April 23, 2015

Branching Out Our Taste Buds

One day back in late February, I was out grocery shopping with the girls and bemoaning the fact our local Aldi had once again run out of gluten free bread. A woman overheard us talking and told us about a new store getting ready to open just up the road called Sprouts purportedly like a lower cost Earth Fare or Whole Foods. Of course I had to go home and look it up.

Inside Sprouts from their website. Not a sponsored post, just an excited mama.

A few weeks later this new Sprouts Market opened. We weren't there at the opening itself, but it didn't take us long to go check it out.

April 16, 2015

Finding Balance Yet Again

There's been a lot of chatter in women's blogs and magazines about establishing a work/life balance over the past several years. Funny how most of those articles and discussions make it seem like something you set up and that just keeps on going on its own. Yet it always seems I'm having to take stock of what's going on in our lives and striving to find a way to "balance" it out every few months. Am I alone in this?

We've come a long way since 2012!
Perhaps it's simply a matter of the type of jobs Hubby and I have. Upheaval's to be expected for a teacher without tenure, owning a small business, and a failed attempt at career change. Somehow I doubt that's it though. Even when Hubby stuck with the same school for several years in a row and I was simply staying home and schooling our then preschoolers, this was going on.

February 20, 2015

Reorienting in Coping with Dyslexia

I came across this photo making the rounds on Facebook today. It sparked a bit of nostalgia in me.

Yet another Facebook, "If you can read this," meme.
Learning to read backwards and upside down is how I learned to reorient letters. I seriously thought everyone could do it until I asked a coworker about something on a sign posted outside our window, and they responded by questioning how I could read the sign. It was only five years ago, when Hubby was taking the Ortton-Gillingham training that I learned it was one of the earliest methods of helping children with dyslexia learn how to reorient letters. Unfortunately, it's also a method that's effective for just 5% of those dealing with dyslexia, and while I might be part of that percentage, the girls aren't.

January 29, 2015

When Perfectionism Threatens Progress

Long time readers might recall our frustrations over Sneak's perfectionism, manifesting as early as eighteen months when she refused to speak until her annunciation was up to her standards. Before then, I'd always assumed it was a learned trait, but recently Boo Bear has been showing more and more signs of the perfectionism monster stalking her. So, I've begun to wonder if there isn't some genetic component. Lord knows I've been fighting perfectionism as long as I can remember, as have the majority of the women in my family.

There's this perception that perfectionism is a motivating force that drives people forward through thick and thin until they get everything just right. It's not. At its root, perfectionism is a paralytic. Either the fear of failure keeps the person from ever starting in the first place, or they try, get something wrong or off, and then get so obsessed with that fact they never move forward or try again. "If I can't get it right, why should I even try?" is a common question asked by perfectionists.

Because of this, it can be a homeschooler's worst nightmare.

January 14, 2015

Random Thoughts from the First of the Year

2015 has been another year started miserably sick, so I've had a lot of time to think while waiting in doctor's offices and curled up in bed waiting on medicines to kick in. Mostly I just kind of stared at the wall and fantasied about installing release valves in my sinuses, but I also found myself musing on a few things.

Of course, a lot of thinking on the world the Icarus trilogy was done. I won't go into much of it here, but tidbits might end up being mentioned in the world building lessons coming up on the other blog. I'm not sure though as I haven't starting writing Monday's lesson just yet.

January 3, 2015


I've done a bit of updating here on the blog this morning. It's nothing major, but the start of a new year is a good time for sprucing up, don't you think?

First I added a status bar for my current works-in-progress. It's over on the right between my other web links and the topic labels. I doubt I will have time to update it every day as I continue drafting Icarus, but I plan to update at least every Saturday morning. It's kind of depressing at the moment, but I'm just getting started.

When I clicked back onto the blog to look over that addition, I realized I had some defunct links. So I went back and deleted those as well as added a link to the author's website I set up last month. I've started another blog over there just for writing topics, and I'm beginning a free creative writing course over there on Monday too. Go check it out.

Like I said, it's nothing major, just a little sprucing up for the new year.

What have you been doing the last couple of days to kick off 2015?

December 31, 2014

2015 Resolutions

Once again, we're at the end of a year and looking forward to a brand new shiny one. Time to think about what changes we want to make.

I'm going to stay away from the long lists and health related resolutions this year. I always end up depressing myself by the middle of February with those anyway. I'm going to keep it short and sweet for 2015.

1. Write for at least thirty minutes every morning.

"Write every day," is a bit of good writing advice you see all over the place. It's something I've tried and failed to start doing time and again, and I've come to believe my reason for failing is because I've never set a specific time aside for it. So that's what I'm doing this year.

I'm a person who peaks in the late morning and afternoon, so if I had my druthers, that's when I'd pick for my writing time. Unfortunately, my late mornings and afternoons are taken six days out of seven, so the half hour or so I've been using to check various social media and have my morning coffee will have to do. It'll probably be like pulling teeth the first week or two, but I figure slow and steady is better than the hit or miss thing I've had going on the past several years.

Some days this might mean writing a few blog posts and scheduling them out, but most days, I'll probably be working on my current works in progress. I'm hoping to start releasing a novel once a year, starting with The Icarus Project sometime in late 2015 and then returning to the Yekara series with Midnight Rising in 2016. Then alternating between the Icarus trilogy and the Yekara series as time goes on.

2. Stick to the cleaning schedule.

I'm a very neat and organized person who lacks in the follow through department. Or well, lacking in energy a lot of times, would probably be more accurate. I do well enough the days I'm off or work-from-home. However, the days I go into the office, I have a bad habit of just crashing once I come back through the door.

I wrote up a workable housekeeping schedule for our family to follow, but we never gave it a go after Hubby's school year started. We're going to try to stick to it going forward in 2015. I figure it might take us a while to get everything back in order following the holiday chaos, but we'll get there eventually. The trick will be sticking with the schedule and not becoming complacent when we get back to just maintaining the house in it's clean state.

That's it. I just have two measly little resolutions this year, but sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact.

What are your resolutions for 2015?

December 3, 2014

Annual Christmas Sale

If you missed the annual Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale, don't feel bad. There are still some great deals to be found in my annual Christmas sale.
Open House Set Up 2014
Set up for the open house Friday.
Yes, the discounts might not be as high on some items, but everything in the store is still anywhere from 10-75% off now through December 12. I always end the sale on that date to ensure everyone who orders receives their packages before the holiday.

November 18, 2014

Fragrance Introduction: Eclectic and Intuitive

I don't normally introduce new fragrances this time of year, but I'm going to make an exception for these two. Once again, I've had the wonderful opportunity of working with an author to create fragrances and soaps inspired by their characters. In this instance, two characters from Ellie Collin's upcoming Empire Valley series.

First up is Intuitive, a light, fresh, and slightly sweet blend of abalone, sea, coffee, coconut, lavender, and chocolate. It was inspired by the main protagonist, Sophia.

Empire Valley by Ellie Collins licensed soaps
Intuitive Glycerin Soaps

November 6, 2014

Fall Show Review

These past couple of weeks have been busy ones. The last two-thirds of our fall show season happened back-to-back, so there wasn't time really to comment on each of them in turn.

First we had Rocket City NerdCon in Huntsville on October 24-25. It was a first year event, so we weren't sure what exactly to expect. However, we thought chances were good it might be a fairly laid back affair, so we decided it would be a good convention to be the girls' first.

The girls were proud of their homemade costumes.

Both girls wanted to cosplay, especially since it was the week before Halloween. I, of course, waited far too long to get started on their costumes. I'd never made a full costume before, let alone two, so I was probably procrastinating out of subconscious fear. Anyway, with two full days of intensive sewing, their Batgirl and Supergirl costumes got done about 9:30 Thursday night.

Friday was eventful and interesting because neither Hubby nor I were able to get the day off work, and the convention started just half an hour after I usually get off work. Thankfully, the Huntsville City Library is just a block or so from the station and basically across the road from where Hubby works. We got set up just in time to catch our breath before attendees started coming in.

Saturday was also a learning experience. As I said before, we'd never carried our girls to a convention before, so we ended up overestimating how engaged they would be by it all. Although they liked seeing the costumes and looking at everything, they got bored fairly quickly. It probably didn't help that between the excitement of spending the night at Granny D's and knowing they were going to get to go somewhere special the next day, neither girl slept much the night before. So, we had two sleepy girls on our hands well before lunch.

Still, we all enjoyed the show overall, and it went well for a first year event.

This past weekend was our third year at Hilltop Arts Festival.

A cold front came through the night before, so it was bitterly cold and windy early Saturday morning when we were setting up. Still, the girls had gotten a good night's sleep, or so I thought, and I'd gotten everyone hats and gloves the night before. So, we thought nothing of taking the girls with us.

We got there and began setting up. The girls ran up and down a small hill behind where we were setting up our tent to keep warm and busy. Hubby and I got the tent up with a lot less fuss than the year before, which considering we only use the thing once a year, is pretty good. We probably should have taken it as a sign to just take it back down when it tried to blow away three times in the process of trying to get it weighted down.

Anyway, we got the tent set up, and I was setting up the tables when the girls really started complaining about being cold. So Hubby took them home to get some blankets while I finished setting up the tables. I was done and had made a partial round to see the other venders when they returned. They got cuddled up under their blankets, and things seemed fine for a bit until the wind started picking up as the air warmed a few degrees. It was strong enough that Hubby and I were still obliged to hold onto the tent, even with center blocks weighting the tent down. This frightened Boo Bear so badly, she began crying in a panic.

Eventually we ended up calling Granny D to come get the girls, and then Hubby and I took the tent down once the wind died down enough for us to attempt it. That made things feel a tad warmer with access to direct sun, and we didn't have to sprint to grab the tent every few minutes.

Like NerdCon the week before, business was slow but steady throughout the day. We heard some great music, ate some good food, and met some very nice people.

I'm not entirely sure if we will be vending at Hilltop again next year, but I'm sure we'll go. It has nothing to do with the show itself. It's a wonderful event. But, the weather seems to be getting colder earlier each year these past three or four years, and other festivals in the area make moving the event date impractical.

I discovered Saturday night and in through Sunday evening, that I can't handle being in the cold for that long. A soak in hot water and some "Ow, My Aching Everything," relieved much of the aches and pains from the day, but the bones themselves in my hips, legs, and feet ached throughout the night. And those are areas I usually don't feel RA related pain!

Of course, this may change with continued treatment. It's possible my rheumatoid disease isn't as in remission as I thought, and it's just going to take longer adhering to the anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, and judicious use of medicines when needed to heal. I don't want to make any firm decisions until I know more.