Tag Archives: guest blogger

Picnic for Two – Summer Faith

Photo courtesy of Sydney, The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series – Day Five

Summer Faith

Wow.  This has been a really excellent Summer Series, hasn’t it?  I’ll kinda feel bad when it’s all over and you’re stuck with me again.  I hope you’ve been as encouraged, inspired, challenged, and motivated as I have been.  I really appreciate each of my guests.  They’ve gone the extra mile for us and that makes me want to pass it on.

Today I’d like to welcome Megan from Faith Like Mustard.  I’m generally not a fan of Mustard, but I love Megan’s blog.  I haven’t known her long in blog time, but I feel a kindred spirit with her.  She’s also a pastor’s wife and she talks a lot about faith on her blog.  While my blog is a different kind of crazy every day, hers is more focused.  She knows what she wants to say and it’s always a blessing.  Today is no exception.

Read on and be encouraged on this hazy, HOT, and humid summer day.

Photo Credit

Summer is the perfect time for picnics. The thought of spreading an old quilt over a patch of soft, green grass, and gorging on the finest summertime delicacies while tiny birds serenade from the treetops makes me squeal with glee. Throw in a cute little old-fashioned picnic basket and I may faint with giddiness.

The funny thing about picnics is, they don’t always match the ideal picture in our minds: the grass is dry and crunchy, there are ants in the potato salad and you’re too busy sopping up armpit sweat to eat anyway.

Similarly, we often conjure up an image of what the Christian life will be like—all smiles and potluck fellowships—only to find that we have our fair share of heartbreaks, disappointments, and times when we feel so alone, that we can only wonder if God has abandoned us.

He hasn’t.

C.S. Lewis, a much smarter guy than I will ever be, nailed it with this quote:

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ~from “The Problem of Pain

So, be encouraged. Your ice cream may be melted, but you can always stick a straw in it and call it a milkshake! Even if your picnicking conditions aren’t ideal, at least take comfort in knowing that you’re not dining alone. God will never leave you nor forsake you. That’s a pinkie-promise.

Megan blogs at Faith Like Mustard. When she’s not watering her mustard seed-sized faith, she is busy being a mama to two girls, loving on The Husband (who happens to be a Preacher Man), teaching teens how to love literature, eating chocolate, avoiding the laundry and reading a pile of good books….but not usually at the same time.


What a great promise to bring into this weekend!

Fiction Friday will return next week at its normally scheduled time, but really, is anything normally scheduled on this blog?

Be back tomorrow for Summer Simple!

Happy Friday.


Summer Fashion – Beauty, Style, Color – Tips for Every Woman

Photo via Sydney @ The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series – Day 2 – Summer Fashion

I’m so very excited to introduce you to Laura of Broken Poet.  She’s a lovely woman who has a passion for fashion and style, but also has a fabulous perspective on beauty, inside and out.  Not long ago she gave us an enlightening and refreshing talk on real beauty (She ain’t pretty, she just looks that way), and today she is going to help us with summer fashion. 

Heaven knows I need a little help.  How about you?

Please don’t miss her Vlog.  She makes the best!  And she has a wonderful little Etsy shop, so be sure to visit. 

Welcome Laura!  Thank you for being my guest.



I’m super excited FringeGirl asked me to be a part of her summer series!
One thing that I really love about summer is the easy, care-free vibe everyone gets.  You are no longer strategically bundling up in layers to prevent frostbite; you can relax, just slide into some flop flops and go.  It’s wonderful.
So, in the free & easy spirit of summer I want to share some summer fashion tips/suggestions & beauty products that I love.
But, right before I do that, just a friendly reminder to WEAR SUNSCREEN!

I don’t care what kind you buy, just wear it – faithfully!

I love UV Essential SPF by CHANEL.
It makes the best make-up primer: it’s not greasy, has no smell, helps make-up stay put, makes skin feel velvety soft & look brighter.  I love it so much I would still wear it daily in an alternate universe where there is no sun.

Now, on to the fun stuff!
COLOUR (yes, I spell it with a u, so does the Queen. I feel I am in good company)

I always try to wear more colour in the summer, whether it be my clothing, my nail polish, my accessories, or my make-up.  This may be due to the fact that for the last 6 years of my life my work dress code has either been 1. All Black or 2. Black & White.  If you also have dress code dilemmas than get ready, I’ll talk more about dealing with dress codes in the summer below.
If colour-coordinating is not your strong point then paint chips are your friend.  Seriously. The Benjamin Moore website could be a fabulous tool for you.

 You can select a specific colour like in the frame below
and then it will recommend 2 colours to compliment it!
Not sure about the 2 accent colours, click  ‘more colour combos’ amd it will suggest 2 more.
Or, you can see what other shades match to make a monocromatic outfit
Since lime green, excuse me, “Margarita”, is not a colour that maybe anyone could pull off let’s look at it
It suggests pairing it with either  a dark slate gray or soft mushroomy gray.
Either of those neutrals could be worn by just about anyone.  If you love that green why not find a skirt in the shade and wear one of the accent colours on top.       Or, maybe go head to toe in a light gray khaki with lime shoes or a bag as an accent.
 Another way to wear colour is with your make-up.  This is the time of year when you can push the envelope so to speak with your make-up.  Put on a bright, but sheer lipgloss or balm.  Wear a colour lighter and brighter than you would for the rest of the year.  Anything lip product says ‘sheer’ or ‘tint’ is your friend in the summer.  Be brave, be bold, be bright!
One colour that I love in the summer is a M.A.C lipstick called Perpetual Flame in the problongwear lip creme formula.  Warning: it is not sheer!
I wear it with either a hot pink liner or sometimes the Magenta liner also by M.A.C. shown above.
If you’re really up for the 3B’s, here’s a funky eye make-up look you could try.
It’s a fun look for a beach party or outdoor concert.
I also like bright polish on my toes in the summer.  I’m usually found in dark nail colours, all those ‘almost black’ shades.  But in the summer I tend to lighten up.  I keep my fingernails pretty bare and neutral and let my toes pop!  Nails are also a great way to wear a trend colour that you may not be bold enough to wear in clothing, like bright yellow or electric coral.
either a bright colour or neutral shimmer…and usually just one colour at a time :

Now. some tips on summer dressing:

Maxi dresses and skirts are really in.  If you’re petite like me (I’m only 5’2″) you can still wear maxis!
The rule with petite dressing is that if you go long you have to really commit, I’m talking ankle bone.  Alternatively, if you go short, kneecaps should be showing.  If your hem hits somewhere in between you just look even shorter than you are.

I’ve used the same blouse so that you can see how one piece can be dressy or casual.  Also, blouses are great in the summer for many reasons.  Find one that is at least 80% cotton.  They breathe.  It’s so nice on a hot day.  Also, the shape of a blouse is really flattering as they skim over any lumps and bumps.  Take a look at these same outfits with just a white fitted t-shirt

The blouse smooths away my tummy area and the jacket camouflages the area.
Committed to the comfy white t-shirt?

Cardigans & blazers work well too.  I added a bright scarf to the blazer because I wanted to bring in some colour.  I love the khaki green, but I need something brighter by my face.  If you know ‘your colour’ find it in a scarf!  You will gets lots of mileage out of it.
Are you, like most of us, on a budget this summer?
Then think outside the box.
I can wear this skirt as a strapless dress.  I added the belt that came free with the purple blouse because I felt that it made this look more like an outfit…and less like I just pulled my skirt up to my armpits.
This might be an example of a summer work outfit in an office casual environment.  Shorts can be work appropriate in most offices if the material & style is right.  These are cotton, black, and on the longer side.  Denim short shorts are not going to be welcomed in most workplaces as professional.  These capris are a great alternative if shorts aren’t allowed & you don’t like skirts. Fabric is key for keeping these seasonal.  I have seen fall capris for tucking in knee high boots – these are usually a heavy fabric like a wool blend – definitely avoid them this time of year.  A warning with capris – as you can see in my photo, they do nothing for petite legs.  I for one don’t mind because they’re comfy and often practical.
Wearing a sandal with a heel helps counteract the short vibe – just make sure they don’t have an ankle strap.  That’s just too many horizontal lines cutting up your already short leg.

Either of these would give height and elongate the look of the leg.
(silver are unknown, black are Michael Kors)

When I start to crave summer colour at my black and white workplace I bring it in through accessories.  Ask if wearing a colourful scarf is allowed.  What about coloured shoes and purses? Wear some fun colourful costume jewelry, nail polish, and nothing cheers me up and brightens my face more than a bright lipstick.
I’ve worn this ensemble to my black and white dresscode  workplace many times.
I not only have a scarf, but a pink broach too.  My nails are a hot fuchsia colour and my earrings are dangly and made up of various pink shades.  I chose to stick with a black belt and sandals.  I chose a raffia belt to go with this cotton dress because to me it’s more of a summery material.

Last but not least, some of my favourite summer things – fashion wise!

Hat with a brim – essential.  I also have a really wide brimmed hat that I wear at the beach.
Scarf – to use as a headband or ponytail holder.  Or, tie one around a hat to coordinate it with your outfit.
Spin Pins – those Goody hair accessories are the best!  They make a fab messy bun and they’ve just come out with minis!
Dry Shampoo and Natural Bristle Brush – just spray this dry powder directly on your roots and then brush out.  Takes away that greasy, stringly look of 2nd or 3rd day hair.  It’s also great for adding volume even if your hair isn’t dirty!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!  I’m curious about all of your favourite summer fashion items.  Please let me know what they are in the comments.


Thank you Laura!

I absolutely love your style and I so appreciate your post.


Dear blog readers, I have transgressed Laura’s rules repeatedly this summer.  In fact, after she sent me this post, my exact words to her were…

“Laura, you broke my heart forever!  I am the girl in the comfy skirt and t-shirt…like every single day in the summer time.  I think this post is just for me, because I also have tons of skirts that hit just to the top of my knee or just below.  My legs are way too flabby to wear a shorter skirt and I never actually hem a skirt.  You know?

I’ve been faced with my own fashion failures and am dying the death of a frump.  I’ll try to ramp things up a bit, but I’m not sure I’m ready to break up with my t-shirts.”

I offer you proof, but don’t be quick to judge until you start showing your photos.
It’s like my uniform every single day of summer.  A skirt and a twenty-five cent junk t-shirt that I rummaged out of a yard sale.
I do much better in the winter.
How about you?  What’s your basic ‘uniform’?  Come on, spill the beans….
Laura is a wife, youth leader, blogger, make-up artist & and wannabe image consultant.  She works daily to empower women of all ages by teaching clients to simply enhance their own naturally beautiful features.  To her close friends and family she has become the go-to authority on what to wear and her closet has supplied many an outfit for everything from Halloween costumes, graduation dinners, weddings, and the ever popular “theme days” at various workplaces.

Follow along as she writes on the random happenings of everyday life and occasionally shares beauty tips and tricks at her blog Broken Poet.

Don’t forget, Laura wants to know “all of your favourite summer fashion items”. Let her know in the comments!

I’m linking this post to What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy.  Go visit for more fashion inspiration.


Your friend and fashion disaster,

PS. Yesterday I posted at An Army of Ermas.  I’ll be honest, I need some comment love over there.  I’m sharing a recipe, but I’m not much better at cooking than I am at dressing, so read at your own risk.

On Rotten Raspberries and Summer Fun

Photo courtesy of Sydney, The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series – Day One

Today I’d like you to help me welcome Shannan from Flower Patch Farmgirl.  I’ve got to be honest with you, I adore Shannan’s blog, her sweet little kids and their antics, and her heart.  She has a beautiful spirit and lavishly gives her love away.  I am blessed every single time I read her blog.  When my blog grows up, it wants to be just like hers.

Welcome Shannan!


Right now, as we speak, there’s a little box of raspberries in my fridge. I absolutely adore raspberries. It always feels so decadent and splurgey to buy them, and right now, at $2 a box, there’s really no reason not to.

The problem is, I love them so much that I don’t want to squander them.

I like knowing that they’re in my fridge and as soon as I eat them, they’ll be gone.

So what do I do?

I wait.

I look at them every time I pull out the milk or the lame old grapes and I smile just a little. Until one day, I’ll notice that they look a little mushy. They looked so good when I brought them home! Wait – when was that? I’ll do the math in my head. I’ll realize I’ve waited too long and then I’ll force the best ones down and pitch the rest.

Trust me, I know. I’ve been down this road before.

So, it seems I have a habit of idealizing a good thing. I want it to be perfect, that good thing.

This year I made my first Summer Fun list.
(Idea courtesy of Meg Duerksen at Whatever, but you already knew that.)

I made this list months ago and it seemed a bit optimistic. Maybe just a touch overzealous.

I almost kept a few things off because I didn’t want them on the list if it wasn’t really going to follow through. I wanted my pretty list to be perfect and then I wanted to carry it out perfectly.

In the end, my saner self shoved my crazy self aside and I listed up with abandon.

We have four weeks of Summer left and we never did make it to the Silverhawks game, but we found a few new (old) parks that were pretty rad.

The strawberries didn’t grow this year, so we didn’t make jam. But we did pick buckets of berries and package them up for some of our favorite people.

We made it to the beach once, but it wasn’t Silver.

I got pecked on the head at the zoo.

The Chief was just as good in our underwear as it would have been in our jammies.

We have yet to paper mache, decoupage or craft robots from cans, but we have taken a whole lot of bike rides.

And who the heck knows how many books we’ve read, because I’m not writing them down this summer.

(photo via my honey)

Of course, there’s still time. Maybe we’ll make it to the Drive-In yet, but if not, our Winnie the Pooh matinée will suffice.

Summer is for dreaming. Big dreaming.

But it’s also for plucking up every single day and LIVING.

I’ll keep checking things off and mentally adding new things on but I’ll also wind back over and over and chuck the list.

Also? I’ll eat the raspberries, because they won’t be on sale forever.

Shannan Martin is an ordinary girl who searches for and finds beauty in the everyday. She’s the wife of a man who thinks all of her jokes are funny and who regularly indulges her late-night, thinking-out-loud ponderings.  They have three funny babies, Calvin, Ruby and Silas, who came to them across rivers and oceans. Together, they are embarking on a fresh adventure and are confident that God will meet them there.


Shannan, thank you for joining us and reminding us to enjoy our days, eat the raspberries, and have a little summer fun.  I didn’t pick any strawberries this year, mostly because of last year’s mishap (for the love of strawberries), but I’m going out right now to buy some raspberries!  🙂

I’m over at An Army of Ermas today sharing some fun in the kitchen and giving you all a simple recipe that I created myself.  Yes, go ahead and be scared.

My Dog Does Chicken Voodoo

By Laura Conley

I passed out on the bedroom floor near the doorway from being super ill.  I awoke hearing my dog, Hunter, whimpering over and around me.  I couldn’t raise my head, which was face down on the blanket I was wrapped in, dampened from breaking my umpteenth fever.

With all the voice I could muster I called out, “Ray! Can you let Hunter out?”

His reply, “I just let her back in!”

So I realized her cries were the Lassie come rescue type.  She worried about my positioning on the floor, facedown and barely breathing.  I raised my hand and patted her on the head, assuring her I was still alive.  With my face still on the floor, I raised my hand to feel some strange thing by her mouth.  In my dazed and confusion I didn’t think much of it.

Maybe the kids did something funny to her collar and something was dangling from it.

That’s been known to happen.

Maybe her collar frayed.

I felt it again.

I hadn’t even opened my eyes yet that morning.

Hunter continued to make weird noises and prance around my head.  Ray walked toward the bedroom and yelled, “Ohhhhh!  Hunter has a full chicken leg in her mouth!”

It was not the kind your dog might drag out of the kitchen garbage you see.  It was part of a torn up chicken she killed outside.  It was the chicken leg and foot dangling from her mouth.

Ray says Hunter was performing Chicken VooDoo over me.

I am too tired and ill to even be grossed out.

Laura is a friend of mine and she agreed to be a guest on The Domestic Fringe.  She’s full of funny stories, but she’s got her hands full with a husband, three energetic and creative children, and a multitude of pets.  She doesn’t have time to blog herself, but she’s always welcome to share her funnies here.

Feel better Laura!

Picture This

I have a very special guest for Friday’s Spotlight this week. 

Ya, I don’t care if it’s not Friday.  I’m just not good with schedules.  Don’t ever let me keep your appointment calendar.  I mixed up my babies so badly that they never knew if it was time to eat, sleep, or poop. 

Anyway, I get to introduce you to my amazing sister-in-law, Kelly.  She’s not only a talented photographer, but she makes the best sugar cookies and pizza this side of Texas.  She fixes her coffee with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup creamer.  She’s even colored my hair.  Thankfully she did a better job on my hair than she did on my mom’s. 

You’ll have to ask her about that.


I just stole this picture from her blog.  Aren’t my nieces adorable?  My brother is one lucky man!


How long have you been blogging and what or who motivated you to launch your site? 

I started blogging Tuesday, September 2, 2008 because I was just starting my photography business and didn’t have a website just yet.  I needed a place to post some pictures and have everyone get to know me at the same time.  Nothing better than a blog.


When you were a child what did you dream of becoming when you ‘grew up’?

Oh, there were many things I was dreaming to be… the earliest I can remember is a veterinarian… then a famous world renowned flute player… then a dancer travelling with Lord of the Dance… then a famous tennis player… then an artist on the streets of France… then back to the Lord of the Dance.  I’m sure there were more, I just can’t remember all of them.


Tell us what you are passionate about…what makes your blood boil, your hackles rise, your heart soar?

 I’m passionate about this photography biz!  It consumes me.  I breathe it in and out all day long.  When I take the kids for a walk I see pictures.  I see angles.  I see light.  It’s truly incredible this whole new magical world I’ve been introduced to.  I’m truly in love. 

My blood boil?  My hackles rise?  Probably the same things that get most people… waiting an hour+ at the doctors when you have an appointment, insurance companies that don’t get your claim right and argue with you until you prove you are right (sigh…very stressful), drivers that cut you off and don’t care, my DVR not recording the Dancing With The Stars Results Show – when you were DYING to know who was kicked off…all your basic injustices of the world.

My hear soar?  This may sound crazy BUT, the smell of my children.  I smell them.  On the head.  I LOVE their smell – not sure what it is about them… can’t get enough of them.  AND… A Starbucks white chocolate mocha.  With my Alissa.  Sitting at Starbucks having breakfast.  Just the 2 of us.  Pure Heaven.


 What aspect of photography do you most enjoy?

Babies.  Babies.  Babies.  I love the maternity shoots.  I love the kids shoots.  I love the family shoots.  But really, I’m just CRAZY about the newborns.  LOVE that teeny tiny little bean. 



What would the FringeBanker (my brother) say is your quirkiest behavior?

 Oh, please, let’s not ask FringeBanker any questions about me.   He would probably say something along the lines of the ritual I have for doing my hair.  There is a little system I have to create the perfect curly mass on top of my head.  I won’t go into the details.  But he always snickers when he sees me creating and fluffing.   He’s just jealous because he’s bald.  And I tell him this.  Then he says to me…What if I come home with a huge curly wig on?  And I just laugh at the thought.  He does make me laugh.


If your car could speak, it would say…?

You are a Grandma.  I drive a Ford Taurus.  And then it would say – Hey Grandma?  Clean me. NOW.  Mainly, because of all of the goldfish, teddy grahams, raisins, animal crackers, and sand sprinkled throughout the entire backseat.


What latest trend simply baffles you?

I would have to say the texting.  Kids text SO FAST – ohmygosh.  Or I should say omg.  I’m just amazed how fast everyone but me texts.  I can’t keep up.  I do text, mind you.  I’m just so stinkin slow.  2 slow 4 u


What is the grossest thing you’ve ever done in public?

Well, I’m sure I’ve done grosser… but this one thing comes to mind.  Ever since I  had kids, whenever I sneeze twice in a row, or cough twice in a row…. you guessed it… a little tinkle in my pants.  Yes, it’s true.  And usually I can control it by just squeezing the life out of my bottom end at the second sneeze.  No big deal.  But I was sick 2 weeks ago.  I’d been coughing like a crazy person and yes, ended up doing extra laundry that week.  Well, I was feeling better and took the kids to the park and then to Chick-fil-A for lunch with a friend.  We left and I was holding Avery in one arm, holding Alissa’s hand in the other hand… and they both had ice cream cones.  While we are walking across traffic, Avery’s ice cream lands on my neck and gets stuck.  I can’t let go of Alissa because of an oncoming car and THEN…. I had to cough.  Twice!  Yep.  You guessed it.  Tinkle in the pants.  Ice cream on the neck.  My friend and I just laughed so hard – I couldn’t help it.  It felt pretty gross driving home.


If we could peek into your closet, what store would be most represented?

You would see American Eagle and Express.  I’ve just been in love with Express lately.  Oh man.  Now I really want to go shopping.  If you looked throughout my HOUSE, you would see Target everywhere.   I LOVE my Target.  Can’t get enough of it.  Ooooo…now I really want to go shop!


Please leave us with one brief thought.

I will tell you, Tricia, you are the most fabulous sister-in-law I could ever ask for.  In fact, you are more sister to me than “in-law”.  I miss you TONS and so wish you lived here again.  And all your readers are lucky to have you for a blogger.  Really. 

(I paid her to say that!)

 Thanks for stopping by to check it all out!!!


To read about FringeBanker, click HERE.

Go visit Kelly and let her know how much you enjoyed her pictures. Click HERE.

Pam Allyn’s Book & Journey into the World of Literacy

Today, for Friday’s Spotlight, I am excited to introduce you to a very special guest.  I am privelaged to have Pam Allyn, author of What to Read When, as a guest blogger on the domestic fringe.  Pam’s list of accolades is great.  She is not only an author, but also a public speaker and lecturer dedicated to children’s literacy.

I recently wrote a short book review and gave away a copy of What to Read When.  It is an excellent resource for any parent, grandparent, or children’s educator and if you haven’t read the review, please click HERE

Pam Allyn is the Founding Director of Books for Boys, a literacy initiative at the Children’s Village.  Children’s Village is a residential treatment center and school for at risk boys in New York.  Coincidentally, I spent a very interesting summer working at Children’s Village while in college, but those are stories for another day.

Please read on as Pam takes us on a short journey of What to Read When.  Then go visit her at her website, read a little about her literacy programs, and tell her I sent you.  If you’d like to order What to Read When, a link is available on the first page of her website.


What to Read When: The Journey

Several weeks ago, a mother called me to ask for a book suggestion for her little daughter, who had just started a new school, in order to begin a discussion about the changes taking place in her daughter’s life. When we leave the hospital with our baby or greet the plane that brings us our adopted baby, no one gives us a course on what to read when to our precious children but we wish we had one as they grow. We all want to do what is best for our children. We pray the world will be tender and kind to them on their journeys. Literature gives us a way to create bridges to us for our children, to help us guide them and offer them comfort and love and joy along all these journeys.

I wanted to offer a way for parents, grandparents, teachers and all caregivers to easily find the kinds of books that serve as those markers. I began to write the book I have been writing in my mind for years, What to Read When. And as I began writing and sharing the title with people, I noticed something amazing happened: people so want to read with and to children because anyone who has ever done so knows how much it truly matters to that child. The excitement was huge and everyone loved sharing their favorite titles. This book then is a love letter to all the contributors, children, parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and all friends of children who care so much. I hope you will enjoy it too!

As a literacy educator and director of a national organization for teacher training and a nonprofit organization for global literacy called LitWorld, I am dedicated to working towards a world that is full of children who read and write.. Through teacher and family education, I strive to empower children to read and write powerfully, effectively and with passion and delight, so that they may grow up able to fulfill their dreams and leave their positive imprint on the world.

In What to Read When I have created a simple acronym to help us all become part of this movement to foster literacy for all children. The acronym is, fittingly, READ, which stands for: RITUALS ENVIRONMENT ACCESS and DIALOGUE.

Let us establish rituals of reading aloud together in our homes. Find time to read to your children that are not just at bedtime (when everyone is truly tired!). Bring those rituals to your car trips, to outings to the park, to dinnertime. Put a basket of books in the kitchen and let your child know that while that soup simmers on the stove, you will take a moment to read a funny poem about food. Environmental support for literacy can be an attention to the simple touches. Set up an environment that makes reading together feel fun and comfortable. Find a special pillow for your couch that you always lean on when reading aloud together. Pull out your favorite board books and read them to your child while he splashes in the tub. Access is about being sure our children are in close proximity to books always. Visit your library together, browse online too! In addition, don’t put books in high bookshelves. Put them low to the ground where even an adventurous toddler can easily reach them. Finally, dialogue is so important to developing your child’s reading life. By talking about, laughing about, dreaming about and simply loving great books, you become a “reading role model” for your child. Also, it is just plain fun and a great way to get to know all the truly interesting things on your child’s mind.

The power of the read aloud is transformative. Through the simple act of reading aloud, we can convey values, ideas and passions to our children. Best of all, we can hear about theirs. I invite you to join me in this great journey and share with me some of your favorite read alouds too!

Visit my website at whattoreadwhen.com and share titles you love too.


Many thanks Pam.

A Texas Style Friday

I think the Texas Woman is one of the first people who started reading my blog and commenting regularly.  When I visited her, I was instantly hooked.  One of the first posts I read featured a deer’s rear end with a door-bell implanted in its’ butt hole.  How could I not continue to read?

My kids still talk about that doorbell and secretly wish I would put one on the front of my house.

Texans can do it all and Cher, the Texas Woman, is no exception.  She paints, re-purposes junk, and wrote an action packed novel with more twists than a pack of Twizzlers.

I’ll just let the Texas Woman speak for herself.  You’ll be hooked too.  I know it!


How long have you been blogging and what or who motivated you to launch your site?

I’m almost to my 200th post.  I can’t believe it.  My first post was mid-August of last year.  Yah, a lot of us started then.  I don’t know why y’all did, but I started because I’ve always heard a writer should write everyday.  I was working (and still am) on a long-term project and I needed the stimulation of daily, non-bogged-down writing.

I also have a lot of handicapped clients who use the computer as a lifeline.  I thought some of them would enjoy reading something “safe” on the Internet, written by someone they knew.  As it turns out, not many of them visit my blog, but The Texas Woman still forces me to write almost daily, even when I’m the only one reading it!

When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you ‘grew up’?

I knew I’d become a cowgirl, marry Roy Rogers after Dale got shot dead on TV, and be rich.  None of those things happened and I’m happy they didn’t.  Cowgirls have to carry TT in their saddlebags and use the terlet behind a tree.  Roy, I realize now, would be too bland for me, and besides, I support women as heroes today so I’d want to be Dale’s sidekick, not Roy’s wife!  And rich ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!

We read your blog and catch glimpses of your current relationship, but tell us about your FIRST kiss.

Lordy, who can remember that far back.  All I know is it wasn’t with Roy and it wasn’t with my husband!  Since I was in college when my husband was in kindergarten…well, you can imagine where I would have ended up if it’d been with him – in JAIL!

In several of your posts, you allude to the fact that you’ve had more husbands than handbags over the years.  Please tell us how you roped ‘IT’ guy?

I didn’t.  His humor roped me in.  We lived in different towns and I couldn’t just pop over to date him.  After all, I wasn’t some innocent, young thing.  I had three children, a farm, and a business.  I was busy.  I told him he could join the kids and me in our activities and I guess he looked us over and decided he would.  He always says that if my kids had been bratty, the dating outcome would have been totally different!  My first post on The Texas Woman is about the night IT Guy and I met.  He’s kept me laughing ever since and we’ve been together twenty years on this April Fools Day.  By the way, “IT” stands for “information technology” since he’s a computer repair manager.

Tell us what you are passionate about…what makes your blood boil, your hackles rise, your heart soar?

Animal abuse makes me see red and reach for my gun – and I don’t mean I’d grab my pistol to shoot the animal!  I’m for severe penalties for animal abusers.  Bug abuse is OK with me.  I’m a plant abuser/killer myself so I attend a 12 step program at a local greenhouse for that.

What is your 15 minutes of fame?

I’ve seen my name in lights, so to speak, several times, sometimes for my art work and sometimes for my writing.  But I guess my real 15 minutes of fame lasted eight years.  That’s how long I owned my own business.  From conception to final sale, I had a blast.  The place sometimes felt like the Cheers bar on TV, even though it was a one hour photo and portrait studio.  Everybody in town knew the place and customers turned into friends.

Please tell us a little about your novel Shuffle and how you were inspired to begin writing.

I’d had the plot and characters rolling around in my head for some time because writing a book was on my bucket list.  I like twists and turns and fun in the books I read.  So when my daughter Code Woman broke her leg and couldn’t do ANYTHING, we needed something to occupy her little pea brain.  We decided that was the time to go for it.  Email is a wonderful thing and God bless the person who invented it!  Code Woman’s too busy now, so I’m writing a sequel by myself.  I’m also writing a ….well, I can’t say anything about that just yet.


What object in your home are you most embarrassed about owning?

Pick any room in our house and there’s sure to be something that normal people wouldn’t own, let alone display.  Dead, stuffed animals line the walls and tables.  Antlers, horns, and skins are all over the place.  Visitors are a little overwhelmed.  They leave with that glazed, dazed, deer-in-the-headlight look!  But it works for us.

How did you begin collecting dead, stuffed animals?

It all started with our snake.  I had just been diagnosed with cancer in a place I didn’t even know a woman could get cancer (really think of a strange place here).  I’d had the biopsies done that day and IT Guy was hovering over me, cutting off my oxygen supply.  So I chased him out to work on his project at the front of the property.  About twenty minutes later I heard a rattlesnake in the house, but it didn’t sound right.  The buzzing wasn’t fast enough.  I turned around and there was hubby shaking the rattlers of a huge snake he’d just killed.  The moral of the story is:  Always get a second medical opinion before you start to worry (no cancer) and if you have to kill something at my house, you’d better be prepared to eat it or get it stuffed!

Exactly how many animals do you have (living and stuffed)?

You’ll be happy to know that there are no dead animals in the cooking area, in the eating areas, in the terlet areas, or on the lawn.  Many cows have voluntarily given us their skulls and hides.  And deer have willingly and freely donated many, many horns to assorted projects and mirrors around the house.

We have two living dogs that are spoiled worse than any child.  In the dead and stuffed department we have a raccoon, a squirrel, the snake, a bobcat, and a deer butt.  We might have more, but those are the ones I can see from where I’m sitting.

Assuming you are not a swimsuit model (although I’m sure you could be), please explain why you wear a swimsuit to work.

I wear a swimsuit because the pools where I work do not permit nudity.  After I retired from Texas A&M, I took up water aerobics like a maniac.  I decided i might as well get paid to work out so I got certified and became an instructor at the gym near our house.  That led to working in a rehab pool with Parkinson patients, which led to more classes at rehab, a hydrotherapy class back at the gym, and a couple of hours a week life guarding.  Until I retired, I couldn’t swim a lick because I had feared water all my life.  Another bucket list thing!

If you could add any work to the dictionary, what would it be?

I love Urbandictionary.com!  Sure, some of it gross or sexual, but it provides definitions for words and phrases that real people use today.  I’m proud to say I submitted a phrase to it and a year later it was accepted.  The term is “poker folker.”  Look it up and give me a thumb’s up on it!

Please leave us with one brief thought.

That’s an oxymoron.  No writer has brief thoughts.  But if I must…laughter is better than tears.  Love is better than hate.


Visit the Texas Woman HERE for daily adventure and laughter.

Read Shuffle HERE.

Thank you Texas Woman!!!

I don’t know about you, but I think I need to make a bucket list.

At some point on Saturday, I’ll be posting a review of a book geared towards parents who want to foster a love for reading in their children.  The publisher sent me a copy to give away, so I’ll also be picking a lucky winner.

Entries will be open until midnight Sunday.  Please pass the word along and encourage people to enter.

Enjoy your weekend!