If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Clean Fun: Domestically Challenged


Are you June Cleaver? Martha Stewart, maybe? Yea, me neither. But it doesn't mean that I don't aspire to be a domestic goddess. Futile as that pursuit might be ... I just might come a little closer, though -- and you can, too -- if you read Alana's blog Domestically Challenged.

Alana is amazing! She admits she's no June or Martha, either, but that doesn't mean she isn't full of awesome tips -- from cooking to ADHD, this teacher has fabulous resources. I'm so excited to introduce her to you today! Alana, take it away ...

Oh, man. This is SO exciting! This will mark the first time that I have been featured on a blog that I am a regular reader of. Squeeee!

Wait. This is stressful. I mean, I read this blog all the time. Am I cool enough to be here? I mean, everyone else is just so funny.

Ok. I think I'm ready now. LOL But wait, what about the introduction? I mean, I don't want to sound like I am introducing myself at an AA meeting...

"Hi, my name is Alana."

"Hi Alana!"

"Hi. I've been blogging off and on for 6 years..."

Do you SEE what kind of PRESSURE I put on myself???

I think I'll just jump right in. My name is Alana Morales and my little corner of the interwebz is Domestically Challenged. I got the term from my husband and yes he called me that. Still does, in fact. The difference is that I now know enough to know that he is right. :) I blog parenting hints and tips for moms who aren't of the June Cleaver crowd. It's not that I don't like June, it's just that I will NEVER come close to her standards. So I lowered mine.

Here's my story: When my second child was born, I became a SAHM. I had NEVER wanted to be a SAHM until about 3 days before we made the decision. I had NO idea what I was doing.

After nerding out and researching how to be a SAHM, I wrote a book for new SAHM's who were like me. Moms who were at home and confused and still in their pajamas at dinner time. I mean, how am I supposed to keep the house clean when we are there ALL THE TIME? I aimed to answer these questions and more.

Fast forward a few years. You will now find me managing a household full of ADHD and domestically challenged peeps. Both of my kids have ADHD. This makes life interesting. I am also a teacher, which makes life as a working mom busy. I am also working on a working mom version of my book, which makes me crazy.

I am currently trying to stop mainlining Pepsi as I find time to write, parent, work and occasionally sleep. Don't we all?

Looking for help? Check out my articles on once a month cooking, guerrilla sleep tactics for parents or dealing with being overwhelmed.

Want a laugh? Read my letter that was written by my daughter about why she hides food under her pillow, the time my husband cleaned my daughter off with the garden hose, or about how my daughter was *that* kid at dance class. I left out the one about my daughter making an elevator in her closet (complete with buttons written in permanent marker on the door) and painting the bathroom in toothpaste.

It's a laugh a minute, folks.

On a serious note, my goal is to help moms. I understand that sometimes you just have to do what works for you and forget what everyone else tells you. If you are having a parenting issue, drop me a line and I'll see if I can help. As a parent and a teacher, I have a unique perspective on things. Including the black hole of childhood, aka middle school and other fun and drink-inducing topics.

Melinda, thank you SO very much for thinking enough of me to share your space. I needed a nice long soak in a warm tub and this really hit the spot!

You can find me over at Domestically Challenged, Mommy ADD, Facebook and Twitter!

Domestically Challenged button

Melinda

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Ultimate Stain Fighter

I was powerless to stop it.

My son Micah flew around the corner with a smoothie in his hand -- a red, berry smoothie.

I immediately sensed impending doom.

You know that feeling. You’re witnessing a train wreck about to happen, but you’re helpless. It’s as if you’re moving in slow motion.

Sure enough, Micah’s feet slipped out from under him and the smoothie flew into the air. It landed, well, …everywhere. On the carpet, the walls, his shirt. Everywhere except its intended destination.

Before I even had time to (over)react, Micah bolted from the room.

Wow. He might be a slob, but at least I’ve taught him responsibility, I thought. He’s running to get paper towels to help his mama clean up. What a good boy.

After a few minutes without the expected Bounty reinforcements, it dawned on me. He ain’t comin’ back.

Nope, I was the hapless victim of a tragic smoothie hit-and-run.

Micah’s not the only one who has the tendency to run away from messy situations. Growing up, my family ran away from its problems, too. They could be dripping from the ceiling and covering the walls, but no one was willing to face the unpleasant, sticky and difficult task of mopping up the mess.

I vowed it would be different with my family. But guess what? For a long time, it wasn’t. Even now, I have to fight the urge to bury conflict and unpleasantness – both in myself and in my children. Isn’t it strange how we repeat the very history that we were so sure we would leave behind?

As I grew up, I saw the effects of using the “ostrich method” to deal with difficulties. So why is it so stinkin’ hard for me to break the pattern? Well, for a number of reasons, but three stick out in my mind. Can anyone else relate?

1.) It challenges my “ideal picture.” We all have a “perfect family” picture we aspire to, even if we do so subconsciously.

2.) It’s inconvenient. Tackling problems head-on takes time, courage and energy and often pushes me me out of my comfort zone.

3.) Pride. Acknowledging and addressing my family’s flaws isn’t easy, especially when it might require me to seek outside help.

But I’ve learned that denial has its own dangers. The longer a “stain” remains, the more ingrained it becomes, the more damage it inflicts and the harder it is to treat. That’s true, whether it’s speck or a strawberry-smoothie mess the size of Texas.

Hard as I try, I can’t fix myself or my family alone. I am grateful that God – the Ultimate Stain-Fighter – always meets me there with the reinforcements I need – courage, wisdom, healing and perseverance. He'll do the same for you.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8 (NIV)
Melinda

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tweet Me Tuesday: Twixperts

With millions of people tweeting, there's bound to be quite a bit of knowledge out there. So why not tap into it?

That's what Twixperts does! Here's how it works:

1.)
You log into Twixperts using your Twitter username and password.

2.) Choose a topic, such as Religion, History, Design, Computers (as I understand it, the list of topics will be expanding.)

3.) Type in a question that you have about the topic.

4.) Your questions is then tweeted to experts in that subject area.

5.) Once someone has answered your question, you will receive a DM.

Yet another fun way to use Twitter to your advantage!

* Note: Please say a prayer for Kristen (my Tweet Me Tuesday co-host) and her family. Her husband got into a car accident this week that badly mangled his hand. He has already had surgery and is facing more surgeries in the future. For obvious reasons, she's not going to be posting for TMT today.

Okay, now on to Tweet Me Tuesday! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3, uhhh, 4...

1.) Tweet this post! Be sure to visit Kristen at MamaBytes, too! She is my wonderful co-host in this Blog Hop!

2.) Link up a post you’d like Tweeted using Linky Tools below. It can either be your most recent post or an older, favorite post you'd like to share with a new audience.

3.) Follow me and Kristen on Twitter! (if you’re not already)

4.) Visit the links below and Tweet as many posts as you'd like (linked below).

You can follow as many of these bloggers as you’d like on Twitter. (You can follow their blogs, too.)

When you Tweet a blogger’s post, it's nice to leave a comment telling them you tweeted it as part of Tweet Me Tuesday. Not required, but leaving comments is always good!

If you tweet at us/about us/for Tweet Me Tuesday please use the hashtag #TMT.
It makes it easier for us to find your tweets! Not sure about hashtags? See Kristen's post.

Please remember that Tweet Me Tuesday is about Linky Love! Please don't just leave you link and fly off! Visit as many of the others listed as you can. The more you interact with others, the more benefit to everyone.

Alright -- get to tweeting!


Melinda

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Male Bonding

It was a seemingly simple question.

As the home’s resident sports fanatic, my husband is in charge of all things athletic in our family. So when Molly recently needed new soccer cleats again (poor child, she may actually soon exceed my honkin’ size 9-1/2 specimens), Mike asked her if she wanted to go with him to pick out a new pair.

Molly (with a deep, dramatic sigh): “Do I have to?”

Dad: No, you don’t have to, but I thought you might want to.

Molly: Okay, but do we have to go now?

Dad: No, but we have to go soon so we can be back in time for dinner.

Ten minutes pass.

Dad: I'm leaving. Are you coming?

No response.

Dad: Molly?

Molly: I’m just finishing up a conversation on Facebook. I’ll be there in a little bit.

Dad rolls his eyes and leaves.

Me: Molly, you know that wasn’t really about soccer cleats, right?

Molly: Huh? What are you talking about?

Me: Your dad just wanted to spend some time with you. The soccer cleats were just a way to do it.

Molly: Oh, well, geez, I didn’t know that. Why didn’t he just say that he wanted to spend time with me?

Sigh. Such is the dance between dads and their tween and teenager daughters.

It wasn’t so long ago, that Mike and Molly's relationship was sweet, relaxed, effortless. Then seemingly overnight, daddy’s little princess became a bit of a pouty, preteen pill. And "sweet" soon became sour and surly.

The first male relationship a girl has is with her father. And learning how to relate to Dad even as she’s learning to assert her own independence is an important skill that she’ll need to build healthy future relationships with boyfriends, husbands, employers, friends and teachers. Most importantly, a good connection with Dad also helps her establish a healthy view of and relationship with her Heavenly Father.

One of my girlfriends and I were discussing this topic the other day and decided that we need to be deliberate about teaching our daughters three things about men that will save them years of headaches, heartaches and hours in the therapist’s office:

1. Listen.
Men want to be heard, noticed and appreciated. A little bit of understanding goes a long way.

2. Respect. Most men crave respect more than anything else. It makes them feel valued and honored.

3. Show interest in what interests them. Last night, Molly voluntarily joined her dad in watching the Yankees/Rangers playoff game. He was downright giddy.

All those things empower men, but they give women power, too. There's not a whole lot a man won't do for a woman who genuinely makes him feel honored and appreciated. No nagging, whining or manipulating necessary.

Heck, he may just take you shoe shopping -- even when it's not soccer season.

What are some things you think are important to teach our daughters about men?
Melinda

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tweet Me Tuesday: Social.com

Have you ever been on a website and thought, "My Twitter followers would love this?"

But you didn't really have the time or inclination to go to bitly.com or tinyurl.com to shorten the link and then go to Twitter to post it?

Well, there's an application that makes it easy-peasy to share your website finds with your followers! As an added bonus, this app will make it really simple to participate in Tweet Me Tuesday!

Social.com is an application that allows you to shorten URLs and tweet links without ever leaving the website you're visiting. All you have to do it visit Social.com and click the "Get It Now" button to sign up the first time. It gives you simple instructions on how to bookmark or "Favorite" the Social.com site.

Then, when you find a great article or blog post you'd love to tweet, just go to your Favorites or bookmarks, click on Social.com and it will bring up this window:

You can shorten the link and tweet it quickly without ever leaving the website you're visiting. Pretty sweet, huh?

Just another way to make it a little simpler to add value to your Twitter followers!

Okay, now on to Tweet Me Tuesday! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3, uhhh, 4...

1.) Tweet this post! Be sure to visit Kristen at MamaBytes, too! She is my wonderful co-host in this Blog Hop!

2.) Link up a post you’d like Tweeted using Linky Tools below. It can either be your most recent post or an older, favorite post you'd like to share with a new audience.

3.) Follow me and Kristen on Twitter! (if you’re not already)

4.) Visit the links below and Tweet as many posts as you'd like (linked below).

You can follow as many of these bloggers as you’d like on Twitter. (You can follow their blogs, too.)

When you Tweet a blogger’s post, it's nice to leave a comment telling them you tweeted it as part of Tweet Me Tuesday. Not required, but leaving comments is always good!

If you tweet at us/about us/for Tweet Me Tuesday please use the hashtag #TMT.
It makes it easier for us to find your tweets! Not sure about hashtags? See Kristen's post.

Please remember that Tweet Me Tuesday is about Linky Love! Please don't just leave you link and fly off! Visit as many of the others listed as you can. The more you interact with others, the more benefit to everyone.

Alright -- get to tweeting!

Melinda

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's About Time

My teenage daughter loves riding the bus.

I know. There’s clearly something wrong with her.

Some of my worst memories of my childhood school days are from the school bus.

There was the bully who would steal my stocking cap everyday (probably a crude form of flirting, but who knows that in third grade?). Then there was the tragic makeover my Aqua Net-plastered Farrah Fawcett ‘do would receive after 20 minutes in the yellow wind tunnel. Or I could tell you about the time my spiral notebook caught the hem of my dress as I was getting off the bus – a fact I didn’t realize until the giggles and stares of about 50 “sympathetic” classmates clued me in. I could go on, but it’s too painful (sniff).

But Molly, my wildly social child, loves the chatter and excitement of the school bus. So she was none too pleased when her mama told her that she would be driving her to school from now on.

Up until middle school, I had always driven Molly to school. I was continually amazed at all the juicy information I would learn in that short car trip. Something about being trapped in an enclosed space – without all the distractions of life – forces conversations and interaction that would never take place otherwise.

When she hit middle school, she wanted to be like all the other neighborhood kids and ride the bus. Almost immediately, I felt like a vital cord of communication was cut. And at a time when hormones were already making rational conversations with her quite a daunting challenge anyway.

So, I risked her adolescent wrath and informed her morning social time would be with her mother. She was thrilled.

Molly: So you’re forcing me to spend time with you? Really? This ought to be fun.

And it first it wasn’t. Our relationship was already rocky at the time and, frankly, the thought of more time together didn’t exactly give me goosebumps either. But I knew more distance was not the answer. I knew I had to jump into the shark tank and pray I survived.

Now, almost a year later, I count that morning time together as some of my best times with her. Besides much prayer, I credit that “forced” interaction as one of the most important tools in cracking that tough teenage shell and improving our relationship.

I know many of you are years away from the teenage years, but set the patterns now of spending regular one-on-one time with each of your children. Don’t let go of that as they get older – even when they begin moving away.

It will be the foundation that God will use to help you weather the bumpy, wild ride of adolescence.

* This post first appeared a few weeks ago as a guest column on Cate's Real Life With Kids blog. After a week with the flu, I'm having a hard time forming a coherent thought, but I thought you might enjoy this until all my brain cells start firing again.
Melinda

Friday, October 15, 2010

CSNstores.com Giveaway!

Do you love one-stop shopping?

Well, then you're going to love CSN! CSN is a network of more than 200 online stores. They have just about everything -- and I mean everything -- a girl (or guy) could want. Even things you don't know that you want yet!

From divine dining room chairs ....


To sizzling, strappy sandals...


To cute kid gear ...


So I'm very excited that CSNstores.com is offering one of my readers a $45 gift certificate! Just in time for the holidays!

To enter the CSN giveaway, simply leave me a comment! I will be selecting a winner via random.org on Friday, October 22nd!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and good luck!

The winner of my last giveaway -- an autographed copy of Laura Lee Groves' new book, Outnumbered Mom -- is Melissa of Confessions of a Dr. Mom. Congratulations, Melissa!

Finally, my regular Good Clean Fun Blog of the Week feature will be back next Friday!

** Please be aware that international shipping charges may apply to Canadian addresses when ordering from CSNstores.com.
Melinda

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tweet Me Tuesday: Twitter Keys


Ever wonder how people tweet using cute little symbols like this? ☻ ♥ ☎ ☺

I have! So I decided to figure out how they do it. It's amazingly easy! A website called The Next Web put all the symbols on a page called Twitter Keys. All you do is double click on the one you want and copy and paste it into your tweet. To make it easier to access, you might want to bookmark the page in your browser. For instructions, click on The Next Web.

Besides looking cute, the symbols can be useful for a couple of other reasons:

1.) It extends your word count. When you use a symbol, you save letters. And with only 140 characters, you often need every character you can get.
2.) With so many, many tweets out there, symbols can help your tweets stand out.

Just a quick little tip to make Twitter a little more fun and productive for you!
Okay, now on to Tweet Me Tuesday! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3, uhhh, 4...

1.) Tweet this post! Be sure to visit Kristen at MamaBytes, too! She is my wonderful co-host in this Blog Hop!

2.) Link up a post you’d like Tweeted using Linky Tools below. It can either be your most recent post or an older, favorite post you'd like to share with a new audience.

3.) Follow me and Kristen on Twitter! (if you’re not already)

4.) Visit the links below and Tweet as many posts as you'd like (linked below).

You can follow as many of these bloggers as you’d like on Twitter. (You can follow their blogs, too.)

When you Tweet a blogger’s post, it's nice to leave a comment telling them you tweeted it as part of Tweet Me Tuesday. Not required, but leaving comments is always good!

If you tweet at us/about us/for Tweet Me Tuesday please use the hashtag #TMT.
It makes it easier for us to find your tweets! Not sure about hashtags? See Kristen's post.

Please remember that Tweet Me Tuesday is about Linky Love! Please don't just leave you link and fly off! Visit as many of the others listed as you can. The more you interact with others, the more benefit to everyone.

To add the Tweet Me Tuesday button to your blog, just copy the code below!



Alright -- get to tweeting!


Melinda

Monday, October 11, 2010

Teflon Mom

I used to be so sensitive.

As I kid, you only had to look at me the wrong way and I’d practically burst into tears. As I got older, I toughened up a bit.

But I still took things personally. (Just ask my husband.)

Little did I know that there is a sure-fire, cure-all for developing a thick skin. You might have the antidote in your house right now. If not, don’t worry. You’ll acquire one soon enough. Your penchant for taking things personally will be remedied when you find yourself the parent of one of these:


Now, a teenager can’t cure you overnight. No, when I first got one, I used to be regularly wounded and devastated by the parenting critiques and cries of injustice. But over time, they began to have a numbing effect and I’m learning to become “Teflon Mom” -- unfazed by the dramatics and undeterred from doing what I know is right despite the opposition.

Here’s a few familiar teenage mantras that I’ve become adept at deflecting:

Teenager: Everybody’s doing it!
Teflon Mom: Really, is this all you’ve got? I bet Cain and Abel used this one on Adam and Eve. Considering they were the only humans on earth, I doubt they had much of a case, either.

Teenager: You hate me!
Teflon Mom: Well, duh! Clearly any decision a parent makes to protect and guide their children is obviously motivated by extreme cruelty. What’s your point?

Teenager: I’m going and you can’t stop me!
Teflon Mom: Without transportation? Not likely.

Teenager: You guys don’t let me do anything!
Teflon Mom: Not true, but that can be arranged.

(Now, I'm not advocating using sarcasm with your teen, but I've found a little good-natured humor in these situations can help defuse the tension.)

Even the best cures usually take some cooperation on our part. And learning to become a “Teflon Mom” requires you refrain from doing three things:

1. Over-reacting. This is my personal favorite because I used to be so good at it! For example, when your teen tells you, “You hate me!” it's not a good strategy to say, “Don’t you know how much I’ve done for you?! How can you say that?! You are so ungrateful!” and then run to your room and burst into tears. Just sayin’.

2. Defending. We’re the parents. At times, it might be appropriate to explain your decision and use it as a teaching moment. However, teens are experts at putting you in defensive mode, which is always a position of weakness. I’ve been trying to remember Matthew 5:37 (NLT): "Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one."

3. Being manipulated. Teens just want their way. And you are the barrier. So, they’ll use any means or argument necessary to get you to see things from their point of view. “You let me do this last time.” or “So-and-so’s parents let her do it. Are you saying they’re bad parents?” Stand firm. They'll never admit it, but they actually do want consistent boundaries from us. It gives them stability and shows them we care.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE my teenager. God has used her more than anything or anyone in my life to shape me and challenge me to be more like Him.

But that doesn’t mean I need to get sucked in on lines like this one (used on me last week): “Mom, studies show that parents who let their kids have lots of freedom are a lot less rebellious than strict parents like you guys, who don’t let their kids do anything. Studies show!!”

Nice try, Molly, but it ain’t gonna stick.

Melinda

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good Clean Fun: Kelley's Breakroom

Are you ready to have a good time?!
My Good Clean Fun Blogger of the Week Kelley's Breakroom is ready to give it to you! And that's why I love her so much. She's offbeat and hysterically funny! You never know quite what to expect when you visit Kelley's blog -- and I mean that in a good way! She tackles a variety of topics, but always with her signature, quirky flair. Read on and you'll see what I mean!

Wow! I feel so clean just being in here. It smells like Bath & Body Works with all of these bubbles and bars of soap everywhere. Please, please watch your step when you go to leave this site. It is slippery in here! A reader just before you fell down and bruised her dang hip. I told her to watch out, but she insisted on waltzing around the blog like a nincompoop inside a ballroom and before you knew it – BAM!! I am sure she will return because how could a person resist coming back over to Melinda’s blog time and time again? It is full of fun and uplifting information…and bubbles!
Keep in mind that you can also come to this blog for one additional reason- a bath. From now on, if I don’t have a time for a bath (and really, who does?), I am just going to click over to Melinda’s blog and read it for a while. When I’m done, I will feel like I have just taken a bath without having to deal with the hassle of turning on the water, adjusting the temperature, finding a towel, getting my waterproof microphone, situating the shower mat, placing my made-for-the-bathtub crayons/markers in an easy-to-reach spot, etc. I may still SMELL like the inside of an aardvark’s hot mouth when he first wakes up, but I will FEEL refreshed and ready for my day. That’s all I need! My shampoo can take a hike!
Are you still here? Yay! You see…if you were to hop on over to my blog’s neck-o’-the-woods, that kind of nonsense is what you’d find. The kind of nonsense that involves me taking a simple topic and turning it into a random story or song. So, if you are still reading, perhaps we are a good match! Melinda suggested that I tell you all a bit about my blog, so here's the scoop: I began writing "Kelley's Break Room" in January 2010 and had intentions of being a “mommy blogger”. I was going to write about my two sons so that family could keep up-to-date on their little lives and any interested and/or paid readers could follow along, too. That gradually changed as I realized those weren't my children but my neighbors kids**, I was running out of funds and I began finding other topics that I wanted to bring up, such as people invading your personal space, my gym anxiety, my horrid hearing loss, my milk addiction, elevators, unexpected guests, carpool lanes and overlooked birthday party venues. Along with random topics, I began to introduce some fun monthly features all up in the Break Room, including an interactive game called "Captcha Balderdash" that I first saw on Striking Keys (come over and play on Monday!!), renditions of a VERY popular beer commercial that I now call "Underappreciated Ladies of Industry" (featured so far have been "Ms. Salad Bar Stocker Lady" and "Ms. Wal-Mart Greeter & Receipt Highlighter") and alternate lyrics to popular songs. So far I have totally destroyed songs by Katy Perry("The Di Giorno Girls") and Kings of Leon ("Steak on Fire"). How's that for a blog summary?
So, I do hope after you have finished taking your bath here at Melinda's (mmmmm, you smell good!), you will come visit me! I have a vending machine full of Coke, TONS of quarters and a lone orange chair just waiting for you to sit in it.
**I do have two handsome, sweet, funny sons. I love them with all of my heart even though I don't write about them specifically on my silly blog.**

Now go visit Kelley's blog and show her some comment love!

Melinda

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tweet Me Tuesday: Getting to Know Your Followers


Last week, I talked about some ways to connect with your community.

What it boiled down to is reaching out and being interactive with your followers.

This week, I have a couple more ways to learn more about your followers and use that information to create interaction and interesting content for your blog.

1. Use TwtPoll to ask your followers' opinions on interesting topics. TwtPoll allows you to ask one question and chart the results. However, TwtSurvey (also you can also create on the TwtPoll site), allows you to ask your followers multiple questions and include demographic information. The site's step-by-step instructions make polls and surveys a cinch.

This can be a basis for a blog post that analyzes the results and asks for your readers' opinions about the topic and results.

2. Twitter your "hot" comments. If you have a post that is stimulating a lot of dialogue, Twitter one of the interesting comments and ask "What do you think?" or simply tweet that your post is generating a lot of conversation and ask them to join in!

3. Observe what interests your followers. Pay close attention to topics that seem to spark a lot of conversation among your followers. Write a blog post about your take on one of these hot topics. When you tweet your link, you know you'll already have a receptive audience.

Okay, now on to Tweet Me Tuesday! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3, uhhh, 4...

1.) Tweet this post! Be sure to visit Kristen at MamaBytes, too! She is my wonderful co-host in this Blog Hop!

2.) Link up a post you’d like Tweeted using Linky Tools below. It can either be your most recent post or an older, favorite post you'd like to share with a new audience.

3.) Follow me and Kristen on Twitter! (if you’re not already)

4.) Visit the links below and Tweet as many posts as you'd like (linked below).

You can follow as many of these bloggers as you’d like on Twitter. (You can follow their blogs, too.)

When you Tweet a blogger’s post, it's nice to leave a comment telling them you tweeted it as part of Tweet Me Tuesday. Not required, but leaving comments is always good!

If you tweet at us/about us/for Tweet Me Tuesday please use the hashtag #TMT.
It makes it easier for us to find your tweets! Not sure about hashtags? See Kristen's post.

Please remember that Tweet Me Tuesday is about Linky Love! Please don't just leave you link and fly off! Visit as many of the others listed as you can. The more you interact with others, the more benefit to everyone.

To add the Tweet Me Tuesday button to your blog, just copy the code below!



Alright -- get to tweeting!


Melinda

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do the Math

It is happening – again.

When I slammed closed my Algebra II textbook for the last time nearly a quarter century ago (yikes, I’m old), I vowed never to put myself in any situation in life where I’d be required to determine the value of ‘x’ or ‘y’ or any letter of the alphabet, for that matter.

In fact, what made Algebra so eternally frustrating for me as a teenager was that it was hard to imagine the insane reasons such situations even existed.

Here’s an equation for ya:
Algebra(Life) = Pointless x 2.

Yet, useless it seemed then, Algebra wielded a great deal of power over my life. Aside from the countless hours it devoured that I can never recover, Algebra significantly narrowed my career path prospects. I ruthlessly eliminated consideration of any vocation that might require me to determine the value of an unknown variable.

And I’m thrilled to report that over the past 25 years, I have been wildly successful in avoiding all things equation-related.

Until now.
When my daughter starting bringing home homework with familiar, yet terrifying, terms like "quadrilateral" and "algebraic fraction" and "simple equation" (an oxymoron if I ever heard one). Like the villain that just won’t die at the end of the horror movie, Algebra has come back to terrorize me.

And I believe my math misery has multiplied exponentially as Molly and I sit, night after night, trying to make sense of it all. After a few problems I am frustrated squared.

Last week, she sat at the counter graphing algebraic equations.

Molly: It’s supposed to be a dinosaur when I’m done.

Me: Seriously?

Molly: Seriously. Please tell me, when in life, Mom, will I be required to graph a dinosaur?

Girl after my own heart.

But I’ve been explaining to Molly that sometimes in life you just have to “Do the Math.” You may not understand it or like it, but you have to do it in order to reach your ultimate goal. And there just might be something important to be gained in the process.

My natural inclination as a parent is to rescue my kids from pain and frustration. To make things easy, happy and pleasant for them. Because I love them.

But, if I’m honest, it’s not all about them. I sometimes want to save them from failure and give in to their demands for freedom or escape from hard work for other, more self-serving reasons. It protects my image and/or helps me avoid conflict and disappointing them (both of which I hate) which makes me feel better – for the moment. But it only postpones the pain and battles – for them and me – to another day.

Ouch. I don’t like to admit that about myself.

As parents, we can’t focus on our own comfort level – or our children’s. As a neighbor, who is raising three teens of his own, recently reminded me, our efforts should center on “the end result … We’re working toward the end result."

I’m grateful I have a Teacher who knows all the variables and equations of life and parenting far better than I do. And Who has the power to weave everything – even Algebra – together for their good.

I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.
Psalm 119:67 (NLT)
Melinda

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Clean Fun: Great Fun 4 Kids


She's inspirational, funny and her blog always makes me smile and think about things in a new way.

That's why I chose Simoney from Great Fun 4 Kids as my Good Clean Fun Blog of the Week this week! I've been following her blog almost from the time I started blogging and was engaged right away. She's a godly woman with a down-to-earth (and Down Under) style. I know you'll love my New Zealand friend as much as I do!

Hi! Hey! Gidday! I'm Simone from Greatfun4kids and Melinda has asked me to introduce myself to you all. Thanks Melinda, I am so honoured!

My Name: Simone
It's pronounced Simonne as in "on", not Simoane as in "moan". You can call me Simoney (said, "Simonny" like they do in Scotland, which is my blog name), or Monnie (as some of my friends do). My husband calls me Babe.

Where I'm From: Auckland, New Zealand

For those of you geographically challenged types, that's down near Australia in the South Pacific. My home town is Auckland, a city of a million people - quarter of New Zealand's entire population!




We live in the leafy suburb of Mt Albert in a 1920's bungalow which I love. You can read more about my lovely slice of paradise here...



Being from Downunder, I probably use some different words for things, so I've written a Guide to Kiwi Speak for all you "foreigners" who need a translator. (Kiwi's are what we New Zealanders call ourselves; just in case you thought I was meaning the fuzzy brown Fruit. Or the flightless Bird.)


My Family: Mr G (hubby), Dash (7), Miss Fab (6) and Scrag (2)


My crazy bunch of party-mad lunatics are quite often the focus of my writing. They are a bunch of energetic extroverts, never short on an opinion or two, all with minds of their own, which makes for plenty of fun'n'games, if you know what I mean?? There are no nerd-librarian-types in our family (apart from me). I am alone in my nerdy-ness. Although I am working on cultivating a love of books and art into at least a couple of my outgoing offspring. To read more about that lot click Meet the Family.



Note: "Dash", "Miss Fab" and "Scrag" are not their real names. But they are called those nicknames from time to time. Real Names have been changed to protect the guilty!

My Interests:

READING: I can chew through a thick novel in two days... or if it's a really good one I'll sometimes pull an all-nighter (but not very often these days *yawn*)



WRITING: A re-discovered child-hood passion. I'm working on co-writing a book with a friend of mine.

BLOGGING: I think I may be a blog addict. I'm thinking of starting up a 12-Step Programme online called Bloggers Anonymous. (Nah, not really, I don't have the time!)


PLANNING KIDS PARTIES: My husband thinks I'm out of control. I think I'm creating great memories and using my creativity...



PHOTO-SHOPPING: I love messing around in Photoshop. I have no qualifications, I'm totally self-taught. I designed a bunch of kids birthday party invitations and stuck them on this website so people can print them off and use them for free. I'm nice like that.

PHOTO-TAKING: Different from Photography, in that I lack skill and a fancy camera... but I photograph anything and everything. My family call me a snap-happy tourist (actually they call me a Japanese tourist but I thought that was a bit un-PC). I also rin a kids photo competition called KidsClick (you know, for those pesky kids who are forever stealing your camera...?)


COFFEE: One of my favourite things is going to a cafe with a good friend or two. Always gives me a boost. Especially if it also involves Cake. I only drink coffee at a cafe (a latte or a mocha). If I come to your house I'll have a cup of tea, with milk, no sugar :)







TRAVEL: Nothing better than getting stamps in your passport, even with kids in tow. Places visited so far: Australia (Sydeny, Melbourne, North Queensland, Gold Coast) Canada (Vancouver), USA (California), England, Scotland, France, Italy, Malaysia, Bali, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga & Mauritius...






GETTING FIT, BEING UBER-HEALTHY & GOING TO THE GYM (not!): I joined the gym recently and I am attempting to go regularly in the faint hope of holding back the tides of time. I turned 40 in November 2009 (gasp) and as a naturally lazy couch-potato I figured if I didn't do something pretty soon they might eventually need a crane to hoist me out of the house. But seriously, with my energetic bunch, if I don't get fit I'll be left behind! I can't say I enjoy exercise (yet). Or that I do enough. Or that I am seeing any amazing results. I think I like food too much *Sigh*


Pet Peeves:
1. Housework... oh the pointlessness of it all.

2. Housework... I am not a housewife! I am a full-time mother. There's a difference! Really!

3. Housework... seriously, the sooner they invent robot cleaners the better!


What I blog about:

My Blog can be summed up as: "Finding the fun on the Rollercoaster of Life".
I write about honest to goodness real-life, the joys and trials of mothering. Things that make me laugh, or that make me cry. I share creative ideas I think will help make others' lives easier or more fun. I share my thoughts on soul stuff. I sometimes share about Living with Depression. If you really want to understand me, read My Journey.
I see my blog the way I see my house. Somewhere colourful and comfortable, a place wwhere people can feel at home and ejoy themselves, with all kinds of goodies being served up to my lovely friends who come to visit. I'd love to invite you over for a cuppa and a chat. I might even do some baking... Meet you soon, I hope!
Greatfun4kids

Isn't she fabulous?! Hop over to her blog and check her out!
Melinda
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