Crap! It’s Summer Again… Now What?!

It is my experience that most people look forward to summer.

I don’t like those people.

Since I happen to be a mom of school aged children, I hate summer… loath it, don’t want it to start. I tried to rip June, July and August off the calendar and hide those months until my husband informed me that that was just a dumb plan and really wouldn’t keep summer from coming.

Ok, fine.

We will have summer.

But I am not going to like it.

Ok, that’s not true. I’ll like it, well I want to like it.  It’s just that I have gone soft. I am not used to the kids home all day every day being all up in my business.

boys being silly

I’m not used to their non-stop crazy antics like what the hell is a banana fart and why does it involve trying to pull over the dinner table.

I mean, last summer about near killed me. By the end of July, I contemplated breaking the law just for a stint in Jail because Jail sounded like a little slice of heaven.

Yeah, it was bad. If you don’t believe me… just ask my liver. We still aren’t on speaking terms.

Anyway, you get it. I was dreading the end of school.

But then it hit me.

I am a strong, smart, college educated woman. I have life experience. I can do something about this. I can plan. I am good at planning. I can organize. I am so so about organizing.

I put my girl panties on and asked myself, what is it about the school year that I like besides the fact that the kids are going from the house for more than 6 hours a day?

And I answered myself, “The schedule!”

We have a routine. Its all laid out. The kids know what is going to happen, I know what is going to happen. It’s wonderful.

Then it hit me, so simple, so genius, so awesome… Let’s have a daily summer schedule that is posted so that the kids know what is going to happen when. It will be laminated because laminated things mean business and are respected. Then when the kids are ‘board’ or asking to watch TV or play video games for the 87th time in the first hour of being awake, I can just point at the schedule.

Bam! Done! Shut your mouth and do it!

The other thing that is a sanity savor for this summer is activities. Things to go and do so that we are not just stuck at home looking at each other. Things that get us out and let us experience the world… or at the very least the city where we live.

But going out and doing things can get very expensive and before you know it you can spend your whole wine fund on sending kids to summer camps and we all know that it just unacceptable.

Now don’t throw out the baby with the bath water just yet, tempting as that my be and  turn to your trusty friend the Internet, Facebook and even talk to people, yes real face to face conversations with people, and you will find little gems like Michael’s Passport to Imagination program.



Michael’s, you know the craft store, has a summer crafting program for kids. It’s for kids ages 5 and up held across the country at Michael’s stores. It happens Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting June 16 to August 1st from 10am to 12pm and it’s only $2 per kid.

For me that’s $8 for 2 hours of entertainment for the children. That’s crazy talk because getting them to clean the basement costs me at least $20… and they don’t even like doing that.

This year, Michael’s has partnered with 7 of North America’s best museums to create a museum road trip. Each day, kids will experience culture through crafts with projects inspired by world-class museum exhibits.

Hot damn! I’m signing my kid’s up.

It’s a win win situation. The kids get to learn cool things and they get to craft with crafting professionals at a craft store which will keep the glitter use to a minimum at my house meaning the dinner table will not look like a stripper’s closet threw up on it.

Stages of a Butterfly

We are so going next week, maybe twice so make sure and watch for stories of our experience.

And in the mean time… Good luck to us all. We are gonna need it.



*I was not compensated to write this post… I was given a gift card to attend the Passport to Imagination program but I would have attended it anyways because kids love crafting and I have to do something with these kids. 



The Wine Pour Battle

“Ok, they are all ready for you,” I said with a sigh as I walked down the last two steps.

Jeff didn’t look up from his computer but only grunted.

“Did you hear me? They are waiting for you.” I said, slightly annoyed.

“Yeah. I’ll head up in just a minute,” he answered me.

Since he answered me, I knew that he heard me so I walked into the kitchen, opened the cupboard and pulled out a wine glass.

It was my favorite time of day. The kids were finally in bed, sure they were still messing around and I could hear them giggling but I didn’t really care. The day full of constant, “Mom. Mommy. Mom. Momma. Mom. Mommy” was over. It was time for me.

It’s not that they are bad kids or anything or are constantly misbehaving. Quite the opposite, for the most part they are pretty good. They make me smile and laugh They show me the world in a different way. I do enjoy them. I like them. It’s just that by 8pm, I am done. I want time to have a complete thought or no thoughts. I want to just be still and not have to get anyone anything. I’ve been up and moving, constantly doing something for someone for almost 14 hours and since nap time is long a thing of the past, I’ve had no break.

Yeah, their bedtime will always been my favorite time of day.

I chose a bottle of wine from the wine rack and rummaged around in the drawer for the cork screw. When I found it, I opened the bottle and poured a glass. I took a sip and exhaled. I felt the warm red wine coat my throat and I could feel my body relax.

“All tucked in?” I asked as Jeff returned from upstairs.

He nodded as he too went to the cupboard and removed a glass.

I watched him intently.

“What are you doing?’ I asked.

“Um…isn’t obvious?” he began, “I am going to have a glass of wine. Is that alright with you?”

I snickered, of course it was alright with me, him having a glass of wine didn’t bother me, him pouring the glass did.

“Yeah, that’s fine… can I pour it for you?” I asked.

Jeff rolled his eyes at me.

And thus began another round of the longest standing argument in our marriage. ‘The Jeff Pour’ vs ‘The Jen Pour’.

wine pour battle

I like to pour a smaller glass and have more of them and he likes to pour a larger glass and nurse it longer. We normally share a bottle which means about 2 glasses of wine each.  The problem with this is that is larger glass sometimes means there is less wine for me. It’s selfish I know and I suppose we could just open another bottle but then I’d want some of that wine and mixing two bottles of wine is just not right.

In the grand scheme of things, I realize this is a silly argument. I know I should not care but I do. It’s just my thing. Just like I like the light switches all up or all down, I care about how much of an over pour Jeff does.

I didn’t know what we are going to do about this. I tried not to care. I tried just not to look but I can’t stop. My annoyance grows and grows. There has to be a solution.

And one day while walking in the grocery store down the wine aisle, as I sacrificed my body to save a bottle of wine one of the kids was about to knock over, a solution presented itself, literally right in front of my face.

Black Box Wine.

I was skeptical at first. Being kind of a wine snob, I had always turned my nose up at boxed wine. It was cheap and usually not very good but I need a solution to this problem. I didn’t know if I could have another ‘Jeff Pour’ vs ‘Jen Pour’ argument.

I picked up the black box and studied it.

The description, “This wine blends Merlot grapes from California’s finest regions which combine to make a blend brimming with redberry fruit, soft tannins and a smooth concentrated finish”  woo’d me and made my mouth water. The shiny award labels made me smile.

And the fact that it contained 4 bottles in one bag made me place that box in my cart.

Then later that night when I tasted the wine, the flavors of  plums, sweet red currants and cinnamon spiced oak danced on my tongue, I was completely won over.

Curious, Jeff walked over to investigate. I allowed him a sip from my glass.

“Nice,” he said, “That’s really good.”

I nodded, smiled and then handed him an empty glass.

“There are about 4 bottles  in there. So you can ‘Jeff pour’ away.” I said as I walked away with my glass.

It was over. The pour battle was finally over.

Thank you Black Box Wine, thank for ending a many year long argument in such a beautiful and blissful way.

Black Box Wine

It’s time to think inside the box. Available in ten delicious varietals and two sizes (3L and Tetra), Black Box Wine will have you ready to lose the bottle! Black Box Wines is perfect for all your summer gatherings!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Black Box Wines. The opinions and text are all mine.,affiliateId-Jen-2P).js

I Have an Accessory Obsession

*This Giveaway is Now Closed. But please still check out Pretty Strungout*

I love accessories. Love Love Love them. When it comes does it, you could say, I have an accessory obsession.

I love all things necklaces, rings, earrings, belts, handbags, clutches and bracelets but especially earrings and necklaces. I only have two ears and one neck but from all the earrings and necklaces that I have you’d think I would have 5 pairs of ears and 6 necks.

I am always on the hunt to find unique, like nothing I have never seen before, no one else will have it  jewelry.

Well, cue my newest favorite shop… Pretty Strungout.

Go ahead, look around the site… it’s fabulous, you won’t be sorry.

Oh how I love this jewelry! Why well, first of all it’s fabulous but second of all, it’s totally unique.

“Each of our pendants are lovingly handmade with wood, non-toxic resin, and recycled magazines, CD artwork & other available print materials.
No two Pretty Strungout pendants or earring sets are exactly alike!”

And because I love all of you, I am going to host a little giveaway for one of the fabulous necklaces. One lucky reader will get to pick one of these eight necklaces for their very own.

Here is what you need to do… Leave a Comment as to which necklace you would like to win.

That’s it but now if you want bonus entries and I know you do. You can do one or all of the following…

(please leave a separate comment for each bonus you do)

1. Follow Pretty Strungout on Twitter @strungoutpretty

2. Like Pretty Strungout on Facebook

3. Tweet about this giveaway. You can say something like

Do you like fabulous jewelry? @buriedwithkids is hosting a @strungoutpretty giveaway Check it out

Awesome, right?! Well, that’s not all *said in my best prize announcer voice*… the shop owners are currently offering free shipping on any order shipped to North American and if you use the code BURIEDWITHKIDS you will get 10% off your order.

Do you know what that means?! It means you need to go check out Pretty Strungout and get yourself some awesome, custom jewelry. Because a girl can never have too many accessories.

The Fine Print:

  • All comments must have a valid email address.
  • This giveaway will run until 12am on Sunday 2/17/13.
  • The winner will be choose by random and contacted
  • You can tell me that I am pretty and awesome but it will not help you win, just make me happy.
  • I was not compensated in anyway for this giveaway. I purchased a necklace myself and my earrings where gifted . All opinions are my own and awesome.

LEGO Makes YouTube Safe for Kids

“Mom, how do you spell ‘YouTube?” Hayden called from the den.

It took a minute for me to process what he was saying, spell ‘YouTube’? What in the world was he talking about.

I walked over to him, “What do you want?”

“I wanna watch videos on YouTube and I don’t know how to spell it so that Google will take me there,” Hayden said matter of factly.

He said it like Googling was something he did every day. How much he knows about the Internet amazes me, sometime I wonder if he has a Twitter account that I don’t know about.

I leaned over the computer and pulled up YouTube. Hayden smiled at me and then wiped my hand off the mouse so that he could move the cursor into the search box. He clicked and then began typing l-u-g-i… when a selection of videos highlighting the video game popped up, Hayden smiled and clicked on one.

The video began to play and I walked out of the room. I smiled and walked back into the kitchen.

YouTube is awesome. There is so much information there. You can learn things from how to apply false eyelashes to make fondont roses to how to change the oil in your car. There are also videos of animals that will make you laugh and videos of the triumph of the human spirit that will make you cry.

I stirred the onions I chopped in the pan and thought about how many times I had watched videos on YouTube. I start with ones about bunnies eating carrots, so cute, and then because of the YouTube ‘rabbit hole’ end up viewing videos that I can never unsee about things that should never been done with a carrot and humans.

My ‘mom-sense’ suddenly went on high alert. What had I done? I left my son alone in a room on YouTube where he is just savvy enough to click around.

“Hayden!” I screamed as I dropped the spoon in the pan.

I knew it would take more than that to get him to look away from the computer so I walked into the room, trying to calm myself… a freak out would do none of us any good.

“Hayden,” I said again, “what are you watching?!”

He barely looked up at me. I looked over his shoulder and saw that just as I thought he was no long on video game movies. “Please don’t let it be some horse sex video. Please. Please Please.” I whispered to myself.

Then I got an idea.

“You wanna watch something really cool?!” I asked Hayden taking the mouse from him and stopped the video before it could play on.

“Sure,” he said.

I remembered that LEGO had a YouTube channel. A place that is full of kid friendly awesome, safe, videos. Parents can even make playlists and kids can watch until their hearts content.

Let’s just say as soon as the videos loaded, Hayden completely ignored me and in Hayden’s world, one should that that as a compliment. It means that means he is a big fan.

I encourage you to check out the LEGO YouTube channel. There are a ton of fun videos that kids will like and they even made some LEGO bloopers. I don’t know about you but I love blooper videos.

There is a lot of content on web; creating a playlist on the Official LEGO® Channel is a great way to ensure your kids are entertained and watching videos you can feel good about.

Visit the Official LEGO® Channel to build your own playlist to watch with your kids and then reply below for a chance to win one (1) $1,000 gift card to buy your family’s favorite LEGO® products!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LEGO. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.,affiliateId-Jen-2P).js

Take Care of the Heart

“I can’t feel a pulse!” I said placing my hand on my patient’s neck. “I’m starting CPR!”

I laced my fingers together and placed them palm side down in the middle of  my patient’s chest. I pushed down with all my might starting the count in my head, feeling the recoil of the chest wall after each pump.

“…3 and 4 and 5 and 6… push the code button, we need some help!” I said to the nursing aid in the room with me.

“What’s happening? What’s going on?” the patient’s family screamed behind me.

I wanted to answer, I tried, but my focus was on saving this woman’s life. I stopped chest compressions long enough to give her breaths and then returned my hands to her chest, keeping the counting going, knowing the rhythm was important.

Soon the room with filled with my co-workers. Each person knew their job — patient connected to the AED, rescue breaths given, medications pushed.

“I’m clear. You’re clear. We’re all clear!”

The familiar chant registered in my brain and I stepped back from my patient. Her whole body jolted and hopped up from the bed at the electrical current directed at her heart.

The pause was just long enough for me to feel the shake in my arms. I found myself panting, out of breath. Adrenalin surging through my veins.

“Shock delivered, continue CPR!”

One of my co-workers stepped in my placed and continued pumping of the chest of my patient, forcing the heart to circulate the blood to the vital organs.

Sounds of sobbing touched my ears and I remembered the family. My patient’s husband and daughter huddled in the corner.

I walked over, “Because of her heart attack, her heart went into a bad heart rhythm. One that doesn’t circulate the blood or support life. We are trying to get out of it.”

They nodded and me, eyes are big as saucers, watching everyone work. I stood with them, knowing my place was with this husband and daughter. My co-workers worked… medication, CPR, breathing, shocks and soon the words I was hoping, praying, to hear were spoken,

“I can feel a pulse!”

My patient began to move her legs around, she opened her eyes. Her husband grabbed onto me for support, the strength in his legs gone.

“Quick! Get a set of vitals, get some labs and let’s take her to cath lab,” the doctor barked out orders.

“She’s gonna be ok,” I said to the husband, “she is gonna be ok.”

This was not my first code experience or my last but each time I go through something like this, I say a prayer of thanks for my health and that of my family’s health.

Keeping your heart healthy is so important and there are many ways that  a person can do this: exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep. They are simple things but they really matter.

Heart disease effects all people. It doesn’t matter you age, sex or creed. You only have one heart… you must take care of it.

I walked in the door after my shift, exhausted. Home was right where I needed to be after a day like that. The kids raced up to give me a hug and welcome me home like I had been gone for days not just hours.

“Hey babe,” Jeff said, “How was work?”

“Too exciting,” I said with a sigh.

“Hungry? I saved you some pasta,” he replied.

I couldn’t help but smile and feel like the luckiest woman in the world as my eyes found my dinner, whole wheat pasta with Prego Heart Smart sauce, beans and milk. Something simple but so good at the same time.

“Thank you,” I said to him, “Thank you for taking care of my belly and my heart.”

Follow the steps below and share how you care for your heart to participate in Campbell’s contest and you could win a $50,000 kitchen makeover.  Contest Rules & Prize Page.

Step 1: Submit a photo below that shows how you care for your heart

Step 2: Fill out the information required including your name, email address and zip code.

Step 3: Write a short contest entry (up to 200 words) that corresponds with the photo and share how you care for your heart. Please be honest and sincere with all your thoughts and remember to tell us in 200 words or less.

Step 4: Confirm you’ve read the Official Rules.

Step 5: Log in through your Facebook account.

Step 6: Submit your contest entry.

You can share your contest entry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and visit for recipes, tips, and downloadable coupons for heart-healthy products from Campbell.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Campbell Soup Company’s Address Your Heart initiative.  The opinions, text, and images are all mine.,affiliateId-Jen-2P).js

Movie Night

“Do you guys wanna have a pizza and movie night?” I asked the kids.

I don’t really know why I asked because I already knew what they answer would be. It’s not like I was asking them to eat green leafy vegetable and watch paint dry.

“YEAH!!” they all screamed and began to dance, hope and skip around the room.

This was the easy part, getting them to agree on a movie, that took the negotiations skills of the most skilled hostage negotiator trying to save a bank full of people from a man dressed in nothing but a trench coat and explosives.

“I want to watch Power Rangers,” Jake said.

“I want to watch a Princess movie,” Claire said.

“I want to watch Lord of the Rings,” Hayden said, knowing full well he was not old enough to watch this movie but he always had to try and ask.

“I want to watch…” Quinn began but because he was quiet by nature, his voice was not enough to cut through the arguing that was now happening between his siblings.

“Alright, enough!” I said to quiet the room and then pulled out the ‘mom guns’, “I will pick the movie.”

I walked to the kitchen and found my pile of  ‘things to deal with’ which should not be confused with my ‘to do’ pile and my ‘put away’ pile and found the package that the UPS man had delivered to me earlier that week.

“Here, we are going to watch this,” I said pulling the movie out of the envelope.

“YEAH!!!” they all cheered, “Santa Paws 2!”

I smiled at my victory and set the movie into the DVD player.

Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups is about a new litter of four playful pups but when the frisky foursome—Hope, Jingle, Charity and Noble—practically destroy Santa’s Workshop with their mischievous gamboling, they realize the best way to prove that they’re responsible enough to become Santa’s Helpers is to show how well they can spread the Christmas spirit all by themselves.

With help from a magic crystal, they start granting everyone’s wishes. But their good intentions backfire when one unhappy boy asks that Christmas go away forever! With his wish impetuously fulfilled, and the joyous spirit quickly disappearing from the planet, Mrs.Claus and the pups have to find a way to reverse the spell—or risk losing Christmas forever!

The kids watched the whole movie without moving and muscle, this truly was a magical movie. And then as soon as the credits began to roll, they started to play puppies which isn’t a far cry from their normal game of kitties.

“Did you like the movie, Quinn?” I asked knowing that he would like it best of all being the animal lover of the bunch.

“Oh yesh, Mommy! I love it so much I want to marry it and then be a dog-kitty,” he said making his best cute animal face.

I smiled at him and he giggled then ran back to join his brothers and sister.

“I am glad,” I said. “So very glad.”

If you would like a copy of Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post by 12pm EST on 11/16/12 . All comments left must contain a valid email address and the winner will be contacted by email. This would make a great gift for any child who loves animals in your life or if you just need to harness the full power of your electronic babysitter.

*I received a copy of this movie. All opinions are my own.*


The Daily Grind

There is a dry-erase calendar on my fridge.

There is a paper calendar on my cupboard.

There is my phone set up with calendar alerts to remind me of events.

Do I have it all down?

Do I remember all I have to do?

Do I keep every thing straight?

In my dreams…

Maybe because a typical day for me is like this goes something like this.

6:22am alarm rings

6:23am snooze

6:32am alarm rings

6:33am  snooze

6:42am  alarm rings

6:43am “Oh shit, Jeff! We are late. Get up! Get up! Get Up!!!”

6:44am Stumble into kitchen, trip over cat who wants to be fed and a child who thought the cold kitchen floor was a good place to lay.

6:45am Check school lunch calendar

6:46-6:52am Discuss with children whether or not they want school lunch or home lunch. Ask each child about 12 times getting a different answer each time and finally say screw it.

6:53am Decide everyone will eat school lunch causing one child great distress.

6:54am Make upset child lunch

6:55am Make two more lunches for children who changed their minds.

6:58am Scream at children for not being dressed to which they respond, “But mom, you didn’t get us any clothes.”

6:59am Run upstairs and downstairs finding clean clothes for children.

7:03am Make breakfast

7:04am Listen to children complain and moan about not liking breakfast and give them a lecture about how starving children in Africa would give their left arm to eat soggy Cheerios.

7:06am Explain that no, children in Africa can’t really take their arms off their bodies to give to people.

7:07am Call children to eat

7:08am Gather back packs

7:09am Find all shoes because God forbid they all be left by the door.

7:10am Encourage children to eat

7:12am Listen to Jake tell a story about how his friend in school was bitten by a Python and lived to tell about it.

7:16am Reassure children there are no Pythons living in our woods

7:20am Encourage children to eat

7:21am Encourage children to eat faster

7:22am Strongly encourage children to eat as fast as they as if their lives depended upon it.

7:24am Find homework paper that should have been done last night.

7:25am Hear phone reminder that it’s Quinn’s library day.

7:26-7:31am Search house for library book, find every missing toy, lost baby pacifier and $3.28 in change but no library book.

7:32am Comfort crying Quinn as Claire magically pulls missing library book from a secret hidden hole in the ground.

7:33-7:35am Debate with Hayden how this is not the time to play the DS and no, he can not take it to school.

7:36am Realize we should have been at the bus stop one minute ago… “GET YOUR COATS AND SHOES!”

7:37am Realize one coat is missing but quickly find it under the computer desk.

7:39am Race like a bat out of hell down the road to the bus stop praying the bus didn’t come yet.

7:42am Bus pulls up, breathe a sigh of relief.

7:43am All kids on the bus, frantically wave good bye and blow kisses.

7:44am Bus pulls away

7:46am Back home, do a little happy dance then focus on next most important activity… finding caffeine.

8:00am to 3:45pm These hours are spent packing in all the activities that are best done when children are not home… blogging, tweeting and watching soap operas with a little laundry and online shopping thrown in.

Then what begins at 3:51pm is a flurry of activity that includes, chill out TV time, homework, choir practice, Cub Scouts meeting, dinner, baths, more homework, and ends finally with all the kids in bed.

After reclaiming the house from the chaos, I sit and breath and gather what strength I need to do it all again tomorrow.

From soccer practice to PTA meetings, feeding an active and busy family can be hard. Tyson® Mini Bread Bowls help you get a little goodness on the go.

Reply below to let me know what activities keep you and your family eating on the go and you could win $500 cash from Tyson Foods!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.;sz=1×1;ord=%5Btimestamp%5D?,affiliateId-Jen-2P).js