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Friday, October 31, 2008

My Haunted First Date!  

For the final installment in my Halloween series, I thought it fitting to share about my first date with T-Daddy.

First things first... Yep! I was an intern. And yep! I dated my boss. When both of our Halloween plans fell through, we—happily—decided to spend the evening together. Lawsuit in the making, I know! So sue me LOL!

The smart thinking man that he is, Roger (as I called him to my co-workers), planned a memorable trip to the Haunted Forest—perfect for holding hands, grabbing onto each other, and getting close.

Skipping over lots of tricks and treats and 12 years later, here we are. One big, happy and fortunately NOT haunted, family.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dem Bones!  

On with the Halloween-themed posts. I've already covered bats, witches, vampires, and pumpkins. Can't leave out our bony friends of the skeletal variety.

Which do you prefer? This?

Or this???

Tough choice, I know!

Remember: Visit my sister site at Mommy Gossip—GNO where we are posting about all things Twilight this week. Sign up to have one of your Twilight-related blog posts featured.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wordful Wednesday—The Great Pumpkin!  

On with the Halloween-themed posts. I've already covered bats and vampires, both topics being a bit on the scary side (unless you are an Edward lover). So... I thought today's post could be about something more friendly—like pumpkins. So, enjoy a little orangey goodness from these pics!

Our garden produced 36 pumpkins this year. Remember, this is the garden we didn't plant, water, weed, or attend to whatsoever. So... the garden gets all the credit for these babies while we simply get to enjoy them in their many varieties of size, shape, and color!

Gardner Historic Village not only had a plethora of witches milling about. It also provided plenty o' pumpkins to snap pics in front of. Of course, my favorite variety were the pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. But, didn't get a picture of those. I couldn't wait to eat 'em! Yummmmmmy!

And, here is Red Rover and Chatter Box, done with their sugar cookies and beyond tired of all the picture taking—beautiful pumpkins or not.

Happy Halloween!

Remember: Visit my sister site at Mommy Gossip—GNO where we are posting about all things Twilight this week. Sign up to have one of your Twilight-related blog posts featured.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Photo-Story Friday—I Want to Suck Your Blood!  

As you can see from my last two posts, I have been going with a Halloween theme. And, as you may not be aware, I plan to do so until the big day arrives. Day 1 was about bats, which had a lot of peeps pretty grossed out. Yesterday was a little easier on the eyes with its bewitching theme. And today's theme, in celebration of the upcoming Twilight movie, is vampires.

Now, I know Twilight is all the rage, especially with the upcoming movie and all, but why have this vampire (imagine yourself in Bella's place)...

... when you could have this one?

But, in case Edward already had your heart, go here to learn about Tuesday's virtual girl's night out with guest hostess Lulaville talking all things Twilight.

Witches Brew!  

Last weekend, we went on a little family excursion to a place near Salt Lake City, UT called Gardner Historic Village. This is one place that does Halloween right. I kicked off my Halloween posts with yesterday's batty tale (see next post). So, today, I decided to share pictures of my weekend family outing with you, a bewitching one at that. Hope this gets you in the mood for Halloween. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WW—You're Driving Me Batty!  

One of my favorite trips ever was to Thailand. T-Daddy and I went out on the China Sea about 3 hours from the shore of Phuket on a sea canoeing excursion. Two people and a guide went in each inflatable canoe. Timed just right for low tide, we left the boat, got into our canoes, and headed into a cave.

The entrance was barely visible the water was so near the cave's top. To make it through such a tight squeeze, the guide had to let some air out of the canoe and we had to lay flat to avoid scraping the skin off of our noses on the rocks. It was amazingly frightening. Once inside, the cave opened up into a great expanse, but we stayed flat on our backs so we could look up on the ceiling to see the cave's inhabitants—bats! We also had to keep our mouths shut in case they should poop and it should hit the... well, not the fan, if you know what I mean! And, the only way we could see the sleepy little guys was by shining a large flashlight in their direction.

While the Thailand's landscape, food, massages, sites, and elephant ride are all worth mentioning, nothing was more unique or unforgettable than this experience—seeing snoozing little bats.

Want to teach your kids about bats without the gory details. Visit Kids Off the Couch for a terrific idea that incorporates books, movies, and activities for hands-on and exciting learning.

Check out more travel-related posts at Mommy Gossip—GNO and picture posts at Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Girl’s Night Out Gets a Makeover!  

What Is Girl's Night Out (GNO)?

Things are hot Tuesdays at Twitter. At last week's Mommy Gossip—GNO (formerly known as Twitter GNO), nearly 80 gabbing girls joined the soiree from New Zealand to New Jersey and beyond, sending 140-character messages at 230+ tweets per minute. This included Twitter newbies and veterans alike.

Didn't get in on the action? Want to shoot the breeze with other mommies about anything other than Elmo? Want to get to know some of your favorite bloggers and chat with them real time? Whether you are a mom, mom-to-be, a grandma, or just love all things mom, Mommy Gossip—GNO is the place for you.

What Is New to GNO?

Be one of the first to see Mommy Gossip—GNO's makeover by visiting the official Mommy Gossip—GNO blog. This blog is co-hosted by Carissa at GoodandCrazy and little old moi. (Did I just say I was little AND old?)

Until we are completely moved into our new digs, you will still need to sign up on one of our blogs using Mr. Linky. Please remember to use your twitter name and your twitter URL (e.g., and not your blog URL.

What Is Tuesday's Twitter Topic?

Each week, we choose a topic or two to discuss during Girl's Night Out in case we run up against one of those 7-minute lulls in the conversation. (Yah! Right!) This week's topic is Travel, hosted by travel guru Michelle Duffy of Wandermom and Lipstick. Learn more about her, the chosen topic, and her giveaways (Yep! There will be giveaways), by visiting Mommy Gossip—GNO.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Photo Story Friday—All About Moi!  

I am very excited, because not only was I tagged by Hannah from That Girl and Tena from Punkey's Monkey, but I just found out that Kellan is featuring me over on her site On the Flip Side. Between this info here and that info there, you will know more about me than you ever dreamed of wanted to! Enjoy!

Red Rover swinging is the sixth pic in my photo album. Not one to really keep the rules, I am adding a fun one of Chatter Box as well. My baby sis Brooke at CrazyinCollege, took and Photoshopped these. She rocks!


  1. I had tons of freckles when I was little and hated them. My mom took me to the zoo and showed me the giraffes. I fell in love with them. She pointed out that they had freckles too. Since then, I have loved not only giraffes, but freckles.
  2. T-Daddy and I are in a fun competition to see who can visit all 50 U.S. states first. I am at 43 states and ahead of him by 2.
  3. I have had 24 staples in my stomach and 42 staples in my head. Does anyone wonder why I HATE even numbers???
  4. I have 4 screws in my jaw. Nope! I don't set off security alarms. Just look like FrankenJyl in an X-Ray.
  5. I love to chop. I returned a very expensive Cuisinart veggie chopper (or whatever they are called) I got for my wedding, because I knew I'd never use it.
  6. One of my favorite experiences ever was sea canoeing through a bat cave in Thailand.
  7. My favorite part of being a foreign exchange student in Argentina was meeting my very best friend Heather. Our relationship has lasted more than 20 years and is one of my greatest blessings :).
This is supposed to be 4 things I did today, but since I hate even numbers and don't follow rules, I changed it to 5!

  1. Waited at home while my T-Daddy took Red Rover to the ER. Dehydration and major stomach virus! YUCK!
  2. Spent an hour on the phone with AT&T/Apple to resolve my iPhone's dropped call issues and why "Brandon Clark" instead of my name appears on people's caller IDs when I call.
  3. Made Chatter Box a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich for lunch.
  4. Vacuumed the whole upstairs. THANKS ROOMBA!!!
  5. Helped Red Rover with his piano theory homework.

  1. Take my kids to Gardner Historic Village to see the cool witches and to get a pumpkin-shaped sugar cookie.
  2. Do a load of whites.
  3. Deposit two checks.
  4. Pay the doctor's bill.
  5. Watch House with T-Daddy (favorite way to end the day).

Note that these only make me feel guilty, because I have to spend our hard-earned money to do them, when I could be, say, paying off the car loan or whatever.

  1. Getting a pedicure.
  2. Getting a massage.
  3. Eating out.
  4. Traveling and buying books!
  5. Talking on the phone with friends forever!!! And lately, meeting lots of other mommy bloggers and chatting with them real time at Twitter Girl's Night Out on Tuesday nights.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WW—Raising Kids With Conscience  

While browsing around Twitter Moms, I noticed and later joined a group called Raising Kids With Conscience. The group's description states:

This is a group for moms who want to raise GIVING kids. We want to inspire our children to think outside themselves: give to their communities, the planet, and others.

How can we help our kids identify service/giving opportunities?

One idea I have is to keep a service journal/blog that records ideas for giving back, feelings about service opportunities and experiences, and the impact of that service.

What are your ideas?

Here are just a few from today's comments. In addition to giving great feedback, these gals have awesome blogs. Go check them out!

From Sassy Stephanie
One thing we do, while teaching the value of money at the same time, is the three jars for money. Everytime they get money for chores, etc. they split it into three jars: save, spend, give. The give jar is usually given to church, but we allow them to give where they see fit.

From Lindsay at Our Lives in a Nutshell
we've decided to make Christmas cookies for all our neighboors this year, as well as the elderly people in their great-grandparent's apartment building

From Elizabeth at Parenting Pink
We bring items to our local SPCA once a month to donate to the kitties & doggies (my daughter's words). The love picking out little treats at the Dollar Store and then giving them to the animals at the shelter.

From Leslee at Phillips 101
growing up my mom made us go at thanksgivng and christmas and work in homeless shelter and soup kitchens and church dining hall to help out people who were less fortunate that us. we served food, cleaned tables and helped people. also my parents took $ from our christmas budget every year and adopted a family. we always adopted a family with children our ages. so we got to go shopping and pick out toys, coats, socks, clotes etc. for needy families and children our own ages. it was very humbeling and you had better bet i will have my little man right there with me when he is old enough to help!

From Jamie at Jamie's Rose Cottage
Each year for my daughter's birthday, we pick a charity of some sort to collect for in lieu of more gifts she doesn't really need. (We get her a few things & inevitably a few other relatives do too, but it's not a crazy gift-fest.) This year was collecting for Operation Christmas Child; last year was collecting for the pet rescue where we had recently adopted our dog.

I've joined Angie and crowd for Wordful Wednesday. Come and join in on the fun!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Top 10 Reasons to Join in on Tuesday’s Twitter Girl’s Night Out  

Every Tuesday, Carissa from GoodandCrazyPeople and I co-host the mommy mixer of all mommy mixers—Twitter Girl's Night Out (AKA Twitter GNO). This festive fiesta takes place from the comforts of your own home. All you have to do is get in front of your computer, kick up your feet, and tweet your heart out with twitter moms from around the globe!

Not sure if Twitter is for you? Here are the top 10 Reasons to stop by the soiree:

10. You get to figure out how to talk about important topics like sex, politics, etc. in 140 characters or less.

9. You are able to get out without going out.

8. If you are a Twitter Newbie, you get to learn the Twitter ropes in one night with lots of real-time help.

7. You can promote your blog and/or your products—Twitter style, of course.

6. You can meet guest tweeters and once and a while, take part in some giveaways.

5. You instantly increase your number of followers, giving you a higher Twitter rating.

4. You meet lots of other mommy bloggers and talk to them real time.

3. You participate in one of the top-trending Twitter groups of the evening.

2. If you are lucky, you can party while the presidential debate is on, putting your multi-tasking skills to the highest of all multi-tasking tests!

And the number 1 reason to join in on this twitterific celebration:

1. You can watch this video and then tweet with your new-found friends about why women never get to take a sick day.

Mommy bloggers around the world are joining in the tweeting fun. All you have to do is sign up on Twitter and do the following:

  1. RSVP on Mr. Linky by inserting your "username's Twitter" in the "Name" box (see my example in the first link).
  2. Type your Twitter URL (NOT your blog URL) in the "URL" box. (Your twitter URL is:[enter Twitter name here].)
  3. Please click on everyone else's twitter link here to "follow" them.
  4. Sign in to Twitter and follow #gno.
  5. Go to and enter #gno in the search field.
  6. Start tweeting with other GNO participants. Remember to enter #gno in all of your tweets!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Knock, Knock! Who's There?  

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Chatter Box's best friend called him yesterday. Since they don't normally talk on the phone, I put it on speaker and listened in. Even though BFF's mom had just found out she would soon be giving him a new baby brother—his first sibling ever and the brother he has always wanted—he made no mention of that. Instead, I heard 10 minutes worth of knock knock jokes. Well, actually, about 2 minutes worth of knock knock jokes—with no real punch line either—and about 8 minutes worth of hysterical laughing. Boys will be boys!

BTW: Since so many peeps asked, this is an iPhone. It has a black/red skin on it, because I probably hold the record for the person that has dropped their cell phone the most! That is not to be confused with how many times I have had dropped calls today on my cell. Come on, Apple! I am such a fan. I thought we had this little problem fixed :).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wordful Wednesday—Brotherly and Sisterly Love of the Sweetest Variety!  

The only pre-nup T-Daddy made me agree to was getting a dog. This was no small feat for me since I am deathly afraid of kanines in all shapes and sizes. Our first son: a tame but stout, yellow Labrador Retriever named Trooper.

A year and a half later, our first daughter arrived and we gave Trooper the best Christmas gift ever—his half-sister, Parley Noelle. These pups showed us that blood truly is thicker than water, especially every night as Trooper licked Parley's ears to "rock her to sleep" so to speak. It was the sweetest thing! Brotherly and sisterly doggie love :).

So, when Trooper suddenly died last summer, it was painful to watch our grieving Parley learn to enjoy life again without her brother. Things that had her wagging her tail before suddenly meant nothing to her. And then one day, our brother Justin came into town and threw a ball to her. I don't know if it was that he hadn't been around or that she suddenly remembered life could be good, but she jumped up, played fetch for hours, and has been her same positive self since.

This experience made me realize that dogs form relationships, have feelings, and grieve. Not that I have gotten over my fear of other people's dogs, but I am grateful for our dogs and the experience of having them in our family!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Twitter Girl's Night Out (GNO)—New Time to Accommodate Our East Coast Friends!  

Twitter GNO Button

Hosted by:

Carissa @ GoodNCrazy and Jyl @ MommyGossip

Join us Tuesday, October 7 for the mommy mixer of all mommy mixers—a girl's night out from the comforts of your own home. All you have to do is get in front of your computer, kick up your feet, and tweet your heart out with twitter moms from around the globe!

To join the soiree:

  1. RSVP through Mr. Linky by inserting your "username's Twitter" in the "Name" box (see my example in the first link).
  2. Type your Twitter URL in the "URL" box. (Your twitter URL is: Where jyl_mommygossip is YOUR username.)
  3. Please click on everyone else's twitter link here to 'follow' them.

Tuesdays Topics:

While we love to chit and chat about anything and everything that comes to mind, we also try and address a couple of serious topics. So, if you are in the mood for deeper conversation, come prepared to discuss these topics. If not, get ready for tons of talk and tangents that literally makes your head spin as you try to keep up with it all. You gotta be there to experience it is all I can say!

  1. From 6 to 8 p.m. Pacific... Helping Kids Develop Good Homework Habits—How to Help Them Succeed Without Doing It for Them
  2. From 8 to 10 p.m. Pacific... Tutorial from Carissa (Check out GoodandCrazyPeople for more info.)

"See" you Tuesday on Twitter!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Post From My Hubbie—Instructions for the Homemade Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween Costume!  

Since so many people asked for instructions to make the Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween Costumes, T-Daddy put his heart and soul—and humor—into coming up with step-by-step instructions for you complete with clip art and fun paint color names!

If you have questions or would like a PDF of these instructions, please e-mail me at mommygossip AT gmail DOT com. Click on instruction pics to see them full size.

We'll be talking about lots of other fun stuff at the mommy mixer of all mommy mixers Tuesday, October 14. Click here to learn what all of the fun is about!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Confessions of an 8-Year-Old Runaway & Her Shoeless Sister!  

Let me start by setting the scene. It's 1978. I am 8-years old. My four siblings and my neighborhood friend and I are home with a sitter while my parents run a quick errand. Apparently, it wasn't quick enough and they didn't hire the right sitter! Or, as I like to tell it, I outsmarted them all!

When my parent's car was out of sight, I hurriedly got all of my ducks in a row. First, I called Dial-a-Ride—a local taxi service—and asked them to pick me up 3 blocks from my house. Next, I stole about $20 in quarters from my dad's coin jar. Finally and right before the getaway, I reassured both my 4-year-old sister and my friend that I had a fail-proof plan. That plan, unfortunately, did not include putting shoes on my sister, but I didn't have time to worry about the little things.

Like clockwork, the big yellow taxi came and took my baby away… wait, that's a song. A less glamorous but fully functional white Dial-a-Ride vehicle came and drove the three of us 20 minutes to the nearest mall. The freedom, the exhilaration, the shopping. It was more than a girly girl recently crowned Miss Independence (and I don't mean of Missouri) could handle. Ice cream, anyone? Earrings? Oh! I think I'll take some of those.

I left one thing out. Before we left the crime scene for our fashion frenzy, I left a note.
Every criminal leaves a note, right! Even my 8-year-old mind knew that. I wrote: "Dear mom and dad! We went to the park… in a taxi. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" Too bad CSI and Law and Order weren't the TV shows of choice in those days, because I certainly could have learned a thing or two about not giving myself away. But, good thing I did, because after scouring the neighborhood, the park, and calling everyone they knew, my parents made a call to Dial-A-Ride and sure enough, the company confirmed they had picked up a 12-year-old girl along with two others in that vicinity only a couple of hours earlier and in fact, they were bringing us back at that precise moment. When I heard that story, I was so thrilled the company actually believed I was 12! Shopping and passing for 12? Now, that is one successful afternoon.

Well… my shopping soiree ended abruptly when we walked up to our house to a whole crowd of people. Not only did I get grounded from playing for a week, but I got grounded from my friend for, oh! life! I kid you not.

Years later… as it has been told and retold, I have come to learn I was a very creative child. At the time, I just felt grounded—but with a really cool pair of earrings!

What childhood confessions do you have?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WW—Halloween Is in the Air!  

My favorite pic of Halloweens past is this one of my boys in their Thomas the Tank Engine costumes. These were made by the loving hands of T-Daddy himself. Aren't they fabulous?

I'm participating in WW with Angie. Stop on by. She's nice!