Showing posts from April, 2013

A Fiction Round Robin Story Adventure

I have this awesome group of writers I've been lucky enough to "meet" online. We recently struck up a writing adventure together- round robin style. The amazing Laird Sapir provided the title and graphic and each person has taken a turn writing a chapter then passing it on to the next person.

I recommend catching up on the earlier chapters if you have some time. If you only have a few minutes, however, here is a bit of a recap (with spoilers!).

Chapter 1 by Tami Clayton - In which we meet Twinkle (thus named for his love of the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star); his father Geraldo, a toy maker; and his mom Juniper Jackie who leaves to pursue her passion for tree climbing acrobatics. Twinkle is summoned by the Sparkle Sudz Soap spokesmodel (The Golden Goddess) through his television.

Chapter 2 by Mike Schulenberg - In which we meet archnemesis Lord Lobstar, his army of Shrimperators, and a cloaked figure named Jupernia.

Chapter 3 by Liv Rancourt - In which we learn that The …

Building the Coop

Soon it will be time for the ducks to move out of our bathroom (thank goodness!) to the great outdoors- something they can't do until they are fully grown (to better ward off unfriendly creatures), fully feathered (to regulate their body temperature), and have a place to live.

In comes the chicken coop.

Our research showed that ducks can live in chicken coops and, even better, ducks and chickens can cohabitate in coops (in case we decide to get chickens at some point in time).

My husband (Mr. Go Big or Go Home) had a grand vision of building a whimsical little coop that would be a fun little addition to our garden (which itself has a grand plan but still needs a substantial amount of execution). Jeff says he wants the garden to be a place I will love to be in- sitting and puttering my days away.

Sounds dreamy to me. The only problem is I'm a little tired of projects. I didn't like the idea of adding another project to the list when there is still so much to do to set up the ga…

Ducks: Week 4 update

The ducks, they are a-growing. Squackers and Buttons have been with us for four weeks now and are probably four times the size (or more) from when we got them.

They are as tall as the walls of their brooder (i.e., Rubbermaid storage container). Here they are huddling in the corner trying to avoid me...

They didn't imprint on us as we've heard ducks sometimes do. I don't know if there's still time for that or if we've missed the window. They're not mean or anything, they just try to get away from us when we come to feed them or move them.

We can hold them, however it takes a few minutes for them to settle in and its much harder to do alone now because they are so big. It's easier if my husband takes one and I take the other and we sit close so each duck knows the other is safe.

Their yellow fuzz is being filled in by patches of white feathers. This makes their backs really fluffy and soft at the moment. The color and texture variations are particularly outstandi…

Interview: Robert Thornton

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is Robert Thornton, founder of Paper Clouds Apparel. Paper Clouds Apparel sells t-shirts, prints, and greeting cards featuring artwork designed by individuals with special needs and half of the proceeds go back to the school or organization who donated the work. As their tagline says, "Helping others has never looked so good."

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I was wonderstruck by a group of people from Wisconsin who sent me letters thanking me for what I am doing to help those with special needs. Sometimes I can get frustrated and worn thin by working 110-hour weeks, but these letters reached me at the perfect time and reminded me exactly why I am doing this.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I am literally grateful for every morning I am allowed t…

Sometimes I'm a Slacker

I need to change my ways. Too frequently lately I've allowed myself to get lazy. There have been too many poorly thrown together dinners and too many drive-through lunches. My stomach, my skin, and my overall energy are showing the signs (and they're not good).

I've allowed myself to get caught up in my own quiet world. Sure this can be a good thing sometimes, but it has slipped to the dark side where I ignore my family. Too much time lost in books, computer, iPhone. All of these things are great tools, of course, but when they take my attention away from my toddler or distract me from writing, they are no longer useful tools.

I'm falling short (by a lot) on my Camp Nanowrimo goal of writing 10,000 words in the month of April. I'm at a lowly 2,766 words with only 7 days to go.

I'm supposed to be helping my pastor lead a small class after church on Sundays yet I rushed through the two lessons for the week during breakfast that morning.

I've planned for a bigger …

More Gratuitous Duck Photos

It's time for some more duck photos, don't you think? I think so.

Buttons and Squackers have been with us for two weeks now and, yes, they're still in a makeshift brooder in our bathroom. (Don't I sound like I know what I'm doing when I use the term "brooder?" Ours is really just a big storage bin with a red heating lamp over it.)

Last week we introduced them to the bathtub and, let me tell you, they LOVE it. They primped and preened and drank and cleaned. I've never seen such thorough scrub-a-dub-dubbing.

You may have also noticed that these little guys (or girls?) are getting bigger. Here's what they looked like when we brought them home two weeks ago:

So little. They both fit in my hands at the same time. By contrast, here's what they looked like a week ago while roaming our bathroom...

...and here's what they looked like this morning.

That's just two weeks worth of growth, people! Also, note the bare spots on their neck and wings. I wond…

Then There Was the Time a Class Ring Flew into Our Toaster

Do weird things happen to you? I'm talking unpredictable weird. Like a bowling ball rolling at your car down an exit ramp. (Which happened to my husband once.)

This morning I was helping my husband get a cereal bar and a yogurt to take to work for breakfast. I put them in a thermal lunch bag (black with his company logo on it in case you were picturing something pink and girly).

"That feels like overkill," he said. "Use this." He tossed me a plastic grocery bag from our stash under the sink. It landed on the counter next to me while simultaneously something clanged behind me.

Puzzling since grocery bags don't clang.

The sound came from near the toaster, so I looked all around it and under it. When nothing seemed amiss, I looked inside. There was a ring in the bottom. As in silver piece of jewelry- ring.

So we pulled out the crumb tray and dumped the toaster every which way into the grocery bag my husband had so conveniently grabbed. After a good five minutes of …

Bread & Wine - A new book from Shauna Niequist that is definitely wonderstruck

With as nervous as I am to write this review, you'd think I wrote the book. (I didn't.) It's just that it's such a good book, I worry I won't do it justice.

I loved Shauna Niequist's style from the minute I picked up her first book, Cold Tangerines. Literally, the first minute. She got me right in the introduction.

Well, she did it again with her third book, officially due out tomorrow. I jumped around my kitchen for a good five minutes when I found out I was getting an advanced reader's copy of Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes. Lots and lots of jumping.

Like her earlier books (Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet), Bread & Wine is a collection of essays- beautiful, honest essays that make you feel like you're curled up on the couch with your best girlfriend.

She talks about love, vacation, babies, losing babies, prayer, body image, and meals with friends. A lot of meals with friends.

She talks about both the food and the …

A Necessarily Quiet Day

It's one of those necessarily quiet days. The kind of day where you feel like the world is a bit upside down. The kind where you're not sure you can coerce smiley conversations out of yourself.

So I honored it.

Instead of checking my phone while still in bed to see what emails had come in (because as a stay-at-home mom, really, what kind of dire messages would there be), and instead of rushing through my morning shower routine, and instead of crawling back into bed like I normally do after the 6:00 a.m. alarm (which was a seriously tempting option)... instead, I moved. Slowly.

I sat in the window seat overlooking the rain-soaked driveway. I read two chapters of a book that was approaching its climax (Blasphemy by Douglas Preston, if you're curious).

I put on sweatpants and my softest long-sleeve t-shirt and carried my book and the baby monitor downstairs and made some tea. I even put it in the pretty teapot and used a fancy cup and saucer. I lit a candle.

I sat in the kitchen d…

When You Don't Have Anything to Do on a Friday Night So You Buy Ducks

You know how sometimes you just need to get out of the house on a Friday night? But you have a toddler that you have to bring with you and a teenager to pick up from a friend's house in a couple hours. And you don't want to eat out again because that's what you always do when you find yourself in this situation. So you say to your husband, "Hey... why don't we go to the Tractor Supply store?"

What? Just me?

Anyway, you're thinking up grand plans for this year's garden and you wander the aisles collecting ideas and odd things like a plastic owl and a seed starter kit and ducks.

What? Just me again? You people need to learn to live it up.

Well, that's what happened and that's why we now have two ducks living in a giant storage tub in our master bathroom.

Why are they in the bathroom? To keep them safe from the cat, of course. He was all a-purr when we brought home a chirping box.

The ducks have to stay under a heat lamp until their feathers come in (r…