I sit and stare at the number on my computer screen. It’s big.

“Can I really sell that much jewelry? In that much time?”

Doubts and fears and second thoughts flood my mind. Is it worth it? Will people think I’m crazy? Will I annoy someone if I ask for their help?

But then I remember the payoff. Putting a significant dent in my student loan debt…and…the tropical icing on the cake…an all-expense-paid trip for two to Panama in January, 2014.

“Do I deserve that? Will I even want to leave my girls? Will I be too scared to fly?”

But then I remember the upside. Quality time with my husband. A chance to take a trip of a lifetime. Making memories that will tighten the bonds of our marriage for years to come.

Yes. I must do this. Yes. I …

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I haven’t always been a runner…or so I thought. Me and my bro used to tear up the driveway with our speed races. (He always won.)

For nearly five years now (if you count pregnancy) my body hasn’t been mine. It’s been stretched, leached, swollen, ripped open, sewn back up, bitten, sucked into a vacuum (of the Medela type), bruised, infected, and overall, manhandled. When you become a mother, you lose full custody of your body. Your legs become trunks of safety for little arms to wrap around, your softened belly becomes a pillow for fevered foreheads and your dimpled bottom becomes a source of amusement for curious preschoolers. Every great once in awhile, I might get shared custody for myself, to enjoy a long, hot shower alone, a rare pedicure, or even just relish …

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I recently wrote an open letter on my Facebook Page to another page that features far different content than I do: local teens posting selfies in hopes of finding out if they’re “hot or not.” While many of the photos were benign, the whole concept was deeply disturbing. And even though I know this is a widespread trend (and not even a new one), I just couldn’t let it go. After all, these are girls I know. Quite literally. The post has received many positive comments and has even been shared many times, but the page in question continues to carry on as normal. So what do I hope to happen? I hope that this message will cause a girl to think twice before posting to this page, or others like it, and at the …

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Motherhood is exhausting, and trying, and stressful…but completely beautiful.

While my children are whining,
The devil is dining,
On the sin of my impatience.

He licks his lips for just a taste
Of anger and frustration.

“Throw that book, raise your voice,
Yell a little louder! Turn your wrath
Into a rage, make me so much prouder!”

Lord, help me to rise above
These petty sins and trials.
Give me strength to bless my children
With words that come from smiles.

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My auburn-haired sweetie.

The smell of a dying fire swirled through the air as the sound of crickets filled the dark silent space. My left hip bone dug into the hard ground, it’s own layer of fat and the thick sleeping bag underneath providing a slim layer of comfort. Our first family camping experience would prove to be memorable, even if uncomfortable.

While my heart beat contentedly in my non-sleeping chest, full of love and gratitude, my body ached. My neck rested at an odd angle, perched atop a caramel-colored teddy bear named Frances. Pressed against my back was my sleeping preschooler, and tucked under my left arm was my sleeping toddler. Her auburn hair, badly in need of a trim, was pasted to her forehead and neck, and her hot breath hit my face with …

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Experts agree that kids who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward. Keep the kiddos excited about reading with our awesome summer reading experience. They’ll enjoy fun activities, exciting games, and their own customizable dragon!

I have fond memories of participating in the BOOK IT! program as a child, even though we weren’t fortunate enough to have a Pizza Hut near us. (We made it work, but that’s our little secret.) When Pizza Hut contacted me about checking out their new summer reading site and doing a review/giveaway on my blog, I was all over it like mozzarella on a pan crust. Sorry, that was cheesy. 😉

While my oldest is not quite reading age, both of my girls love books. My toddler begs for book after book …

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