Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here ( about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.

And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

Dare I Say It?

Because you know children make a liar of you.

(I think Charming might, possibly, potentially, be (shhhhhh) potty trained!)

I was kidding about the little swimmers, but lo and behold, we have only had one accident since. In a WEEK. And he's telling me when he should go instead of the other way around.

My sister says that despite the fact that he is 26 months old, I can leave out a few facts and sound really elite: "Yeah, the TT was potty trained before he was weaned. I know, I'm awesome. Give me the parenting award." See how good that sounds? See how great it will sound when I'm bragging to his wife someday? Just leave out the details and my head can swell three sizes.

He has SO got my number, though. He asked, oh, 15 times for me to put on "Cars" to my muttered "in a minute"s until he sat on the potty (fully clothed) in front of the TV and said "Mommy, Dee!" Guess who came a runnin'?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Little Swimmers Potty Training Method

If you've been potty training and hoping that you won't have to buy swim diapers this summer, but you've about given up hope because the pool opens in three days... have I got the potty training method for you:

Buy the biggest pack of Little Swimmers you can. Go for it. Buy a case. Not just a package, go for the warehouse size.

On the way home from said warehouse, your little one will chime up from the back seat, "Poop!" come home and make a stinky deposit right in the potty.

Best $12.88 you'll spend all year.

Here's to gifting my case to someone else in need.

(disclaimer: no single method works for all children. Little Swimmers Method (LSM) not established in all homes. LSM may only be effective for single day training. Do not repeat case purchase on consecutive days as effective training one day does not necessarily indicate training the next. And yes, advocate of this method will still use LS until training is certain.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz: "

Take the fun, Mom to Mom quiz and discover your parenting style.


Lucky 13

Hubs and I decided that since our seventh year of marriage was pretty much as bad as it could get, and that since seven is supposed to be a lucky number, that we were going to make 13, the unlucky number, our best year yet. Though I guess that once we hit our 13th anniversary, we are/were now officially in our 14th year. Whatever. Our thirteenth year was awesome. Wonderful. No matter how annoyed we got with each other, we were still in stride. Good, good year. And here's to another great one.

I'm plugging for, oh, at least 58 more so we can keep up with my grandparents.

And since I am saving my poetic side for another Chicken Soup submission, I will leave you with my post from year 11. Just sub 13 for 11 and it still works.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nothing But Trouble

In the words of the amazing Susan May Warren (with comments by Chaos):

Sometimes, do you feel like you just don't fit in? Um, yes. You look around you and think that if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they'd know what a mess you were. Have you been secretly taping me?? Do you feel like when you look in the rearview mirror, all you see are your mistakes? Um, hi. We are talking about me here, right?

So, if you followed some of that line of thinking, you need to check out her latest, Nothing But Trouble. PJ, the heroine, just can't get it right. Trouble just seems to follow her no matter how hard she tries to stay on the straight and narrow. No manner of her best intentions pan out.

You might just like her. Who likes to read about those girls that have it all together, anyway? Unless you are one of those that has it all together and then one must ask, why are you reading my blog?

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start.

The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.

Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

Read the first chapter:

About Susan: Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia, was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

Stop off at some of the other blogs for more insight and chances to win copies!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Completely Random Thoughts for a Friday Night After A Week "Off"

The Tiny Tyrant broke my TV today. Why? Because I'm an idiot and handed him a bottle of Windex and a paper towel. Who knew you could spray a TV so much that it will drown? (And, no, I didn't expect him to clean the TV. I thought he'd head to the window.)

Never mind that we've never bought a TV in our entire married career, Hubs is highly annoyed that we might have to go buy one (not that we "need" to buy one considering another of our family's cast offs is in our basement, but it is apparently "too small" even though it worked just fine up until six months ago when we were passed this one). And why? Because, apparently, if we buy another one, it will just be broken also. Because we break TVs all the time around here (even if this is a first in 8.5 years of parenting). "We can't keep anything nice."

Potty training sucks.

Potty training also robs me of any good feelings I can conjure up about blogging. Because, frankly, I don't want to relive my day. In writing or otherwise. Thus the many, many dark days we've had around here.

No comments about putting off the training until he's older. We're too far gone for that.

Old Navy swimsuits are NOT for women who have nursed children more than four years. And that's all I have to say about that.

I had the stomach flu from H E double hockey sticks last week. My stomach still hasn't recovered. Food, no matter how bland, burns it.

My mother's day card:

"For my mother

(happy face)

always cleaning

(open card)

What's that smell?

(brown streak)"

I kid you not. Like I'm going to smell a brown streak. With the kind of week I've had. (It was gingerbread spice lotion. She was being sweet, but I'm SOoooooo saving it to give to her when she's potty training HER kids.)

Well, it's pouring here. So far the basement is dry. But the ceiling isn't. Grrr.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day?

My children woke me this morning at about o'dark thirty (I'm a guessin' it was about 5:59) fighting over who got to give me my gift first.

Oh, joy.

And so Mother's Day begins.

(It's gonna be a great day, it's gonna be a great day, life is terrific!)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Enduring Justice

In Enduring Justice, Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her thoughts.

Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. And when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A racist’s well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. When the attack turns personal, is healing still possible?

This thought-provoking novel deals with healing from sexual abuse, the balance of justice and mercy, and maintaining mixed-race friendships in the midst of racial tension. Readers who enjoy investigative thrillers by Dee Henderson, Colleen Coble, and Catherine Coulter, and who watch crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, and Without a Trace will love this book—and the entire series.

Amy Wallace is the author of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises, a homeschool mom, and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Boy, He's Got My Number

Charming continues his Tiny Tyrant moniker.

As we all know, anytime before 6 AM is night. All of us, that is, except TT who this morning started yelling for me at 5:45. And I can hardly blame him considering the sun was trying to cross the horizon. And yes, I ignored him and hoped he'd go back to sleep. He wasn't yelling in his I'm-awake-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do-about-it yell, after all. Until I heard this:

Mama! Dee!

Yup, I came running.

Did the child go dee? No. Would he even sit on the dee? No. Did he have a big fit and want to climb into bed with mommy like he does every morning (when he wakes after 6)? Yes.

Now for coffee.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tiny Tyrant Strikes Again

Yesterday afternoon I made bread for the kids' teachers for Teacher's Appreciation Day. I pulled the loaves out of the oven, set them on the stove to cool, and went about my business.

An hour later I came back into the kitchen and what do I find?

Tiny Tyrant standing on my grain bin, eating the tops off of every loaf he can reach.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dear Mom

Here's an excellent book for mothers with teen daughters:

Every mom knows how communicating with a teenage girl can be difficult, even impossible at times. One-word answers. Defensive conversations. Daily arguments. How typical for teens to put up such barriers. All the while, moms truly long to know what their daughters really think.

Best-selling author Melody Carlson, whose books for women, teens, and children have sold more than three million copies, bridges this chasm with trusted insight. She speaks frankly in the voice of the teen daughters she’s written for and she tells it like it is: struggles with identity, guys, friendship, and even parents—it’s all here. The straight-talk to moms covers such things as “I need you, but you can’t make me admit it,” “I’m not as confident as I appear,” and “I have friends. I need a mother.”

Instead of focusing on outward behaviors, Dear Mom looks at a young woman’s heart and reveals to moms:

· how to talk to teens so they hear,

· how to connect despite the differences of perspective or years and experiences,

· and how strengthen the bond every mom and daughter ultimately wants.

The lively chapters in Dear Mom can be dipped into topically or used as a read-through tool by moms and daughters alike to understand what motivates or deflates, troubles or inspires—and just in time for Mother’s Day and all the Mother’s Days ahead.

OK, OK, I don't have a teen daughter, so I can't be certain that this book will be helpful, but I was a teen daughter once and it seemed pretty spot on. I'm filing the info (along with the book) up in my mental shelf because the teen years are closer than I can really believe. We're dealing with preteen stuff already (egad! at eight!), and my, oh my, some stuff already applies.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than three million copies. Beloved for her Diary of a Teenage Girl and Notes from a Spinning Planet series, she’s also the author of the women’s novels Finding Alice (in production now for a Lifetime-TV movie), Crystal Lies, On This Day, These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking, and A Mile in My Flip-Flops. A mother of two grown sons, Melody lives in central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. She’s a full-time writer and an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

Mama's Got a Fake I.D.

I have got to tell you about a new book that I am SO excited about. I started it and immediately began looking for the hidden camera because she was QUOTING a conversation I'd had only hours before. I ate it up as quickly as I usually consume fiction.

Formula for identity loss:

1. Take one multifaceted, intriguing human being.

2. Bless her with a child.

3. Mix with today’s cultural assumptions.

4. Add the demands of motherhood.

5. Presto! All identity except Mom disappears.

For every woman wondering what happened to the unique combination of gifts and abilities she was known for before kids came along, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira has good news: in Mama’s Got a Fake I.D., Rivedeneira helps moms reclaim their full identity as creative beings, gifted professionals and volunteers, loving friends, children of God—and mothers.

This inspiring and practical guide shows women how to break free from false guilt, learn a new language to express who they really are, and follow God’s lead in sharing their true self with others. After all, motherhood doesn’t have to mean losing one’s identity. Instead, being a mom makes it possible for a woman to discover a more complete identity as the person God made her to be.

I intend to go through this book more thoroughly with a good friend and then I hope to go through it again with a "safe" group of friends. I think it is something that many, many women would do well to read and go through with others they'd like to know better. And by better, I mean knowing more deeply than the mom persona.

This book is for all of those "lonely" women whose blogs I read. The ones that ache because they are missing the close relationships and can't even figure out why. Finally someone wrote it down.

The former managing editor of Marriage Partnership and Christian Parenting Today, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira has been a trusted voice writing and speaking to women for more than a decade. Today she is the managing editor of, an online community for Christian women in leadership. Rivadeneira works from home in the Chicago suburbs, where she lives with her husband and their three children.

Friday, May 01, 2009