Archives for June 2012

Celebrating Every Day

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Most people would probably look at how we celebrate traditionally major events and holidays and think that we are ruining them for our children. We try not to overdo it, preferring to keep things low-key and simple, without minimizing it.

Instead, we try to celebrate the every day, every day. We celebrate the fact that we are together. That we had a good week. That some one was complimented for good manners. Or that Randy returned from being on the road.

Some may say this waters things down and trivializes what’s important.

On quite the contrary. I believe that it is teaching our children to see the joy and beauty in every moment, and not just the things that we are told are worthy of celebration. Or to only celebrate on particular occasions or events.

It’s not about elevating the children’s sense of self-importance. It’s about gratitude and attitude. Christmas is not just one day, in December. We can celebrate Jesus’ birth in May or July, over several days. At the beach! A birthday is not something we celebrate only once a year – we are happy every day that our family members were born!

Along with that, we like to enjoy our food and be creative with it. We have become very particular about how and what we eat. But one thing we are determined to do is keep it fun, pleasurable and enjoyable. Each meal is a mini-celebration – something that should be colorful and tasty.

We take a lot of photos of our food creations, and one thing that is obvious as you look through them is that we love sprinkles and COOL WHIP Whipped Topping. (It’s perfect frozen or thawed!)

Duckie-shaped sprinkles on green beans.
Sprinkles and COOL WHIP topping a bowl of chocolate peanut butter steel-cut oatmeal.

Microwave Martini glass cake, with sprinkles and COOL WHIP.

Strawberries dipped in COOL WHIP and sprinkled with… well, SPRINKLES, next to a taco.

There is never a shortage of things to celebrate when you stop and think about it. You don’t have to look far. And nothing lights up a face like celebrating those moments that so many others might have missed or overlooked.

Celebrating is not reserved for special occasions. It’s part of our daily lives.

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Revisiting “Instagrate to WordPress”… again


I am so thankful for my iPhone and the ease with which I can stay in touch and take photos of so many moments that would otherwise fade into my foggy memory.

I use Instagram almost daily. I say ‘almost’ because there have been a half-dozen days or so, that I’ve missed since I posted my first photo on it October 16, 2010 (yes – I know the actual date) and the honest, non-exaggerating side of me wins out in this post.

Most of these photos tell great stories without a lot of words, and would make blogging easier if I could use them regularly. But I’ve had many complaints with the WordPress app. While they have made some good updates, I still find myself deciding to wait until I get home to post a photo and caption with it, only to not do it.

So I was thrilled when I found the “Instagrate to WordPress” plugin for WordPress, back in January. It takes your Instagram photos and creates posts from them, using the caption as the post title. The idea intrigued me, so I gave it a shot and was thrilled at first.

But I do take a lot of photos that I only share on Instagram, like when I post screen shots of what we are watching on Netflix. They really aren’t worthy of a post of their own, and might work better if I posted several in a post together.

Every single photo was getting posted to my blog as an individual blog post, and sometimes, what I wrote as my caption made for a real long and/or dumb blog title. I was having to edit my Instagram posts because of how I wanted them to post on my blog, which was a big ‘ol hassle… I became annoyed. So I deactivated it, and submitted a couple of requests/suggestions to the plugin author.

I’ve kept my eye on it, hoping that some of these changes would be implemented, allowing a bit more control of how things post (eg: the option to post several photos in a collage in a single post), and the number of accounts you can use on it (I really wanted to use it on Living the Life Fantastic and have both mine and Randy’s accounts linked to it). This past week I noticed that many changes have been made to it. I’m super excited to look into it more and see how they work. The drawback: many of the changes I want are in a premium version, selling for $35. Not sure if my laziness is work that or not :/

I’m curious if any of you have tried out the premium version, or if you have another way to easily make posts from your IG photos. Or feel free to tell me to just get over it.

My Big Fat Lip

For about a month now, I have watched a lump growing on my lower lip.

I’ve had many mouth ulcers in my life, and something about this did not strike me as an ulcer. I rubbed my tongue over it daily. Hoping it wasn’t anything bad. Praying it would be gone in the morning.

It didn’t go away; in fact, it grew. Uglier and bigger, seemingly daily. It was not inside my lip, but on the upper edge where it was visible all the time. I took photos, but I won’t ever show them. I’ve posted photos of some embarrassing and awful things. But some things are just… eww… And this was one of those things.

It didn’t hurt. At least not until it got large enough to rub across my teeth every time I swallowed or talked. Which is pretty much, you know, every second of the day. Then it became sore and raw.

When you Google “lump in mouth not going away”, most of the results are “cancer”. When you Google “lump in mouth that isn’t going away”, you learn about “mucocele“.

Obviously, I was hoping for the latter.

I have not had a dentist since moving to Alabama. Because I don’t have dental insurance, I like to pretend that my teeth are just fine on their own. (*side note: I will never understand why dental and orthodontic work is not covered under health insurance. As though your mouth really doesn’t affect or indicate your overall health. I also don’t have health insurance. But I digress…)

Last Friday, Randy called his dentist and asked if they could fit me in. By 10AM, I was sitting in a chair, waiting to have the lump examined, and I was nervous. Nervous because the lump had gotten so large and had drastically changed appearance over the course of just a few days. Nervous because I didn’t know how much it was going to cost, or what it would entail to remove it.


He examined it, told me he was optimistic that it was benign, based on the appearance of the skin surrounding the lump, and scheduled me to see an oral surgeon to have it removed and biopsied. So, by 1:30PM I was sitting in another chair, only slightly less nervous.

The oral surgeon came in, examined it, and sat down to discuss it with me. Since it was right on the edge of the outer/inner part of my lip, it would be a lot more sensitive than if it were inside, and did I want to be under for the procedure?

Without thinking (hello – no dental insurance), I said yes. The cheese stick I had just eaten voided the possibility of doing it that day, so we chatted a bit more about how he believed it was only a mucocele, but that it didn’t present exactly as they normally do. Then I went up front to schedule and ask about the cost difference in local and ‘going under’.

Holy gas mask.

Once I confirmed that I was understanding her correctly, by asking the same 3 questions about 20 times each, I asked for local.

And can we do it now?

Less than 30 minutes later, this was the result:


(you can see pretty much what they did here and here. Be warned. Blech. My lump did not look exactly like these, but very similar.)

I texted Randy and sent him a photo of me (a different one from above; the one I sent was even worse, since my mouth was stuffed with gauze) so he could prepare the children. Because, WOW!

Declan (the 4yo) asked me all sorts of questions, told me my “owie looked like throw up” and went back to playing.

The pain was tolerable and the only real issue was that I could not fully close my mouth, so drinking was impossible, even with a straw. (Just try to drink through a straw without your mouth completely closed around it). I could get water in my mouth, but it just ran right out. This made me laugh, which hurt. So I sucked on ice cubes instead.

Amazingly, it was even fatter and more bruised by Sunday morning:


Lisa Rinna, paid a lot of money for lips like these.

Admittedly, after both doctors felt confident it was benign I didn’t think too much about the lab results. But when I listened to the voicemail the Doctor’s office left on Tuesday, my heart stopped. She sounded so serious when she said she needed to speak with me about the results… I got a little woozy.


My lips are at a point where the swelling is minimal and they actually look nice. I think I might miss this look.