Fun on a Friday --- My First Giveaway (and it's GREEN!)

Yes folks, you read right.

The Mother Load is officially hosting her FIRST EVER giveaway!

And get excited, because it's not just any old giveaway. It's a GREEN Giveaway. As you know, I'm passionate about my Mother Earth. And I want to encourage other people to be more eco-conscious, too. So here's a sneak peek at what the lucky winner(s) will receive:

A set of three GREEN owl produce bags. All large size. These are reusable, people! No more plastic bags for your apples, pears, or potatoes! There is a small owl in the top left corner of each bag, close up below (but photographer I am not). From Etsy.

Below are a set of two Snack Taxis. Oprah featured these on her Earth Day show. We love ours and use them often (and will use them even more once the girls are in school full time). They are great for toting snacks in the car. I loathe Ziploc bags, and this helps us cut down on them some. They are machine washable (cold water, gentle cycle, air dry). Velcro closure.

These are a set of plain white produce bags in three sizes, small, medium, and large. They have pink ribbon to cinch them closed. From Etsy. You get one set with one bag in each size.

This is a storage bag for all of your produce bags. Pretty pink print (because you know how I love my pink!) .This will come with the pink & white produce bags ONLY.

(This is what you will do with your fruit. Load it up and cinch the top closed w/ the ribbon). Be sure to use them often, keep them in your car, and tell everyone ALL about them--cashiers at checkout, other customers, friends, family, etc. ETSY, baby, ETSY!

Finally, a regular reusable shopping bag---for groceries and/or other shopping needs. Nice and large. I have one just like it. It's my favorite because it allows me to use my "voice" about being green without actually saying anything to people. It reads, "Paper or plastic? NEITHER!" Yeah, Baby! (p.s. someone please remind me how to turn my pics around the right way, thanks)
Finally, if you are a coffee drinker (I am not, but Hubby is), you should be bringing your own cup or mug. If you are not doing that, at least consider this reusable/cloth sleeve to keep your hands from burning. I bought this one from Coffee Girls. Love love love! It is soft and small and you could easily stash it somewhere in between uses.

So since this is my first giveaway, I'm not very organized about it. I do think it's too many things to have in a single giveaway. I was thinking of separating some of the items?? Please give me your opinions. I could do one giveaway every few days until it's all gone.

For entries, I will ask you to become a follower, follow me on Twitter, blog and Tweet about this giveaway with links to the giveaway post, and for even more points, do your own green post (and link back to me here).

The official giveaway will begin once you guys can give me some feedback as far as how to divvy up these things (i.e. I know some people may already have some of these things, or want some of it but not all of it). Or am I making it too complicated? Those of you with any experience in this, I'm looking for your guidance! Thanks in advance!


Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - prompt

Mama Kat is hosting her Writer's Workshop today. Check it out! Today will be my first time participating. One of her prompts was to:

4.)Share a diary entry from when you were 13...feel free to make one up!(inspired via twitter by @EricaVoll from I'm Still Fabulous)

Background: on this particular day, I wrote a letter to the object of my affections (never intending to give it to him, obviously). It is not dated exactly, but it is from late October or early November of 1989:
Dear Joe,

I love you so much. I don't mean just a stupid junior-high school crush or anything like that. I mean TRUE LOVE!

Also I would just like to tell you that unless you like me back (crazy, I know), please don't pull my hair or call me or ask to borrow my Algebra book.

Every time you tap me on the shoulder or pull my hair or hide my purse, I just happen to think that maybe, possibly you could like me back just a teensy weensy bit. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I can feel it. It just seems impossible that my biggest dream ever would really come true.

I hope this letter doesn't ruin the relationship I know we have--and that is FRIENDS. I hope you feel the same way.

You know what? I cry sometimes. Because I feel like you like Jamie Smith and Jessica Jackson. Maybe you do or maybe you don't. I don't know.

I dream about you all of the time. I hope you know what I think of you. If you don't, here goes: you are extremely intelligent, you are very nice, you are very cute and you are sensitive to other people's feelings.

I will love you forever. I want to marry you someday.

Erin B.


Wordless Wednesday

This is a project I've been working on solo for a while, and just recently launched at our temple. You read about it recently in this post here. The girls came to help me set up the basket and my posters & signage. They posed so I could submit photos to The Jewish Chronicle. Hoping to get more people on board. If you still haven't done so, please check out Terracycle and find out how to begin your own brigade! It's fun to be green! You'll get extra brownie points for involving your kiddos and teaching them about being kind to our planet and recycling.

Writing Prompt: Polka Dots

My friend Ami's blog, Writing Out Loud, recently featured a post entitled "Polka Dotted Dreams." I was instantly inspired by her vivid description to write my own post based on her prompt over at her Creativity Corner. Go check Ami out now & follow her--she's such an amazing writer and a dear friend to boot. My own rather lame attempt is below. Please pardon my crooked pics!

A photo taken with my parents on the night of the Homecoming Dance.

My sophomore year of high school I decided I was going to the annual Homecoming Dance come Hell or high water. I'd missed it the year before because no one had asked me and I wasn't brave enough to do the asking. I mustered up every ounce of courage I had to call this guy. I blurted out in a breathless rush, "I-know-we-haven't-talked-in-forever-I'm-sorry-and-I-know-you-probably-don't-want-to-but-I'm-dying-to-go-to-this-dance-will-you-go-with-me?" He said he would, and I eagerly commenced making all the plans: who we'd double with, where we'd go out to dinner beforehand, and who'd be doing the chauffeuring.
I had to have this dress. It could have been worse, I suppose, but it sure was poofy on top. The large polka-dotted bow detracted from my annoyingly flat chest (or so I thought). I'd fallen in love with the polka dots. I had to have it.

The night was fun, but nothing especially memorable. A ton of hormonally-charged teenagers crowded in some rented room at a country club, dancing and laughing. I vaguely remember feeling self conscious, being rather quiet, and awkwardly making conversation with my date.

This polka-dotted dress symbolizes the end of my innocence. No, I didn't lose my virginity that night. But the morning after the dance my dad sat us all down and told us he was gay. And then he packed up and moved out.

The very same dress I'd loved and worn and shimmied on the dance floor in only the night before now sat in a rumpled heap on my closet floor. I couldn't look at it. It made me remember my other life, the life that had existed just hours prior, a life free from anger and resentment and shock and sadness.
I never wore it again. It's still hard to look at these photos and remember.
A practice run & dance lesson in the dress after we'd bought it.


Things I Need To Get Off My Chest (LONG) & Post-It Note Tuesday

(post-its are at the very bottom of this post if you feel the need to skip to the good stuff)

I've had this lump in my throat for days and it feels like all this stuff is brewing up inside of me and I've got nowhere to put it all so I'm putting it here because I know it will be safe with you.

It's been a rough and busy few days and as the holidays approach it's only going to get busier. I tend to feel overwhelmed and stressed out even though I always promise myself I'm going to do better. I'm still working on that, but I'm pretty sure this year won't the The Year for me.

Things got a little testy last Friday. Took the girls for haircuts at Great Clips, which we love. They do such an amazing job on my girls' hair. Check them out.

Anyway, they behaved really well, so I figured I'd reward them by taking them out for a little lunch. They were so excited. We headed to Governor Stumpy's, a local dive that serves good food at cheap prices, & is very family friendly. We've been numerous times before. We were seated in a booth after a short wait. Soon Izzy's lower lip began to protrude and the pouting began.

"Mommy, I don't WANNA sit in a booth. I want to sit at a table with chairs!" she wailed.

I calmly reasoned with her, explained that it was crowded (it was Friday at noon), and that the booth was our only option.
Loud sobbing begins. And it's real, not like that fake dramatic shit Abby typically pulls. There are tears and snot and she's sniveling and it's getting louder.

Oh, and she won't even sit down. Because she wants a CHAIR, not a booth. Perfect.

"Izzy, look what I have for you," I say, teasingly, as I start rooting for the candy that is somewhere in the bowels of my purse, only it's not and I suddenly remember I doled out the last lollipops during haircuts. Shit.

"What can I get you ladies today?" the waitress asks as she appears with crayons and place mats to color. I quickly order the girls each a milk and ask her to give us a few minutes. As I am pleading with Izzy to sit down and color, she returns with the milks. I secretly hope this will solve the problem or at least take the edge off. No such luck.

Izzy notices the top half of the straw wrapper is still on her straw (which the germophobe in me likes), which is stuck in her kiddie cup of milk. This only fuels her fire.

"I DON'T WANT A WRAPPER ON MY STRAW! I DON'T WANNA SIT IN THAT BOOTH!" Now people are starting to turn this way and that, twisting around in their chairs trying to figure out where all the racket is coming from.

She's being unreasonable. She is still standing up. Clearly she's tired. I guess the haircut was all she could handle today, but I was trying to play the good mom and do something special with and for them.

To make a long story short, I tried in vain to distract her, get her to color, have some milk, figure out what to order for lunch, but to no avail. She wasn't having it and she wasn't going to let me forget that she wanted a chair.

She got so loud I told her we were going to have to leave. She cried harder. I told her if she could calm down and get herself together, we could stay. She grew red faced and even more irritable. I knew we were down to seconds left on the clock.
I raked open my purse, thank God I had a $5 in my wallet, and I threw it on the table. I looked at Abby and quietly said, "We're leaving. Please bring your milk if you want and follow me out to the car."
I gathered my purse and every ounce of stamina left in me, grabbed my inconsolable child and tossed her under my arm. She completely let loose then. If people hadn't heard her before, their hearing aids must've been off. At this point every eye in the place is on me, and I look like the Mother From Hell who is dragging her poor child by her hair out of the restaurant. She is screaming at the top of her lungs, "I-DON'T-WANNA-GO, PUT ME DOWN, MOMMY!" I yell to a random server that we're leaving and I left our waitress some money for our milks on the table. He nods, and I can tell he by his silence he is grateful we're making our exit.

And a thousand eyes are burning into me. I am sweating and shaking and I'm so god damned mad I can hardly stand it. I'm a volcano about to erupt.

Erupt I do.

We get outside, I set Izzy down on the sidewalk, and I light into her, my voice high and cracking.

"WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOU?" I yell. As soon as her feet touch the ground she's running. Running back to the door of Governor Stumpy's. She slams it open with one arm and has half of her little body inside before I can blink.

So if the whole scene hadn't already been bad enough, I had to go back in to grab her AGAIN and AGAIN drag her out.

All of this and we still haven't even eaten lunch. So I had to take them home and feed them. After lunch Izzy apologized to me in a shaky voice. And after that she took a nice nap.

Incidents this extreme are rare at our house. Yes, they are 3 years old, but...tantrums are not normally this awful. It shook me to the core. I handled it poorly, she was completely unreasonable, and I should have just skipped the lunch idea, period. But this set off something in me and I haven't been able to shake it. It's been a rocky couple of days since then, culminating in another episode this morning.

The girls were eating breakfast at the island/bar in out kitchen. Cereal, fruit, milk. Everything is fine, I hear chewing and gulping and the occasional little burp. I am making my own breakfast and the dog's and suddenly we hear a loud crash and Izzy's on the floor, her bowl of cereal on its side dripping milk and contents onto her head underneath. She's screaming.
She was fine, but it happened because she wasn't sitting properly on the bar stool and was bring typical "Izzy Busy," as we like to call her. Singing, talking, eating, bouncing around, and not really paying attention to the fact that she's on the edge of her seat. And she fell. Once she got over the initial shock, she realized milk was all over her. It wasn't that much, but she started crying again and insisted on ripping her pajamas off right then & there. So she ate the rest of her breakfast in her Hello Kitty panties. And I'm all like, whatever. At least she's eating and she stopped crying. And then I spend the next ten minutes mopping up the mess, only my floor is still sticky and I don't have the patience to mop it up again right now.

I am also stressed because I'm in charge of a kiddie Hanukkah event at our temple in a few weeks. I was supposed to be leading it with a friend, but she has something else going on that day, so it's down to me. I'm nervous. I have stuff planned, but....I'm freaking out. I have to make latkes, read them a Hanukkah story, plan activities, talk about Hanukkah/menorahs/dreidels and the significance of everything (but this is geared towards kids 5 & under, so it's not that difficult, but still I get nervous)....Oy vey! I know it will all work out, but....

And our anniversary is approaching. And the girls' birthday, too. And Thanksgiving just before with Hanukkah right behind. And then I am getting on a plane by myself with the girls to take them on a trip to New Orleans during Christmas week since Hubby will be here on double ER call. That is intimidating to me too, but I think I should just resolve to get completely drunk on the plane and everything that happens will just roll right off my back, like water off a duck. Right?!?!!?

Whew. I feel a little better now. So on with post-its!!!


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