Saturday, May 29, 2010

Our Very Own Summer Reading Program

This weekend, Half Price Books is having their Memorial Day sale. Everything in the store is an additional 20% off. That's right, everything that is already half off, is now even cheaper! And as you know I Love Books. I, along with my husband John, son Zach & Daughter Erica have always loved to read. And recently my daughter Lexi came on board as well, you can read about her journey to reading here. My oldest son Kyle is another story. I don't know where I went wrong with that one! As with all my kids, I read to him constantly when he was little. Read about my struggles getting him to read here.

So yesterday, the first day of Summer break, John, Zach, the girls & I went to Half Price Books. We had so much fun! And this is what we came home with . . .

We all got books! 39 in all I think! All of which started at half price, some as low as $1.00 & $2.00, plus 20% off those prices! Cha Ching! I said we could start our own Summer Reading Program! All my kids have always joined those summer reading programs at our local library. As you can probably tell, all the Star Wars books belong to Zach, & the Mystery/Thriller pile belongs to John.

The question is always what to read first? Though I have my Book Club books to finish up before I can move on to my new ones. Some of these books I've been wanting to read for quite some time now. Here is my selection I got yesterday . . .

I can not tell you how excited this makes me! It's gonna be a fun summer! I've been really wanting to read Reading Lolita in Tehran, I found that there! Barefoot, Girls In Trucks, The Jane Austin Book Club & Julie And Julia as well. I've read Wicked, & wanted to pick up Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister by the same author, I got it there! I've also read all the Confessions Of A Shopaholic books, their fun, so I picked up Undomesticated Goddess, by that same author! I also picked up all four of the Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants books, I know my girls will be wanting to read those soon!

And who has read The Lovely Bones? How scary is it? My almost 13 year old daughter, Erica, REALLY wants to read it. It was so cheap, I got it too. I'll probably read it myself before I decide if it's appropriate for her. But I would love to hear the thoughts & opinions of other readers & other mothers. Thanks.

So, what will you be reading this summer?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Senior Year II - Senior Pictures

My Baby boy Graduates from High School today! How can that be?
I am so not old enough to have two kids in college!

Here is a sampling of some of his Senior pictures!
They are mostly unedited.

His Awesome Photographer, was none other than Me! :)

Where does the time go?
And more importantly, How can we get it back?

Congrats Zach!
We are so proud of you!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Glee, On Stage & In Real Life!

My Mothers Day gift this year was a ticket ("Tickets? I Love Tickets!" can you name what movie that line is from?) well, my ticket was to see Glee Live! Phoenix was their first stop of the tour & their first live show ever! And I was there! I went with three of my good friends, and we had a ball!
Just us Gleeks! (Glee Geeks!)
Left to Right: Dana, Christa, Nancy & me*.

All the actors were in character, it was like going to one of New Directions competitions. All the students were there, none of the adult actors. They sang a lot of their great music. . .

"Don't Stop Believing!"


"Somebody To Love"

Then my son Zach, who is a Senior in High School & is about to graduate. :( Had his last Choir concert of his High School career. He is in the top two choirs of one of the largest High Schools in the state of Arizona! (Don't mind me while I brag a little, he didn't get his musical talent from me!) When he told me he was asked to play a guitar solo in their rendition of Somebody To Love, I told him "You're the wheelchair boy from Glee!" :)

Here is a video from his concert. Zach is on the left side of the second row, then he comes forward to play his guitar. Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shade Friends & Family Event

Today & Tomorrow my store is having it's Friends & Family Event! And for me, that includes you! :) You can print this out & bring it into the store & receive 30% off your entire clothing purchase! And 20% off Swim wear! And for those of you reading this who are not in my area, or don't have a SHADE store near you, it is good online as well. Thanks for being a part of my Blog Family!

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Senior Year II - Prom Night

My oldest son Kyle graduated last year. But, his girlfriend of over 2 and a half years, Olivia, is a Senior this year. So he went to her Prom with her, they had a great time . . .

Olivia & Kyle



And Zach, who is a senior this year as well, wasn't sure he wanted to go to Prom, but finally decided to go, he asked Amanda, who (like Kyle) graduated last year, and ended up having an amazing time . . .

Amanda & Zach


Smart girl, wore converse with her gown!

Zach goofing off with his friend Ethan & their dates!

So cute!

Great memories to last a lifetime!

Friday, May 7, 2010

On Being a Mom: Bloggy Boot Camp III

Okay, this is my last post regarding Bloggy Boot Camp! (at least I think so anyway!) Now I can get back to Blogging about more important things, like myself & my kids! :) I wanted to let you know about our last night of Boot Camp & an awesome project we did together. We met at the Party Pool at Xona Resort in Scottsdale, to see each other & get to hang out one last time, to say goodbye.

Here I am that night with a couple of my new Bloggy Friends:
Amy of Dealusional, and Sara of Super Saving Sara

Our "fee" to get into the cocktail party was a pack of Diapers. And I have to tell you, going to buy diapers again after all these years was a strange sensation. My "babies" will be becoming teenagers this year! It's a good thing my husband knew what was going on before he read my tweet: "Star4Laughs is buying Diapers for the first time in many years!" Otherwise he may have fainted right then & there! :)

Why Diapers? I'm so glad you asked! I remember when I had my Twins, we were on staff at a great Church, and they threw us an all Church Baby Shower. They were so generous, in addition to all the wonderful gifts we received, we got diapers! So many in fact, that we did not have to buy a single diaper for my babies until they were about 5 1/2 months old! That's a lot of Diapers.

But other moms are not as blessed as I was. And did you know that you can not use food stamps towards diapers? Moms can receive help in providing formula and food for their little ones, but when it comes to diapers they are on their own. So, many are making the diapers they have last as long as possible by leaving them on their children longer. And if you've ever had a baby with a terrible diaper rash, you know just how miserable that can be for everyone. Not to mention unhealthy for the child. So, We collected Diapers for an organization called Help a Mother Out! Together we brought over 2000 diapers for a local Diaper bank here in the Phoenix area. Happy Mothers Day!

The Sits girls Delivering our Diapers!

And I wanted to introduce you to another Bloggy friend I met at Boot Camp. She & I didn't end up in any pictures together. :( Shes Amy from Mommy Mentor. She's a lot of fun & helps Moms get their babies to sleep through the night. Where was she when I had new born twins & could have used her?! :)

And in Honor of Mothers Day, I wanted to share some "Momisms," things I've actually heard come out of the mouth of my Mother! And things, that my kids may or may not have heard me say a time or two. (though I will never admit that!)

"Do as I say, not as I do!"
(Except, we all know that actions speak louder than words!)

"If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?"

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"
(something that has saved me a lot of grief in my lifetime,
words are something that once they are out there,
you can never take them back!)

"Always be yourself!"
(Thanks for the reminder, Mom!)

"If you sit on a table, you will be married twice."
(I don't get this one either,
I must have sat on a lot of tables in my day though,
because she said this to me a lot!
But, I still have only been married once,
and it's lasted 22 years & counting!)

I would love to hear some of the sayings you've heard from your mom over the years, or that you say to your kids? Come on, admit it. We all do it!

My Mom & Me! <3>

Happy Mothers Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bloggy Boot Camp II

Day 2 of Bloggy Boot Camp:
Connection & Comprehension
I arrived in the morning,
(I didn't realize this picture was being taken of me, can you tell?)
Standing in line, I look deep in thought, good thing I had on sunglasses! :)

Waiting to get in hear!
I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend,
to meet so many other Bloggers & great women!
And glean from their wisdom.

It's starting to fill up!
As always on my BlackBerry! Tweeting away. . .
It was so fun to read all the tweets from everyone in the room!
Trying hard not to lol at times!
Whispering to the person next to me in the middle of a session:
"I just Tweeted you!" or "Thanks for the Tweet!" haha

We were assigned different tables with each session,
so we could meet as many new friends as possible!
Exchanging Business cards with each other.
Finding each other on Twitter, Facebook & the Blogosphere!
What fun!

I can't begin to share with you everything that I learned,
but I will just try to highlight a few things & speakers. . .
Tiffany taught us how to build our Bloggy Tribe.
Commenting smartly, and really starting conversations.

Sugar (above) & Kadi (below)
Taught us how to Vlog. (Video Blogging)
Loved it, but think I need to be younger & thinner
to put myself on video that way! :)

Amy taught us about Branding ourselves!
And staying true to our "Brand"

Loralee (in Yellow)
Talked about finding your unique voice, and Blogging Authentically.
Julie (in Blue) is the one who took all these great photos
& shared them with all of us!
Thank you so much Julie. You Rock!

Hopefully you, who read my Blog, will soon start to reap some of the benefits
of the many things I learned while at Bloggy BootCamp. I truly love Blogging.
And just like I want to be the best Woman, Wife & Mom I can possibly be,
I want to be the best Blogger I can be as well. Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bloggy Boot Camp I

This past weekend I went to a seminar for Bloggers, called Bloggy Boot Camp! When I first started Blogging a couple of years ago, I joined a Blog Group called SITS (The Secret Is In The Sauce) It's a community of Bloggers that offer each other support, by commenting on each others Blogs. I've meet many great people, & became friends, that I got to know through reading their blogs & having them read mine & starting conversations. I love the community on the Blogogosphere!

(Tiffany & Heather, the original SITS girls)

SITS was started by two BFF's & neighbors, who Blog, & had this great idea of networking, & connecting Bloggers, Tiffany & Heather! Who now live in separate states form each other, but together, run this Blog Group that now numbers in the thousands!

(The Swag Bags! Yes I got goodies to boot!)

They started having Boot Camps around the country, to be able to give us Bloggers a chance to come together & meet face to face. And to give us the opportunity to hear other Bloggers teach & give tips on how to do what we do even better! I was so excited to go!

(Me, dishing it up with some other Bloggers at the opening night cocktail party & dinner!)

It was like Twitter come to life! It was so much fun. I met people who's blogs I read or have read, people I follow on Twitter, & who follow me. It was funny, some people you could pick out across the room, because they look just like their picture! Others you had to see their name before it dawned on you who they were & some after you saw their face & name still didn't come together in your mind who they were! I wonder which of those categories I fit in for all who met me for the first time. :) When I introduced my self to Tiffany, I said "Hi, I wanted to make sure I got the chance to meet you, my name is Star." And she said "Star! Laughing Through Parenting! The one with the famous Tattoo!" I had to laugh at that!

I'd love to introduce you to some of the Awesome Bloggers I met: (Above, Left to Right) Me, who you already know! ;) Sara from Saving For Someday, who is a woman with a great heart! Sugar from Sugar in the Raw, one of the funniest people you'll ever meet! Kadi from Digital Kadi, an Awesome woman who is doing some really neat things for women & girls! I love meeting other women who are so passionate about empowering our daughters! Ted who was representing Open Sky, an opportunity for Bloggers to earn money. Sara from Super Saving Sara, a really sweet, young woman who has a great head on her shoulders! And Nicole from My Real Review, who came all the way from Canada to be here! Some of these Blogs will let you in on some great deals & save you money! All these pictures were taken by Angry Julie Monday. Who was as sweet as can be, and not angry at all! (Talk about an Oxymoron!) Too many Bloggers, Too little time!

I'll introduce you to more Awesome women in some upcoming Blog posts as well, and share some of the great things I learned this weekend as well. The connecting made the whole weekend worth it! But the information I gained was priceless!