Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Author Mama" by Christina Katz

Interview with Christina Katz About Author Mama

Why would you do an e-book after two traditionally published books?
Like most traditionally published authors, who blog, teach and speak, I have a backlog of quality content to draw on and some of it, though not all of it, will lend itself to the e-book format. So I plan to write several e-books over time and Author Mama is the first. I have old sketchbooks full of ideas I’ve had over the years, which will lend themselves well to e-formats. Equal opportunity access to e-publishing technology offers all of us writers a lot more creative leeway than we have traditionally had, which can lead to exciting and fun possibilities.

Besides being in e-book format, how is Author Mama different from Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal?
Author Mama is the story behind how I landed my book deal for Writer Mama and then wrote the book. I wanted to describe in play-by-play form what writing a non-fiction book is like for the benefit of moms considering the possibility with the lessons I learned along the way. One of my students who is on the verge of querying agents with a nonfiction book proposal says that Author Mama “goes there.” In other words, it deals squarely with the rollercoaster ride that most first-time authors experience. The format of my traditionally published books is not as driven by my personal experience, even though it informs them both. In Author Mama, I include all of the books that I recommend first-time authors read before, during, and after the book deal, so they can become as informed and empowered as possible.

Who are the intended readers for Author Mama?
Well, my two traditionally published books don’t target the same exact audience and neither does Author Mama. When I wrote Author Mama, I had my Writer Mama readers in mind, but of those readers, I was specifically focused on anyone seriously considering writing a book someday. Not every writer mama wants to write a book someday. Some are perfectly happy writing and publishing articles. So Author Mama is a slice (a writing book), of a slice (for moms), of a slice (who are considering becoming an author some day), and therefore too small of an audience for a traditional publisher. But many of my students and fans have this question and would like to answer it for themselves. Author Mama is for them.

Did you have any hesitations about self-publishing?
Considering how much content I have sitting around languishing on my hard drives, I am sorry that it’s taken me this long. The person I had the hardest time convincing was myself. I’ve had some hang-ups about e-books that I’ve had to get over in order to move forward. As long as my work continues to serve the best interests of my readers, why wouldn’t I self-publish? I certainly have a lot more to offer than I would just letting it sit around collecting virtual dust. At this point in time, I feel like it would be foolish not to e-publish, even as I continue to write traditional books.

Are publishers anxious about traditional authors self-publishing? Doesn’t this undermine their business?
I think, when it comes to self-publishing the opportunity always exists to take the enlightened view or the fearful view. I have heard people in publishing make comments that authors self-publishing is terrible news, which is absurd. The fearful attitude is, “Oh no, if that author can self-publish, then we lose.” The enlightened view is that when the people you partner with are more successful it’s good for you too because it raises all boats. Besides, when all the folks involved in a partnership are empowered and come together because they want to be there, that’s good for the relationship. It’s important to have good boundaries and communication in business and know the difference between what’s yours, what’s not yours, and what is joint ownership. When you keep these things in mind, and communicate clearly, there is really nothing to fear but fear itself.

How do you keep people from "stealing" your e-book?
I can’t stop people from stealing my e-book. I am completely powerless over that aspect of e-publishing, as most of us are. However, my target audience is not teenage boys and young men, who are supposedly the folks who do most of the pirating, according to the experts who study these trends. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Also I don’t plan on giving my e-books away to avoid the impression that they are “freebies,” whereas with a traditional book I always do a lot of giveaways to get the content out into circulation. E-books are a lot easier to circulate. I can send one to you in seconds. So at this time, I don’t see the point in giving them away and encouraging others to share them without permission. I’d prefer to sell them to a smaller, more exclusive audience, who will see the value and, hopefully, respect my copyright.

What are three major points you hope aspiring writers learn from reading Author Mama?
  1. That landing a traditional book deal and delivering a well-written book is possible but not easy by any means.
  2. That someone else has survived the rollercoaster of emotions that come part and parcel with a first traditional book deal and you can too.
  3. That some writers actually give up along the way and don’t succeed at delivering their first book but this won’t happen to the writers who read Author Mama because forewarned is forearmed.

Is this book only for nonfiction writers or can fiction writers benefit from it too?
Author Mama is specifically about my nonfiction book writing process, which is different from the process for other genres like fiction or memoir. However, a lot of my readers, who write in other genres, have said over the years that they find a lot of takeaways in my nonfiction experience. Also, I fully expect Author Mama to convince a few readers to try writing a nonfiction book, who might have only considered themselves other types of writers or not even writers at all.

Can I order a print copy of Author Mama?
When the book comes out in the final version in May, I will make it available for purchase in print-on-demand format, as well as all the other e-formats. During April, while it’s in beta, Author Mama is available in PDF format, which means you can print it out and put it in a binder yourself, if you prefer a hard copy. I’ve invited the first readers to participate in the process, so I’ve included a feedback form with the e-book but participation is voluntary. However to sweeten the deal, I will provide those who share feedback on the beta version with the final version for free, after it’s updated in PDF form.

How can I order this e-book for someone as a gift?
Sure you can. When you place your order, simply submit their e-mail address in the notes section and I will e-mail the copy to them instead of to you.

Thanks for your questions about Author Mama. If you’d like to learn more, please visit here.

About Christina Katz, The Author Mama
Christina Katz has been teaching writers to cultivate thriving careers for the past decade. Many of her students start by writing short articles and work hard and long until they eventually succeed in landing traditional book deals. Christina is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, both from Writer’s Digest Books.

In addition to writing books and articles, Christina publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, hosts The Northwest Author Series, travels to writing conferences and literary events, and coaches a hundred writers a year. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. She lives in an idyllic cottage in Wilsonville, Oregon with her husband, daughter and far too many pets.

Keep up with Christina, if you can, at

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Catholic Religion

Merry Christmas!

Here’s something I like about being Catholic: you can go to church EVERY SINGLE DAY if you are so inclined.

A little background on me and religion for those of you who don’t know. I was raised by my parents (both the oldest of four same-sex kids) as … basically a Type A Hippie. They are good people who instilled wonderful values in me. If I’m a tad self-absorbed it’s just because I’m an only child.

I went to church (one Presbyterian, one Bible) sometimes with my grandparents and enjoyed it. When I was 14 I went to a Youth for Christ rally with my friend Jane and got myself saved. For the next couple of years I went from Hippie to Exemplary Protestant Girl. My dad was mostly supportive; it drove my mom nuts!

Then came the Age of 16 ½ and all religion went out the window. I was rather naughty until I hit about 24, then I met a guy we shall name Aron. Aron was also a little naughty, and then 9 months into our relationship he decided we should STOP being naughty. I was taken aback and almost broke up with him.

Instead, I drug us to church and found that I enjoyed the Catholic experience. I went through the conversion process while also planning our wedding, but then couldn’t go through with it. I wanted to be totally sure that I wasn’t converting just because my husband was Catholic. I ended up converting the following year.

I do not go to daily Mass. I sleep in all snuggled up to my babies. Aron goes whenever he can. Lately our oldest son goes with him sometimes, at 6:30 in the morning. I think it’s cool that he wants to go. I think it’s cool that he’s not pressured by his dad to go, nor is he discouraged from going by me. When Sam’s a little older and I can leave him sleeping in bed, I’d love to take Joel to Mass some morning. It’s a positive way to start the day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Are You Open to Life?

People ask me all the time if I'm done having kids. I honestly don't know.

People make rude comments about the number of children I have and how hard my life must be and how they don't have more kids because they enjoy their sports car or their freedom. I think that's good for them that they know they are done.

I want to say to rude people who think I should be done having children, "What if my sixth child turns out to be the one who saves your life, you jerk? Cures cancer? Saves the life of someone you love by taking a bullet for them?"

Think before you speak, you rude people. Why is it "okay" in America to have two or three children, but if you have one you are expected to have more, and if you have four or more you are clinically insane and probably broke?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Anna Duggar

Dang, I love this girl, who married the oldest Duggar son and has a baby with him. She’s got a little spunk in her, which I saw on a recent episode (keep in mind my mom tapes the shows and I watch them who-knows-when, so it might be an oldie). They own a used car lot, so she happened to be driving around a Hummer H2, which she hated because of the gas mileage. At the end of the episode she said something about how she feels better driving it since her baby is in a cloth diaper. She joked that someone in a Honda may be getting better gas mileage but their baby is in a disposable diaper.

Anna, let me point out a few other things you do to offset the environmental damage from temporarily driving the Hummer [I know, because my minivan gets 17 miles to the gallon on a great day].

Sometimes when you do the interviews on the show I can see that when your daughter is tired she goes for your boob. I assume you nurse. This saves formula cans, lids and scoops from the landfills while saving you tons of money.

Also, generally when a woman nurses exclusively she enjoys at least a few months of having no period (for me it’s been about a year per child). This means I’ve personally saved 5 years’ worth of tampons and pads.

Finally, by not using artificial birth control, you are saving birth control pill packaging from landfills, not to mention the packaging from alternate forms of birth control. My birth control never lands in a landfill because it’s simply written on my Natural Family Planning chart and is saved for future perusal. Someday my kids will simply recycle my paper fertility charts. And if you are welcoming kids from God whenever they show up, you don’t even have to worry about charting!

You go, girl! If you’re ever in Overland Park, Kansas, look me up! We can go to the thrift store up the street from my house and … buy used, save the difference!

P.S. When you buy and accept used clothing and other items, that is also a form of recycling. So there.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How to Annoy Your Child

When your child bites into their french fry and accidentally chomps his finger so hard that it bleeds, make sure that as you bandage it up you say something like, "Baby, your finger is not a french fry. I keep telling you that."

You see, I think laughter is the best medicine. My parents taught me that, especially my dad. He's quite the cutup. They annoyed me on a regular basis, like the time I was dating a guy twice my age and they kept paging me (hey, it was the 1990s) with callback numbers to places like seedy motels and old folks' homes. Yeah, they were a regular Laurel and Hardy, my parents. Kinda still are.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Duggars and What's Really Important

I love watching the Duggars with my kids. I get opportunities to teach my kids about things like owning your own used car business, owning rental property and trusting God to help you through any situation (like having a million babies).

I teach them that going to college is not the most important thing AT ALL. Sure, my husband went to college, but he was in his late 20s when he knew what he wanted to do and then paid for it himself and has been an employed engineer for the last 14 years. I didn’t go to college and am a money-making writer and homeschool teacher. Their 3 uncles didn’t go to college and run successful businesses. My dad didn’t go to college and got to retire successfully from the post office at age 55.

Most of all, I love that watching the Duggars teaches them that the road less traveled can be the most amazing and thrilling journey. I don’t get upset thinking of Michelle Duggar having another baby like some people do. While the haters are sitting on their butts reading about the Duggars in People Magazine while getting ready to take their kids to daycare, the Duggars are raising kind, smart, successful human beings on their own while taking NOTHING back from society (like welfare, food stamps, unemployment).

And the argument that those “poor” older kids have to help out around the house and with the younger kids makes me laugh. THOSE particular haters are the ones who can’t fathom getting their kid to do a chore around the house, let alone teaching their kid to care about other, younger human beings.

The Duggars should be applauded. I also watch junk like The Real Housewives of [every single city] and enjoyed the Beverly Hills episode where a 4-year-old child was MIA from most of her $60,000 birthday party because it was so obnoxiously over the top.

Really, Society? We’re supposed to value STUFF and APPEARANCE over people?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Smithsonian Triops Kit Honest Review

Do Not Buy Smithsonian Triops Kit (aka Sea Monsters)!

We bought one at Michael's for Michael (haha) when he was going through a hard time with his OCD. He was so excited to watch these things hatch and to care for them. We tried both batches and nothing happened. The kit was over 10 bucks, which is a lot of money for a little kid to save up from an allowance.

I wrote the company asking if these are for real. They sent me a new set of eggs with a set of instructions with typos that looked like a 7-year-old had written them (no offense to 7-year-olds).

We cared for these two different sets, making sure we followed the instructions and kept them warm, etc. Nothing happened again. Sure, I was skeptical ... how do you freeze-dry something or however they come and then put them in water and they come to life? Let's do that with humans, wanna?!

Too bad for the Smithsonian that they put their name on a crappy product. Too bad for Michael's that they sell this piece of crap product. We're hoping Santa brings sea monkeys for Michael ... I've heard better things about those!!!

Do Not Buy Smithsonian Triops Kit (aka Sea Monsters)! They are sold under many different names in all sorts of stores and online. UPDATE: I do recommend Sea Monkeys ... they always hatch for us and are SUPER CHEAP. Ours came from Toys R Us but I'm sure you can get them all over the stinkin' place.

Good luck, and let me know how yours turned out. I enjoy your comments, even the ones calling me a moron because I couldn't get them to hatch :-)

Updated April 2013 ... I always love reading the comments on this post and wonder why it is one of most popular ... why are so many of you Googling this topic?! Anyway, the reason I was so upset about this product not working (and we did everything right TWICE) was because my kid was disappointed, and am a Super Mama Bear.

I hope you'll forgive me for being a Triops Moron and check out some other fun stuff on my site ... my kids and husband are QUITE entertaining!!!!!

And if growing triops makes you hungry, check out my book The Tater Tot Casserole Cookbook ... maybe I can't grow a triops very well but I can make dinner and dessert and live to write about it! And my kids even like the stuff!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The 2010 McLoughlin Family Christmas Letter


Dear Family, Friends, Neighbors and the Blogosphere,

Merry Christmas! Here’s what’s been going on in our McLives:

Joel's Zoo
 Joel (4th grade, 9 years old) started the year out right by winning 2nd place in our Scouts Pinewood Derby race, then moved up to Webelos I in the summer after he and Daddy went to Scout camp. He loves his gymnastics class, socializing any chance he can get, and took a class on making sushi. After Lilly the Hamster died (soon after he got her and within hours of spending $60 on a vet bill!), he got Daisy the Hamster, and she’s doing great. He enjoyed volunteering with Meals on Wheels and at Harvester’s with Scouts and would go back every day if he could. Over the summer he started going down the massive wicked huge straight slide at Young’s Pool, something Mommy is afraid to do because it would probably make my swimsuit split me in two.

Michael orchestrates the putting up of the tree
Michael (2nd grade, 7 years old) won 1st place in our pack in the Scouts Pinewood Derby for siblings. Like Joel, he’s in a gymnastics class, but unlike Joel he isn’t in love with socializing! He does, however, trot across the street to the school for his Lego Robotics class. As far as swimming prowess, he now goes off the diving board and hit all the slides at all our pools. The kid can make ANYTHING out of paper and recently made a flying ambulance (#42, OPFD, the one that took me and Sam to the hospital!) complete with angel wings!

Daddy made Cal's closet polka dotted!
Callie (kindergarten, 5 years old) did gymnastics for a while this year but is more of a singing, dancing, drama kind of girl. She loves makeup and swimming and being a girly girl. There’s also a broken-down, worn-out dress she loves that is getting all holey, and it’s been worn so much I think I just saw it walk out the front door. Her nickname is “Grandma Wrinkles” because of her selective hearing and, yes, I have taken her for multiple hearing tests. She honestly doesn’t hear you calling her until you say, “Hey! Little Grandma!” She also loves her new room with 3 turquoise walls and 1 purple (finger-painted on by everyone) wall. She got Rose the Hamster as a 5th birthday pet because we have commitment issues with getting a dog! She’s also turning into a little artist like her brothers.

Eva loves her 1956 baby doll crib

Eva (3 on December 6th) continues to be a happy and crazy girl. You can find her making messes with things like honey, chocolate syrup and soap, and then you can find her washing dishes, recycling and “sitting on the pot” all by herself. She has a perfect round belly that I just want to bite! I nursed the girl for almost 3 years and now you can find her in her Drunken Bottle state sacked out on the couch with her bottle of chocolate milk hanging out of her mouth (yes, I know I’m a bad mom, and I brush her teeth often to make up for the copious amounts of sugar). She is always caring for her babies, and if the girl doesn’t grow up to have 10 kids I will be shocked.

Safety first in the woodshop!
 Sam turned 1 in October and is walking and talking, climbing stairs and recently learned to go down. He likes to climb the boys bunk bed ladder and hang out in the woodshop with his dad and wishes he could carry around scissors and a screwdriver all day. Mommy sees many problems with this, though … which leads to him throwing himself down on the floor in the cutest little fits! What little hair he has just may turn out to be reddish … we love us some gingies (Ginger-haired kids).

3 boys and 3 girls!

I have to give a nod to our extra named Jordan. She is 13 and goes to Holy Cross Catholic School and has been invaluable as a helper to our family. She plays the flute and piccolo, volleyball, and helps out at a vet’s office. The kids are in love with her and wish we could adopt her. Aron and I don’t think she’s so bad, either! 

Aron is Den Leader for Cub Scouts, a Religious Ed teacher, Lego Robotics coach, Master Fisherman and superfine dad and husband. I know it sounds pukey, but when you still dig someone 15 years after meeting him, you have to tell the world! As usual, he traveled some for work. His poor wood projects gathered (saw)dust as he put our 3rd bedroom to use, turning it into a room for the girls to sleep in their bunk bed. His reward was to get a shiny red HUGE truck which gets about 2 miles to the gallon, but it's cool!

I’m still homeschooling, writing, scrapbooking, cussing and mothering. My life consists of going to the pool, parks, field trips, indoor play areas, etc. We made it to Branson with my dad’s family this year, then went to Colorado to visit Garden of the Gods, Focus on the Family, the North Pole, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking, and Grand Lake. Field trips this year for “school” (it’s so much fun I hate to call it that!) included Channel 5, Overland Park fire station, Downtown Airport, Harvester’s, a recycling center in KCK, Lakeside Nature Center, and multiple trips to the zoo.

We’re praying everyone has the best year ever in 2011. Take care of yourselves and of each other.

Love from Aron, Kerrie, Joel, Michael, Callie, Eva and Sam McLoughlin

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Mac Family Update Part Five (A Routine)

Just when you thought I was the strangest combination of Type A meets Hippie, I go and tell you that I’m working on a FAMILY ROUTINE. Yes, the crazy finally got to me and I ordered a couple of books called Managers of Their Homes (the writers are from Leavenworth, Kansas, which isn’t too far from my neck of the woods) and A Mother’s Rule of Life.

Both of these were written by homeschooling moms with big families, so they know my special circumstances. They know how to fit everything into their day, including homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, chores, errands, time with their spouse, time with their kids, time with their friends and other family members, time for special projects like sewing or scrapbooking or writing and yes, even time with God. It’s an awesome concept that works for many, many women.

You'd die laughing if you could see me cutting up tiny squares to put into slots for every half hour of the day for all 7 members of my family.

Now let’s see how it works for me. Hmmm.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Mac Family Update Part Four (Mr. McLoughlin)


Aron just finished Callie’s room (a.k.a. “The Girls’ Room”). He is such a perfectionist, which is a mixed blessing. It’s nice to have everything just so, but it takes the poor guy a long time to get everything done since he kept encountering issues, like outlets being wired wrong. Then he had the whole thing painted (3 walls turquoise, 1 wall purple, then let the kids fingerpaint on the purple wall, God bless him) and Eva took a screwdriver to one of the small walls. Grrr. Such is life with naughty children. Then the bunk bed was too LONG for the mattress, which drove him nuts so he had to fix that.

Anyway, now he can move on to his 500 other projects. It’s really not funny, but there are about 20 things that need to be done or are broken in our house. No big deal … you learn to live with them and move on. So this winter here’s his short list (honey, feel free to print this out):

Finish making medicine cabinet for main bathroom so we can finally put all the medicines up after 10 years

Make another medicine cabinet for the other bathroom

Build or buy a swingset before someone gets Tetanus on ours and sues us

Type up a waiver for guests to sign before getting on swingset

Fix my garage door so I can lazily use the remote opener again

Fix the blinds in our bedroom that we just bought and are already jacked up

Re-hang the shelf/hooks by the garage door

Fix the huge FAMILY picture frame that fell off the wall when some kid was playing ball in the family room

Fix pedals on Michael’s bike

Fix the front storm door so our tinier of kids can't escape

OR ... he can just forget about most of that and just hang out with us ... we'll make do with all the broken stuff as long as we have our favorite guy around!

He celebrated his 44th birthday recently by playing at the park with the kids over his (long) lunch hour, working and going to Papa Keno’s for dinner, followed by a nice brownie sundae at home. He got a bunch of small gifts from the kids and lots of cards.

And good news:  he got the patches all sewn on the Scouts uniforms (with help from his mom) ... this is a pic of him sewing ... right after I took this picture he showed me with one of his fingers that I'm "number one" ... if you can read between the lines (or fingers).

Next update after Wordless Wednesday on the 8th: A ROUTINE?!?!?!?!?! What is that?!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Mac Family Update Part Two (Homeschooling)


Nope, not tired of homeschooling yet, and the kids still love it, too. Joel’s doing his multiplication, cursive, English, history and more plus earning his Scouts religious emblem, helping out at Harvester’s, and earning badges, pins and loops for Scouts in things like Swimming, Traveler, Fitness, Forester, Good Manners, Fishing, Reading and Writing, and Gymnastics. He’s crazy about Black Beauty right now (TV show on DVD and the book).

Michael is always making something out of all sorts of materials and comes up with games and puzzles of his own. He’s reading Flat Stanley and getting ready for his First Communion in May.

Callie is doing typical kindergarten stuff at a slow pace, which is how we like to take things sometimes. She’s doing great with her numbers and I read to her all the time. She writes letters all the time and is starting to see how they go together to make words. Sometimes she’ll read a word out of the blue and freak me out!

Eva and Sam putter around and make messes while we do school.

Homeschooling also includes things like days at the zoo, Lego Robotics for Michael, gymnastics for the boys, Religious Ed class for the boys, trips to the grocery store, and magazine deliveries. We’re big on life skills learning around here. They do their chores, and learn how to cook (who learns how to make a chocolate raspberry torte with their dad at SCHOOL?). Sure, homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it seems to somehow be God’s perfect plan for us so far. Working on an ebook about homeschooling, so ask me any questions you like!

Next update: Writing

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Mac Family Update Part One (The Kids)


This is why you haven’t heard from me in a while. I’m hardly ever online because we’re either homeschooling or running around or hanging with friends/family or … maintaining the every-messy household.

Joel is Mr. Social like always and loves hanging out with all his friends. He rides his bike all over the place. Michael has been doing great with his OCD … he has therapy once a week and hasn’t had a bad day in a few weeks, thank God. Callie has been sleeping in her newly remodeled bedroom the last few nights like a big girl. Eva is into everything all the time and I would need a full-time housekeeper to keep up with her messes. She’s also potty training. Sam is following in her footsteps and is running all over the house with his little temper and huge smile. He loves to say Mom and Up.

Somebody at church the other day saw Sam running around and said to me, “You don’t have any babies anymore.” I smiled sweetly and thought, “Shut up, Lady! Don’t remind me that my FIFTH child is growing away from me every single day!”
Bloggy shout-out to Kay from church for the AWESOME Halloween sugar cookies! If you saw me walking home from church that day it was because I partook of many, many of the cookies and needed to get rid of some calories!

And please write me in the Comments section so I know what YOU have been up to. If you have a blog, shamelessly plug it with a link so I can come see you in CyberWorld!

Oh, crap, gotta go. Sam just got into the wax paper, foil and Saran Wrap drawer and I’m sure you can imagine the rest.

Next update: Homeschooling

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mama's Got a J.O.B.

Last week the idea came to me to check out doing magazine deliveries around town on a monthly basis like we used to do in 2007. So I made some phone calls and miraculously got hooked up with a great guy from a great company and now we start our new delivery job TOMORROW! Maybe I'm just lucky or something, but it's stuff like this that happens to/for me that makes me roll my eyes at whiners who sit around crying about money but do nothing to go out and make any. If I can get a good-paying job in my neighborhood that I can take my kids along on (no sitter costs) with flexible hours only a few days a month, then surely more moms like me can find something to do that is similar.

Women, I am empowering you to stop whining and start earning. My income sources include babysitting at my house, magazine delivery, ebooks and articles. And all with no college degree!  And if you do happen to be a writer, don't forget about my ebook (Get Published in Regional Parenting Magazines) to earn some extra income.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stairs, Thinking Outside the Box and My Kids

Isn't it sad how the space under stairs is so often wasted? Some people get creative and build cool little play or storage nooks under their stairs if they are able, but a lot of times this space is just empty.

I think we need to make stairs like doors ... you can lift them and store things under them and then close them. I understand there may be some structural problems with this concept, but I'm sure my kid Michael would be able to figure this out.

I thought I was pretty open-minded, but since having a think-outside-the-box kid like Michael, I think of things in new terms. I invent things in my mind that I think should be invented, even though I don't have the time or the money or the patent to put them into action.

Don't tell my kids, but they are homeschooling me more than I am homeschooling them.

4/17/12 obviously someone read this post because I saw this idea on Pinterest, only the drawer handles seemed to stick out, which could be a little dicey!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ahhhh, Grand Lake, Colorado

After a few crazy days running around to every possible kid place in Colorado Springs, we got to Grand Lake, Colorado and let out a deep breath as we watched our kids happily play outside our hotel room by the lake.  Nature rocks.  More to come.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Focus on the Family Welcome Center in Colorado Springs, CO 2010

Our last day in Colorado Springs we went to the Focus on the Family Welcome Center. We had so much fun! They had a 4-story slide that the boys enjoyed. And I ran into a homeschooled kid who was working at the soda shop by choice. Her homeschooled sister and brother had all kinds of college degrees, but she was finding herself and hanging out at a J.O.B. for a while, which is admirable. We don't all want to go to college, people!  Nor do we need to. So all you haters out there who wonder how Aron and I can afford to pay for college for our growing brood, you can bite me.  Each of our kids has a savings account, thank you very much, and they will continue to add to it not only from current chores, but also in the future when they are babysitting and mowing lawns.  Then they can use it for college or to start a business or whatever.

We had a fun time there and then dropped some serious cash at the bookstore. Really, when do I EVER shop?  Let me have my fun buying Adventures in Odyssey CDs and books like Dobson's new Bringing Up Girls.

P.S. Happy birthday to my god-daughter, who I know doesn't read this blog (she's smart!), but I want her to know I'm always thinking of her on her birthday and that I love her very much. She is one cool kid.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One More Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Pic

Photos never do things justice, but I had to include this one from the zoo.  See the giraffe down there? That may be the one from a previous post that Michael was feeding. Beyond that you can see Colorado Springs. Like Santa's Workshop, this zoo is also on a mountain.  This means you get gorgeous views ... and a total leg workout!!!!!  Anyway, this place is awesome and I highly recommend the naked mole rats and the resident fox that runs around the place.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Highest Ferris Wheel in the World at North Pole in Colorado Springs

Oh, yeah, baby. They don't call this the Highest Ferris Wheel in the World for nuthin'.  The North Pole/Santa's Workshop in perched on the side of a mountain. The ferris wheel is up on that thar mountain. The last time I was on a ferris wheel was when I was about 19 ... 20 years ago, people.  And it freaked me out then.  But I sucked it up and went on it for the sake of my precious wee ones ... my adventurous kidlets. And I screamed my head off with my eyes closed the first time around.  Then I dug it!  The kids didn't mind it a bit and had a great time!  Then Aron actually got on the darn thing ... he was more scared than I was at first and then got used to it also.  At the top it was windy and you could see all over the place.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The North Pole in Colorado Springs

(above) Ah, Michael, my little reindeer pulling our sleigh.  He's just such a wonderfully quirky breath of fresh air. So literal and so funny.

(right) A nursing pit stop. Notice how matchy-matchy Sam and I are in our patriotic colors and chunky legs?!
This is the ride that broke the camel's puking button, or something like that. This thing went round and round and round. Then stopped. Then went backwards round and round and round. Callie rode this 100 times. I rode it once and wanted to hurl into a trash can. Of course, the Tilt-a-Whirl with Joel before this ride probably didn't help.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kids and Coffee/Coffee Ice Cream ... Santa's Workshop in Colorado 2010

Holy crap-a-rooni, when did I become a BEFORE weight loss picture???? Sitting on my ample butt eating ice cream, no less!!! But look at those 5 beautiful faces! If I had to gain 5 pounds per kid, then it's all worth it. Plus I get the excitement of anticipating what my boobs are going to look like after I'm all done nursing Sam! Sooo, this pic was taken at the North Pole/Santa's Workshop in Colorado Springs. Three of my 5 kids are eating coffee ice cream. Why do people go into full-on freak-out mode when you give your kid anything labeled COFFEE??  Newsflash, World and Judgemental Parents: not EVERY SINGLE KID in the world experiences a sugar or caffeine buzz and then crashes. My kids are naturally spastic like myself. We can drink coffee then fall asleep. We can eat a candy bar and then sit quietly in front of the TV and watch an entire movie (not recommended, though ... how about going on a walk instead?!).

So I'm thinking you respect this about my family and I'll respect the fact that if I sneak your kid one Junior Mint he will bounce off my walls for 30 minutes. Basically, we're all different, huh?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Embassy Suites in Colorado Springs 2010 Travel with Kids

This is the inside of the Embassy Suites in Colorado Springs where we stayed on vacation. You, too, can stay here FOR FREE if your husband travels so much for work that he gets a buttload of hotel miles to spend! They had an excellent free breakfast, but standing in a long line every morning for protein was a bunch of b.s. when you have small hungry kids.  The E.S. in Phoenix was much better back in 2002 ... you only had to stand in line if you wanted an omelet, while bacon and scrambled eggs were in a separate warmer. In case you're doing, "Who gives a crap, Kerrie?" ... I write all this because companies Google themselves and this is an easier way for me to review them than to mess with finding out their contact info and on and on.
This is a pic Aron wanted to take of us from the downstairs part of the hotel. We were on the 4th floor, and the kids had a blast messing around in the glass elevators!
Look at those monkeys on the luggage cart! This is a goofy tradition we have: taking pictures of our kids after giving them rides on hotel luggage carts.

This concludes the hotel portion of Postcards from the McLoughlins. Not sure where we're heading tomorrow, but it'll be a good time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado 2010

This is Michael feeding a giraffe a "biscuit" ... more like a graham cracker/Triscuit mixture ... you get 3 for a dollar. I dropped a bunch of dollars there. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is so awesomely cool.  And if I may put in a plug for homeschooling, the place wasn't busy at all because we went at the start of September.

I should start a website called Zoo Review and travel to every zoo in the world and review them all.  I'll do whatever it takes to raise the money for this project, and that includes selling my husband's tools and his boat and his canning supplies and his shiny new red truck.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Didn't go to the NICU Reunion 2010

Today is the NICU reunion at the hospital where Sam was transferred after he was born on October 7 of last year. I'm not near home today, and Aron and the boys are out of town fishing, so I won't be able to make it. Also, it's being held during the time when Sam usually naps. Maybe I'll make it next year.

Then again, maybe not. It was such a traumatic time in my life that my heart still bears the hurt from it. I feel blessed that we did not lose Sam, but it was still a very scary time. I don't know that I want to go see his nurses. I sent them our family Christmas letter and a picture of our family last year and will probably do the same again this year. I want them to know how much they are appreciated, these people who cared for my infant in the middle of the night and during the day when I was recovering from my own infection and caring for my other 4 children.

Thank you, staff of Overland Park Regional Medical Center NICU. Without your unceasing care, we might not have a happy, sweet, precious, almost-one-year-old around today. He sleeps next to his mama every night and nurses whenever he wants. He had his first Dum-Dum sucker the other day (no teeth yet to rot out!).

(This picture taken last week at Rocky Mountain National Park before a hike!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meeting Aron + Lazy Jell-O Recipe

Head on over to my other blog to see my recipe for Lazy Jell-O and to find out what happened the night Aron and I had our first date tonight 15 years ago!

I love you, Arvid!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kids and Eating

In honor of my mom's birthday today, I will post a funny that she made recently.

You know Taco Bell's promotion for their Fourth Meal, the meal you eat late at night?

Since my kids eat all day flippin' long, my mom says, "Okay, you go get lunch.  I have plenty of stuff around my house for when they get hungry later for their Eighth Meal."

For my kids, 8th Meal is like between lunch and dinner.  I swear they eat like 12 times a day!  They should be as big as houses, but they work it off, thankfully!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

School Lunches

Mom's been taping Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC for us, and I have Joel watch it as a homeschool project.  Check out this blog by a woman who is eating a school lunch every day this year to check out what's in them, how they taste, the waste of plastic utensils and food, etc.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Temporary ID Tatto for Kids

This is a great post at The WM Parenting Connection called "Can't Parents Supervise Their Kids Anymore?" (sign up for the e-mail version so you don't miss a post!).

My opinion:  I used to think things like leashes for kids were crazy and wondered why someone couldn't keep track of their dang kid.  I felt this way because I had 3 Velcro children who would not leave my side.  Then along came Eva.  Pair that with living on a very busy street and, although I don't own a kid leash personally, I am now a believer in doing whatever it takes to keep your kid safe.

What do YOU think?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

School Carnival

Here are some pictures from the recent school carnival we attended.  The kids played a bunch of games to win poker chips to trade in for prizes.  They enjoyed the bouncy slide and moonwalks.  Callie won a bag of Tootsie Rolls at the cakewalk.  They all enjoyed Ring Pops!  We dropped only $40 this year to support our local public school.  I was surprised we got out of there so cheap!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Homeschool Sushi Rolls

I have found a great homeschool group in my city.  I won't publicize them in case they want to stay medium-sized, but would be happy to publicize them if they want me to and will email anyone info about them if they would like from the Comments section.  Anyway, they have 4 co-op sessions a year where a parent offers a class on anything and in return their kids can take as many classes as they want.  Some of the classes cost money, like this one was $5 per kid, but they got to take home a bamboo mat and spoon plus the ingredients were amazing (salmon, avocado, mango, cream cheese, cucumber, etc.).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pokemon Puzzle and Pokemon T-shirt

I found this Pokemon puzzle at a thrift store for one fat buck.  It's 200 pieces, and Michael and Aron sat and worked on it together for some great father/son time.  Of course, the next morning, Eva tore it all apart while I was eating my bon bons and watching my soap operas in the tub (don't tell my husband!), so it's a good thing they took a picture of it!  Below is a picture of Joel with his Pokemon T-shirt on ... he'd just made himself a smoothie and was quite proud of himself!

Amazon has some great Pokémon puzzles. Check them out!

They also have T-shirts!

*Full disclosure: I might get a few cents if you purchase something on Amazon using the links in this post.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stuff My Dad Says

My dad says, "Heard the starving artists were due to come back to town to sell paintings. I'm taking them down some canned goods and boxes of cereal. Don't give them cash! They'll only spend it on paint and canvas!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Home Fire Drills

I know it's important to have working smoke detectors in your home, but we'd never had a fire drill until Joel's Cub Scout book made it a priority.  So recently when my niece was over, she directed the boys in a fire drill.  The main message was to STAY LOW ... and have a meeting place at a tree out front!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2010 Census

Yes, I filled out my census.

Then a few weeks later at 5:45 p.m. on a week night, I got a call from the Census People.  The chick started spouting off all kinds of sections and codes and crap that let me know she was allowed to be calling me.  Still, how do I know it was really the Census People?

So let’s assume it was really them.  She wants to take 10 minutes of my time to ask more questions about my household.  I asked her why.  She spouted off more sections and codes instead of just saying something like, “Well, some people are randomly chosen to be asked more questions.”

So I said, “You have my census in front of you?”

She said she did.

I said, “Then you know that I have 5 kids and that you are calling at dinnertime.  I don’t have 10 minutes for you.”

I hung up as she was saying something about needing to set up an appointment to talk with me.  I found out someone I know had the same issue once and the Census People showed up at his house with a badge and everything.

  1. Why can’t they randomly choose someone else instead of wasting time tracking down those who don’t want to answer their dang questions?
  2. If I’m home during the day with just my kids, you can bet your butt I will not be answering the door to a Census Person.  Except these days my kids are always playing outside and I’m out watching them quite often and the Census Person will probably corner me.  Darnit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

The first thing I did when my copy of “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger came in the mail was to look for the recipes.  There weren’t any.  How can you put “feeding” in the title and not include some recipes?

So I’m partway into the book and it’s pretty clear I’ll come out the other end knowing how to CARE for my husband so much better than I do now, but I feel gypped because I won’t know how to FEED him any better than I do now.

So it’s back to meatloaf and tacos and tater tot casserole and stir-fry for dinner.  I expected better from you, Dr. Laura.  I expected a recipe for coq au vin or duck a l’orange or baked Alaska.  Or tips on how to balance carbs and proteins.

Just kidding.  I still love you, Dr. L.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Offensive Magazine Covers and Nursing Women

No, Silly, I'm not talking about women who are nurses being on magazine covers.  I'm wondering what you think about breastfeeding being shown on magazine covers. There's an argument here in favor, and then you can vote at the top.  You can also click on the tab that says "Top No Article" to see the other side of the argument.  And sometimes on the side of the page you can see an advertisement featuring a woman who has lost weight and has her big boobs squeezed into a small bikini top ... interesting, and definitely sexier than breastfeeding ... or is it?  I mean, I personally think I'm hot stuff nursing and typing at the same time.  I'd like to see a guy do that.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

Yeah, baby!  Elizabeth Pantley has come out with her 6th book in the No-Cry series:  The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution.  Others in the series include:  The No-Cry Nap Solution; The No-Cry Sleep Solution; The No-Cry Discipline Solution; The No-Cry Potty Training Solution; The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers.

Here's a brief description of the new book:  "Does it break your heart to leave your crying child at daycare, school, or with a babysitter? Do you worry and wonder how to help and what to do? Nearly all children experience separation anxiety - it's natural - but finding a solution can be difficult. Best-selling parenting author and mother of four, Elizabeth Pantley tackles this sensitive problem with her trademark gentle and respectful ideas.  Using the help of her army of Test Parents, Pantley has created a book filled with solutions. Whether your child is a baby, toddler or first grader, these tried and true techniques will help them to:

* Say goodbye at the door with a smile and a wave and no more tears.

* Conquer anxiety at daycare, school, parties, events and play-dates.

* Go to sleep peacefully - and stay in bed at naptime and bedtime.

* Feel comfortable with caregivers, babysitters, visitors, and other new people.

* Explore new places with joy and confidence.

Best of all, this step-by-step book INCLUDES A FREE MAGIC BRACELET that will help your child feel "magically" safe and secure whenever you're apart. It's just one of the many No-Cry solutions that will help you say goodbye to the stress of saying goodbye-and hello to a stronger, happier child. "

For more information, check out Elizabeth Pantley's web site here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ask (or Gripe), and You Shall Receive

Callie and Michael like to have tea parties with a tea set Ellen got Callie for Christmas. Back on April 20 (sorry, but I have to post-date my entries because of that pesky no-Internet-access-at-home thing) they had a tea party.

Dilemma: no cookies.

I was crazy busy (yes, SA [smart a**], it was a little different from every other day) but was willing to make them no-bake drop cookies.

Dilemma: no sugar.

As I’m griping about how I’m not psychic and sugar should have been put on the grocery list, etc., a sweet woman from church came by to drop off some wonderful clothes for my kids, as she does from time to time. Guess what else she brought?

A big tin of chocolate chip cookies.

I almost cried. I saved 3 for Aron, ate a few for my own stress relief purposes, then gave the tin to the kids for their tea party. How cool is that?  Now it's time for some subliminal advertising:
You know you want The Kerrie Show in your Inbox every day, so why aren't you signing up for an e-mail subscription over on the right-hand side of her blog?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Can You Overdose on Homeopathic Remedies? No! Homeopathic Bedwetting Tablets and Chiropractic Care for Kids

I carry around with me in the diaper bag 3 bottles of Hyland’s homeopathic goodies: teething tablets, sniffles ‘n’ sneezes tablets, and bedwetting tablets. Each bottle has 125 tiny tablets, and not one of the bottles has a childproof cap on it (but neither does nail polish remover or some bleach, so don’t get me started).

I came downstairs the other day to find Eva sitting on the kitchen table. With an empty bottle of bedwetting tablets.

I’ve always heard a kid could take the whole bottle of anything homeopathic like that and be fine, but just in case I called Poison Control. 

They got a good laugh when I told them, “Well, I guess she won’t be urinating for a good week, huh?” They told me she’d be fine, though.

Side note: I can’t really say if the bedwetting tablets work or not because I wasn’t consistent in giving them to Callie. You’re supposed to give them at every meal and at bedtime, but I could never quite get my crap together enough to do that. It’s easier, quite honestly, to make sure she has on a diaper or Pull-up at bedtime.

Update many years later: honestly, what worked was several visits to the chiropractor and no more bedwetting and also her attitude in general improved. No joke. Not sure why but I'm a believer in chiropractic care now! It also helped Sam when he would cry every car ride ... one gentle adjustment and he was much better.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fostering Independence in Kids

I (usually) love when my kids exert some independence and take care of their own needs.  I don't see it as being neglectful ... they are simply learning valuable life skills.  This is a picture of Eva getting her own cereal.  Sometimes they get into things before I realize they've done it, and there's a mess to clean up.  Sometimes I know what their plan is and support them.  Either way, I can almost guarantee that my kids won't be on my health care plan until they are 26 (Lord, I hope not, anyway).  I mean, if my kid can legally get a DUI at the age of 21, can't he/she also pay for his/her own health insurance right out of college SOMEHOW?  I don't expect them to get $100,000/year jobs right out of school, but they have to be able to take care of themselves, even if it means working 2 jobs to pay off school loans and to have health insurance.  Call me crazy, but I don't care ... I've known too many people who have taken care of themselves and I want to put that expectation out there for my own kids and hope it sticks.  I hope it offsets some of the babying I do to them :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Easter Pictures 2010

By popular demand, here are some Easter pictures from our day at my mom's.  Don't get too excited now!  Don't you think Sam looks like MiniMe from Austin Powers?  Make up your own caption for this one!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lego Cake Attempt

This was my attempt to make a Lego cake for Michael's birthday party recently.  What the &^%^ was I thinking? I am like the worst cook in America!

When it was clear it was all messed up, I got upset with myself, but Michael was so cool about it and helped me doctor it up. Next time I'll head here for some really cool, doable cakes!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chocolate Communion: Choco Discs

 I hope this isn't some sort of blasphemy,talking about Choco Discs as Chocolate Communion.  I dig these little guys ... I get them at Whole Foods and spend way too much on them, but they don't give me a  headache like most of the sugar crap I buy at the regular store.  I just like how they are shaped like a Communion wafer and provide so much spiritual fulfillment.  God knew what He/She was doing when these were created.  I'm actually getting somewhere in my weight loss journey ... the proof is that I bypassed my little chocolate wafer friends the other day when I was at Whole Foods.

If you're a writer type, come on by The WM Freelance Connection to find out how I published my first e-book.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wooden Trophy Stands for Pinewood Derby Cars and Trophies

I told Aron that when I am a rich writer (forget famous; you can't spend famous) he can quit his job and be a full-time woodworker (not to mention being able to give me daily foot massages and be our full-time cook, as well).

I also told him his woodworking portfolio would be on my blog for his potential clients since I've posted pictures of almost all of his projects.

Here's the latest one: Joel got a trophy for winning 2nd place in our Cub Scout Pinewood Derby recently, and Michael got a ribbon for winning 1st place for siblings, so Aron made them each a stand to hold their car and their award. What a good dad, huh?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pea Diddy and Literal Kids

We love that Ke$ha song that starts, "I wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy ..." We're not sure what it means to wake up feeling like P. Diddy, but how many other songs do you love that you don't have a clue as to what they are talking about?

So Michael, who is completely literal, comes up with this gem. It's a real live pea dotting the I.

Oh, and once I told my 5-year-old nephew that he was literal and he goes, "No, I'm big."


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