About Me

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I recently became a stay-at-home mom.  I have an amazing husband and a gorgeous baby girl.  The transition from working mom to SAHM has had it's ups and downs.  Everyday is an adventure as I learn what it means to be a good mom and watch my little girl grow up.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 Little Piggies: Halloween DIY Pig Nose

I've always wanted to make my kids Halloween costumes, but the one we found online this year was so cute we couldn't pass it up.  I figured that we could get Cakers the cute costume and I could make costumes for Randsome and myself this year.  Before we even had kids we talked about how we'd like to dress up as a family.  It's dorky I know, but Randsome and I are total goofballs so what the heck; we were destined to be The 3 Little Pigs!  So I hoped online and found my ideas on Kim's blog over at 733.  I made a few changes to suit my needs and an hour later I was done.

Isn't she a cute little piggy?
As you can see Caker's costume is pretty amazing and even though I fancy myself artistic, I'm not that good.  You can find her costume at Chasing Fireflies.  I didn't expect my homemade pig costume to be as detailed or beautiful, but I wanted people to know that I was a pig.  The first thing I made for my costume was the snout.  Here is what you need to make yourself a pig nose!

Materials
Pink Yarn
Pink Felt
Bottle Cap (I used a generic brand Gatorade cap)
2 Pink Buttons
Hot Glue Gun

Directions

First, measure out your yarn to make sure that it is long enough to tie behind your head.  Then Glue the center of the yarn over the top of your bottle cap.


Second, cut out a felt circle to cover your bottle cap.  Cut slits in the sides so that your yarn can come out the edges (this will help you in the tying process) and glue it to the cap, covering the yarn.  


Next, glue the edges of the felt to the inside of your bottle cap.



Once you have all of your edges glued, flip your piggy nose over and glue the two buttons for nostrils.



There you have it folks, a ten minute pig nose!  It's super easy, cute, and as long as your bottle cap contained a beverage you like, it smells good!  Stay tuned for my piggy ears and tail!  Oink Oink

Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review of: Loose Ends by Terri Reid

Once an author came and spoke to a group of kids I was working with.  I don't remember her name, but I do remember one piece of advice she gave to the group.  She said if you are reading a book for entertainment and you don't like it, stop reading.  It doesn't deserve your time.  She said that as a writer she would hate to think she was torturing her readers.  She only wanted people to read her work if they enjoyed it.  I liked this advice because I've always been one of those guilty readers.  If I think a book is boring I continue reading because I feel guilty if I don't finish.  Since listening to this author speak, I've slowly begun to take her advice.  I still catch myself finishing books that I don't care for, but for the most part I've learned to put down the ones I don't like.

Recently my mother let me borrow her Kindles.  I've had her Kindle for a good month and I've read three books on it so far.  My latest read was written by Terri Reid, and it is the first in a series.  It was either free or .99 cents on Amazon.  The book is called: Loose Ends: A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery and like the title, it is full of loose ends.  I don't like to write scathing book reviews, but this one is filled with a hefty load of critiques.  I'd like to preface my critiques by saying that underneath it all, I found the book entertaining enough to want to know what happened.  I think the author is a good storyteller, but she needs a better editor.  I'm not the best at editing mechanics, but I feel pretty confident  in the my ability to recognize strong characters, voice, continuity and flow throughout a story.

The book is about a private (paranormal) investigator.  She is a former cop who was shot on the job, died, and then had the opportunity to come back knowing that her life would be different.  When she came back from the dead, she could see ghosts.  Now she helps spirits cross over to the other side.  Even though the book is paranormal, it isn't scary.

One of my major problems was with the cheesy characters.  They are likable enough, but I feel like Reid could have made them a bit more realistic.  For example Mary, the main character, talks to herself a lot when other people are around.  Reid may have been trying to make the character seem cute or endearing, but I found that it actually took away from her writing.  Many of the comments Mary makes out loud would be far more effective if they were said in her head.  I also didn't like the cutesy banter between Mary and her love interest, Bradley; I found it shallow and chintzy.  Often the two characters would say things simultaneously which is a bit too tongue-in-cheek for my taste.  It was like a really bad Hallmark movie.

I did like Mary's two older friends who stop by her office daily.  They were likable, funny characters.  My only issue (and it's a doozy) is that Rose, the older woman, carries a blow-up doll in her makeup case.  She said she uses it to try on outfits to make sure they will look good on her.  All I can say to that is COME ON!  At one point Mary uses the blow up doll to sit at her desk so her police tail won't know she left her office.  It's all a bit stupid.  It's obvious that Reid needed a plot device so she made a normal character into a total nutter with a blow up doll.  I mean Reid describes Rose's character as a classy, well-known real estate broker and then out of no where she adds this bizarre tidbit.  I didn't like it.  It didn't mesh.

As far as the loose ends found throughout Loose Ends, there were a few.  One scene Mary is running through the woods, chasing some ghost children, when she runs into a fort.  It was all strange and confusing, but what got me was when Mary wakes in the care of a paramedic who seemed to appear out of thin air.  She was running in the woods, knocks herself out, and BAM! Paramedic!  He is not a ghost.  He's an actual person.  This paramedic proceeds to drop a concussed Mary off at her car, all the while disclosing a long lost memory from his childhood.  This memory is a clue to help solve Mary's case, which is quite convenient because the paramedic disappears just as quickly as he appears.  By the way, Mary drives home and passes out in her driveway because of her concussion.  It just wasn't believable.  Oh and I hated the fact that she ran into a fort.  It was weird.

There were other mistakes in the storyline.  For instance, Mary tells Bradley the code to her home alarm system and then days later she says she doesn't use it because the ghosts mess it up.  It had little inconsistencies throughout the book that bothered me.

Some may say that I shouldn't complain as I did choose to read a cheap book from Amazon about a woman that sees ghosts, but I've read some pretty good freebies in the past.  I'm also a sucker for the paranormal mystery.

If you are interested in a super easy/cheesy read, you may like this book.  It's totally predictable, and some people dig that, but I like more of a challenge.  I do think the story beneath all of the critiques has potential.  I'd also like to point out that I did finish the book, so that's saying something.
-Katie Lou

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Buffering

Like most babies, Cakes loves technology.  Wether it be cell phones, computers, tablets, remote controls, or our surround sound, Cakes goes crazy over buttons, screens, and blinking lights.  At 17 months she has managed to call and text friends, purchase apps (luckily we intervened), and a family favorite: clean my cell phone in the toilet.

This morning, after wrestling my cell phone from her kung fu grip, Randsome had the clever idea of giving Cakes an old, crappy tablet that we had all but forgotten.  As he was trying to get a game to load, the device started to buffer.  We all know how frustrating it is to wait for any device to buffer, but Cakers summarized that feeling so well.  She laid back on the floor and began a mini tantrum: kicking her feet and yelling at the tablet.  She even slapped it a couple of times.  Normally a mini-tantrum makes me angry, but this morning I had to laugh because seriously, who doesn't want to kick and scream in frustration when they want a program/video/picture to load?
Yes she's sitting in a bumbo.  She loves chairs.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Awkward Moments

For those of you who don't know me, I'm one of the many teachers that got laid off this past school year.  I decided to start substitute teaching this fall in order to earn some cash and to keep up with what's going on with the schools around me.  One thing I love about teaching is that every day is different; you never know what to expect from the kids.  Most of my friends would describe me as a 31 year-old woman with the sense of humor of a 15 year-old boy.  As a teacher this can be dangerous ground because it requires a LOT of self-control to not laugh at dirty jokes and inappropriate comments.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard things that I think are hilarious, but I have to fake a stern expression and reprimand some kid.

I usually do a pretty good job at keeping myself in check.  I may have a potty mouth at home, but at work I flip a switch and my vocabulary changes to that of a professional.  My most recent brush with this appropriate/inappropriate balancing act is one that have to share.

I was subbing for a very good friend of mine who teaches Freshman, English/Language Arts.  Due to her last minute illness there were no plans, so a fellow English teacher came to me (two minutes before the bell) and told me to read this short story called: A Perfect Day For Bananafish, by J.D. Salinger.    She had photocopied it for me and everything.  Now I'm a huge fan of Catcher In The Rye, but I haven't read a lot of Salinger's other works (Bananafish included).

Having NO time to read the story before the class started, I (like any good teacher) decided to wing it.  After all, a fellow English teacher photocopied the story and told me to read it.  It had to be okay, right?  Wrong!  The woman who gave me the story teaches upperclassmen and I don't know if she hadn't read the story recently, or just took for granted some of the content, either way the story was a bit much for a group of 14 year-olds.

Naively, I started reading the story out loud.  It takes place in the late 1940's and typical of Salinger, the characters reek of wealth and superiority.  Things were fine for the first couple of pages, until I saw it.  Do you know how you can be reading out loud but your eyes are ahead of your voice?  That happened to me.  As I was saying the words, I saw the word 'pussy' up ahead.   I started freaking out internally.  In the milliseconds before I had to say the dreaded word I thought, "Shit! I don't know these kids.  I didn't know this word was in here!  I didn't prepare them for it and how am I supposed to explain it to them?!?  Who says the word pussy to a bunch of Freshmen?  I'm so going to screw this up."

I couldn't do anything about it, so I made a noise that said, "Woah didn't see that coming," and read on.  I was hoping that I wouldn't have to say it again, maybe I could just ignore the word like I'd never said it out loud in the first place.  Yeah, that was wishful thinking because Salinger decided to throw it in a couple more times for good measure!  So there I am reading this short story, not knowing where it's going, or how I'm going to explain that in this case the P-bomb didn't mean vagina, to a group of fourteen year-olds that I've never met.  Embarrassing much?  Lucky for me the kids were awesome and didn't make any rude comments.  In fact I think they were more embarrassed than me because I didn't even hear any snickering.

If you're wondering how I handled it, I went on to explain that some of the language used back then had different meanings than it does today.  In this case, a mother was calling her daughter by the nickname "pussycat" and in this context the word does not mean the same dirty thing it does today. Phew!

To make matters worse, the main character shoots himself in the head in the last sentence.  Again, this is something I would have liked to warn the students about, but instead I was completely blindsided.  When I finished, one kid looked at me and said, "I don't like this story".  My response was, "yeah, I didn't pick it."