"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." (Aldo Leopold) Apparently, I cannot.


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Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: 8/30/13 (Baby Edition)

So I thought I’d do a little something different with this week’s SHSFGF post and put a little theme to it. This decision may or may not have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t have too many photos to include this week. Whatever the reason (or not), I think this is something I’m going to do from time to time, so stay tuned for more themed requests. 🙂

Now, without further adieu, I give you this week’s theme: Babies!!

Some baby pics that have made me happy:

My oldest, "Belle" (now 5)

My oldest, “Belle” (now 5)

My middle, "Saurus" (now 3)

My middle, “Saurus” (now 3)

My youngest, "Eli" (now 1)

My youngest, “Eli” (now 1)

And some baby pics that made you happy:

Stephanie from TX: Ace Avery Harrison. He is 7 months in this pic and 10 months now.

Stephanie from TX: Ace Avery Harrison. He is 7 months in this pic and 10 months now.

Ann from X

Ann from MI: Look at that cutie pie!

Laura from X: One of my favourite pics of my 5-week-old daughter Evie Marie. It makes me smile as it looks like shes poking her tongue out at her toy hedgehog, either that or shes about to lick its nose!

Laura from Australia: One of my favourite pics of my 5-week-old daughter Evie Marie. It makes me smile as it looks like shes poking her tongue out at her toy hedgehog, either that or shes about to lick its nose!

Terri from X: This is my gorgeous grandson who I fittingly nick named "TAZ" he is the apple of my eye I <3 this little boy so much. In this pic he is about 10 months.

Terri from MN: This is my gorgeous grandson who I fittingly nick named “TAZ.” He is the apple of my eye!

Tiffany from AR: My son Kade at about 1 month old.

Tiffany from AR: My son Kade at about 1 month old.

Koa from Full Blown Bunny: Baby Jed, now 4.5, at 5 months. Makes me smile every time. ;-)

Koa from Full Blown Bunny: Baby Jed, now 4.5, at 5 months. Makes me smile every time. 😉

Shaneal from SC: Here's a pic of my son Elijah when he was 1 month old. And the other picture is me at 3 months.

Shaneal from SC: Here’s a pic of my son Elijah when he was 1 month old. And the other picture is me at 3 months.

From Chronically Sick Manic Mother: This week I have been playing with my pinhole camera app. It gives real true black and whites and Its helped me realize what the lighting is in regular color pictures too! This is the kid...a cool barn and Princess P.

From Chronically Sick Manic Mother: This week I have been playing with my pinhole camera app. It gives real true black and whites and Its helped me realize what the lighting is in regular color pictures too! This is the kid…a cool barn and Princess P.

Renee from X: My baby boy is getting so big! just turned 6 months old :)

Renee from CA: My baby boy is getting so big! just turned 6 months old 🙂

Nicole from IL: Baby Alice!

Nicole from IL: Baby Alice!

Julianne from MD: (1) This is what happens when you get your big brother's hand-me-down clothes and toys--no one can tell from the photo that you're a girl. (2) Baby girl's first Strawberry Festival (June 2011).

Julianne from MD: (1) This is what happens when you get your big brother’s hand-me-down clothes and toys–no one can tell from the photo that you’re a girl. (2) Baby girl’s first Strawberry Festival (June 2011).

Maryann from KY: Patton's Kentucky born and raised :) Here he thought he was funny because he got on the other side of the baby gate. He's 13 months old.

Maryann from KY: Patton’s Kentucky born and raised 🙂 Here he thought he was funny because he got on the other side of the baby gate. He’s 13 months old.

As always, thanks to everyone who submitted some happiness! Please keep it coming. Until next week…

Fridays on Raising Wild Things are Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays! Since parenting can sometimes suck the  life out of me, I wanted to do these posts as reminders of the good, the great things that happened during the week amid all the crazy, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening, sometimes head-exploding moments that seem to linger in my memory and can put me in a mommy funk. What makes you happy? Please share!


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Too Tired to Try Tuesday: Rock Candy

Today’s Too Tired to Try Tuesday idea comes from my friend Carrie at Short Stack Stitches. She and her daughter have started doing weekly experiments, and this one — in addition to creating a yummy result — carries a lot of learning with it. That’s right, rock candy is tasty, and creating it can be very educational. 🙂

rock candy

Photo courtesy of Carrie at Short Stack Stitches

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 to 3 cups of sugar (we used 2)
  • 1-2 clothespins (we used 2)
  • 1 wooden dowel or skewer
  • 1 tall, narrow jar
  • Food coloring, vanilla (optional)

You’ll then need a few days to grow your candy. It starts with some sugar dissolving and dowel dipping and rolling, and then after a few days, you have your candy.

To see Carrie’s complete post with step-by-step instructions and photos (plus a video!), along with some things Carrie and her daughter learned from this experiment, please click here. While you’re there, please also check out all of Carrie’s adorable handmade items (she has capes [yup, I said capes], lovies, blankets, and more)!

As always, if you try it, let us know how it turns out. And send some pics!

I’m no cooking or crafting guru, so I started these Too Tired to Try Tuesday posts to share craft and recipe ideas that I’ve come across and would really like to try but am just too damned tired (that sounds better than lazy, right?) to get around to. In addition to ideas that I find, I am open to submissions from you–either something tried and true or something you want to try but haven’t had the time to. Just send me an email at raisingwildthingsblog@gmail.com with your ideas, and I may share them here. (And by “may” I mean “will definitely”! I just confessed how lazy tired I am, so if you take the time to send me something to share, I’m going to share it!)


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Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: 8/23/13

Happy day everyone! You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t done much blogging this week. I’m a little buried with life stuff right now — my 5 yo started kindergarten this week, and I’m swamped with work (and NOT the cleaning up spilled milk and wiping butts kind of work, my other day job) — so I’m on a bit of a writing hiatus. Thanks for hanging around until I can get it all reigned in. In the meantime, enjoy some adorable pics!!

Some things that made me happy:

Having fun at the county fair!

Having fun at the county fair!

Little man was excited to be at the fair, but really wanted to ride some rides, too.

Little man was excited to be at the fair, but really wanted to ride some rides, too.

Had to get the very last bit of chocolate off his funnel cake.

Had to get the very last bit of chocolate off his funnel cake.

Somebody started kindergarten this week!

Somebody started kindergarten this week!

He is such a goofball!

He is such a goofball!

And some things that made you happy:

Claire Kent from Sydney, Australia: I looooove painting mumma!

Claire Kent from Sydney, Australia: I looooove painting mumma!

Danielle from CA: My little man has Down syndrome but is the most "uppity" soul I have ever encountered, and he makes me a better person and brings joy and happiness to everyone he meets -- he makes my heart happy!

Danielle from CA: My little man has Down syndrome but is the most “uppity” soul I have ever encountered, and he makes me a better person and brings joy and happiness to everyone he meets — he makes my heart happy!

Phyllis from NC: Abby and Jeb holding hands because that is what big sisters and baby brothers do!

Phyllis from NC: Abby and Jeb holding hands because that is what big sisters and baby brothers do!

Jerica from CO: My daughter on her first day of kindergarten; my daughter and her auntie Veronica playing on the play ground; and . . . Baby Bump : ) 6 months with another girl!

Jerica from CO: My daughter on her first day of kindergarten; my daughter and her auntie Veronica playing on the play ground; and . . . Baby Bump : ) 6 months with another girl!

Devan from TN: My baby telling me I have lipstick on my teeth!

Devan from TN: My baby telling me I have lipstick on my teeth!

As always, thanks to everyone who submitted some happiness! Please keep it coming. Until next week…

Fridays on Raising Wild Things are Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays! Since parenting can sometimes suck the  life out of me, I wanted to do these posts as reminders of the good, the great things that happened during the week amid all the crazy, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening, sometimes head-exploding moments that seem to linger in my memory and can put me in a mommy funk. What makes you happy? Please share!


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Comic Strip Mama’s Book Release and Stairway to Awesomeness Blog Tour

3psrqvlF5hdTWipqQrGlUpPvXEfJ8db9krciihNecHEI’m on a new-book-sharing kick these days. My friend Tanya from Comic Strip Mama has just released her first book, and I am very excited to share it with you: Stairway to Awesomeness: 30 Fundamental Steps to Living a Life of Awesomeness.

I first met Tanya through her Comic Strip Mama Facebook page. These cute and relatable comics kept popping up in my newsfeed, so I just had to check her out. I learned pretty quickly just what a funny cartoonist and writer she is, in addition to being such a sweetheart and genuinely nice person. So when Tanya shared that she was going to be publishing a book, I was happy to jump on her Stairway to Awesomeness Blog Tour to help her promote it. 

To learn a little more about Tanya, aka Comic Strip Mama, why she decided to write her book, and what her writing journey was like, please check out the Q&A that follows. And, there may or may not be TWO giveaways linked at the end. 🙂

Q: What’s inside the mind of Comic Strip Mama the author?

A:  Life is HARD and it isn’t always fair. And sometimes, life is downright insane! I have experienced many of life’s seemingly insurmountable blows and for many years I struggled and lived a dark, disturbing, depressing, miserable and reckless existence as a result. Eventually, I discovered why I was struggling so much. That is when I changed my way of thinking and being and reinvented myself into the person that I am today…a strong, happy and positive person and parent who strives to achieve “awesomeness” every day, in every way!

In January of 2012, I embarked on a comic and writing hobby journey that eventually turned into a self-syndicated webcomic and writing business, Comic Strip Mama Enterprises Inc.. Since, I have been “stripping away” the insanity of life and parenthood in an effort to make people realize that life is better when you’re laughing and not taking it SO seriously! Ultimately, my mission as a person, a parent, a cartoonist, an author and an entrepreneur is to encourage and inspire others to embrace the insanity, focus on the positive, recognize the blessings and find the humor in life. I feel like I am obligated to share how I have learned to live this way as my positive contribution to the world. I do this by providing a daily dose of humor and inspiration to my readers through the power of social media and I hope that my book will reach and teach millions more worldwide!

Q: Tell us why readers should buy Stairway to Awesomeness.

A: Stairway to Awesomeness is not your average self-improvement book. It is the ultimate self-improvement book that goes against the grain of many self-help/self-improvement books out there. I take my readers on my very real tragedy-to-triumph life journey and explain HOW and WHY I changed my way of thinking about many things that so many of us are conditioned to believe. The 30 fundamental steps that I write and illustrate about are tried-and-true and life changing and I prove that achieving a life of awesomeness IS possible. There is also a very unique and humorous comic twist throughout the book that will make you smile as you make your own climb to awesomeness!

Q: What makes a good self-improvement book?

A: An awesome self-improvement book should educate, inspire and motivate the reader to WANT to change and improve their life for the better. But most importantly, it should give the reader a sense of confidence that they can realistically achieve positive results.

Q: What is a regular writing day like for you?

A: If I’m meeting a deadline or have a goal in mind, I write with focus and intention. Otherwise, I write and illustrate about thoughts and experiences that effortlessly enter my scatterbrain mind and I usually have more than one writing projects on the go! I also use a smartphone app for my comic and writing ideas on the go!

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?

A: The fact that I am able to reach, entertain, educate, encourage and inspire millions of people to be awesome!

Q: How did you celebrate the completion of your book?

A: I celebrated the completion of my book the same way that I celebrate any awesome milestone in life. I let out a big “Wooo Hooo!” with a fist pump, spent some quality time with my special ones, expressed my gratitude for everything awesome in my life and enjoyed a glass of wine… or two.

If you’re interested in connecting with Comic Strip Mama, please check out her website and her Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads pages. And if you’re interested in checking out her book, available in paperback or on your Kindle, please click here!

Oh, and as promised, I’m sharing two different giveaways that you can enter to win your very own copy of Stairway to Awesomeness.

1. You can enter Comic Strip Mama’s Stairway to Awesomeness Book Release Extravaganza Grand Prize by clicking here. This giveaway includes:

  • 1 signed paperback copy and 1 Kindle copy of Stairway to Awesomeness
  • 1 Comic Strip Mama™ calendar
  • 1 Comic Strip Mama™ t-shirt
  • 1 Comic Strip Mama™ mug
  • 1 $10 Amazon gift card
  • 1 Kindle copy of Submerged

2. You can enter a Rafflecopter giveaway here for a Kindle copy of the book that I am co-hosting with my friend Kayla at Chasing a Daredevil and Twins, who is also hosting the blog tour for Comic Strip Mama today. (Ok, truth be told, I’ve done nothing to earn the title of co-host for this giveaway . . . Kayla did all of the work of putting it together and very kindly asked if I’d like to be a part of it. So, if you’re looking for another wonderfully kind person to stalk, I urge you to check out her blog and Facebook page. When I’m not chasing after my own daredevils, I appreciate reading about her little ones’ antics!)


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Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: 8/16/13

Because I goofed and forgot to ask for submissions yesterday until very late in the day, this week’s post is a little more bare than usual. Still, there’s some pretty cute stuff in here. Take a gander, won’t you?

Some things that made me happy (at least one of my sons makes an appearance, can you spot him?):

Because the Stuffie, the doll, and the dragon need to be buckled in on the car ride and reading a book.

Because the Stuffie, the doll, and the dragon need to be buckled in on the car ride and reading a book.

She wasn't going to let a little rain keep her inside!

She wasn’t going to let a little rain keep her inside!

Baby footprint

Baby footprint

I'm sure the neighbors had a chuckle. And yes, that IS a rockin outfit she has on!

I’m sure the neighbors had a chuckle. And yes, that IS a rockin outfit she has on!

Woke up one morning and this awaited me on the couch. (They had gotten up with their daddy and then went back to sleep.)

Woke up one morning and this awaited me on the couch. (They had gotten up with their daddy and then went back to sleep.)

Homemade dresses for the baby dolls.

Homemade dresses for the baby dolls.

Dinosaur parade.

Dinosaur parade.

And some things that made you happy (sorry again for my late photo request):

Chelsea from MO: My son Harry insisting that he stand at 4 months old. And he happens to be standing in front of my very first Mother's Day gift given to me by his older brother in 2010.

Chelsea from MO: My son Harry insisting that he stand at 4 months old. And he happens to be standing in front of my very first Mother’s Day gift given to me by his older brother in 2010.

Julianne from MD: My little ones, in Amish country.

Julianne from MD: My little ones, in Amish country.

As always, thanks to everyone who submitted some happiness! Please keep it coming. Until next week…

Fridays on Raising Wild Things are Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Fridays! Since parenting can sometimes suck the  life out of me, I wanted to do these posts as reminders of the good, the great things that happened during the week amid all the crazy, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening, sometimes head-exploding moments that seem to linger in my memory and can put me in a mommy funk. What makes you happy? Please share!


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That’s What He Said: Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad

Dave from AI-PDThat’s right, we have our first male interviewee this week! I found Dave from Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad through Facebook where he had left a comment on my page. His name alone had me want to immediately stalk him, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Dave is a former attorney who much prefers his job as a stay at home dad to two hilarious and adorable children. He is lucky to have an awesome wife who indulges and supports his obsessions, which currently include running Spartan Races and writing his blog.

And here’s what he said . . .

1. A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

He’d ask for a cerveza. Ice. Friggin. Cold. Because, you know, he just kind of wants to hang. And, sombrero-clad penguins know better than anyone that nothing breaks the ice better than a frosty beer.

2. If my family and I came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Before we get to dinner, let me admit that my wife, Allie, and I would have some major cleaning to do. As a stay at home dad, I know that part of my job is keeping the house. Unfortunately, I am the world’s worst house keeper. So, it’d probably be a mad dash to make the house look presentable. As for food, first we’d make sure you ate meat. I’m not sure why, but I seem to have a tendency to befriend vegetarians. If it wasn’t a problem, we’d cook you and your family some kinda meat and probably mac & cheese to make sure the kids ate something. Dinner wouldn’t matter nearly as much as desert. Allie is an awesome baker. If we really liked (or were trying to impress) you, she’d make her chocolate blackout cake, which is a rich chocolate cake with layers of an even richer homemade chocolate pudding. It’s awesome.

3. Pick two celebrities to be your parents.

My celebrity parents would be George Takei and Harrison Ford. I love George Takei’s Howard Stern appearances. I’m not sure if he knows exactly why he’s funny, but he rolls with it and he’s hilarious! I think if he were my dad, I could kind of get away with a lot of stuff. But we’d also have a lot of fun together. Plus, if I complained about something in my life he could talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp and shut me the hell up. Harrison Ford seems like a bit of a prick, but he was Hans Solo and Indiana Jones. And that is just cool!

4. Fred Flintstone vs. George Jetson. Who wins?

I assume this is in hand-to-hand combat. Fred Flintstone wins hands down. He’s a little out of shape, but he works with his hands and eats a lot of protein. George Jetson gets some exercise on the treadmill with Astro, but I’m pretty sure that’s about it. Plus, he’s used to the zero gravity of space. This fight is obviously taking place on earth (how would a caveman even get to outer space?), where George Jetson’s body will feel so comparatively heavy he’ll barely be able to lift his arms to defend himself.

5. For what would you be named the “World’s Best Inventor?”

The perfect playground. I’m not talking anything crazy here, just some common sense improvements. First of all, one entrance/exit. Why do I need to patrol 10 different means of escape at every playground we go to? Second, slides that don’t heat up to like 1000 degrees in the sun. Same with the ground. When there’s a water feature at the playground (and there should definitely be a water feature at the playground), the kids like to run around barefoot. They shouldn’t have to risk getting third degree burns on their little tootsies. Third, shady areas. Mostly for the parents. Fourth, clean bathrooms with changing tables. Fifth, lots of stuff to climb on. Climbing is awesome! Sixth, no sand box. Those things are disgusting; I can’t not picture stray animals using them as litter boxes at night. And good luck convincing your toddler he shouldn’t eat the sand! There’s probably some other stuff I’ll think of next time I’m at the playground, but that’ll do for now.

6. What shape best describes your personality?

An oval. I’m not a perfect circle and I’m good with that. I’m actually kind of a messed up oval, with nicks and gaps. I’m trying to be a better oval.

7. If your job was to simply count objects all day long, what would you be counting?

Boobs. Sorry. I’m a guy. I couldn’t think of anything else I’d like to count all day long.

8. Which animal would you want to trade places with for a day? Why?

A monkey. It’d be fun to climb and swing all day. Plus, I could fling poop at people who ticked me off.

9. When you’re 80, would you rather have yourself as a toddler or yourself as a tween as your roommate?

As a toddler. I whined less when I was a baby than when I was tween.

10. Would you rather smell the most offensive smell or hear the most offensive sound every single day for the rest of your life?

At first I thought this was an odd question to end on, but I realized that as a parent I’m an expert on offensive smells and (at least really annoying) sounds. I’m going to pick the smell. For me, the smell sucks but you deal with it and it goes away. The sound can ring in your ears hours later and give you a headache that lasts all day. If my kids were able to read this, I guess the message is: “I’ll deal with your shit, but please give daddy some peace and quiet for five friggin minutes!”

For more from Dave, please check out his blog, Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad, and his Facebook and Twitter pages. Thanks, Dave!

The idea for my “That’s What She (or He) Said” Interview series was born one evening when I was extremely tired and had a(nother) slight case of writer’s block. I really wanted to publish something, but even though I had 6 or 7 posts in the works, nothing was quite ready to publish. And I didn’t want to publish something half-assed just for the sake of publishing. So I decided it’d be fun to start doing some interviews. The point of these interviews is to introduce you to some of the talented writers whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting these past few months. (And by “meeting,” of course I mean virtually.) But I don’t want any humdrum interviews, so the questions I ask are completely whacky and off the wall. Some of the questions I’ve found online, and some I’ve made up. I hope you enjoy them! To see the other interviews in the series, please click here


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“You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth”: Obviously Hilarious, Surprisingly Poignant

The blogoshphere has been abuzz this past week after the release of “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth”: And Other Things You’ll Only Hear from Your Friends In the Powder Room. I’d been hearing just how funny it was from all of those people who snatched up their copies the second it came out, and it quickly climbed Amazon’s best-selling humor list. The book was obviously hilarious. I needed to get me a copy!

3D_coverForPRINTAnd then as if by some divine intervention, one of my friends, who just happens to be one of the contributor’s in the book, asked if I wanted a copy to review. So naturally, I said, “Hells yeah!” (In reality, I said something more boring like, “I’d absolutely love to,” but that didn’t have quite the dramatic flair that I was going for here.) Getting a book for free and knowing it was going to have me in stitches? Win, win!

But, if I’m being honest, then I got a little nervous. And sort of wished I hadn’t agreed to write a review. Because you know when a movie, for example, is built up so much and you just can’t wait to see it so you buy tickets online to the mid-week matinée show (because let’s face it, you’re excited, but not a millionaire) and call in sick to work and then show up to the movie theater 45 minutes early so that you can have all the time in the world to go to the bathroom, get your 3 pounds of popcorn and 256 oz drinking jug, find the perfect seat, run to the bathroom a second time, and not miss one second of the movie because it’s going to be that good? And then you’re all like, “Meh.” Yeah, I didn’t want that to happen.

I’ve been following most of these ladies since I began blogging earlier this year, so I know just how funny they are. Nevertheless, I began reading with a bit of trepidation. But right out of the box editor Leslie Marinelli (of The Bearded Iris and In the Powder Room fame) shared a story about her mismatched boobs. Hilarious, check. The next story was about one author’s decision to tell her friend that her dancing moves verged on (read: were in fact) stripper moves. Hilarious, check. But then I was caught off guard by the third story — it was about the time the author confessed to her mother that she didn’t want children. This poignant piece had me chuckling in parts, but mostly had me thinking how real, how raw this moment in time was for her.

And so the rest of the book went — humor weaved seamlessly with poignance. Bursts of laughing until I had to retrieve some dry underwear (hey, I’ve pushed three children out down there) followed by bursts of just wanting to reach through the book pages to give the author a big hug for sharing such a vulnerable moment. Stories about confronting a husband about his disgusting scratching habit, peeing in a friend’s clothes, and masturbating grandmas juxtaposed with stories about not wanting to get married, raising a child with special needs, and constantly being under the influence of love. I was so pleasantly surprised by this brilliance that I stopped reading the book through the eyes of a reviewer, and simply read it through the eyes of a woman who could relate to practically everything in it.

And that, my friends, is my favorite aspect of the book. Not that it is funny — because it certainly is that — but because it is so damn relatable! Sure, we haven’t all had our passion for dental hygiene affect our relationship with our boss, or made the decision not to get married, or told our mom about the secret anti-BJ club we’re in (and no, I’m not talking about the chain discount club) . . . but, I’m sure we’ve all had those death-by-anything-is-surely-better-than-the-embarrassment-I’m-feeling-right-now moments, and moments when our decisions didn’t align with “the norm” or others’ expectations, and moments when we share things with our moms (or other parent figures) that other people would never imagine sharing because that’s just the type of relationship we have.

So, would I recommend this book? Yes! Would I recommend it because it’s funny and I adore the writers and am happy to call some of them real-life friends? That’s part of it. But it’s also real and accurately telling about many of the universal themes that those of us with two X chromosomes face, from childhood to womanhood.

For more info on the book, or to check out bios from all of the contributor’s, please click here.

And a big, huge thank you to Amy at Funny is Family for sending me the book.