Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday is all about me discovering something that is different. I don't want to post things that you and I have more than likely heard before. I want to find something different. It could be from another country, someone singing from the streets of NY, and more.

I found an artist from Denmark this week. Her name is Emmelie de Forest.

She is a Danish songwriter/singer. She actually represented Denmark with the song Only Teardrops in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013.

De Forest started singing when she was 9 years old. She sang with her mother in the Steve Cameron Gospel Choir for many years. When she was only 14 years old, she performed at small venues and music festivals.

Only Teardrops

Hunter and Prey:

Check out Emmelie de Forest's Website.
Like Emmelie de Forest on Facebook.
Follow Emmelie de Forest on Twitter.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Random Tid Bits

  1. I just like many people was so sad to hear about Robin Williams passing. I wish there was more places to go for mental health. In regards to mental health I've only been so depressed that I wasn't myself once in my life.

    I've never really shared this with too many people: It was when I was in college. My younger sister got pregnant. She was so young. I didn't hear that she was pregnant until Christmas time, and she was due around Valentines Day that year. Around Valentines Day I went home to see the baby be born, and I watched him die. It was my first time watching a life enter this world, and it was my first time watching someone die. He cried and breathed like a sick animal would. He had Trisomy 18 like my nephew Emerson does. I helped pick out a casket. There isn't too much of a selection for babies, they look more like coolers than caskets. I went to a funeral, and went back to college all in one extended weekend. I didn't sleep much for a month. I honestly don't remember much during that time. It was all a blur. I withdrew from my friends, and they withdrew from me. Who wants to hang out with someone that is sad all the time? The reason I'm telling you this story is just to illustrate that life happens. Sometimes it's pretty, and sometimes it's not. When depression set in it's not who I was. It didn't define me. It was a mask around me. Everything was hazy. Getting help didn't cross my mind. Who would I have gone to anyways? My family was miles away, and my friends weren't exactly there for me. I felt like I was selfish. My sister was the one that went through this stuff, not me. I didn't have a right to be sad. That made me hurt more. My sister's pregnancy surprised us all, that we kept it a secret from many people. It just didn't seem natural to talk about it. My parents aren't the type to hide things, but the situation was complicated. I'm not sure what snapped me out of being depressed. I am so glad that I never have felt that low ever again.       

  2. Some people may wonder, how can a person such as Robin Williams that had everything could be so low to commit suicide? I don't think very many people set out one day thinking, You know what I'm going to die today. More then likely a haze takes over them. Adding addiction, bouts of depression, and finding out he had Parkinson's disease to the mix makes things so complicated. No one can know what he was thinking. I do feel for his family.     

  3. The boss man had me play an app game 7 times now; to test it out. I know most anyone would love playing games at work. I am blessed to even have a job. I also need to get things together for my classes. The app is religious in nature. It was done for a church. I feel like someone is trying to convert me, while I'm playing.

  4. I traveled the interstate more than I'd like to over the summer. I have to in order to get to and from work when the boys have been dropped off at my parents. It's the most time efficient way. There's one lane that ends when the interstate switches directions. There's always 1 or 2 cars that think that lane is a race track. They speed up just to get in front of everyone. It's funny how cutting is a bad thing when you are in elementary school; here adults were doing it.

  5. I hate when I shop online to get 1 cute thing, and all the sudden I find myself on an everyday mailing list. I went to unsubscribe, and found out I had to call to do so. Annoying!

    They wanted my reason for closing the account. Once I gave them a reason, which I didn't think I needed to give them, they tried talking me into staying with them. Once I have my mind up, there's no since in trying to convince me otherwise. It just annoyed me more, and made me happy I canceled out of our relationship. I was already annoyed that I had to call them in the first place.

    I had multiple reasons for ending our relationship:

    •I didn't want their emails every day. I get plenty of emails in general, and didn't need more.

    •Their clothes were just ok. They weren't worse than somewhere else, and they weren't better.

    •I didn't understand the VIP status that I had, nor did I want to read about it, to learn about it.

    •My 1 and only excuse for them was that my boy's have more clothes than I do. They don't need anymore.

  6. A week before school started we were contacted by the PTA board to bring a meal up to the teachers. School hadn't even started yet. If they wanted help with this try contacting me a week ahead of time. Not a day or two before. Not this time. Sorry teachers. Sorry PTA Board. I'm busy planning my own classes; along with my own meals.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

No Guns

A few weekends ago we went to art openings with my parents.

One gallery was packed full of people.

There was one artist's work that were objects like guns, popsicles, and ice cream cones. I'm not sure what the connection to the pieces were. I was trying to watch the boys, and didn't read their artist statement. With object art one could argue if it's art, or not. There is not a ton of creative thought in just an object that already exists. There isn't a lot of thought in a still life, or nude painting either.

The definition of art is so complex.

What is art to you?

I had the boys stand in front of the gun, and pose.

I didn't think too much about the pose. Seriously the boys love the old Lone Ranger shows (which has guns in it), Mica had a pop gun, and they both have Nerf guns.

Before we left my mom said, "Don't put that picture on Facebook Alissa!"

Out of respect for my mom I didn't put the image on Facebook. I blogged about it though.

Is it bad that I had children pose like they are holding guns in front of a gun? Am I sending them the wrong message? I didn't think too much about it when I did it. I don't think they thought much about it either.

I'm not pro just anyone having a gun. At the same time to me if someone wanted to cause violence they could  with a sword, a knife, or make their own bomb.

To me guns are similar to Pit Bulls. People blame them for society's violence problems. Pit Bulls can be great dogs. They are protectors. We had them as kids, and they gave us sled rides, and I slept on their bellies in the sun. If the wrong owner trains a Pit Bull to fight, and treats them badly - watch out. Guns just like Pit bulls can be used for protection, or they can be used in a negative way.  

Birthday Recap

Mica woke up at 6 AM on his birthday. He was so ready to unwrap presents. His presents were wrapped in Indiana Jones prints outs.

Daddy and Isaak are not morning people. They weren't ready to get up.

They finally rolled out of bed around 8 AM. Between 6-8 I heard from Mica every 15 minutes, "Can't I just go get my presents, and unwrap them without Dad and Isaak?"

He was the most excited about this gift:

He already looks a year older to me. :(
He ripped open the box, and built it right away. Then broke it apart, and built it a different way. He also got 2 graphic novel comic books, and 1 Shutterfly book I made for him, of him.

Mica chose to go to China Buffet for his birthday. He wanted to go there for his cheesecake. It's a place with a buffet. I had no idea that they give a person with a birthday a slice of cheesecake, and a free meal. Mica seemed to know the ropes. Once I sort of convinced Mica that the cheesecake wasn't happening, our waitress came over and said, "So birthday boy are you ready for some cheesecake?" He was full, but made room for that slice of yumminess.

Mica had a great birthday. 

The only sucky thing was that it rained most of the day. It's been gloomy and rainy here the past 4 days. August isn't usually like that here.

This upcoming weekend we're celebrating the August/September birthday in our family.

Here's the invite I put together. Indiana Jones Style.

Back to School

I started school on Monday, but yesterday was my big day. It's the first day I had first year college students. It's always super quiet in there the first few weeks. You could a pin drop in the room. Once they've been to a few parties, they mingle. Not that I would encourage that!

They moved orientation on me to next week. The lady giving the talk is in Texas visiting her new grandson. I am happy about that. She needs to visit that baby, and I needed to cover material. I even got a chance to go through all their art supplies, and talk about what they were for. I'm pretty sure that was helpful.

Mica and Isaak started school yesterday.

Before school started we already got a homework assignment for Mica. His teacher had on the take home table a few sheets for us to read at their Open House.

On one sheet was a paper that talked about describing your child in a million words, or less. I'm pretty sure no one filled up a million words. That's just a fun number. It didn't have to be that long.

I copied his birthday letter, pasted it, edited it, and added to it. I added more school stuff.

Mica needs to be pushed more. His teacher last year was way too soft. They had too many parties, and not enough school work. Mica has the tendency to get lazy if you let him. We actually gave him things to do at home, in addition to school work.

I ended up with 2 full pages all about Mica. While it's not close to a million words, I'm pretty sure it's more than fine.

Mica has a lot of friends in his class.

He was excited.

Daddy walked Isaak down to his classroom. He has some friends in his class, and others that are in the other class. He'll do fine.

Isaak's smart. He gets things that blow my mind. Daddy started talking one day about the process of making a making a sculpture. There are a lot of steps, and Isaak got it. Isaak tells you how he feels, which many kids his age do not. He's also a player. What I mean by that is that he acts like he doesn't get something to not have to do it. Like with reading, he knows how to read, but he likes to be read to more. He'll act like he can't read; when I've heard him read.

Mica can't wait to grow up, and Isaak doesn't want to grow up.

Daddy took back to school photos like I asked, but he hasn't shared them yet. He said, "That's a girl thing to do." Maybe it is. The photos above are from their Open House, which was 2 days before school started. The reason why their backpacks are full is because Mica took birthday treats on the first day of class. I didn't want Daddy to deal with all that stuff. We dropped their stuff off in the classroom.

The boys came home from school happy. That's a good sign.

Then Mica's teacher called to ask how Mica's first day was. I said, "He seemed to really enjoy it." She said, "Well you have my phone number now if there are any concerns."

We hung up the phone. Then I thought the worst. Was she calling to be nice? or was she calling because Mica did something concerning? Luckily I'm friends with one of the Mom's on FB - her daughter has the same teacher. I asked if she got called to? She did. This is the 2nd year Mica's teacher has taught. I'm just thinking she wants to do a good job. She wants to know our kid, and answer our questions. That's positive.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WW: Library {Linky}

I thought it was so funny - the contrast between my kids when they played games on the computers at the library.

Mr. Isaak was as cute as can be! He was playing a game on PBS He thought it was funny that a squirrel kept waving and clapping for him.

As far as Mr. Mica went - he was absorbed. There was no distracting him from his Spider-Man game on Marvel's website. I was cracking up at how silly he looked.

The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel'sThe Apel's

Please enter this low entry giveaway if you have the time: Raw Organic Unfiltered Shea Butter. Open to the US. It is seriously better than any lotion, or oil I have ever felt on my skin, or hair. I also have a DVD giveaway for Nebraska Land and Sky.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Label Daddy - With a Discount

Disclosure: I am compensated for writing this post by receiving a GC to LabelDaddy. All opinions stated are my own.

My school started today. Mica and Isaak start on Wednesday. The boys have an open house tonight. It will be fun visiting their school, and meeting their teachers. Busy times ahead.

One thing I wish is that I had is custom labels for Isaak. I won some for Mica awhile back. Isaak said this year, "Maybe I'll get some in my stocking this year. Mica got his for Christmas."

Label Daddy is awesome! If you've never looked on their site it's a must have for labeling school and camp supplies. 
Save 20% on Label Daddy labels for Back to School! 
Label Daddy is the number one solution for labeling your belongings! Remember to label all clothing, sports equipment and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, and other places. 

We label all the notebooks, crayon boxes, folders, backpacks, and lunchboxes. The other things are for the whole classroom to use. 

Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others.

Perks on Their Labels:

  • Super durable 
  • Peel-and-stick 
  • Washer/dryer safe
  • Microwave safe
  • Dishwasher safe 
  • UV resistant! 
Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels!  

Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including Disney and Marvel characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. Their exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must for camp! These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide. 

Save 20% on your entire Label Daddy order - this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code USFAMILY20 at checkout.

The Start of a Faux Terrarium

I have a space in my hallway that needs something. I love terrariums, so I wanted to make one for that space. The trouble is, is there's no light in that space.

I set out to make a faux terrarium. I'm an artist I can fake it, right?

I found a rubber moss online:

Source - On sale for $9.99
It seriously looks like real moss. Doesn't it?

I found out the place to go for a cool glass container is Michaels.

I wanted to make it look as real as possible. Here's the order for a typical terrarium: 

charcoal or dirt

I washed the gravel, and sand. Then strained it.

I dug up some dirt, and microwaved it. I learned that microwaving anything in nature for 2 min. kills the living things in it. Not that I like to kill nature, it's just that this is going in my house.

The moss looks pretty real.

I have a lid, so I don't have dust getting inside the faux terrarium.

It's not done. I'm now going to make mini red and white mushrooms. 4 of them to be exact. 1 big one, 2 medium sized ones, and 1 baby one. I'm making them out of Sculpey, which is a clay that can be baked in your home. Then I'll paint them with acrylics.

There will be a follow up post once the mushrooms are made.

One more thing: I was featured on Creative Mondays. Check it out if you have the time. It's my Apple Sandwich post that made it in.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Paradise Review

I love coconut oil! There are so many uses for it. Paradise is a 100% natural coconut oil that can be used for:
  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Eating
  • Cooking 
  • Smoothies

I made muffins this weekend to go along with a Lentil Soup.

Zucchini Muffins - Gluten Free

Everyone in my family loved the muffins. It was a nice treat for Mica's birthday.

Paradise is a 100% natural coconut oil.

Their coconuts are hand-picked by local farmers in Fiji! They put an incredible amount of care to ensure that every coconut used remains in its natural state and is derived in its most nutritious form.

Key Things About Paradise:
  • Pure and UnrefinedCold Pressed
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Low Carb
  • Come in a 30 Ounce Container
  • $19.95
It has no gross tastes or smells and, no side effects.

*USDA Certified Organic*

Do you use coconut oil in the kitchen? 

The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel'sThe Apel's

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Barnes and Noble Rocks

My kids love library's and bookstores. It's such a shame that thing are going digital. There's just something about the smell of a book.

We took them to Barnes and Noble for a story time. I know Mica's getting a little old for story time. I think it's important that older kids have story time to.

Isaak always loves having his big brother at his side.

There was only 3 kids - including mine that joined in their superhero story time. That's kind of sad. They go through the work of making a poster, putting the poster up, posting it on their site, printing color sheets, and getting someone to read the book. All for 3 kids. I know a lot is done on a corporate level, but still.

Maybe it's because they don't have all the bells and whistles that other free events have. They could give a book away in a drawing.


The boys enjoyed it.

While they listened we shopped.

We got Mica 3 comic books from 2 series: Amulet and Bone. I was finding it difficult that some comic books are way too easy, while others have adult content in them. Mica needed something in the middle. A nice lady that works there pointed me towards these 2 series. They are perfect. I ordered the first book in the Amulet series - as they didn't have it. He got the 1st Amulet book and the 1st Bone book for his birthday. The 2nd Amulet book is being held for Christmas time. I'll probably ask Aunt Angela to get him the 2nd Bone book for Christmas as well.

I was never into comic books. Mica is. It's too early to tell if Isaak is. He's not into reading very much unless we read to him. We'll soon find out.

Did you, or do you like comic books?

By the way sign up for Barnes and Noble's free birthday club - ask them about it. They send a coupon for a free dessert every time it's one of your kid's birthdays. This is the 2nd year we've enjoyed a sweet treat.

Dear Mica,

You are 9 years old today! You are 1 year from being a decade old.

Your three favorite things to do are: 
  1. Reading - Your favorite books right now are:

  2. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot Collection, history books *especially ones that are about inventors, I Survived Series

  3. Playing with Legos

  4. The Lego Movie is popular this year, so those are the set's you've been asking for.

  5. Watching Movies

  6. You don't just watch movies, you examine the credits. You know more actor's names in movies than I often do. You have a wide variety of movies that you like (lucky for us). You talk the most about The Lego Movie, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future.

Reading a classic nursery rhyme book.

I've seen growth in you this year. I know kids are always growing. I'm talking about maturity growth. You play with your brother more. He's more of a friend to you instead of just someone that lives in this house. You are a hero to Isaak.

What if we all lived like heroes?

Your since of humor is changing. You don't approve of Isaak's Kindergarten/first grade jokes. I often hear fake laughter out of you.

It's common for you to stop me from what I'm doing, to go on and on about Indiana Jones, time machines, or Lego characters. You want anyone that is near you to be interested in whatever you feel like talking about.

You still believe...

You are in 3rd grade now. You have your doubts about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I think I've convinced you that they are real. Saint Nicholas is in the encyclopedia after all.

You honestly think you can make a time machine to go back in time to make Melissa Gilbert your wife. You love her on Little House on the Prairie.

Your favorite camp is your acting class at The Community Playhouse. You still dress up to go outside to play. I'm pretty sure our neighbors get a kick out of seeing you and your brother in full costumes.

You just got your yellow belt with white stripe in Jiu-Jitsu. You were so proud of yourself. If people let you, you're a pretty good teacher to the younger kids in the class.

Happy Birthday to my oldest son!

I love you,



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