'Tis the Season

To be stressed out!

This time of year is always stressful. I don't care who you are. It's true. But these past few weeks have been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster.

I've talked about my Etsy shop before (Cuppa Stitches, in case you didn't know ;-) ). I was hoping for some sales in my shop this holiday season. I've come a long way since I first opened but I know that my shop is small potatoes compared to so many others out there. Etsy has forums for sellers and buyers. I keep reading about this so called "Christmas rush". No way my little shop will get hit with a rush, but a few sales would be nice.

At least that's what I thought.

The summer was a bit dry as far as sales, but things were starting to pick back up. And then Black Friday came, followed by Cyber Monday (Week? I really don't know what to think of or call these shopping days anymore!). I've lost track of how many bearded beanie hats I've made in the past two weeks. I know that number is in the double digits. If you want me to go in and count, it might send me into panic mode. I have more than one open order which has never happened since these past two weeks and I'm freaking out a bit. I'm right on track for making and shipping things out on time but knowing what I need to make and how many things is another story. If I don't make my list of what to make and by when, I start panicking, just like some do on that first drop of the roller coaster.

I ended last year with 7 total sales in my shop and as of yesterday, I hit the ever impressive 100. At least to me. I'm so proud of how far I've come and all I've done, but I can't celebrate until the last open order I have is complete. Or at least down to one.

A few other things have happened lately that have only added to that emotional roller coaster, but you'll have to wait until another day for me to share. I promise I'll share before week's end. I flew off the handle and only just calmed back down. If I bring those emotions back to the surface, I'll never get these orders done correctly.

Until next time...

Learn. Develop. Succeed! with Jump Start Sports Youth Programs

It's the end of August and summer is winding down! NOW is the time to get those kids registered for their favorite Fall sport!. Over the summer my son participated in the Jump Start Sports Deck hockey program. He loved it so much that we are signing him up to play again this Fall. Not only did he love it, but he learned so much. During practices he took what he learned and put those skills to the test. He has also used some of those skills when playing sports at home with his friends.

From Jump Start Sports:

Jump Start Sports provides children with a foundation for growth and nurture their love of sports.  Through sports we teach character and life skills that lead to happiness and success.

Our recreational based camps, leagues, and programs teach fundamentals and values to children of all ages. Our programs are fun and well organized.

You can read more about their awesome programs HERE!

Unique sports camps for children ages 4 – 12. Jump Start Sports Camps are fun-oriented and highly instructional for the novice while more advanced players will learn more advanced concepts and will be coached at their ability and level of understanding. The relaxed and nurturing atmosphere enables children to learn, grow, make friends, and have a meaningful summer experience. Sports offered include baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, volleyball and more! These sports vary by area. Learn. Develop. Succeed! 

Preschool Sports Programs

Children ages 3 – 6 have a blast learning the fundamentals of sports from trained staff coaches (NOT coached by parents of participants). Players are put on teams and play games so that the children learn teamwork, game concepts, and sportsmanship. The first half of the classes focus on skill development using terminology and fun drills designed to teach these concepts to such young children. Programs offered include Hummingbirds Soccer, T-Birds T-Ball, Rookie League Coach Pitch Baseball, Little Hoop Stars Basketball, Mini-Mites Flag Football, and Deck Hockey. These programs provide a special experience for the whole family while children gain an appreciation of sports, specific knowledge and skill, an appreciation of team, and a boost in confidence. 

Youth Sports Programs

Children of all experience and skill levels improve fundamentals and learn about new sports in these fun oriented programs led by trained staff coaches (NOT coached by parents of participants). Players meet one day a week and are taught skills and fundamentals they will need to succeed in more competitive programs. Then they practice what they have learned in games that teach game concepts, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Sports offered include Introductory Lacrosse, Flag Football, Fall Baseball, Hoop Stars Basketball, Deck Hockey, Beginner/Intermediate Tennis, and Introductory Volleyball.   

Pittsburgh Area Locations:
Ohio Township
Penn Hills

Find out more at www.jumpstartsports.com or email us at info@jumpstartsports.com 
Follow them on Twitter @JSSPittsburgh and Facebook - Jump Start Sports Pittsburgh

Jump Start Sports offers currently offers programs in PA, OH, MI and NC.

If you decide to sign your child(ren) up for one of their programs, let them know you heard about the program right here on my blog.

Until next time...

The Countdown is On!

Dear mom at the playground,

It was nice speaking to you while our sons were at practice. We haven't spoken since the end of last school year and I'm not sure I would consider us friends as we don't know much about one another, but adult conversations are always welcome. What wasn't nice was your judging of my emotions. You didn't have to say anything, and you didn't, but your look was enough.

You see, I've known for quite some time when the first day of school is. And I'm excited. Your judge-y look made it seem like I don't care about my kids. Just so you know, it's quite the opposite. I love spending summer break with my kids. We had so much fun going to parks and zoos. Playing a round of mini-golf at a newly opened center was fantastic and finding a new place for smoothies and coffee was the piece de resistance.

But it's time for a change.

As much as we all love sleeping in until the crack of noon, especially my almost-teenage daughter (wtf?!?), the morning routines of the school year need to make a return. Our fun, care-free schedule is getting a tad old. And the kids are really starting to miss some of their friends. Even though they would never admit it, I think my kids might also like school as well.

Oh, and I'd like to clean my house and have it stay clean for more than 15 minutes.

So mom at the playground, while you might be dreading that first day, I am counting down. Don't worry, I won't post any pictures of me celebrating on Facebook. Not only do I not like being in pictures, but no one needs to see my bed head and pajamas. Instead I'll enjoy another cup of coffee with my radio turned up because I won't have to worry about disturbing any one's slumber.

Until next time...

He Shoots, He Scores!

Well, maybe not, but he sure tried.

For the past two months, Mike has been playing hockey through Jump Start Sports. He had been nugging us to play a sport, but we missed soccer sign-ups and he has never really had an interest in baseball. When a paper for Jump Start Sports came home with him at the end of the school year, I knew we had to sign him up for dek hockey. He was so excited to not only play a sport, but to play hockey. After last season watching the Pittsburgh Penguins play, he has turned into my hockey buddy.

The purpose of this specific dek hockey program through Jump Start Sports is to teach kids the ins and outs of the game. Each session is one hour, once a week. The first half of each session was spent learning how to hold the stick, the difference between offense and defense, and various drills. Mike's favorite was the Triangle. Three kids stand in a triangle, with a fourth in the center. The child in the center needs to get the ball from one of the three others. If the child in the middle is successful, he switches places with the child he took the ball from.

At first I didn't think much of this drill other than the kids were learning how to pass the ball, but after watching the World Cup finals with Mike, I realized how valuable this drill is. Many times through the soccer game, Mike pointed out certain players that were standing in a triangle formation. Not only was he having fun learning hockey, but he was really learning stuff!

The second half of each session, the group of kids was split into two teams and they would play a game. Just sticking to the basics, they had offense, defense and a goalie.

I was very impressed that the kids stayed where they were supposed to on the dek and put into practice some of the techniques they had been learning. I believe this says a lot about the coaches. Mike's coaches were not only knowledgeable, but they were fun. They kept the kids on task and at times, they even joined in on the games.

After a few sessions, Mike started asking about joining a league. He would come home after each practice a sweaty, tired mess. I knew he loved participating in this program, but like most parents, I wasn't ready for that yet. The last thing we want to do is drop a bunch of money on a sport only for him to lose interest after one season. He may not, but we're not ready top take that chance. Through Jump Start Sports, not only can he learn and master the basic skills, but as parents, it's a an affordable way for us to gauge his true interest.

Jump Start Sports currently offers various sports programs and camps in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina and they are continuing to grow. If you have a child interested in trying out a sport and Jump Start Sports is in your area, I highly recommend checking them out.

Until next time...

Rallying the Ducks

We've been talking about it for quite some time, but our ducks just wouldn't stay in a row. Just like life, things happened, forcing us to rally those ducks and force them into place. Once the ducks were in place, we finally did it.


We absolutely LOVE our new house! Everything in the house has been renovated or replaced within the past two years but the house itself was built in 1935. I would love to try and find out if there's any interesting history behind the place.

Unfortunately we don't have a garage or driveway. It looks like it's now or never as far as me perfecting parallel parking. I know we won't complain about the lack of a driveway in the Winter when it's one less thing to shovel snow from, but there are so many more pros than cons to this house.

I have a kitchen I can move around in. 

A double sink. Go ahead... be jealous :-)

A place for a proper kitchen table. 


Everyone has their own rooms. Our basement is beyond huge. The husband has not one, but TWO workrooms. There's a place to store our seasonal and yard stuff. And there's a room that will eventually become a game room. Between both kids having their own rooms and the game room, it means that the living room is toy free.


It's quite liberating. At least for me.

I feel so grown up.

There's also an extra room next to our bedroom which is slowly becoming my office. Hopefully this is what I need to help my Cuppa Stitches Etsy shop go to the next level.

A huge perk to the house is it being on a dead end street with plenty of kids to play with. Everyone can ride bikes without having to worry about traffic, except for a neighbor here and there who is coming or going. We also have an insanely big back yard.

All the way up to the trees is ours!
There's also room to play on the side and front of the house. 

Our boy is quite excited about that. I love that both kids, but especially the boy, now have the room kids need to run around and properly play. The downfall to all of this room outside to play? The ridiculous amount of band-aids I'm realizing I will need for the summer.

In the past week alone, the boy has smacked his face off the porch railing, nearly breaking his nose, fallen off his bike and has gotten so many bumps and bruises on his legs I fear people will start to think we abuse him.

Awesome porch that almost broke my son's face.
I could sit out there for hours on end listening to the peace and quite.
Total opposite of where we used to live.

Every summer I say it will be a miracle if we don't need to go to the emergency room for stitches or a broken bone. The way things are going so far, it will definitely be a miracle if we make it through the summer alive. But finally being in a place where our kids can play outside more than inside is worth the risk.

I really have nowhere in this post to add this picture but I can't not share it. This little shelf sits in the hallway by the kids' rooms. It almost makes me want to get a landline, but the fountain works just as well.

Because this was a sudden and unexpected move, the entire process was so very stressful. Packing was a nightmare and quite frankly, after being here a month, there are still things we can't find! But now that we're all settled I think this house was fate or whatever you want to call it. Having more room and being in a neighborhood where kids can play is something I have wanted for years.

And we're finally on a street where the ice cream truck comes to. The kids are happy. Our wallets? Not so much. Again, it's worth it!

Until next time...

Being a Girl Doesn't Mean She Can't

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that stereotypes exist for a reason. There truly are some people who fit into certain categories. But that does not mean we need to categorize all the people. This is something we try to explain to our own kids.

If my daughter wants to grab some trucks and play in the mud, so be it. If my son wants to run around wearing nothing but pink, so be it.

Ok, that example of my son is a bad one because he is a boy through and through. But he would wear pink if he had it.

A few months ago, my daughter expressed to me that she wanted to play baseball. I admit, the first thing I asked was if she could. I knew younger baseball teams in our borough are co-ed, but I wasn't sure about her age group. She's 12. She said yes. I even asked on Facebook. We all know that the internet isn't always correct, but in this case, her answer was confirmed.

In January, her and I went up to our library to sign her up for a season of baseball. Having never played before, the husband and I were a bit nervous, but it's what she wanted to play and we want our kids involved in what interests them.

I walked over to one of the volunteers and said we were there for baseball sign ups. His response?

"Fast pitch or slow pitch?"

Um, neither. She wants to play baseball. With a bit of hesitation, he proceeded with signing her up. No where on the paperwork or their website did it say baseball is just for boys. Yes, I was annoyed.

Fast forward a few weeks and I get a phone call from the head of the league. He wanted clarification.

"Your daughter is signed up for baseball. I just want to make sure this is correct."

What I wanted to say was I am not a dumbass. I know how to read and yes, I did indeed sign her up for BASEBALL!! But I bit my tongue and politely responded that we signed her up correctly. He then went on to tell me that there was a girl who was really good and it's a shame they won't play together. This girl moved onto playing softball.

This was one of those moments where I wanted to reach through the phone and throat punch someone.

My DAUGHTER wants to play BASEBALL!!!!! Is it really that difficult to understand? If you allow it, why do I continue to be questioned about this? I understand she has never played this sport on an official team, but she knows what to do. Her skills might need a bit of refining, but she's quick to catch on.

My DAUGHTER is going to play BASEBALL. I'll be the crazy mother cheering in the stands secretly hoping she blows all those boys out of the water.

Don't ever tell a girl she can't do something just because she's a girl.

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Until next time...

Just Get Angry

I think I finally figured out how to get sales in my Etsy shop. I might have mentioned my shop a time or two here.

Or a lot.

Cuppa Stitches, in case you didn't know ;)

I've been on a bit of a dry spell as far as sales. Only a month, but it feels like much longer.

I reworked titles.


Tweaked descriptions.


Added more items.


Finally, I just got pissed off.

Then it happened. A middle of the night sale for one of these bad boy hats.

I guess you could say my hard worked paid off, but I really think getting pissed off helps. Driving factor? Perhaps.

The cha-ching notification on my phone woke me up. I was ready to jump out of bed, run downstairs and start packing up what was sold. But I contained myself. After all, it was 2 am. Parenting rule #1: Never do anything to risk waking a child.

After I read the notification, I think I was more excited about where this awesome hat is going than the sale itself.


It's going to Greece! I get giddy just thinking about something I made being on the other side of the world.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish putting this hat together so it can be shipped on it's merry way.

Hopefully the recipient is happier with the hat than my own child.

I have more than just hats for sale, but I'd be happy to make one for you, too!

Until next time...

What Happens When Electronics Collide

My son.
Isn't he cute?

Good thing he has his looks.

Every other Sunday, Paige and I have our Girl Scout meetings. The past few meeting nights as we're walking out the door, that boy up there hits me with, "Can you turn on the WiiU for me?" Now, he knows how to change the input on the tv and he knows how to turn the WiiU on. I reminded him that he knew what to do and he could play as I pulled the door closed behind us.

We get to my friend's house for our meeting, get the girls settled and started on their work and 20 minutes in, Peter Griffin starts singing "Bird is the Word". That's my husband's ringtone. He knows where I am and what I'm doing so I can only assume something bad has happened. So I answer.

"The tv is dead. He broke it."

Excuse me? What is dead and who did what?

Mike was playing a Zelda game we recently discovered and he apparently got a little too into pretending to be Link. Well, more like a lot too into it.

While he was swinging the Wii-mote around like a sword he got a tad too close to the tv. He usually wears the wrist strap, but since I wasn't there, I can't be sure. There's always the chance he swung his sword and that sword came flying out of his hand. Either way, the Wii-mote met the tv screen.

Needless to say I was fuming and had a hard time staying focused on Girl Scouts over the next 90 minutes. You might think that would be enough time for one to calm down and return home not as mad as when they first found out what happened.

You would be wrong.

I honestly expected to come home and see a Wii-mote sticking out of the tv screen. Or at the very least see a shattered screen. I saw neither when Paige and I walked in the door. Confused, I calmly walked upstairs to talk to Mike. I say calmly (or at least as calm as I could be) because the husband had already told him the yelling was done. It's never pretty when the husband really gets mad so I can only imagine how it went over when he discovered what happened. You can also congratulate me here for abiding to the no yelling. My temper? It's an ugly one, too.

I told Mike I understood it was an accident, and even though he owned up to what he did to both me and the husband, he was still in trouble. We discussed how long he's grounded for and what he needs to do around the house to pay us back for the damage he caused. I calmly walked back downstairs to find out just how bad the damage was. From what I was told, I didn't think the tv would even turn on.

Don't tell my son this, but it's really not as bad as I expected. For his safety, that's probably a good thing.

It looks like a bullet went through the bottom right corner of the screen. And those two shapes sticking up? They look like silhouettes of buildings with psychedelic rainbow stripes. Annoying, but still a bit neat. The black lines going across the bottom and up the right side I could do without, but the odd thing is, the longer I had the tv on last night, the better they got. Things at the top of the screen were no longer showing up at the bottom. Which is a really good thing since Conan O'Brian's head during his commercials was not only where it should be, but it was also showing up on his crotch.

In the meantime, we do have a back-up tv in case this one really does give out because of this incident (thank you, friend! You know who you are!), but I'm glad it wasn't as bad as I expected. And I'm still glad I wasn't home when it happened.

The lessons to take from this, for you and for me - always wear the wrist straps, stand far back from the tv, and maybe avoid sword fighting games.

I'm not the only parent this has happened to, right?

Until next time...


It's something we all want, but if we really look, it's something all of us already have.

I won't lie when I say I suck at New Year's resolutions. The proof? Our house is nowhere near as organized as I would like even though that has been my resolution for the past too many years to count. Approaching this past New's Years Eve, I noticed a few friends talking about a theme instead of a resolution. Maybe on some level it means the same thing, but I'm choosing to ignore that.

My theme for 2014 is success. Not that last year wasn't a success. In fact, that's far from the truth. We all succeeded at little things throughout the year but there some biggies that none us will forget any time soon.

The husband completed his first full marathon, which we also tied into a beach vacation for the family. It may have been in March and too chilly to fully enjoy the beach, but both a marathon and beach vacation were on our lists of things to do.

By the end of summer, we had two successful bike riders. Not only that, but both kids were able to get mountain bikes that they desperately wanted.

My big accomplishment last year was finally opening my Etsy shop, Cuppa Stitches. Learning to crochet a few years was one of the best things I ever learned to do. I love creating, but I also find it very relaxing. Once I opened my shop, I worked on it for months. I edited pictures, changed descriptions, added more inventory and did everything else I could think of. I was starting to give up hope. Then out of the blue a few weeks before Thanksgiving (almost 7 months after opening!) I got my first sale. To be perfectly honest, I would have been happy closing up shop after that one sale. It was proof that I set my mind to something and accomplished it. But to this day, my store is happily moving along.

Success in my shop for the coming year is just one piece of the pie. I want success to be a part of every aspect of my life and my family this coming year

For the rest of the year, I want to focus on little things in every aspect of my life. Whether it's teaching one of the kids something new, learning something new myself, organizing a room and keeping it organized, watching my husband accomplish something he sets his mind to. Everything.

January isn't even half way over and we've already experienced a bit of success. Dude recently had his Pinewood Derby race for Cub Scouts. He came in 3rd place and gets to move on to the next set of races.

GG learned a new skill a few night ago. She received a polymer clay kit for Christmas and she's already made a few animals and winged hearts that she wants to bake. If she sticks with it, maybe I'll give her her own little section of my shop.

Success doesn't just have to be monetary. Oh, believe you me, that is on our lists as well, but saving money is a resolution. It is a promise to yourself that focuses on one aspect of your life. Succeeding at what you put your mind to is much more. It applies to every aspect, not just one. Hopefully that mindset will lead to great things in this new year. Not only for me, but for my family. I hope it gives us the strength and motivation to continue down that path of success.

Do you have goals for the coming year? I'd love to hear them!

Until next time...