Friday, January 31, 2014

I Will Always Love Whitney, What I Know For Sure & #iPPP

January has been long and dark and bitterly cold.  But it's also been pretty fun and easy and slow in a good way.  I'm not going to tell you that I'm sad that January is ending today, but it wasn't the worst month I've ever had.  

Kids home from school for the 5,879th snow day= blanket/couch fort chaos.
This past week was full of more snow days which put me over the edge just a little.  I am a snow day loving mama, but it's been too many this January.  

And with everyone home and trapped indoors, we stopped having a ton of fun and just started running out of money and food.  Pre-teens eat A LOT when they are trapped inside.

Just when I started to go a little nuts, I decided to get out an old jam box (yeah I just typed that) and some of my CDs and share them with the kids.  Well, I rediscovered my love for Whitney Houston this week.  I mean I've always loved her (and I always will, get it?), I've talked about her here and here.

But this past week I rediscovered my love of Whitney and The Bodyguard soundtrack.  What I know for sure is that I LOVE it.  That's it.  There's no grand parenting or life lesson that I know for sure this week, right now.  Nope.  Just that I love classic Whitney and singing my guts out to "I Want To Run To You."  I also know for sure that singing the songs from  The Bodyguard as loud as you can, with as much feeling as you can, is the best kind of  therapy for those "I'm over this crap weather and no routine and I can't stop eating chips and I never feel warm even when wearing a snow hat indoors and my kids don't listen to me, oh hell no one listens to me" kind of moods.  

Here's what else I know for sure (this week):

  • Jimmy Fallon + Full House Guys Reunion? Love it.  You've probably seen this, but go ahead, watch it again, it's fun and why not?

  • JT and his dog are best friends.  I'm not our dog's number one fan, at all.  But I can't fight the sweetness of the connection JT has with her, which is just what we hoped would happen when we got her.

  • If you want all kinds of good stuff filling up your Facebook feed, you should like Amy Poehler's Smart Girls FB page.  I love all the links they share. Click here to go to their page.

  • Amazing, inspiring things can happen when you invite a bunch of cool mother-people to your living room.  I had a party the other night and was so inspired by the stories shared and the art and the ideas and the support and well, just check it out.  Click here to read more.
My living/dining room became an art gallery.  My friend Liane displayed her beautiful photography.  It was so rad.

  • Yeah, yeah, February has Valentine's Day and that's great, but February also has a new season of Dallas starting. Ya'll I can't wait!


What do you know for sure (this week)?  C'mon, we're friends, share what you know. 
Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Please come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

I'm linking up today with my friends Greta from and Robin from for the #iPPP link up.  They host a link up where they encourage people to share "your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite photos of the week" from our phones. 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Living Rooms--Mothers In The Hood Part Three

"Thank you for coming along on the ride that is my mid-life crisis," I said as everyone found a seat in my living room.

"Some people may call it a mid-life crisis, I like to call it growth," my friend (and professional counselor) Joelle thoughtfully explained to all of us.

This was the scene at my third Mothers In The Hood party the other night.  A party where we talked a lot about growth and breaking and bending and grace and authenticity and identity.  And how motherhood effects all of it.

Last year, I started having these parties to get a group of mothers of all ages and backgrounds and political affiliations and situations together to connect.  I wanted to talk about more than managing our kids, and worrying and loving them.  I dreamed of conversations about issues in our neighborhoods, projects that we could get involved with to make a difference and also, my mid-life crisis.  Or I mean growth.

I dreamed of conversations that would challenge, support, inspire, encourage and affirm.  I dreamed of a living room full of mothers laughing together and caring about each other.  The other night, it happened.

For Mothers In The Hood Part Three I wanted to focus on all my "who am I" issues that I'm feeling as my children get older.  I wanted the vibe to be sort of like Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," you know the whole "the children get older, I'm getting older too." So, I asked my good friend Joelle, the professional therapist I mentioned earlier, to come and run the show.  She told me she would "facilitate and validate" and I asked her if she could come over everyday.  

I asked my other good pal, Liane, to display her pictures, her artwork.  She is an amazing storyteller with her pictures.  Her selfies aren't what you typically think of when you hear the word selfie...they truly tell a story.

She was reluctant.  But I am so glad she decided to share her art and her self.

The party was also the perfect place to share copies of my favorite magazine, mamalode.  Especially because the magazine and the web site started as a group of moms in Montana sharing stories and connecting, just like my living room dream.  

The magazine is full of stories about the journey of motherhood and identity and love and support and creativity.  Inside the issue we looked at, Space, is a story about a woman, Amy Turn Sharp, who loves poetry, who writes poetry, but never told anyone she was a poet.  Then she started writing a poem a day for a year, she started to share and tell people that she was in deed a poet.  She writes "I never realized that you could just announce to yourself one fine day, what it is you want to be, and then become it.  It's been liberating, really."

This was the perfect message for the party.

The women in my living room were friends from all over--the gym, my street, my kids' school, church, volunteer projects--mothers in my hood.  Many of them had never met.  I invited  a mix of mamas and wasn't sure what was going to happen. What happened was, all of them showed up, I mean they SHOWED UP.  Some of them shared stories that were personal and raw.  Other women listened with compassion and heart.  We talked careers, climbing ladders, change, giving up, giving in, evolving, breaking, bending, losing ourselves, finding ourselves.

Joelle and I thought up questions before the party to get everyone thinking.  Questions like:
Who did I think I was when I was 20?
Who did I think I was after my first child was born?
Who am I now?

"Life forces us to look at ourselves differently all the time," Joelle explained to the group.  "It's the evolution of ourselves, it's growth."

Then she asked all of us what we would do/be if a magic wand waved away all limitations.  

"Travel the world, making headbands out of flowers, singing and making crafts," was my answer.  And I'm wasn't kidding.

One mother said "to be a writer." Another mother said "to find a job that I love." Another said "I'm so happy with who I am right now, I hope I stay me."

We talked about appreciation of where we are now in our lives, finding purpose and how learning new things makes people happy.  Joelle asked us what we wanted to learn in the next couple weeks.  The answers varied from how to knit to how to share more, to be a good grandmother to how to reupholster a chair.

Everyone brought a book to donate to the nonprofit organization Charlotte's Wings (CW). CW is dedicated to supporting ailing children through donations of books to the children and their families in hospital and hospice care.  And it was started by a group of passionate mother friends in my neighborhood. 

The discussion ended with ideas and inspiration about learning and growing and accepting ourselves.

My hope is that the women in my living room realize that they can just announce to themselves one fine day, what it is they want to be, and then become it. Whether it is an activist, a writer, a photographer, a poet, an attorney, a chemist, a grandmother, a therapist or some badass combination of all of it.  I hope the women find value in themselves and the other women in the room no matter how different they are.  

I hope my mom friends write, share, take pictures, learn to knit, reupholster and find passion and purpose in their every day. And maybe someday I will indeed travel the world making headbands out of flowers.

Got a living room?  You should totally invite your mama friends over to have discussions that challenge, support, inspire, encourage and affirm. Seriously, it's kind of amazing. 

For more information about mamalode, click here.

For more information about Charlotte's Wings, click here. Or watch this:

Charlottes Wings 2013 from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.

And because I mentioned it above, I have to link to it, duh.  Here it is, Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day on Repeat & A Pinterest Poser Challenge

"Can we stay up late and watch a movie to celebrate no school tomorrow?," the kids asked in unison last night.  Really?  Because I don't feel like celebrating anymore.

It's been one movie night after another.  We've had special snow day hot cocoa, a lot.  Middle of the day card game tournaments? Oh yeah, we've done that too, a lot.   Skating, sledding, snowball fights and more, a lot.

We've had a lot of fun.
Who says we always need a pond and skates? The ice patch in our backyard makes me crazy nervous about concussion potential and bloody lips, but when it is warm enough to go outside for more than five minutes, the kids (mine and the neighbors') love it.

But now, even though I hate to say it,  we are ready for some good old-fashioned boring routine around here.  Even the kids are a little over so much fun.

When the kids were really little one of their favorite holiday movies was Elmo Saves Christmas.  Did you ever see it?  Elmo makes a wish on a magic snow globe to have Christmas everyday.  Oh Elmo. Well if you haven't seen the movie just a head's up, a spoiler alert is coming at you.  All of Sesame Street pretty much hates Elmo because Christmas everyday sucks.  It loses all it's special-ness.  

Well that Elmo classic is pretty much telling my story right now.  This f#&*ing never ending polar vortex is sucking the special right out of snow days.

There has to be an end soon. Right?  Right?

This is just one example of how cray it gets on Sesame Street.  Buy an Easter egg for Christmas? What the hell?

If you are indeed home on another snow day with your kids and looking for something to do, here is a fun project. I got a little crafty the other day with Wade.  For this week's Pinterest Poser Challenge we made me a necklace.  And I kind of love it.
Yeah, I wear a shawl and my snow cap around the house pretty much all the time. Because well, duh Polar Vortex?
*In an attempt at not being a Pinterest Poser,** every week I  detail a new Pinterest challenge whether it be a new recipe or a craft.   
**My definition of a Pinterest Poser is someone who is all pins and no substance.**

First of all, here's the recipe for the  gluten free baking clay. (Which is also the best alternative to PlayDough we've found that is gluten free.  To use as PlayDough just don't bake it, keep it in a sealed container and it lasts for months.)

Homemade Gluten Free Clay Recipe:
(We used this recipe to make DIY ornaments this past Christmas.) 2 cups of gluten free flour
1 cup of salt
2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil
1 cup of water

Mix the flour and salt together.
Add the oil and then slowly add the water until it forms a clay consistency.

After you make the shapes/beads/ornaments put them on a cookie sheet and bake.
Bake in 250 degree oven for 20 minutes.
(Some sites suggested brushing egg yolk on the shapes before baking, we didn't do that for this project.)

We rolled the clay into shapes that Wade and I thought would look good on a necklace.  Then we poked a pencil through the middle for the hole. I would suggest the hole be pretty big because when the clay bakes it puffs up a bit.

After the clay baked and cooled off, Wade painted.

After the paint dried, I put a string through the beads and wore it.
It's not perfect, but you know I'm not a really big fan of perfect.  

I think this would be a cute party project-- make the beads ahead of time, let the kids choose their beads and paint, then string them and take their new necklaces home as a party favor.  Cute!

Have you made anything from Pinterest lately?  Any major successes or flops?  Share below in the comments or over on my Facebook page.

Here are some of the projects I've attempted--the good and the bad:

Dixie Cup Lights- click here

DIY Ornaments-click here

Gluten Free Clay- click here
Make Your Own Stamps- click here
Birthday Shirt- click here
Gluten Free Pop Tarts- click here
Front Porch Kid Art Display- click here
Door turned into Table- click here
Summer Wish List Chalkboard-click here
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Sandwiches-click here
Painted Mason Jar Vases-click here
Cinco de Mayo Paper Flowersclick here
Earth Day CupcakesClick here
Nail Art-click here
Homemade Photo Booth Funclick here
Fake Bangs- click here
DIY Subway Art- click here
Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here
The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

  Head on over and follow my Pinterest boards.
Oh yeah, and come follow me on Twitter @AngelaYBlood and subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Kind of Busy

It was one of those weekends that I didn't think was going to be busy, but that's silly.  With four kids every day of life is busy. Every day. But I'm not complaining, this weekend was totally my kind of busy.  

Friday was another day off from school for the kids. We spent the afternoon at the library.  One of my most favorite places in the world.

Peyton was a good sport, but wouldn't really have anything to do with the little kid area.

Saturday there was more snow and more stuff to do.  We headed down to Detroit to volunteer at Cass Community Services (an amazing organization that is creating real change in the city).
We hung out with a great group of volunteers.

And then closed out the day with a quick game of hockey before the sun went down.  It was kids versus parents.  It got a little intense because well, we're all a little competitive.  At one point I somebody was belly-crawling along the ice to score a goal.  

Sunday was church, a few games of chess and then basketball.

Chess is almost as popular as hockey in my house right now and almost as intense.
There is nothing better than watching my girl run down the court with determination and confidence...going for it.

And there were a million other things in between.
Even though I may be too tired to write anything more or stay up to watch all of the Grammy awards, I feel happy.  Happy and with a heart full of love and gratitude.

Ready for the week.  Ready for the last week of January.  Bring it.