Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall Fab Book Promo: IMPORTANT NEWS


Did you enter to win any of the books that were given away during the Fall Fab Book Giveaway? If so, you DEFINITELY WANT TO READ THIS POST!

The Grand Prize winner who was SUPPOSED to win 25+ books NEVER got in touch with me. I didn't have her email or ANY contact information and she's had a week now to get in touch with me. I figure if you're playing along with MaNiC and you're serious about wanting to win the books, then you're here every day, right?  And you'd be excited to know if you've won 25+ books in the contest, right?

Are you with me?

Those of you who are, well, then you're very lucky. Because today, because you are HERE, you may be winning a BUNCH OF BOOKS!

If YOU, who are reading this, at any point in time during the 25+ book giveaways I held since September left a comment, and if you LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST RIGHT NOW, then I will be DRAWING A NEW GRAND PRIZE WINNER to win ALL OF THE BOOKS that were supposed to go to a winner who was named but never came forward.

We'd hate to see ALL of those fabulous books go to waste, now wouldn't we?

And I think this just greatly upped your chances of winning, because come on, how many of you are really still out there checking in ALL OF THE TIME and reading what I have to say? If you are still out there, and if you have commented on any of the books that I posted since September (and of course, I do know who you guys are by now!), then simply leave a comment below NOW on THIS POST and you're qualified to be entered to win ALL of the books listed below (give or take a few -- I need to confirm with one or two of the publishers -- but hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth -- someone ELSE was SUPPOSED TO GET ALL THESE BOOKS and SHE lost out because SHE didn't come back here to check the blog! I bet she's feeling pretty badly about THAT now, huh?)

So got it? Leave a message NOW. HERE. And you'll be signed up to win all of these books. BUT, you have to have already commented on one of the previous book features from the Fall Fab Book Giveaway. You can't be someone new because that wouldn't be fair to all those who came here every single day during the promo.

HOWEVER, if you are new to the blog, keep coming back, because I am always giving away fun books, and as a special holiday book, I have Amy Hatvany's Outside The Lines to give away in a couple weeks! And then, after the holidays are over, and winter is in full swing, you can bet I'll be gearing up for a Winter Promo with another huge batch of great books and incredible authors to share with you too!

Let's here it from you all, and I'll pick another Grand Prize winner at the end of the weekend! Also ... Very Important: PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!!! Leave your email address and make sure you leave an identifying name so I can contact you if you've won! OK? Thanks!

Here are ALL of the books I'm going to send you if you are the NEXT GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pedicure Nightmare

I had a friend who had her toenails infected once by what she said was a pedicure gone wrong and she then refused to go back to ever get another pedicure. I always shook my head at her thinking she was nuts and that her infection couldn't have possibly been from a pedicure.

Now I have my own nightmare pedicure story to tell. Complete with pictures. And after you hear it and see the accompanying pictures, maybe you will share this post with others as a warning to be very careful when getting your feet done. Because it involves second-degree burns to my ankle.

Shall I just get straight to the point and start with a photo? This is a week AFTER the injury happened.

Here's the story. OK, so you all know I went to Vegas. The night before, I went to get a pedicure. I ALWAYS go to the same place, and they always do a GREAT job. It's a reputable place and it's always packed. I always get the treatment that includes callous remover, where they put a solution onto the heels of your feet and then place plastic bags over your feet for like five minutes to soften the heels. Then they take the bags off your feet and start scraping with a cheese grater. Not REALLY a cheese grater, but it looks like one -- come on, those of you who have had your callouses removed, you know what I'm talking about.

So things were moving along fine until I felt the teeniest bit of a sting on my left ankle. I thought, "Hmm, maybe when I shaved this afternoon, I nicked the back of my ankle." No real biggie, and I didn't say anything. She continued with the treatment, removed the baggies, and everything seemed fine, just still a bit of stinging, nothing unbearable.

The sting continued throughout the pedicure and it felt a little like an itch and by the time it was done it had gotten sufficiently worse. My girl had gotten up and I told the women working next to me that my ankle was stinging and asked her to find my girl. When she came back, she was going to put alcohol on my ankle. Why? I have no idea. We then decided maybe aloe would be a better idea. So we soothed it with aloe and I paid and left.

An hour later, the stinging persisted and I looked at my ankle. The skin had turned brown and the area affected was the size of a tea bag. I went back to the salon and told one of the managers and kind of asked for a refund and explained that they need to be aware how dangerous the solution can be. He gave me a gift card to come back for a free pedi and was very nice. As I said, I go in there fairly often -- maybe once every three months, and it's a reputable place, always busy, so I knew they wouldn't ignore me.

The next day I went to Vegas. Thank goodness I packed band-aids and neosporin. Thank goodness I drank a lot through the pain. I don't know how I walked and danced as much as I did that whole weekend. When I got back, I went to the doctor where she told me I had a second degree burn. Fortunately it was not infected.

She gave me some topical cream called silvadene and I've been using that twice daily and keeping it covered. It's still a horrible mess, and still painful and I can't have it in the sun for a year, and it will probably scar. Fortunately, it's not an area where I'll have my skin in the sun.

I took a letter from my doctor, my receipts for my co-pay and prescription and supplies, copies of these photos all back to the nail salon to make sure they will be paying me back for all of this, which will come out to be around $70. The owners are away for Thanksgiving, but again, the manager was very nice and he assured me they will get back to me on this. I WILL be getting my money back on this one.

The worst part though ... there's no way I'm going to be able to run the AZ half marathon now! Drat.

This is what the injury looks like 10 days later, as it's healing:

Just wanted to get the word out, so please, share this with anyone, your nail salon, wherever... and if you are ever in a position where you think something is going wrong don't sit there because you don't want to make SOMEONE ELSE feel uncomfortable. This is YOUR body they are dealing with. They screwed up my ankle badly. It hurts every day, and looks disgusting, and if I would have spoken up right away when the stinging started, maybe this wouldn't have been so bad.

So, take this free lesson, as my Dad would call it, and learn from it.

PS... if you are the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the Fall Fab Book Giveaway, you need to contact me! You've won a boat-load of awesome books!

Friday, November 25, 2011

We've Got A Grand Prize Winner!

Well everyone, we've got a GRAND PRIZE BOOK WINNER! For those of you who have been hanging around here on MaNiC MoMMy for a while, you know that my passion is books, and I love doing book reviews and sharing fabulous authors with you and being able to give away great reads. Since last March I've been fortunate enough to hold some really fun book promotions ... there was the March Madness one where I went crazy and offered a book a day for like 43 days. Then I did a June Blast of Books and gave away about 15 books very quickly. Now just since September, we've just finished the Fall Fab Book Giveaway where 27 or so books were showcased here.

Blog readers were invited to learn about the books and enter each time a book was featured by commenting. Each time you commented, you were entered to win the grand prize. Some of you may have already won the book of the day. Now it's time to announce the GRAND PRIZE WINNER who will be receiving copies of every single book that was featured on MaNiC MoMMy since the first book showcased on September 6, where we opened the promotion with Karen Doornebos' Definitely Not Mr. Darcy.

And the Grand Prize winner who was drawn from a random slip of paper by my son Tukey today is ....

WELL in an  unexpected turn of  events, the grand prize winner never got in touch with me and the winner also did not leave an identifying name or email so I could not get in touch with her. Therefore, we will be choosing a new winner.


Jen, you're going to need to contact me so I can get your address -- I've got a lot of publicists and authors to contact so you can start receiving ALL of your books! Your doorbell is going to be ringing A LOT in the next few weeks! I hope you have a lot of time to be reading!

And not to worry all - I've got a lot of books already in the works for a Winter Promo that will soon be coming your way with a ton of great authors that you haven't even heard of yet, PLUS some of the authors you already know and love!

Hope your Thanksgiving was a terrific one filled with the things that truly do matter--family, friends, hope, happiness, health, laughter and lots and lots of love!

Peace UP!

xo MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vegas Rocks!

OK, I’m back from Vegas and wow, what a trip! I never expected to have such a great time. Yeah I expected to have a blast with two of my best friends from forever but just CRAZINESS.

We went for three nights and everyone says two nights in Vegas is all you need. Not true. We could have handled even one more night in Sin City. We got there on Thursday around 11 am and went out for lunch drinks right away at Mandalay Bay.These are cucumber mojitos. Mine.

Plus I had to pick up tickets to the two shows we were going to see: Menopause the Musical and The Lion King. I don’t really know what happened but we ended up at Cosmopolitan drinking vodka sodas with cranberry splashes and getting on the Tryst VIP list.

The Cosmo is a gorgeous hotel – it’s the one with the big high heel shoe in the front and the Chandelier bar which is a three tier bar that is like a chandelier. I wish I had more pics to show you all. Some are on FB if you’re my FB friend. If not, friend me but when you do, please tell me you are my MaNiC MoMMy friend!

So after a bazillion or maybe just 4 or 5 cocktails, we go back to the room for a Disco Nap (new Vegas term I learned and LOVE), and then when we wake up around 8, one of my friends and I are not sure we want to go out because we are like 42 years old moms and OLD. Plus, there’s a good movie on TV.

BUT, we are in VEGAS!!! So we have to rally. We shower, I yank my boobs WAY up, which I never do, and we are out! We go and grab something to eat which is sushi (big mistake), but I only have three pieces of a roll, and have not yet had a drink. Then we hit TRYST at the Wynn. (We are apparently a night too early because the very NEXT night, Prince Harry is THERE!!!)

Before we went on this trip, I had ONE request to my friends. I told them I did not want to go to any Hootchie Mama clubs. This was a Hootchie Mama Club. Women wear skirts and dresses where their ass cheeks hang out of their dresses, but really, not all of the ladies are attractive at all, and since I amped up my boobies, I was feeling okay about myself. The bartender ladies all have fake ta-tas and wear bras and lingerie.

There are go-go dancers wearing thongs all over the place. AND, if you want to SIT in these places, you have to have table/bottle service, which means you need to purchase a bottle of vodka for a minimum of $475. Fortunately for us, we had our two free drink tickets, and VIP entry so we got in fast/front of the line, and free.

We stayed for a while and BOOM, got hit on by some old guys immediately, who were nice but unattractive. That’s when we realize WE.ARE.NOT.ALL.THAT. Hahahah. We all wore our wedding rings and I always dropped the line, “My husband …” You know, to thwart all the men from totally hitting on me!

These guys wanted to buy us drinks, but we three girls made a pre-pact that if anyone wanted to buy us drinks, we had to go to the bar with them to make sure they didn’t roofie us. So, my friends went with them, while I saved our special spot – a section in the bar that we found where we could sit on a ledge FREE OF CHARGE. I had one vodka drink there because I had so much during the day and I was scared of getting a migraine. I know my limits people, oh yes I do!

So, there we were, drinking it up with the two old dudes (ok, they were maybe 4 years older than us), when I suddenly had to get out of there. I told S & S (my friends will from now on be referred to as S & S because those are their initials) that we had to leave. The smoke, the lights, the crowds, the cheese on the women’s butts, the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of the music was getting to me. I had to get out of there.

We grab a cab and head back to HRH, take the elevator to our room, open the door, I rip off my shirt and my necklace, run to the bathroom, and puke. It’s like 1 a.m.

S & S put me to bed and go out until 4:00 a.m.

End of Day One.

Day Two, we all get up around 11:30, go find coffee and some food, come back to the room, hang out, get ready and leave the hotel around 3:00. We head to Serendipity, thanks to the recommendation of some FB people, where I devour an awesome burger with avocado, brie and carmelized onions. S&S are okay with drinking already cuz they are champions. One is doing wine, the other is a bud light lime girl. I order an unsweetened ice tea.

Until I see they have Blue Moon on tap.

Game on.

After we eat we head to see Menopause the Musical where we are the youngest people in the audience, not quite hitting the menopause phase, but definitely understanding where we are heading. Hilarious and fun. We drink during the show. Because it’s Vegas.

After the show, we go to an oxygen bar where one S and I get some oxygen and a back rub from a young hottie. We flirt heavily and ooze on the charm. We are pumped to have attention and oxygen. We are ready for the night that awaits us.

Next, we go to New York and hang out at a bar there where again, we meet old guys. We discover something interesting. The old guys are boring. They are no fun to play with. One gives me a foot rub because my feet are killing me, but he’s like my dad so it’s very boring. They’re in Vegas for a motorcycle event. Total turn off. Plus they drink old man drinks. BORING.

Then, we are high-fiving people who walk by and the French version of LFMAO walk by and they’re fun. We love meeting crazy Vegas people and hearing why they are in Vegas.

A gorgeous young woman sits next to us along with her “dad” who turns out to be her “manager” and she is a model. She asks S if she looks like a prostitute. Says she is there because her manager promised to take her to Vegas to see the shows. I wonder if they have separate rooms, and if her “manager” is going to get any action tonight. Feel sorry for that girl, even though she is the most stunning girl we have ever seen!

Another guy walks by in a turtle neck and a blazer. I high-five him. During our stay at this bar, he walks by three times, I high-five him each time. The third time, he says, “You’re still here?” I say, “We are SOUL MATES!” I make S take a picture of the two of us. We hug. It’s Vegas. People are friendly.

We go to Vanity at Hard Rock which is another night club. We decide it sucks because we hate the club scene with the hootchie mamas and the Go-Go dancers and the slimy old men and leave after about an hour.

Next, we hit Caesar’s and Cleopatra’s Barge. Just the place we wanna be. Fun music. Young boys. We dance all night until the lights come up. We find some young boys who are 22 or 23. One is infatuated with S. Dances all night. The Cougar thing is not a myth. Older women are mysterious!

Back at our hotel, we hit the 24 hour diner and S orders Chicken Fried Steak. I take a photo of the food because it’s so beautiful. I’m not hungry but I order stupid pancakes. We go to bed at 4:30 a.m. This seems to be our epic night. We would have been Vegas thrilled if this was our big night.

But it is not to be so.

The next morning we get up and go to Paris. Wow, we’ve seen a lot of the world in one short trip! We eat at Mon Ami Gabi, which is funny because we could eat there in Chicago anytime. Afterward, we had planned to hang out on the strip, but rock star friend S, in a surprising turn of events, says SHE needs a nap, when it’s usually ME who is the napper. And I’m not one to disagree.

We go back to the hotel and Disco Nap again.

When we get up, it’s time to get ready for our last night on the town. I am adamant that I will be in bed by 1 a.m. as I have a 1:30 flight the next day, and I need my sleep. I’m desperately afraid of migraines and hangovers. They ruin my life.

We get ready and go see The Lion King. Katy Perry is also playing at Mandalay Bay but we chose to see Simba instead. Hahah. About The Lion King though … In a word:

Hubby got us the tickets and we were like eighth row center. Stunning performance. I felt guilty for not having the kids there with me. The animals came down from the top of the back of the rows, and right down the aisle right next to us. It was unbelievable. The singing was amazing. The performers fabulous. I’m so glad we went to the show. We loved it.

Then after, we had to grab some food. Do we go all out and dine at fancy five-star restaurants in Vegas? Nope. Burger Bar in Mandalay. S and I share buttermilk zucchini fries and sweet potato fries for dinner. The other S has a turkey burger.

A couple Blue Moons and the Cougar Pack is ready. But not before we head out with a plan. We noticed some bachelorettes go out on scavenger hunts. So I think it’s a good idea to have a hunt of our own. I say we need to go out and find a six pack of abs. We also need to get guys to buy us drinks. There’s also one other thing we had to do but that’s something that remains in the pack. It was called our Triple Play!

We hit Eye Candy which is a lounge in Mandalay Bay. We find some young boys to toy with. They’re much more fun than old guys. They like to dance, have a sense of humor, and think older women are smart. They all know we are married but don’t care. They even buy us drinks and show us their abs. They are young and stupid. Just the way we like ‘em! We hang with them all night long. When we first met this bunch of boys, we asked them where they were earlier. They said, “You’ll laugh.” And we said they would laugh when we told them where WE were. Turns out they went to see Katy Perry. Turns out we went to see The Lion King. Who’s laughing at whom?

There was another guy later in the night at the bar, like 4 a.m. and I went up to him and said, “You do not look old enough to be in this bar.”

He said, “How old do I look?”

I said, “22 maybe.”

He said, “Would it surprise you if I told you I was a doctor.”

“You’re not a doctor!”

“Yes I am. I’m an ER doctor.”


He shrugged. And then took a sip of his scotch.

“Is that scotch? My husband drinks scotch. You are sooo young looking. You’re really a doctor?”


“What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in the ER?”

“There was this guy who came in with a 12-inch knife stuck in his chest. He was dead, but no one could figure out how he got it in there. They ended up ruling it suicide.”


I went back to our other group and pointed to the dude and said, “Hey everyone, that guy is an ER doctor!” Everyone just laughed at me. I am so gullible I will believe ANYONE!

So, anyway, through the night, our last night in Vegas, we danced with the boys (even to Waking Up In Vegas which was VERY COOL!), drank with them (I got the one married one to buy me a drink!) and then I bought HIM a drink!), and the drunkest stupidest one even let me play black jack with his money! I was winning for a while, but then when I started losing, we left the table and went back to drinking. We also got two of them to show us their abs, and yes, I have photos! And well, the third thing, that’s between me, S & S … because as you know, sometimes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

We stayed out until six a.m. that last night, laughed our butts off and had the most fun three 42 year old moms of eight kids could have possibly ever had. I ran on about 12 hours of sleep the whole weekend but the adrenaline is still running high! What a blast!

Have YOU ever been to Vegas? Where did you go, what did you do?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping Family Together

I’ve been a little MIA from this blog because stuff in life has gotten in the way, like that migraine I talked about a couple of weeks ago (my back is still outta whack because of it). And then there was a case of strep (Tukey caught it but thankfully didn’t pass it to anyone else), and now Ajers is recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed. We thought he’d be better in time to go to school. Surgery was on Friday. Here it is Tuesday and he’s still home. He hates missing school so it’s been a bad recovery.

My parents were also here for 10 days and they just headed back to Florida this morning. You know, to get back to the good weather, since we’ve had crappy weather here in AZ. Haha! I always love when my parents come to visit, and my kids especially cherish the time with Nana and Papa. Seeing them together and the bond they’ve created just gets me every time.

They’ve never lived in the same state together, except for the first 10 months of Ajers’ life when we all lived in Illinois, until we up and left them and moved to Pennsylvania. Boy, that was a heart-breaker. So, in being away from grandparents so much, we have to do what we can to keep the bond strong. And as the kids get older, and more socially busy (friends, sports, movies, sleepovers, babysitting, other activities), it’s hard to find things for everyone to do together.

Interestingly, during this trip, I watched though, as all of my kids found some fun things to do with both Nana and Papa. I stood back and watched. I kind of have to thank the iPad for some of the bonding. Nana has an iPad. We don’t. But damn that iPad did a good job of bringing everyone together.

Diva and Nana, and even Tukey clocked many hours playing Words with Friends, and then there’s this App where you can make pottery. Diva’s quite the artist and they were creating some cool stuff, so much so that Nana bit the bullet and splurged and bought the $5.99 App so she could create even more intricate pottery! Yep, she got suckered into it! It was funny to watch because Nana would ask Diva, “What colors do I mix to make brown?” and Diva would go over and help her mix the pottery colors. 

Then *I* got sucked into this STUPID Word Whomper game with these groundhogs that pop out of the ground where you try to spell a bunch of words and beat a clock. So Tukey, Nana and I were playing THAT game. I kept saying, “THIS SUCKS, I’m DONE, onemoregameplease!” Addicting!

And Nana was showing Ajers a bunch of old Carol Burnett youtube videos with Tim Conway as the Dentist because Ajers had his teeth pulled. Papa and Tukey had a few rousing games of checkers. I’m telling you, there was some serious family bonding happening, all because of the stinkin’ iPad. We loved every minute of it.

One thing that ALWAYS happens when my parents leave is that my mom always puts individual secret notes hidden in the house for all of us to find. The kids left for school this morning and when they come home, they will know to go to their rooms and search for their special Nana Note hidden in their room.

It’s a special tradition we’ve got in our family, one that makes the saying goodbye less difficult for all of us. I love this ritual – it’s something we’ve come to look forward to and expect. I keep these hidden notes as treasures from my mother, and I know my kids love to get them too. They keep us fortified throughout from the times we can’t be with my parents, and we always talk about the funny and sentimental notes she leaves around the house for us. 

Family rituals are great. When my kids were little, the Balloon Fairy used to visit their rooms on the night before their birthday – they’d wake up to a bedroom full of balloons all in their room. That one has since dissolved – the fairy’s lungs couldn’t handle it much longer, but it was fun while it lasted – what kind of family rituals do you all have set up in your house? I know that darn Christmas Elf on the Shelf will be here very soon – he’s been a big hit the past few years.

There are tons of special ways to make family rituals in your own family, and here’s a few that’s shared on Subway’s Fresh Takes site. If you’ve got some family rituals of your own that you’d like to share over there, feel free – it could get you $50 worth of subs (which, by the way, was the first REAL food that Ajers asked for when he felt he could eat after his wisdom teeth surgery!). So, go on over and share your fun rituals and you could also be featured on the Fresh Takes site as well!

Take care! And before Thanksgiving, one of you who entered in the Fall Fab Book Giveaway could be winning a boat load of books – that’s a ritual that I’ve started here on MaNiC MoMMy that I’m happy to continue here for all of you book lovers!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall Fab Book Winners, But Still GRAND PRIZE AWAITS!

Hey everybody! I've just listed the final winners for the last six books and your name could be one of the winners! So check back and see if you've won any of the previous books that were featured. They were:







Your name could be on one of those books. BUT, if it's NOT on one of those books and you left comments on any of the books during the Fall Fab Giveaway, STAY TUNED! Because YOU ARE ENTERED to possibly win ALL OF THE BOOKS that were featured during September, October and the beginning of November here on MaNiC MoMMy! Yes, even if you only had a chance to comment on one or two or three books, you still have the chance to win all 26 of the books that were featured!

Within the next week or so, DEFINITELY before Thanksgiving, I will be making the announcement of who has won all of the books! I've been dealing with strep in the house, and my oldest just had his wisdom teeth pulled out this morning, so things have been a bit crazy around here. I'm also going to be taking a little girl's trip next weekend but I promise that before Thanksgiving we'll have this all wrapped up and one of you lucky participants will be celebrating the holidays by answering your door every couple of days and receiving books, books, books!!!!

I want to thank all of you for your gracious participation when I host these promotions! You make it so much fun for ME! I LOVE reading all your comments and thoughtful answers to the questions I ask! They always stay with me throughout the day and really get me thinking!

Have a great day and a great weekend and make sure to check the previous posts to see if you're one of the recent winners, and REMEMBER, if you've posted EVEN ONCE on one of the last 26 book entries you are DEFINITELY qualified to win ALL OF THE BOOKS THAT WERE FEATURED here on the blog for the FALL FAB GIVEAWAY!

Special thanks to all of the incredible authors and publicists who donated their books and time to make this promotion happen and of course I'll be doing another smash giveaway in the winter, but for now you'll probably just have to stick around the blog to read about my life and writing and what's going on in that little world!

If you've previously won a book and have NOT received it yet and it's been a month or longer, please email me to let me know!

PeaCe uP!

MaNiC MoMMy!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Gloomy Day in AZ

This morning I woke up and it felt like I was back in Chicago. My room was completely dark, it was obvious there was no sun out. Lately I've been having those dreams again where we move back to either Chicago or Philly. Like we move back to our old neighborhood, but not on our same street, so it's like we're back home, but it's different, not the same. Rain brings me back to nostalgia because I'm not used to it being here.

One of my best memories of rain was when we lived in Philly and the kids were really little. Tukey was still in diapers and probably just walking. Mr. Manic was on his way home from work and I had probably spent the whole day dealing with a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and 1-year-old. It started to rain, the good kind of rain that's not filled with thunder and lightning, the kind of rain where it's warm and safe to play in.

We had an awesome front porch, I had an awesome bottle of wine, and three riled-up kids. "Let's go outside and play in the rain and wait for Daddy to get home," I said.

I let them go play on the driveway in their clothes, with some umbrellas they soon abandoned, along with some clothes they soon abandoned. Daddy got home, joined me on the porch and we watched our little munchkins play on the drive in the rain. I have video of that day, but the memories that play in my head are just as great. I can remember exactly what little dress Diva was wearing, and I know for a fact that I let Tukey run around in just his diaper. What was I thinking? I was thinking they were my little babies and they were having the time of their little lives!

 When I woke up this morning to rain, I had this really nostalgic feeling. We never get rain here. But we love when it does rain because it's so unusual for us. A special treat. It's almost like getting a snow day. When it does rain, the kids and I will go stand outside and put our faces up to the sky and feel what it's like to have the water wash down on our faces. It just feels like a different sensation. Like new. Like something we never experienced before. Even though when we lived anywhere else it always rained.

The first year we lived here in Arizona, it rained maybe six times. We craved rain. It's just a nice surprise when it does happen, like snow. And today's rain brought about cold temperatures for us. I think it's colder today here than in Chicago, high 40s. Diva came downstairs in shorts and I said, "You'll need long pants today." She shrugged like maybe I was kidding. I told her to go outside for a second. She did, then came back in and went to put on jeans. The boys, they still have not worn long pants since we've lived here. I think they will never wear long pants again.

I even offered to drive the older kids to school this morning. Ajers laughed at me. He said, "We lived in Chicago where the temperatures were below 30 sometimes and the snowstorms were out of control and you never drove us to school, and because of a little rain you want to drive us?" Heck, though, these people don't know how to drive when it's raining here! Still, they opted to take the bus today!

The best thing about the rain here in Arizona is that when it is warm out, the rain brings about awesome lightning storms that are just beautiful. They light up the sky and I wish then that I was a photographer and I could capture those moments on film. And anytime it does rain it brings back those memories when my kids were little and they'd play outside in rainstorms.

Do you have fun memories of when you were a child playing in the rain or snow even? Do you let your kids play in the rain? Share your stories on Fresh Takes  sponsored by Subway and you can win a $50 gift card and be featured on their website.

Seriously, it is storming outside right now like I've never seen it in Scottsdale - I'm thinking about snuggling under the covers and taking a snooze - that's another thing I love to do during rainstorms!

Then later this week--book announcements for winners!!!!!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Please email me at with your full name and address and I'll get your book to you!

Last book in Fab Fall Book Promo!

Well, here it is! The very last book of the Fall Fab Book Giveaway and I’m proud and honored to feature Kristina Riggle’s third novel Things We Didn’t Say. I’ve featured both of her other books here on MaNiC as well, and I love the depth of her writing. Her characters are so relatable and true-to-life, and she writes about tough subject matter here: alcoholism, divorce, blended families, the sudden disappearance of a child. Things We Didn’t Say is a book you will pick up and won’t be able to put down until the final pages.


What makes up a family? For Casey it’s sharing a house with her fiancĂ©, Michael, and his three children, whom she intends to nurture better than she ever took care of her self. But Casey’s plans have come undone. Michael’s silences have grown unfathomable and deep. His daughter Angel seethes as only a teenage girl can, while the wide-eyed youngest, Jewel, quietly takes it all in.

Then, son Dylan runs off and the kids’ mother, a woman never afraid to say just what she thinks, noisily barges into the home. That’s when Casey decides that the silences can no longer continue. She must begin speaking the words no one else can say. She’ll have to dig up secrets—including her own—uncovering hurts, and beginning healing that is too long overdue. And it all begins with just a few tentative words…

To enter to win the final book in the Fall Fab Book Giveaway, tell me something you say almost every day.

Obviously, you’re probably saying you love someone every day, so tell me something unique or silly or funny or crazy that you say every single day at one time or another. I think I probably say GIVE ME YOUR LUNCH BOXES every single day or DID YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH every single day… So what are some things YOU DO SAY every day? (and yeah, we all know the usual, “Not tonight dear, I’ve got a headache … hahahah!)

Don't forget to go back and enter for the previous books. I still haven't drawn winners from the book MICE on, so there are still six books that you can enter to win! 

Next week I’ll finalize the winners from all of the books and give you info on when the GRAND PRIZE drawing will be. One of you will win all 20+ books! Yes, it could be YOU! How exciting is THAT!!!!