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


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To Bus or Not to Bus: That is the Question (Again)

Ever since my oldest discovered the existence of school buses, she began asking me when exactly she’d be able to take one to school. “When can I wide one?” my innocent little 2-year-old would ask, full of awe and excitement. “Oh, when you’re older sweetie,” I’d say. And that answer held her for a little while, but then she started asking, “But when, mamma?! When will I be older?” And so then I switched my response to, “Probably when you’re 5 and go to kindergarten.” I really didn’t want to think about putting my baby on a school bus ever, even when she turned 5, and luckily, 3 years was a long way off.

And then it wasn’t. It was almost as if I sneezed and we were instantly transported into the future — just weeks before Belle was to start kindergarten, and there we were, faced with the decision I didn’t really want to make: To bus or not to bus?

bus

But as far as my daughter was concerned, the decision had already been made. I had told her she could ride the bus when she turned 5 and was going to kindergarten, and that was that. In fact, over the years, her constant questions asking when she could ride the bus simply turned into statements of fact: “I’m going to ride the bus when I go to kindergarten.” Clearly she did not pick up on the fact that I had initially said she could “probably” ride the bus when she turned 5, nor did she pick up on my own fear and hesitation for her to actually do so. (Which, btw, I was grateful for.)

My daughter was clearly excited about riding the bus — seriously, whenever anyone would ask her what she was looking forward to most about starting school, she’d say, “I get to ride the bus.” She’d even walk up to strangers in the grocery store or at the park and say, “I’m starting kindergarten soon, and I get to ride the bus.” I am not exaggerating when I say that the girl was obsessed with riding that damn bus. Bus, bus, bus, bus, bus — it’s all we heard about for weeks and weeks before school started.

And my husband was all in on the bus idea, too. “But what if she gets scared?” I asked him. “How will she know what to do when she gets off the bus at school?” “What if she gets lost on the way to her classroom? It’s so far from the bus drop off!” “How will she find the right bus at the end of the day?” “What if she misses her stop?” “What if the older kids are mean to her?” “What if the bus gets a flat tire and the bus driver doesn’t have a phone on her to call for help and she’s stuck on the bus for hours and hours not knowing what’s going on and is scared and crying?” I threw all my fears at my husband in hopes of swaying him in the other direction. But my questions didn’t phase him. “Kids have been riding the bus for decades, they figure it out,” he said. And then he added, “I think it’s mommy who isn’t ready for the bus, not Belle.” Grrrrrrr.

But of course, he was right. I knew in my head that Belle would get the whole bus thing down within a day or two, and this was a part of tradition, of growing up, but my heart just wasn’t ready to let her go out into the big, scary world of elementary school on her own. I wasn’t ready for her to do this, but she was. And so, we decided she could take the bus.

And aside from some tears (mine, of course) on the first day of school, we got our whole bus routine down within a few days. Every day I put Belle on the bus, and every day — wouldn’t you know — she meets me at the end of our street, bounding off the bus to tell me about her day. She has never gotten lost getting from her bus to her class or from her class to her bus. She has never missed her stop. And she has never been stranded on the bus for hours due to a flat tire. Everything has seemed to be just peachy.

But? (Unfortunately, there is a but.) Just last week, Belle did something she shouldn’t have, and in the middle of me talking to her about it, she broke into tears and, completely off topic, starting telling me that there was a boy on the bus who had been mean to her and many of the other kids and that she didn’t want to ride the bus any more. She wanted me to start driving her. “I know I really wanted to ride the bus,” she sobbed (sobbed!) to me, “but I don’t want to ride a bus like that!”

My first thought was, “Who the hell is this kid? I will make sure he never bothers you again. And of course I will drive you to school.” I didn’t say this to her, of course. Instead I asked her how the boy was mean to her — because you know, sometimes kids say other kids are “mean” if they don’t want to play with them or if they don’t hear them say something and so then don’t respond. You know, pretty benign things. And my daughter can be really sensitive about that sort of stuff. But nope, Belle said the boy would try to throw water at her and some of the other younger kids, and he had even hit a neighbor of ours. And when I asked around, a few other neighbors mentioned they had heard similar stories from their kids about this little boy.

That was it. It was settled. Belle wouldn’t be riding the bus any more. I would make sure of it. But after discussing it with my husband, who also got riled up about someone being mean to his little girl, he made the valid point that if there really is a problem, we shouldn’t have to pull our daughter off the bus, rather the boy who is causing the problems should be pulled from the bus. And even more, our first step should probably be to speak with the bus driver before making any rash decisions.

Man, the husband was on a roll. Right again. And so, the next morning, just this past Friday, we headed to the bus again. Belle was hesitant, but I told her that I would speak to her bus driver, and we should see how the next few bus rides went. After getting all of the kids on the bus, I had a chat with the bus driver. I let her know what Belle and other kids in the neighborhood had told me and their parents, and I asked that she pay particular attention to this kid to make sure he didn’t continue with the questionable behavior. She didn’t respond with the concern I had expected, but she said very matter-of-factly that she’d take care of it. And so, I sent my baby on her way again, with a slight lump in the throat, I’ll admit, and prayed she’d have a good ride to and from school.

I was anxious to pick her up at the end of the day, but she seemed fine when she got off the bus. When I asked her if the little boy gave her or her friends any problems she said, “no,” and promptly ran to catch up with her friends so they could walk to the other end of the street together. Phew, I thought.

But of course (yes, another but) over this past weekend Belle was back to telling me she didn’t want to ride the bus any more. And so we’re back at the crossroads we found ourselves at the beginning of the school year: To bus or not to bus? That is the question. Again.

On the one hand, my husband and I feel that this is something Belle needs to work through and figure out how to deal with. Not everyone is going to be nice to her, and she can’t avoid things every time someone is mean to her. (I should note here that, although I have not witnessed anything first hand, I do not have the sense that this little boy is consciously bullying the other kids — he is also a kindergartener, and I think he may be just one of those kids who plays a little rough and doesn’t have a sense of when “fun” teasing crosses the line and when he should stop. I am in no way condoning his behavior or saying that my daughter doesn’t have a right to get upset by it, but I wanted to put out there that I don’t have the sense he is a physical threat or danger to the other kids. At this point, anyway, with all of the information I have.)

On the other hand, we recognize that Belle is only 5, and if she doesn’t want to ride the bus any more — for whatever reason — we want to help her feel as safe and comfortable as possible and remove all cause for anxiety or unhappiness, even if she has just changed her mind and decided she doesn’t like riding the bus.

Our solution as of today is to give this some time to see if things get better on the bus and if Belle starts to enjoy riding it again. We’ll see how the next few days go and re-evaluate after that.

Have you ever had a similar experience with your kids? If so, how did you handle it?


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Shiny, Happy, Sparkly, Feel-Good Friday: 9/20/13

This week’s post is short and sweet. Enjoy.

Some things that made me happy:

My happy little man

My happy little man

My rock star girl

My rock star girl

My gargoyle

My gargoyle

And some things that made you happy:

Danielle from CA: Did you know yogurt was finger food? :)

Danielle from CA: Did you know yogurt was finger food? 🙂

Claire Kent from Sydney, Australia: How we woke up our son Saxon on the morning of his 2nd birthday party, and how we ended the day.

Claire Kent from Sydney, Australia: How we woke up our son Saxon on the morning of his 2nd birthday party, and how we ended the day.

Julianne from MD: My big man with his favorite animals-penguins. At the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Julianne from MD: My big man with his favorite animals-penguins. At the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

From Chronically Sick Manic Mother: Look at all of the sweetness!

From Chronically Sick Manic Mother: Look at all of the sweetness!

The Allen girls from TN: Pizza Friday at Mellow Mushroom!

The Allen girls from TN: Pizza Friday at Mellow Mushroom!

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: No Butter, No Oil Yummy Pancakes

I’m always looking for ways to make comfort foods healthier without having them taste, errrr, healthier. If you know what I mean. I want the food to taste good AND be healthy! Is that too much to ask? I think not.

In looking for a recipe to share today, my friend JD from Honest Mom offered up one she created for healthier pancakes. Yes, healthy(er) pancakes. Now, she swears by them, and even her daughter declared them the “BEST PANCAKES EVER,” so I’m in. I think I’ll be giving these a go this weekend.

Photo courtesy of JD at Honest Mom

Photo courtesy of JD at Honest Mom

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup regular flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (JD uses Chobani)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Just under 1 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (omit if you are using vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon wheat germ (optional – add more if you’d like or leave it out)
  • Blueberries, bananas, or other extras (optional)
  • Two mixing bowls
  • Whisk

Then you’ll do some whisking (dry and wet ingredients separately at first), some mixing, some griddling, and some flipping. And the end result: some extra thick, yummy pancakes.

To see the complete post with step-by-step instructions from JD at Honest Mom, please click here.

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: 9/13/13

Oooh, I just realized it’s Friday the 13th. Eeeek. Hopefully these adorable pictures will counteract any creepiness you have going on. Hope you all have had a great week!

Some things that made me happy:

Some water fun at Gramma and Pop's (although I think we need a bigger pool, lol)

Some water fun at Gramma and Pop’s (although I think we need a bigger pool, lol)

My sweet Bean chilling and showing off her new bike.

My sweet Bean chilling and showing off her new bike.

His very first two-wheeler -- and of course the shark helmet!!

His very first two-wheeler — and of course the shark helmet!!

My littlest cutie pie

My littlest cutie pie

And some things that made you happy:

Devan from TN: Happy Patriot Day!

Devan from TN: Happy Patriot Day!

Julianne from MD: Learning about dinosaurs at the Science Center.

Julianne from MD: Learning about dinosaurs at the Science Center.

From Chronically Sick Manic Mother: My snickerdoodle turns one; Labor Day shennanigans; dress-up time; Princess P was too cute this week.

From Chronically Sick Manic Mother: My snickerdoodle turns one; Labor Day shennanigans; dress-up time; Princess P was too cute this week.

From Ms. Snippy Bloomers: Balloon artistry at it's best.

From Ms. Snippy Bloomers: Balloon artistry at it’s best.

Melissa from MD: Making milkshakes; first trip to Camden Yards; fast friends -- a visit with a friend from FL.

Melissa from MD: Making milkshakes; first trip to Camden Yards; fast friends — a visit with a friend from FL.

Julie from MD: Daddy and Ari (3 months old) ready for his first Cowboys game.

Julie from MD: Daddy and Ari (3 months old) ready for his first Cowboys game.

Tina Marie from CO: Skye is protecting Blake from being forced to get his diaper changed!

Tina Marie from CO: Skye is protecting Blake from being forced to get his diaper changed!

Kathy from IL: Fun with dad; 'struction working!

Kathy from IL: Fun with dad; ‘struction working!

Tiffany from KY: Her daughter Charlene from when she was about 4 months. She is now 3.

Tiffany from KY: Her daughter Charlene from when she was about 4 months. She is now 3.

Jerica from CO: Football season! Chocolate milk and donuts before school : )

Jerica from CO: Football season! Chocolate milk and donuts before school : )

Missy from PA: My happy Bella:)

Missy from PA: My happy Bella:)

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 She Said: Insane in the Mom-Brain

When I came up with this interview series with these completely off-the-wall questions, there was one fabulous, completely off-the-wall blogger whom I thought would be brilliant to interview. A perfect fit, if you will. And that blogger, my friends, was Patti from Insane in the Mom-Brain. If you know Patti, you know exactly why. And if you don’t, please read on to find out! (And I dare you not to love her as much as I do!)

mom brain interviewPatti is a wife, mom, blogger, cook, cat box scooper, and dirty underwear picker upper. In her spare time she runs a Girl Scout Fight Club, a charity called Handies for Hobos, and a unicorn ranch called The Ranchicorn. When she’s all hopped up on too much coffee, she performs musicals for her cat and practices her Karate Kid Crane Kick. Someday she hopes to own a miniature donkey that she can dress up like a dandy English gentleman. She will call this donkey Lord Dudesbury Donkelson III. She is currently working on a book of completely ridiculous essays that, due to focus issues, she may or may not ever finish.

And here’s what she said . . .

1. How many beach balls would it take to fill a 747?

Ummm…I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but this? This is math. Not only is it math, it’s word problem math. And if there’s anything that sucks more than math it’s math with words in it. Flashback to 7th grade: Ya know all those damn questions about Timmy wanting to take a train to Whofuckingcares, North Dakota? And he’s all “But I’d kinda like to ride my motorcycle. I wonder which way is faster?” But wait! Timmy has to bring his dog and 37 apples for some idiotic reason, and if he puts all that shit on his motorcycle it’s gonna slow him down. BUT the train conductor is allergic to dogs and he’s super freaky religious and hates apples because of that whole Adam and Eve situation. Plus, Timmy has to be in Whofuckingcares by 8 pm and now it’s already 6 pm because time freaking flies when you mix words with math and yammer on and on and on instead of just getting on a plane already. NOBODY TAKES TRAINS ANYMORE, TIMMY! AND YOU ARE TOO BIG OF A PUSSY TO HAVE A MOTORCYCLE!

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

He says “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” And I say “Dude, I LOVE that movie! High five!” Then I stick out my hand for a high five and I’m totally left hangin’ cuz duh, he’s a penguin, and penguins have those little flipper things plus they’re super short and I don’t know if you knew this or not, but they aren’t very awesome at giving high fives.

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

Turkey because it has tryptophan in it which will make you fall asleep. And after you fall asleep we will go through your pockets and purses and take tall of your things and then pose you in odd positions with my Flat Bieber and Zombie babies and take photos to blackmail you with.

4. What is the angle of two clock pointers when the time is 11:50?

What is it with you and the mathy stuff? I got news for you: I’m not calculating angles up in here. In Patti Maths the angle is equivalent to a baby bird’s beak when it’s open and waiting for it’s mommy to drop a worm in.

5. Pick two celebrities to be your parents.

Samuel L. Jackson and Betty White. Not only would I be an amazing caramel color, but I’d also be the funniest, sassiest, badass in the neighborhood. The added bonus would be the looks on people’s faces when I told them that I was the love child of Samuel L. Jackson and Betty White.

6. If you could add another eye color to appear in nature, what color would you choose?

Rainbow swirl with sprinkles.

7. How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?

Google omelet. Then Google “How am I such a dumb ass that I don’t know how to make an omelet.” Then get in the kitchen and make me a damn omelet.

8. Why is a manhole cover round?

Because manholes are round. How stupid would it be to make a square manhole cover when manHOLES are round? God.

9. Zombies vs. Ninjas? Who wins?

I’ll tell ya who wins: Whoever is lucky enough to get to watch the hell outta that. THAT’S who wins.

10. If you had to tell someone off but couldn’t speak, what would you do?

Interpretive dance. And possibly a swift kick to the underballs.

For more from Patti, please check out her blog, Insane in the Mom-Brain, and her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Thanks so much, Patti!!!!

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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Too Tired to Try Tuesday: Cookie-Cutter Bird Feeders

Today’s craft, which I found from the lovely ladies at eighteen25, is so cute, I cannot wait to try it with my kiddos: Cookie-cutter bird feeders. No wood or sawing or painting or gluing or nailing involved. Just a few materials and a few steps, and then you’ll have such cute bird feeders to hang around!

birdfeeders

Photo courtesy of eighteen25

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Birdseed
  • Water
  • Gelatine mix
  • Twine or string
  • Cookie cutters, molds, or mason jar lids
  • Wax paper

Then, you’ll need to dissolve the gelatine, mix everything up, and then fill your cookie cutters/molds. The feeders will need to set overnight, but then they’ll be ready to hang around. And hopefully you’ll have little visitors checking them out in no time.

To see the complete post with step-by-step instructions and photos from eighteen25, please click here.

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: 8/30/13 (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!)