Competition at its Finest – with a side of propriety & decorum

FullSizeRender 2 As the school year gets off to a start – I thought I’d share something that brought great joy (and a few tears, cue the tissues!) in our home over the weekend. In the shadow of the Olympics a little baking competition in Great Britain came to a conclusion. In the midst of societal chaos and hurtful banter, dignity & respect lived on the airwaves of public reality-television in an unlikely venue – a kitchen in a tent. The Great British Baking Show offers an opportunity for amateur bakers to test their skills. Though many of the recipes and “bakes” (as they’re termed) land a little outside of our tastes here in the Texas (they enjoy loads of fruit in their cakes), a lot of it had our mouths watering and our oven pre-heating. Case in point, Sally baked us some Show-Stopper soufflés on Saturday afternoon, inspired

The Other Side of the Trees – Thoughts on Heaven

i95 On a recent drive down Florida’s I-95, I turned to the passenger riding shot-gun, “It seems kind of boring and ugly and sort of claustrophobic, doesn’t it.” Relentlessly guarded by a wall of trees, the road leaves a lot to the imagination. “All of the above,” she replied, straining to see the beautiful sunset we had admired only moments before getting on the highway. “I can’t see the marsh anymore either.” We were traveling from Savannah to catch a flight home to Dallas via Jacksonville. The towering tree line came with obstructed-view seating. All the colors, the birds and the beauty of the marsh-grasses emerging from their soggy foundation could only be glimpsed, every so often, through gaps in the towering line of trees. “It’s funny isn’t,” I think out loud (car rides are nice that way – they beg for

Busy Life meets Calendar Strategies

SaySomething - Robin Pou Inboxes around the world are beginning to see Sign-Up Coffee & Back to School Sign-UP‘s creep into the mix, a tell-tale sign that Summer is almost over. The busy-life calendar threatens most homes. In May, The New York Times’ Laura Vanderkam weighed in on the topic in her op-ed Busy Lives: HOW’S life? Oh, busy. So goes the mindless modern conversation — a constant assertion of the scarcity of time. A December Gallup poll found that 61 percent of working Americans said they did not have enough time to do the things they wanted to do. Some of us feel this more acutely than others: A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found that 9 in 10 working mothers said they felt rushed all or some of the time. Whether we’re working inside or outside other home, calendars and all that comes with them, have an interesting magnetic

To be, or not to be – Happy :)

JDL Happiness I remember several years ago, talking with a medical professional about the happiness level of one of our kids. I was concerned. He wasn’t. Holding our 10-pound, almost 12-inch thick file, he gently smiled at me as wisely said “With as many personalities as you have in your home, smiling and laughter might not be the gauge to let you know their happiness level.  What makes you happy isn’t necessarily what makes them happy.” I’ve thought about his words often. It’s the same with their giftedness. It’s so easy to assume that our kids will be good at and enjoy the things we do – but it’s highly likely our natural gifting will differ. Same with happiness-drivers. So – when I saw my cyber-friend Jennifer Dukes Lee new book: The Happiness Dare AND her accompanying Happiness Style Assessment

Household Hashtags

I recently was reminded about an article I did a few years back in DMagazine’s DMom on hashtag musings. It made me chuckle. So – much to the chagrin of my kids who can’t help but roll eyes at their #soyesterday #notcooI mom – I added a few new and am recycling some old thoughts on homefront-hashtags. Maybe it will bring a smile or two your way on this HOT summer day. #iwasgonnadothat “I was gonna do that” (frequent response to almost any undone task) is a kid’s go-to phrase most often floated as an attempt to get credit for doing what someone else has just done. #ididthatyesterday “I did that yesterday” is the handy go-to phrase used to avoid doing whatever was done “yesterday” in an effort to not do it today tasks like washing the dishes, making a bed (really any household chore), brushing teeth, showering

Living the Days-After in Dallas

United “Mom.” I heard my son’s voice, but didn’t instantly react. “Mom?” he gently asked, “Did you forget to sign me up?” With his name absent on the season finale Champs Swim Meet heat sheet, I didn’t blame him for wondering. I’ve forgotten before. But this time, the omission wasn’t my fault or our coach’s. On another day, this might have fired my ire – the inconvenience, the disappointment and the unfairness of it all. But not today. Life’s events of late – with all their death, heartache, strife, emotions– weighed heavier than a heat sheet omission. Ready to chalk it up to a good life-lesson (sometimes things don’t work out despite our best-laid plans), I reached for my keys to go home. But before I could start to console our way out the door, the meet coordinator swooped in and took care of the oversight.

Kids, Summer, Screens & Keeping the Peace

Matel_Football_I A Facebook SOS went out this week from my friend Missy (mom of 4 tween/teens): I need some help setting up guidelines and restrictions with screens during the summer with my 4 kids. (Screens=tv, computer, phone, video games, etc). Help! It’s especially an issue with all my boys. Any ideas welcome. (I am not super administrative–so I don’t want something that needs me to keep track of too much)! Apparently, she’s not alone. According to Common Sense Media, tweens log 4 1/2 hours of screen time a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. For teens, it’s even higher: nearly seven hours a day. And that doesn’t include time spent using devices for school or in school. The response to Missy’s SOS was significant. Because, during the school year it’s one thing, but now its SUMMER! When I was

A few end of School-Year Favs

end_of_school_year_bag_tag_template_04 With May coming to an end and summer shouting a big HELLO :), I thought I’d share a few of my favs from commencement, award ceremonies (I’m not kidding) and EOY carpool contemplation. Sherly Sandberg’s Cal Berkeley Address: Today I will try to tell you what I learned in death. Ms. Sandberg shared for the first time in public what she has learned from the death of her husband last year. She encouraged the young grads that one can thrive in success and in adversity. She included research from psychologist Marty Seligman (from whom we’ve learned a little bit about tackling entitlement via his research on learned helplessness vs. earned success.) “Martin Seligman found that there are three P’s—personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence—that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship.

HuffPost :) What to do when what’s heard doesn’t match what’s said

Leaving a graduation ceremony and subsequent reception last night, I glanced at the clock, “Wow, that lasted a long time.” “I’m sorry,” said my daughter riding shotgun. “Why are you sorry?” I nonchalantly asked. Then quickly realizing that I was entering the strange teen-zone where an unassuming question can instantly transform a regular moment into an emotionally-charged field of landmines. “WAIT,” I divert and quickly add before she can answer my why question, “what did you think I said.” “Well, you said that I talked too long.” “What?” “Yeah, that I’m the reason it ran late.” Huh? “I was only commenting on how long it lasted. I wasn’t saying anything about you.” “Well, that’s what I heard.” Welcome to a common field of landmines — the space between what is said and what

Hello … It’s me and it’s May

Mad-Madness Bracket 2016 Hi. My name is Kay. I have definitely been MIA. (And apparently, I”m a poet – this is where I need a laughing-crying emoji. Seriously, I think I could communicate 100% emoji, kind of like hieroglyphics- or not. But that’s another story for another day.) Anywhooo – I just haven’t been moved to write much. Probably because I’ve had so much on my mind. And especially of late because life has been bombarded by some hard stuff in our neck of the woods. My dear friends traveling the cancer road were both hit hard (one even had a heart attack in the midst of everything else!), my sweet and wonderful uncle passed away followed by an unexpected/untimely death of my dear friend’s husband. Moments like these put life into perspective. Then, in the strangest turn of events, I had put together a 2nd Annual
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