Library Porn

Every two weeks our family visits the library to pick up books.

Little did I know the library was supplying my nine year old with porn.

My son typically chooses five chapter books and two comic books.

I usually read the summaries of the novels but just assumed the comic books were fine.

Never having read a comic book in life I thought they were like the Sunday comics.

Harmless.Boy was I a dumb mommy.

One day my daughter and I were reading a pile of books on my bed when she grabbed the Batman comic book. I opened the book and gasped. I closed the book, jumped off the bed, and immediately confiscated the comic books.

This is what I saw.

Look it’s Vicki Vale getting ready for a date with Bruce Wayne

 I’m pretty sure I’m going to jail for endangering a minor.

Just take a look at this.

 Yes…wear something subtle on your dateMy 9 year old has been ready this!

Now, before you judge (don’t worry I would have judged you long before the pictures) remember, I have never looked in a comic book before.

This was just a small part of the book. The rest of the book was what I suspected a comic would contain.

Nevertheless, my son will never look at them again.

I might make an exception when he turns eighteen.

What’s the worst part of this library debacle?

I had to pay $1.25 in late fees for this book.



Weekend Bloggy Reading

Elmo Inspires

On a whim, I threw My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud by Kevin Clash into my library bag at the same time as I picked up these wonderful books.

While this book may not be in the same literary category as the others, it was a worthwhile read. It was quite inspiring to read how Kevin Clash’s parents nurtured his creativity and encouraged his passion. Very easily they could have chosen a different route when their son expressed the desire to become a professional puppeteer.

The quote below was a good reminder for me to get off the computer and create something with my kids.

“There’s a certain sweet magic you feel when you sit down and create something with a child, whether it’s a masterpiece in watercolors or pasta shapes glued to a paper plate. And remember, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t held a crayon in decades or if you don’t remember how to fold a paper airplane or if you can’t draw hands or horses or rocket ships. In the eyes of a child, your artistic talents are supreme. It’s not what you create – it is simply the fact that you are helping that child celebrate the joy of creativity.”

Inspired by this quote, the four of us sat down and made paper bag puppets.

Though a simple craft, it was a tremendous amount of fun.

We spent an hour laughing, sharing stories, and enjoying one another. The boys eagerly filled me in on all the intricacies of the Batman series while making their superhero puppets.

 Here are the final products.

Alex created Robin and Two Face while Caroline enjoyed using tons of glue.

When Andrew announced he was going to make a half Batman and half Joker puppet my 37 year old brain automatically thought he would draw each half of the characters vertically. I was fascinated to watch him create his half and half character horizontally.

Supermom was my creation and I’d have to say I’m quite proud of her. I wouldn’t be surprised if Angelina Jolie’s people wrote to my people thanking me for the likeness.

My boys were less than impressed with Supermoms’ weapon which indicates they must not be familiar with the powers of my purse. McGuyver and I could go head to head in any episode requiring us to keep a two year old entertained during a license renewal at the DMV.

What’s the last creative thing you did with your kids?

Making Todays Creative Blog

Summer Reading

 I’ve completed a little summer reading and have a few to recommend. Amazingly, all three of these books were chosen while I was walking the library aisles. Enjoy!

Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock

From the back cover: Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper. Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life, and somehow manages to find her way “home” day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz’s mother allows Tillie to move back in. Mara Nightingale becomes Roz’s first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together–both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise–“cross my heart and hope to die”–never to tell anyone else.

Although this book is slightly predictable, it was very enjoyable. I was drawn into the characters and especially admired the gumption of Ms. Tillie. Imagine moving back into your house with the new owners! Tatlock writes in an easy and familiar style moving easily through both funny and tense moments. Go ahead and give this book a try.

I give Promises to Keep 4 out of 5 stars.

How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

From the back cover: How to Be an American Housewife is a novel about mothers and daughters, and the pull of tradition. It tells the story of Shoko, a Japanese woman who married an American GI, and her grown daughter, Sue, a divorced mother whose life as an American housewife hasn’t been what she’d expected. When illness prevents Shoko from traveling to Japan, she asks Sue to go in her place. The trip reveals family secrets that change their lives in dramatic and unforeseen ways. Offering an entertaining glimpse into American and Japanese family lives and their potent aspirations, this is a warm and engaging novel full of unexpected insight.

This book was an easy read due to the short chapters which are narrated alternately by the mother and daughter. I was able to read several chapters a night although I never really wanted to put the book down. While the book starts out light hearted, the reader quickly realizes Shoko carries a deep amount of emotional pain which guides the story. Dilloway’s own mother grew up in Japan and came to the United States after marrying her American husband. Her mother’s experiences enable Dilloway to give accurate glimpses into the Japanese culture and some difficulties of adjusting in America.  

I give How to Be an American Housewife 4 out of 5 stars

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

From the back cover: When Henry Oades accepts an accountancy post in New Zealand, his wife, Margaret, and their children follow him to exotic Wellington. But while Henry is an adventurer, Margaret is not. Their new home is rougher and more rustic than they expected—and a single night of tragedy shatters the family when the native Maori stage an uprising, kidnapping Margaret and her children.

    For months, Henry scours the surrounding wilderness, until all hope is lost and his wife and children are presumed dead. Grief-stricken, he books passage to California. There he marries Nancy Foreland, a young widow with a new baby, and it seems they’ve both found happiness in the midst of their mourning—until Henry’s first wife and children show up, alive and having finally escaped captivity.

    Narrated primarily by the two wives, and based on a real-life legal case, The Wives of Henry Oades is the riveting story of what happens when Henry, Margaret, and Nancy face persecution for bigamy.

Set in the late 1800s, this book will draw you into the story and make you feel like you are there. I almost turned this book back into the library without reading it and I’m glad I decided to keep it. This book is definitely a page-turner which is now on my all-time favorites list. The unique storyline immediately kept my attention throughout Margaret’s journey and later her integration of Henry’s second family. Throughout the entire reading of this book I pondered “What would I do in this situation?” Place this book at the top of your reading pile.

I give The Wives of Henry Oades 5 out of 5 stars

Do you recommend anything you’ve read this summer?

Mother Effer

Last week I joined a gym by our house. The flyer in our mailbox stated, “$12 monthly, no initiation fee!”

I mean twelve bucks. It’s practically free. I’ve got to join.

Well, $124 dollars later I was a member.

The twelve dollar membership had time restrictions which didn’t work for me so I settled on the $19 plan. Add on the $38 initiation fee, childcare fees for three children, first and last month payments, and I was set to go.

Today I decided to try a class.

Let’s just say I should have thrown the flyer away.

5:30 – 6:30 AM Boot Camp

I arrived in the classroom to find a young woman already stretching on a mat. Half jokingly I said, “Is this the back of the class? I need to be able to hide.”

She smiled back and replied, “There’s no back. We move all over the room.”

We continued to talk for two minutes, bonding over being former teachers, until the instructor walked in.

No sooner had our instructor walked in when this woman said, “She wanted to know where the back of the class in because she’s going to need to hide.”


Lady, I’m going to meet you in the parking lot and stab you with a real knife.

5:31 – Class starts with six of us – I realize I am in deep trouble when class begins by warming up with squats
5:35 – I take my first glance at the clock
5:38 – Why am I here? I hate this. 
5:40 – I glance again and  notice sweat has begun dripping down my face.
5:43 – I am now doing the variation moves (code for “Moves for the losers in class”)
5:45 – I hate this lady
5:50 – Stop to grab water
5:57  –  Notice the instructor shows us the moves, does 10 reps, and watches for another 20 reps – Bitch
5:59 – I am slowing down greatly and notice I do about three reps to the instructor’s five.
6:05 – Squat Nazi!
6:06 – Little Spandex Witch!
6:07 – Mother Effer I hate you!
6:11 – Stop to get more water even though others have yet to take a break
6:15 – Please tell me I read the form wrong and this class really ends at 6:20
6:21 – Dam it – more squatsBe-otch with a capital B!
6:23 – Grab the exercise ball and and start ab work. I quickly realize I have no abs.
6:27 – A woman leaves without doing warm down – I’d go with her but can’t get up.
6:28 – Sweat is pouring down my face
6:30 – Our instructor says, “Oh yeah, I probably should have said this before class. Because of all the heat you really should take it easy today.” I just stare at her.
6:31 – I get up off the floor, grab my keys, and say,Thanks so much that was great. I’ll be back next week.”

  And I will be back.

The instructor’s expecting me not to.

Plus, I have to meet someone in the parking lot.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Chair Redo – Guest Post By Kelly

My sister Kelly has graciously agreed to guest post today about her furniture redo. She is our family traveler, a mighty fierce businesswoman, and always up for fun. Kelly is slowly adjusting to Chicago winters by taking extended tropical vacations.

Aunt Kelly & Caroline at our sister Amanda’s wedding

 Hi, I’m Jennifer’s sister Kelly. I am thrilled to write my first ever blog post and share with you my little bit of creativity. To set things straight, Jennifer is the creative one, I didn’t inherit 1/10th of her DIY, artistic abilities. However, when you are trying to find ways to not constantly spend (bleed!) money, but improve your house at the same time, you have to get creative.

I inherited this Adirondack chair a couple of years ago and it has just sat on my patio for the last couple of years.
I was ready to throw it out and go purchase new furniture, however, given that I live in Chicago and we frankly don’t have that long of a summer to use outdoor furniture, I decided to give it a shot to see if I could re-purpose it.

  1. I sanded all of the old paint chips off the chair just using sandpaper sheets
  2. I decided to use some left over blue and purple paint samples I had laying around from another project.  I had great aspirations of painting lots of different stripes, but then realized paint samples just don’t really contain all that much paint!
Paint Samples & First Coat of Paint

I let the first coat dry overnight and then painted a second coat which actually ended up being a different color (hey, I ran out of the first sample, I was trying not to spend much money!)

  1. The final step was to add a coat of polyurethane to seal the paint and hope that maybe it will survive one Chicago winter

The only money I spent was for the container of polyurethane which was about $8.  A new Adirondack chair costs well over $100, so I feel pretty good about my DIY project.

Job well done Kelly! I am so impressed that you started and finished a project in one weekend. Unheard of around here.

Have you salvaged any old furniture like this?

Shark Week

This is “Shark Week” on the Discovery channel and the boys have enjoyed it immensely.

Each night they watch one of the hour long shows and discuss it afterwards as they go to bed. Enthusiastic retellings of vicious attacks, stories of missing limbs, and tales of the blood red water have me questioning whether the viewings should continue.

Their artwork also displays what they’ve been seeing.

Sadly, the people in their pictures never seem to make it back to shore.

Have a great weekend and remember to STAY OUT OF THE WATER!

All Made Up

In one of the most ironic occurrences of my life…I won a make up party.

What? Jennifer won a make up party? The girl who never wears make up?

Me. Shorts loving, pony tail wearing, wash n’go me won a make up party.

It’s as if Mother Teresa won a sex toys party….uh, bad image and not quite right in the analogy department…..

It’s as if Lady Gaga won a white polo shirt….Getting there…..

It’s as if I won a make up party…Yep that’s it.

A few weeks ago I used my Mother’s Day gift card and flippantly put my name in the fishbowl on the salon counter.

Well, I won. They pulled my slip of paper and called to arrange a make up party. During the call I was told by the Eastern European make up artist that we would be treated to 1) having our make up done, 2) drinking wine, and 3) possibly mini massages. At least that’s what I think she said. I was a little unclear due to her strong accent. For all I know I could have just agreed for my friends and I to become the oldest mail order brides ever.

I invited 5 brave friends who graciously showed up. I’m pretty sure the part in the email where I highlighted “free wine” was the catalyst for the five yeses.

Everyone gathered excitedly in the salon foyer waiting to be glamed up. We must have looked like a rough and haggard group because they brought us to wait in the employee break room which had the lighting of a romantic Italian restaurant.

Glasses of red wine were waiting for us as well as our ever so flattering brown robes. We could have been back up singers for Friar Tuck. Maybe we should start an all girls religious rock group – The Monastery Mommas.

The resemblance is striking, isn’t it

So there we were. Drinking wine, eating the cupcakes I had brought, and having hand massages. In groups of two our make up was done by our very enthusiastic make up artists.

Here’s my before shot…

Roughly 14 layers later I was done.

Large amounts of concealer, foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, and lipstick were involved in my transformation.

Would you like to see the end product?

I will say I was most impressed by their work

Just take a look.

Apparently, it’s all about the lighting and I’d have to agree.

I must remember to rid my home of those eco friendly light bulbs we’re using.

A good time was had by all at the party and I walked away with a little more make up knowledge.

In fact, I’m thinking of spiffing things up today and adding some chapstick to the mix.

In fact, it’s strawberry chapstick.

A little color on the lips always brightens ones face.

See, I did learn a few things at the party.