Saturday, November 2, 2013

Quote of the week, #7

Take a leap in a productive direction.  See where you land! ~ Susan

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Quote of the Week, #6

With Halloween coming up, there are a lot of folks dressing up. Most of these are small children wearing costumers of the characters or things that they adore. The go out as ninjas, pirates, dragons, princesses, heroes, heroines; people or things with great power and presence. As if playing make-believe wasn't enough fun, they get to ask for treats - usually heaps of candy and small trinkets.

If only changing ourselves was as easy as changing our clothing, putting on a mask or face paint, and going out into the world to get rewarded for our changes. Most of us want to "dress-up" - be something that time, responsibility, the stuff of everyday living - gets in the way of.

A point that I try to remember is that whatever the goal I have in mind, it will only get done if I do it.  Wishing for magical powers or another form of instant change is futile. The very meaning of the word change is becoming different.  It is a cycle that takes time and one that we have to move through intentionally in order to get our world the way we want it.  Time moves and cycles without us.  Take control and make your own magic happen.

Have a safe Halloween.
~ Susan

Monday, October 21, 2013

Family Halloween and Fall events in Arizona

Get ready for some great fun in the Tempe area. Last year we had a blast with our two kiddos. There are vendors selling food and tickets for small games where Trick-or-Treaters can get candy, stickers, or other small items.  Some booths are free.  Free admission too!

Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale is having fun with a corn maze,pumpkin patch, petting zoo, and more. If you go to their site, you can print out this coupon there as well for $2.00 off admission. Admission is $9.00 for everyone over the age of 2.

MacDonald's Ranch in Scottsdale also has a pumpkin patch. You can bring a can of food to receive $1.00 off of the $10.00 entry fee.  The ranch has hay rides, a hay bale maze, train rides, panning for gold, and other western games.

I guess Desert Ridge Marketplace is trying to come up with a new word for a more 'mellow' Halloween? Anyway, this event is free and takes place on Saturday October 26th. from 3-6pm. Desert Ridge is at the loop 101 and Tatum Blvd. in Phoenix.
This looks like a lot of fun! Halloween Spooktacular will take place Friday October 25th from 5:30-8:30 in Chandler, Arizona at the Downtown Library and Plaza center. This event has free admission. There are an array of games, costume contest, and a haunted house.

There are plenty of other things to do in the valley. Hopefully, this lists gives you some great ideas. Have a fun and safe holiday.

Quote of the Week #5

Gif from -

So, this is some hard advice to follow. In my opinion, being honest and being nice are two different things.

Firstly, being nice involves kindness and sympathy for the person you are speaking with or going to talk about.  Putting others down never uplifts you, even if you feel like it at the time. I've had occasion where I thought that the best comeback in the world would make me feel so much better.  I could just put that exacerbating know-it-all or that smug, cloying skinny-minnie in their place. What I get when I feel this way is no less than a internal wobbling of my conscience. Folks are always at their best. We have no way to judge who they are because they have had their own experiences and their own reaction to things.

This is not to say that being a doormat is the way to go.  Keep yourself in a good spot by steering clear of haters. Float above the filth and smog of those who decide to belch out hate. If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all. And maybe, get the hell out of that conversation if you can manage it too.

Second, honesty is still the way to approach things.  Do not be nice just because. Don't tell someone they have a lovely singing voice if you are considering whether or not you can hide your set of earplugs under your hair.  Tell them that you what you enjoy about them instead and then move on.

Being nice really is the way to go most of the time. Make that your first option in situations. Trust me, it feels better than that perfect zinger. :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

T is for Tough - Quote of the Week #5

I need to get to know a lot more about Eleanor Roosevelt. From what I do know, The First Lady was a remarkable humanitarian who treated people equally.  She believed in speaking her mind and in kindness. That is the kind of attitude that I can get behind.

Lately, I have been struggling with feeling inferior. Normally, I can push beyond it and move on to brighter skies. Occasionally, the storm I'm under just sits over me and attempts to flood over and out. I thank my faith in God, my family, and good friends that I get through it.

'No one can make you feel inferior without your consent', including yourself. 

Much Love, ~ Susan

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

S is for stupid

I pride myself on being intelligent. When I was younger, I felt really smart. I did well in my classes and my teachers appreciated my work and my demeanor. I think that for the most part what they really enjoyed was that I was quiet and obedient.  As I grow older, I realize that I am not smart at all. I'm in fact, pretty stupid.

I have no real understanding of finances, I do not excel at a crafts. I find crafts useless most of the time. I cannot finish a video game. I am often incapable of doing my job correctly and make numerous mistakes a day. I cannot seem to make any continual effort to write.

I'm stuck where I am. I am lucky that I am alive and breathing. That I have clothes to wear. Although a lot of them don't fit and I seem incapable of keeping myself on a healthy diet and exercise plan in order to loose the 60 plus pounds that I have gained in the past 8 years.

I have nothing that makes me special and unique beyond my DNA and fingerprints.  I am average. Horribly, awfully average.

My attempt at writing this blog is pure futility.  While I have gotten a little bit more prolific, I still don't write much and I'm not even sure what to write about.  Why write when no one will read or care about what you have posted?  When doing so will get you in trouble with who knows who.

There is a voice inside my head that I wish I could turn off. It says, "You're stupid. You're stupid. You're stupid!"

I wish I was joking. I wish this was fiction, but it is not.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quote of the Week, 4

It has been awhile since I on got on here and did much of anything. The past month has been very busy. My parents left on a trip and my mother-in-law came down to take care of the kids while we were at work.  It meant having to take care of organizing a room for her so that she could be comfortable for her stay.

My husband and I were very grateful to have her here. She is a delight to be around and is very helpful.  it was important for me to have her room be a pleasant spot.  She came down here and is devoting a full month of here time to watch her grandchildren. Our house is usually messy(toddler and a baby plus both parents working full-time), so this required a lot of cleaning.

This quote, which hangs in my cubicle at work, reminds me that the visual of an item has nothing to do with how it is registered. My mother-in-law probably doesn't look at my house and see the little messes here and there. She in fact tells me quite frequently how amazed she is at how I take care of the kids.  I know she is being sincere.

What you see, what you make out of what is in front of you, is what is important. Where one person may see a messy home, another sees a loving home.  Where I see all my weaknesses, someone else might see my strengths. Do not forget the things that you see.  

Stop 'looking', start 'seeing'. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dino Sandwich 2.0!

Sometimes a sandwich cut into the shape of a Dinosaur just isn't enough. Sometimes you have more time to play with the food you are about to serve.

  • First, make the sandwich as you normally would. In this case - I took some peanut butter chocolate spread and put it in between some Country White bread.

  • I used my little dinosaur sandwich cutter and went to work with the decorations. I ended up using the silver jimmies to make spikes on one dinosaur and spots on the other.  I gently pushed the spots down onto the dinosaur's back.

  • The other dinosaur got spikes via a gentle nudge of sprinkles onto his back.  Two tiny blue sprinkles made perfect eyes.

These little dinosaurs make a cute change up.  Feel free to use whatever you have on hand to jazz up your sandwiches.  Look at what you have in the cupboards to add to your sandwiches.  Sometimes just decorating the plate can spice things up for your little eater.

Hopefully this takes the tediousness out of lunch for you.  Feel free to share any more ideas that you have in the comments section.

Quote of the Week #3

I do not know as much as I would like to about Eleanor Roosevelt.  I have a strong belief in doing what is right regardless of what others may say or what others may do to you.  This is how good and decent people have fought against corruption and will hopefully continue to fight.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Car Seat Check & Free Ballpark Tickets!

If you live in the Phoenix area, you may consider making an appointment by calling the number at this ad.  This event is for August 31st, 2013 and the tickets are for that night at 5:10pm.  

These events are always nice  because of the freebies, but if you just want your car seats checked out go to or this link at  Car seats can be difficult to install.  Protecting your child is always a smart move. Don't be embarrassed if you get there and they fix something that you didn't know needed fixing. These events are to keep our children safe. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quote of the Week #2

There is no one that can be who you are. A lot of us unconsciously spend a great deal of time mimicking others that we admire or would like to emulate.  Clothing and hair-cuts are one thing, but when it come to personality, your best bet is to be who you are. Do not be deterred by your individuality. Do not change your sense of self to meet someone else's needs or wishes. 

Judy Garland had it right. "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quote of the Week

"A good marriage is each for each other and two against the world." - Robert Brault

Before my husband and I wed, we decided that we would also be on the same side; us against the world.  Regardless of frustrations, set-backs, opinions, we remember that we are in it together.

This has done us a world of good.  If you look out for the other person and they do the same for you, things work a whole lot better.

Owl - Line drawing

Office doodle

Carrot and Tomato drawing

Above is a simple drawing use to entertain myself and my little girl.  I am in no way proclaiming myself as an artist. This is simply my attempt to get a drawing up.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Arthur's Baby and my babies

Growing up, we read a lot of Arthur books.  In the 1990's, PBS started a show based on the books. My brothers and I delighted in watching Arthur quite often.  I admit, we watched it well into our teens.  It is a fun, sassy show that is suited for a younger audience without pandering to it.  The books are that way too.  Lots of clever quips from D.W. - Arthur's smarty pants sister, and plenty of sweet moments from the whole family.

Tonight the bedtime story our 3 year old selected was Arthur's Baby.  In the story, Arthur learns that his parents are expecting another little one.  While his sister is pleased, he is a bit apprehensive about the thought of a small person being added to his young life.  It is a wonderful book and as an adult, the drawings of the hospital led me to memories of my own experiences.

I don't remember much about when my brothers were born or what an enormous upheaval it was to the family schedule, but I do remember what it was like with my children.  Most of all, the book made me think about my experiences as the mother bringing a child into the world. I thought about all the work and care that was taken by the nurses and staff there to ensure that me, my baby, and my family were doing all right.

Labor is never easy, but I was blessed to be able to deliver my daughter and my son without any medical concerns for myself or for them.Some people might think that after you deliver the baby, you're done and ready to start caring for them right away.  Sorry, not true!  After comes the healing.  If you are fortunate like I was, you get caring individuals who tend for you. You get incredible, fantastic, sent-from-heaven people commonly referred to as nurses.

Now, I know that it is their job,  but most nurses treat it as more than that.  The nurses that I have helped me have been so sweet.  For a while, there was nothing I could do by myself.  Having been given an epidural, and stitches in a very sensitive area, I had to keep clean.  I could not get out of bed by myself. I had to try to sleep and watch my newborn baby.  I had to seriously think about the act of peeing in order to do it!  It was crazy and I was helpless.  The nurses that took care of me were sweet and kind. They let me keep my dignity, even through the stitches, the pain, the complete confusion and exhaustion.  I will always be so grateful for the work and the effort that they give.

Arthur's baby ended up being something for which he was truly grateful.  In the end of the story, he feels the connection that he has to his new sister and isn't worried about things to come.One little bedtime book can bring back quite a swirl of memories.  Tonight, I got to hold my son and feed him his bottle as my husband read the story of a baby's birth to my daughter. My kids continue to grow and we are all gaining a rhythm together.  While my body is pretty well healed up now, I will never forget the comforting skill of the nurses that watched over me in the hospital.  In a small way, they will always be part of our family too because of the help that they have given.

Check out Mark Brown Studios for more books

Arthur's Baby - Story online

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What's in a sandwich?

If you need to dress up the PP&J,  I suggest that you dress it up on the outside.  Find some fun sandwich cutters and get creative with the side dishes.  Don't forget to explain your "picture" to the kid that gets to eat it.
 After a pair of dinosaurs on her plate, my little girl would ask specifically for a dinosaur sandwich.
Quick, easy, simple: Lunch!

Making Green Slime

My daughter loves watching PBS Kids and will view episodes on the IPad repeatedly. One day, she was methodically watching Sid the Science Kid, green slime experiment video,over and over again. She had the hand movements that the children do at the very end down to, well, a science.   :)

She was bored and I wanted to attempt to cook something without interruption.  I quickly whipped up a batch per their instructions and let her have at it.

I ended up using some blue food coloring, but we still had fun.

Note to parents - test out the ratio of cornstarch to water for yourself.  I ended up adding a lot of cornstarch because the mixture was too runny.

Cleanup - As you can see from the photos, it was a gooey mess.  The mixture dried and it was just a matter of getting rid of the cornstarch mix - pretty harmless. Just watch out for the food coloring dye to  make sure you don't get it on your clothing.

Eat Yer Bell Peppers

In an attempt to get my little one to try more fruits and veggies, I turned to the internet and found this website with a wide list of Bell Pepper ideas.  The one that I thought I could use in my kitchen was the array of colorful bell pepper flowers.

I went Sprouts, like I normally do, and went out of my way to pick a peck of peppers that had 4 sections to them.   In an attempt to further gain the kiddo's interest, I added sour cream and a few pieces of shredded carrot. Shredded carrot tends to be easier for toddlers to eat. It also reminded me of the stamen part of the flower and ended up making my bell pepper garden a little more fun.

In the end, she ended up tasting a few of the peppers and eating most of the sour cream. This experiment was quite a while ago. Now she is a super champ at eating bell peppers and loves them with hummus. Making a food appealing can take a bit more effort, but I think it is well worth it. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Saving On The Old Information Super Highway.

Beyond brick and mortar establishments, there are a number of online webites that are great for deals. The one I use all the time is Amazon. I love getting on here and finding a used movie, video game or book for a fraction of the price. I have not had many problems with getting a good quality item, however I do follow some general rules to ensure that I like what I'm getting.

  1. View the description.

A seller should tell you the condition of the item. Does the cover art and guide come with the video game? Is the book worn around the edges? Amazon also has a grading system that allows the seller to decide what kind of used condition the item is in. Used- Very good and Used- Good are usually safe bets. Remember, that there is no rubric for this grading system. It is the seller's opinion.

2. Free Shipping

View the shipping price before you buy an item. If you can wait, or have other items you are buying on Amazon, it is often easy to get to that magic $25.00 amount and get free shipping. Some used items may cost the same or more with shipping. If a used items is three or four dollars below the new price, it really isn't worth it to buy it used yet, because even standard shipping will eat away your money saved. Again, if you are only buying the one item, it may be worth it. Just remember to consider shipping in your final costs. Amazon now offers used items with free shipping, so take advantage of those when you can as well.

3. Age of item

The longer you wait, the cheaper most items get. In other words, if you can wait for the latest video game for a few months, the used price will drop. This is generally not true of limited time offers or extremely popular items. Consider getting the older version if you can or buying the 1st day an item comes out or within the 1st week. Blu-rays and DVDs will usually be a few dollars cheaper the day they come out and then won't see a price decrease for a while.

4. The Instant Streaming correlation

If Netflix or Amazon Video is streaming a movie or tv series, be prepared for the price of that item to drop. This is an opportunity for you to buy the item if you would like to own a physical copy. Netflix, as well as other streaming sites, usually do not leave material available indefinitely and rarely include bonus materials found on discs. Consider this when purchasing as well.

There are a lot of other websites out there, but Amazon, seems to be the trading post, super mall, bazaar of them all. I'm always looking for more places to get the best price, so any suggestions are always welcome. What web-shops do you like to frequent?