Family-Work-Life Balance

Hey, Moms! (And Dads!)

What is your favorite tip, trick or technique to balance all of what you've got going on in life?

In a future series of blog posts, I'll be exploring the good, the bad, and the insanity of what works best when you're parenting at the speed of life. Share your favorites - or your tips on what only looks good on paper but has zero practical application. I'll credit all ideas and link back to the site or post of your choice!

Share, share...And thanks!

Introducing...the Flashing Light

Good Tuesday morning to everyone, and welcome to Tuesday Travel Tips with Tiffany! To read previous editions, you can find them here.

The entrance to my neighborhood is guarded by a flashing red light.  Not stop signs; nope, those are too mundane.  Not a full traffic signal.  Too structured.  All four spokes of the intersection are governed by this flashing light.

And you would think people needed a PhD in Trafficology to figure out this modern-day Clash of the (Nissan) Titans!

Ok, people.  Let's break it down for you.

Basically...someone who wanted to make money off lightbulbs instead of sheet metal transformed the STOP SIGN into a FLASHING RED STOP LIGHT.

Beyond that, the principle is the same.  Exactly the same.  We take turns once we get to the intersection.  The first Eastbound/Westbound cars in the corresponding lanes go...and then the Northbound/Southbound cars go.

But most importantly, and why you people tick me off, is this point of driving etiquette:

If no one is currently at the intersection, and I get there before you do, I get to go through first.  Period.

Let's recap.

If my wheels have come to a stop and yours have not, I was there first.  And thus, I get to cross the intersection first.  Period.

Here's another scenario that gets my gall.

If you're the second car in line, you don't get to go through the intersection at the same time as the first car in line.

We take turns, Bozo.  My toddler is learning how to do that; why can't you?

I've heard the argument that some people might not realize that it's not an actual fully functional tri-color traffic light.  I'd be willing to accept that argument if it (a) didn't flash 24/7/365, (b) didn't blink on and off in 1 second intervals and (c) I lived near hamsters with less than 1 second attention spans instead of living, breathing, and supposedly attentive human beings.

I don't know about any of the rest of you purportedly sane drivers out there, but when I'm alone in my car (read: no kids), and someone goes through the blinking red light intersection out of turn, I actively try to hit them.

Calm down.  I'm not actually going to hit them.  But if they're trying to jump my turn, off goes my horn, out comes my middle phalanges, and I proceed to take my turn.  I definitely stop if they continue through the intersection; no numb-numb is worth wrecking my car (and in the area surrounding my neighborhood, they probably don't have insurance).  But I make 'em work for it.

But Tiffany, why don't you do the Christian thing and forgive?

Heck no.  This isn't a forgiveable offense, and they have no intention of atoning.  Forgetting your turn signal at an intersection is an oopsie.  Going out of turn is deliberate.  Failing to understand basic traffic signals is ignorance.  And ticking me off when I'm in my car is stupid.

How about you?  How do you deal with the Battle of the Stupids when it comes to flashing red lights?

Until next time,

Safe travels!

Famous Canadians

Too. Funny.  Apologies to my Canadian family and friends, but my husband shared this one with me, and it's too good not to pass along!

Get Fuzzy

Poopy Diaper or Free Ritas?

Bubba Boy just had such a violent diaper that the stitching to the stay-dry crystals busted open and came flooding out. For a second - ok, ten, until I could find the source - I thought he'd pooped ice crystals.

Free Ritas, anyone???

Diaper = FAIL!

You're Not That Important

Good Tuesday morning to everyone, and welcome to Tuesday Travel Tips with Tiffany! To read previous editions, you can find them here.

Hat tip to D for this timely tip:

"Put the cell phone down when boarding the plane! You can't put things in the overhead and hold a phone."

Sensible advice. Thanks, D!

Seriously, folks. You're. Not. That. Important.

When you were planning this particular trip, did you ask your secretary administrative assistant support staffer to schedule a meeting that would require you to be on the phone *just* as you were boarding?

I swear that people do this. You know. To make themselves look important to their fellow traveler. Mr. My Company Cannot Function Without Me. Ms. Corporate Ladder Climber Even While Midair.

And then there's Even Though I'm Gone I'm Still Your Mom.

"Jonathan. Jonathan. Put that down. What do you mean, how did I know you were holding it? I can hear your sister shrieking about it in the background. Plus, I'm your mother, aren't I?"

Yes, but I wish you weren't. Just for five minutes. If your kid's not on fire, put down the dang phone.

Here are the components for successfully loading an airplane:
  1. Get in line.
  2. Walk forward.
  3. Stow your luggage.
  4. Sit down.
The first, second and fourth steps were learned in preschool.  For those of you with stay-at-home-moms, maybe you didn't learn it until kindergarten.  Either way, let's be real - that was at least back in the Reagan administration.  You've surely repeated those motions enough times to master them by now, right?

So let's get back to that all important third step: stowing your luggage.

Ooooh.  Overhead bin.  In a Greyhound bus, it's just "the shelf above your seat."  Airlines spiffed it up.  Either way, you're likely going to need two arms to get the bag you snuck past the unsuspecting agent and loaded with 60 5-pound dumbbells up into this thing.  And no, it's not the stewardess's flight attendant's lady in the plane's (hat tip, George Carlin) problem to do this for you when you are too inconsiderate to put down your phone for 10 seconds.

I'll bet you're that same guy who won't shut down his phone when told so we can get this tin can with wings in the sky.

Seriously.  Have you considered Greyhound?

Until next time,

Safe travels!

Are We There Yet???

Funny comic over at Bizarro by Dan Piraro. (Hat tip to Funny Daddy for sharing!)

Unfortunately, they require you to buy the image just to display it on a website or blog.  They missed the memo that teaches about broader distribution and linking back to original sources and so forth.

I wonder how many people would actually pay a minimum of $125 for a 1-frame comic strip to display in 1 post on 1 blog.  Seriously?  I wouldn't.

And other than King Features Syndicate, most other comic distribution channels ENCOURAGE others to embed strips in their own sites, to BUILD exposure.  And let's be real here.  90% of what's reported by ANY source, including all of your major media sources, is a reference back to something put out by somebody else.  Without paying that somebody else.  But bringing them a bunch of exposure.

< / rant>. 

But, because it was a funny strip, I'll link to it and you can go laugh.  And after you get done checking out their licensing pricing, make sure to laugh at the comic as well!

"Are we there yet?"

Thursday Thirteen #23: Why PA is Cool

Join in the Thursday Thirteen fun here!

It's no secret that I have no intention of moving back to the area where I spent the first 21.5 years of my life: Scranton or Mountainhome, Pennsylvania. I'm perfectly happy here, where the west begins: Fort Worth, Texas. But I've got to give credit where credit is due and call out a few things that are just better there than here...or anywhere else, for that matter. Here we go...

13. Callie's Candy Kitchen, Mountainhome, PA
If you can better candy anywhere...well, you clearly haven't been to Callie's. I loved going here while growing up second to no other store. Between the yummiest chocolates (my mouth is watering this very moment thinking about their chocolate covered strawberries!) and the friendliest hospitality (no one can beat Mr. Callie himself!) this place is the A#1 best.

12. Yuengling Lager, Pottsville, PA
America's oldest brewery also produces America's best damn beer. Don't argue with me over this; I definitely know what I'm talking about. Only drawback: distribution basically limited to Eastern Seaboard states. Which Texas is not. *sob*

11. Delaware Water Gap, PA/NJ Border on I-80
Technically, Pennsylvania has to share this gem with New Jersey, but we'll claim the beauty for it, mkay?  A lot of people talk about visiting New England in the fall to revel in the beauty of the changing leaves.  Skip it!  Instead, simply make the drive across I-80 from PA to NJ through the 'Gap' and you'll see the prettiest view you could imagine.  Love it.  Lots.  I hate winter, not fond of fall, but I'll jump through blazing hoops to be there at season change!

10. Wings, NEPA
If you want wings, go to NEPA.  My own personal favorite is Kelly's, especially on "Wing Night," which occurs every Wednesday.  Pitcher of Yuengling, couple baskets of wings, and life is golden.  Yum!

9.  Pizza, Old Forge, PA
Some people like New York Pizza.  Others say Chicago is the way to go.  I saw pish tosh...go to Old Forge, PA.  Pick damn near to any of the pizzerias, and you'll find that your mouth is saying "New York what?" and "Chicago where?"

8.  Accents, Statewide
You can't really beat the plethora of accents found in the Keystone State.  Travel down to the Amish country and listen to the local dialects of the Plain people.  (Bring a German dictionary; it won't be the same, but it'll help!)  Then come back up to NEPA and attempt to answer the age old question of "hayna or no?"  Have no idea what the question queries?  May take a few more trips back east to learn.  Head west in PA and you can feel like you're in the Midwest without ever leaving the Northeast.

7.  St. Patrick's Day Parade, Scranton, PA
Parade Day is a bigger holiday in Scranton, PA than, well, any other.  But the trick to parade day isn't to find the best viewing location for the floats; it's to plot carefully where you'll start and end the day - and I'm talking bars here, folks.  Big deal stuff.  But ya have to be there to understand - so I highly encourage you to go!

6.  Italian Festival, Scranton, PA
Every Labor Day weekend, the Italians in 'The Valley' respond to the Irish day of drunken debauchery by staging a weekend long eating orgy featuring the best damn Italian food, drinks and desserts you can imagine.  Staged on Courthouse Square, it's an experience that can't be beat at a cost that will leave your tummy, kids and wallet feeling pleasantly pleased.

5.  The Pothole, Archbald, PA
Anywhere else in America, drivers complain to local Departments of Public Works or Departments of Transportation to fill in the annoying potholes that slow down cars and screw up alignments.  But in Archbald, PA, The Pothole is one that will never be filled (ok, that's most of 'em in PA) but will instead be visited both by bemused locals and curious visitors.  Basically just a deep hole in the ground, it's actually considered a park and, well, go see!

4.  Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Have you seen Rocky, or at least have you not lived under a rock at any point during the last 3 decades?  Then do I really need to say more.  Queue the music...and...STEPS!

3.  The Diner, Statewide
There are more diners in PA than residents.  Ok, that's not true, but if you want some truly yummy food anytime of day or night, head to a diner.  I grew up loving the Mountainhome Diner, Scotrun Diner, Glider Diner, and Chick's Diner.  What's your favorite?

2.  Barrett Friendly Library, Barrett Township, PA
This institution puts the friendly in reading.  Although no longer house in the most beautiful old stone building ever, this library should be duplicated all around the world, just to help people learn to love to read again.  I've been in many libraries in many places, folks.  Most remind me of an office building.  Or prison.  Not this one!  Feels like going home to a good book.  Oh, wait. You are.
(Full disclosure: I grew up going to this library, one of the librarians is the mom of my childhood best friend, and one of the others is a first cousin.  Just so ya know...)  

1.  Lewis' Supermarket, Mountainhome, PA
I spent a large part of my childhood and adolescence in this store, either hanging out in the back office, the break room, or  working at the front registers.  I've still never found another store laid out in as sensible a manner, with friendlier checkout clerks, more knowledgeable staff, and a size that says "we got what you need without needing to display 6 varieties of every item and causing you to spend longer grocery shopping than you sleep in a typical day."  If I could bottle this place and bring it to Texas, I would.  In a heartbeat!
(Full disclosure: my dad was a part owner of this store for more than 40 years, along with two of my uncles, and it is now owned by two of my cousins with two more cousins working in it.  Again, just so ya know...)

Happy Thursday Thirteen ya'll and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Recipe of the Day

This recipe is a tasty pie-in-the-face of "Mama said there'd be days like this" that will leave you asking "what next" while you pondering whipping it up for yourself next Groundhog's Day, or even on April Fool's.

(Editors Note: Folks, you can't make this stuff up.  This recipe really is how I lived my life between the evening of March 12th and the evening of March 13th.  Take caution when trying at home.)


Lower Crust
  • 1 Baby Bed Rail (preassembled)
  • 1 Mommy
  • 1 Daddy
  • 1 Good Arm
  • 1 Bad Arm
  • 1 Disposable Knee
  • 1 Cell Phone (disposable preferred; harder to trace)

  • 1 Scheming Toddler
  • 1/4 C Desitin
  • Several Elmo's (mixed variety)
  • 6 Gal Water
  • 1/2 C Baby Shampoo
  • 1 Washcloth
  • 1 Mommy
  • 1 Daddy
  • 1 Camera Phone (internet ready)
  • Facebook account

Upper Crust
  • 1 New DVD
  • 1 Old DVD Player
  • 1 Dish TV Remote
  • The Internet

  • 1 Scheming Toddler (can reuse from filling)
  • 1 Innocent Baby
  • 1/4 C Desitin (fresh; do not reuse from filling)
  • Toys (the more, the merrier)
  • Big Toy (needs a space large enough for 1 Innocent Baby to crawl through)
  • 1 Water Bottle with Pull Top (exercise variety)
  • 1 Tbsp Dawn
  • 2 C Water
  • 1/4 Roll Paper Towels
  • 1 Mommy
  • 1 Camera Phone (internet ready, can reuse from filling)
  • Facebook Account

Cherry On Top
  • 1 Loving Toddler (can reuse from filling if appropriate)
  • 1 Mommy
  • 1 Bad Arm

Dessert Drink
  • 1 Not-quite-potty-trained Toddler (can reuse from filling if appropriate)
  • 1 Used Diaper
  • No Warning
  • 1 Mommy
  • 3 Wipes
  • 1 New Diaper
  • 1 Mommy Blog


Lower Crust
  1. Send The Daddy to work.
  2. Have The Mommy struggle to set up the Baby Bed Rail with both the Good Arm and the Bad Arm for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Develop brilliant idea to have The Mommy lift the mattress with the Good Arm while pushing in the Baby Bed Rail with the Disposable Knee in order to shield the Bad Arm from further injury.
  4. Double over in pain as the Disposable Knee determines it was not meant to be a battering ram.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Send nastygram to The Daddy at work, complaining of sustaining another injury whilst setting up the Baby Bed Rail, using a Disposable Cell phone to avoid tracing if a loving rebuke is misinterpreted as a threat of imminent harm.
  7. Set aside The Mommy to cool.
  1. Have The Mommy begin prep work on future recipes while allowing ingredients such as The Scheming Toddler to age.
  2. Have The Scheming Toddler smear Desitin liberally on every exposed part of her body as well as on the red furry behinds of a variety of Elmo's.
  3. Have The Mommy glance up in utter shock when The Scheming Toddler announcings "Look at me, Mama".  Scream.  Use the camera phone to take a picture and send to the Facebook account.
  4. Set aside The Mommy to cool while counting to 10.
  5. Use The Mommy to herd The Scheming Toddler into the bathroom, allowing her vocal complaints to awaken The Daddy.
  6. Fill the bathtub with approximately 6 gallons of water, adjusting total volume as necessary.
  7. Alternate between The Mommy and The Daddy using the Washcloth to vigorously scrub The Scheming Toddler with Baby Shampoo.
  8. Rinse.
  9. Repeat.
  10. Dry and allow The Scheming Toddler to sit.
Upper Crust
  1. Begin weaving the upper crust by placing one new DVD in one old DVD player, ensuring that the remote control is removed beforehand.
  2. Look up the correct code on the Internet to enable the Dish TV Remote to connect with the old DVD player.
  3. Realize that when tools from different companies are used together, the controls may not be compatible.  Press every single button on the Dish TV Remote control in order to experiment with pushing play and weaving the upper crust.
  4. Note: it may take 11 or 12 restarts until the correct combination of buttons is determined.

  1. Allow 1 Scheming Toddler to sit with 1 Innocent Baby so their flavors can combine.
  2. Have the Scheming Toddler use Desitin to liberally baste herself and the Innocent Baby, ensuring nearly full coverage.
  3. Allow the Scheming Toddler to play with surrounding toys to ensure they are also covered with Desitin.
  4. Place Innocent Baby in the middle of a space in a large toy to ensure that he cannnot get away move until full coverage has been obtained.  Panicked screaming will help the process to move faster.
  5. Use the camera phone to take a picture and send to CPS Facebook account.
  6. Set aside Scheming Toddler to simmer.
  7. Combine 1 Tbsp Dawn and 2 C Water and mix well.  Wet a paper towel with solution and remove Desitin from Scheming Toddler and Innocent Baby at end of basting time.
Cherry on Top
  1. Mix 1 Loving Toddler and 1 Mommy vigorously.
  2. Use 1 Bad Arm to brace Mommy when Loving Toddler pushes her from the bed.
  3. Place Mommy in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.
Dessert Drink
  1. Fill not-quite-potty-trained Toddler to the brim with a variety of liquids over an 8-12 hour period.
  2. Soak Used Diaper thoroughly.
  3. Drizzle fresh liquid on Used Diaper, allowing overflow to coat floor.
  4. Allow 1 Mommy to slide sideways through coated floor.
  5. Remove coating with 3 Baby Wipes.
  6. Cover Toddler in New Diaper.
  7. Write about it in Mommy Blog!

    Why Charlie Sheen is Right

    I was re-watching my favorite Two and a Half Men episode last night and reflecting on how sad I was that I wouldn't get to see Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer ham it up on the set of the show any longer.

    Have you seen the show? I love it. Have seen every single episode, most many times.

    If you've seen the show, you've surely met the character of Charlie Harper. Drunk, insensitive womanizer who makes his living in show business.

    Read that last sentence again.

    I was describing Charlie Harper.

    But  let's think seriously about this, folks.

    Didn't Charlie Sheen have a reputation for being a wild guy long before this show debuted?


    And hasn't Charlie Sheen played the hell out of Charlie Harper these last half dozen seasons?

    Isn't he all the more believable, because, well, he was pretty well typecast?

    "Television's number 1 comedy" didn't get to that position by using a choir boy to play a bad boy.

    Hasn't Charlie Sheen had other issues, particular to his drinking, prior to this?

    Hasn't he shot off his mouth in the past?

    Even gotten in trouble with the law?

    All while on the show.

    And yes, it is Chuck Lorre's story lines that the show is dependent upon...

    But it's Charlie Sheen's character, Charlie Harper, that carries the show to the heights it has attained.

    Asking Charlie to separate from Charlie is pure hypocrisy.  And it makes me angry.

    Is it ok to be a drunk, insensitive womanizer?

    Apparently only when you're Charlie Harper, not Charlie Sheen.

    What say you?

    NASCAR Wrapup: 2011 Kobalt 400 (Vegas)

    I always get nervous heading into Las Vegas, folks.  Everyone knows it's Busch territory.  Kurt and Kyle know that track inside out and routinely do well there.

    And I can't stand 'em.

    But Carl got a little retribution from last week's unlovely tap by Kyle Busch and drove away with today's checkered flag.  Yahoo!

    And how about Jr. with a second top-ten?  Maybe the curse gets broken this year and my man gets the wins he's worked so hard to chase.

    And poor Kyle's car flamed out.  Literally.  Boohoo.

    Speaking of boohoo, today's "Man Up" award goes to Tony Stewart.  His post race whining was ugly, man.  Get it together!

    What did you think?

    Talking About Potty Training

    Some of my discussions with my kiddos are about the tough issues in life...biting, sharing, and, of course, potty training. Here's a recent exchange with Big Girl.

    Mom: Do you have to go potty, honey?

    Big Girl: Nope. I'm busy asking you to put Dora on the TV.

    Mom: Are you sure? You haven't gone in awhile.

    Big Girl: Mo-om! No. I want to watch Dora, please.

    Mom: Ok, well let me know when you're ready.

    Big Girl: Duh. Dora! Now!

    Five minutes later...

    Big Girl: [Grunt]

    Mom: Are you going potty?

    Big Girl: Nope! I'm underwater basket weaving. With Dora!

    Mom: Come on. Let's go potty.

    Big Girl: Uh, ok. But you're not going to like this.

    Mom: Like what? Hey, why is there a great big green cloud of noxiousness wafting from your backside?


    [end scene]

    Explaining the People Mover

    Good Tuesday morning to everyone, and welcome to Tuesday Travel Tips with Tiffany! To read previous editions, you can find them here.

    I just love easy ways to get from one place to another, quickly. I don’t have much patience for slowness of any sort. (I’m sure that’s a shocker!)

    So you know I love me some people movers at the airport.

    It seems, however, like some of my fellow travelers are not as bought into their use as I am. So let’s spend today’s Tuesday Travels post explaining the people mover.

    You are familiar, I assume, with the concept of the escalator?

    Nifty thing. Ensures that you don’t have to walk up and down stairs on your own. Also ensures that a snagged scarf can lead to your untimely demise, but that’s another story…


    A people mover is a horizontal escalator. Phineas and Ferb dismantled an escalator, smoothed out the bumps, and spent their day installing it in an airport.

    What a cool concept – instead of sprinting wildly from one gate to the next in order to just miss my flight, I can get on the people mover and have it aid in my efforts.

    But only if you, fellow traveler, cooperate.



    When on a people mover, similarly to an escalator, similarly to a highway, slow traffic should stay to the right and allow passing on the left.

    If you’re going to let the people mover do all of the work to move you from point A to point B, that’s cool. No problem. But some of us want to do double duty here and enjoy the forward motion of the people mover while still motorizing on our own.

    And when you, or your gigantinormous luggage, are standing still, you become like a speedbump to me. And since I’m not a big fan of the slalom, it would be much appreciated if everyone standing still could do so on the same side, so I can speed my way in a straight line rather than running hurdles.

    Mmmkay? Thanks!

    And until next time,

    Safe Travels!