About Me

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I love being a mom and a wife. I've married to a man I would do anything for, and we have three beautiful children. I see so much of myself in both of them that it sometimes brings me to tears (happy ones).

I also love writing. Romance to be specific. I love the happily ever after that I believe everyone deserves. My stories aren't 'stop and smell the roses' type romances. While I believe everyone deserves happiness and true love, I know that sometimes you have to walk a hard road to find it. Those are the types of stories I like to write. The happily ever after that wasn't found, but earned. I work to earn mine on a daily basis and so do my characters. 

I am also working on a children's picture book series. Inspired (of course) by my kiddos. :)

On the non-writing front, I play acoustic guitar, sing, read like I get paid for it, ride horses, hike, paint rocks, and support a rather obsessive addiction to Pinterest.

I love to cook, which combined with my pinning addiction, leads to many experiments foisted on my unsuspecting husband and kids, mostly with good results. But sometimes, the dogs gets what the family refuses to eat. And they never complain. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Explanation for the Silence - Personal Anecdotes - November 10, 2014

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted on my blog, or any of my author pages for that matter. And I do have a good reason. Well actually, about 50 good reasons. The last two months on the home front have been CRAZY. Yes, that's all capital letters. Because it's been that crazy here!

My next novel is 'supposed' to be released at the beginning of January. The use of quotations here may suggest that the release date is up in the air. And you'd be right. Thanks to my previously mentioned crazy few months, I'm way behind on formatting and final tweaking. So it may be pushed back a few weeks or so. Once I get past the remainder of crazy this weekend, I'll have a lot more time to concentrate on my book!

Stay tuned next week for a sneak peek of said book, as a reward for listening to me ramble on about why my life has been so crazy lately. ;)

So to start off, we added a new pet to our household a few months ago. A 6 month old green iguana which we named Iggy. He's going to get huge (he's grown 4 inches since we brought him home) so we decided to build him a custom habitat. These babies go for thousands online (which we definitely can't afford) so, since I'm a creative thinker and my hubby is a handy-man, we opted to make our own. I got an entertainment center for $15, bought a couple hundred $'s worth of material and we went to work. So what started out as this:

Turned into this: 

Which Iggy absolutely loves. :)

As if that project wasn't enough to do, Halloween was coming up and we LOVE dressing up for that in this house. Last year, all four of us went as the Duck Dynasty family, which was super fun. This year, my 10 year old son, fresh off the Transformers: Age of Extinction kick, decided he wanted to be either Bumblebee or Optimus Prime for Halloween. Sure, why not? Until I looked at said costumes in the Halloween section and was disappointed by both the overall crapiness of said costumes and outrageous prices. This is when the crazy gene seemed to come out of the closet. I told him I would MAKE his costume. Ugh.

Needless to say, we quickly decided on Optimus Prime, as he's the more boxy transformer and would be easier to duplicate with cardboard and colored foam sheets. My son also decided to go with a more 'traditional' and less Michael Bay Optimus, which made my job slightly easier. I started his costume a month before Halloween and managed to finish it the day before. No joke. It was a beast. Unfortunately, my talents stopped at getting it to transform from robot to truck, but I tried to make up for the lack of creative skills with making a really awesome robot costume. I think I succeeded, though I'm pretty damn sure I'm tooting my own horn. ;)

Not so bad, right? Well my 6-year-old daughter, not to be out-done, decides (like every other child this year) to be Elsa from Frozen. Another easy break, since she, as a frozen fanatic, already had the dress. Thank God. But she insisted that she needed a wig since her blonde hair (that's perfectly long enough to braid) isn't white, and it needed to be in order to pull of the costume. Fine. So I made her a wig out of yarn. Then, since the temperatures were supposed to be in the mid-thirties, I went ahead and dressed up some mittens for her. And just for fun, added some snowflakes to her shoes and tiara. 

The result was a Halloween that both my kids thoroughly enjoyed. But that did not end my bout with epic-craziness. Oh no. It only got worse.

My daughter turns 7 on November 15 and as is customary in this house, we start deciding what she wanted to do for her birthday a few weeks before Halloween. Traditionally, our kids get the choice of having a party with all their friends and classmates, or going somewhere cool (like St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, etc) with a friend. This year, my daughter decided on a party, with EVERYBODY she knows. Fine. I can handle planning that while making an epic Optimus Prime Halloween costume. Insert epic eye roll here. 

At first, she wanted a Green Bay Packers party. Which my husband and I were pretty stoked about since we're HUGE Green Bay fans. And I'm thinking in the back of my mind, that a football party won't be that popular with a majority of her friends so maybe not too many people will show up. I really was thinking that until ABC aired Harry Potter week. Of course they would air the entire series leading up to Halloween and of course, my children would watch it and fall in love instantly. My easy party dreams just went up in flames like a certain Phoenix named Fawkes. 

My youngest child now wants a Harry Potter party. Which I know, immediately, is going to involve some of the most detailed and over-the-top planning I've ever done. Why? Because mommy just so happens to adore Harry Potter. The books, the movies. All of it. And mommy is secretly just as excited about having a HP party as her child. 

So while still working on Halloween costumes, I began the planning and creating of what I hope will my my daughter's most awesome birthday. It begins with the invitations. Which the nerd in me went completely over-board with. I think I sent the invites before really starting anything else. Just so I would have no choice but to stick it out in case I got cold feet halfway through. Which I did. Multiple times.

Of course, they had to have owl stickers so they'd look like they were delivered by owl post.
Then they had to have to exact 'address' of her classmates.
Then they had to have wax seals.
Then I had to super-nerd the invites so they sounded like actual Hogwarts acceptance letters.
Of course I did.

My daughter even insisted on wearing an owl shirt to school the day she passed out the invitations. And I couldn't have been prouder.

Next came the details. 

House ties for each child:

 Painting the wall of Platform 9 3/4 that they have to walk through to get into the wizarding world.

Hand-drawing the name tags (in Harry Potter font, of course) for their treat bag cauldrons because even though I'm a giant nerd, I couldn't figure out how to fit labels in my printer.

Then hand-drawing the signs for all the shops they'll visit to get all their goodies. 

From Olivanders, they'll get their own wand, which I will describe in more detail below. From Eeylops, they'll get their own owl. From Potage's they'll get a cauldron that will serve as their goody bag. From Madam Malkin's they'll get a robe with a name tag and Hogwarts crest (which also took me days to make each one). From the 3 Broomsticks they can refresh themselves with Butterbeer, Polyjuice Potion and Hagrid's Hot Grog. Then from Honeydukes they get to choose from a variety of wizarding candies including edible wands, chocolate frogs, ton tongue taffy, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, etc.

Making potions labels and vials for their potions class. My science teacher mom has graciously agreed to be the 'professor' for this class and the kids will actually be making different 'potions'. 

I was also going to make floating candles to hang from the ceiling but since it's going to be enough stuff to set up already the day of the party, I nixed the idea and went with tabletop candles instead. Due to the number of young kids that will most likely be running around with a sugar high, I also nixed the real candle idea. And I didn't want to buy the cheap looking battery operated pillar candles. So I got the cheap tea-light ones and made various sized pillars to put them in out of paper towel and toilet paper rolls and some more hot glue. I still haven't finished painting them but I still have five days. :)

 And then there's the wands. 25 kids and they all get a one, and each one is completely unique. The entire process took DAYS to finish. The plan is to have them try a few out and then 'magically' turn on some twinkling Christmas lights when the wand 'picks them'.
I used dowel rods, a crap-ton of hot glue, and some different paints. Then labeled each one with wood type, core type, and length. For me these were the coolest thing to make. :)

(Notice the Optimus Prime painted cardboard? From one project to the next!)
(My daughter spotted a look-alike elder wand out of all these the minute I showed her.)

Along with all this craziness, I'll be making custom-made wizard trading cards for the chocolate frogs. I've also got a dementor (black cheesecloth and plastic skull) to hang from the ceiling and a Christmas light stag that will turn on when they correctly perform the Patronus Charm to scare away the dementor. 
Yeah baby. 
Plus some fishing line and a feather for their charms class where they'll learn to levitate objects with wingardium leviosa
Double yeah. 
I also went more crazy and bought a replica sorting hat that via baby monitor, will sort all the kids into houses. All my volunteer professors have capes and witch hats to wear as well. 

I expect I might have to sleep for a week after this party as I'm posting this on Monday and the party is this Saturday and I'm still not done getting everything ready. But I have faith it'll turn out amazing and will be posting pictures to prove it after the party, and after I recover. ;)

So that's what's been going on the last few months that has kept me away from social media. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things next week and get to work so I won't have to delay the book release. :)