Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Where Scribbit Appears




One of my ten year-old sons--can't say which ten year-old son for fear of embarrassing him and blowing his cover--loves to write. Journal entries, stories, anything with words he loves and he's developed an endearing habit of leaving me notes.

He'll write me a letter then fold it up in some creative origami way and leave it for me to find: under my pillow, by my bedside, tucked in a book, all over the house. Sometimes with a piece of precious candy from his treasured Halloween/Easter/Valentine's Day stash but he leaves it somewhere then sits back and waits for me to make the discovery.

I can't tell you everything that's in them, that would be cheating, but the one I found this week was one of my favorites. I'll post a quick excerpt (and remember whose spelling I'm using):

You might think at times that your not a very good mom. But I don't think even a person with an all-seeying eye could find a better mom than you (even if we don't have video-games).
Anyone out there with an all-seeying eye? Just curious. I thought that was my mother. And I'm glad to hear that my final grade isn't riding on the video games issue.

I'm keeping this to pull out on days when he's not as happy with me or when I'm not as happy with him--these things get you through the less pleasant parts of parenting and makes me remember why I wanted to be a mom.
{INSERT Angie comment here: if you LOVE to write, you MUST enter Scribbit's monthly Write-Away contests. Even if you don't love to write, if you are not already a reader, stop by. She has SO. MUCH. to offer. Truly. Afterall, Scribbit was ranked as fifth in the list of ten Top Motherhood Blogs in the Wall Street Journal April 10, 2008 "The Blogger Mom in Your Face" by Sue Shellenbarger.}

Your Best Self


Hey all.




That's what I do, that's how I roll, with butter.


Sometimes a bagel, with cream cheese. So, I'm a foodie with a recipe blog. {Insert comment from Angie, here: AND BOY is she a GOOD foodie}.


Thank goodness, because I'm not good at this other stuff. I don't know how ya'll do this, posting on a daily basis & sounding great at the same time. But because I am honored to be chosen to guest post here at The Circus I thought I'd come out of my shell & do a different act.

Tomorrow is April 1st.

{AND, Angie's Birthday. For real.}

Which reminds me, be careful, don't be a fool when siblings or friends call you to tell you some big news. Probably not true.


Anyway, I get motivated by dates like the first days of the month or anniversaries or dates of events coming up. It marks the time passing & where I am compared to where I was & it inspires me to keep going forward toward the goal of being my best self. For me, well, I am going to be a tad predictable, sorry! But for me, the only thing that keeps me from being my best self is my health & working out. I can't control most other things in life that get me down but I can control my health & well-th. I have a food blog & I cook a lot so this is a real struggle for me daily but I know what I need to do. The challenge is actually doing it. So, let me ask you as we approach a new month & as I hope to inspire you even just a little:

What is keeping you from your best self?

Whatever it is, doesn't it feel like a constant head cold, always hanging over you, keeping you from truly & fully enjoying all that you love around you? That's how I feel when I am not consistently working out & eating right (more than I am eating wrong.) Exercising is my form of Prozac. It keeps me sane & happy & able to fully taste all that is around me as opposed to that stupid cold prohibiting my taste buds from working.

In the event your head cold is like mine, I want to list the tips that really work for me. While I am no health professional, I am also not getting paid a million bucks to tell you what you want to hear (unless Angie has a surprise for me). I have been on both sides. I have felt the bliss of health & well-th & I have felt the true sadness & severe crankiness of the opposite. This is what works for me to avoid the latter.

Create mini events to keep you motivated. I always hit plateaus where I am not feeling it but it helps when I know I have something coming up like hosting a little BBQ or going out with a girlfriend.

Workout in the morning to keep you happy all day long. If you put it off it may never happen.
Use visualization but be realistic. My string bikini days may be gone but I can still see myself rocking the tankini.

Know your weaknesses & adjust accordingly. I want to treat myself this evening to my favorite cocktail - Vodka & Tonic - but I stopped keeping the large Grey Goose bottle in the freezer. So, I picked up just 1 of the miniature bottles so I have no temptation after I get my treat. I also LOVE chips but have found an alternative for when I need a good crunch. See food tips below.
Adjust your lifestyle. For me that meant something as small as taking Mondays off from posting a new recipe & creating Not So Fat Fridays which motivated me to try one new extremely healthy dish each week.

Be comfortable when working out. I got so sick of the wedgies & the pants riding up that I realized I was putting off working out because I didn't know what to wear. After examining my closet I know I need to go to the store but until then I make sure to wear my most comfortable gear, even if it means over & over.

And a few food tips:

Use olive oil in place of butter whenever possible. Olive oil is a healthy fat!!!

If you're a wine drinker like me, make yourself a spritzer. I like to sip on wine while I am cooking dinner but I also like one later in the evening. To avoid having 2 glasses each night: fill your standard wine glass half full with wine. Finish off with club soda. Even water works well. It's now a habit for me.

If you're a salty snacker & love your chips: brush some corn tortillas with a mixture of water & lime juice. Sprinkle with a little sea salt, garlic & chili powder. Bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes. Then put under broiler for a minute to brown. Let stand for a few minutes. Dip in salsa or bean dip. Perfect crunchy snack without all the guilt.

So, whaddaya say?


Go on & get your best self, then come on over to my place and let's really Live.Love.Eat.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guest Post-Misty Rice



Topic: Children's Clothes and Toys


(There will be post in the near future on my blog (Wind Beneath My Wings) about Hand-me-down children's furniture or supplies)





========================


Are you a mom that welcomes 'hand-me-down' clothes for your children, and then pays it forward by handing down clothes that your children have out grown?


Have you ever wondered what is the proper "rule of thumb" or "etiquette" for giving or receiving hand-me-downs?


Today, is your lucky day.


The 'Hand-Me-Down Etiquette' can be divided in different groups. Today we will focus on the 3 main groups. See which group best fits you and learn your manners.


Which group do you fit in?


Group 1: Hand-me-down Giver! {has the money, doesn't need hand-me-downs, but doesn't mind giving them. The ones with the cool clothes that you would love to have a child a few months younger than her own} Yea, you all know at least one of these moms. There is one for every neighborhood, street or block.


This mom has more than one child and is done having children. She has a box sitting in the garage piled with clothes that she wants to give away to charity, or anyone that will take them off her hands really.


This mom often doesn't volunteer this information because she would never want to offend the receiver of her children's 'hand-me-downs'. This is the mom that you really want to get to know if you are an appreciative receiver of such offerings.


She will often have the latest fashion and name brand items. Knowing she spent hundreds of dollars, you save hundreds of dollars by benefiting from having such a blessed friend. I'll teach you in Group 2, on how to speak up to Group 1 type of moms.


If you a Group 1 mom. Go you! We other moms LOVE you for your style, your coolness, your richness and your generosity to our little ones.


If you have clothes piling up that you swear one day to take down to Salvation Army to donate, and collect your receipt for a tax write off, but in truth know yourself well enough to know that it probably will never happen. Then speak up. There are so many moms, even if you run around in a wealthy group of social friends. There is always going to be a mom or moms, ready to open her hand to some free goodies.


Next time you are around other moms, just casually say "hey I have some clothes to give away, if anyone wants them or knows of anyone that can use them, give me a call." If a mom is a 'turn up her nose' to any sort of hand-me-down items, afraid that it may come plagued with some disease ready to jump on to her child. Or, it's just not her thing, which is fine also. They will let you know one way or another, like offering up a charity place that they donate to, suggesting that you do the same. Those moms are nice moms and mean well, but often they can tend to make it uneasy for the rest of the moms. The ones that would love to have receive a box full of lightly used clothes for their own children.


Don't let those clothes pile up in your garage. If you know of moms with children of the age or size in clothes that possibly can use them, offer them up. The worst thing that could happen is they kindly turn it down. However, I'll be surprised if you don't find yourself with them asking and reminding you, that another month has gone by, eagerly waiting for the next round coming to them.


Step out and GIVE, you aren't giving to the moms, you are giving to their children. Children of young ages don't care where the clothes come from. They rather be left in the nude if they had their choice of things anyways.




Group 2: Hand-me-down Receiver! {loves hand-me-downs, but doesn't really know of anyone that is giving, and wants to get the word out}


So you are a mom that loves to receive hand-me-downs, but can't seem to find any moms that have kids older than yours to hand stuff down to you. Or, you know of a mom that you would love to receive stuff from, but can't seem to muster up the words to let her know, to think of you, if she liked to give anything away.


This is probably the hardest of them all. I was once in this group. I know so many friends that have little girls and I would love to have their hand-me-downs. However, it isn't the easiest topic to bring up to them for a couple of reasons.




  • You don't want to come off as if you are bluntly asking her for her children's clothes, when in truth that is exactly what you want and are doing.





  • You don't want to make the mom feel bad, if she already has something planned out or someone to give her children's clothes to.





  • At the same time you don't want to miss out either, in case she is a Group 1 type of mom. Having and willing to give out, but also afraid to speak up, so not to offend you as well.



So where is the happy medium?


When speaking to my group of moms on this subject, it was agreed on, that to be the receiver, you have to be the bolder one. The one that breaks the ice, the one that speaks up and gets out the word you are a happy hand-me-down receiver. After all, you reap a nice benefit by clothing your children with hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, for FREE. Free is worth a little pride swallowing and a loud voice. Leave the ego at the door and speak up. Everyone wins when you take that step.


I have learned to do this quite well. I basically say it once (I don't repeat it to anyone) they get the point the first time you ever say it to them. If I have any moms, or meet any new moms that have children a little older than my own, I say something along the lines of this; "hey, not sure what you normally do with your children's clothes once they out grow them, but love your style and accept hand-me-downs, so if you have anything you may not need any more, please keep me in mind."


You will get one of the 2 answers in most cases:




  • Oh really, that's good to know. I will surely keep you in mind. In fact, I'll probably have a box ready to go soon. (It may come or it may not come to you, but either way you have done your part) If it comes to you, yea YOU!! If not, let it go and don't think about mentioning it again, or you may start to notice that friend has become rather too busy to hang out as much as they use to. Some will say "oh yes, but really mean, oh no!"





  • "Oh man, I am sorry, but I already have a friend, sister, or charity I give my things to, but if I think of anyone else that has stuff to give, Ill let you." And that doesn't hurt so bad. You may be thinking or wanting to bang yourself in the head for not speaking up sooner...but at least you did. You never know, you may meet another mom through her that will just happen to have a prince or princess just a few months older than your own who is a Group 1 mom.




You will never lose by speaking up.


Group 3: The hand-me-down Queen. {has mastered the giving, receiving and recycling ways of all hand-me-down groups. This is the mom that you swear must have planned and conceived her child exactly 6-12 months after that wealthy mom down the street or in her moms day out group.} That's a joke, but you get the idea.


This mom has mastered the skill of being quick at both ends of hand-me-downs. For some reason this mom tends to be very social and knows tons of moms. How in the heck does she know so many women, you may ask.


This mom, goes to parks, she befriends people where ever she goes, and she just always seems to have it together. She is always paying it forward, by helping other moms that need stuff or hand-me-downs. While she has other moms above her that she has gotten in with, that are ready to cycle off another jackpot full of clothes to her. She gets, she uses, she gives and on and on it goes.


How does one become that kind of mom? You want to receive, but want to feel like you are doing something in return by giving also. This kind of mom doesn't just sit home expecting other moms to come knocking at her door. She is a busy mom just like the rest of us. She is either at dance, baseball or school functions, and or the park. She takes advantage of her busy life style with the moms that come into her path.


The secret is this:


The mom you just gave to, may have a friend that is giving, that her kids aren't ready for and yours just happen to be. Her friend gives you the clothes to use. Your kids out grow them, and by then her kids are ready for them. That's how you PAY IT FORWARD and RECYCLE those hand-me-downs.


There are a few other rules to keep in mind in all of these groups:




  • 1. Make sure the items you are giving are in good condition. Wash them and fold them before putting them in the box. Do not toss anything and everything your child is finished with in that box. Use common sense. If jeans have a hole in the bottom of them or a shoe doesn't have a match, its safe to say that it needs to go into the trash. Don't pass off your trash to someone else, be giving, but be respectful at the same time.





  • 2. If you have a friend or mom that just happily decided that she would give you all of her child's hand-me-downs without you ever having asked her, and you dread the day that bag arrives at your door. Kindly accept it, and even though you know you will not find anything in their to use, just take a little time and wash and fold the clothes or toys and pay it forward. There is always someone, somewhere willing to take what you don't want.





  • Last but not least, when accepting clothes from a mom, friend, relative... ALWAYS say thank you and ask them in advance what they would like for you to do with the items once you are done with them. Most likely they will say "whatever you want to do with them." Whatever you do, don't sell them, trying to make a profit. After all, you got them for free, give them for free...PAY IT FORWARD. It looks a bit tacky, when you are given something for free and then off trying to sell it on eBay for a profit. You may start to not receive as much in the future, being mistaken for a greedy mom. That's another group of it's own, and you just don't want to be in that group.




Now for a little fun..... PAYING IT FORWARD!!!!



It's



****HAND-ME-DOWN****



time.



I have been beyond blessed since I had my little Butterfly. When I had my son, I was young, knew no other moms, and did everything on my own for him. A few later, and having Morgan, I have been given, and given, and given tons of hand-me-downs. Her closet has been full since the day she way born. I am so thankful for my friends, moms and family who have shared and given to my little girl.



I actually do have a small box of girl clothes in my garage, but I have a mother at my church that I give too. I went through it this morning, and I found a few items that I thought I would "hand-me-down" here today for a little fun.



Below please find 3 little dresses in different sizes, plus an adorable pair of Nike sneakers to be given away.



1. 0-3 Month, Brook Lindsay collection, pink/white floral dress with bloomers. I purchased this dress and Morgan has only worn it twice. Its a great dress for a little girl to wear this upcoming Easter.



2. The totally cool yellow Baby Guess dress, is so HOT. Its a size 6-9 month. This is a pay it forward item. It was given to me by a friend, so it has been worn a couple of times. Still in great shape, not a stain on it. With all the buttons going down the dress, the accessory belt that is looped around the waist and the adorable detailed bloomers to go with it..... who would ever guess it would be a hand-me-down.



3. A pink, black with velvet trimming dress, size 12 Months. A fabulous Flowers by Zoe line. It was given to me as a gift and Morgan wore it once. That's it! Its beautiful. In fact I hosted a baby shower for my BFF back in January. Kim Girardi, the wife of the Yankees coach has a little girl age 2, that was wearing this exact same dress at the baby shower. Its classy, elegant and darling.



4. Last but not least, for all those cute little girls out there, here is a pair of super cute pink, white and silver Nike sneaker, size US 2C and UK 1.5. Guess what? I purchased these for Morgan a long time ago, because I just loved them. She has NEVER worn them. In fact I went to put them on her this weekend, and my baby giant girl is too big for them. Hold on as I wipe a tear from my eye. So, yes ladies, I am also giving away a BRAND NEW hand-me-down item here.



(Click on image to zoom)


A little something for the boys out there also. Here are 3 VERY popular Pokemon stuffed toys. Hunter was obsessed for the longest time over Pokemon. He collected every one of them and in that collection he also was able to collect a few Pokemon collectible stuff toys. He has now out grown them and moved onto Bakugan, in which if you are a reader of my blog, you have heard me mention Bakugan a time or two.



We are giving away an all-in-one package here for the boys. All three Pokemon for your special little boy. These Pokemon toys have never been played with, only held and or set up on display in my son's room.



1. Chimchar

2. Sneezel

3.Pikachu

How to win:


Just head over to my blog, become a follower and leave me a comment to let me know that you stopped by and joined in. Be sure to say which items(s) you are interested in. You can also enter into more than one drawing, just be sure to make it clear in your comment. I will use random.org or have my children select the winners out of a drawing.



Who knew "hand-me-downs" could be this fun and rewarding?!!!



PS: My little angel is outgrowing her closet, so if you have any adorable clothes size 12-18 month and want to 'hand-them-down'.... my hands are open!!! Same with my little man, size 8-10. *winking*


Misty has been married to a holy-hottie for 2 years, and has two children. Her husband is an ex NFL Player, having played for the Jaquars and Broncos. Her son, Hunter is 8 years old, and plays travel hockey and baseball. Morgan, her little Butterfly, constantly brings a breath of fresh air into their family. Misty is a model, actress, photograher, wife, and mother who stays very busy. She blogs as a hobby, and enjoys sharing her love for GOD and family, while also getting to write and share thoughts and ideas that can be useful to single or married moms. To learn more about Misty, you can visit her personal blog or her website www.mistyrice.net.



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Sunday, March 29, 2009

My name is Oysterblogger and I'm an Addict

What an honor to be here because in my opinion Angie is one of those bloggers who proves time and time again to be a super groovy gal! I feel really lucky to do some ghost writing or guest writing for Angie this week while she is offline.
So If this makes you feel better before we get on with this thing lets put it all up on the table. I want you to know that I am a flawed human. Which leads me to the responsibility of proving that here and now. Here goes... I am an addict. Ok I think you've heard this before if you know me, but if this is your first time seeing my nicely crafted face, which btw does look a great deal like the real me, then I will say it again. I am an addict. I am not in a 12 step program or anything. I just torture myself with being clean and sober and then falling off the wagon. It is a sad merry-go-round ride for my friends and loved ones. They don't trust me anymore. I am on, I am off, I am on. My drug is not alcohol, its not prescription drugs, or street drugs. I am a Mormon. In fact I am probably sitting in church this very minute. But we don't do that stuff. I mean the drugs, the alcohol, the coffee... O.K. so I might be a bit hypocritical but aren't we all in some way or another? ("rationalizing" someone coughs into their hand) Just know that I am a serious respecter of persons, even with my weakness. Lets get on with this...
See if you can guess what plagues me.
ode to my addiction
i love you
i hate you
i elevate you
you tower over me
i am small
you are mighty
but not without me
you bring me along
as I carry you in my hand.
why do i torture
me
at your altar?
you are crisp
you are delicious
you taste good to me
you make me whole
for a brief moment,
then you diminish me.
your POWER consumes me
as i consume you
you are my drug
you numb me and suck all the life from me
you abide inside me
because i let you
you corrode my insides
in no time
but you make me high
you give me the energy
to clean the toilets
if i just used YOU to clean the toilets
I would be alot better off.
who do you think you are??
Or for that matter what do you think it is??
I will give you a hint:
normal spider web
caffeinated spider's web
after all this, I must know....what is your pesky little addiction?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tag Lines. Everybody Needs One. And $20.


Hello Ladies.

It's me, Tiffany {aka one of the Original SITS Girls and The R Family freak.}

{Hijack here from Angie: AND one of my all time favorite bloggers}.

I am here hijacking Angie's place.

Can I just say for the record that I LOVE her hair.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Now, on to today's topic....

"Tag Lines. Everybody needs one."

Entering the bloggy world, you never know what kind of opportunities will arise.

Afterall, you may get an email one day from a publisher wanting to share your clever posts with the world and whisk you away on a fabulous book tour. Right? Right.

Oprah needs to know how to introduce your blog. Right? Right.

With twitter allowing only 140 characters, you need to be concise, people. Right? Right.

You, my dolls, need a tag line.

SITS has "The Secret to Success is Support." See? Concise, says a lot in a few words, looks good on a t-shirt, etc.

A few of my bloggy friends and I were recently working on a top secret project and needed to come up with one... I thought they came out great:

Lula is a semi-rebellious southern belle who believes monogrammed handkerchiefs and tattoos will never be out of style.

Kathy is a sarcastic mother of three who's busy home daycare clashes with her desire to do nothing all day.

Heather is a stay at home mom who swears by traditional values, black nail polish and anything Hello Kitty.

Are those great or what?

So, now it's you turn. Come up with a tag line.

You'll thank me from Oprah's couch. Promise.

Of course, it's me, so there is a contest.

Leave your tag line in the comments and I'll pick a winner on Monday.

$20 to Amazon.com... {you know you can buy just about anything over there.}

Oh, wait. You need to know mine, right? Right.

Tiffany is a merlot-loving momma and entreprenuer who thrives to dwell in possibility and designer handbags.

I know. Fabulous, right? Right.

Oh, even if you can't come up with a tag line, leave a comment so Angie will ask me back.

Help a sister out.



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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scary Mommy Here


Last week, the unthinkable happened: My blog disappeared. My blog. Poof. Gone. The pages were blank--- my words... my pictures... my baby.

Gone. Can you imagine?

I knew it was coming, as I made the switch from good old Blogger to the new shiny world of WordPress. I was told the transition would take a few moments though, but somehow it ended up taking several hours. Several endless hours during which I sat at my computer, maniacally hitting refresh every three seconds. The thought of the pages somehow being lost in cyber space forever terrified me. The countless hours I've spent here. The memories I've documented. What if they all just disappeared? It was simply unthinkable.

What began as a baby book of sorts has turned into so much more. A new way to look at life, with humor rather than frustration. For someone who never enjoyed writing before, my daily entries became my salvation. A way to feel not so alone in the day to day tribulations of motherhood. To get support and understanding from people all over the world whom I never would have otherwise met. The line between real life and blog life is now so blurred that my friendships overlap between the two. I used to preface stories about people here with "my blog friend..." but now it's just "my friend." It's pretty amazing.

My blog finally reappeared, and I let out an enormous sigh of relief. As I'd approached my one year "bloggyversary" the previous week, I found myself growing tired of posting, exhausted trying to keep up with all of my buddies and just all around burnt out. I contemplated just giving up once I hit the one year mark. I'd had enough. But when I faced the possibility of having it all disappear, I realized just how important it is to me. I may not post everyday now or visit everyone quite as often as I'd like, but I have no plans on abandoning my blog. It means way too much to me. And I'm so glad to have realized it.
Be sure to go check out Jill on her own turf. It wouldn't hurt to enter her diamond earring giveaway, either. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Lula Style

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button on the left to link back to me, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!

So...a while back my dear Angie (whom I just want to hug and kiss and squeeze!) asks if I will guest post on Wordful Wednesday. Now...I am not in Angie's league...so I panicked. And fretted. And basically had a meltdown. What can I write about that's worthy of Seven Clown Circus? Seriously?!?

Then Angie suggested a specific post of mine from last year. And I said, "Oh, girl...that is so long and boring!" And she's all, "Hello--it's Wordful Wednesday!" I then gave in. For Angie. Because I adore her. And I did warn y'all...it is long. But it's good. It's about my close, personal, best friend. Read on...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In August of 2007, my husband, Scott, and I were in the Atlanta airport waiting on a connecting flight to Austin, where we go each year for a boring medical convention. We always make a stop at the airport's Budweiser Brew Pub because they have really cheap appetizers. (Not to get drunk before catching a plane--please.) We fill up before boarding the flight and receiving the obligatory bottle of room temperature Dasani and Eagle Brand Pretzels. YUM--flight fuel!

There we are, noshing away on whatever grease was being fried up at that time, and in walks Paula Deen and her husband, Michael. They sit RIGHT NEXT to us. Here's the play-by-play recap of what followed:


Lula: SCOTTY! That's PAULA DEEN. PAULA DEEN! OHMYHEAD, should we say something? OHMYHEAD they are RIGHT THERE. Get her attention...I HAVE GOT TO CALL MAMA, LIBBEY, ROBBIE, AND THAT GIRL I ROOMED WITH AT 4-H CAMP IN 6th GRADE! (Yes, I was squealing...but in a whisper.)

Scotty: Stop. Kicking. Me.

Lula: What should we do? OHMYHEAD. I'VE GOT TO CALL MAMA.

Scotty: Stop. Hitting. Me.



Because he loves me so, or because he was fearful of being all black and blue for his big speech at the boring medical convention, Scotty leans over and asks, "Mrs. Paula? I'm sorry to bother you, but my wife and little girl are big fans of yours."

And then our world is rocked because she and her husband reply, "Visit with us, why don't y'all?"

Um, OK. And can we fawn and stutter and babble and dissolve into a huge gooey mess because we worship and adore all that is holy within you?

First things first: Since I'm introducing my close, personal friend to you fabulous readers, I'll share the pertinents. Yes, her eyes are really that blue in person, yes, she had some serious rocks on her fingers, yes, her accent is really that thick and yes, she smokes like a freight train. I so love her realness. And I so love her for telling me that I "still sound like Georgia." Praise be!

Paula asks me about Libbey, because that's what close, personal friends do when they visit, ya know? I tell her every time we're in Walmart, Libbey points her out on those overhead TV monitors. Mrs. Paula goes, "You know, you are the second person this week to mention I'm on in Walmart. Michael--did you hear this? I'm in Walmart, baby!" She asks our names and where we're from. Of course Scotty is all polite and professional and replies, "We're Scott & Leigh Anne Litton, from southwest Virginia." Faster than a speeding bullet I interject, "BUT I'M ORIGINALLY FROM GEORGIA!" Because, you know...common ground...she's my kinsman and all. Or kinswoman. Whatever. It was important to me that she knew I was a Georgia gal, born and bred. Like herself, of course!

We had stopped our eating and drinking by this point because really, who wants to eat airport food in front of THE Paula Deen? But the waitress brings Mrs. Paula and Captain Michael plates full of chili cheese dogs, mozzarella sticks and cheddar fries. I tell her, "The world would love to know that Paula Deen eats like this." Her reply was tremendous: "Honey, I crave this grease and get it every time we're at this airport! This is the highlight of my trip, darlin'." She is a soul sister. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

By this time other people (hangers on--sigh--so annoying) in the Brew Pub are starting to figure out that Someone Special is gracing their presence. Autograph requests commence and Scotty and I continue talking with Capt. Michael. He had an iPhone (still the new, hot commodity at that time) and when Scotty (my techno-gadget-geek husband...did I mention the boring medical convention we were heading to was for electronic medical records? I rest my case.) inquired about it, Capt. Michael proceeds to not only show Scotty how it works, but also gave him a peek at his very long list of contacts. I attempted a surreptitious glance, but didn't see Emeril or Giada DeLaurentis' names.

Toward the end of our visit with our new best friends forever, I ask Mrs. Paula if they are returning home to Savannah. She tells us yes, and that they'd been in D.C. to be interviewed by Larry King. She asks us if we've ever been to our nation's capital and we confirm. Then she shocks us by asking, "But do y'all like it there? I was really underwhelmed. Weren't you, Michael?" We all laugh and Scotty mentions that we have to get ready to head to our departure gate. Capt. Michael asks where we're heading and Scotty tells him, "A boring medical convention in Austin." And this is where Scotty falls in love with Mrs. Paula:

"Please tell me you are a plastic surgeon! I am in need of help, don't you think?"

Yes. Paula Deen says this to my husband. Kid you not!

Scotty picks himself up off the floor (with no help from me because I'm involved in my own conversation with Capt. Michael about how he's lusting for an eye lift) and tells her, "First of all, I'm a family physician, and second of all, you do not need any work done, Mrs. Paula." She gets all gushy over this and I begin to wonder if the Queen of Southern Cooking is going to run off with the Hottest Nerdy Doctor in the World. OK, Paula...I love you, but no making eyes at my man, please.

Scotty asks her if she'd mind signing an autograph for Libbey, and she graciously complies...and I turn to her adorable husband and say, "Libbey would love to have yours, too!" And this is where Capt. Michael falls in love with me, 'cause he's all, "Awwww, yeah--it ain't just the wife getting the fame lovin' here." She signs, "Libbey--Best Dishes! Love, Paula!" He draws a little picture of a face with a hat and "Captain Michael." Adorable.

Finally, Scotty asks if he can take a picture with his cell phone and Mrs. Paula says, "Come over here, Leigh Anne...(sigh... she said my name...). You get between me and Michael. You can be the cheese in the sandwich!" I obliged, quite happily. And because I love my readers, I will now share this bit of wondrous love with y'all, previously unseen by anyone not in the Roth or Litton lineage:

Check it out. You know Capt. Michael is seriously about to give me some sugar. I'm just sayin'.


And what's with that flat, lifeless hair o' mine? Oh yeah...Atlanta+humidity=the reason my hair is now short. Even though I don't live in Atlanta.


There y'all have it. My brush with fame. The story of my close, personal friend, Paula Deen, as I've now referred to her ever since our intimate encounter. BFFs forever. As far as I'm concerned, at least. The next time you see her on a magazine cover, or in the movie Elizabethtown (I love you, Cameron Crowe, but Mrs. Paula outshone even Orlando and Kirsten in this mess of a flick!), or whipping up a casserole or pie on one of her shows, you can think to yourselves, "There's Lula's BFF." And you know, six degrees of separation makes y'all her close, personal friend now, too!


Please hold the applause. But do not for one second hold the mayo, butter or cream cheese. That's just sacrilege, y'all.

*If you've made it this far...well, y'all seriously deserve a big hug. From me. And Paula. I'll get right on that!

**Since you've made it this far, then you are already in love with Lula, too. You can find her here.

Tuesday's Tribute-She said Yes.

It's my pleasure to introduce Jay, my first-ever-in-the-history-of-my-blog, male feature. Thank you so much for your willingness to give me a love story when I asked for it. Happy Anniversary!


Eight years ago today you said you would.



Despite a terrible year prior, a selfish wedding party, and a caterer who didn't seem to own any knives...



you looked me in my deeply hung-over eyes,
and told me that I would be the only one.

And you will forever be mine.



In great times, and in the others, here we remain.



I hope I never need to say it, but I always will.

I love you.



Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.


I'm Jay from HalftimeLessons.com, co-home of Tuesday's Tribute...I only started blogging last fall, and HalftimeLessons is only what it is due to my mediocre writing and some phenomenal friends like Angie. As you can tell from above, I married extremely well, and have two incredible children, so don't fall in love with me. I'm taken, and she is more than I can handle. By the time you read this, I will be bald, having shaved my head for St. Baldrick's children's cancer research this past Saturday...I hope you read about it, and find the beauty in this cause that I have. My greatest thanks to Angie for letting me guest post on Seven Clown Circus, one of my absolute favorite blogs...I'm one of your greatest fans, Red!

Monday, March 23, 2009

mean girls


(this post brought to you by Jennifer P.--who is not as cute or funny as Angie {insert comment from Angie here-I'm hijacking her guest post-she is WAY cuter, smarter and funnier-TRUST me}, nor does she own a single pair of designer jeans. But heck! You're here already and reading--so you might as well keep on keepin' on....)

AMY W. and MICHELLE M.!!!!!! * (*shouted while shaking my fists at the heavens).

Those are the names of the mean girls in my life. We were all friends in 7th grade--junior high--and wanted nothing more than to be cheerleaders. However, at our school, they wouldn't let you try out for the squad until you were in 8th grade. So, we spent most of our "year of waiting" getting prepared. We went to cheer camp at the gymnastics center. We practiced our dance skills in Michelle's basement, and our jump skills on Amy's trampoline. We watched all the movies involving cheerleaders that we could (most of them featuring cheerleaders getting massacred by chainsaws, but their uniforms were cute!).

Then I came up with ***the*** idea. Why not go back to our old elementary school and ask to lead a 2 hour long 5th grade cheerleading camp? We could teach them everything we knew and continue our practice at the same time.

Amy and Michelle loved the idea.

And the school actually gave us (one 12 year old and two 13 year olds) permission to advertise the activity and to use the playground field after school for the camp (gotta love those pre-insurance waiver form, mid-80's days!).

We planned and planned and planned---making lists of all the cheers we would demonstrate and the types of human pyramids we would build. We choreographed a totally rad dance to Yaz's "Don't Go" to teach them. Fliers were photocopied and hung around the school. 15 girls signed up! We were ready..... and we waited for Thursday at 3:45.

And now the mean part comes in.

Amy and Michelle rounded up all the girls who had signed up and held the camp on....... Wednesday..........without telling me............just because they felt like it.......

I cried for 2 days straight. I would never treat a "friend" like that, and just couldn't wrap my pre-teen brain around the concept of MEAN. My mom hugged me and told me all those things mom's tell their kids to make them feel better ("they're just jealous of you, honey....").

I guess the best revenge was that *I* made cheerleader the next year---junior varsity captain even---and Amy and Michelle.........didn't. neener. neener.

And now it's your turn---shout out the name(s) of the mean girl(s) in your life and I promise you'll feel better -- they're just jealous of you anyway.....
--------------------------
THANKS ANGIE :) ! Get home safely!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Au revoir my friends!

Have I ever told you that I took 2 years of French in High School and a whole year in college? Yet I still had to look up how to spell au revoir? I'm shaking my head at myself. Pathetic.

Let's move on though.

I want to bid you all au revoir for a few weeks. A combination of factors will be keeping me away from blogging until the first week of April. All good factors, yet I'll miss you.

SO.

I've been working hard to provide you with a special treat while I am gone.

I have amazing {and I'm talking AMAZING} guest posters lined up through the 5th of April.

I've been thinking about and thinking about the how to thank these phenomenal bloggers who are so willing to help me out, and I think I've devised a good plan.

But, it hinges on your participation.

With your help, they'll be thanked for their efforts with comment love.

For YOU, I have a little incentive.

Upon my return to bloggy land, I'm going to thank YOU for spreading the comment love with a little giveaway or four.

Here's what's up for grabs (there will be four winners):

*$20.00 gift card to Target

*Cache of lightly used Books

*Super duper cute calendar kit valued at $20.00




*Tres Chic bangle bracelets (don't worry, they are WAY cuter in person).



This is how it will work:

For every comment you leave for each guest poster, you'll get an entry. So, for each day there is a guest poster, you can earn ONE entry per day.

It's easy.

This is going to be so much fun!

Oh, I know you are wondering about the guest posters. Admit it. Here's some hints:

Monday's blogger is dating Mr. Haute Cakes, Tuesday's author is now bald and not of my gender, one that hob-nobs with cooking celebrities is next, and then comes one who gives away diamond earrings on Thursday. To finish out the week, we'll be hearing from the blogger that has gotten more than 17,000 hits a day on one of her sites and is a Fishful Thinking bigwig.

The
woman married to the "Bread Man" starts off the week. Next up is a model, actress and mother.....just happens to be married to a retired pro football player too, then comes our very own bloggy "Rachel Ray", Wednesday one of the bloggers ranked in the top 5% of ALL blogs is stopping by. Amazing mother of triplets visits Thursday, my "mother-mentor" is up Friday, the best instructional music blogger around is Saturday, and to finish off the guest bloggers a daddy blogger loved by many.

WORDFUL WEDNESDAY will still run as usual!

Keep clicking that FISH!




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Friday, March 20, 2009

Optimism: Makes Life Better

It was around September of 2004 when I really learned a life lesson.

This lesson has served me well since then and honestly, I don't know where I would be if I didn't realize then that having a positive attitude; an optimistic outlook on life really DOES make a difference.

If I hadn't hoped and prayed for the best and tried to do everything in my power to work towards that end, I'm pretty sure I would have sunk into a very deep depression. That knowledge has helped me in every life situation since then.

For example:
(I've recycled part of this post from a previous posting.)

I've walked a path this past year full of changes......but the good kind of change. The kind that came about because of optimism. You know, as opposed to the pick-your-world-up, shake-it-around and then-drop-it-on-it's-side kind of change. Oh, how I love this change where I haven't had to pick up the pieces and figure out a way to move on. The kind that I walk away from smiling.

I think the thing I love most about the changes of 2008 is that they were all with my consent. I CHOSE the changes and was lucky enough to not have them "happen" to me, as has happened in the past. I'm sure you can all imagine that being able to chose makes the manager in me very, very happy.

I headed down my path in 2008 with a New Year's Resolution. I resolved not to resolve....out loud... rather in my heart and mind. And I did. I was sick and tired of carrying around the baby weight I had been unhappily lugging with me since two weeks after the twins were born. That's right. I weighed the same weight 2 years post child birth as I did 2 weeks. That slayed me. Really slayed me.

So, I started the year with a plan. I was optimistic. The plan was to lose that weight once and for all, and keep it off. And, I have.

The second major path I followed in 2008 led us 1000 miles south on a prayer. Jeff and I finally felt good about our decision to walk away from our house (that had been on the market for 6 months and that we'd spend the previous 2 years remodelling), pull our children out of a school they loved, take them away from their friends, change jobs, and leave family and friends, and move. So we did. And those prayers paid off because a day after we left Oregon we received an offer on our house, and although the girls had a bit of an adjustment at school, we weathered the flurry and are all settled in our home of perpetual sunshine. Literally and figuratively.

I expect 2009 to be just as "sunny" as 2008. I'm counting on optimism to help us sail through.

*For more information on optimism, visit Tiffany R, who is sponsoring a contest on optimism in conjunction with her role on the Fishful Thinking Campaign by Pepperidge Farms, or the Fishful Thinking Webpage. Cecily R is also a good resource as well.

*This just IN: please head over to The R Family Diaries and vote for my optimism story. Pretty please?

LASTLY, see that fish over there on the left? Be sure to click it.



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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Writer's Workshop-What I Can Do

It's time for another installment of Writer's Workshop, lovingly hosted by Mama Kat.

Here's the prompt I chose:
List ten things you can do in three minutes.

It's actually a bit ironic that I chose this prompt because I'm a little unclear. Is this ten individual things that take me 3 minutes or less to do? Or ten things I can accomplish together in three minutes?

I'm going with the former.

I don't know if there are 10 things I can do in three minutes combined except yell at my kids 9 times and type about a 100 words. And that's just not worth mentioning.

In three minutes I can:
Make three lunches.
Brush my teeth.
Unload my dishwasher.
Read a few pages of my book.
Type a few hundred words.
Put out fires. Lot's and lot's of figurative fires.
Hide.
Start a load of laundry
Direct. And hope they listen.
Dial a number, state my business and get off the phone.

I'm feeling pretty talented.

What can you do in three minutes?



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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Best Friends

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button on the left to link back to me, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!

One of the hardest parts about leaving Oregon for all of us was leaving friends behind.

Emma, especially had a hard time saying goodbye, so when one of her best friends from the neighborhood came to California on vacation, we jumped at the chance to visit.

How sweet it was to witness their joyous reunion.

I think some friendships are meant to last forever.
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Tuesday's Tribute-U.S. Passport Agency

Tuesday's Tribute

Yet Another Jay and Deb Production
Forgive me, Jay and Deb. This week it's not a tribute. It's a tirade.
If this wasn't weighing so heavily on my mind, I could have thought beyond it in order to give tribute to someone or something deserving.
But, I just can't.
U.S. Passport Agency, I'm pretty sure you've failed me.
I'm on the phone with you now. On hold. You are experiencing unusually high call volume and suggest that I use your passport website to check the status of my passport.
I would love to get all of my answers through your secure website. There's just one problem. It's down. AND, I already know from THREE previous HOUR LONG phone calls that it's not updated correctly and my FIVE applications are not in the system.
When I turned in the passport applications, we were told that passports were coming back within 2 weeks. It's been 4 weeks and our applications are still not completed.
Are you trying to stress me out? Because you are.
Just so you know.
And, I'm still on hold.
I HATE being put on hold.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Fling Winner and More


Did you all participate in the SITS girls Spring Fling?


It was such a brilliant idea.


My eyes are still blurry.
I'm not even going to admit how many giveaways I entered to win!




We have a winner!


Congratulations,

Melanie at I Came, I Saw, I Blog.





AND, I have to tell you.


I'm floored by your willingness to help me out the last part of March.


I'm truly touched, really.


I thought I'd have like TWO of you volunteer.


Instead more than 20 of you offered to help me out. 20.


Now I have a dilemma. How to choose? HELP! Please HELP!


Suggestions, please!


Now back to the winning business. I WON big time too! Since you all know what a book worm I am, you know how excited I was to win this cache of reading goodness. THANK you, KAT of Sunshine and Lemonade!
I also won a surprise grab bag from Angie at Making Memories. I can't wait to see what comes in the mail!

This just in: Grace is going to LOVE this. In addition to my other earlier mentioned goodies, this book on "periods" is coming my way. This dreaded talk is right around the corner (well, not right around the corner, but close), and I'm certainly at a loss. I'm planning on this book helping me out. Big time. Thanks, Lolli!




Also, before I forget, WORDFUL WEDNESDAY's will STILL be published along with Mr. Linky while I'm on hiatus. Let's hit 150 participants this month, okay-dokay?


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Wanna Write?

For me?

I am going to be totally swamped the last part of March. I might have a computer. Yet, I might not. I'm just not sure.

I'm sick of hearing myself talk. OK, I'm lying. I just don't have the time to post.

Anyone want to do a little talking for me?

Here? On my blog?

If so, let me know.

I want to hear from you.

Pretty Please?

I've already have three guest posters (who just happen to be pretty incredible women) lined up and I'm SUPER excited about it. If you can't handle the suspense and want to know who, then click here, and here, and here.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mamarazzi's Favorite Things Swap

Look what I just received in the mail!





Lori at Basketball, Gymnastics and me sent me oodles of goodies, all as a part of Mamarazzi at Dandelion Wishes Favorite Things Swap.
Participating in this swap was so much fun. I chose some of my favorite items to send to Lori, and she did the same for me.
I was lucky enough to recieve an apothecary jar with sand and seashells from the beach near Lori's beach house in Myrtle Beach, SC. One of the shells was the most beautiful sand dollar I've ever seen because it is perfectly white. Lori told me that that shell was collected at Shacklefod Banks, a barrier island inhabited with wild animals and other sea animals. So cool.
I also recieved a copy of Southern Living magazine, a picture frame, a wonderful smelling candle in the cutest jar (shaped like a tub),
And, she even sent each of my children a small gift along with a cheesecake dessert mix we can make together. So nice of her.
And lastly, a brand new TWISTED SILVER bracelet.
The best part about the whole exchange is that I've found a great new blogger to visit, and I appreciate so much that she took the time to look around my site to see what my interests were and tailor her favorite things for me.
In enjoyed the swap so much in fact, that I want to have one of my own. I'm thinking a jewelry or book exchange would be fun. Any interest?
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Photoshop

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button on the left to link back to me, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!


I scored Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 for Christmas but am just getting around to playing around with it. I'm already part-way in love. Just wait until I can navigate around the software quickly. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a full-blown-love-affair.
This photo was manipulated using the Cutout effects element. So cool.


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Spring Fling Giveaway

The Spring Fling has finally arrived!

The SITS girls are helping us all catch the Spring Spirit with a little fling.......of the giveaway kind.

So, take a moment to enter my giveaway of a $10 Target gift card, and then head on over to SITS for a gazillion and one giveaways there.

If you like me and want to make my day, become a follower. :)


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