Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Nobody F#&@ing Told Me: "Mess"ays from Motherhood

Reading is one of those things that I never get to do enough of. As a mom, it's usually one of the first forms of self-care to go down the drain, right? There's just never enough time for reading books. For 2019, one of my resolutions is to read more. And for once I don't mean more business books or more books about autism or epilepsy. Nope. This year, I'm reading more for pure pleasure.

My first book for 2019 was pure silliness. "Nobody F#&@ing Told Me" is full of laughs about the misconceptions of motherhood. The book opens with a grinding look at that "glow" that's supposed to
come with impending motherhood. You know the one. The little old ladies mention it when you're walking down the grocery aisle, trying to find food with some microscopic bit of nutritional value that won't make you toss your cookies at all hours of the day and night. You have to bite your tongue not to counter with "No, lady. That's puke sweat. There's a puddle out in the parking lot next to my car." Or, in author Sammie Prescott's case, in her pumpkin-spiced latte cup.

"Nobody F#&@ing Told Me" also tells us the truth about motherhood with young kids. "Sleep when they sleep" everyone tells you. But no one addresses how you're also supposed to get the laundry done and cook dinner and take the trash out because my God, how do they poop so much? And once you have two kids? Sleep becomes a fleeting memory, much like shaved legs and bathroom privacy. This is seriously one of the best books I've read about the not-so-joyous-side of motherhood. I'm
really looking forward to Sammie's next book.

I chatted some with my kids about the book. They're older, so I have less juggling to do, but I do remember the days of having two under three. I did it twice, and I'm surprised to this day that I still have my sanity. To a point, once they get older, it gets easier. However, I do still occasionally threaten to duct tape my youngest two together if they don't stop tormenting each other! It's a good opportunity to remind them that life isn't always clean and easy!

If I had a chance to talk to Sammie in real life, I would love to tell her that life with kids does get easier as they get older, but it's not a free ride once they start school. There's tons of other issues that you have to worry about as your kids get older. You have to figure out how to have the sex talk with them in a way that doesn't leave them completely mortified. You have to address topics like consent and abuse and rape culture and how women can have agency without men. It's all messy, love. But that's okay. Because in the end, you educate your kids the best you can, then trust them to plot their way through life. And in the end, puking in the Starbucks cup won't matter. The only thing that matters is the happy they manage to find and make in their lives!

You can find the book on Amazon here.

Sammie's on social media:
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/lifewithtaters/Instagram: @Lifewithtaters
Twitter: @lifewithtaters
And you can read more about her mothering adventures on her blog, Life with Taters!

This post was sponsored by Eliezar Tristan Publishing. All views are my own!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mr. Billionaire CEO by Sedona Venez Release Blitz

Title: Mr. Billionaire CEO
Author: Sedona Venez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 28th, 2018
Cover Designer: Covers by Combs
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:  A forbidden, sexy office romance stand-alone from USA Today best-selling author Sedona Venez.
Jayla is trouble, and she’s just my type of woman. 
I was damned when I watched her stroll into the office building her first day of work. In a matter of minutes, she shattered my control.
I’ve been obsessed with her bombshell body since that day.
But I’m her boss. 
So, my fixation on her is totally inappropriate, especially when she hasn’t shown a bit of sexual interest in me—or so I thought … up until recently.
I’m a Dom, and I sense she is a natural submissive, albeit one who seems inexperienced with men. My instincts tell me that the right man can not only bring out her external beauty, but sexually awaken her as well.
Now that I’ve set my sights on her, I’m not going to back down until I get what I want.
And, as everyone in the office knows, I always get what I want.
As with all my books, this stand-alone is safe with no cheating and a guaranteed HEA.
Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks
 USA TODAY Bestselling Author Sedona Venez lives in New York City with her hot ex-military hubby--hooah--and their fur babies. She loves writing sizzling, sexy intricate stories about strong but broken characters who push limits, overcome their fears, and risk it all for love.
Author Links:
Text "SedonaVenez" to 33222
Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Monday, November 26, 2018

Top 10 Gifts for the Planner Lover

Disclosure: Embrace the Chaos places affiliate links in blog posts. We earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase the items you find through those links. That money helps pay for insurance co-pays, medications, and equipment for our two special needs kids.

I cannot tell you the number of ways that computers have made my life easier. Google calendar, research, finding work, looking for recipes...there are probably a thousand other ways that computers have improved my life in my forty-six years. But at heart, I'm a paper planner girl.

I started list making in high school. By my senior year, I was working forty hours a week, taking AP classes, and on the Forensics team. To say I was busy was an understatement. Within a year after graduating high school I was in college and a working mom. I bought a paper planner then, and there's been no going back.

I stopped using a planner after my two youngest were born. Working was impossible when Yoda was
a baby. But the moment I got my first job after the kids went to school, I went out and purchased a planner. Using a planner helps me keep deadlines straight, manage meal planning, and help remind me about one of our hundreds of doctor appointments.

Today's planners have come a long way from the Franklin Planners that were the big effing deal when I was just getting started with planners. Of course, you can still get Franklin Planners; they are definitely the functional planners that many of us need. My first big planner purchase was a Franklin. Today, the options for planners are numerous; even more so the amazing decorations that you can use to personalize a planner!

If you know someone that loves paper planners, chances are, they've already picked out their planner for 2019. Believe me when I say that the decision regarding next year's planner is one that is difficult and contemplated immensely. However, there are some must have that many planner girls love! I've put together a list of the top ten gifts for the planner lover!

Colored Markers - We use markers in our planners, and it's important that the pens have clean lines and not bleed through to the other side of the page. While planner paper is usually thick, some markers, such as Sharpies, still bleed through. My favorite set of colored markers are these Fineliner Pens. They don't bleed through, and the fine tip is perfect for writing in a contained space.

Stickers - Most planner lovers adore using stickers. It breaks up the monotony of our day to day routine, and adds some color and whimsy to our planners. I use this set, as it covers functional and fun stuff!

Washi Tape - Washi tape gives us a way to further decorate our planners. I love to use the thin washi tape for going over lines, while the wider washi gives me some more decorating options. I can do themes or color schemes, which adds personality to my pages.

Craft Storage - The one thing that drives me nuts about planner decoration is that I end up with my stuff everywhere. Ideally, I decorate my planner while I'm sitting in front of the TV. But I end up setting appointments or meetings while I'm back at my desk; that means I need my planner supplies to be portable. Craft storage totes help me solve that problem. I can keep everything together while moving it from place to place.

Stamp Sets - Planner decorating is kind of an offshoot of scrapbooking. While memory making is great, some people began using those scrapping supplies for planners. So it's natural that stamp sets are pretty popular with planner addicts!

Etsy Gift Cards - Planner decorating has created an entire subset of business owners; those who use their creative talents to make stamps, craft bookmarks and clips, or design art for planner lovers! There are many shopping options at Etsy, and a gift card is a great way to show your planner lover that you care!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Importance of Thanksgiving Traditions

When I was a teen, I ran the usual gamut of teenage craziness. Falling in love every few weeks, pushing boundaries with my parents, and being the mouthiest person ever to mouth off. I also went through a phase where I was a vegetarian.

Now let me tell you, when you're raised of southern parents who both grew up dirt poor, and are dirt poor yourself, meat and potatoes make up the bulk of every meal. On weekdays, breakfast was always cereal. But on the weekends when dad was home, mom would cook breakfast and there would always be sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash. I can't think of a single dinner that my mom cooked that didn't have meat in it. As I'm sure you can imagine, being a vegetarian in a house like that was a bit difficult. I think I lasted all of three months.

But my parents weren't entirely blameless in the whole vegetarian phase of my life. See, my dad didn't like turkey. Growing up, we had turkey for Thanksgiving only if we went to grandma's. If we stayed home, we only had ham. On the rare bonus Thanksgivings, we would go to grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner, and then the next day my mom would also cook a ham, so my dad could get his fix.

One year, my dad named our ham. I can still remember sitting at the table, enjoying the mashed potatoes and red-eye gravy, staring at that big slice of ham on my plate, trying to decide if I was going to eat it plain, or dip it into the potatoes and gravy, when my dad deadass says "I bet this pig was named Oscar."

Dad created an entire back story for Oscar. I don't remember much of it, but I do remember feeling
bad for Oscar. I felt something akin to what my oldest daughter must have felt when she realized that the chicken we ate for dinner came from the same chickens she saw at the neighbor's house. Much like my daughter did, I got over it after that three month vegetarian phase.

But every Thanksgiving I tell the tale of Oscar while we eat ham.

Thankfully, my kids are a little more aware of the food chain than I was. They understand that the Thanksgiving ham comes from pigs, and that the Thanksgiving turkey, which we also have, comes from the big birds we see on the side of the road. As of yet, none of them have gone through a vegetarian phase, but I know, if they did, that my dad would be laughing at me.

Telling that story is really important to me. It explains why we're having ham and turkey on Thanksgiving. It gives my younger children, who never met my dad, a bit of insight into him. It helps them understand my sense of humor, which was so lovingly bestowed by my dad. And that's why I think Thanksgiving traditions are so important.

For us, the tradition of Oscar is about carrying on the memory of my dad, who gave me a healthy dose of humor at every opportunity. It's about making sure that there is laughter in a holiday that can sometimes seem a bit too serious. It's about embracing each other, and all of our quirks and weirdnesses.

When I first started a family, it was important to me to create some new traditions. I wanted my home to always feel like that safe place that my kids could always come to, and developing traditions is an important part of that. But just as important as developing new traditions, is knowing which ones to keep.

Oscar needed to be kept.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Top Seven Gifts for Sensory Seekers

Disclosure: Embrace the Chaos places affiliate links in blog posts. We earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase the items you find through those links. That money helps pay for insurance co-pays, medications, and equipment for our two special needs kids.

It's the time of year when we'll be buying gifts by the truckload. Okay, not really truckload, but if you're like me, you have a lot of kiddoes to buy gifts for. While I'm a parent of some special needs kids, there's other kids on my Christmas list. A couple of those kids have sensory issues. Since I was looking anyway, I put together this list of the top ten gifts for sensory seekers!

Mini Trampoline - For our family a mini tramp was a lifesaver. My son would come back from any activity where he needed to "behave" full of energy. The mini tramp would help him get out all of
that extra energy. I've recommended this one because it's portable, which is important if the kiddo you are buying for doesn't live in a space that allows him to have a sensory room.

Foot Massager - As with the trampoline, a foot massager became something that we could not live without. It's one of the first things our occupational therapist tried out on Yoda, and we could visibly see the relaxation spreading throughout his body. We use the foot massager for times when Yoda is disregulated, but not full of energy. It helps him to relax. It's especially useful for him at bedtime. I am recommending this one because it has a variety of settings, which means a sensory seeker can choose the type of stimulation that he needs.

Dry Brush Set - Everyone talks about the advantages of dry brushing your skin. It's said to promote lymphatic drainage and improve the appearance of cellulite. For sensory seekers, it can provide much needed sensory imput without overwhelming the brain. This particular set comes with a variety of textures, so your favorite seeker can choose the level of stimulation he needs.

Stuffed Animals - Have you ever met an older person whose bed is full of stuffed animals? It could be a sensory thing. Every year, for Valentine's Day, my husband buys me a teddy bear. While it's a sweet gesture, it's also very useful for me; I still occasionally sleep with a teddy bear. The softness and feeling of wrapping my arms around it gives me comfort. I've tried a large body pillow, but the one I have exacerbates my arthritis. The teddy bear gives me the level of comfort I need without putting me in a painful position.

Fidget Toys - Fidget toys were all the rage a few years ago. That was a huge plus for sensory seekers,
because suddenly their essential regulation tools were widely accepted. That made it easier for many people to get permission to put these tools on IEPs where they could be used in the classroom. While only one of my kids has a diagnosis of autism, all of them are fidgeters. I bought this set last year and shoved a few fidget toys into everyone's stockings.

Brain Teaser Puzzles - Hand held brain teaser puzzles are perfect quiet activities for sensory seekers. While Yoda has a tablet that helps to keep him regulated, sometimes, we're in situations where he needs to sit still, but the tablet isn't an option. Giving him a hand held teaser puzzle keeps his hands and mind occupied while he needs to sit still. It's a better option for doctor's appointments, school programs, and church.

Knitting Starter Kit - A knitting supply bag, filled with knitting needles, yarn, and some project books are a great gift for an older sensory seeker. It's another activity that can engage their brain at times when they need to be quiet, and the feel of the yarn can be quite soothing as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Ricochet by David A. Kennedy

David A. Kennedy
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: November 6th 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller
Brenda Roseberry’s youth was fractured with personal loss and sexual assault. In response, she’s trained her body through rock climbing and Isreali martial arts. Her genius at engineering tends toward the devious: she invents technology that allows her to see through walls, along with bulletproof clothing and specialized grenades.
Brilliant, fearless, and eminently disturbed, Brenda is ultimately recruited by Special Crimes Response And Mitigation—SCRAM. And so begins her daring pursuit of white-collar crime, fringe terrorist conspiracies, and anyone deserving of her unique brand of draconian justice.
Her only real friend is a notorious MS-13 gangster named Pucaso. He’s got a crush on her but that only makes Brenda deride him and loathe herself. Still, she relies on his help, whether she’s in Belize to wipe out the server farm of a corrupt hedge fund, or on Maui to take on the poisonous executives of a giant chemical company. Brenda treats wrongdoers like insects—the kind that need extermination.

Author Bio:
Dave is a guidebook writer/publisher turned novelist. He began rock climbing around 1984, which was a “logical” extension of hiking, camping and backpacking since boyhood. After his first article on climbing in San Diego’s back-country was published in Rock & Ice magazine, he created the San Diego County Climbing Guide, which proved extremely popular. Next came San Diego Adventures: Classic hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. In 2007 he completed and published a second edition of the climbing guide, which vividly detailed over 2,000 routes.
Subsequently, he embarked on a fiction-writing odyssey, producing sci-fi novels and short stories “rather unsuccessfully” in terms of publication. He finally found his proper voice in 2017 when he wrote Ricochet, an intense modern-day thriller about a young female vigilante. Upon its completion, he learned about Acorn Publishing while attending the 2018 Southern California Writers’ Conference and was signed by them shortly thereafter.
David is also an accomplished horticulturist. He became interested in tropical plants called Bromeliads in 2010, which quickly turned into a passion. He is an active member of the San Diego Bromeliad Society, and has won “Best of Show” awards in their annual show multiple times. His Tillandsia collection is considered one of the best in the region. For many years he and his wife Debbie have been chief volunteer caretakers of the San Diego Zoo’s Kent Bromeliad Garden.
Becoming a novelist is the realization of a lifelong dream. David loves the process of storytelling, of waking up each day well before dawn and diving into the art of making words come together in a way that appeals.


Winter Essential Oil Essentials

I don't know about you, but here in Colorado, we had a late summer, followed by about two weeks of fall, then BAM! We got snow. We're already hunkered down with colder than average weather. Two kids are home sick. I'm so tired I can't see straight. It's going to be a long winter! For our family, essential oils help us get through the winter months without feeling so down in the dumps.

We use essential oils often. Some I use year round, including Plant Therapy's Germ Fighter. Not only does it smell great, but it helps strengthen our immune systems so that we don't get sick as often. I put it into my mop water and diffuse it regularly. But during the winter, there are a few favorites that I always keep in stock.

Frankincense - Frankincense gets a lot of use in our house. It's supposed to help the body relax, which could help Yoda's seizures. However, it may also support a healthy immune system. We have two kids with cough variant asthma, and one of those kids, Spidergirl, can use albuterol but shouldn't use it often. So Frankincense is our first line when someone brings home a cold. We don't use this oil instead of other medications, but in addition to.

Orange Oil - Orange can help your immune system. I diffuse it for a few hours a week, usually Friday mornings, because everyone is home, and generally well rested.

Peppermint - There's a reason we see so many peppermint flavored goodies during the early winter months; peppermint stimulates your nervous system, so it can help with stuff like Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Oregano - Oregano oil can do a lot of great things; in the winter, I use it for it's anti-fungal properties. It may help cut down on things like athlete's foot. When everyone is wearing hot, heavy boots all day, this can become an issue.

Giveaway! Today I'm giving away 10 ml Plant Therapy Germ Fighter ($9.95), 10 ml Plant Therapy Frankincense ($9.95), 10 ml Plant Therapy Sweet Orange ($6.95), 10 ml Plant Therapy Peppermint ($7.49), and 10 ml Plant Therapy Oregano ($9.95), for a total value of $44.29!

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