Writing Stuff

Writing That Shines


(photo credit)

I enjoy finding new voices. (Well, new to me, at least). I purposefully ignore links to the “popular” bloggers (though I’m sure what they’ve contributed is equally awesome) and instead focus on the lesser-known voices, for I am so tired of not hearing them. The blog-o-sphere is so full of silly self-imposed get-more-traffic drivel, let’s focus our energies on more raw, amazing, heart-wrenching, populist issues we can relate to, shall we?

Why I Am a Feminist, And Why I Will Shout It Loudly Into the Ears of Anyone That Will Listen” from Knotty Yarn.

In Need of the Heimlich Manoeuvre” from Yarn Harlot

My Soul Speaks” by Paige Johnson at My Tornado Alley

Amanda’s Attempt to Entertain Us this Month – Bullying” by Amanda at Birmingham Mommy

As Promised” from 2birds1blog
(hahahaha!)

Forgiveness” from The Accidental Olympian

Mind Your Own Business, Gmail!” from Nanny Goats in Panties

Today Would Have Been Our Anniversary” from Beregond’s Bar

Disposable People” from No Points For Style
(Wow)

These writers, these wonderful PEOPLE, inspire me to be a better writer, a better PERSON.

I’m hungry for more. If you can recommend more great writing, I’m ready to feast.

You can find many more interesting reads at Five Star Friday.

Monday Stuff

You Ask, I Answer

I’m answering the “Getting to Know You Questions” from MannLand5 as well as my own questions from the Monday Morning Meme.

(Because Mondays are so much easier when all you have to do is answer questions – you know?)

1. If you accidentally nick a car in a parking lot..Do you leave a note or do you get the heck out of there?

Wait. This is a hypothetical question right?

Because hypothetically speaking, if I were to ever accidentally back into a parked car while exiting a parking space, and get out to check to make sure there was no damage to either car, and then not seeing any discernible damage proceed to take off …

you wouldn’t think less of my hypothetical self, would you?

Whew. I’m glad we’re only talking hypothetically here.

*wink*

2. Love your body or plastic surgery?

Mostly, love your body. We all have flaws, we all have trouble spots – if it bothers you that much, try to find a natural way of living with it, or fixing it.

(For example: I have a pretty big/crooked nose – it used to bother me, but now? I just chock it up to my Indian ancestry).

I think the only way I would condone plastic surgery is if there was a deformity of some sort or not fixing it with plastic surgery could cause a health problem later on down the road.

3. What about your favorite blog(s) continues to drive you back?

The writing. Or the photography. I also appreciate variety – some popular blogs have stumbled onto a method, or a format, that works for them. Which is fine, it’s obviously working, but it gets old sometimes.

I also like to laugh, so blogs that continually post something fun or funny always get my attention.

While we’re on the subject of popular blogs – have you noticed that some popular bloggers only post once or twice a week? Or that when you follow some of the popular bloggers, say on Twitter, they’re actually not very nice people?

Or they tout being from a “tolerant” party and yet, their actions and words show that they are anything but tolerant if you disagree with them? Or, they start spouting off judgments without taking the time to research the facts first?

(One blogger spouted off some stupid things about a certain honor rally that took place this past weekend and when asked if she actually watched it? “No. We don’t turn the TV on very much.” WTH?? Don’t comment if you don’t have the facts – it makes you look foolish. Sheesh).

I honestly can’t believe some of these “popular” bloggers are still popular. It sort of disappoints me that readers aren’t more selective. I’ve run across a ton of bloggers who are better writers, heck, better people, and who deserve way more attention than they’re getting.

It’s really frustrating.

4. What percent of your blog is BS just to make your life seem more interesting than it really is?

Zero.

I may be vague about some things to protect the innocent and/or I may exaggerate some points to either make my point or to make the story a bit more interesting, but I don’t embellish my life. What you see is what you get at this here little ole blog of mine.

I am the first to admit my life is boring and I’m totally okay with that.

Honest.

5. If you had to give up one type of meat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably liver.

Okay, that’s not fair, I would rather pluck my eyeball out than eat liver, so I’m giving up something I never had to begin with.

I’d probably give up red meat. I love chicken and would rather eat fish than red meat.

Wait. Is fish considered a meat?

Now I’m confused.

6. How often to you eat out?

We “go git” (it’s an Ozarks thing) every Friday and Saturday night. We cook at home the rest of the week.

Kevin and I have a standing Wednesday lunch date (it’s true! We even schedule work meetings around Wednesdays. “I’m available every day but Wednesday.” We put each other first. I know, that’s so cute it’s nauseating).

Other that that? We don’t go out to eat very often. (Which I guess sounds lame since we go out at least three times a week).

I have a HARD time spending money on restaurants. A family of four (and we have two teenage boys who eat more than me and Kevin combined), is EXPENSIVE. So, if we go out, it’s usually to a fast food restaurant where we can all eat for under $20.00. The few times we’ve gone out to fancy places and ended up spending $50, I just couldn’t enjoy myself. You might as well stick a $50 dollar bill in your mouth and chew.

Want some salt with that?

7. Skinny jeans or boot cut jeans?

Skinny jeans. I love them.

However, they don’t exactly love me. They only accentuate my pooch and they only look good if you wear tops that come down to your hips (thereby hiding the pooch).

I like boot cut jeans. And I wear boot cut jeans. In fact, I read somewhere that boot cut jeans looked better on, ahem, older women such as myself.

What say you?

8. If you caught your spouse cheating would you forgive, divorce, or plan your kill?

Kill her. Maim him (because he’s the father of my children after all, he needs to live just for that reason), and then leave his ass in the dust. (Notice I didn’t say divorce him).

AND THEN …

I would try and figure out what in the world happened. Just what part did I play in the affair? Did I drive him there with my whining, complaining, bitching, belittling insults and frigid attitude?

Remember, it takes two participate in a breakup.

Would I take him back? I can’t answer that. Again, it depends on the situation. Did I drive him to that point? Can our marriage be salvaged? Could I ever learn to trust him again? Does he have a sex problem that requires counseling?

These types of questions are never cut and dried even though I think society would like to make it seem like it is.


1. What would you say to your 16-year-old self, and why?

Learn some humility, for pete’s sake. You’re NOT all that and if you don’t start training yourself to have more patience now, you’re going to end up regretting the first year of your oldest son’s life.

Trust me, chicka.

2. What are you avoiding?

Something big. Can’t talk about it. 🙂

3. Describe a “Hah! I told you so” moment you had recently.

Oh. I have those moments all the time.

I just choose to keep my mouth shut and allow the situation to speak for me.

Even though I’d like to rub the fact that I’m right in some people’s faces, I (usually) refrain. I opt to take the high road.

Which is really, really hard for me, sometimes. I assure you.

Usually? I just smile (okay, smirk) and that’s all that needs to be said.

4. Do you think that back-to-school shopping is a big deal? How did your back-to-school shopping go this year?

Back-to-school shopping USED to be a big deal, when the boys were younger and actually (semi) liked school. It was fun to pick out school supplies and even though they have never liked clothes shopping, at least back then they didn’t make me want to leave them on a street corner with an “I need taxi fare home” signs.

I loved back-to-school shopping. It always marked a new chapter in their lives. Clothes shopping was bitter / sweet for me because it meant they were getting BIGGER!

And OMG, they were getting BIGGER! 😦

I also enjoyed picking out yuppie-looking clothes for them. Now? They won’t be caught dead in a t-shirt with pockets.

I’m not even kidding.

No. Back-to-school shopping has become an odious task for us now – it means the boys have to stop playing their video games and face reality.

*gasp*

I’m such a MEAN mom.

*sigh*

(I plan on using the Monday Morning Meme picture as my writing prompt for tomorrow’s Flash Fiction – stick around).

Monday Morning Meme

Monday Morning Meme – August 30, 2010

Good morning!!

Aren’t you glad I’m here to give you something to blog about?

I thought so. 😉

All you have to do is answer the questions below either in the comment section, or on your blog. And elaborate! Make these questions show your unique and special personalities. This meme entry will post at 12:01 every Monday morning and will be the first postentry listed on WFK all day Monday. (This is an all-day Monday meme, so please, play all day!)

Monday Morning Meme at writefromkaren.com

August 30th Questions:

1. What would you say to your 16-year-old self, and why?

2. What are you avoiding?

3. Describe a “Hah! I told you so” moment you had recently.

4. Do you think that back-to-school shopping is a big deal? How did your back-to-school shopping go this year?

5. Bonus: Write a caption, poem or short story inspired by this picture:


  1. Speech bubbles – jfb57
  2. Rachel @ the science of music
  3. Adventures of Life

    This linky list is now closed.

Want to see next week’s questions? Your wish is my command.

Day-By-Day

Day-By-Day


(photo credit)

The small, insignificant, day-by-day things that happen in my life.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I had a very productive day. I got a lot of work done, and answered a lot of emails. It was a comfortable pace all day – I would answer a few emails, finish the requests and then get a few more emails. I was able to easily keep on top of things all day and didn’t feel overwhelmed. I even got a few compliments on my work, which only served to encourage me more.

I need to focus on getting my work website back up and running. Well, technically, it’s running, but it’s very outdated. I don’t know if I told you this, but I reserved the karenmaxwell.com domain as well as the karenmaxwell.net domain. I’m thinking I’m going to use the .net domain for my professional site (because most of the sites I’ve designed link to that website and it would just be easier to leave it as it) and use the .com domain for my writing.

*snort* That all sounds so nice, doesn’t it? My writing site? Like I do any writing to PUT on a writing site … but whatever.

I dream big. Hush.

~*~*~*~*~

Friday, August 27, 2010

So. The car.

We went and picked it up today, and we’re another $200 bucks poorer. The mechanic said that there were three computer codes that they couldn’t clear out, one was for this, one was for that, and the last one had something to do with the ignition system. I didn’t quite catch what it all meant, but I’m gathering, from what he said, that it could be a potential problem down the road. Whose bright idea was it to put computers in cars again? *sigh* At any rate, it’s fixed – for now. I’ll probably go driving with Dude tomorrow (I have to make sure he gets out and drives otherwise, he’ll get rusty. Trust me, the boy doesn’t move out of his computer chair – he needs to get out in the real world once in a while).

We still haven’t decided what to do with the car, long term. For now, I think we’re going to hang on to the car and see what happens. I just HATE putting too much money into it because we’ve already put more money into the heap than its book value. I’m especially sensitive to this because I used to work in the consumer loan department at the bank and I saw, way too many times to count, too many people disappointed (and even upset!) because all of the “improvements” or repairs they made to their car didn’t help the market value out one bit. It’s all about the market value, people.

Kevin has been trolling Craig’s List for a new car, for him. I’m totally okay with this. He’s been driving his truck for about four years now and has (constantly) talked about wanting a car for a while. I think he should go for it. I’ve been encouraging him to buy a car, he’s the one always nixing the idea. But he’s finding a few good deals through Craig’s List, so I have a feeling we might be car looking before long. Our biggest problem is where are we going to store these cars? We only have a two-car garage, the Cavalier already sits in our backyard. We need a garage, but it’s going to cost about $10K to $15K to build so …

We had a little drama after school today. Dude and Jazz meet at a door after school and then walk out to my car together. Only, Jazz didn’t show up and when the boys didn’t turn up at their normal time, I called Dude. He didn’t know where he was and he was getting really annoyed. I wasn’t worried, I just figured Jazz was doing something with the band and when I suggested Dude walk down to the band room, well, no would be putting it mildly.

After about five minutes, I called him back, “Jazz is getting his uniform,” he said.

“Oh,” I said, “then you might as well come on out to the car.”

When Dude arrived at the car, he was furious – as in, unreasonably furious, as in, I thought the boy would blow an artery furious. I was a bit alarmed at his anger. He was upset because he was tired of having to wait for Jazz every day. But, even if Dude didn’t wait for Jazz every day and came out to the car the ahead of him, he would be upset because we still had to wait on him. And even if he was driving, he would still have to wait on Jazz before he could take off. Now granted, Jazz won’t be hurried – he runs on his own time, but he’s also involved in band and extracurricular activities require time.

My point to Dude was – he’s spoiled. He’s not used to having to wait for anything. All of his entertainment is instantaneous; I’ve always been there or handled things for him in a timely matter. It’s always been BAM, BAM, BAM for Dude – no inconvenience. We had a pretty good talk (after he calmed down) and I think he realizes he needs to chill out about having to wait for things. I mean, the world does not exist for him. And before you ask, yes, I told him he was spoiled and yes, I told him I blamed myself.

I’m nothing if not honest with my kids and with myself.

We nearly passed out when Jazz arrived with his band uniform. Even though he got the same uniform as last year (they number them somehow) and even though we dry cleaned the uniform at the end of last year’s season, that thing stunk to high heaven. They must store those things somewhere damp because the mold was nearly palpable. We took it straight to the dry cleaners. I’ll take a picture of him wearing it and post it soon. His first football game is next Friday. I’m looking forward to it.

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Audio version:

~*~*~*~*~

I love Oh life because they send you an email at 8:00 p.m. every night asking you how your day went. You reply to the email and it automatically posts to your Oh Life account.

I recorded the audio version through Audio Boo. You only have five minutes to record something – GO.

These entries are raw, immediate and from the heart. You can expect to see these updates every Wednesday and Sunday (or thereabouts)

Thanks for reading.

Abundant Life

Teaching: Turn the Other Cheek Means Ignore Insults and Mocking, Does Not Refer to Social Justice

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

(Watch Part One, Two, Three here)

Vodpod videos no longer available.


(RSS readers, there’s a video, please click over to watch it).

[This article was taken from the booklet The Death Penalty: Godly or Ungodly?]

We have already seen an example of Scriptural support for the death penalty in the book of Genesis, and, as was already stated, the death penalty is supported in all five books of Moses. Genesis 9:6 prescribed the death penalty for murder when it said that if a man “shed the blood” of another man, by man must his blood be shed. We will now consider the subject of capital punishment in Exodus, and see clearly that God instituted the death penalty.

Exodus 21:12-14
(12) Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.
(13) However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate.
(14) But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.

The first thing to notice in this section of Scripture is that God commands that anyone who kills a person on purpose should be put to death. It is up to the people in the society to enforce this law. The Bible does not say, “If anyone is a murderer, I, God, will put him to death.” Also, note that God differentiates between murder and accidental killing, which we call “manslaughter.” Accidental killing is different than murder, and it is treated differently under God’s law. Notice in verse 13 that if someone killed another accidentally, God would designate a place of refuge for the accused to flee for protection. That was necessary because it was the custom in the ancient world (and still is in the modern world in some places) that a family member would avenge the death of another family member.

Biblically, the family member who avenged a death was called, “the avenger of blood.” It was essential to have a place where a person who accidentally killed someone could go for protection until the civil authorities could get involved. Often, the place of sanctuary was in the Tabernacle or Temple courts where the altar of sacrifice was. This custom was carried on in many societies, and churches often became places of sanctuary. Thus God’s desire to see justice done in regard to murderers is clearly seen in His command that if a person is guilty of murder, there is to be no sanctuary for that person. He was to be taken, even from the altar of God itself, and executed.

The saying, “an eye for an eye,” is well known and often quoted. However, to properly understand it, we must quote it accurately.

Exodus 21:23-25
(23) But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,
(24) eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
(25) burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

It is hard to see how anyone could read and understand the above passage and maintain that God is against the death penalty. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, and Exodus was written in the first year. To insure that the Israelites would really understand that God was serious about the maintenance of social order, and so that no one could propose that “life for life, eye for eye,” etc., was just to maintain order while they marched as an army, the law is repeated again in Deuteronomy 19:21, which was written only months before Israel was to settle in the Promised Land.

The book of Leviticus also clearly states that murderers are to be put to death:

Leviticus 24:17 and 21
(17) If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death.
(21) Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a man must be put to death.

These verses are very clear, and also settle another issue that has come up in these modern times. There are environmentalists who state that animals are just as important as mankind. That is clearly not what the Bible says. Animals are not made in the image of God, and many of them are specifically stated to be a source of food (Gen. 9:3) and of domestic blessings. Biblically, the life of an animal is not valued as highly as the life of a human being who was created in the image of God.

The book of Numbers continues the biblical testimony that murders are to be put to death:

Numbers 35:16-18
(16) If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
(17) Or if anyone has a stone in his hand that could kill, and he strikes someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
(18) Or if anyone has a wooden object in his hand that could kill, and he hits someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.

After giving clear testimony that murderers were to be put to death, Numbers reinforces the statement made in Exodus that there was to be no refuge for a murderer.

Numbers 35:31
Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. He must surely be put to death.

The book of Deuteronomy is the fifth and last book of Moses, and it also states that a murderer is to be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:11-13
(11) But if a man hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him, assaults and kills him, and then flees to one of these cities,
(12) the elders of his town shall send for him, bring him back from the city, and hand him over to the avenger of blood to die.
(13) Show him no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.

We have now seen that the five books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, all prescribe the death penalty. It should be abundantly clear that anyone who reasons that the Bible does not support the death penalty because a few translations say, “You shall not kill,” is misunderstanding and misapplying Scripture.

In addition to the point-blank commands in Genesis through Deuteronomy about the death penalty, Scripture contains records that indicate how God feels when His commands are not obeyed. 1 Kings 20 contains the record of a king of Israel who spared the life of an enemy king in spite of the fact that he had attacked Israel and killed many Israelites. Was God pleased that the king of Israel spared the life of this murderer? Not at all. God sent a prophet with this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people’” (1 Kings 20:42). In the United States, we have spared the lives of many criminals who should have been put to death, and now it is “our lives for their lives.” We have been disobedient to God’s law, and as a result we live in an unsafe society where each year thousands of innocent people die. Would it not be more just to execute the criminals and provide a safe society for the law-abiding citizens?

To add insult to injury, well-intentioned Christians will often attempt to comfort the families of murder victims by suggesting that “God works in mysterious ways” as if He were somehow responsible for allowing the murder to occur. However, God has clearly revealed that He has made man responsible for the righteous execution of judgment. Therefore God is not at fault for man’s failure to obey His Law that then results in the growth of criminal behavior and the enormous volume of human suffering it leaves in its wake. [4]

You can read the original article here.

Did this article bless you? Please consider donating to the Truth or Tradition ministry.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

More from Write From Karen

Friday Fun

Friday (Edible) Craft: Making Kids’ Lunches Special

I have a “thing” about packing my kids’ lunches.

Well, first of all, I do it. Every day. I figure, it’s the least I can do – heck, the boys are barely awake and moving in the mornings, let alone THINKING about anything other than trying to wake up.

Secondly, I actually put some thought into my kids’ lunches. I consciously try and buy different and fun things to put into their lunches every week. For example, every week they get a lunchable – always a different kind each week. I make one traditional sandwich one day, put a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one day, and Hot Pockets another day. Every Tuesday and Thursday they get to drink soda (Mt. Dew is their favorite) because I figure those are the days of the week when they are dragging and really need the caffeine boost to see them through their day.

In addition, I play around with different deserts and fruit roll-ups – I also put the occasional “good luck on your test” sort of note in there as well.

In short, I really enjoy packing my kids’ lunches. And apparently, they love it too because neither one of them have bought lunch in YEARS. (Yes, I’m being serious).

As a result of this “obsession”, I tend to really enjoy getting new ideas for fun things to put into their lunches. Now granted, some of this stuff is a bit hokey for my teenage boys and I never want to embarrass them in front of their friends, but I’m not saying I won’t EVER sneak something like this in just to break up the monotony of their day. *grin*

For example, wouldn’t these be FUN to find in your lunch??


Hotdog Mummies

Feast your eyes, if you dare, on these Hot Dog Mummies. They’re the perfect energy food before an evening of collecting candy.

Ingredients

* 1 11-ounce can of refrigerator breadsticks
* 1 12-pack of hot dogs
* Yellow mustard

Instructions

1. For each mummy, separate one breadstick from the roll and use kitchen shears or a knife to slice it in half lengthwise to create two thinner strips.
2. Wrap one strip at a time snugly around the hot dog. Depending on the size of the hot dog, you may not need all of both strips. Leave about 1/2 inch of hot dog exposed for the face area and continue wrapping the top of the hot dog.
3. Bake the mummies on a cookie sheet at 350º for 15 to 18 minutes or until the breadstick wrapping is golden brown.
4. Remove the mummies from the oven and cool them for 5 minutes. Add yellow mustard eyes just before serving. Makes 12 mummies.



Lunch Ahoy!

This lunchtime fleet turns tuna salad into a treat that’s sure to reel kids in.

Ingredients

* Pickling cucumbers
* Plum tomatoes
* Yellow peppers
* Tuna salad
* Carrot or celery sticks
* Lettuce
* Cheese (optional)
* Fish-shaped crackers (optional)

Instructions

1. Fill a veggie vessel (we used halves of a pickling cucumber, plum tomato, and yellow pepper) with tuna salad. Push one end of a carrot or celery-stick mast into the salad and set a triangle sail of pepper, lettuce, or cheese next to it. For the full effect, serve the lunch on a blue plate scattered with fish-shaped crackers.



Mini Football Subs

You can expect a high number of interceptions when you pass these individual-size meatball sandwiches during halftime festivities.

Ingredients

* Meatballs
* Spaghetti sauce
* Shredded Cheese
* Individual-size rolls

Instructions

1. To make a batch, first prepare your favorite meatball recipe, shaping each meatball into a mini football before cooking. Once they’re cooked, add the meatballs to a skillet of spaghetti sauce and warm them through.
2. For each sub, cut a V-shaped notch from the top of an individual-size roll, place a meatball in the roll, and top with cheese shred laces. Finally, get the sandwiches in a huddle on a cookie sheet and place them in a warm oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.



Silly Face Sandwich

Get your kids to eat their veggies with this tasty sandwich.

Ingredients

* Condiments (ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise)
* Sandwich roll or bun
* Ham or other cold cuts
* Raw vegetables
* Olives
* Cherry tomatoes
* Softened cream cheese
* Cheese sticks
* Cheese cubes
* Carrots
* Bell peppers

Instructions

1. Spread your child’s favorite condiment on the bottom half of a sandwich roll.
2. Add a slice of ham or another cold cut.
3. Fold a second slice of meat lengthwise so that it resembles a tongue and lay it across the bun with one end hanging over the edge.
4.Create a face on the bun top using sliced raw vegetables, olives, and cherry tomatoes for features and softened cream cheese for glue. (The cheese sticks best if you first blot dry the cut veggies with a paper towel.) You can even add a couple of cheese cube “teeth.”
5. Use a potato peeler or grater to create long carrot curls to pile on top of the sandwich or push bell pepper slices into the bun for a spiky hairdo.



Bagel Buoy

Fishing for a fun and hole-some breakfast? This snazzy snorkeler, made of cream cheese and veggies, is just the thing.

Ingredients

* Bagel
* 1 (8-ounce) package of strawberry cream cheese or plain cream cheese and Nutella
* Bell peppers
* Shredded cheese

Instructions

1. Put the strawberry cream cheese into a plastic freezer bag and snip off a small corner (for a darker skin tone, stir Nutella into plain cream cheese).
2. Pipe the cheese through the hole in the bag to create arms and legs, then hold the tip in place to fill the bagel hole and squeeze out a ball for the head.
3. Cut out a mask, snorkel, and pair of flippers from bell peppers and pat the pieces with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Put the snorkel gear in place, top the head with shredded cheese, and set your skin diver afloat on your breakfast table!


And for desert? How about showing them a little brownie love?


I “Heart” Brownies

A plate of these very moist, rich chocolate bars won’t last long after school–especially when accompanied by tall glasses of milk.

Make brownies according to box instructions.

To make the heart: Stencil confectioners’ sugar hearts on top of each brownie. To make a stencil, cut out a heart from the center of a piece of paper. Place the stencil on top of the brownie and sift confectioners’ sugar over it. Carefully lift the paper to reveal the confectioners’ sugar heart.


*Disclaimer: These recipes are from Family Fun. Family Fun did not compensate me in any way for this post. I’m simply a fan of Family Fun and thought I would pass these recipes on to you. Enjoy!

Life

If It’s Broke, Then Fix It … or Sell It

Yesterday was a craptastic day. Seriously. It was like we were all … off or something. Dude, Kevin and I all snapped at each other (Jazz was actually in pretty good spirits and steered clear of us) and before the day was out, I felt like I had a big sign taped to my back:

“Bite my head off, please”

At any rate, we’re all better today .. I don’t know what the deal was yesterday, but anyhoo …

In addition to everyone being “sensitive” (that’s code for difficult), Kevin went to the doctor.

It didn’t have anything to do with his accident. In fact, the man is doing really well, he still waddles a bit when he walks, but he’s truly getting better and better every day and he no longer has to take pain pills – now he’s just really sore and even that is not as bad as it used to be.

No. He went to our family doctor because he’s tired of being hungry all the time. And when I say the man is hungry all the time, I mean all the time.

Kevin has a pre-breakfast, breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, a post-dinner snack and then often times gets up at 2:00 in the morning to eat something again.

It’s insane. I have stressed for years about his constant hunger – which is another reason I love cruises – I don’t have to stress about where his next meal is going to come from.

I’m not kidding folks, it’s really a problem. It’s like he’s never satisfied. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his blood sugar drops and he starts shaking and his usual good humor takes a nose dive – he’s an outright jerk if he allows it to go on for very long.

He’s been like this for years. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s always been a bottomless pit. And the man never gains weight, which is infuriating, at least to me. Because HELLO!? That’s not normal!

But since he’s grown up with this “condition”, he thinks it is normal, so he doesn’t understand how I can gain weight so easily just snacking on a chocolate bar.

In fact his entire family is like that – they can eat and never gain weight. If I didn’t like them so much, I would totally hate them because WTF??

He said the straw that broke the camel’s back for him was when we were on vacation. We would be out touring St. John, New Brunswick or Halifax, Nova Scotia, and he would complain about being hungry, every fifteen minutes. It got so bad, even our boys, our TEENAGE BOTTOMLESS PITS, started teasing him about being hungry all the time.

In addition to being hungry all the time, he doesn’t sleep well. He never has. He goes to sleep okay, but he doesn’t stay asleep. We did figure out that he has sleep apena and he now sleeps with a CPAP machine, which has helped, but he still wakes up to pee or because he’s hungry. It’s a vicious cycle and he’s a walking zombie because he never stays asleep long enough to get some solid REM sleep.

Anyway, he went in, had five vials of blood drawn and is having a series of tests done; I’m most interested in his thyroid. I think it’s overactive, but I only know what Google tells me so …

****

This car?

Looks nice, right? But it’s turning out to be a major pain in our butt.

It’s a ’99 Chevy Cavalier. And it has a moonroof and is really a pretty cool little car, but it’s not running very well.

Wait. Scratch that. It’s not running AT ALL.

*sigh*

First, it was the ignition system. It shorted out and we had to replace the whole thing complete with reprogramming the computer so it would accept the key and yadda-yadda-yadda.

Then, yesterday, (which only added to the crap factor that was yesterday), Dude and I drove up to Wal-Mart so I could buy a few things, including eggs because we were planning on having breakfast for dinner that night.

Remember that I have eggs.

Dude wasn’t that happy to begin with. He was tired. He had homework, but I assured him we would make a quick trip up there and back – fifteen minutes tops. AND, I would buy him some poptarts.

He agreed. (Like he had a choice).

We got into the car, the car started. No problems so far. He drove us to Wal-Mart (and really should have honked at the moron that turned right in front of him). We did our shopping. We walked to the car, he unlocked the trunk (because I thought it might a little cooler in the trunk since I also needed to run over to Staples and buy Jazz a folder with brads because Wal-Mart didn’t have any [yeah, Dude wasn’t happy about that little proposed detour]) and we got into the car.

And the stupid, freaking thing wouldn’t start! AARGH!!

We tried several times. We probably spent nearly ten minutes trying to coax the thing to start.

We only succeeded in flooding it.

I called Kevin and he came up to rescue us. He tried to start it, no go.

By this time, I’m picturing all of us sick with salmonella because I’ve got eggs in the trunk of the car. And it’s 85 degrees outside. And Dude has homework and he’s getting impatient to get back home to do it so he can get on his computer (kids have to do homework first before getting on the games). So, we took Dude back home, I put the eggs into the fridge and we went back up to Wal-Mart.

Kevin called AAA (by the way, HIGHLY recommend you become members of AAA – we met our membership fee just in the two tows we’ve had to have in the past few months because towing is free if you’re a member) and waited for the tow truck to show up.

He arrived about twenty minutes later and towed the stupid car away.

We took it back to the same garage that fixed us up last time (Kevin really likes them) and heard back from them today on what the problem was.

Apparently, the actual ignition switch is bad.

WAIT a doggone minute here! I thought we just paid them boo-coo bucks to fix this problem before??!! Well, they said that they tested it and it appeared to be getting power so they didn’t replace it, trying to save us money.

*SIGH*. I was a bit annoyed with them, but Kevin talked me off the edge and now …

… what?

We no longer trust this car. We’re just lucky the boys weren’t out in the boonies somewhere when this happened. Or in the middle of an intersection.

It could always be so much worse.

We’re discussing our options. We absolutely don’t want the boys driving a car that can’t be trusted. So … now we’re thinking of trading it in for something a little newer and more reliable.

We had toyed with the idea of the boys driving Kevin’s truck and he would buy a car. He’s been wanting to buy himself one for quite some time now. But … teenage boys driving an F150 truck? That truck is a monster and has a lot of power. Not to mention, is about five feet longer than a car and … no. We just didn’t feel comfortable with that option.

Then I came up with an idea:

Why don’t they just drive my Vibe and I would buy a new car? The Vibe is only three years old, is in great shape, very reliable, easy to drive and … ?

We’re still thinking about it. We’re going to check out some lots tomorrow when we go pick up the Cavalier. We’re keeping our options open right now. We might actually get a better deal on a new car as opposed to a used car right now because everyone is either making their old cars last longer, or buying used cars because no one can afford a new car in this economy. (This “Summer of Recovery” economy. *snort*)

But ugh. Do we really want a car payment right now?

Not really.

At any rate, we have to do something, this cool-looking Cavalier has got to go.

(maybe)