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Why You Should Leave Your DSLR Behind

Why You Should Leave Your DSLR Behind -- When does photography go from capturing memories to interfering with the making of memories? |Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

A little while back we posed the question: “Are photos ruining our memories?” Well, actually we repeated the question that The New York Times asked, but the main point is, it got us How Photos Are Ruining Our Memoriesthinking about our parenting since we use our DSLRs like they are extensions of our arms.

Yes, we questioned our parenting, not our photography. How often were we actually ruining/staging/falsifying the moment by whipping out our DSLR to “capture” a memory. Were we actually performing a noble memory keeping service for our families or were we stifling memories to death like fireflies left too long in a jar?

These thoughts and more inspired a very interesting podcast if we do say so ourselves. You can see–and listen to–what we mean here.

At the end of that podcast, we asked, “Would you be able to limit your shutterbug impulses?”

Ellen: And I could not stop thinking about that question. So much so that a week before my husband and I were set to take our daughters to Paris, I decided I didn’t want the intrusion of my large camera. My reasoning was this: if I wanted an awesome picture of the Eiffel Tower, it was available online.

Erin: But it wouldn’t be YOUR picture of the Eiffel Tower!

Ellen: Oh wait. I didn’t say I didn’t take any pictures. I am pretty sure I could never be THAT kooky.

Erin: Yeah, “kooky” and “Ellen” are generally not uttered in the same sentence.

Ellen: I knew I wanted something other than my cellphone because I did not want to drain its battery during a full day of sightseeing. I needed it for other things. So I just logged onto Amazon and found a fit-in-my-hand point-and-shoot that had good reviews and a price tag close to $200. You can check out what I chose here.

Sony camera Cybershot

Ellen: I asked myself: did I seriously need every picture crisp enough to blow up to billboard size? Was it worth it to stop the fun to awkwardly pull out my Nikon or to kill my neck to always have it at the ready?  The answers were no, no, and no; because if I’m totally honest, most of my pictures live on my computer and my trusty external hard drive anyway.

And in the interest of full disclosure, once I got my camera, I actually tested out the zoom and low light capabilities with some photos that I actually printed out. (The first ones in about a year.) I had to know! I had to be sure!

Sample Sony DSC-WX350 Pictures

The hydrangeas were taken with zoom from across the street, the flag was on top of Walmart (enlarged to 8×10 size), and the picture of my daughter was taken in low light with no flash.

Erin: I totally get it. Pictures are important. They are far better souvenirs than t-shirts and novelty spoons.

Ellen: Although they may not be better than this apron purchased after a bottle of wine at lunch.

Paris Apron

Erin: That is hard to top.

Ellen: But back on topic, I did not give up the performance of my DSLR without A LOT of anxiety and research because it felt like I was picking the class clown over the valedictorian.

Erin:  This right here is a case study of the yin and yang of Ellen and Erin. While Ellen did research and made a conscious choice to leave her DSLR behind, I FORGOT mine on the way to our annual beach cottage vacation on the shore of the Potomac with our dear friends from Maine.

Our 14-year tradition is replete with a whole slew of little traditions like jumping from docks, double dessert dares, and the special photographs we take of the kids each year to document their growing up. Photographs just like this one.

Photographs are traditions too, but do we really need our DSLRs when it's time to enjoy our vacation? Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

One of our classics is the kids on the dock at sunset. This is only five years ago but my heart can barely take it. Look at these babies! Two of them are actually headed to the same college in the fall.

Ellen: Because of course, you are the de facto photographer for this vacation? As you always are.

Erin: I gladly do the job because I enjoy it, but apparently my forty-three-year-old brain decided I needed a break.

Ellen: Yeah, that is a more gentile explanation than saying your mind has been a spazzy mess because your oldest is going away to college. But since I’m a good friend, I won’t point that out.

Erin: You really are swell. Well, me being me, it was halfway through our four hour drive to the cottage when my mind’s eye woke-up and screamed, “YOU LEFT YOUR DSLR ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER!”

Ellen: You should fire your mind’s eye. It is neither timely nor helpful.

Erin: I seriously considered turning the ship around and heading back for it. And by seriously, I mean that I asked my husband, Steve, if it was crazy. More than once.

Ellen: I am guessing the answer was you were a bat guano brand of crazy?

Erin: I could not convince anyone that turning a four hour drive into an eight hour one was a good idea in any way, shape, or form. I had to make peace with using the camera on my phone and that would be that.

Ellen: So how did it go? Did the world stop spinning on its axis?

Erin: Surprisingly, no. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t miss my awesome zoom lens a couple of times, but the truth is that changing how I was going to take the pictures changed more than just the pictures. Using my phone gave me the freedom to step out from behind the lens more. It turns out that a camera around my neck was an albatross of sorts interfering with my ability to fully commit to the chill, hanging-out vacation vibe I so like to cultivate. I jumped off the dock a lot more instead of just documenting the jumpers: the observer became the doer. In short, clicking less meant I played more.

Ellen: I felt the same way in Paris! No stopping the scene to get the picture. With my little Sony Cybershot tucked neatly in my hand, I was able to capture moments, not just photographs.

Smiling in Provins

And it was easier to capture the cheesy tourist shots my kids wanted. I don’t think there was one groan about mom and her camera. A first for our family!

Classic Paris Tourist  Photography Shots | Perspective Travel Photography Tricks | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Erin: Speaking of firsts, this was probably the first time I came home with less than 300 pictures, but rest assured, no traditions were broken. We still had our special shots . . .

Photos are great vacation souvenirs, but do you really need a DSLR to capture them? Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The only thing missing in this photo is my oldest son, but even my Nikon couldn’t arrange the time off for him this time.

And we never lost the sense of fun and silliness that characterizes our brief but special time together.

Vacation memories like this Modern Day Ariel are worth a thousand words but are they really worth a DSLR? Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

We call this one “Modern Day Ariel”. Totally nailed it, right?

Truth? I missed my Nikon less and less each day. Our fun and funny memories were still happening and I was still finding a way to save them for us. The big bonus? I found a way to savor the fun a little more in real time without sacrificing our ability to treasure them for the next fourteen years.

Ellen: Ah! But I do have one more confession. Full disclosure is the sensible way. I was too chicken to leave my DSLR completely behind in the United States. I lugged it overseas, but only took it out on our Sacré Coeur day. I figured if I needed a photo to paper a wall in my family room, I would be able to have at least a couple to choose from.

Sacre Coeur

Erin: Ha! That’s assuming you would ever print a photo out.

Ellen: It could happen.

So what do you use to take most of your photos?

-Ellen and Erin


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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”


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The Secret Oasis in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

My family loves Disney World. When we go, it’s the Park Hopper ticket all the way because we have our favorites at each and every park. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s Expedition Everest. I mean c’mon, it’s a story, it’s a show, it’s an awesome roller coaster that reverses its direction and sends you spiraling backwards through the dark.

We also love Dinosaur, or at least my husband and I do. Our girls, even though they’re in their teens, still claim we scarred them for life by taking them on it when they were little tykes after my husband convinced them it was just like the Finding Nemo ride. So what if it’s entirely in the dark, you’re threatened by meteoric destruction, and a T-Rex steams you with his breath? Save your money on therapists, Girls, if this is your biggest complaint.

This text actually happened.

This text actually happened. I already knew she was scarred for life, I just couldn’t remember the name of the ride.


Then there is the Kilimanjaro Safari. Not only does it always have animals you can see, it has a pretty intense story line about poachers, too. Any zoo can give you animals, but Disney gives you your hippos with a side of drama.

And then . . . we need a break since we have now trekked to all the far reaches of the park. And we found that break two trips ago at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, located in Asia near the Safari exit.

The Secret Oasis in Animal Kingdom | Travel and Disney World | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

It’s the negatives that make Rafiki’s Planet Watch special. Really.

  1. No crowds.
  2. No lines.
  3. No over-stimulation.

In a way, I hate to even tell you about because it is such a welcomed, peaceful respite mainly because it is so overlooked. Heck, we passed it over our first two trips when our kids were the smallest and we needed it the most. But apparently what I call peaceful, other people call boring. Puh-tay-toe, puh-tah-toe? Um, no. Those people’s brains have been melted by their smartphones. Don’t be those people.

Basically, you are devoting forty-five minutes to an hour to slowing down the pace and never having to say “C’mon, let’s go,” but still getting a fair dose of Disney magic. One thing though, if you’re hungry, grab something before you start. While there is a gift shop (of course), there aren’t many food choices beyond very light snacks.

It’s a lovely, short walk past lush vegetation to the very cool Harambe Train Station.

Ahhhhhh. Shade.

Ahhhhhh. Shade.

Of course the station and train are cool. It's Disney World.

Of course the station and train are cool. It’s Disney World.


It’s about a five minute ride to Conservation Station. Along the way, the conductor points out some of the sights. You actually see behind the scenes for the Safari where the animals are brought to rest. We have always been able to see animals, but pay attention now because you take a different route back.

Once you pull into the station, there is another lovely, yet slightly longer walk to get to the actual Conservation Station. But it doesn’t matter because it has all kinds of fun things along the way, including a Rafiki photo op.

He's all mine.

He’s all mine.

There are usually Cotton Top Tamarin Monkeys along the way, but their exhibit was being refurbished during our last visit.

There are usually Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys too, but their exhibit was being refurbished during our last visit.


It’s a discovery trail. Now is the time to meander and relax. Let the kids look at the displays and the backyard habitats. They can pick up a leaf without getting trampled. You’ll get to Conservation Station soon enough. Remember, you committed to slowing down for an hour. The hustle and bustle of Animal Kingdom will still be there when you get back. Promise.

There is a cool mosaic on the ground, but you'll just have to take my word and visit to get a better look at it.

There is a cool mosaic on the ground, but you’ll just have to visit to get a better look at it.


Once you enter, the murals are hugely fantastic and they provide a little sumthin’, sumthin’ for the Type A personalities in your group who NEED activities with goals. The artwork is positively dripping with Hidden Mickeys. I, for one, like to find them on my own. Maps are for cheaters, unless your thing is using the Hidden Mickey maps, then it’s totally cool. I am into clues though, so I’ll leave you with this, look in the eyeballs.

The murals start from the entrance and wrap all around.

The murals start from the entrance and wrap all around.


But the best part? AIR CONDITIONING! Sweet, blessed cool air. In a wide open space no less, with nary a thing to purchase in sight. You can set the little ones free from the strollers and let them stretch their legs.

Conservation Station Wide Open Spaces

Yeah, I just realized the irony of highlighting air conditioning in a conservation station, but it is Florida.

Inside there are sound booths, short nature films, and large animal cutouts. Live-feed video monitors that you can control let you observe animals in their enclosures. There is also a great reflecting pool where a preschooler (or a teen) can be occupied with a stack of pennies trying to float the coins into the animals eyes.

Bring those pennies, the money gets donated.

Bring those pennies. The money gets donated to Disney’s Conservation Fund.


Another unique feature is the research and care facilities located along the back wall. You can see vets and researchers actually working. One highlight is the veterinary treatment room. Animals are often given their yearly check-ups in the morning and you can watch it happen.

What a fun place to work.

What a fun place to work.


Hourly, there are cast members with live animal presentations. You can easily interact and get your questions answered.

One of my favorites from 2010. But that darn hawk would not look at the camera.

One of my favorites from 2010. But that darn hawk would not look at the camera.


But besides real animals, there are Disney characters too! Rafiki is usually there and often times, so is Jiminy Cricket and Pocahontas. They are character experiences almost like the olden days when you could just walk up without the long queues and fuss.

My kids were like, "We can just walk up to them?"

My kids were like, “We can just walk up to them?” Even if your kids are shy with the characters, there are always the cut-outs.


So, we’ve covered Hidden Mickeys, science, learning, characters, and air conditioning, but there is still more! The Affection Station is the most adorable petting zoo with the best washing up station ever. Kids can pick up brushes to groom the goats and pigs. There is a little stage nearby where 30 minute shows are given several times a day with animals not usually seen in other parts of Animal Kingdom.

Just a girl grooming a goat.

Just a girl grooming a goat.


That about covers it. Conservation Station is a great place to meander, recharge, and have a lower key Disney experience. It’s just a short train ride back to the hub bub.


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Keystone Ski Resort is like the Disney World of Colorado

I know those are big words, but I’m seriously not still suffering from altitude sickness. It was just so PLEASANT at Keystone Ski Resort for me, for my husband, and for our teenage daughters.

Keystone Mountain

Top of Dercum Mountain, Keystone

Yes, it was exhilarating, awesome, and challenging, but I have never had a more pleasant skiing experience. My husband and/or I have vacationed in Vail, Beaver Creek, Jackson Hole, Killington, Smuggler’s Notch, and Snowshoe, WV. While we have enjoyed the skiing in all of those locales, at Keystone, the skiing was perfect and it just had a “happy place” feel to it that earned it my “Disney-like” accolades.

Keystone Ski Resort is Like the Disney World of Colorado

Keep in mind, this is just a girlfriend sharing her awesome vacation with you because we’re buds. This is NOT a sponsored post. I had to sell my left ovary just like everyone else to pay for lift tickets.

The “ease of it all” feel of this vacation really began with getting there. You fly into Denver which gives you a greater chance of finding a direct flight. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper than flying into someplace like Aspen AND you avoid getting on puddle jumpers. I just do not like small planes. The resort is only about an hour from the airport which is much closer than Vail.

When we got to our condo, my real love for Keystone started to blossom. C’mon, there was a waterfall in the lobby of The Springs at River Run.

The Springs at River Run Condo Lobby

And that waterfall traveled under decking to the outside to flow down a waterslide into a heated pool. I KNOW!

Heated Pool

Water going down that slide is from the waterfall inside.

We basically just loved our condo. You can see the exact one we rented through SummitCove.com here.

But let’s get to the nitty gritty: the skiing. Here is what set Keystone apart for me as a family resort.

1. Wagons

Something as simple as providing complimentary wagons to make it easier for you to haul your gear makes all of the difference, especially with kids. And while my teens can technically carry their own equipment, they do not do so without complaints. Loved not starting and ending each day with “whine.” Bonus: there is a fantastic wagon story at the end of this post.

Wagon in the Ski Village, Keystone

2. Gondolas

The way they have the gondola and chair lift network set up, you don’t have to worry about getting “stranded” at the top of a mountain. This is an important reassurance for novice skiers who may lose their nerve after checking out a slope or for someone like me who is babying a bum knee.

Are you wondering why I even went skiing?

Anyway, the layout of Keystone is such that North Peak is behind the main Dercum Mountain and these two ski areas are connected by a gondola. I honestly would have never gone over to North Peak because of my knee issues if I thought my only way “home” was to ski back. And I was right to feel that way because after having a blast on North Peak I was suddenly done and I was so grateful to be able to take the network of gondolas all the way back to the condo. Saved me from the spectacle of taking a ride in a ski patrol sled.

And no, I did not ski The Outback. While I was pushing my knee, I decided not to push my luck that much.



3.  The Top of Dercum Mountain is Grand Central Snow Fun

There is more than just skiing up there. In addition to the lodge where you can grab a bite, there is a whole hub of fun.

Bluebird sky kind of day.

Bluebird sky kind of day in Keystone.

Learning Area: Often times it seems like the bunny slopes are to hell and gone away from the more thrilling terrain.  If your group has any beginners, they are often bid sayonara by the black diamond daredevils until sunset. Not so much at Keystone because there is a learning area at the top of Dercum Mountain. Everyone can easily meet up periodically throughout the day.

In fact, the top of Dercum is the great starting point for a bunch of slopes making it wonderful even for my more experienced family since my knee made me miss out on the Terrain Park. It was so easy for us to go our separate ways for a run or two and then pair up again.

I only viewed the Terrain Park from the chairlift, but it is even more expansive than you can see here. Shaun White has logged some training hours here, so there's that.

I only viewed the Terrain Park from the chairlift, but it is even more expansive than you can see here. Shaun White has logged some training hours here, so there’s that.

Snow Fort: This is where Keystone really starts to embrace it’s inner Disney. There is a huge castel-like snow fort built with slides, tunnels, and thrones. Even bigger kids like it. It’s just cool.

Tubing Park: Right behind the fort is the the best tubing park I have ever experienced. The runs are huge and fast. The personnel serenade you as they ask you if you want to be spun. And there is no “one rider at a time” nonsense here. Up to four tubes can link up to quadruple the thrill. We had a gorgeous day, but I love how the “magic carpet” lift is enclosed. It would have made a huge difference in keeping things fun if the wind had been kicking up.

Do you see the drop on that tubing hill??

Do you see the drop on that tubing hill??


4. River Run Village

Things can get pretty fancy at some of the ski villages out west, but I found Keystone to be perfect for families. This is not a fur coat and cowboy hat kind of place. This is where the locals come to knock out a couple of fabulous runs when they get off from work. Of course there are great steakhouses and pricey boutiques, but there are also pizza places and reasonably priced t-shirts. There are tons of fun extras around the village too, like musical instruments, huge Adirondack chairs for photo-ops, ice skating, and ice sculptures.


5. The People

I probably should have led off with this one because it was the Disney World-esque customer service and friendliness that really upped my enjoyment. From the gondola line employee leading us in song and handing out granola bars, to the girl who helped me find an Ace bandage for my blasted knee, I felt well taken care of. They are so smooth, I even got the warm fuzzies when one employee tried to kill me. Wait? What?

I was walking toward the foot bridge leading back to my condo, balancing my travel tray of Starbucks, when I saw a utility vehicle heading towards me from the opposite side. Remember those wagons I was raving about? They have to be rounded up and this guy had a loooong train of them snaking behind his vehicle. He seemed to be going pretty fast and I was in no hurry, so I stepped off the path right before the bridge to wait for him to pass.

Not one drop of Starbucks shed

Not one drop of Starbucks shed

Unfortunately neither he nor I realized there was a pretty significant dip-bump combo at the base of the bridge. He hit that flying and his train of fifteen wagons cracked up in the air and . . . that’s when everything went into slow motion. As they came crashing to Earth, I barely missed being crushed by leaping over a snow bank.

His reaction must be read in a surfer dude voice: “Whoa, that was intense. You ok?” Maybe I was surfing the wave of serenity from all of the previous great, relaxed service or maybe it was because I did not spill one drop of my $25 coffee order, but I just laughed it off. That counts as magical, right? For me it does.

One more thing. Honorable mention needs to go to the grocery delivery service: Peak Provisions. While not part of Keystone, they were recommended and I see why. Their gourmet prepared rib meal was delicious and they rolled with my delivery time change like it was no inconvenience at all. And they deliver alcohol. Enough said.

6. Night Skiing

Night SkiingThere is not a lot of night skiing in Colorado, but Keystone has it. While I don’t like to ski under the lights, I do like the chairlifts staying open past 4pm. Somehow that last 5pm run was the best.

And then on some nights, after the night skiing was done, there were fireworks! Kind of sounds like Disney World, right?FireworksSo just in case I wasn’t clear, I highly recommend Keystone even though my knee wishes we had gone to Key West.

My knee should stop complaining. it has a date with an orthopedic surgeon and a arthroscope.

My knee should stop complaining. It has a date with an orthopedic surgeon and an arthroscope here soon.


 Need some vacationing reading or maybe just a book that will make you feel like you’re on vacation?

Click here to buy “I Just Want to Be Alone.”


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BlogHer 2013: A Queen, A Square To Spare, and A Blog Roll

We have been blogging for about a year and a half, but this week right here is when a slew of our family and “In-Real-Life” friends have suddenly been, “Soooo explain to me EXACTLY what you do on your website thingy because I thought you were just diddling on Facebook and ignoring your kids.”

This explanation can take a loooooooong time when you have to start at how to turn on the computer, but it’s worth it to get to the part where Al Gore created the internet for all to enjoy.

Maybe their interests were peaked by this photo. Famous people do make folks get all flustery and, well, interested.

Queen Latifah and the Sisterhood

Forever grateful to the random blogger Erin threw her DSLR to as we stormed the stage. Grateful she was a great photographer and that she didn’t immediately think, “Score! New camera for me.” We hope you see this post, our photography angel, so we can really thank you. From left to right is US!, Lisa from Grandma’s Briefs,  Sandra from Apart From My Art, Lois from Midlife at the OasisJanie Emaus, Julie from Julie DeNeen 2.0, and a little smidgen of Katia from I Am The Milk.

Apparently fighting our way to the front for school plays and gymnastic recitals served us well because look at us!

Nah, we’re just kidding. We were one of the last on stage because we had to scale the side like spider monkeys in heels. It was so crowded, we had no choice but to be in the front. Once again, Ellen’s propensity for procrastination was rewarded.

Queen Latifah did say she would call us up to be on her new talk show when she did her segment on “soccer moms who are unusually spry and not afraid to show their Spanx to strangers to get what they want.” Well, she didn’t say it in words, but she has really expressive eyes.

But this is really the middle of the story. What got us here to be honored as a BlogHer 2013 Humor Voices of the Year was our writing.

We had learned our lesson and ditched the heels.

We had learned our lesson and ditched the heels.

We still can’t believe our writing was blown up to Shaquille O’Neal proportions. And that sucker would have totally gone home with us if we could have sneaked it out, but Erin totally made a spectacle of herself going past security because she couldn’t find her badge. She pretends to be all sweet, but then she is all like, “Fight the power, I don’t need no stinkin’ badge,” and we’re left looking longingly at the all meat buffet over a really big guy’s shoulder.

A Sausage Fest in the worst way possible. This was ALL of the food. Oh wait, we exaggerate, there was white bread, too.

A Sausage Fest without the star power of Channing Tatum. This was ALL of the food. Oh wait, we exaggerate, there was white bread, too.

We did get in and the security guy became our best buddy, but all hopes of smuggling an 8 foot tall display board were dashed.

But the poster board is the middle of the story too. The beginning of the story is our writing. When we started, we weren’t even able to fully imagine where the blog would lead us, but it’s the writing that has gotten us there – from the opportunities we have gotten to the friendships we have made.

BlogHer 2013 reiterated for us:

  • Never lose sight of your writing craft because that is what drives your blog machine forward.
  • Your blog is your business, so treat it with the respect it deserves.
  • It is okay to do business with kindness and compassion and to help others along the way.

To understand what a special lift-each-other-up kind of business blogging really is, behold our Anti-Square-to-Spare moment with Norine from the Science of Parenthood. Remember on Seinfeld when Elaine was trapped in the public restroom with no toilet paper and the biotch in the next stall told her she did not even have a square to spare? Well we had a blank white template to spare and we shared it with Norine because she needed it to really get her Pinterest game going.

She was profoundly thankful and we really couldn’t understand the depth of her gratitude until we talked with her about her blogging experiences versus her time in the magazine world. We can see why she finds it refreshing.

And here is the kicker, we were sharing the template that Kim from Let Me Start By Saying shared with us. We were just paying the kindness forward.

And speaking of showing the love, we have been helped and embraced by so many, but we have never created a blogroll. It just felt too overwhelming, but when we looked at our pictures from BlogHer, we realized they just about formed our “Blogs We Read/Share/Love/Honor” for us. So if a picture is worth a thousand words, our thousand pictures should be worth a library.

You’re kind of in luck because this picture right here is a large chunk of our adoration. We do like to be efficient.


Okay, the efficiency might end here. There is going to be overlap . . . and you’re gonna love it.

Mel and Michelle Collage

Left: Michelle from Old Dog New Tits and Mel from According to Mags. Right: That is Michelle and Mel again promoting their bimonthly link-up “Ketchup With Us” with Kelley from Kelley’s Break Room squeeeeeeezed in the middle.

Lemon Drop Pie

Lemon Drop Pie was our VOTY buddy.

We kinda fell in love with Leigh Bones a little bit more.

We kinda fell in love with Leigh Bones a little bit more.

Mom's New Stage with Full Of It. Bonus Awesome: Another peek of Kim from Let Me Start By Saying in the background

Mom’s New Stage with Full Of It. These ladies are so fabulous. Bonus Awesome: Another peek of Kim from Let Me Start By Saying in the background.

I'm Still Learning with Kim.

I’m Still Learning with Let Me Start By Saying

These are some funny ladies! SO happy to meet 649.133: Girls, the Care and Raising Of and Nicole Leigh Shaw (Ninja Mom)

These are some funny ladies! SO happy to meet 649.133: Girls, the Care and Raising Of and Nicole Leigh Shaw (Ninja Mom)

Love the blogging duo Grown and Flown!

Love the blogging duo Grown and Flown!

Our other blogging duo love: The Science of Parenthood

Our other blogging duo love: Science of Parenthood

The "I Just Want To Pee Alone" Book Signing was a fabulous event!

The “I Just Want To Pee Alone” Book Signing was a fabulous event! We passed the evening with even more ladies on our “Blogroll in Our Minds”: Confessions of a Corn Fed Girl,Insane In The Mom-Brain, Rach Riot, Baby Sideburns, and People I Want To Punch In The Throat

This is a fabulous photo of Kelley's Break Room and Let Me Start By Saying, but we really just had to honor the photo bombing skills of Frugalista Blog.

This is a fabulous photo of Kelley’s Break Room and Let Me Start By Saying, but we really just had to honor the photo bombing skills of Frugalista Blog.

Moms Who Drink and Swear breezed in and out of our lives too quickly.

Moms Who Drink and Swear breezed in and out of our lives too quickly.

My Life and Kids is wicked smart and funny.

My Life and Kids is wicked smart and funny.

Here is House TalkN with our newest blog crush via Mommy Shorts: Harlow, the most interesting baby in the world.

Here is House TalkN with our newest blog crush via Mommy Shorts: Harlow, the most interesting baby in the world.


FOR THE RECORD: Editing all of these photos was much more time consuming than making a traditional blog roll! What were we thinking? AND we met other great ladies of whom we have no great pictures.

So to round out the BlogHer Blog Roll list: Carisa Miller, Shitastrophy, Becoming SuperMommy, Martinis and Minivans, Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom, Not a Super Mom, Generation Fabulous, Another Bottle of Whine, Mommy, For Real, Wendy Nielsen, and Robin’s Chick.


 Peace, Love, and Chicago!

-Ellen and Erin

BlogHer 2013 A Queen, A Square to Spare, and A Blog Roll



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The Anti-Stay-At-Home Life With Kids

We have spent many years living under the title of Stay-At-Home Moms. SAHMs if you will. But today we are here to once and for all cry bullshotskies on that title because we are NEVER home. Seriously. It would make more sense for us to sell our homes and just rove the countryside in RVs. Bonus? We’d never have to use a nasty soccer field port-a-pot again. (You know that idea is so intriguing you want to Google recreational vehicles right this minute.)

Most of this roving is because of the ordinary – sports practices, school plays, haircuts, and dentist appointments. But sometimes the Anti-Stay-At-Home life is a slice of pure adventurous pleasure. Where adventure is concerned, a picture is often worth a thousand words. (Especially when you are recovering from an epic blog conference.)

The Anti-Stay-At-Home-Life With Kids

Just add water . . .

In The Pool

Ellen’s Backyard

Tubing On The River

Gunpowder Falls (Relax, no one shot over a waterfall in a tube.)

In The Canoe

Pocomoke State Park

On The Lake

Deep Creek Lake

On The Rocks

Jane’s Island State Park

Or take it to the air . . .



Rock Climbing

The Delaware Rock Gym

But there are adventures galore on land too.

On The Road

Lost on the road, Anywhere State Park

The Abandoned Mine

Deep Creek Lake State Park

On The Road

Assateague Island, Maryland


New Germany State Park


Thank you to Stasha at Monday Listicles for inspiring us to remember that while we were blessed to choose the stay-at-home life for many years, how we “stay” at home is purely up to us.

Ellen and Erin


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Mom Brain Is Forever

We are all familiar with the fog that smothers your sleep-deprived brain when you first have a baby. A typical day consists of finding your cellphone in the refrigerator and discovering butter in your diaper bag. This fuzzy consciousness has frequently been dubbed “Mommy Brain.”

We hate to break it to you, but since we are The Sensible Moms, we have to set the record straight: it NEVER ends. You may now want to call us “The Buzz Kill Moms” or “Moms Who Need to Shut It”, but sticking your head in the sand won’t change the reality. In fact, we’re knighting this condition “Mom Brain” because our kids are too old to still be calling us Mommy.

Here’s a point to send you rocking in the corner: we are all aging as our kids get older. It’s a sliding scale for losing your ever-loving mind and for it staying lost. Erin is five years from infant times and Ellen is a whopping twelve years out, and Mom Brain is still kicking us in the rear. The Super-Duper-Swell-Can-I-Have-A-Xanax-On-The-Side difference? Now the collateral damage has an even larger zone of destruction.

Sad Scenario One: You lose important shizz.

Ellen: People! I misplaced not only my passport, but my husband’s, too! This was just two years ago. Do you know the expense and the paperwork that must be filled out when you can’t turn in the old passport? It blows.

But you want to play a little  crazy Mom Brain association game with me? What else do you blow? (Keep it G rated!) That’s right, birthday candles and balloons. And that’s where I found our passports one month after we got back from our trip —in the birthday candle and balloon box.

Erin: I think we need to discuss the “Birthday Candle and Balloon Box”. WTH?

Ellen: Hey, I can find those things when I need them, right? I’m combating Mom Brain with organization.

Yes, the Birthday Balloon and Candle Box is located just north of the litter box (that Ellen scooped right before snapping this photo because she loves you that hard).


Erin: Sounds more like hoarding because it would just be silly to lay out a buck for a new set of birthday candles each time. Much more economical to create a place for your passport to hide.

Ellen: So we’re throwing stones? How about that camera bag and lens you misplaced?

Erin: I can’t even talk about it. By the way, did security strip search you or anything because you were flagged for lost passports?

Ellen: No thank goodness. Why do you ask?

Erin: I MAY have just had to go through the same process when I couldn’t find my passport for the Bermuda cruise my husband, Steve and I are FINALLY sprinting away on.

Ellen: I will be over here fighting an uncontrollable urge to hide something in your luggage until the moment of your departure.

Erin: I would be worried, but you are going to forget about it anyway. See, I AM Pollyanna. I just found the sunny side of Mom Brain.


Sad Scenario Two: Your calendar plots to punk you all of the time.

Ellen: Mmmmm, I’m gonna have to call “projecting” and say that YOU punk me all of the time.

Erin: Does it make you feel better that I’ve gotten Steve, too?

Ellen: No, it doesn’t because I happen to like your husband. You know what would make me feel better? To transcribe MY incident down for the record.

Erin: If this can be the last I hear of it, go ahead.

Ellen: Short version: Erin needed to sign some paperwork for the blog. She was supposed to print it out, sign it, and mail it to me. We live about 35 minutes apart.

Erin: We’re 25 minutes apart if you believe our friend, Mary.

Ellen: Don’t try to derail my train of thought with another Mom Brain topic: the inability to properly gauge travel time.

Anyway, she forgot to mail it for a week straight, so she was going to bring it to me—sort of.  She wanted to meet me at my child’s high school because she thought her son, Ace (15) was playing soccer there. She maintained that the game was at MY school despite the fact I quoted three sources that said it was at her school.

Erin: I thought it had been changed!

Ellen:  So I drove yet another round trip to my kid’s school. That brought the grand total to five for that day, but at least that one was for NOTHING. Well, shame on my Mom Brain for listening to you instead of my three sources.

Erin: My Mom Brain and I are really, really sorry about that. I was still learning to juggle my new part-time work schedule with my soccer-moming and the volunteer commitments I had made the year before. All of that keeping my eye on the ball apparently blurred my vision so I just didn’t read the schedule right. End of sad, sad story.

Ellen: Amazing I can’t remember where my iPod is , but this story stays fresh. Probably time to let it go.

Erin: Like I said, it was nothing against you because I darn near did the same thing to Steve.

Steve was on soccer field duties with three of our spunky future soccer stars AND the crap schedule I gave him. As he fumbled around the soccer field trying to piece together where the boys were ACTUALLY supposed to be, I got to listen to the whole debacle unfold in real time via cell phone. Oh, good times! If the sound of the fuming husband didn’t make me feel like a crumbled biscuit, the pathetic whimper of the heartbroken five year old  who missed his game did me in. I took down my entire family’s happy Saturday with one faulty calendar entry.

Puddle of crap. Party of one.

Ellen: See what we were talking about with the larger radius of destruction?? Only so much chaos could go down when the only thing on your schedule was story time.

Sad Scenario Three: You have to go back to the paper trail.

Ellen: We can just hear your Mom Brains shouting, “But that is what smartphones are for! You can enter, link, and share calendars. There are even alerts!”

Erin: Oh, but there is this little thing my husband likes to call the ID10T error. Must I really explain?

Ellen: Yeah, I’ve muffed entering a date into my phone when bedlam is buzzing around me— the kids yelling and the cat puking on the 25% of my house that is carpet. The worst, though? Speeding through a calendar entry on my phone because, grrrrr, the phone starts ringing.

Erin: I not only have to record the date in my phone and on my wall calendar, but I have been schooled to keep the originals.  

My super-organized friend Nicole sent out her birthday party invitation well in advance. I promptly loaded that data into our Google calendar and tossed that puppy into the recycling bin. When I saw her at school, I said, “See you Saturday.” “You mean Sunday.” “No, Saturday.” “Erin, his party’s on Sunday.” “No, it’s not.” Do you see what I am laying down? I was arguing with my friend about the date of HER party. Good grief. Y’all should just put me down already. I’m not fit for human company.

Ellen: In all fairness, you really could have been correct. I was still putting the finishing touches on this beauty . . .

JellyBean’s (12) PERSONAL birthday cake because in our family you’re never too old to have your own cake to dig into with abandon.


Ellen: . . . when the guests started arriving for my daughter’s sleepover. Yeah, they were on time, I was under the delusion that I had one more hour, despite the fact I put the time on the invitations.

Erin: And so our lives are reduced to entering the date on multiple calendars AND keeping the originals. I miss the days when all I had was the pediatrician visit reminder cards.

So are you actually rocking in the corner yet? Where’s the trust? We’re not going to leave you without any solutions!

The Sensible Moms Solutions to Mom Brain

1. Number Your Children

In fact, number ALL of the children because those little hooligans are waiting to take you down too! We find this system works best if you always make them walk, move, and arrange themselves around the table in numerical order.


2. Tag Your Stuff

We know Brookstone makes a Wireless Key Finder, but it’s expensive, and let’s face it, you’ll probably lose the transmitter that locates your tagged shiz. Plus, you have more stuff to lose than keys. We’re solving this problem old school à la bright-orange-flag-on-the-back-of-a-banana-seat-bike style.


3. Velcro Shirt

Keep your MOST important items within your sight at all times. Your keys are just a boob length away!


Mom Brain might be here to stay, but it was all worth it. Right? Our kids, the precious memories, even the not-so-precious memories. It was all worth it, right? Right!?! At this point, we’re too addled to know any better. Bring your Velcro and come rock in the corner with us. Arts and crafts are soothing.



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Skeletons In Our Closets

This week’s Monday Listicle is 10 Things In Your Closets. We don’t know about you, but we might be a little bit behind in our closet cleaning . . . cleaning out the skeletons that is.

What kind of secrets were you expecting, sicko? Isn’t Ellen’s 80s hair scandalous enough?

Now wait! We see you getting all excited, grabbing the popcorn, and pulling up a chair. We’re not going to reveal that Ellen was a Bolivian black market KitchenAid mixer dealer or that Erin leads a double life as a Kool-Aid pusher (unless that Kool-Aid is Downton Abbey).

We’re talking more along the lines of closets harboring the skeletons of hobbies and projects past, the ghosts of times gone by, and the detritus from portions of our personalities that we try to keep under wraps. While it may not be in the same league as Lance Armstrong airing his dope-dripping laundry on Oprah, we’re throwing open the doors anyway.


10 Skeletons In Our Closets


1. Imelda Marcos, much?

Don’t be fooled by my yoga pants. I have A LOT of shoes and some of them are even pretty hot. They should all be contained in that cubby of shelves, but since I gave my husband the one shelf for his, mine have had to invade other regions of the closet. Yes, I am blaming him. End of story.

The sign reads “There is always room for one more pair!” But that sign is a liar. A hoarding, dirty liar.


2. Sentimental streak.

You see my foyer coat closet? It is sized for a family of one and only if that one person lived in Florida and really had no need for anything beyond a rain jacket. It is packed to bursting with coats spilling over to a hall tree, yet I can’t get rid of this puffy pink snowsuit. Both of my girls wore that adorable thing and they are 12 and 14.  I have even gone so far as to put it in a donation box not once, but twice. Each time I have rescued it at the last second. It is a bow that plucks at my heartstrings. Don’t roll your eyes. I chucked the high chair, binkies, and Candyland without blinking. Just ignore that box marked “Toddler Halloween Costumes.” I’m going to use them to dry my tears when they leave for college.

Ovary aching sweetness or Hoarders cry for help?

3. Jewelry making is a virtue. Or does it bring out my flaws?

I used to make jewelry all of the time. I went to beads shows, I subscribed to jewelry-making magazines, and I would hate to tally up the cost of the findings, beads, and tools that I have amassed. But I haven’t made a piece of jewelry in over three years. I could blame motherhood, but I took up the hobby when my girls were toddlers. I could blame blogging, but that has only been going on for a year. What’s really to blame? It’s that little flaw/virtue of my personality known as perfectionism. I loved my creations, but the creating made me want to throat punch a troll, or I guess more aptly, a troll bead.

So what do you do with a hobby that feels like work, but has too much worth to chuck? Shove it into your closet.

It’s cheaper to just buy jewelry when you factor in the cost of a nervous breakdown.

4. Ellen is SEW crafty.

Boy, do I have the supplies! But I really don’t want to over-sell myself, I’m really just Master of the Straight Seam. There was a Toto costume back in the Spring of ’05, but my therapist says it’s best just to tamp that memory down and never speak of it again. But what is really highlighted here is my reign as Queen of Unfinished Projects. See those brackets above those lovely cafe curtains in my bathroom that I finished a mere three years ago? They should hold a swag. Heh, heh, Swag. I’m just going to holler, “YOLO!” and move on.

Why yes, that is a dead plant in the foreground

5. The harbinger of a new era! An era of finished projects!

This is where it all changes: the laundry closet project! It was ever so wisely embarked upon the week before Christmas when it’s progress was halted by my flu-slide-into-the-most-killer-sinus-infection-ever sickness. But as Tide is my witness, I WILL see this through to the end. Watch for the next installment of Pintershit to read all about it. (But you shouldn’t hold your breath. Just sayin’.)



6. Treasure Trove of Trucks

Hess Trucks are super-fun toys. For me, they are also part of a family Christmas Tradition lasting almost 40 years. I love that my dad is continuing this tradition with my kids. We treat these presents about 1000% better than every other toy that comes through the door, especially any that light up. I am a true fan, but should they really be taking up so much valuable real estate? This collection doesn’t just span 15 plus years, it spans the entire width and breadth of the boys’ closet.

Note to Readers: Lack of wide angle lens makes collection appear smaller than actual size.

7. Do Your Best

Neckerchiefs, Hats, and a Bag of Badges on Master Bedroom top shelf

. . . to refrain from mocking or finger-pointing after this confession. . .

I am a full-on, sleeves-rolled-up, hiking, biking, camping, smores-making Cub Scout leader. In my Behind-the-Music (Don’t mock! We can all dream. I still have 40 years to check this one off my bucket list!), there would be a fair amount of time (10 years and counting!) dedicated to my time in Scouting. With 3 of my boys (the littlest has yet to join the pack), I have led Tigers, Wolves, and Bears (oh, my!) and served every position there is in a Cub Scout pack. I don my brown shirt with pride (although I bought it post-baby sized for a nursing décolletage I no longer possess).  My garage is also full of two storage shelves full of scout stuff and I used to have two push-carts in our shed out back, but those are posts for another day. I am all in!!

Check out all the cool things I have done with the boys! Oh, and my uber-hawtness! Nothing better than a girl in uniform. Just sayin.

8. Shutterbug

Me loves some, me precious!! The way Ellen joneses for shoes, imagine me and photography stuff.  The ONLY good thing that came from losing my camera bag was that my dear photographer friends introduced me to the two great photography websites, Adorama and B &H . It will make securing that wide angle lens my heart is now set on so much easier to obtain.

My little stash. Room for SOOOOOO Much More.

9. It’s Not What’s Inside That Counts

My kids have the grace of a herd of stampeding elephants. When they were little, closet doors succumbed to their indelicate touch on a daily basis.  So I did what any self-respecting Momma would do: I ripped those suckers off their hinges. It has worked out great, and I never thought about it again until Biddie’s 14th birthday this year. When asked what she would like to celebrate this special milestone, did she ask for a laptop, an iPhone, or a Visa card? Hellz, no. “Well, some closet doors might be nice.” Parenting fail.

All A Girl Wants Is Some Closet Doors!


10. Oh, No She Didn’t!

. . .Want a Wedding, that is. Absolutely not. Well, I wanted a wedding—I was a girl in love after all—but  I was none too sure about all the rest of it. If Pinterest had been around back then, it probably would have sent me into cardiac arrest or straight to a psychiatrist’s couch. After Steve talked me into letting him buy me an engagement ring, he then talked me into a wedding, and you know what? I loved it all! I thought my wedding was beautiful and meaningful. I thought my reception was a blast.  But, in the end, the things I was head over heels for (besides Steve, of course!) were my dress and my veil. Perhaps that is why my veil box is taking up a full corner of the smallest master closet known to man. Who knows? But check out these pictures!! That is one happy girl then! And now!

Silly Wabbit, veils are for girls!!


Thanks again to Stasha for giving us the time and space for some much-needed catharsis! Make sure you take a moment to check out all the great bloggers linked up to Monday Listicles this week. They are always good fun! Erin and Ellen

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Apparently There Is Only So Much Norman Rockwell To Go Around

Erin: Last week in The Sisterhood we had a very Freaky Friday, er, Saturday,  kind of thing going on. The kind of thing that made me want to do something like this . . .

Ellen put a kibosh on this one. Especially since she ended up with the better end of the deal.

Ellen: Excuse me if I thought running full speed at each other into full-on belly slams was excessive, but maybe you would have gotten a concussion so you could‘ve forgotten about your Saturday. And forgotten about whining.

Erin: It was all over holiday decorating. In particular, the tree. My family has tree-getting down to an art. If it’s not quite Norman Rockwell, it is definitely good enough for Facebook bragging.

Ellen: This would normally be the point where I would scoff and ridicule, because Frank and I are traditionally The Home Depot sort of tree buyers. We don’t even take the kids with us. Don’t  judge or the Elf on the Shelf will get you. He hates self-righteousness as much as he seems to enjoy seeing all of his pranks archived on Pinterest. But not this year! We went full-on Christmas tree farm!

Erin: Didn’t you love it? I have fond memories from Decembers past of packing up the crew in their festive holiday garb — sometimes there are even hats — and heading to a local tree farm. We make a total day of it. Picking out the tree. Playing on the hay bales, singing carols, drinking hot chocolate, taking the classic poses by cardboard Santa measuring how much we have grown . . .

Ellen: And there it is.

Erin: What?

Ellen: My reason to pull your antlers. Singing carols in holiday hats? Did this really go down or are you remembering a Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas special?

Erin: Oh, I have the pictures to prove it.

You know if you had hats as cool as these you’d wear them too! Unless you’re Ellen.

Ellen: Sometimes you make my snarky bone hurt, but I see your goofy hat and raise you a nuclear reactor, helicopter rides, playgrounds, pony rides . . .  and a teepee.

Erin: Are you sure you didn’t just cut a tree down on the set of Red Dawn?

The whole parade was delightful, but check out that eagle!

Ellen: No. On this gift of a perfect weather day, we went to Coleman’s Christmas Tree Farm — after attending our first local Christmas parade, which was delightful. Coco’s (14) high school marching band did such a great job.  We had the absolute best day. It WAS  Norman Rockwell — on steroids.

Erin: So how does a self-proclaimed Home Depot devotee happen upon such a place?

Ellen: We ended up there last year out of desperation. We got jammed and weren’t able to get our tree until the 15th. Every depot, mini-mart, and scout stand was all sold out. Unless this was your dream tree.

Visions of Charlie Brown trees swirled through her head.

Ellen –  Per tradition, Frank and I were by ourselves when magic Google found Coleman’s for us. We did have the parental decency to feel a wee bit shameful on the awesome wagon ride out to the field. Frank muttered, “This would probably be fun for the girls.”

So bam! We did it this year and it was epically fun. We are converts!  Just look at my man harvesting our tree.

No chainsaw for us! It’s like we ARE a Norman Rockwell painting.

Erin: I’m woman enough to admit that I’m feeling a twee bit of evil towards you.  Sort of like the evil vortex that hung over my whole tree day and sucked the Norman Rockwell right out of it. I suspected there might be trouble when they ALL woke up cranky. That’s a rarity. There’s usually at least one chipper bird in my nest of five. Instead, they all looked like this. . .

I wish I was kidding. They were just short of snorting fire and breathing venom.

Ellen: You need to learn when to tamp down your Mom-on-a-Mission tendencies.

Erin: Oh no. This was THE day, and no mounting evidence to the contrary was gonna change my mind. So we packed the camera and the cranky kids and headed to our favorite farm. Holiday spirit be damned: we were getting our tree today.

Ellen: I can’t imagine why things went downhill.

Erin: Well, once we got there, that ball of crap we were rolling really started to pick up steam. The minivan doors open and Charlie (11) sneak attacks Deacon (9) and boots him into a puddle of mud. This breach of familial etiquette causes Deacon to let off a scream completely incongruous to the event that had just transpired. (Just for the record, my vocabulary expands exponentially the pissier I get. When I start spewing 4 syllable words—Run!) Nothing says fa-la-la-la like halting the fun with a public time out in the middle of a parking lot full of witnesses.

Ellen: The towel should have been thrown in before you even left the house, Ms. Intractable. See, I know big words too.

Erin: Just wait. Five minutes later, everyone is roughhousing on the hay bales and the kids are clamoring to get their pictures taken in front of cardboard Santa. As I whip out the camera and back-pedal quickly because all I have is my zoom lens since I lost my camera bag,  my jingle bells  jangle even more because I have forgotten the SD card. Are you kidding me!?! My head  pounds like the little drummer boy on Mountain Dew as I frantically check my purse and the car for the missing card. At this point, my husband lobs a live grenade with his not-so-subtle jab at my forgetfulness, “Are you pregnant?”

Ellen: Seems legit . . . given the circumstances.

Erin: As Steve ducks to avoid the holiday left hook aimed for his head, the 14 year old girl child remembers that she has her iPod touch with her. Unfortunately, she drained it listening to One Direction on a continuous loop, so it’s zero help. Three pictures later, and this mess was recorded for posterity.

Ellen:  Barely. Did you think to use your phone? Oh, that’s right.  I had to give you instructions yesterday on how to take pictures with my phone . . . that is exactly like your phone.

Erin: Perhaps. Or it could be that I was distracted by the 5 year old nosediving off the hay bale. Amid the screams and recriminations, we put this stinker of a day down. Once and for all. There was a little lot of pre-cut trees right beside the barn. We wandered over with our spirits broken, pointed at one that looked about the right size, and we. were. done.

End Scene

Ellen: Just to be clear, I’m not trading days with you. Besides our end products were equally yuletide-y and this will all fade from everyone’s memory . . .

Erin: If we hadn’t written a post about it.

Ellen: That’s okay. The true secret of Christmas is you need a little Bah Humbug to make the joy all that more joyful.

Erin: And now you’ve made MY snarky bone hurt.

Which tree is Ellen’s and which tree is Erin’s? Hint: Erin’s is missing its topper. Ellen thinks it eloped with Erin’s missing camera bag.


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Spinning In Circles

Thanksgiving has us thinking of circles — circles of love, circles of family, circles of friendship, circles of life . . . and now you’ve got The Lion King song blaring through your head. You’re welcome.

What Thanksgiving didn’t leave us with was a lot of spare time for blogging. Erin and her brood spent the better part of the week with her family only to drive back for two and a half hours to drop her girl child off at Ellen’s house for Jellybean’s (12) rockin’ sleepover. This sleepover went much smoother than some in the past and for that Ellen is grateful. With 14 girls there was the potential for much to go wrong.

So we’re thankful that Monday Listicles only required us to share 10 photos from our cell phones. THAT we can handle.


Ten Circles

1. Circling Above

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History


2. Dupont Circle Studs

Renaissance Hotel Lobby Dupont Circle Washington DC


3. Circle of Passage

Rowhouse Dupont Circle


4. Sweet Circles


5. Circle of Ducks

Duck, Duct, TAPE!


6. Cucurbita Sundial

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere


7. Circles of Relief

Survived a Sleepover with No Fodder for the Blog!

8. Circumference of Pie

Erin’s Aunt makes each kid their own pie for Thanksgiving dinner
Yummy AND sweet!

9. Psychedelic Circles

Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” Chicago, IL

10. Grammatically Questionable Circle

Found on the Christmas Bazaar Baked Goods Table


So in the end, we are thankful for being able to find the funny in every day. We are also grateful to Jessica Betke at Jesse’s Spot for making blogging fun and easy this week. We love ecards too and her funny Thanksgiving post made us giggle. Finally, this week and every week, we are also appreciative of Stasha for providing such a fun place to land every Monday.


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