Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Welcome to 2017

2017 has been off to a rough start in our house, truthfully. I have been sick more often than not since before Thanksgiving. Stomach bugs, the flu, head colds-- I've had it all. This year, my immune system appears to be attracting rather than repelling germs.

It's hard to do much of anything 'extra' when you feel sick, isn't it? Hence the lack of recent blog posts. Even the most mundane chores feel exhausting when you're sick-- laundry becomes more daunting, cooking more boring, and cleaning nearly unfathomable.

But enough about that. It's the beginning of a new year, and for me, that usually means setting a few goals for the year ahead.

I hope to find homes for new essays in a couple of new publications, maybe new magazines or websites I haven't submitted to before. I also want to find another niche area to write about. I'm thinking education and learning disabilities would be a good fit, considering that's my license area and another one of my passions.

In 2016, I started tutoring students with disabilities again, and I hope to continue in 2017. It has been fantastic to work with students again and feel like I'm making a positive difference in someone's life, even in a small way.

On a personal level, well, I'm not sure what my goals are... Several times over the years, I've vowed to have "more fun" in the year ahead, which might sound ridiculous (one may argue that "planning for fun" defeats the point), but I think it's a good goal to have. Life can be hard and sad, and making time to have fun helps us enjoy our time here a little more. So that's that-- I guess I'll make FUN my personal goal again this year. Why not?

How about you? Do you make resolutions or focus on goals this time of year? I'd love to hear what your plans are for the year ahead.

Happy New Year!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Daughter's Blankie

Dear Frantic Mama friends,

My latest publication is about...well, it's about a lot of things: motherhood, babies, nostalgia, guilt, treasures. And Pavlov's dog [kind of].

You can read it over at Mamalode. I would love it if you did. I would love it even more if you then shared with me what treasures you are hanging onto from your own or your child's babyhood.

Hint: This little lady might take center stage in the essay.

One of my sweethearts.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama 

Find me on Facebook!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Amazon Prime Photos has all new features! Plus an opportunity to win a $500 gift card provided by Amazon.com

Anyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with taking, sharing, saving, and printing photos, so I'm excited to share with you that Amazon has launched an all-new Prime Photos experience. 

Amazon + Photos = Awesomeness (right?)

Prime members can now share their benefit of unlimited photo storage with up to five family members or friends at no additional cost. Sweet!

The best part is that Prime Photos is FREE for Prime members and makes it easy for family members to safely store and share all their favorite photos.

Additional new features include: Image Search, People view, and Places view. And Prime members can now order photo prints, cards, photo books, and calendars directly from their Prime Photos account. I am so excited to try out the Family Vault and Family Sharing because my family lives all over the country. I LOVE seeing my sister's kids in the photos she shares with me.

The free unlimited photo storage for Prime members is also pretty awesome-- I hate it when I end up with 1,000 photos on my phone and then it won't let me take any more pictures! It always happens at the worst time, too (basketball game, anyone?).

Prime Photos is available to use on computers, iOS and Android phones, and tablets. You can download the Prime Photos app using this link: www.tinyurl.com/PrimePhotos. 

This little video shows Prime Photos in action all across the country:

Now you can enter a giveaway for an opportunity to win a $500 gift card provided by Amazon.com. I hope one of my readers wins!!! Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

I'd love to hear if you try out Prime Photos and if you think it's a great as I do.

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway! All opinions are my own.
Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide :: 2016

Winter is upon us here in Minnesota, which means the holidays are fast approaching. Today I'm sharing five fun, easy gifts that you can find online or at a nearby store for your friends and loved ones.

1. Chatbooks Photo Books

One product I'm obsessed with is Chatbooks. If you are an Instagram fan, this is for you. They compile all of your Instagram photos into adorable little books. They are basically photo books for people who don't have time to make photo books. They do it FOR YOU.

This is an example from the Chatbooks site. 

2. National Geographic Kids Books

It's no secret my kids love animals. So do I. That's why we all love National Geographic Kids books.
Below, you'll see my son and daughter poring over the "Weird But True" book, full of fascinating, random facts about the world [example: "toenail clippings from 100,000 people are stashed in basement freezers at Harvard." What?!]. Their beginning reader books are favorites at our house too. (Available on Amazon).

3. Old Camp Whiskey

I'm a country fan, and Florida Georgia Line is one of my ultimate favorite bands. The best news? They recently developed their very own whiskey, Old Camp. With undercurrents of pecan and peach, it's GOOD right on the rocks. Makes a great gift for...anyone (over 21 of course!).

Image from Old Camp.

4. Sephora Gift Sets 

I luuuuurve Sephora. It's actually a little dangerous for me to spend too much time on their website or in their store. Sometimes, however, you just can't stop me. 
During the holiday season, Sephora has an entire section online devoted to Gifts Under $25, which is a nice price point when shopping for friends, sisters, moms, and any other girly-types you know.

This little "Smashbox Try It" kit is a great example of some of their current gift sets ($22, Sephora).

5. Cookies [of course!]

Last but certainly not least, if you find yourself on a super tight budget this season (we've all been there!), homemade cookies (or, hey, even semi-homemade) always hit the right note, I think, for friends, teachers, neighbors, relatives, mail carriers, school bus drivers, and more.

I made these cute packages for family and teachers last year.
I loved them and I hope the recipients did too!

That's all I've got for now. How about you? What are some of your favorite things to gift? 

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Monday, November 28, 2016

The 5 Stages of Being Sick (When You're a Mom)

No one enjoys getting sick, but when you're a mother, illness is one of the worst things that can happen. Seriously. Life is already busy, challenging, and exhausting, and being sick adds cruel and unusual punishment to the mix. 

When moms get sick, we are forced to experience the following five stages:

1.  Denial: Denial occurs as soon as you begin to feel the slightest itch in your throat or rumble in your belly. You engage in duplicitous self-talk such as “It's just in my head. There's no way I'm sick again." You go on with your daily routine, ignoring the scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and swirling, twirling stomach pain. You have no choice in the matter. Perhaps if I ignore it, it will just go away? you wonder hopefully. It's a strategy that's never worked before-- on anything-- but maybe it will work this time.

Isn't coffee considered a Super Food these days anyway?

2.  Anger: As the illness begins to take a firm hold on your immune system, phrases such as, “No F-ing WAY!” and “I can't afford to be sick!” are hollered from the rooftops. There's a lot of slamming doors and cursing under your breath. “Who is going to take care of me? Who?!” becomes familiar to anyone who will listen. There's no patience to be spared. No one is safe, not even your spouse. Especially not your spouse.

3.  Bargaining: You begin to repeat solemn promises and devout prayers in your head; we'll call it Internal Bargaining. Promises such as “I will never order a venti mocha Frappucino ever again if I can just get over this stomach bug!” and “Please Lord, let me wake up feeling better, and I'll take the kids to any park they want. We'll explore all the parks in the city-- every single one!” You will probably also resort to more begging, er, External Bargaining, than usual, as in, “If you stop fighting with your brother for 10 minutes, you can have the entire bag of Skittles,” and “I swear when I'm feeling better I'll play hide-and-seek with you all day. Anything you want! Just let me lie down for 5 minutes.” And the sad thing is that you really believe it too.

I try REALLY HARD not to feel guilty about extra screen time.

4. Depression: There's no joy in life, no happiness to be found. When your mom advises you over the phone-- from 300 miles away-- to “get some rest,” you simply whimper at the impossibility of it. Crueler words have never been spoken, you think, staring longingly at the couch where your 3 year old is busy eating Goldfish in her pajamas and your 5 year old is busy hitting her with a sword/pillow.

5. Acceptance: The final stage. A sad, lonely place, best faced by drinking extra coffee and encouraging your children to indulge in extra electronic time. The recommended limit of two hours of screen time per day now feels laughable. We reach that limit by breakfast, you think, shrugging your shoulders, blowing your nose, and handing over the iPad to your 4 year old. At this point in the struggle, you are advised to avoid looking in the mirror or checking Facebook; nothing good will come of it.

You see, few things are quite as hard as life for a mom when she is sick. How are we expected to take care of everyone else when we can't even function? Repeat after me: It's not fair! It's NOT FAIR!

This message brought to you by Julia herself, presently wallowing in Stage 2.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Consider giving this book to a mom friend this holiday season! I'm in it!
It's hilarious!
It's available on Amazon.