Summer Fun Ideas

Summer is in my sights and I am happy to say that we are in the home stretch. It cannot get here soon enough for me. The alarm clock and I are not on good terms and I am ready to be done with it.

I love summer and look forward to spending all day, everyday with my fellas.

And I will continue to feel that way for about two weeks and nine minutes, when the whining and tattle-telling will begin to rake at my very last nerve and I make threats that include the loss of electronic privileges for anyone who can’t get along.

I have already started a list of fun things we can do to enjoy our summer. Our last summer before my sweet Alex begins his sentence in the public school system.

Or something like that.

Here are just a few of the fun things we’ll be doing this summer.

1. Playdates – They are free and they are fun. The key to a great playdate is to choose a kid who doesn’t insist on pulling every toy out of the toy box while they are over. I certainly don’t mind cleaning up after a playdate and I don’t mind the kids having fun, but I see no reason for every. single. toy. in the toy box to be in the middle of the floor when the playdate is over. If your kid tears through a room like a tornado, please do not bring them to my house. Thank you, and amen. For added enjoyment, invite a kid whose parent is a good friend and enjoy some adult conversation during the playdate.

2. Visit the Library – It is fun and it is free (well, unless you forget to return the books in a timely fashion). My boys love to read. The even better news is that Stevie can now read to Alex meaning that he gets reading practice and Alex gets to enjoy a story. The fun part is that Alex is now trying to sound out words and wants to know how to spell words, so visiting the library and allowing him to choose his own books is a special treat.

3. Make cupcakes – It’s fun and cheap. My boys love any excuse to don their Ratatouille chef hats and aprons. Decorating with icing and sprinkles makes for a fun afternoon.

4. Bath Fun – It’s fun and [relatively] free, plus it does not require you to be out-of-doors in the heat and [friggin’] humidity – Save plastic jugs, empty bath and body pumps and shampoo bottles with squirty lids for new bath toys. This is also a great place to play with water guns since the boys can fill them up without help. Add a color tablet and bubbles to the bath and you’ve got at least an hour’s worth of fun.

5. CARS Color Changers – While Disney Pixar’s color changer CARS cars are not cheap, they do offer loads of fun in the bathtub, especially if you spring for Ramone’s House of Body Art. Stevie considers the color changers a “fun science experiment”.

6. Decorate a card and send it to an out-of-town cousin or friend – It’s free and it’s fun – Bust out some paper, markers, crayons, stickers, and glue for an art project that doubles as a lesson in the US postal service. McDaddy and I have 14 nieces and nephews, so we look for opportunities for the boys to keep in touch with their cousins.

7. Tie-Dye Shirts – It’s fun and messy and a lot of friggin’ work – Let me start by saying I am not the tie dye type. My friend, Becky, however looks for any excuse to tie-dye an article of clothing. I enjoy the finished product, but I am not all about getting the hands all stained and messy – cause that’s just the way I roll – but the kids enjoy starting with a white tee-shirt and seeing the finished product.

8. Have a picnic – It’s fun and it’s cheap – Pack a lunch and a blanket and head out to the park. It might be best if you find a shade tree, especially if you live in a state that has horrible heat and 147% humidity.

9. Free Movies – It’s fun and it’s (let’s say it all together, now!) FREE – Both of our local movie theaters offer free movies every Monday and Tuesday throughout summer. I typically pack a juice box and granola bar for each kid and they don’t ask for popcorn or mountain dew.

Hopefully these tips will help you cure the summer boredom blues. I’d love it if you’d share your tips, too!

Visit THAT family for tons of other beat the summer boredom blues tips.

What I Learned This Week

I had a hot, relaxing (non cell service), Memorial Day weekend with my people.

It’s a miracle I didn’t gnaw my arm off because hello? iAddicted.

I love being away and I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, but, sweet Moses, I was glad to cross over to the realm of 3G. I missed all my iPhone stuff and spent a good hour getting caught up on all of the goings on.

And now that the kids are fed, bathed, and in bed, it is the blog’s turn.

Let’s just get down to bloggy business, shall we?

1. When you make the grandiose statement, “I have no desire to get down in that creek, because I am a klutz” you should probably stick to your guns and not succumb to peer pressure.

2. When on a hot, relaxing camping trip, before deciding to get in the creek with your friends, you should probably take your watch off, just in case, you, um, fall in.

3. Marplestown, West Virginia has a population of four.

4. When riding in a moving vehicle, it might be a good idea to make sure your phone is locked or else you might end up deleting an APP that you do not mean to delete.

5. Taking a screen shot of each APP page on your iPhone might be a good idea on the off chance you accidentally delete an APP while falling asleep in the car.

6. After a hot, relaxing (non cell service) weekend, it will be tough to concentrate on your what I learned this week post.

7. Airing down your tires before off-roading is necessary because it helps your tires to ‘grab’ the rocks.

8. ‘Bridesmaids’ is the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long, long time. I laughed until I cried.

9. If most of your son’s friends are permitted to play ‘Black Ops Call of Duty’ and your son is not, he might tell you that this fact makes him feel like an “odd-ball” sometimes.

10. I have trouble ending any type of  list on number nine.

What did YOU learn this week?


You can read a crazy long detailed version of the rules here, or simply follow these easy steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog.

2. Within that post, please mention the What I Learned This Week carnival and link back to this post here at From Inmates To Playdates. If you don’t know how to link, please ask me.

3. Then link up with Mr. Linky down below.

4. Visit the other participants and see what they learned this week. Then leave a comment because comments are fun!

Letters To Crazy People

It’s been awhile since I’ve done letters to crazy people.

Considering my mood, it seemed only fitting….


Dear Crazy Honda Civic Guy Who Lives On Our Street:

Do you realize, sir, that you act like a jerk every time you pass someone on our road? We are all neighbors here on this one-lane street and 99% of us are courteous to each other when we meet on the road. If you do not want to wait three seconds on your neighbors to get safely off of the road so that you can squeal your tires and speed off like a maniac, then perhaps you should move to another neighborhood. Preferably one with a two-lane street that will allow you to come and go freely.

Get A Grip,

The girl in the white minivan who makes 812 trips off of this hill everyday.


Dear People Who Text At 6:00 AM:

Here’s an idea: DON’T.

If you are not bleeding or dying, or texting about someone who’s bleeding or dying, you should not be texting me at 6:00 AM.

Get A Life, (And some sleep!)

The girl who needs her beauty sleep


Dear Crazy Parent on Facebook,

Earlier this week, you chose to talk smack on your Facebook page about my son’s baseball team, mentioning that your son’s team is the “team to be feared”. First of all, you are talking about seven and eight year old boys. Second of all, you are an idiot. While I realize it is your Facebook page, might I remind you that your page is not private and therefore can be viewed by anyone who gets word of the nonsense going on over there.

Like me. Who now how has your page saved on my phone so that it can be viewed without having to search.

Ugh. There are so many things I want to say right now, but I, unlike you, will keep them to myself.

Minding my manners on the world wide web,

One Mad Mama


Dear Mother Nature:

Enough with the friggin’ rain already. Please!

Thank you and hallelujah.

Wet In West Virginia


Dear Julie,

It is time to put the Easter decorations away. Easter has come and gone.

Get busy, girl!




Dear Marketing People,

My time is just as valuable as yours. For that reason, I am not interested in trading text links. Nor, am I interested in helping you “get the word out” without some sort of compensation. SO. Do us both a favor and write your own blog post!


From Inmates To Playdates


Dear Dooney & Bourke,

This evening, McDaddy and I went to the mall because we celebrated our 13th anniversary and McDaddy was treating me to a new purse. I just knew I would find and fall in love with something from your summer line. What I discovered was that your summer line was b-o-r-i-n-g. Who is designing all that floral crap?  I left disappointed because I did not find one single, solitary purse that I could bond with.

I don’t think that has happened before.


Missin’ the bright grafica prints.

Pouty and Purseless,

Princess Julie


If you were writing a letter to a crazy person today, what would it say?

You Capture – Pretty

This week’s You Capture challenge is pretty. This will be a fun one.

It was a pretty [hot] day for celebrating field day. (And I have a pretty little sunburn to show for it!) The kids had a lot of fun, especially doing the limbo. 

It was pretty scary to watch my boy play pitcher during his last baseball game. I was praying the whole time that he wouldn’t take a ball to the face.

And speaking of pretty… look how pretty these bright colors are. In preparation for CARS 2 coming out on June 24th, Alex lined McQueen (five of them, in fact!) and his posse up for a reunion.

 And I couldn’t pass this one up, because the blooms and colors are so pretty, especially in pink!

And if you’ve spent more than a minute around here, you know what’s coming next….

The beautiful, classy, sexy Saturn Sky.

Ain’t she pretty?

Yes, I think so too!

Sorry. I just had to do it.

Now, head over to I Should Be Folding Laundry for all manner of pretty.

American Idol – Finale Thoughts

Folks, sadly, it is that time again. The time when all of my favorite television shows finish up for the season. That makes me so sad because the summer line-up, with the exception of Big Brother is so l-a-m-e, the thought of it makes me want to poke my eyeballs out. I’m hoping something comes along to peak my interest, but I’m not holding my breath. And speaking of finishing up, can you believe Oprah hung up her talk-show hat today? I’m not one to go and get all giddy over Oprah being gone, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I must admit that I did get all teary eyed watching her two-day farewell show. And I loved Usher’s version of O’ Happy Day. I thought it was very fitting for the occasion.

I am live blogging my thoughts on Idol, but really what I want to do is hear that Scotty has won this thing.


I do believe this is the first appearance for Judas Priest on Idol. This should be interesting. Have you ever seen more leather and spikes in one place?

Me neither.

Crazy James is all smiles. I thought he’d be singing with Steven Tyler, but that shows you what I know. It isn’t really my kind of music, but James is eating it up.


Oh my sweet mercy, Randy is wearing a bow tie WITH BLING. Are you kidding me? I just love Randy! He is my home-dawg.

Oh shoot! Jacob Lusk and Kirk Franklin. Who is YOUR daddy? I love Kirk Franklin and the two of them are tearing this song up. Very nice. Oh shoot, Gladys Knight is there, too. American Idol pulled out some big guns tonight.


Oh Casey James, you talented little thing you. I hope your career takes off! Is that a heavy David Cook on the floor? Um, Jack Black, maybe?


OH SNAP! TLC is on Idol. It don’t get much better than that. (I realize you grammar freaks are poking your eyeballs out. Sometimes, I get all carried away and type the way I talk. Please know that I know better. I just can’t bring myself to be all proper, all the time.) Oh please sing, “Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls.” Will they do the big rap in Waterfalls? Man, I sure hope this is available on iTunes. I WILL BE GETTIN’ AT IT.

And now, Tim McGraw? This is the best night of Idol, ever!


Scotty and Tim are rockin’ it out. They sound awesome together.


Yikes, Jennifer Lopez is about to shake something loose. Dang. She is WORKING. IT. This number just reminds me how opposite Jennifer and Marc are. You have most beautiful woman in the world, Jennifer Lopez and then, you have Marc, who is cute enough I guess, but he ain’t a Tim McGraw. Oh well. Just a thought.


Ah, there’s sweet Stefano. I don’t care what y’all say, I still love him.

And Scotty is tearing it up, STILL. Can’t we just go ahead and announce the winner, please?


Holy Cow. Scotty and Lauren chose a favorite teacher to honor and they just received keys to a Ford Focus. AND, Scotty and Lauren were just told that they get to pick ANY new Ford vehicle? Wow. I love the Ford Edge, but I know McDaddy would say that is crazy talk. He wouldn’t think of anything else besides a new Mustang.


Sheesh. Lady Gag Gag again. Tonight’s performance marks the fourth time this week I’ve seen her performing on television. The thing is, she’s not a bad singer. She’s an even better piano player. I just can’t get past all the freakiness and the costumes and the make-up. I. just. don’t. get. it. Just be yourself and do away with all of that garbage.

[Stepping off of my soapbox]


Can I just say that Carrie Underwood is rockin’ those white shorts. Her legs are super sexy and tan.


And of course, Lauren sounds awesome with her.


Oh shucks. I thought The Edge was Kris Allen.

Come on, Ryan. Get on with it, already.

Well alrighty then. Steven Tyler is on doing his thang on the piano. The Dawg shoulda’ joined him on the guitar.


FINALLY. The moment we’ve all been waiting for!!!

[CHANTING] Scotty. Scotty. Scotty. Scotty. Scotty.

And the winner is…..



Season 10 is in the books.

See ya next time!

American Idol – Final Two

I am flying high after an exciting evening at the baseball field. My sweet boy and his team scored nine runs in the sixth inning to tie the game, and then won in the seventh inning after holding the other team to three bats and three outs and then scoring! Oh, and did I mention that my sweet boy was on third base when the first runner came home?

If you live within a 712 mile radius of the ball field, you may have heard me. I was the one screaming like a crazy person. We made a quick celebratory trip to the Dairy Queen, then hurried home for quick showers and the finishing up of second-grade homework. Hurryupsummer, hurryupsummer.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough excitement, I had to make a difficult decision: Watch DWTS first? Or American Idol.

Since I live blog (or something like that) American Idol, I decided to watch it first.

So, off we go….

Oh look, Seacrest is in a bow-tie.

Round 1: Contestant’s Favorite Song of the Season

Scotty McCreery – “Gone” – In my humble opinion, the whole she-bang is Scotty’s to lose, so I feel like it would take something major going way wrong to knock him out of it. I’m anxious to see how this whole thing plays out. As always, Scotty delivered in a big way. I am so excited for him! Go Scotty, Go!

Lauren Alaina – “Flat On The Floor” – Is it just me, or does Lauren seem ticked off singing this song? She has her mad face on. Even so, she is singing her little heart out tonight and the crowd is rockin’.  She sounds good except for the few little crackles in her voice, which is unfortunate because hello? Biggest night of her life so far and man, that would sure suck to draw a crackly vocal chord. Hopefully, it will be no match for her adrenaline.

Round 2: Idol of Idol’s Choice

Scotty – “Check Yes Or No” – So George Strait picked a song for Scotty. What an honor that is. King George couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song because even McDaddy mentioned that Scotty sounds a lot like George.

Lauren – “Maybe It Was Memphis” – As much as I liked this song, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that Lauren reminds me of one of the little girls on Toddlers and Tiaras with that poofy dress on. Wow. Someone should tell the wardrobe people that they missed the mark. BIG. TIME.

Round 3: First Single Should They Win The Competition

Scotty – “I Love You This Big” – *Sigh* Scotty is such a wonderful performer. He is seasoned. And talented. And good.

AND, I hope he wins this thing.

Lauren – “Like My Mother Does” – This song sounds like it was written just for Lauren. And maybe it was. Did I miss that? It is the perfect song for her and I have no idea how she is singing those words without crying. Good for her. She did it BIG!

Oh look, it’s little David Archuletta. I miss him.

They both did a great job and I have no doubt they will both land big recording contracts, but tonight, GOES TO SCOTTY! 

What I Learned This Week

My day started out the same as any other. I got the boys up and took Stevie to school. When we returned home, I discovered that McDaddy forgot to take the trash to the road before leaving on his business trip this morning. I don’t necessarily mind taking the trash out, but McDaddy typically does it every week so I don’t normally even have to think about it. And it wouldn’t have been a big deal this morning, except for something McDaddy told me earlier in the week. He mentioned a foul smell coming from the downstairs fridge and asked if I could check it out. You know, because checking out foul odors falls under my job description. I went down to the fridge and immediately starting tossing out everything in there. There were two thawed turkeys in the fridge, along with a container of soup, that used to be in the freezer. I threw every last bit of it into the large trash can located just outside of that room, out in the garage. I didn’t think that McDaddy would want his garage smelling like foul odor thawed turkeys, so I decided I’d take that bag of trash up to the road, too. I’m not sure what made me think I could meneuver a 35-gallon bag, complete with two turkeys and a bowl of soup out of the trash can, but I tugged and pulled until I got it out of the can.  Once I wollered it out of the can, I discovered I couldn’t lift it, much less carry the mess up the driveway. Nor could I get the bag back into the trashcan.

I stood back, evaluated the big bag and the steep driveway and decided that if I tried to drag it, I would end up with a hole in the bag and trash all over the driveway. SO. I did what had to be done. [McDaddy, skip down to the next paragraph.] I grabbed an extra trashbag, placed it carefully in the back of the van and hoisted that bag of trash just enough to get it in the van. I drove it the few feet up the driveway and hoisted it out of the van, except that it got hung on the latch and ripped, and sent trash spilling out all over the road.

SO. The first thing I learned, is that McDaddy will be taking the trash out from NOW. ON.

And, as if that weren’t enough…

I was carrying 19 bags of groceries and such into the house while balancing two cookie cakes on my hand when the handle on one of the bags broke and the contents fell to the floor. Wouldn’t you know, that one bag  just so happened to have the laundry detergent in it.

SO. I also learned that if you think you should just make another trip instead of carrying 19 bags, you probably should.

AND. I also learned that laundry detergent on the garage floor will make it smell good.

Some other things I learned…

1. If you are looking for a neat, easy way to cut a birthday cake, use dental floss. (waxed and unscented works best). I was in awe and couldn’t believe that in 37 years of life, I had never seen that done before.

I say it all the time people, this blog is about so much more than just entertainment.

2. A child taking prednisone might have bright pink cheeks.

3. The Dollar Tree is now selling 3.5 ounce steaks.

Strange, but true.

4. While the 4mg Singulair tablet may seem small and unimportant, it makes a huge difference  – as evidenced by the hoarse cough Alex contracted after missing it for just two days.

5. When you casually mention to McDaddy that you purchased several clothing items in two different sizes on your latest shopping extravaganza because you were too lazy didn’t feel like trying the clothes on at the store, he will look at you like you have lost your mind.

6. Unless you are willing to go with it, you should not tell your five year old he can choose your toe-nail polish at the nail salon.

7. I am not a big fan of neon green toe-nail polish. Especially when it’s on my toes.

What did YOU learn this week?


You can read a crazy long detailed version of the rules here, or simply follow these easy steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog.

2. Within that post, please mention the What I Learned This Week carnival and link back to this post here at From Inmates To Playdates. If you don’t know how to link, please ask me.

3. Then link up with Mr. Linky down below.

4. Visit the other participants and see what they learned this week. Then leave a comment because comments are fun!

On That Day

Thirteen years ago, on May 23, 1998, at 4:00 PM, I stood at the back of a church waiting to make my way to the front of the church to meet the man that I would soon marry. It was hotter than allgetout thanks to a malfunctioning air conditioner, but I could barely think of anything besides becoming his wife.

Even at 24 years old, we were so young, with so much to learn.

Once at the altar, on that day, all I could think about was signing my new name, living in an almost new townhouse an hour away from our families, and of course, sweating like a crazy person.

[Note: I am the big white blog in the middle.]

It was hard for me to think, on that day, about this man being the [awesome] father of my unborn children or the military officer who would pack his bags and leave his family for six months to serve our great country.

In fact, those thoughts couldn’t have been further from my mind.

Nor did I think about the fact that one day we’d sit in an emergency room while our child had two stitches sewn into his head, where at least one of us would need to be, um, calm.

I bet you don’t have to guess which one of us was calm.

On that day, we took communion, and vowed, as a couple to love, honor and cherish eachother for the rest of our lives. I don’t remember saying anything about nagging, whining, or complaining, but bless McDaddy’s heart, he has sure heard more than his share of it. If he had it to do over, I’d bet he’d add a bit about cooking daily and not eating or drinking in the vehicles. And turning off lights, and not freaking out over mouse droppings and bugs. And not always having an ongoing things I’d like to have list. And, of course cooking daily.

And if I had it to do over, I would add a bit about back-rubs, thermostat temperature requirements, and not cooking daily. Still, I would do it over in a heartbeat. I fell hard and fast for this sweet man and I am blessed beyond measure today and everyday.

Today, he left the house at 4:00 AM so that he could be on a job site, 300 miles away at the start of the workday, and will not be back until very late this evening. I hate that his job requires so much travelling, but after thirteen years, I have come to accept it.

And, on this day, I consider myself the luckiest girl on the planet. Becoming McDaddy’s wife was one of the happiest days of my life and I can’t thank him enough for everything he does for me and our boys.

Happy Anniversary, McDaddy! I love you!!!!

Cry Baby

I am sitting on my big, blue, bloggy couch watching American Idol, excited to hear the news that Golden Boy Scotty McCreery will be singing for the title of American Idol. I am thrilled to have something so important to occupy my mind because today was Alex’s very last day of preschool and if I think about that too long I’ll end up feeling sorry for myself and doing the ugly cry.


To celebrate their new-found freedom and graduation from preschool, the class gathered at a local bounce house for one last hoo-rah. As I watched my boy interact with his friends, I shook my head in amazement at how he has matured this year. I’ve cried on and off throughout the day thinking about how fast my babies are growing up. I finally decided I was done crying and wouldn’t you know, American Idol showed Golden Boy Scotty on his hometown visit to Garner, North Carolina and when he and his mom started crying, I did too. We are a lot alike, Scotty’s mama and I. She’s proud of her boy, and I’m proud of mine. It’s funny how we mother’s, no matter how different, are so much alike in that we want the best for our children. We rejoice in their accomplishments and hurt when they are hurting.

So. All that to say, it’s been an emotional, tearful evening, so I’ll do my best to get through this without crying.


Dear Alex,


 It was just days ago (or so it seems) that we were dropping you off for your very first day or preschool.

I cried on that day, just as I did, today.

That little boy was hard to reason with and the two of us butted heads often.

While getting ready for school each day, you made it your goal to match your socks to your shirt, and then we’d go a couple of rounds about which shoes you would wear. We had nonstop conversations about shoes and you still don’t understand why you I won’t allow you to wear Crocs when there is snow on the ground or snow boots when it’s 75 degrees outside. 

You enjoyed every minute of preschool and rarely went to school without a Sonic stuffed animal, a CARS car, Hearts, Puddles, or Phooey. Your favorite job at preschool was line-leader, and your least favorite job was door-holder because it meant you had to hold the door until the last person was out the door. I will cherish the memories of our breakfast talks before school and walking hand-in-hand with you from the van to the school door.

You have grown in more ways than one and I enjoyed looking at your “Look How I’ve Grown” book. Seeing how much you have learned and changed since last fall overwhelms me. I have cried on and off all day, and when you saw me wiping tears, you lovingly said, “Don’t worry mom, I will still cuddle and kiss you.”

I’m sorry that I’m such a cry baby.

You are so excited about Kindergarten and can’t wait to go to “big school”. I hate to break the news to you sweet boy, but you will have to wait a couple of months before starting. When the time comes though, YOU WILL BE READY.

I am proud of you and so happy to be your mama.

Happy Graduation, sweet boy!

I love you,