Thursday, July 24, 2014

Come Visit My New Pad

I moved!  Come check out my new pad at

Mark Teague's Pigsty Book Club

Does your squirt's room look like this?  Is she a huge fan of pigs?  Then, the book to read is Mark Teague's Pigsty.

Beautiful illustrations painted in acrylic bring the antagonists, the pigs, to life.  Not to mention, the message of this picture book just might encourage your kiddo to clean his/her room.

Once the "pigsty" has been remedied (we are still not there yet . . . not even close), celebrate with a game of Monopoly and a big bowl of Bob's Potato Chips.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Writing Workshop Wednesdays (2)

I have used this prompt or a similar one with my English 111 class and then discuss whether, after rereading our writing, one would be able to visualize this ideal mate he/she has described.  Would one be able to actually paint a picture or create a video from the information shared?  Did the author exemplify, explain, and elaborate? 

PROMPT:  Describe (PG-13 style) your ideal mate.

My ideal mate is, most importantly, kind and gentle and did not hesitate years ago when asked to carry my terminally ill father to his bed (for which I will forever be grateful) or to empty my drain tubes after my double mastectomy.  When our daughters ask him to play Little People, dress up, or play kitchen, he immediately agrees and follows them to the playroom.  When my friends or I have computer problems, he remedies the situation with patience and much humor in the form of feigned frustration, "I am tired of being the I.T. guy," or false bravado, "Your friends want me." 

Perfectly placed punctuation and proper grammar in his writing makes me swoon and anxiously await that next post-it note hidden on my steering wheel expressing his love or grocery store requests.

His lips are plump and perfectly commingle with mine when we kiss while his shadowy overgrowth lightly scratches my cheek.  When he smiles, I look for his faint dimples every time.  

With careful attention, he snags that chin hair I am unable to conquer after many failed attempts and assures me if ever in a nursing home, he will come and tweeze me when I am no longer able.

His muscular arms envelop me and pull me to him when tears fall from my eyes, and he is able to wipe the hurt away and replace it with his whole heart. . . my ideal mate.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Thanks

Even with all of life's ups and downs, I like to take time out each week and reflect on what all I have to be thankful for . . .

An unexpected find left under my pillow by my youngest daughter. . .

My oldest squirt thrilled at the gift of goofy glasses for inviting friends to VBS . . .

Kissing and squeezing the hub's grandfather . . .

My girls' love of swimming and the water . . .

A food sample at the grocery store which truly hit the spot . . .

Homemade strawberry preserves from a woman blessing . . .

The hub's patience with my need to move our furniture around . . .

Chopped garlic drowning in olive oil, a freebie at Lorenzo's in Vandalia . . .

What are YOU thankful for?  Share below in the comments section.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Space of Her Own

Inspired by Virginia Woolf's quote, "A woman must have . . . a room of her own," (she was one cool cat) as well as the magazine Where Women Create (wish they had monthly issues; salivating just thinking about the possibility) I have been on a mission to find this room of my own within my own house.  Seeing the walk-in closet in our master bedroom as a viable option, the hub vetoed it with, "Where we will put our clothes?!"  Ugh . . . sometimes he can be such a downer.

I tried a corner in our main living space by a window for several years, but the intense light from the window made for an overheated laptop, and eventually my desk became a dumping ground when we needed to pick items up off of the floor in order to vacuum.  Little People climbing Mt. Essays Needing to be Graded did not make for a creative, organized space.

Thus, my recent find for a space of my own is a nook in our breakfast area.  Flooded with light but not intense glaring sun, I can see while I type without having to wear sunglasses or strip down to my birthday suit (I am always HOT). 

Since there is no room for a wall of bookshelves, my ultimate fantasy, I scored a mail sorter at a garage sale for $5.  Eureka!  I spray-painted it to match my $15 teacher's desk find at a school sale, and A Space of Her Own was established.

I then wondered where do other women create, so I asked my friends.  Women blessings Deb E. and Beth M./@BMiramonti shared their spaces with me. . .

I want to nap in Beth's hammock.

A partner for Beth to cuddle up with in order to spark those creative juices.

Notice Deb's organization.  Aaaah!

Love the cards Deb creates!
Where is YOUR space of your own?  I would love to hear about in the comments section below to garner some ideas, and, more importantly, I would love to see it.  Tweet your pic to @authorgroupie (unless you can figure out a way to leave a pic in the comments section)! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Bloom

Bloom . . .  This past Sunday I turned 43.  Recently, I have whittled my social media outlets down in order to be more in the moment with my loved ones and spend more time writing.  

Thus, without the yearly "happy birthdays" from Facebook, I didn't think anyone would acknowledge my birthday besides close friends and family, and this was okay by me.  This is not because I dread aging;  I am thrilled to still be kicking (breast cancer warrior) and happy to tell anyone who asks (or doesn't ask) my age.

Yet, I was surprised this year on my birthday.  Instead of digital birthday wishes, I received a pile of beautiful cards in my mailbox, and my heart bloomed.  I carefully opened each envelope and savored the handwritten messages.  To me, an old soul, these were packages being unwrapped by me (and my two young daughters).

Never having been the recipient of a Card Shower before, I was overwhelmed and am grateful.  A huge thank you to woman blessing Sue and all those whom participated in creating this bloom

What does BLOOM mean to you?

Share your idea of LOST in only five minutes . . .

Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday:  Bloom

Easter Egg Dresser

I have spent the last couple of days feeding my addiction . . . not to books, but to furniture ReHAB.  My latest score, a dresser, came from the shed of my BFF's dad.  

With a good solid foundation, all I needed to do was select my spray paint colors.  Thus, an Easter egg became my inspiration.  


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writing Workshop Wednesdays (1)

Why do you write?

I write to understand, process, share, and be heard.  Writing allows me to find my position on subjects, archive my memories, and most importantly, show others my love for them.

In writing about books, I hope to infect others with my passion for reading as Professor Manuela Mourao did for me over twenty years ago.
Faced with a cancer diagnosis in 2011, I was motivated more than ever to capture my thoughts and ideas on this blog for my girls as well as others to reaffirm we are not alone.  One day, perhaps, my daughters will read my writing and connect with their mom on another, more intimate level, or at the very least, know I was a writer who constantly worked on honing her craft.

Now, it is YOUR turn to answer this week's Writing Workshop Wednesdays prompt. . .

Why do YOU write? 

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Finds

If you haven't visited your local Habitat for Humanity Restore, you need to . . .  Love digging through piles of used materials due to the endless upcycling/repurposing possibilities?  Then, this is the place for you.

To date, I have visited the Sullivan, IL, ReStore, the Collinsville, IL, ReStore, and the St. Louis (Forest Park), MO, ReStore, and this is what I discovered.

Purchased at the Collinsville ReStore

A school-grade bulletin board purchased for $5.  I simply spray-painted it black, pinned my kiddos' artwork on it, and hung it above the mantle for a rotating display of creativity.  Can you see the flaw in the cork?  I can't either.  I covered the small problem area with a painting, or a piece of fabric stapled to the front (my BFF's idea) would work, too.

A return visit a week later resulted in a $15/dresser badly in need of a paint job and new pulls.  My youngest directed me as to which drawers would be painted what and selected the pulls from The Home Depot.  The result . . . pinkalicious storage for my daughter's room.

Purchased at the Collinsville ReStore
Since I like to pretend with my girls we are eating in a French bistro (Fancy Nancy-esque), I scored this frosted glass window for $5, did absolutely nothing to it except hang it on the wall (okay, the hub hung it), and use it to write our daily menus.  Ooh la la!

Purchased at the St. Louis (Forest Park) ReStore

Have you visited a ReStore?  What did you discover?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Belong . . .  It's amazing how there are days when I can feel so alone when there are so many vehicles to being "social" in today's world.

For me, I need the good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction. . . the physical presence of another human being to share the uniqueness of human nature, find the humor in the everyday occurrences, and simply belong.

Like a plant which withers without water, I, too, wither when I am not watered with fellowship and God's word.

A good friend posted a blog this week at The Gentle Yoke which reminds me we all belong to God, and He is always near . . . hovering over us.

What does belong mean to you?

Share your idea of BELONG in only five minutes . . .

Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday:  Belong

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Club Babes II: Knuffle Bunny

Book Club Babes II member Miss Riley selected Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny for our latest discussion.

A successful search on Pinterest resulted in the discovery of the Kids Activities Blog and the coolest activity to use as means of experiencing Knuffle Bunny.  In preparation for the meeting, my squirts and I visited our favorite park, Droste Park in Maryville, IL. and took several pictures of the playground, walking path, and dock.  At home, we converted these pictures into black and white before printing onto 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

When members arrived, they were allowed to choose from the scenes offered.  Then, they drew a color picture of themselves, glued it onto the black and white page, and added a caption.  Completed artwork was laminated so that further people, objects, etc. may be added and erased again and again to the picture using dry erase markers.

Discussion followed with each member sharing her journal picture and favorite part of the book.

For snack, supplies of bagels, thin carrots, raisins, peanut butter, cream cheese, and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies were provided by Miss Riley's mother so that each member could create her own Knuffle Bunny.

Next discussion:  Miss Morgan's selection of The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Exhale

Exhale . . .  Yesterday I watched a friend's kiddos while she had to work.  This summer she and I are swapping days with our kiddos who are identical in age so that each of us has time to exhale.

The kiddos and I visited one of our favorite parks and ended up staying for over two hours.  Children's laughter . . . exhale.

They then fed "dead bread" (expired bread/cereal) to the ducks who happened to be M.I.A.  Exhale . . .

A short walk to the local library followed where the kiddos selected books and movies . . .  Their love of reading . . . exhale.

A day I wish didn't have to end . . . exhale.

Share your idea of LOST in only five minutes . . .

Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday:  Lost