The Seasons of Depression

An old cherry tree sits just outside my bedroom window. For several seasons I’ve watched it blossom to life—ripening with evergreen and fruit. I’ve also witnessed that life slowly drifting away in the cool autumn breeze. As the branches empty one by one, I sit and gaze without expression. Each leaf that falls reminds me of a ten-year-old girl buried deep in a closet, hiding behind bags of old clothes. Ashamed of the tears, she desperately tries to hide her Read more

How to Survive Walmart in Five Easy Steps

Walmart is a scary place. It’s like the convergence of Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompa Land with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all rolled up into a gigantic chocolate-covered meatball. Most of us could trade horror stories about trips to this Prozac-riddled fun park—one of the only places in the world where you can buy guns and ammo, knives and swords, and toys and groceries, yet have to be 18 or older (with a valid ID) to buy Wite-Out. Read more

Dear Toddler, Screw Your Tantrums

Dear Toddler, I woke up this morning with every intention of having a great day. Outside the window, playful little birds bounced through the trees. Mother Nature gleefully peeked her yellow face from behind the clouds. The new coffee I purchased tasted like paradise in a cup. I was so in love, I tried finding the number for the grower in Antigua so I could properly thank him. A day like this … how could anything go wrong? And then you Read more

I’m a Closet Pooper

I have a huge confession to make. I can’t poop when anyone is around. For some reason, I completely freeze up and my shooter shuts down. I call it the emergency shit switch. It’s like a catastrophic event when I need to poop and there are people nearby. The switch gets flipped and shit just stops. Literally. My husband, on the other hand, has an open door policy when using the bathroom. It’s like he needs morale support when taking Read more

Cinnamon-Schnapps-Spiked Candy Apples; A Devilish Treat

Posted on by Crystal in Gram's Recipe Tin | 2 Comments

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Planning an adults-only Halloween party? If so, consider spicing things up with these Cinnamon-Schnapps-Spiked Candy Apples! Skip the caramel and go for a devilish treat that can be paired with shots of cinnamon schnapps or red hot candies! Read more

Are You Kidding Me? (Book Review)

Posted on by Crystal in Book Reviews | 1 Comment

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Have a crazy family? Is life loud and out of control? Stacey Gustafson makes all that feel normal in her new book Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives–a great read for moms, grandmoms, middle-aged men, newlyweds, and everyone in between. Her humor should be a currency, because we’d all be richer. There’s a laugh with every turn of a page. So get prepared with a big box of Kleenex! I’m highly recommending this book. Here’s why: Read more

Stress-Busting Tips When Balancing Work and Family

Posted on by Crystal in Kids, Motherhood | 5 Comments

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Working mothers are more stressed and spend more time multitasking at home than working dads, according to a study in the American Sociological Review. A survey by Pew Research reported 41 percent of moms who work full time and 40 percent of those working part time said they constantly feel rushed. But moms don’t need a survey to tell you that you’re feeling stretched thin without much left to give at the end of the day. There are ways to carve out some time and indulgence just for you. After all, a happy mom makes for a happy household. Read more

Easy Candy Corn Cake Pops

Posted on by Crystal in Gram's Recipe Tin | 3 Comments

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Since childhood, I’ve had a love affair with candy corn! It’s my little bit of heaven on earth. Many of my friends and family, however, would rather eat raw liver than put a piece of this sweet treat in their mouths. Whether you like the taste and texture or not, there’s no denying that candy corn is a quintessential part of every Halloween. So get ready to jazz up your holiday with these Easy Candy Corn Cake Pops! There’s very little baking required, since all you need is a box cake, can of prepared frosting, and several colors of candy coating. Read more

Give Your Children the Online Tools They Need to Succeed

Posted on by Crystal in Kids | Leave a comment

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Every child is different. Each thinks differently, learns differently, and applies knowledge differently. Educators understand this but, because of budget cuts and the varied abilities of teachers, they need to teach as if every child is the same. For good or bad, the new Common Core Standards have placed the learning ability of children and the teaching skill of parents under a microscope. The good news is we do not have to teach our kids alone. Numerous online resources can help children become academically successful, no matter how gifted they are. Read more

My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends (Book Review)

Posted on by Crystal in Book Reviews | 3 Comments

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Some of the greatest memories I have stem from my childhood, which was rich in adventure and friendship. My best friend lived five minutes up the road, just a quick bicycle trip away. She was a year older and as beautiful as anything I’d ever seen. Together we shared moments that are now treasured memories: me peeing my pants a mile away from home while sledding and in full snow gear; outrunning a fierce bull who eventually won (the three-inch scar on my calf, no pun intended, is proof); and entering beauty pageants only to find out we often didn’t have the right stuff (or cute enough shoes). Read more

Clash of the Couples Cover Reveal

Posted on by Crystal in Book Reviews | 11 Comments

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A year ago, I published the parenting bestseller The Mother of All Meltdowns with some fellow lady bloggers. I had such a great time, I’m doing it all over again! This time around I’m tackling relationship meltdowns in the upcoming anthology Clash of the Couples: A Humorous Collection of Completely Absurd Lovers’ Squabbles and Relationship Spats. Here’s more: Read more

Book Review: The Power of the Heart

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I recently had the pleasure of reading Baptist de Pape’s forthcoming book The Power of the Heart. From the very first page, I was captivated and pulled in to a spiritual awakening. The Power of the Heart shows how you can overcome limitations in your daily life to find your true potential–and reveals the heart to be a source of love and wisdom that far surpasses that of the mind. The book includes wisdom and advice from eighteen of the world’s greatest spiritual thinkers including the late Maya Angelou, Paulo Coelho, Jane Goodall, Michael Beckwith, and Deepak Chopra. On a quest to find out the true power the heart holds, de Pape traveled around the world to interview these incredible thinkers. They each shared personal stories and profound insights, co-creating a masterful book. Read more

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