask yourself "What would I do"? Is it the love triangle? Is it the picture Suzanne Collins paints of a future world?

What is it?

At least once a week, me and at least three or four other 30-something mommy's meet up for "play dates". Yes, for our kids. But for us too! And today's conversation, which usually centers around our kindergarteners' reading levels or who's hosting the next big BBQ, was instead focused on The Hunger Games. Go figure. Two of them confessed to "not being readers" but said they "read the first book in days".

So whatever magic Ms. Collins sprinkled into her's working!!

Share with me: What is up with The Hunger Games? Why are they so popular? What drew you in? And for the love of Pete (whoever that is), which hero were you rooting for, Gale or Peeta? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ugly Side of Marketing

Over the weekend I read a very thought provoking blog post by the brilliant author, Mary DeMuth. She wrote a guest post on Michael Hyatt's blog some time ago titled Do Authors Really Need to Promote Their Own Books?

Did any of you writers out there read this? It's really got me thinking.

Let me back up.

For those of you that didn't read it, (you can click on the link above) I'll do my best to summarize.

Mary was actively promoting her newly released book on her Facebook page when she received a critical email, basically saying that they were tired of her always talking about herself, her books, etc. "Let the writing speak for itself" is what I believe they wrote.


Of course, Mary very eloquently explained that in today's publishing climate, it is not only appreciated but expected that authors promote and market their own books to help drive sales. She wrote a very kind response to what I thought was a very hurtful and scarring email. (If that had happened to me, I would be beyond self conscious every time thereafter that I posted something about my writing. It would be forever branded into my memory...that I'm annoying people. That they don't care.)

I brought up this topic with my husband, just to feel him out. To get an outsiders perspective. To see who's "side" he fell on. And I was somewhat irritated to hear that he more clearly resonated with the "stop-tooting-your-own-horn" side.

While he enthusiastically said he'd champion my book (if I ever get that far) for me on Facebook, I shouldn't be constantly trying to "sell my friends".

I understand that statement. Having just come off of Girl Scout cookie season, I am soo tired of saying "no thanks" in front of every grocery store I go into. (Seriously! Every store!!)

I also receive email after email from my Mary Kay consultant-friends making me aware of their sales and specials.

So as a consumer, I understand. Sometimes enough is enough.

But when is it enough?

Share with me: How can writers promote and talk about their books without annoying the public? How can we get rid of this negative reaction to our best marketing strategies? Writers, do you worry that you'll receive an email similar to Mary's? Non-writers, what causes you to become annoyed by "self-promotion"? Phrasing? Number of times mentioned? Etc.? 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How Do You Fight For Your Marriage?

Marriage is hard

You've probably heard me say something along those lines before. Not to whine. But because it's true! Anyone that says differently is straight up lying! :) 

This April, my husband and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage. I often wonder though...if we were able to count up all the good days and all the bad days, would the good days outnumber the yucky ones? I hope so! 

Chris and I are what I'd call a typical couple. We fight about money, sex, in-laws, parenting...all the biggies.

But we also have a crazy side that creates arguments when we don't need them, because we have very silly, competitive personalities. I mean ridiculous, silly, like...who can beat the level the fastest on my six year old's Sonic race game. Ridiculous like...who is correct about penguins. Do they have wings or flippers? 

Crazy stuff people! Things that shouldn't matter! (In our defense, this silly side also provides us with an abundance of fall-on-the-floor-pee-my-pants-I'm-laughing-so-hard moments too.) 

Nevertheless, we have been struggling lately in our communication and with the prompting of both of our families decided to try marriage counseling. We drug our feet because the idea of sitting on a couch and telling our deepest secrets to a complete stranger just doesn't feel comfortable somehow. Call me crazy, but not my idea of a good time.

But we went. And it was awkward at first. And I cried and I HATE to cry! But it was also really, really good! I left feeling like I was fighting for our relationship. Fighting to find solutions in areas where we need improvement. And that fighting-feeling is much better than muddling through day by day on our own. 

Especially considering these jaw-dropping statistics about marriage. 
  • 49% of marriages end up in divorce
  • First marriages end up in divorce around/just under the 8 year mark
  • 60% of divorces involve people ages 25-39
I pray every day that we won't be part of those statistics. I pray that you won't either. But the other half of avoiding those numbers is work. Do the work! (My new favorite life saying...for marriage, writing, anything!) 

So share with me: Does marriage sometimes feel difficult to you too? How do you fight/work for your marriage? Have you or would you ever try counseling? And for crying out loud, wings or flippers people?? 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Easter Traditions

The goodies we enjoy every holiday! 
  • Spring is almost here which means Easter is around the corner. So my family is in full-blown preparation for our Easter Sunday feast. 

Usually we stick pretty closely to our family favorites. Recipes we've been making at every major holiday since I can remember. Since I'm Italian, most of our recipes stem from my Nonna's kitchen. Food that makes my mouth water just thinking about it--fried sweet polenta and ravioli with Nonna's special pasta sauce are staples at any meal we can squeeze them into.

Since I'm also a mommy with little ones, I like to make lots of special treats for them when I can. Last Easter I found this Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs recipe and it was a hit so I plan to make it again. 

And just in case you want to splurge on a few extra calories (okay, MANY extra calories!), here it is! I promise, they're great! 

  • 1 (16 ounce) package confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 8 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon shortening


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter and milk (if needed for moisture) until blended. Shape mixture into two 1/2 pound eggs or make a bunch of smaller eggs. Freeze eggs for 1 hour.
  2. While the eggs are freezing, cut semi-sweet chocolate into small pieces and place in top of double boiler with shortening. Melt over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Stick a long-tined fork in top of each peanut butter egg, dip it in melted chocolate to cover then drain on waxed paper. When the eggs are cooled and set, decorate the eggs to suit your fancy.

Share with me: What are your Easter traditions? Do you prepare similar meals every year like we do? Do you have any special recipes that give you that warm/fuzzy feeling?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Do You Have A Green Thumb?

I recently purchased some new plants from my favorite online plant store, Burpee.

I'm gearing up for Spring and excited about re-doing my planters in front of my house. Eventually I'll get my garden boxes planted too. (I took last year off and found that I really missed the fresh fruit and veggies. It's nice to say to my kids as I'm making dinner, "hey, go pick some strawberries to go with dinner.")

I like to grow things I know my kids will enjoy. Zucchini, strawberries, green beans, watermelon, carrots, corn.

One year I tried potatoes...but that didn't work out for me. I've also tried lettuce one year and again, no success. But I think I'll try that one again.

It's always fun to get out in the sun and dig in the dirt with my kids. And they love to root through all the plants when the fruits of their labor begin to show. And maybe...just makes them taste a little better too. I can use all the help I can get in the eat-your-vegetables department! :)

Share with me: Do you plant veggies every year? Do you enjoy growing your own food? What is your favorite vegetable?