A friend who shines

Once in a while you find someone who you just click with. Someone who becomes a close friend, someone you admire, someone you know you can talk to anytime about anything, and someone you trust.

True friends are one in a million and we’re lucky when we find someone like that.

I have such a friend and you know what… I’ve never met her in real life! We met through blogging and twitter and connected somehow. We talk on Facebook, Twitter, email, and text almost every single day and when we don’t I wonder if everything is okay. You can’t say that online friends aren’t real friends… I would whole heartedly disagree and I know that many others would too.

She is an amazing person. She truly is someone who shines!

Jill is a single mom and she has done everything she can to make sure that her kids have everything that they could ever need or want in life. She fights for them, supports them, and teaches them love, respect, and honesty. She is the mom of three amazing boys and is doing a great job with them.

Aside from being an awesome mom she also works full time, manages a very successful blog, and still has time for friends, family, and herself (once in a while).

Single Mom on a Budget

Jill shines… she stands out as a single mom and a friend. I know that I can count on her no matter what is going on.

Take a few minutes and vote for Jill as a Yahoo’s Women who Shine. She truly deserves it.

I was compensated for this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

11 things, 11 questions, and 11 people

Alright! It’s time for a little fun… something lighthearted for a change. I was tagged by Kristy from Pampers & Pinot in the 11 random things and decided to play along!


Okay here are the rules (don’t worry they’re easy peasy)!

Post these rules
Post 11 random things about yourself
Answer the questions set for you in their post.
Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.

Random things about me….

  1. I hate feet… they’re gross. Except for little baby feet they’re cute & chubby.
  2. I was arrested once but not for anything fun & exciting… my cars tags had expired and I transferred the plate to my new car which was at my grandma’s house and I had to get to work. So yea…. I was stopped and given a warning or so I thought till I got a call.
  3. I hate reality tv shows. A lot.
  4. I love watching old cartoons. Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, and the Flintstones.
  5. I have a willpower of negative a zillion.
  6. This isn’t big news but I am head over heels in love with my iPhone.
  7. When I’m in the car I am an amazing singer. It must be the acoustics or something but when I get out something happens and my voice sounds terrible.
  8. I like musicals.
  9. My degree is in computer networking/system administration. I have yet to do something in that field.
  10. I’m slightly addicted to Once Upon a Time and Revenge. I never miss an episode of either show.
  11. I now drive like an old lady in the winter & am a huge chicken. This is the reason why.

Lame… maybe. But they are totally random thoughts about me.

Now on to the questions from Kristy.

1. What do you think is the funniest movie of all time?

Funniest movie of all time… I have a few that are pretty damn good. History of the World Part 1, Wedding Singer, and

2. What is your most frequent, daily worry?

I always worry that because I work outside the home that I’m not spending enough time with my kids, especially my youngest who is only 2. It’s hard because when my girls were younger I was able to be there with them half the time and their dad was with them the other half. Now my son… the poor kid is stuck going to the sitters house 40 hours a week. I feel guilty that he won’t have the same advantages that his sisters did. If I’m not there with him I won’t be able to teach him to read, write, use the potty, or anything that I feel is important.

3. Best travel destination?

Disney World 2009

I don’t travel a lot but I have to say that Disney World in Florida really is the happiest place on earth. I’ve only been there once and loved it… a lot. It was like a little kid all over again and I can’t wait until we can go back again.

4. Name one big adventure you would like to still accomplish.

I would love to go back to the Grand Canyon and hike through it and take a helicopter ride over it. That place is one of most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and to be honest pictures do not do the place justice. It really is a must see place.

5. What is your favorite weekend activity?


My favorite weekend activity… sitting around and doing nothing. Watching movies with my kids. Baking! Really, the list here is endless because there are so many things that I love doing and each weekend is different.

6. What could be a song on the soundtrack of your life?

What?!?! Seriously this is a hard question. The first thing that came to my mind is Crazy Train by Ozzy but I’m not sure that it’s the best choice. I’ll pass on this one.

7. When do you feel most energetic?

Normally this is a couple hours after I get up in the morning. So for me that time would be around 8am… by this time I’ve been up since 5:30am and have showered, gotten dressed and ready for the day, and have been at work for almost half an hour.

8. What book are you currently reading?

Ah! Finally, an easy question. I’m reading a few books.

The Midnight Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Quitter – Jon Acuff
Cooking Solves Everything – Mark Bittman

9. What would be your luxury item if you went on Survivor?

Umm… Survivor. A reality tv show… did you see #3 up there? I would never try out for that especially because I’m a wimp and would do all I could to get kicked off right away.

10. Biggest turn on in the opposite sex?

I love cologne. The good stuff too…. not that cheap body spray, Axe. Freshly showered, dressed to impress, and cologne.

11. Biggest turn off in the opposite sex?

I have this acute sense of smell and can’t stand body odor. Then again I don’t know who likes it! Sweaty = gross. Also, guys who are full of themselves and think that they’re the greatest thing on this plant are lame.

There ya have it! My answers and now 11 questions for some random friends.

  1. Favorite song of all time & why
  2. Left side of the bed, right side, or dead center?
  3. What is your favorite season?
  4. What is your guilty pleasure?
  5. Is white chocolate real chocolate?
  6. Ideal vacation spot?
  7. If you could change your name to something else what would it be?
  8. Wine or beer?
  9. What is the one thing you can’t live without?
  10. Are diamonds a girls best friend?
  11. What do you do to give back to your community?

Ladies…. consider yourself TAGGED!

Lauren from Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood
Jill from Single Mom on a Budget
Rusti from My Life as an Officers Wife
Liz from A Nut in a Nutshell
Angela from Tread Softly
Kir from The Kir Corner
Kmama from The Daily Dribbles
Jessica from The Unemployed Mom
Gigi from Kludgy Mom
Nicole from By Word of Mouth
Cori from Cori’s Big Mouth


The year in pictures

While going through my reader the other day (Yes, I do go through it on occasion) I happened upon a post from Ashley from My Front Porch Swing and then the same one from Jessica over at Four Plus an Angel and decided to play along! I mean 12 pictures or my favorite posts from the year… how much easier can it get?


January brought Andrew’s first birthday! It seems so long ago but it was only a year…. and what a difference a year makes.


February brings Valentine’s Day… need I say  more?


March and my little girl turned 9 and brought Flat Lauren to the party!


April at my parents house for Easter and the girls were on a scavenger hunt that their grandma puts together every year for them.


May! And my first ever blogging conference! I made the trip…. all2 hrous of it to Holland Michigan for Gleek Retreat where I met some incredible women all from Michigan! That’s me along with Elena from Mommy’s in Timeout and Katie from Sluiter Nation!


In June all three of my girls took part in one of the parades that take place every year during the Curwood Festival. I was a proud mama watching all of them march!


The heat of July is only intensified by sitting by the ball field while you watch your kids play for what seems like hours on end.


August brought another conference for me and this time it was Bloggy Bootcamp. If you ever have a chance to go to one of these GO! Seriously it was incredible! Here I am with so great friends from Michigan! Dutch Being Me, Mommy is in Time Out, Daily Dribbles, and Buried with Children.


First day of school for September of course.


October was warm… on occasion and the day we carved pumpkins the kids all made their way outside and spent the afternoon playing together and carving pumpkins.


Every year in November the high school marching band puts on one final performance of the marching season indoors. Yes, indoors! Where it’s warm & we can enjoy it. It is truly one of the best events during the year.


And that brings us to December. And with it being the holidays and all I bet you’re tired of seeing all those happy holiday type pictures so instead of that I’ve decided to grace you with the Pimp of Greek Town. Now, I have no idea what his name is or if he really is a pimp but I HAD to take a picture of this. We took a trip to Detroit for my daughter’s 16th birthday and I have to say that this was probably the highlight of the day!

So there you have it folks…12 pictures from the past year. I do have to say that I loved going through all the pictures from the year and seeing how the kids have changed and grown, the places we’ve been, and all the fun we had. Picking just one picture for each month was hard because I wanted to share so much more with you all.

How was your year? Have you had time to sit and look back at all your pictures yet?

Monday Menu ~ Hot Fruit Salad

Welcome back to another edition of the Monday Menu! This week I have a special guest, Andrea from Good Girl Gone Redneck! I love having guests here and it’s even more fun when they share a great recipe. So give her a warm welcome and enjoy the recipe!

Thanks to Jackie for inviting me over to her magical place today so I can share a yummy recipe with you all!

I’m not exactly sure where I found some variation of this recipe. I think I was leafing through a crockpot cookbook, and when I saw something about hot fruit salad I figured I would give it a try. It’s a perfect treat during the cooler weather, and really warms you from the inside out. Plus it’s so simple even a lazy mom like me can make it while doing 900 other things around the house!

Hot Fruit Salad Ingredients

Hot Fruit Salad from Good Girl Gone Redneck

* 20 oz jar chunky applesauce
* 21 oz can cherry pie filling
* 15 oz can peach slices (drained)
* 11 oz can mandarin oranges (drained)
* 8 oz can of pineapple chunks
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 teasp. cinnamon (or more generous if you prefer – I don’t measure and sprinkle it in!)

Combine in crockpot. Mix ingredients.

Hot Fruit Salad

Cook on low for 90 minutes. (You can also bake for 90 minutes at 350*!)


This is a yummy breakfast treat, or a great snack, dessert, it can be served pretty much any time of day. Obviously it’s only really yum if you enjoy warm “fruit,” which I do, so it works for me. You can also try it with apple pie filling, or make your own to toss in if you’re adventurous and brave enough to do so. When you do that it reminds me of the breakfast apple toppings at Cracker Barrel or IHOP, which I could honestly live off of.

You can serve it with biscuits (Pillsbury is my friend), or tarts. Yum. You could also probably easily make a crepe or crepe/pancake/waffle topping out of it. Double yum. With cheesecake, even, if you do fruit with yours (I don’t, but I’m suggesting it anyway). Or just serve it solo, because warmed up it’s absolutely delicious … all by itself.


Andrea blogs regularly over at Good Girl Gone Redneck where she takes pride in sharing any and all Lazy Mom Recipes she comes up with or stumbles across!


I have no idea where the following message originated from, but it’s been floating around Facebook for the past week…who does it make you think about?

mama kat prompt

When I first read this statement my first thought was Yes! Of course. Why make all that effort if the other person doesn’t make an effort as well? Why try to maintain a friendship when it appears that the other person doesn’t care? Why bother when they don’t?

And then I thought about it a little bit.

Life is busy for all of us with families, work, and other activities. We have so much going on in our lives that sometimes we just get busy and sometimes friendships are the first thing we tend let slide.

Friends come and go through out our lives. Some are really good friends that we love and miss greatly when they are gone from our lives. And then there are others who are merely passing acquaintances who we either miss or barely remember.

Relationships take time, effort, and work for sure. This goes for friends, significant others, families, and yes… those mere acquaintances. A lot of work and please never think otherwise.

It’s important that we value the friendships & relationships that we make and cherish them. We must remember to never take our friends for granted and that a call is always better than a text, a hand written card is always better than a wall post on Facebook, and it’s that special touch that shows you care.

If you make an effort you can be sure that it will be appreciated and returned.

Now, on the other hand there often comes a time, due to circumstances, where you have to say that the friendship or relationship isn’t worth the effort anymore. I know this first hand and it was one of the hardest decisions in my life and it weighs on my heart.

How do you maintain your friendships?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Bloggy Bootcamp Chicago in Pictures

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend Bloggy Bootcamp in Chicago. I met up with over 100 of my friends along with the awesome SITS girls for a great day of learning, networking, and fun. I won’t get to my wrap up post until this weekend but I did want to share some of the pictures from the weekend with you. If you want to see all of the pictures that I took (not very many either) you can check them out on my Flickr page.

Dress up fun

Dressed up with accessories from Ross!


The Empress & I

One of the highlights of the day was meeting the Empress!


The Friday Night Dinner Crew

The Friday Night Dinner Crew & the SITS Girls


Amy, Julie and I

Amy, Julie, and I on the Skydeck

They are the Fab Five!

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 Fabulous Wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous!

There are so many amazing bloggers out there that I admire and love to read and to narrow it down to just five of them is no simple task. How do I pick one over another? What if I leave someone important out… what if this…. what if that… Do you see my dilemma?

Well, I’m going to try and narrow this down for you and share with you some new, some of, but in the end they’re all friends and great bloggers.

1. Single Mom on a Budget


I’ve known Jill for almost a year now and she is a terrific friend and has some of the best deals around for the Denver area, coupons, giveaways, and great ways to save. We met last fall during the Back to School, Back to Blogging even that Gigi over at Kludgy Mom was running. We both were looking for someone to be a faerie blogmother and decided that we’d do it for one another and since then we’ve been supporting each others posts, guest posting, and just helping out in general when one of us needed.

We quickly found out how much that we have in common and that we got along well! She’s been a great friend and is always there when I need her.

So take a few minutes and check out her blog and some of the incredible deals she has to offer.

2. Ciao Mom

Elena and I met when we were paired as writing partners for The Red Dress Club. She is an amazing writer and I love reading what she writes whether I see if before it’s posted or if I just happen to be wandering by her blog. She recently vlogged and I was finally able to “meet” her! She’s a wife, a mom, and most importantly a survivor. Go over and read what she has to say… you won’t be sorry. I promise.

3. Mommies in Timeout

For some reason Elena (yes, there are two of them on my list!) doesn’t have a button, but I’m fully confident that when she has her blog redone that she’ll have one then!

I met Elena a few months ago through The Red Dress Club as well. I started reading through her posts based on the prompts and was pulled into her blog and have been reading it ever since. She too, is a great writer and knows how to tell a story! I should also mention that she is one of the reasons that I actually stepped outside of my comfort zone and started doing vlogs. So a huge thanks should go to her for that because I vowed that I would never do it!

I recently had the opportunity to actually met her in real life and she is one of the nicest people that I’ve met and I was so glad that I had that opportunity. What’s even better is that we live less than 2 hours apart and can get together again.

4. Kludgy Mom

Kludgy Mom

Okay, first of all if you haven’t heard of Gigi’s blog yet then you must living under a rock or something! She’s is so talented and always has something really cool going on at her blog like the Facebook 500, App Girl Friday, Back to School, Back to Blogging or her newest event, The Summer of Love.

I have learned a great deal from all the great info that she has shared with everyone and really appreciate it. It’s people like her that help us who are new to the blogging world and encourage us to stick to it.

5. Dysfunctional Supermom

Dysfunctional Supermom

Brandi is just awesome. She is funny, open, honest, foul mouthed, and all around a great friend. We met a while back on Twitter when she asked about blog buttons or something and I offered to make her one. Since then we’ve been friends and I’ve been reading her blog daily (or when she posts).

She tells it like it is and doesn’t hold back, and best of all she doesn’t apologize for anything. She is who she is and is confident in that. I admire that because I’m the quiet chicken in the back of the room where as she’s the one being loud and having a great time talking to everyone. I know that if I needed something and asked her she’d come through for me even though we are several states apart.

There you have it friends, the Fab Five! If I didn’t mention you that doesn’t mean that you aren’t totally awesome too… it just means that I was limited to five and these ladies were the first to come to mind.

Share with me a great blog that you read!

Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Hey!! Let’s Meetup!!

Alright everyone! Let’s get together!

I’ve been tweeting it for a while, chatted about it with Amy (@amyplus1x3 & @justthe10) and then again today with a few others (@fourplusanangel @NaynaDub) and we all decided that we need to meet up!

The idea is to meet up with a bunch of great ladies outside of a conference! We have a lot in common too… moms, bloggers, friends… oh and the most important part… we’re all from Michigan! And no matter what I think that we’d have a ton to talk about!!

So let’s set this idea into motion! Here’s my idea…

  • Find a somewhat central location where we can all meet up
  • Pick out an awesome restaurant
  • Set a date & time

Another thought is that we could make a day of it and go shopping and out to dinner!

What are your thoughts?

Here are a few others that I know are from Michigan and should join the party!

@BuriedWithKids @ksluiter @dutchbeingme @bargainshopmom @MommieDaze

Help Donate Stamps & Brighten Someones Day

Lanette needs stamps!!!

Lanette Veres, Founder and President of Gray Matters Foundation, is a brain tumor survivor. She has made it her mission in life to support other brain tumor patients, their family and friends! Thus Gray Matters and the “tonguey turtle” were born!

Lanette, and Gray Matters, were recently featured in Card Makers magazine out reach program. She has received OVER 800 cards! Now she needs stamps to send these cards to brain tumor survivors, friends and loved ones!

I am asking you, my lovely readers to send Lanette some stamps! Times are tough, but there are others that have much bigger struggles in their life. One stamp costs $.44. A book costs $8.80. And, it’s a tax deductible donation.


You can go to the Gray Matters Foundation Donate page, scroll down to the wish list and click on the postage stamps link and have the stamps sent to the address listed.


Buy stamps and send them to…

Gray Matters Foundation
5403 W. Poinsettia
Glendale, AZ 85304

When my friend Jill‘s mom had a brain aneurysm in 2007, Lanette was at her bedside in the ICU. She’s an incredible lady! Anyhoo, go check out her amazing work and please, please, PLEASE find it in your heart to donate a book of 20 stamps for $8.80. Don’t forget that your donation is 100% tax deductible and their tax id number is listed on the website!


Day 21 ~ The Accident

Day 21 — (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

30 Days of Truth

This is a situation that I can’t even imagine and it’s something that I never want to live through either.

I’m sure that I’d feel sadness, regret, and fear. I’d be wondering if I’d have the chance to make things right again, to apologize, and be the type of friend that they would want.

As soon as I found out about the accident I’d be there at my friends side in the hospital, holding their hand, and apologizing. I would do whatever I could to help my friend recover, because I’d feel that the accident was my fault.

It’s hard to put yourself in a situation or sympathize with someone if you’ve never been in that situation. You just never know how it will affect you and what you’re reaction will be.

Has this happened to you or someone that you know? What was the reaction?