Blogger's Best

Blogger’s Best Carnival: February 2009



Wow. This month went by quick, didn’t it? I’ve never really cared much for February, the way it teases me with it’s cold, short 28 days – just when I’m used to seeing it’s face, it up and leaves on me.

Sounds like a few boyfriends from my past, actually. *grin*

Welcome! Take a load off. It’s Saturday and you have my permission (as if you need it!) to be lazy. Here’s a Snuggie, wrap yourself up tight, drink your hot coffee/cocoa and sit a spell – there’s some really great reading literally a click away. Thanks for dropping by and Happy Reading!


ø VW presents Has anybody seen my spleen? posted at Wide Awake in Wonderland.

ø Ilavaluthy presents The most valuable moment in my life posted at Ila, trying to find a place in the world.

ø Erin Pavlina presents Coming Out of the Broom Closet posted at Erin Pavlina’s Blog, saying, “The oddest thing happened when I announced publicly in 2006 that I was a psychic medium. All hell broke loose in my personal and professional life.”

ø Rational Anarchist presents The Rational Anarchist: It Will Be Okay, Just This Once posted at The Rational Anarchist, saying, “It will be okay, just this once. One time is too many for some things.”

ø Madeleine Begun Kane presents Multi-Task Madness posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

ø LisaInOz presents It’s time to come clean posted at Surviving Oz, saying, “I’m a big scaredy cat – this article is all about things that go bump in the night.”

ø Kathryn presents Memories of Writing to Pen Pals posted at Real Words, saying, “My memories of having a bunch of pen pals when I was younger and how that relates to social networking online today.”

ø Chris presents Starting a new life in Australia, part 2 posted at Home I Own, saying, “How I started a new life”

ø Nancy Muller presents The Cock and the Granny Nightie posted at Recession Depression Therapy, saying, “The boisterous story of why we no longer have a rooster.”
(Editor’s note: I would have done the same thing!)

ø Robert presents A Belief in Belief posted at Hyperthreads, saying, “This was my very first post so it’s something that took entirely too long to write but the importance remains and hopefully will inspire others to have faith and believe in their dreams.”

ø Devon presents O, For Tuna! posted at Pen, Ink. Life’s little vicissitudes . . ., saying, “In the words of Cicero, “Nothing contributes to the entertainment of the reader more, than the change of times and the vicissitudes of fortune.” Or, in this case – family pets!”

ø Ms. Cheevious presents A-Musing in Los Angeles posted at Ms. Cheevious, saying, “I think our President is the most natural, real guy who’s been in that office in a very long time. (This one is serious. I observed it during his State of the Union Address).”


ø Shen-Li Lee presents Lesson Planning for Home-Schooled Toddlers | Babylicious posted at Babylicious.

ø Holly presents My Baby is Trying to Kill Me posted at Sweet Dreams, saying, “This is an article about night waking and my stance on crying-it-out.”

ø Kaley presents frogs and snails and puppy dog’s tails… posted at My Front Porch.

ø Emma presents What makes a good (or a bad) hairdresser for your toddler posted at Baby-Log.

ø Len Penzo presents My Kids’ Loan Interview with the Bank of Dad posted at Len Penzo . Com, saying, “Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men… As a Dad, I should have known better! :-)”


ø Lisa Samples presents My Mom is “The Giving Tree” & Giveaway posted at Mom of 2 Boys, Wife of 1, saying, “A letter to my mother.”

ø Khordaddy presents Birthdays and Can I Do More? posted at


ø Jacob Duchaine presents That Which We Receive posted at The Blog of Jacob Duchaine.


Mommy’s Martini: Words are Worlds

A Writer’s Dream: It’s About Time

Ordinary Art: Letter to My Beating Heart

Petunia Face: She Who Shall Not Be Named

Honea Express: The Night Kitchen

Rough Draft: Are We Devolving Ourselves?

All & Sundry: ‘Roid Rage

Stimeyland: The Biggest Controversy to Ever Hit the Internet

My Charming Kids: Submission is not a Four-Letter Word

Cutie Booty Cakes: Chris Brown and Rhianna. I Feel You.

Suburban Turmoil: Me Time

Where Am I Going and Why Am I in this Handbasket: Sometimes

A Mommy Story: The Day I Was Nearly Kidnapped

My Tiny Kingdom: Flashback Friday: Coveting A Cape Buffalo

Bad Mommy Moments: Please Don’t

Shamelessly Sassy: Reasons My Child Will Need Therapy

Laughing Through the Chaos: Flying Off the Handle

Playgroups Are No Place for Children: The Joy of Sneaking Out

Tiptoeing Through the Tulips: Dottie’s Birthday Post

Stop Screaming, I’m Driving: One Week

Summer’s Nook: Sudden Realization


None. *sad face*


This concludes the February 2009 edition of the Blogger’s Best Carnival. THANK YOU for submitting your links! If you would like to see your work showcased in the March 2009 edition, please submit your links here. (Please, one link per blog. If you submit more than one link per blog, I will only use the first link submitted.)

If you submitted your link and don’t see it here, that probably means I received it after the deadline or you didn’t follow the guidelines.

If you’ve read an outstanding article on another blog and would like to add it to the “Reader’s Choice” section of the next carnival, please let me know by using my contact form.

Thanks for visiting the carnival participants and don’t forget to check back March 28th for the next Blogger’s Best Carnival!

Can We Talk?

My Thoughts on “Octomom”

Octomom. We all have opinions concerning Nadya Suleman. And I’ll be honest, my very first thought after hearing her story was, “Is this woman insane?! What about those poor kids?! How can anyone be so selfish! So irresponsible! So clueless!”

But then I stopped and really thought about the situation and though my initial opinions still stand, I’d like to challenge myself in breaking this down even further and giving it a fair analysis.

To kind of set the mood for what I’m talking about, watch the Momversation video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I agree with Heather – I think we need to be very careful in how we judge this woman’s decision to carry eight babies to term. True, her decision was probably not the wisest course of action; true, given she already has six children at home and can not afford to take care of them, she shouldn’t have made the decision to have the other embryos implanted; true, her decision to have the octuplets will ultimately be a burden on tax payers, and we can’t help but judge her because it was very irresponsible. BUT the bottom line is, it was her choice to go ahead with the pregnancy and she still has the right to decide what she wants to do with her body and her offspring.

This is the line that pro-choicers have a huge problem with – obtaining the right to tell people what they can and can not do with their lives and bodies. Because if we ultimately cross that line, then where does it stop? For example: a woman already has four kids and society suddenly decides that she has enough, she’s not allowed to have anymore and let’s say she becomes pregnant again? Does society then have the right to swoop in and take that baby away from her because she’s over her allotted limit that society set for her? If we give society the right to make our decisions for us in one area, then chances are, society will end up having the right to make our decisions for us in ALL areas.

And that’s simply unacceptable, on any level and regardless of one’s beliefs. If you disagree, then put yourself into the woman’s shoes highlighted in the above example. Would you be willing to give up your baby because you didn’t follow society’s rules, or you broke them accidentally (because these things happen, it’s life)?

But on the other hand, what about these children? Where are their rights to grow up in a normal, secure environment? Where is their right to obtain the individualized attention necessary to build healthy personalities? And who is going to stand up for them and give them those rights? Especially when a few of the children have special needs? One woman can not possibly have the time, or the energy, to properly give these children what they need, it’s physically impossible. So … where can she get the help?

From society. From churches. From volunteers. From good samaritans. From government programs. Which are funded by taxpayers. So, in essence, WE will ultimately end up paying for Suleman’s selfish need to fill the void she has claimed she has in her life. She has WILLINGLY and KNOWINGLY become a burden on society.

And yet, she hadn’t expected this to happen. Granted, she probably shouldn’t have put herself in this situation, given she already has six children, BUT she had other embryos available and she felt they had the right to life. Imagine her surprise when she found out all of them fertilized. How could she terminate her own children? Could you? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to. It must be incredibly difficult to be put into a position where you get to decide who lives and who dies – I just can’t imagine what that must be like. It’s one thing to terminate a pregnancy because of a violent act, like rape, because the act was a violation, unwanted and certainly unplanned, but quite another situation to terminate a pregnancy when it was intentional!

And yet (see? I’m trying so hard to be fair here), someone is going to have to pay for these children. Miss Suleman is simply not in a position to do so, and will most likely not EVER be in a position to do so, unless she wins the lottery or something, WE will end up paying for these children through social programs.

Granted, social programs exist for situations like this – for unplanned (though technically, this was planned and something Suleman should have taken into consideration before making the decision to have the embryos implanted but that’s rather a moot point now, isn’t it), dire straits. I do not have any problem putting my money into social programs WHEN the people who use them NEED them, and use them as a springboard to get out of their dire strait and back into an independent livelihood. I DO have a problem with social programs when people are not only capable of getting out of their situation but CHOOSE not to!

And I think that’s why a lot of people are upset with Suleman, because realistically, she will never be in a situation where she can AFFORD these children on her own. Where does that leave her and her children? At the mercy of taxpayers – who are already buckling under the current economic situation as is. THAT is what angers people about this situation, we’re being forced to pay for this woman’s selfish actions, we simply do not have a choice, Suleman has not given us a choice and is taking advantage of the system in order to get what she wants. She chose to forfeit her personal responsibility so she could fill that void.

And while we’re on the subject of taxes, this statement from the video really angered me:

“Most of us aren’t thinking about where our money is going, are we?”

Precisely. Because people have been brainwashed into thinking that the government is simply going to take that money and why fight it? Grr. THAT’S how the government gets away with taking nearly 50% of our money from us because it’s a gradual process – a little this week, a bit more next week and OH look at the money I get back in April! Wooee! Which is peanuts compared to the money that was taken away from us, and put into programs for irresponsible people like Suleman, to begin with.

But this isn’t about taxes, it’s about Octomom (though ultimately, taxes is a by-product of Octomom).

Look, I’m not defending what she did. All I’m saying is, her situation? Is not as cut and dried as a lot of people think it is. There are a lot of moral and ethical issues here that simply can’t be tossed out because we’re shocked and repulsed by what she did. I certainly don’t have any answers.

One thing I can do though? Is pray those 14 children are cared for – one way or another.

Thanks for the thought-provoking topic, Momversation. I enjoy rational, articulate discussions like these. They challenge me to not be so quick to judge people or their situations.

Life is such a pretty shade of gray, isn’t it? 🙂

Friday Fun

Friday (Edible) Craft: Cute Birthday Cakes for Kids

I have birthdays on the brain. MK will turn 14 next month and though I haven’t ordered him a special, cutsie birthday cake in years, I miss it. I used to LOVE planning out the kids’ cakes. I had a special cake lady that I went to and she was just so awesome and made the best cakes!

The boys prefer cookie cakes now. And though I still put a lot of thought into what goes ON the cookie cake, it’s just not the same. (Not to mention, the decorators’ at the cookie cake place aren’t exactly Picassos, you know what I mean?

I did, however, find some pretty cute cakes from Family Fun to share with you …

The Princess & the Pea Cake

Fairy tales can come true with this sweet rendition of the extra-sensitive princess and her super-tall bed. Despite the cake’s magical appearance, you won’t lose sleep worrying about making it! The mattresses are two cakes that have been cut into quarters and stacked. The quilt and dust ruffle are made from store-bought fondant. For the headboard and footboard, just use melted candy and our printable template to “draw” the designs on wax paper. I

Headboard/footboard template
Wax paper
8 Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Fudge Pirouette Wafers
1 cup dark cocoa melting candies (we used Wilton Candy Melts)
9 ziplock bags
2 cakes baked in 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pans
5 1/4 cups vanilla frosting
4 drinking straws
Plastic gloves
Red, blue, yellow, and green food coloring
8 ounces (about 1 cup) fondant
Cornstarch (for dusting)
5 marshmallows
1 vanilla wafer cookie
1 tube chocolate decorators’ icing
4 brown M&M’s and 1 green M&M

Click for instructions.

Jungle Cake

Is your child an animal-lover? This is just the cake for a zoo, rain forest, or safari birthday party theme. Start with a frosted 9- by 13-inch cake, decorate with a handful of colorful candies, and get ready to sing “Happy Birthday.”


Frosted 9- by 13-inch cake
Caramel Cow Tail
2 (1 1/2-inch) Tootsie Rolls
Green Fruit Roll-Ups
Green Fruit Streamers
Banana Runts
Milk Duds
Midgees Tootsie Rolls
Yellow hard candy

Click for instructions.

Fantastic Flask Cake (*squee* Isn’t this a fun one?? I can see doing something like this for MK because he enjoys science.)

Made with cotton candy vapor and a cardboard-tube neck, this cake is modeled after a real piece of lab equipment: a Florence flask. Experiment with serving it at the Mad Scientist’s Blast Party.

Neon blue food coloring
4 1/2 cups white frosting
1/2 cup dark chocolate frosting
3 ziplock bags
2 Bundt cakes
1 cardboard wrapping paper tube about 2 inches in diameter, cut to a 12-inch length
Aluminum foil
Blue cotton candy

Click here for instructions.

Cake Sleepover (This one would be fun to customize – same color hair as the girls spending the night, etc.)

Since sleepover parties aren’t really about sleeping, let your wide-awake party-goers decorate the cookie faces to match their own features, then tuck them into this sweet bed.

Watch a step-by-step video demonstration of this recipe.

1 baked 13- X 9- X 2-inch cake
6 cups frosting (pink and light pink)
5 Twinkies
5 marshmallows
5 vanilla or chocolate wafers
Gel icing (pink and green)
Mini jawbreakers
Pink and green Fruit by the Foot

Click here for instructions.

Sunflower cake (this one would actually be fun to make for Mother’s Day, too!)

Golden Gummy Bears frame this spin-off of Van Gogh’s series of masterpieces, making it the piece de resistance at an art- or garden-themed party. Just start with a frosted 9- by 13-inch cake, decorate with a handful of colorful candies, and get ready to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Frosted 9- by 13-inch cake
Necco wafers
45-60 yellow and orange Starburst candies
Mini chocolate chips
Green Fruit Streamers
1 pound yellow, orange and clear Gummy Bears

Click here for instructions.

Wonderland cake

This topsy-turvy cake makes a dramatic centerpiece for any party, but it would fit in especially well with a Mad Hatter’s theme. The vibrant colors on our cake were created with gel food coloring, available at many grocery and craft stores. Follow label directions. .

2 each: 6-, 8-, and 10-inch round cakes (If using mix, you’ll need 3 boxes: 1 box makes one 6-inch and one 10-inch cake, or two 8-inch cakes.)
3 cups white frosting
6- and 8-inch cardboard cake circles
6 drinking straws
2 cups pink frosting
1 1/2 cups each yellow and green frosting (we used gel food coloring, available at many grocery and craft stores.)
4 pastry bags, with a small star tip and a small round writing tip

Click here for instructions.

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More from Write From Karen


Stuck in the Woods

Out in the Woods

This was taken on a camping trip a few summers back shortly after GD got his braces. I’m posting this because GD went to the orthodontist yesterday and was told he could get his braces off in May.

This was after they told us last September. Then last December. Then April. And now, May.

We’re BEYOND frustrated at this point. The kid has had braces now for 30 months (original prediction was two years, tops). These people have been paid off for months. And yet, here we are, with no clear-cut end in sight.

I’m no doctor, and I certainly don’t want them to screw this up by trying to rush him out of braces when he’s not ready but seriously, it’s time. His teeth look great. Let’s put the boy out of his misery and remove them already!

They gave him the annoying rubber bands to wear again. They gave them to him back in December and we, uh, sort of blew them off because they seemed silly to us and were they really making that much difference? Well apparently, yes. And I can’t help but wonder if we brought this delay on ourselves because we didn’t follow directions.


Fine. He has to wear these stupid rubber bands 24-hours a day until the first week of April. We’ll follow the directions to the letter this time but by gosh, they better not move the removal date on us again or I’m likely to go postal.

Poor kid.


LAST CHANCE to submit for the February carnival!

To learn more about the carnival, read this page.

The next Blogger’s Best Carnival: February 28th.


Latest Twitter Entries

Have I told you lately that I’m having a blast with Twitter??


I hope you’ll consider following me!

(I know, Take2max is my username. It doesn’t make sense but I’ve had that username since 1999 and I just can’t get rid of it. It really does mean something though – one, take it to the maximum and two, it’s sort of a play on our last name. 😉 )

I still have a headache. *SIGH*


My Reasons for Not Attending a Blogging Conference

I finally made a decision regarding BlogHer.

First of all, thank you to everyone who took the time to take my poll (located in sidebar for you RSS readers). The results somewhat surprised me.


YES 14% (4 votes)

NO 48% (14 votes)

MAYBE 0% (0 votes)

WHAT’S BLOGHER? 31% (9 votes)

Other: 7% (2 votes)
(comments being: “I wish!”

For those 9 people that don’t know what BlogHer is:

BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment.

In essence, if you’re in the market to “sell” your blog to companies (put ads on your blog, promote products, etc.), then BlogHer is an organization that can help you to achieve that goal.

BlogHer has an annual conference – two days of networking, meeting potential advertisers, and of course, to meet other bloggers. This year, the conference is being held in Chicago …

Only an eight hour drive from where I live.

I toyed, I SERIOUSLY toyed, with the idea of going. I even talked to my husband and sold him on the idea of taking a mini-vacation at the end of July and I would attend the conference one day. He said okay.

So, I began researching. I looked at the conferences available. I read the descriptions. And I was a bit disappointed.

I don’t know what I expected. I mean after all, the sole purpose behind BlogHer is to introduce interested bloggers on how to market their blogs but still, I felt a little uneasy.

And then Blissdom and Mom 2.0 happened and I read a ton of posts about the events and that’s when I realized, attending one of these conferences would be a complete waste of time for me.

Please let me repeat that, for me.

And I started thinking about why I felt that way. I sat and stared out of the window for quite some time just running through the various conference scenarios in my head and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I simply would not belong.

The bottom line for me? I’m just not interested in marketing my blog. I don’t want ads. I don’t want to do reviews. I don’t want to actively sell myself to people. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know why.

It’s. Just. Not. Me.

Now granted, this is my opinion. I am certainly not going to criticize anyone else who actively markets themselves, or does reviews. We all blog for different reasons. My reason is to journal my life and to put a little of my creative writing “out there.” I’ve never had grandiose ideas of becoming a famous blogger. I don’t even think I want to be a popular blogger; I simply want to stay true to myself.

But I enjoy making people laugh, so you will see an occasional goofy post because, again, that’s simply who I am – I’m a complete dork. And you will see an occasional giveaway because I honest to God enjoy giving things away. It’s my very small way of giving back to the community. It makes me all warm and gooey inside to bring a smile to someone’s face.

IF I were to EVER contemplate putting ads on my blog, or succumbing to a vendor’s demands, I would do it exactly like Ree does at The Pioneer Woman. I simply ADORE her. She’s humble. She’s sweet. She’s nice. She’s downright classy. Her posts are always about her family and her life. And her giveaways are impressive and huge and incredibly generous. She never begs for votes. And she’s reluctant to bring attention to her popularity, so much so that she just about didn’t mention that she was listed as one of the top 25 blogs in the The New York Times! Now that’s humility!

That’s EXACTLY how I would handle myself if I ever crossed that marketing threshold. And I’ve had offers to sell things here, but I’ve turned them down. It’s simply not an avenue I’m willing to pursue at this time.

So, I will not be attending BlogHer, or any other blog marketing conference because that’s simply not what I want. I’m content to be small potatoes. I’m happy not having to answer to guidelines and rules. I’m content to write what I want, when I want and answer to no one but myself.

But to those of you out there that ARE going to a blogging conference, good luck, have fun and I hope it’s everything you want it to be!

But here’s an idea, wouldn’t it be fun to have a blogger’s conference where the sole purpose was to simply meet one another? Sort of like speed dating only with bloggers! I would LOVE to meet the people behind my favorite blogs, to interview them, to take pictures with them, and to really get to know THEM, without all of this marketing jazz, you know? And I’d REALLY like to get to know area bloggers – people who actually live close enough to visit! Is there anything like that out there now? A blogging organization with local chapters? If so, I’d be interested in learning more about it!

One more thing, Lindsay, at Suburban Turmoil, wrote a really interesting post today that really sums up how I feel, exactly:

I don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on the Internet and I want to spend the time I do have writing, and making what I’ve already written better. Not promoting my brand. Not optimizing my blog for search engines. Not seeking out partnerships with corporations.

Lindsay then goes on to say in a newspaper column she writes for Nashville’s “The City Paper“:

It’s … hard not to feel like I’m dangerously close to exploiting my family for a taste of fame and fortune.

You took the words right out of my mouth, Lindsay, I feel the same way. And I think that’s the biggest reason I haven’t succumbed to ads and marketing ploys – I just don’t feel comfortable using my family as a springboard to extra income.

Even though I can understand other bloggers that do. I mean, heck, if one can stay home and make some money, especially with the way things are now, in our economy, why not, right?

Maybe I just need to adjust my way of thinking? It’s all so confusing.

Project 365

Project 365: February 26th


And here we go, another week of random photos. If you want to keep track of my photos, you can subscribe to the Project 365 RSS feed.


1. GD’s new hat. In case you missed it, he made a high B on his last Geometry test and the deal was, if he made a B or better, I would buy him this hat. As you can see, I keep my word. 🙂

2. MK is taking Algebra this year. And since GD had Algebra last year, he felt it was his big brother’s duty to help his little bro out. It really warms my heart when the boys bond like this. They are such great friends. I pray that relationship only strengthens as the year’s go by.

3. Kevin is an artist. And not just in music, but he dabbles in drawing as well. Here he is, teaching himself to draw anime. He gets in these “moods” once in a while to just draw. This desire usually only lasts a short while – this bout only lasted a day. *grin*


4. – 7. These pictures really don’t require an explanation. There’s really no way to justify our stupidity. Somehow (and I really couldn’t tell you because I have no clue), we had these coke bottle glasses lying around our house and first Kevin put them on, then the kids, and of course, I had to give it a go. We look like idiots – no, it’s okay, we do. What can I say? We’re a weird family. 😀