November 2013Back Home Again: November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013 Review

Haven't you ever wanted to catch Santa in the act to show your kids proof that he came to your house over night? is a genius way to show them proof of Santa! 

It's so incredibly easy to create your Santa photo. 1) Take a photo or use any photo you'd like 2) Go to and upload your photo 3) Choose from 20 different Santa poses and even Rudolph! 4) Share your photo.

Through December 10, 2013 use the code #SantaShare to catch Santa for free. Use as many times as you'd like. They're also celebrating their fifth anniversary and are giving away an iPad Air and gift cards from Amazon, Visa and Starbucks. I don't know about you, but I definitely entered!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Liebster Award Part Two!

I have been nominated for another Liebster Award by Michelle over at Ma Made Creations. Since this isn't my first time being nominated, I thought I would just answer Michelle's questions this time around. There's some new "faces" around here and this way, you'll get to know me a bit better :-)

1. What do you find hardest about blogging? Coming up with quality posts that haven't been done over over again by other bloggers. As a "Mommy" blog, my primary focus is on parenting and my family. But, I know that that can get old after awhile so I try to blog about other things going on in my life or thoughts I'm having from time to time too. 

2. What made you decide to start your blog? I have had some sort of blog since I was in college. These include, Xanga and LiveJournal, amongst others. These were mostly my rants about things going on in college.  I finally decided to create a blog on Blogger when we lived in PA so that people back home could keep up on what was going on with us and to just document our adventures in general.

3. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Going downtown to see the Santa Sign in my hometown. Since I no longer live there, I have started some new traditions, which include decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving with my kids.
4. Do you have any special plans for the upcoming holiday season? Other than celebrate the 5646315641654846 birthdays that fall in December or early January in my and Alan's family, as well as some friends, we'll be doing the usual holiday stuff with family. 

5. What is your favorite breakfast food? Sausage. Links, patties, crumbled doesn't matter. I love it!

6. What is your go-to easy dinner? Homemade pizza or chili. I keep both stocked up in the freezer.

7. If you could only pick one color to wear the rest of your life, which would you choose? Turquoise. It's one of my favorite colors and one that I always get compliments on when I wear it.

8. What's the story behind your blog name? When I first started my blog, it was titled Hoosier on the East Coast because I was an Indiana native living outside of Philadelphia. However, when we moved back to Indiana, I renamed it Back Home Again as a play on the song "Back Home Again in Indiana" and because I really am back home again in my college town!

9. What time do you usually wake up in the morning? WAY too early! My alarm goes off at 5:45 and I'm usually up then or shortly after. Except for the nights when Cecily wants to nurse earlier than that, usually right before my alarm goes off so I just stay up.

10. What is your favorite season and why? I like each season for various reasons, but I would say fall is my absolute favorite. I love the changing leaves, the smell of bonfires, pumpkin, the crisp air in the mornings...I could go on and on...

11. What is one place you want to travel someday? There are many places that I really want to visit, but if I had to pick one, I would say Argentina. From everything I know of it, it just seems so much like Spain, which I love. 

Travel Thursday: Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown

I have never been to Plymouth, but in honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would tell you a little about my trip to somewhere that's related...sort of. 

The Governor's Mansion
When we lived in PA and when I was about eight weeks pregnant with Ewan, we went to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown one HOT weekend in May. Which I wouldn't recommend doing while pregnant, no matter how far along you are...but I digress...

It's a lot like Greenfield Village for those of you that have been there, but all about colonial America - Williamsburg was one of the first capitals of Virginia colony. I know that the buildings at Greenfield Village were brought to Michigan, but I think I like the fact that the structures have a large amount of significance. Several examples, there are structures pertaining to Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers there. I realize that at Williamsburg, all structures are in their original locations, and that they do have some significance, but to me, I like the fact that when you visit Greenfield Village, almost everyone has heard of the residents of the buildings. Nerdy preservationist fact: there was a rivalry between Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller when these places were being constructed. We in historic preservation call Williamsburg the Preservation Disneyland :-)

Don't get me wrong, it was a cool place, full of history, but not what I expected. I did like walking along the streets and exploring the shops. We also explored the gardens of the Governor's Palace, which is probably my favorite part about the whole place. 

The next day we went to Jamestown, since it literally was right down the road. Jamestown is somewhere that holds a mystique for me. Maybe it's the romance between John Smith and Pocahantas (even though I know the true story!), I don't know, but it's somewhere I have always wanted to go. Even though it was still horribly hot, I definitely enjoyed Jamestown more.

We went to both Historic Jamestown and Jamestown Settlement, one owned by the NPS and the other by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Jamestown Settlement is a reconstruction of the fort, a Powhatan village and the ships that brought the colonists to America. It was seriously cool to explore the structures, and especially go on the ships. They were so much smaller than I expected. The thought of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in one of those, without knowing when or if you would find land and no means of communication with the outside world is completely terrifying to me!

After the settlement, we drove over to Historic Jamestown, which is the archaeological site of the fort and town that eventually developed. We explored the site of the fort, spent some time along the James River and checked out the museum which has some artifacts from the fort. We didn't go to the site of the town, unfortunately, because I remember I was hot and exhausted!

Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gingerbread French Toast

I made a big batch of gingerbread French toast last weekend and froze some of it for a quick breakfast Black Friday. I know that since I will be making a huge Thanksgiving dinner for everyone, that there was no way I'm going to want to do much cooking the rest of the weekend. Plus, gingerbread helps get everyone in the Christmas decorating spirit :-)

I originally saw this recipe in Working Mother magazine, but added a few additional spices to make it more gingerbread like and swapped almond milk for cow's milk to make it a smidge paleo. Breakfast is almost always a hit in my house and this was no exception. Even my gingerbread-hating husband liked it!

Gingerbread French Toast

1c almond milk
3 eggs
1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
6-8 slices of bread
powdered sugar, for dusting

  • Whisk together first six ingredients
  • Dip bread in egg mixture then cook on hot griddle until egg is cook and toast is not
  • Dust with powdered sugar

Since I'm talking about Christmas, I thought I'd let Casey tell you all about Pickal.

Hey! I'm Casey, from I'm so glad to introduce you to our BRAND NEW website where you can create your own cards and greetings for the upcoming holiday season! Let's be honest, we all like to save a buck, so please enjoy this exclusive discount for 20% off your order. Oh, and we always offer free shipping. Yup, every order ships for FREE. Enjoy! Looking forward to seeing what you get printed this holiday season. For 20% off your Pikcal order, use coupon code: blogcard20 We'll keep that coupon code active until December 31st, so hurry on over to Pikcal now :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #41

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 41st Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

Other than our new look, there are a few changes taking place, for the better. The first change is that the hop will be held every Tuesday at 9am (MST) instead of over the weekend. The reason for this change is that there are already tons of weekend hops, and we wanted to make this hop more accessible to our audience.

The second change is that the hop will focus on content from here on out. I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of All My Happy Endings or The Dwelling Tree. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Mandi about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news! 

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***Once a week, one lucky winner will be drawn at random to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

All My Happy Endings: Blog, Bloglovin'
and your co-hosts:

Osborne, My Life in Words: BlogTwitter
Samantha Elizabeth: BlogBloglovin'
Holli's Hoots and Hollers: Blog, Bloglovin'
Simple Moments Stick: Blog, Bloglovin'

 My Show Amanda: Blog, Facebook
Don't Judge Me: Blog, Facebook
Simply Free: Blog, Twitter
Back Home Again: Blog, Bloglovin'

***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:

Aw man, Amberly, why did you have to put up such a cute pic of your dog? Anyways, the  moment I saw this post it caught my eye. Partly because my husband and I have been on the fence for awhile about getting a puppy. I love the reasons Amberly lists out on this blog post for "Why every marriage needs a puppy". I love #2 the bestThere is always someone to keep you company when your spouse is gone. So true. Anyways, it is a great post and one worth reading. Plus, I just love this photo. It is rather Pinterest worthy for family photos including your pet! 

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! :)

My Thoughts on Disqus

A while back, it seemed like every blogger I know decided to switch to Disqus to moderate comments on their blog. Since I had been debating whether or not to start using it, I decided to finally go ahead and give it a try. 

Let's just say that after two months I am not impressed. The first thing I noticed was that with the recommended settings, I started getting all sorts of spam comments. Then, once I finally figured that one out, I noticed that only some of my comments were being displayed on my blog and of the comments that are being displayed, when I get the email telling me who commented, it always says that it was me that did the commenting! I figured out that because of the change in my Blogger settings to alleviate the crazy amount of spam I was getting, that it will always look like it was me that commented when I get the email. I can deal with that, annoying as it may be. What I can't deal with, however, is only some of my comments being displayed. I make an effort to respond to comments and if I can't find it, then I can't comment which doesn't make me happy. I've been doing some digging and while I did find that some comments got sent to spam, it seems like there's some sort of incompatibility going on with my blog and Disqus. So, if you've commented and never received a response from me, I do apologize!

Which brings me to my next point. I really do think that having this on my blog is hindering the amount of comments that I receive. To be able to comment, you need to sign into Disqus. While I know there are many options to sign in, a lot of people won't take the effort if they aren't already - I know that I do this sometimes, particularly when I'm on my phone.

That reminds me, Disqus doesn't work well with mobile devices. The majority of the time I receive a message that "Disqus is taking longer than usual to load..." No one has time for that! It's like that dang captchka...

And finally, I really really miss the social aspect of replying to comments via email. While I don't like no-reply bloggers because I can't reply to them, I love emailing back and forth, sometimes all afternoon long with one of my bloggy friends or favorite bloggers. With Disqus, this rarely happens now and I don't feel nearly as connected anymore.

So it's safe to assume that I will be switching back to Blogger comments as soon as I can figure out how to take my comments with me!

Don't forget to check out these giveaways:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Six Months of Diapers and Wipes Delivered to Your Door...for FREE!

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Looking for that perfect gift for an upcoming baby shower or even maybe a grand holiday gift for the new family addition? We have the ideal solution - diaper and wipe delivery from BabyShowersByMail. Do you know how badly I would've loved something like this when my kids were babies? This would've been so so awesome and perfect for us!

BabyShowersByMail is the home of the "Year Supply of Diapers". You had find a selection of the best baby gifts hand picked by the experts at BabyShowersByMail including Diaper and Wipe delivery which can be purchased in packages of 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and even an entire 12 month year.

So no matter what you choose, you can find and send the perfect baby shower gift at BabyShowersByMail. The ordering process is simple and ships quickly. BabyShowersByMail offers products babies need and parents appreciate. When it comes to their diaper delivery service, they provide great service to their mom's by delivering the brands and sizes they need directly to their door.

Who do you know that could benefit from Diaper and Wipe delivery?

One lucky reader will receive a 6 Month Diaper and Wipe Delivery Package from BabyShowersByMail!

Ends December 23rd at 11:59pm, open to US, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

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Disclosure: Back Home Again is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Family Pictures

If you're friends with me on Facebook, then you might have seen some of these already...A few weeks ago, we had family photos taken at a local park. We have always gone to J.C. Penney because I have bought Groupons, but aside from the very first session, they have never turned out very well. The last time we went, for Cecily's six month photos was the worst yet and I swore that we would never go back.

I am so so glad that we didn't! I love these photos and am so excited they're finally finished and I can show you some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas Before Thanksgiving? No Thanks!

I have seen many blog posts and Facebook photos that show people already putting up their Christmas decorations. To each their own, but I personally think that's crazy to do so before Thanksgiving!

 Our Charlie Brown tree the one year we did decorate 
before Christmas, when I worked at Target in PA.

Alan has been bugging me for weeks to decorate for Christmas - no thanks! I know there are many reasons one may decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but I think that fall and Thanksgiving are already overshadowed by Christmas and Halloween and they deserve all the time they can get. I feel like I put my fall decorations out in September, only to take them down in October for Halloween, then put them back out in November until Thanksgiving. Don't worry, we'll have Christmas music playing, drink hot chocolate and I'll bake gingerbread cookies. But, it will be the day after Thanksgiving, right Alan? :-) 

I get it, I really do. Everyone loves Christmas; I do too. My birthday is at the beginning of December, so it's like a month of celebrations at my house. But. Thanksgiving is an important holiday too and it deserves its own day. If things keep going the way they are this year, it's going to be completely surpassed next year - stupid retail! Maybe it's because in my house growing up, we didn't put up the tree until not too long before Christmas and then it stayed up until the end of January most years but, I just get a shudder when I see Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Boy Behind the Blog: Thanksgiving Edition

It's that time again! I cannot tell you how much I love this link up!

1. Who is your favorite band/musician?

Something Corporate/Jack's Mannequin. Ugh...We have totally different tastes in music...I call his whiny, prepubescent punk!

2. What was your first CD/tape?

I'm sure dcTalk or something like that.

3. Who was your first concert?

Probably something like Sesame Street Live. Does that count?... 

4. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Anything pumpkin! This is such a lie...he doesn't like ANYTHING pumpkin!

5. Finish the sentence: I am thankful for...

Holly; Ewan; Cecily; all my family; all my friends; our house; Mtn. Dew and other caffeinated beverages; peanut butter; that I can see; that I can hear; that i can touch; that I can smell; that I can taste; that I can talk; my bed; loud music and headphones to get me through work; hamburgers; neat old buildings; a good education; microwaves; words; good movies; magic shows; Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman books; sleep; time; art; pens; paper; cameras; fun websites like Retronaut; pizza; football; rain; snow; sunshine; clouds; and this apple I'm eating.

Mal Smiles

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Being an Only Child

I got to spend some time with my cousins over the weekend and I loved observing the dynamic between them. I'm sure they have arguments at times - I definitely remember several instances when we were kids - but, they all get along well and have a lot of fun together. It did make me realize something though. I really really wish I had siblings so I could experience that too! 

Photo: : )
With my cousins, aunt, uncles and mom
I have always said that I love being an only child because I get all the attention and never had to share anything within my household but the truth is that as I have gotten older I wish more and more that I had siblings. Through no fault of their own, I feel alone at family gatherings like this a lot of time. My aunt and uncle and cousins in general are very good to me. But, I just don't have that bond that they do with each other.

I am somewhat close to my sister-in-law; however, it's still not the same as that sibling bond. She's also an only child, so I'm sure she understands my feelings. Alan, on the other hand, thinks I'm nuts. However, he has siblings. He also thinks I'm nuts for wanting more kids. Yes, my children have a sibling. But, I would like them to have more than one so that they can hopefully have that dynamic that my cousins do.

Are you an only child or do you have siblings? Do you wish it were the other way around?

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2014 Blogger Challenge


The New Year is a time for resolutions and starting fresh, so why not start with a challenge to kick off the new year! Gaby at AnotherGirlyBlog has come up with the #2014bloggerchallenge. The challenge is to write a blogpost twice a month about different topics. The #2014bloggerchallenge posts will go live during the 1st and the 3rd weeks of each month. Everyone who signs up will be sent an email with the post topics. The topic ideas are there to give you new ideas and encourage you to write about things you wouldn't normally write about. I personally have never taken part in a blog challenge and I'm excited to do so. I think this one will be much better suited to me because I'm only writing a specific post twice a month instead of everyday. 

Anyone can get involved, whatever your blog topic! Whether you write about cooking, beauty, lifestyle or fitness. What's in it for you I hear you ask? Well... If you participate in the #2014BloggerChallenge, you'll get more blog traffic, discover new blogs and make friends with bloggers you probably didn't even know existed! 

All you have to do to get involved is send an email to Gaby at with your blog URL, email address and name so you can be added to the list of participants. 

Surviving a Funeral with a Toddler

I know, many of you are thinking that this is a morbid topic and are wondering why on earth I would be blogging about it. But, I personally think that children should be taken to a funeral, especially if it is a close family member. They are part of the family too and deserve to be there, even if they don't understand what is going on. I also think that children brighten such a sad occasion. Since my grandmother's funeral was this past weekend, I thought I would share some of what worked and what didn't work with an almost three year old and an almost 13 month old.

Making sure Ewan had lots to do was pretty easy. I brought his crayons and several coloring books, plus his new Usborne pirate book. I also found his Leapster Explorer and Jake and the Neverland Pirates game in the basement last week. It was so weird that "Santa" left it at our house just in time to take on a five hour drive...
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One thing we were concerned about was if he would freak out if he saw my grandmother in the casket. We had been telling him that Grandma Pat went to Heaven and that people would be sad because we don't get to see her for a long time. Before they went into the room where her casket was, Alan had told him that she was in Heaven even though he might see her. Other than ask me why I was crying, he wasn't fazed at all. He kept asking about the "guitar" which was my grandmother's violin that was displayed in her casket. But, that's it. There was also an area off to the side where they could play without being in the way of the adults, which definitely helped. He did really well at the church too, playing his Jake game pretty much the entire time.

Finding things to keep Cecily occupied was definitely harder. I brought several toys, one of her dolls and a book. However, I pretty much had to hold her the entire time. She's definitely got separation anxiety and I have to be in her sight at almost all times and/or hold her. She was ok at the funeral home because one of m friends came and brought her son who is the same age so they were able to play together in the little area off to the side. The place I was mainly worried about with her was during the church service because she never sits through a normal Sunday service. However, she fell asleep while I was holding her before the service started and slept almost the entire time. Score! We didn't time it that way, it just kind of happened. Works for me! The only bad thing about that is that she woke up hungry and screamed the entire time at the cemetery and there was nothing I could do. While I have no qualms about nursing her in public and in front of family, I didn't feel that that was an appropriate time.

All in all though, they were very well behaved and I am so thankful for that. What are some things you do to keep your children occupied during quiet events?

Monday, November 18, 2013

10 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Calling All Bloggers!

Free sign up with pay option

Starting December 2, we will have a giveaway starting each day until Dec. 11. ($550 in prizes).

If more sponsors are added, no anything charges will be made, I will just ask you if you want to participate on that specific giveaway.

To get your free link you must post the promotion announcement (co-hosts are not require if you are co-hosting the 10 giveaways), you will have the option to select which giveaways you want to be part of.

Free link Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.  

Here are the pay options:
Co-host for all the giveaways $15.  (you are saving $35)
Include:  2 co-host pages, up to 10 links on the RC (no google links)

Co-host for each giveaway $5.00 (in case you don't want to be a co-host for all the giveaways)
For example you maybe want to co-host only a few giveaways and get free links for the other giveaways!! 

Co-host page $3.00 (Co-host page are only to get more traffic to your blog and will help with your number, no links are included buy you still have the option to get a free link with announcement.

Extra Links $.50 each (up to 4 links) For each giveaway you want  your links to be in.

Please send payment as gift to

The Time I Worked for NASA

I have been dying, and I mean dying, to tell you about the time I worked for NASA. Several months ago, I worked on a project at a NASA research station. I have always had a fascination with astronomy and when I was younger I wanted to be an astrogeologist and the first person and woman on Mars. Unfortunately, this dream ended because I discovered that math and I do not get along as I got older.

However, I still love space and astronomy and when I found out I was going to go to NASA for work, I was so so excited. This is the closest I will get to ever working for NASA and it is by far the coolest site I have ever visited. We got to take a mini tour of some of the facilities during our orientation and it was all I could do not to drool. I count myself so lucky to have been able to see the testing facility in person because not a lot of civilians get to do that (even though it's in the movie The Avengers!).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Travel Thursday: Cape Canaveral

In the summer of 2010 when I was 11 weeks pregnant with Ewan, we took a family vacation to Florida. Since I love space and astronomy, one of the two things I was determined to do was go to Cape Canaveral - the other was ride Space Mountain :-)

I am a space geek so this was a real treat for me and I definitely wasn't going to let my horrible morning sickness spoil it either! We took a tour and of course, I was the one who knew all the answers on the bus :-) We got to see the mission control for the Mercury program, all sorts of spacecraft, the building where the space shuttle was stored and several launchpads, among other things. Let's just say I was a kid in a candy store. 

I always wanted to go to space camp and never got the opportunity. You could say that I was just a little excited to finally visit NASA :-)

Don't forget to enter to win free Usborne Books & More. Only one day left!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What It's Like to be an Introvert

Being in the middle of a crowded room during a meeting and feeling like you're totally alone.

Dreading going anywhere with large crowds because it's exhausting and incredibly frustrating.

Feeling like you're totally unapproachable/unlikeable because you're not constantly loud.

Being polite and waiting your turn to speak only to be cut off by said loud, extroverted people when you do try to say something.

Leaving a meeting as soon as it's over because the awkwardness of hanging out afterwards when no one talks to you is too much.

Getting upset and feeling like there's something wrong with you because it seems like no one makes an effort to speak to you unless they're already your friend.

Yeah, so this was my Tuesday night.

Being an introvert is definitely a hard thing to be in an extroverted world and I wind up feeling like no one cares about me or anything I have to say the majority of the time, even if that's not others intention. It's like people think I don't want to talk or something, which totally isn't the case. Believe me, I will talk your ear off if you give me the chance. It's just that I prefer ONE ON ONE interaction v. group interaction. Little do they know that it's completely uncomfortable and exhausting to start a conversation myself. So, I wind up hoping that one of the extroverts in the room will start one with me, which usually never happens. I can be outgoing, but it requires much more effort and if I'm already tired or stressed, it's definitely not going to happen.

I saw the following myths on a Facebook post awhile back so I thought that I would share some things about introverts. Maybe some extroverts out there will learn a thing or two :-)

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. 

Here is another great post about introverts. 

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$200 to Target

Priscilla "Pat" Ramsey

My grandmother's obituary is in the newspaper today. I told you a little about her on her 90th birthday back in May, but I wanted to expand upon that.

Several years ago now, my uncle had taken her engagement photo from the newspaper and framed it. She had placed that photo on her dresser in a place of honor and I wish I had it to show you. She was beautiful. The above image is a photo of a photo of her with my uncle in the 1940s and it doesn't do her justice.  

My grandmother was an incredibly strong woman. She was a 1950s housewife who was left with three children, the youngest only a few months old, when my grandfather died at the age of 35. My grandmother, at 34, was left to deal with everything, from taking care of the house and kids to the finances. She had worked during World War II - she always told great stories of riding the streetcar to GE - but now had to take on the sole responsibility of caregiver and breadwinner. I don't know how she did it. She never remarried and always said that she loved my grandfather too much. This is something I think about whenever Alan travels.

She loved plants and could make anything grow. When I was little she had a "jungle" in a spare bedroom, complete with a coffee tree she grew from a coffee bean! She also loved music, and was an accomplished violinist in her younger years. These are a few traits I like to say I inherited from her :-)

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't a wreck right now. A few nights ago, we went to a Chinese buffet and Ewan did something that was classic Grandma Pat. Alan made the comment that what he did was a tribute to Grandma Pat and it was all I could do not to burst into tears. While I am very happy for her that she's finally reunited with my grandfather after 56 years, it's still so hard to believe that she's gone, that I'm not going to see her doing frog dives the next time I go to the lake, that she won't be trying to chase Ewan around and that she won't be trying to steal Alan away. I am so thankful I got to spend almost 32 years with her and that my children got to meet her, even if they likely won't remember her.

The last photo I have with her - at her 90th birthday party.

I miss you grandma!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Community Shared Agriculture

A while back I had written a guest post about our CSA for my friend Bekah's blog. Since we had our last CSA pickup this past weekend and because I've been posting recipes using what we've been getting all summer and fall, I thought I would tell you all a little about it. 

This summer we, along with another family, joined a CSA. It's something I have wanted to do for awhile now and I'm so excited we got to finally do it this year. I remember looking several up when we lived in Pennsylvania but we never joined.

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A CSA, or Community Shared Agriculture, is a farm dividing up all its produce among a group of shareholders who share with the farmer the risks and benefits of farming. Each week we get a share of the fruits and vegetables grown at the farm. We've received all sorts of goodies, some of my favorites are broccoli, spinach, strawberries, Sungold tomatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, kohlrabi, green beans and blackberries. We've received many more veggies than this too.

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Our CSA started in mid-May and lasted almost six months! I absolutely love it. Having fresh veggies every week that are locally grown AND Certified Naturally Grown is so awesome. We have more than made up for the cost of our share. Another thing I love about it is that my son gets to experience first hand where his food comes from, something that I think is definitely lacking in this country - and he loves it! Once my daughter is old enough, she will come along too. Another thing I love about it is that it is very family oriented. They have several events throughout the season, such as the garden party, sweet potato dig and shareholder picnic that provide activities to do as a family. While my kids were too young to do anything but the games at the shareholder picnic, they will be able to help in a few years and I cannot wait. Going to the farm every other week to pick up our share has also provided such a sense of community with the other shareholders. We may live all over the city, but it's such a great feeling to go out there and know that it's just people helping people. Again, something I think is lacking in our world. is a great website to find local CSA's. They're expensive, but if you're able to afford it or can split the cost with another family, I highly recommend joining a CSA near you.

Please check out these giveaways currently on the blog:

$25 to Usborne Books & More
$1000 Cash
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$200 to Target

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Usborne Books and a Giveaway!

I received these items for free to review. However, all opinions are my own.

I recently received several Usborne Books from my sister-in-law, Megan, a new homeschooler who also runs her own Usborne Books business. To be honest, when she became a consultant, I had never heard of them before. However, I really had heard of them, I just didn't know it. Alan and I went to a Christmas craft show last year and there was a woman there selling these really cute and educational children's books. Come to find out that they were Usborne! 

Usborne Books & More offers high quality books that are great for all ages, all interests and reading levels, homeschool studies, independent or family reading, gifts and more! 

Here are just a few features of these books:
    • Step-by-step explanations of the "How’s and Why’s".
    • Cutaway illustrations so children can get the inside view.
    • Pages filled with activity - a lot of material to explore on each topic.
    • Straightforward text consistently positioned below each picture simplifying the reading exercise-the use of short sentences encourages the child to read.
While they are primarily children's books, they're also used in college courses. There are over 1400 titles to choose from so there is definitely something for everyone.

I chose a book about pirates for Ewan and one about the zoo for Cecily. Ewan keeps asking to read both his and Cecily's books and hasn't really wanted to put his down since I gave it to him. Ewan is obsessed with pirates and I love that this book doesn't gloss over what pirates are - part of the story talks about how they'll get in trouble if they're found with the treasure! Cecily's book talks about the different animals and parts of the zoo. It asks you to find different things in the pictures, which is engaging and will definitely help with her growing vocabulary.

Megan is graciously offering one of my readers a $25 credit to her online store. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Good luck!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Being that it's November, I thought I would write about something I am thankful for: the opportunity to see my grandmother one last time.

See, my grandmother is not doing well and I received a phone call earlier in the week that I needed to get up there ASAP because she probably wouldn't make it through the week or even that day. While she has made it through the week, I will be surprised if she makes it to Christmas, which was supposed to be the next time I was in town. So, I'm extremely thankful I was able to get up there for a few hours, even if it meant only three hours of sleep and leaving at 4AM to get back to work.

Not everyone gets the chance to see a loved one one last time and say goodbye. My cousins didn't, unfortunately they are too far away or were unable to get up there. A coworker told me that he regrets that he was never able to say goodbye to his grandfather and I know I am lucky.

ETA: My grandma passed away early this morning. I will always be thankful for this one last opportunity.

Travel Thursday: Lake Lure

Before Cecily was born the day after our wedding anniversary, Alan and I used to take long weekend trips to celebrate it. The last trip we took was to the Lake Lure area of North Carolina, about an hour outside of Asheville. 

We stayed at the resort where Dirty Dancing was filmed and I'm pretty sure I recognized several locations from the movie. It was my favorite movie when I was five, afterall. We did explore the area some, but we used our condo as our base to explore numerous places during our trip. 

We went to Grandfather Mountain, where we were going to cross an extremely high pedestrian suspension bridge. However, it looked like this when we got to the top of the mountain.

It was snowing, cold and ridiculously windy and there was no way I was crossing that thing! We decided to head back to Lake Lure and explore several of the little towns in the area and climbed Chimney Rock instead, where it looked like this on the same day.

We took a day to explore Asheville since it was on my list of places to visit. We did this art trail, where you found various sculptures that told you the history of the city.

We also spent a day at Biltmore, which was the highlight of my trip. We studied the architect who designed the house in grad school and it has been a place I had wanted to see ever since.

 We decided to take a tour and explored the gardens afterward. One of my favorite things about houses like these is the gardens. They so remind me of Europe!

To be honest, I wasn't that big of a fan of Asheville. It felt like it was too trendy and trying way too hard. As Alan said, we felt out of place because we weren't standing on a street corner trying to perform. I'm glad I went, but it's not somewhere I would necessarily want to visit again. However, the Lake Lure area is beautiful and I would love to go back!
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