Top Ten Reasons Why Cookie Exchanges are THE WORST!!

Now, as most of y’all know I am often called a Pollyanna thanks to my glass is half full positive outlook on life. However there is one thing in this world that quickly turns this Pollyanna into a Negative Nelly and that is a good old-fashioned cookie exchange!  Shocking, but true! I have participated in my fair share and even organized a few and let me tell you, now I understand what they mean by a labor of love. Except for in this case, unlike actual labor where you totally forget just how intense the pain was because your heart is overflowing with joy thanks to that beautiful baby you are holding, you do recall every contraction!

 

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Why host a cookie exchange anyway? I know I wanted to host one because it seemed like such a fabulous way to help each other out, to cover all those cookies you need to bring for school parties, work parties, family gatherings, etc. and I love hanging with friends, so it seemed like a no-brainer, right? Wrong!

Top Ten Reasons Why Cookie Exchanges are THE WORST:

1) Too many people want to participate– “Can my cousin once removed, niece’s half-sister, and neighbor participate too?”- When you first announce you are organizing and hosting a cookie exchange the entire city will be excited and will want to participate. And you will be left with the difficult task of deciding who will be included and who will not…often first come first serve is the best policy but as you will read in #4, that doesn’t always mean the most dependable people will sign up first.

2) Deadlock on the amount of cookies to bake– “12 dozen is too many!  12 half dozen isn’t enough!” This one is a classic complaint and often the group is split down the middle with half being okay with just baking 12 half dozen & the other demanding 12 dozen. And here you thought you just wanted to get together with friends and celebrate this joyous time of the year and they have you in the worst position possible, choosing one group of friends/family over the other. Good luck!

3) Do we have to assign cookies!?-“She took my cookie”. Trying to decide who makes what cookies shouldn’t be this complicated but it is!!

 

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4) Not enough people to participate– “So my cousin once removed can’t make it, and her niece’s half-sister has to babysit, and my neighbor can’t get a ride” (seriously…don’t you live next door? Can’t you give them a ride?). Just when you had 12 women participating, you figured out a date, what cookie everyone was baking, and how many cookies each woman was going to bake suddenly half of them can’t participate!!! Grrrr!! Guess who is starting back at square one with only a week to go before the big cookie exchange?

5) Allergies– “I am allergic” After making a few calls, sending some emails, making promises to babysit swap, take out their trash, do their dishes, change diapers, anything to get that number back up to 12  you finally did it! However the women you managed to recruit have family with nut allergies…..time to go back to the drawing board and restructure the whole who’s baking what cookie.

6) Adults acting like toddlers (this includes you) – “Her cookie is way easier than mine, which is not fair”. At this point in the game you are starting to lose your patience and just flat out ask, what do you want me to do about it!!? Want me to go over and destroy a few batches so she has to make them again? Would that be fair? Grrrr!!!

7) Last Minute Cancelations -“That date just won’t work for me”. You know that date you set 6 weeks ago that hasn’t changed? Yep, that one! Well, turns out 3 of the women can’t make it that day because of prior engagements…yes; they will wait till 4 days before the exchange to announce this, seriously!?! (At this point you are either moved to prayer or a glass of wine, in my case I prayed while I sipped!) (It should be noted that there are circumstances beyond peoples control and you do need to be understanding).

8) Containers are offensive– “We agreed on fancy boxes and she has plastic bags, WHAT!?!” The big day finally arrives, you have cleaned your house, baked, prepped drinks and food, gone around in circles on where the hubby should take the kids, vacuumed and dusted (DUSTED!) and your guest arrive with cookie packages in hands. You worked so hard to get to this point and you think you are in the clear; you can just relax and enjoy that bundle of joy that you labored for all these weeks but nope, because the containers aren’t fair. At this point you realized you should have just had an exchange with your 3 year olds friends because that is the maturity level at this point.

9) Spontaneous Cookie Baking– “I was going to do those but I did chocolate chips instead….so we have two people bringing chocolate chips, no big deal”. Of course someone changed their cookie without telling you…and to be honest, you could care less but you know that one woman will be offended by this….solution, just pour yourself that drink, sip, and nod.

10) Definition of exchange is misunderstood– “Wait, I have 4 of the same cookie!!” Just when you thought it was all over, the afterbirth. Somehow everyone didn’t exchange properly and some women got 4 of one cookie and none of the others. Now, this is when you will really need to contain yourself and not scream, MY 3YEAR OLD CAN EXCHANGE 12 or 6 CRAYONS WITH 12 FRIENDS EASIER THAN THIS!!! (Remember don’t scream that…stay cool, calm, and collected).

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Finally the madness is over and you have either 72 of 142 cookies that are reminders of the struggle, heartache, exhaustion, promises, and labors of love you went through….try sinking your teeth into one of those. Diet starts after the cookie exchange….no one wants to taste that bitterness.

I love my friends and family with all my heart but I do not like them when they are under the influence of a cookie exchange. There is something about a cookie exchange that brings out the competition, negativity, gossip, etc. in women, including myself. So, for the sake of my relationships I have decided that I am officially in cookie exchange recovery. My days of cookie exchanging are over.

 

My hat is off to all those organizing a cookie exchange. Hang in there, heed my advice. And for those participating in a cookie exchange, be nice! The person organizing the cookie exchange is hearing everyone’s complaints, at least try to balance them out with complements, remember why you are having the exchange, focus on the joy, be an epidural for the organizer, minimize her pain and increase her joy.

Are you a cookie exchange organizer? Please feel free to share any suggestions, stories, and/or recipes…. would love to hear from you….is there a way to minimize the chaos and stress?

Cheers!

Keto Sushi

Hi y’all, hope you are making it a great one today! So, I have received a lot of messages from you awesome followers expressing an interest in the ketogenic diet, more specifically requesting that I share what I eat on a daily basis. First off let me say congrats to all of you, the first step towards a new journey is research and gaining knowledge and that is precisely what you are doing, thus, you totally rock!! Second, I am more than happy to share what I eat however, since this is not strictly a food blog I don’t want to bombard the blog with food thus; I will try my best to incorporate at least one or two post on Ketogenic foods a week, and I will start with lunch today, I made what I like to call Keto Sushi! It is so good that I literally started eating it while photographing it, lol!

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So, the mains staples for the Keto Sushi are seaweed wraps and cream cheese. You can add whatever you like to the center; things I enjoy include cucumbers, avocados, and my all-time favorite, and what I included in it for lunch today, smoked salmon.  It should be noted that you can use any type of salmon, filet or canned, you can use any fish, even meat if you like, or keep it simple and just have seaweed and cream cheese.

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So, how do you make the sushi? Lay the seaweed wrap on the plate, place the cream cheese in the center (you will need to cut a slice and place it in the center, DO NOT try to spread, it will not spread)  then layer the remaining items on top, and then simply roll it up. I like to cut mine in two but you don’t have to, whichever way is easiest for you, there really is no right or wrong way, just enjoy!

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This is a real simple to prep meal, so much so that my son and daughter like to make this for lunch the night before school. It travels nicely in a container; just make certain you keep it refrigerated or put an ice pack in your lunch bag.

Feel free to post any questions, suggestions, and/or advice in the comments. I so enjoy hearing your feedback! Cheers!!

Ladies Night Out Recap & Giveaway

Last night marked the first ever Mom on the go in Holy Toledo Ladies Night Out!!! And it was an absolute blast!!!

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The evening started with a fun little game that got the ladies mingling.  Everyone had an index card pinned to their back with a name of a popular chick flick written on it. The object of the game was to mingle around the room and ask others yes or no questions in order to receive clues to help solve the mystery of the movie title pinned on their back. The titles included, The Notebook, Thelma & Louise, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, You’ve got Mail, etc. And the best part, the winner received a prize!

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Then everyone grabbed refreshments and the lovely Tricia shared this new, awesome, trendy meets classic jewelry line KEEP Collective.

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I was so impressed with both the style and quality of this personalized jewelry.  The concept of KEEP is so simple.  You pick a bracelet or necklace (she called them Keepers), and then you slide charms (she called them Keys) on that represent the “things” that matter to you — family, faith, friendship, hobbies, etc.  I am always on the lookout for awesome, quality, customizable gifts and KEEP Collective is PERFECT!! 

 

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And you won’t be able to resist designing something for yourself, too. She has some great ideas on a beautiful Mom Bracelet that is so different than what you’ve seen before.  (So, tell your husbands to call Trish!  Trust me; you will thank me for that tip!)  You can place an order anytime through this link:  https://www.keep-collective.com/soc/x5cz7 

 

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You could be the Mystery Hostess…….

Want to know the best part of all of this?  If you weren’t able to make it to Ladies Night Out you can still participate in the Mystery Hostess party. If you place an order using the link above, you (yes, you!!) could possibly win the Hostess Rewards for the entire party!  Tricia told us that she works hard to help her “hostesses” raise $1000 in retail sales, so that means at least $250 in Hostess Rewards (you read correctly, you could purchase one bracelet and if your name is pulled you could receive $250 in rewards….all you have to do to be entered in the hostess pool is buy one product).  Who couldn’t use an extra $250 to spend at Christmas time?!  If you want to see some design ideas, check out the pictures on her business Facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/TriciaDzierwaJourney/.  I am simply in love with KEEP Collective!!! 

 

After our love affair with KEEP Collective I had a little surprise for the ladies, a pop quiz on chocolate, Ireland, and even a few random questions. And I do believe I stumped them on a few, the winner, the person with the highest score, which was 8/12 won one of the beautiful painted wine glass samples that Uncork the Artist provided.  Which transitioned us into the final event that evening, we painted wine glasses!!

 

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Let me tell you, painting a wine glass is much harder than it looks! But it was a challenge the ladies happily accepted and nearly all accelerated their skill (I was not one of them, lol!) we have some very talented artist in the bunch, check these out…..

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And the cherry on this legendary ladies night out sundae, we each received massages throughout the evening by the beautiful Joy at Rey Sunshine Massage

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I left feeling so refreshed, rejuvenated, and so blessed to have had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing ladies! But I am slightly bummed that everyone wasn’t able to make it, so in an effort to extend the spirit of the Ladies Night Out I am inviting all of you to participate in this SWEET giveaway!!!

WIN $25 to KEEP Collective…..

To Enter:

  1. Click here and show Tricia from KEEP Collective some love
  2. Request a mock up from Tricia…she has a virtual design tool where she can design something for you
  3. Comment with your answer to this trivia question: On average, what do you do 15 times a day? a. Laugh b. Burp c. Break wind   d. Lick your lips

Winner will be randomly selected November 23rd @ 11:59pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream WIN Family 4 pack Tickets

Classic meets contemporary in Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! Join your favorite Disney Princesses in a celebration of 75 years of Disney Princess stories, including two-modern day princesses, Rapunzel and Tiana; the always elegant Cinderella; and the princess who started it all, Snow White. Laugh at Disney’s hilarious hair-raising escapade, Tangled, as Rapunzel; her unlikely companion, Flynn; and Maximus, the Captain of the Guard’s determined horse; embark on an uproarious journey that takes adventure to new lengths!

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Travel to the enchanted forest with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as Snow White escapes from the Evil Queen in her search for her one true love. Watch as fanciful dreams become reality as Cinderella meets her Prince Charming, with a glass slipper fit for an unforgettable fantasy come true. And boogie to the beat of the bayou in a magical, musical journey that celebrates the story of The Princess and the Frog with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

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All your favorite princesses take to the ice in a spectacular finale at the ultimate Disney Princess event of a lifetime! Experience the beauty, sparkle, and spirit when Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream comes to your hometown!

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Show Times Schedule: At Huntington Center Toledo, OH

Date Morning  Afternoon  Late Afternoon  Evening

Thursday, Dec. 3       7:00 PM

Friday, Dec. 4       7:00 PM

Saturday, Dec. 5 11:00 AM 3:00 PM   7:00 PM

Sunday, Dec. 6   1:00 PM 5:00 PM

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Exclusive Savings:

Opening Night tickets are just $12 – No code needed! Kid’s tickets start at just $12! – no code needed

(Discount does not apply to Rinkside, Front Row, or VIP seats. No double discounts.  Service charges, handling, and facility fees may apply. Child discount applies for ages 2-12).

 

Ticketing Information:

Price Level Price

Rinkside $55.00

VIP $32.00

3rd $20.00

4th $15.00

Order Tickets Here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/65566/1599972

 

CONTEST!

Mom on the go in Holy Toledo is giving away a family 4 pack of tickets

To be entered complete the following steps:

ONE- must complete 3 of the following, you can decide which 3:

1.Share this post on Facebook. (simply click on button at the bottom of page)

2.Share this post on Twitter #DisneyOnIce (button at bottom of page)

3.Show Disney On Ice Facebook page some love

4.Follow Disney On Ice on Twitter

5.Share this post on Pinterest (button at bottom of page)

TWO- Comment below expressing what your favorite Princess/favorite Disney Movie is.

Winner will be randomly selected November 20th @ 11:59pm. Winners name will be announced the 21st on this blog post thread and on Mom on the go in Holy Toledo’s Facebook page.

 

 

Why the obsession with Pork Rinds? (Includes 3 crowd pleasing Keto recipes!)

If you would have asked me last year at this time if I would eat Pork Rinds let alone do a segment about Pork Rinds my answer would have been heck no! My reasoning would have been because of all the fat. Back then I was a fat hater, I wouldn’t eat anything with fat, fat was the enemy, fat was what made you, well, fat! Right!? Wrong! (Here is a clip of the segment)

 

Fast forward a year and I have gone Keto, (the Ketogenic Diet…when your body becomes a fat burner instead of burning off sugar)! Which means fat is what consumes most of my diet. That’s right, 80% of my diet comes from fat, and the remainder is protein, fiber, and net carbs. Notice something missing from my diet? Sugar! Sugar is a thing of the past for me. It wasn’t an easy path but one I am so glad I went down, the results have been astonishing. I didn’t realize what a hold sugar had over me, over my brain, and my body. I will NEVER go back. I am pleased to announce that the side effects of a sugar free, low carb, high fat diet has been weight loss, 15 pounds lost thus far, I have more energy, and my mind is so much sharper.

Eating low carb, high fat, and often high calorie deliciousness was tough at first. Sure it was easy for me to consume the healthy “normal” foods so to speak, like salmon, pork, spinach, eggs, avocadoes, smashed cauliflower, etc. The tough part was when we would have pizza night, spaghetti & meatballs, when guest would bring chips and dip, or basically anything that involved bread, bun, or breading. Solution to the problem, Pork Rinds!!

Here are 3 AWESOME Low Carb High Fat recipes that have really helped me feed my cravings

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Faux Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

8 chicken legs (drumsticks seem to be everyone’s favorite but you can use thighs, wings, breast, etc.)

1 bag Rudolph’s Pork Rinds crushed (hot & spicy if you are serving adults or regular for kiddos)

3 eggs, beaten

1 Tablespoon hot sauce

Directions:

Place eggs, hot sauce, and chicken in bag or bowl for 10 minutes. Remove legs one at a time and roll around in crushed Pork Rinds. Grease pan, place legs on pan, and bake at 400 for 15 minutes on each side.

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BBQ Pork Rinds Pizza Crust (can use regular Pork Rinds for a pizza with pizza sauce, I just have a tough time finding sauce with no sugar thus this has become my fav pizza!! And it is great to serve to guests too!)

Ingredients:

1 bag Rudolph’s BBQ Pork Rinds crushed

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 eggs, beaten

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Directions: Mix all the ingredients well, press into a nonstick greased pan. Bake at 350°F for about 8 minutes. Add your toppings, I mix a cup of shredded chicken with a cup of ranch dressing (I make my own so I have control over what’s in it), about a cup of shredded chedder cheese, and slices of bacon on top then re-bake until cheese and toppings are hot. This recipe can easily be doubled but just bear in mind that it is VERY filling!

 

This is a good one for Homegating/Tailgating or on a Tuesday afternoon, lol!!

Beer Dip with Pork Rinds

Ingredients:

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese softened

2Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 packet ranch dressing mix

½ cup beer (or more…depends on how many carbs you want in it and how thick you want it)

Directions:

Toss everything in the food processor and puree!! After a few minutes check the thickness and if need be add a bit more beer, once it is to your liking remove and place in bowl. Grab a pork rind, spoon dip on the pork rind and enjoy! It gives you that same satisfaction as a chip, the crunch and crispiness is perfect!

 

Interested in learning more about the Ketogenic Diet? Here are a few resources I found quite useful.

https://www.drberg.com/ketosis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_434ERRbkj8

http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/why-you-should-consider-a-ketogenic-diet/

 

 

 

Circus XTREME, Entertaining & Educational!?!

 

We attended the 145th edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Circus XTREME!! And it was AWESOME!!

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We made certain we arrived early to experience all the fun pre-show activities!! We had the pleasure of stepping foot on the main floor, meeting some of the amazing performers, tried on some sweet costumes, got to volley a beach ball with an elephant, learned some circus skills, and more! Pics below is of our 4th grader giving the tightrope a try. The performers were so sweet with the children; they helped guide them and made them feel like superstars!

 

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And then it was time for the moment we had all been waiting for, the greatest show on Earth began!!! We so enjoyed watching Alex and Irina on their adventures for the most XTREME!

 

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I took such delight in watching the children’s expressions and hearing their comments during all the magnificent performances. I am finding that as our family gets on in the years it becomes more difficult to find family activities that captivate the attention of all 3 children. Either activates are to mature for our youngest or too “babyish” for the older two but circus XTREME totally nailed it & drew the entire family in! At one point I even took delight in seeing our 4th grader beaming with joy as she took pics of the performances on her iPod. Of course as soon as she made eye contact with me and saw I was smiling her expression faded but I got my glimpse of her joy and that was enough for me!

Meanwhile our preschooler literally fell out of her seat ½ a dozen times! She was dancing to the music, clapping her hands, screaming with enthusiasm, etc. At one point she even leaned over and shouted, “MOM! He doesn’t have a safety belt on!!” in astonishment! LOL! And she was legitimately speechless, (which is XTREMELY rare for her), when she saw mermaids floating in the sky.

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Our 2nd grader was in awe over the BMX freestyle riders & trampoline acrobats.

 

I personally thought the bungee skydivers aerial acro-ballet was the perfect combination of elegant & edgy, the black lights really solidified the cool factor! I have so much admiration for the performers. I had the pleasure of taking an aerial fabric class locally with a group of moms and I was absolutely astonished at the amount of strength, endurances, etc. that goes into those performances, they make it look so fluid and effortless.

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We had the best time! Our second grader even came over to me afterwards, gave me a big hug and said thank you for bringing him to the show….swoon!!!

 

 

What ensued once we got home was a magnificent conversation. The children were absolutely amazed & astonished by all the quality of the performances and performers. We discussed all the hard work, practice, integrity, endurance, perseverance, and trust that go into those performances. Math might have also come up in the conversation, a lot of the performances involve math, I do believe going to the circus might have just encouraged my kiddos to go over their math facts every night & for that I thank you Circus XTREME! And I also thank Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus XTREME for such a magnificent family friendly entertaining evening…and for making me cool in my 4th graders eyes, even if it was only for a couple hours, I will take it!! Don’t miss out on your opportunity for a fun filled family experience….XTREME is only here for a limited amount of time, get your tickets today!!

SHOW DATES & TIMES:

Friday, Oct. 30 7:00 PM

Saturday, Oct. 31 11:00 AM & 3:00 PM    

Sunday, Nov. 1 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, & 7:00 PM

TICKET INFO:

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME at Huntington Center Thursday October 29th– November 4th 2015. Tickets start at just $15! CLICK HERE to order or order over the phone by calling 1-800-745-3000

A Harvest Birthday Bash!! You won’t believe what brought me to tears!

A special little lady turned 5 back in August, yes, I said August. Haha! Funny, I always thought it would be awesome having a birthday in August mostly because mine is in freezing cold winter, January! Well, it turns out that the week before school starts is a bad time to have a birthday. Our budget was blown on back-to-school clothes and supplies and to be honest I didn’t have it in me to plan a party during that hectic time of year. We seemed to add an afterschool activity as each week progressed. Thus 8 weeks later and we are finally having that party and that is the story of how an August baby celebrated her birthday in October. I suppose it is better late than never!

Total confession, I have always wanted to have a Fall Harvest gathering, it always looks so romantic in the magazines, the colors, the activities, etc. so my wish came true! And let me tell you, it was everything I thought it would be and more!! I could not have asked for a more beautiful day, it was sunny, temps in the mid-70s, and just a nice light breeze, it was perfect!! It should be noted that I was a bit concerned when I was literally wearing my winter coat and gloves while we prepared for the party the week before.

I had inquired what our little Gracie girl would like to do as the craft for her party. Her response was one that while exciting and fun would require some thinking on my part. She requested that we make pumpkins into Cinderella carriages. Let me tell you, those pumpkin carriages were a challenge, one I graciously accepted. 5 trips to Hobby Lobby, 3 returns, 2 trips to the Dollar Store, a lot of trial & error, and 1 quick stop at Jo-Ann Fabrics later and we had all the supplies we needed to make the pumpkin carriages!!

 

 

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I ended up locating the Styrofoam pumpkins at the Dollar Store, SCORE!!! It was a good thing they were only a dollar because I ended up eating away at the Styrofoam of the first few with spray-paint. FYI, when spray-painting Styrofoam do make certain that the can is at least 8 inches away, it will require you purchase more paint because you will have to apply more coats/layers but at least your project will not be destroyed. The doll rods, wheels, and most everything else was purchased at Hobby Lobby, I did have to make a stop in at Jo-Ann Fabrics on a Sunday to get more spray paint after my little mishaps. But it all turned out well in the end, challenge accepted, completed, and I gained some knowledge along the way, total a win-win!

 

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As I stated the day of the party was gorgeous!!! All her friends arrived, we chatted, kids played, and then the festivities began!

The children assembled and decorated their Cinderella carriages……

 

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We played fun games….

 

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And then it was time for the cake!! The birthday girl requested that each child make their own cupcake. I have to admit my first reaction when I heard this was one of disappointment, how could we not have a beautiful cake? I had this glorious image in my head of her in front of a perfectly adorned cake and all her friends gathered around singing. I suggested to her that we have cupcakes to decorate and a cake to blow out the candles. And her response literally brought me to tears!!! She looked up at me with those big baby blue eyes and exclaimed “Mom, it goes God, others, then yourself. God would want me to give everyone their own special cupcake. And can we please get everyone a candle because I am excited for the day they were born too!!” And that sealed the deal, plain cupcakes decorated by a bunch of 4 & 5 year olds it would be!! There isn’t a cake fancy enough in this world that would have meant more to me than those words that came out of her little five year old mouth. So everyone decorated their cupcakes and received a birthday candle!

 

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Then it was time for gifts. I have noticed that gifts have become a sensitive topic. There are those who request a donation instead, and I think that is a wonderful option, and we might do that one day too.

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The reason why I allow gifts now is because I believe it helps the children learn how to politely accept a gift, to truly value the thought behind the gift, and to learn how to graciously respond to receiving a gift they may already own or perhaps do not favor. It is my hope that they learn these qualities when they are young so as adults they can appreciate every person’s gift, no matter the monetary value, because let’s be honest some of the best gifts are the ones that hold no monetary value!! Speaking of gifts, it would be amiss if I did not mention the amazing moms who attended, they helped out so much, taking pics, cleaning, being on piñata duty, etc. they allowed me to enjoy the party too, I am so blessed to have them in my life.

 

 

 

I have to admit, I was a little sad to see the day end. It wasn’t like one of those romantic Fall Harvest gatherings you see in the magazines, with the colors, the activities, etc. it was better!!

 

Modern Day Life from the Perspective of a Pilgrim…where did we go wrong?

This past weekend, thanks to Netflix, the History Channel, and 3 loads of laundry I had the opportunity to watch an episode of, America the Story of Us.  The first episode discusses the establishments of the American colonies. I have to admit, it was nice for my mommy brain to have a refresher course on the establishments of Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies, especially before Thanksgiving. I have a feeling the kiddos will have a lot of exceptional questions for me, it’s wise that I start reviewing now.

As I sat there folding laundry I found myself being drawn to one particular character, Susanne Winslow. The episode addressed all the hardships the Pilgrims faced, the famine, disease, and the brutal winter when more than half the passenger that made the pilgrimage died in an epidemic referred to as “The First Sickness”. Susanna Winslow’s husband, William White, was one of the passengers who died the first winter; she remarried to Edward Winslow, whose wife Elizabeth had also died the first winter. Susanne and Edward’s was the first wedding in the new colony. They had 5 children, although only 2 lived to adulthood. It is said that roughly 10% of the US population can trace their lineage back to Susanne & Edward Winslow. I found this to be quite interesting and it got me thinking, what if Susanne Winslow could see us now? What would she think of our modern ways, of our modern women in comparison to the colonial women?

If Susanne Winslow could see us now…..

I think she would be absolutely blown away by the inventions of electricity, heat, indoor plumbing, cars, and all the awesome modern day appliances. I have a feeling she would be particularly fond of the idea of not having to empty chamber pots! I am certain she would be mesmerized by the conveniences we have like ovens, range, refrigerator, washer, & dryer. Considering the fact that most colonial women spent practically their entire days’ worth of time preparing fires, cooking, making candles, washing clothes, etc. one would think that us modern day women would really appreciate these conveniences but sadly we still complain about the amount of laundry, having to cook, and having to go shopping. Speaking of shopping, I do believe Mrs. Winslow would pass out when she saw ALL the options we have in terms of grocery stores and the abundance of food available. Food that we didn’t have to raise, tend, kill, and clean!

Famine is definitely not a problem like it was that first winter in Plymouth. Though Mrs. Winslow might be surprised to find out that with all this food we are a nation that suffers from malnourishment. That we have too many processed foods in our diets, that we have genetically modified our food, that we are consuming so many calories yet they are lacking in the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Our relationship with food has dramatically changed since the first colonist. We have become so obsessed with it; we no longer eat to live but rather live to eat. We are destroying our organs with these convenience foods. We are making ourselves sick.

Speaking of sick, sadly only 2 of the 5 children Mrs. Winslow had survived to adulthood. She might be overjoyed to find out that we now have immunizations against various diseases that would have wiped out generations in the past. Though, she might also be surprised to find that some Americans choose not to vaccinate their children from these diseases. She might also be staggered to find that American woman now have the option to homebirth or birth at a hospital. And yet we forget what a blessing a hospital can be if mother or baby is in distress. We have also forgotten that there are some mothers who cannot breastfeed and how fortunate we are to live during a time when fortified formula is available.

I do believe Mrs. Winslow would think that thanks to all these modern day conveniences like appliances, grocery stores, electricity, plumbing, etc. that we would have so much wonderful free time to spend with our families, playing music together, telling stories, playing games, etc. She would be extremely disappointed to find that this is not true. That we have instead overscheduled our children’s free time with organized sports and activities, that screens have become our focus, television screens, gaming systems, phones etc. that families may physically be in the same room but they are far too often not spending the time together. The quality family time that one would assume all these modern day conveniences would offer us is not so, we have lost our focus somewhere along the way.

Channeling the life of Susanne Winslow, one of the first Pilgrims has really opened my eyes to how far we have come and yet how much we have lost along our journey. We have come so far and have been blessed with so much and yet we still complain, find the negative, argue, etc.

It is fascinating how quickly our modern day lives can be put into perspective when comparing them to the hardships of colonial women. From now on I am making a valiant effort to be grateful for all my modern day conveniences and will be using my time more wisely, I kinda feel like I owe it to those strong, hardworking, persevering, determined, and amazing colonial women.

Toledo Museum of Art did it again! This FREE Exhibition will have you Dancing!

When one hears the word Ballerina what comes to mind? Elegance, grace, and beauty!? That is precisely what is displayed in the Toledo Museum of Art’s latest exhibition Degas & the Dance!

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As my little ballerina and I entered the Canaday Gallery we were greeted by Degas’s Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. The 38-inch tall figure cast in bronze depicts Marie van Goethem, a student in the ballet school of the Paris Opéra and it sets the perfect tone for the exhibition.

We enjoyed walking around and admiring the sculptures, painting, and pastels (especially my favorite, The Dancers which just so happens to be located in my favorite Museum, wink, wink) but what really captivated my little ballerina’s attention was the section of the exhibition that illustrated archival material and gorgeous costumes from the Toledo Ballet’s “Nutcracker” productions.

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And finally the pièce de résistance of the exhibition, in an adjacent gallery there is an actual dance studio!! Complete with music, ballet barre, dance floor and mirrors, the only thing missing is YOU!!

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That’s right; you get to be a ballerina! Don’t know the moves? Have no fear; there are instructions on the wall. And you can even try to pose as Degas’s bronze sculptures. My little ballerina had an absolute blast!!

 

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But the fun didn’t stop there! Afterward we made our way downstairs and happened upon this awesome little artistic interlude.

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Then we were off to the TMA Family Center where they offer FREE art projects for children 1-12 that coincide with certain programs and exhibits at the Museum as well as an awesome cognitive play area! (Click here for days open, hours, and themes for the Toledo Museum of Art’s Family Center). Degas must have really inspired her because she chose to paint a ballerina.

 

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After all that painting she was a bit parched and thankfully since the exhibition was FREE and the Family Center was FREE we didn’t feel the least bit guilty stopping for lunch at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Café.

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And we might have hit up the gift shop and I might have purchased an adorable little ballerina for my adorable little ballerina, I couldn’t help myself, the price was right!!

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Since we got a taste we can’t wait to go back for more!

We are marking our calendar for….

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The Toledo Ballet Open Rehearsal (Admission is FREE)

(Oct. 16th, Oct. 23rd, Nov. 6th, Nov. 20th, Dec. 4th, Dec. 18th, & Jan. 1st)

6:45pm-8:30pm in the Canaday Gallery

Watch dancers from the Toledo Ballet rehearse excerpts from one of the upcoming productions including, “The Nutcracker”!

The Great Art Escape: Dance in the Peristyle (Admission is FREE)

Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 2016: 2 p.m., Peristyle

The Toledo Museum of Art comes alive during its annual winter celebration The Great Art Escape, including the following dance performances at 2 p.m. in the Peristyle:

 

Dec. 26: Ardan Academy of Irish Dance

 Dec. 27: El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folkloric

 Dec. 31: Aegela Centers for Middle Eastern Dance

 Jan. 1, 2016: Aha! Indian Dance

 Jan. 2, 2016: Toledo Jazz Orchestra with swing dancers

 Jan. 3, 2016: Toledo Ballet, Awkward Girl

And last but not least The Toledo Ballet’s, The Nutcracker ($49 and up, Perfect Christmas Gift for all ballerinas at heart!) at Stranahan

Dec. 12th 2:00pm

Dec. 12th 7:00pm

Dec. 13th 2:00pm

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. Edgar Degas

What will you see? Please share via #DegasatTMA

 

This Special Day Originated in OHIO! See How I Celebrate It

Legend has it that Sweetest Day was established around 1922 by Herbert Birch Kingston, a Cleveland, Ohio, candy company employee who wanted to bring happiness to the lives of those who often were forgotten. Kingston and others distributed candy and small gifts to orphans, people confined to their homes and others to show them that someone cared.

In time, the Sweetest Day idea of spreading cheer broadened to include everyone from family members to sweethearts and coworkers to acquaintances.

Observance of Sweetest Day is still most prevalent in the Great Lakes region where the holiday originated, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. But today, the once-regional celebration of Sweetest Day has spread throughout the country. Source

In honor of Sweetest Day I decided to do something extra special for a very special person in my life. This person always wakes up in the morning and rushes over to give me a great big hug. This person is one of the most cheerful people I know and so kind hearted. This person has also been experiencing some real growing pains. They haven’t been allowed to do what everyone else can do, like have sleepovers, ride their bike to the park with their friends, see some of the big kids movies, play some of the big kid games, etc. Often this person gets stuck with mom while all the big kids have all the fun. If you haven’t guessed, my very special person is my youngest.

Being the youngest is tough, you have to wait forever to be able to do the things the big kids can do and then once you can finally do them the big kids are no longer doing them or have simply lost interest. I was the oldest and could never really relate to the youngest woes. I assumed they had it easy. I was wrong. As I watched her gazing out the window at the kids riding their bikes around the block I could see the longing in her eyes. Sure I always offer to take her myself but it just isn’t the same. Since she is stuck being the youngest and often feels forgotten by all the big kids I decided that in honor of Sweetest Day I would surprise her with something extra special, something to make being the youngest kinda cool, kinda awesome, and most certainly sweet!

 

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One of her favorite books that we have been reading together since she was 2 years old is, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear. Brief synopsis, the Little Mouse will do anything & everything he can to save his big red ripe strawberry from the big, hungry bear; he hides it and disguises it. And then (spoiler alert) he decides the only way to save it from the bear is to share it with the reader. So he gets a knife and cuts it in two to share.

 

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I went through with my plan. We read the book together and then at the end of the story I had a special treat for my sweetheart. I expressed to her that I too like the mouse have some red ripe delicious strawberries that I do not want the big hungry bear to eat. But these are not any ordinary strawberries, these are extra special! And like clockwork guess what showed up at our door? Shari’s Berries !!! Oh the expression on her face was priceless!!

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And then we dove in, eyes first. We both admired how beautiful the strawberries were and agreed that all strawberries should come with chocolate, it just makes sense. Haha!

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It just felt so right, youngest and oldest sharing such a special moment over delicious chocolate covered strawberries in honor of one of the sweetest holidays that just so happened to originate in our favorite state, Ohio. That moment was pure bliss! The initial crunch of the chocolate coating, the sweet juice of the strawberry, the marriage of texture and taste, it was a mouthwatering symphony for the taste buds. And the best part was sharing it with one of my most favorite people in the whole entire world, my little strawberry princess.

Turns out being the youngest isn’t so bad after all, it can have some perks.

Happy Sweetest Day!

If you are looking for something sweet for your sweetheart I do recommend checking out all the amazing options Shari’s Berries offers, they have a nice selection that can satisfy every sweet tooth and budget.