House TalkN is a fun lookiloo at houses, houses, houses. It will answer pressing questions like, "When folks build a McMansion on a small lot, what are they compensating for?" or "Was the real estate agent drunk when they staged this house?" or "Why don't the Smiths' ever leave their drapes open when I am on a harmless walk-by?"

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Coordinate A Table Setting With An Event!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Name Is Kerry And I Have A Problem

I am competitive. I can turn anything into a race. 
With help from supportive friends, I now know that it isn't normal to challenge other mothers in the park to foot races...or, diaper changing contests.
The first step is recognizing the problem. For me, it took a comment accusation from a friend to start this process.
I'm telling all about it In The Powder Room today. I'll race you there. Oh, wait...
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

That's What She Said!

Today, I attempting to explain a project that I am working on. I am so excited about this, as you will see from my whackadoodle behavior in the vlog below. 
Bottom line: dream a little dream, ladies. Dream it, say it out loud, make it a reality. Find your tribe and make it happen.
We get one shot at this life, make it count. I'm sorry to go all sappy on you, but really! Really and truly, use your life, use your gifts, and be your own superhero. 
"Leap and the net will appear." 
I took a big leap last year and quit my teaching gig. Since then, I have been in the best selling book I Just Want To Pee Alone, took to the stage in The Listen To Your Mother Show, went on a mission trip to Haiti, and became a weekly contributor for In The Powder Room. 
Each of those adventures had one thing in common: an awesome tribe. When I was scared out of my mind, I always had people to say, "Keep going. You've got this." Find those people. 
Photo by Jen Cochrane

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Saying Goodbye To Her First Home...Meet Angela Amman

One of the greatest perks of blogging has been meeting other bloggers. I had the pleasure of meeting Angela Amman at The Listen To Your Mother Show. She is as awesome in person as she seems on her blog. Meet Angela Amman...
Backstage with Ninja Mom, Angela Amman and HouseTalkN
Whispers spread through preschool pick-up times and conversations shifted towards the housing market while our kids chased each other around the playground. We craned our necks around clusters of pine trees and lamented the lack of swings at the small park we walk to after school, wondering about how to really determine school rankings and how to find the right neighborhood for each of our families’ needs.

that staircase had me at hello 
*That staircase had me at "hello." 
In a town of bungalows and bars, the languishing housing market of the last few years meant families — our family, our friends — found ourselves biding time in starter homes and watching interest rates and purchase prices. We gathered in parks because yard space was at a premium and visited elementary schools, something few of us considered when we moved into our little city years before. Demand began to creep upward, slowly of course, stories of neighbors selling within the month instead of watching seasons change around “For Sale” signs. Winter shifted into spring and the whispers grew louder. With toys multiplying daily in our outgrown house, I couldn’t stop my fingers from dialing the number to a recommended realtor — one I was assured would be brutally honest.
bright, colorful, and sweet
bright, colorful, and sweet... thirty minutes after bedtime
       *Bright, colorful, and sweet... thirty minutes after bedtime!
The seed of curiosity sprang into life more quickly than I had expected, predicted sale numbers that indicated we might be able to sell without trading in either one of our children at closing. The brutal honesty partly manifested in an action items list that didn’t sound too terrible until I grabbed a new notebook and began recording suggestions in ink. We forged on, pointedly ignoring the fact that we had started dozens of projects since the kids had been born — without truly finishing any of them.
Wallpaper that should have been removed sometime during the twentieth century finally came down, courtesy of a borrowed steamer, though much of the top layer of the plaster walls surrounding my tiny kitchen tumbled to the ground as well. Undeterred, with visions of a successful sale coaxing me forward, I dropped my daughter off at school and pulled into the home improvement store with my three-year old helper. Armed with internet how-to videos about skim coating — a term I hadn’t heard until the previous evening — I strode confidently to the completely wrong aisle and ended up calling my dad for advice until someone took pity on me and helped me figure out the product I needed and helped me guide the heavy tub of goop into the cart. 
in a world where we only eat at the table
                              *In a world where we only eat at the table!
the dining room-office-toy box center
                      *The dining room-office-toy box center.
Looking at the time, I decided not to try to skim coat the walls before preschool pickup, though I practiced saying the words until I convinced myself I could smooth out the uneven surface of the battered walls on my own. Lunch kept the kids occupied until I picked up the phone to call my dad — again — needing a little reassurance about the project I was determined to undertake. Either the hesitation in my voice or the chaos that escalated at the sound of a phone conversation convinced my dad to offer a little wall-patching assistance. He arrived with at least forty-eight tools and gadgets more than the bucket of joint compound and simple spreader I’d expected to use. It turns out applying a skim coat isn’t quite as easy as writing it down on a list and buying some supplies. Days passed, and the crossing-off of our tasks tiptoed along, throwing our entire routine into upheaval.
The kids watched, fascinated, as the walls were transformed from the innocuous, dated wallpaper that they’d always known. They watched, confused, as their toys were shuffled into different locations, different piles, bags to be donated, bins to be moved into storage. Surfaces normally covered with stacks of books were cleared and dusted, and I found myself chastising them for dragging fingers across dark wood that seemed to gather dust each time any of us breathed.
where the staged house thinks I write
                                 *Where the staged house thinks I write!
the serenity of a decluttered dresser
                      *The serenity of a de-cluttered dresser.
I poured extra coffee and stared at lists and held tight to the positive words of the realtor while trying to convince the kids that we’d be back to our routine soon. I smiled while talking with friends while mentally running through checklists and counting down the days until the house would be ready to show. I believed a friend who told me that once things were organized I’d be able to get my house ready to show with a forty-five minute checklist. My friend must not be the mother of tornadoes. Chimes announced an incoming call — a scheduled showing. I reached into my bag of mothering tricks, and with seconds quickly turning to minutes, I grabbed my most powerful tool. Thirty minutes of a favorite show should have given me time to rush through the aforementioned checklist, one that took me nearly that long to complete because of ridiculous items like “straighten Tupperware cupboard.”
I raced up the stairs in time with a theme song I find myself humming even when I’m alone in the car. Systematically I wiped surfaces and pulled a vacuum across the carpet, cleared errant ponytail holders and Thomas the Train underwear from the strange locations where preschoolers leave anything they shed. My checklist was specific, comprehensive, and dwindling, and I was blissfully unaware that my children were working on a checklist of their own. New red pillows brought a pop of color into our neutral living room, but they also seemed to be the perfect item for headstands off the couch and boats for sliding across the floor. The bin of LEGOs that was ignored for days suddenly needed to be emptied in search of a yellow flower piece. Water bottles carefully arranged near the door in order to be remembered in the event we were rushing — and I knew we’d be rushing — were hiding in couch cushions and tipped precariously close to leaking against the fireplace. 
when stuffed animals attack

                              *When stuffed animals attack!
when no one is using the cushions as gymnastics equipment
  *When no one is using the cushions as gymnastics equipment. 
Still, a well-designed list has the ability to slid even near-disasters into place, and I found myself ushering the kids out of the back door with time to spare. Of course, with kids, “time to spare” is relative; we ended up using our spare minutes to find Jessie the Puppy — a fluffy, stuffed, white toy nestled into a pink carrier — who wasn’t satisfied with her place in the bedroom closet and was spending the early afternoon resting on the swing in the backyard.
Before closing the door on the sanitized version of our life, my eyes swept each room. That short moment of silence allowed a bit of sadness to creep into the frantic energy that had driven us for the past month. Outgrown or not, this little house was still our first home, and there was something bittersweet about seeing it all dressed up to entice a new family into walking through its doors. I could only hope they dont’t care too much about organized Tupperware shelves.
Home exterior
 Now, hurry up! Go check out!
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is Your Underwear Drawer Sacred?

There is only one secure hiding place left in my house. My underwear drawer. 
I don't know if it is because the trauma of seeing my granny panties is too much or if my children just aren't tall enough to reach the forbidden drawer. Either way, my underwear drawer is my own privacy oasis. 
This is what I have come to. I am not too proud to snarf Reece Cups that have been taking refuge beneath my tightie whities. 
Last week, I realized that my underwear drawer had a story to tell. I'm telling that story today In The Powder Room and I want to know where you stand on the "underwear timeline" theory?
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Monday, June 17, 2013

A Garden Walk and Stalk

There are good friends and there are great friends. I have great friends. 
My pal, Karen, never gets a restraining order against me fails me.
There was that unfortunate house sitting incident.
There was that ninja night.
And, most recently, there was the hostess gift for her lovely garden party.
Despite the shenanigans, Karen keeps inviting me back. 
Join me for a walk and stalk of Karen's garden...

Maybe I should work on my own jungle of a garden instead of stalking Karen's garden?

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day Bragging Rights

Ok, ladies. Help a sister out. 
Father's Day is coming and that should be a day of celebrating the menfolk. It should not be a "make Kerry feel inferior" day. (It's all about me, right?)
I'm looking at you, Mrs. Overachiever. I love you hard but you can't be making me look bad, ok? If you widdled your fella a yacht from dryer lint, don't be showing it off on facebook. If you rebuilt a porsche from items found in your purse, keep it on the down low. Zip it. 
I'm sorry to be braggy, but I know what men really want for Father's Day. Tried and true. Same gift every year. That's right. 
If you are looking for the perfect gift for your fella, meet me In The Powder Room today. Unless you are my mother. In that case, please look away.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Garden Party...And Some Shenanigans

Remember my friend, neighbor and designer extraordinaire, Karen? Last weekend, she hosted a garden party to support of our local symphony orchestra.
I begged asked Karen if I could pop by beforehand to snap a few pictures of the party venue!

If you want to be the hostess with the mostest, offer lots of booze seating options. Karen's garden is the perfect venue for an outdoor party. There are nooks and crannies throughout her property for guests.

I couldn't help myself. Even though I had already snapped the venue photographs, I had to sneak back for a few drinks shots during the party. 

The atmosphere was lovely, the music was lovely, and the CU Symphony Orchestra folks were the loveliest of all!

There was so much loveliness that I felt like someone needed to balance out the night with some...well...shenanigans. An unnamed friend distracted the hostess while I left a special hostess gift upstairs.
I chuckled to myself as I went to sleep, imagining the hostess's bedtime surprise. 
I awoke to find a surprise of my own in the driveway.
Well played, my friend. Well played.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Is My Husband A Freak?

My husband does the grocery shopping. He does most of the cooking. He does not "babysit" our children- he parents them. He cuts his own food.
Does this make him a freak? 
I usually go along thinking, "Wow, I have a great partner."
Until...the comments.
"My husband doesn't know where the grocery is!"
"Your husband changes diapers??"
"I'm going on a trip and have spent the week freezing food and writing instructions."
These are the times that I am especially thankful for my freaky fella.
But, there is that voice in my head that wants to know why men get such praise for doing what most women do everyday. No one is saying, "aaah, look at that mom. It's so neat to see a mom take her child to the park."
Meet me In The Powder Room today and chime in. I'm talking parenting double standards. Bring it.

Two parents stroll through the streets with a baby. One parent gets a Nobel Peace Prize and one gets...well, nothing. 
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Link Party, A Vlog, And A Giveaway, OH MY!

Before we get started with June's Finding the Funny, I'm teaming up with a few of my co-hosts to bring you an awesome giveaway! Sara from Cormier Creative is a fabulous graphic designer and has helped countless women bring their blog (and brand) to the next level. She recently gave Anna at My Life and Kids a total brand makeover (see her magic here) and today, she's giving away a FREE Facebook cover design to one of you. Cormier Creative Giveaway Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. (And be sure to visit Sara at Cormier Creative!) Giveaway ends on Sunday, June 16 at midnight. a Rafflecopter giveaway

June Finding the Funny

Meet the Hosts Anna @ My Life and Kids Kelley @ Kelley's Break Room Robyn @ Hollow Tree Ventures Kerry @ HouseTalkN Julie @ I Like Beer and Babies Keesha @ Mom's New Stage Meredith @ The Mom of the Year Anna @ Random Handprints Ellen and Erin @ Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms Toulouse @ Toulouse and Tonic

The Rules

Link up an old or new funny post. Link up as many times as you want (we're serious.) The party is open until Friday at midnight. The earlier you link up, the more clicks you'll get. Click around and meet the other funny bloggers that are linking up. Follow the Finding the Funny Pinterest board. We'll all be pinning our favorites throughout the month. We don't ask you to link back to us or include a button on your blog, but we do ask you to send out a tweet or post about the party on your Facebook page. Be sure to use #findingthefunny.
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