Humorous thoughts on adulthood – thank goodness for chocolate, drinks, friends, and duck tape!

Holy Thanksgiving’s-Next-Week, Batman, and so is the Singaloo!

Christmas Singaloo – check out the flyer!

Are you wondering how in the world Thanksgiving could possibly be next week?  Yeah, me, too!  And you know what else that means is next week?  The Christmas Singaloo in Oakland!  And, yes, I expect you to be there!

Of course, the “there” has changed.  Our new venue location is Main Street!  Yes, we switched it up from the park so we would have restroom facilities.  Kind of an important little detail! Especially if you have your flask with you! Lol.

But seriously, you need to be there!  Yes, it’s going to be cold.  It’s Iowa.  It’s November, and it’s night-time.  But that’s what you have winter clothes and blankets and thermoses for!

And it will be worth it!  Like I said before – grab your bag chair, your lawn chair, or your recliner for all I care and park it on Main Street.  You provide your chair.  We’ll provide the entertainment!

We’ve got Santa lined up with glow sticks and candy canes.  We’ve got pizza, fudge, cookies, and hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps you can buy.  And we’ve got great singers who fully intend on making your night a fun one!  And when I say I have singers, I have singers!  I have the Grist Mill singers coming.  I have Jackie Akers singing!  I have Isabelle Kudron and Adrienne Suglia!  I have Veva Larson!  And we have a few surprises up our sleeves, too!

Plus, by Saturday night, who isn’t sick of each other and needing a little entertainment?  You can always catch a Hallmark movie on Sunday instead! Lol.

Come have some fun!  Come support our town!  Come enjoy the sounds of the holidays!  Come – well, because I’m asking you to!

See you there!


No better time to be a Blessed Turkey! Take 6.

The Blessed Turkey Project

So you feel like everything in the news is depressing.

You feel like life is too busy and you are never home.

You believe in the good, but you’re tired of hearing about the bad.

You know you’re struggling on some front…or more.

If any, or all, of these sound like you, then there is no better time than now to dedicate yourself to The 6th Annual Blessed Turkey Project.  I know.  I get it.  You don’t need one more thing to do, especially in November when the holidays are approaching, but I’m going to tell you it will be worth it.

If any of those things are plaguing you, then you need to allow yourself the pleasantry, the optimism, and the gratitude that comes with being a Blessed Turkey.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my terminology, I define a Blessed Turkey as someone who is at least meeting all their basic needs with a place to live, a job or school, a family or friends or both, and enough food to eat, and although they know they should be grateful for all they have, they sometimes, get too caught up in the daily grind to appreciate it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they have it all together or that they have it easy, it just means they haven’t got it all wrong either!  And they know enough to know they have it better than some.  I am sooo a blessed turkey.

We tend to compare ourselves.  We seem to always be wanting more.  We think about everything around us and we get overwhelmed.  It’s easy to do.  But there’s no greater time than now to simply vocalize the gifts in our lives.  I firmly believe it makes us happier.  It makes us stronger.  It makes us better people.  It makes the world a better place.  It makes us look at things differently.  And most of all, it makes us part of something bigger.

This will not cost you any money (unless you decide to be a good Samaritan and buy a cup of Joe for someone or a can for the Food Pantry but that’s your decision, not mine).  This is not something you have to do every day (although you’ll feel better if you do).  This does not involve a committee, or funeral sandwiches, or you even leaving your house or your chair. Lol.  It is simply taking a minute to be thankful for something each day between November 1 and Thanksgiving.  Join here simply by clicking on the link!  It can be a post on Facebook saying what you’re grateful for.  It can be an Instagram pic of your favorite blessing.  It can be a tweet of I’m a #BlessedTurkey because…  All it is is a moment each day on some form of social media sharing your gratitude with others because, people, it spreads!

I’m not inviting you to the party because I want something from you.  I’m inviting you to the party to give you something:  I want to give you a little piece of happiness every day between now and Thanksgiving.  I want to do that for you because there are good people in this world doing good things and celebrating that makes us all happier…and better…and kinder…and loved.


If you have people that you want to give this same gift to, share this with them and let’s wear our Blessed Turkey crowns proudly!  All aboard the Blessed Turkey bus, head here:  The Blessed Turkey Project – Year Six.

Yes, there will be junk in their trunk – more like candy lol – Long Live Halloween!

We are less than a week out from Halloween!  My daughter has been practicing her trick-or-treat protocol.  All I can say is not to ask her for a trick.  It won’t be pretty. Lol.  But what I truly love is that Halloween is like a week-long process here.  She got to wear her costume to dance. She gets to wear it to daycare. She gets to wear it for the neighborhood trick-or-treat on Halloween, AND she gets to wear it for the Trunk-or-Treat.  How freaking awesome is that?  It’s like only $4 a wearing! 🙂

For those of you who are from out of town and have no idea what a trunk-or-treat is – well, businesses literally open up the backs of their vehicles and give out candy from them in a well-lit venue.  From what I saw last year, I was thoroughly impressed!  Some of them had games the kids could play to win their candy, or floating heads moving in the vehicle for the kids to see a show, or they dressed up themselves even.  Clearly these people put some time and effort into making a special day for all those kids.

Last year was the first time we experienced the trunk-or-treat.  Let me just say “how cool is that?”  I think it’s awesome that businesses and organizations show up to give out treats on a quiet afternoon.  Carson is having their Trunk-or-Treat Friday night and the Carson Methodist Church is having their soup supper in conjunction with it.  A no-make-supper night for mom! Gotta like that!  And Oakland is having theirs on Sunday afternoon and if you’re wanting to see the giraffe known as Carley, you’ll find her there. Plus, rumor has it that the Oakland Christian Church is doing a Pancake supper!  Woohoo!

We loved it last year.  Ellen got candy, and we got to socialize!  She was obsessed with Jo and Dick Cates who were dressed up, sitting in rocking chairs, and had a taxidermied jack rabbit that she couldn’t stop petting.  It was creepy as sin and she loved it.

What I’m getting at is that if you are looking for the good – it’s right here in front of you.  A bunch of people take time out of their lives on a weekend outside of work to make a special day for a lot of kids and it’s a pretty sweet gig for my daughter.  We don’t go for the candy.  We can buy her candy.  We go for the experience, and I hope the people out there that put the love into these events know it is appreciated.

Kid or not, stop by!  We’ll be looking for you (well, truthfully, I might be chasing my child, but…)!


Schedule of Events according to Riverside Links:

Halloween Trick-or-Treating around Riverside!

Carson Business Trick or Treat
Friday, October 27, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Soup Supper 4:00 to 7:00 at Carson United Methodist Church

Oakland – Halloween Trick-or-Treating
Sunday, October 29 – 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Macedonia – Halloween Treats on Main Street
Tuesday, October 31 – 4:30 to 6:30 pm




Questions? Thoughts? Let’s hear them.

The Christmas Sing-A-Loo and You! Put it on the Calendar!

The Holiday Singaloo brought to you by
The Betterment Comm. and the City of Oakland

So I’m feelin’ pretty lucky right now because I get to share some more big news!  I kinda feel like a good news fairy princess, but we all know I’m not exactly the “princess” type! lol.  So… Anyway… Mark your calendars for November 25 because you officially have plans!  Yes, it’s a Saturday night.  Yes, it’s Thanksgiving weekend.  Yes, if you have family in town you can bring them… and you should!  It’s FREE!  And FUN!

In conjunction with Small Business Saturday in Oakland and the surrounding communities, we are finishing off the day with a family-rated show!  It’s a pack-the-house-except-it’s-not-really-a-house-it’s-actually-a-park situation!

I know, I know.  You’re thinking it’s going to be cold.  SO WHAT?  Bring your bag chairs, your lawn chairs, your recliner for all I care to Chautauqua Park sporting your Under Armor, your Carhartts, or your hunting gear and your favorite blankey and you’ll be fine!

It’s a chair-blanket-and-thermos (with extra “delights”) kind of night!

We are going to kick off the holiday season right with all upbeat, familiar Christmas songs from some amazing singers!  Feel free to sing along if you want, or don’t… Up to you!

There will be glow sticks and candy canes for the kids. Adult refreshments for the big kids – Buck Snort will be offering cash bar of some fabulous hot toddies and we will be selling some winter treats to support the betterment committee.   But the event itself will be free for all!  Part of Oakland’s way of saying “we are glad you’re here!”

Think of it as a Christmas tailgate!

Tell your crew!  We’ll be ready for you!

Hit share to tell your friends!

Guess what I know that you don’t know??? Big news in Oakland!

So… I have a secret…Actually, not so much a secret as gossip… but not so much gossip as it’s true…it’s more like I heard from Ferris that I needed to talk to Kevin down at 31 Flavors to find out that…Okay, I’m kidding. Who doesn’t love a Ferris Bueller reference? But I do have news!  Seriously fab-freaking-fan-tastic news for all the local communities!


As you all know, I am all about finding the good, and people, I have some good right here:


As of last week, the old Riverside High School is now officially Impact Hill!  That’s right, the hallowed halls of Riverside High are about to be transformed into a nonprofit educational and recreational center by Kevin and Dean Schechinger and company.


In the process of envisioning greatness for our community, they are taking suggestions for things that might be housed there.  (Feel free to contact them with suggestions or offers of volunteerism. Oh, or money – I’m pretty sure they’d take that, too! lol) Lots of options have been thrown around as possibilities but they are still in the beginning stages of formulating a plan.  At this point, anything and everything is subject to change, other than their mission.


Just like Jerry MacGuire, they have a plan. Their Mission Statement is:  Impact Hill will be a safe, positive, and welcoming environment for the recreational, educational, social, cultural advancement of all, through the restoration and redevelopment of the historic (Riverside) HS building in the heart of the vibrant community of Oakland, IA.


So, I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped!  Not only is my alma mater not being torn down, but there’s going to be a new business in town, and it sure sounds like it’s going to benefit all of us!  For me, anything that might make my little girl’s world a better world is golden in my book, and trust me, guys, this place is going to be impressive!


Plans are moving forward as we speak and the hope is that a few of the flagship pieces of the center will be up and running the first of the year!


So, here’s the deal.  Oakland and all the neighboring towns are about to get a high-dollar investment for the betterment of all ages in our area.


And I just want to be put it out there that I know how it goes.  It never seems to fail that when people have a vision and want to do good, somebody out there tries to neigh-say it.  So help me share the good news because it is amazing news and if you’re looking for good – here it is – in bright, shiny letters on top of a hill even! 🙂


Needless to say, I’m excited!  This might be the biggest thing to hit town since, well, Gary Works opened the Dairy Queen! 🙂  And, you know if I’m comparing something to a lemon-lime slushy whip, it has to be good!


It’s not every day that we have big news like this, so help me out!  Hit share and tell the world what we have going in Oakland!


Unsettled about Vegas but not unresponsive


I’ve thought about it for 4 days.  What happened in Vegas didn’t just stay in Vegas.  It affected all of us.  Maybe even more than some of the others because a lot of us have been to Vegas.  Personally, I have some great memories of Vegas and I’ve stood where they stood and that makes it even scarier, especially as a country music fan.  The word I’d use is “unsettled.”  I feel unsettled after things like this, as I’m sure most of us do.  It leaves us feeling a little out of control.  As a control freak, I hate that I can’t keep everyone in line…or maybe that’s the teacher in me.

I’ve thought about it for 4 days.  I know lots of others are thinking about it, too.  But I go to Facebook or Twitter and I see arguing and blame and opinions shouted from rooftops about the Vegas shooting, the NFL protests, the United States government, and my instinct is not to yell louder – mine is to go home.

I’ve thought about it for 4 days now.  I truly believe if you want a better world, it starts where you live…with you…  When these things happen, I snuggle my little girl more.  I give her more kisses.  My husband gets more, too, much to his chagrin, but he perked up at the chocolate-covered cashews I made for him.  You see, I start by loving the ones I’m with.  And then I move on from there…

I’ve thought about it for 4 days now.  I don’t have any magic solutions, but I did see an interview with Russell Brand talking about addiction and handling it.  He said you have to have other people and when you know there’s something bad brewing, go help others instead.  Go. Help. Others.  People, if Russell Brand can figure this mentality out, so can we.

I’ve thought about it for 4 days now.  I am only one person, but I start at home and then I move on to others.  In the midst of bad, do good.  Last week, I did something nice for someone and they said, “You must have a lot of extra time on your hands.”  In their defense, I’ve heard that a million times and that must be what people think.  That being said, I have 4 jobs right now, a 2-year old, I had a root canal last week and 3 dental visits, a husband who works a million hours a week, in the last 6 months I’ve changed jobs, changed houses, and changed towns.  But I choose to do good even when it doesn’t fit into my schedule because I believe in the power of nice.

I’ve thought about it for 4 days now.  I believe that this world is full of more good than bad anyway.  I believe that we have to start with ourselves.  I believe there are answers if we quit arguing.  I believe in giggles, warm chocolate chip cookies, notes saying thank you to those who never get them, and God.  You don’t have to believe in what I do, but I hope you believe in something and it leads you to do good even when you don’t have too much time on your hands.

I firmly believe we have isolated ourselves and continue to argue, compare, and take offense our way into more of it.  I don’t want to find more reasons to be mad.  I don’t think you do either.  Find the good.

Telegram, Telephone, Tell-a-Neighbor: Sept 28!

Neighbors and Friends
National Good Neighbor Day – Sept. 28

We moved back to Oakland to have neighbors again.  Growing up, I knew every neighbor.  In fact, I was related to some, and the others weren’t surprised if I showed up unannounced!  When we moved back, we wanted Ellen to be able to play with neighbor kids and for us to know our neighbors.  Choosing to live on a cul de sac was our best move.  However, our neighbors might disagree! Lol.

Truth be told, our daughter has helped us meet lots of people, like the night Ellen decided to take off from Jason when he had three broken toes.  She saw a neighbor’s garage door open, made a break for it, got through the door into their house and headed for the furthest point in their basement.  Nothing like being the new neighbors and knocking on someone’s door to say our kid’s in your house!  Our only hope was there were no guns, snakes, or fornicating teenagers in it.  Pretty sure there wasn’t!  But we sure do know how to make a first impression! Many embarrassing stories later, we have met almost all of our neighbors!  Of course, there were a few who already knew us!  Bless their hearts for letting the sale go through. 🙂

Point of all this:  September 28 is National Good Neighbor Day. 

The Riverside Links group is encouraging everyone to take part.  What does that mean?  Well, it means go next door and invite the neighbors over for tea, beer, or supper.  It means taking some flowers to the elderly lady who doesn’t get out much.  It means having a block party in the middle of the street for your kids to paint kindness rocks.  It means setting a 7pm chat time and maybe bribe one of the neighbors to make brownies.  It means removing the giant branch for the couple that can’t physically do it.  It means s’mores on the deck with the family next door.  It basically means whatever you want it to mean as long as you are actually talking to or doing something nice for your neighbors!  Acknowledgement makes communities strong!  And I’m not just talking here, I’m talking wherever you live in the world!

Listen, we are all so busy and it’s so easy to wave hellos and good-byes and to never even talk to a person you live 100 feet from.  I’m not judging.  I am equally as guilty, but I’m pretty pumped to get this going!  It’s like May Day but in September! 🙂  And if you know me, you know I love May Day – treats, friends, and something a little unexpected!

Seriously, when we moved back, all I wanted was that home town feeling for my kid.  When we got here, Dick and Leslie realized we were in over our heads and mowed our yard for us.  Jamie and Jill invited us for supper.  My family and Jason’s unloaded boxes and more boxes.  Jen brought us possibly the greatest bars ever! Magaly and Josh offered my daughter a chance to play on their trampoline whenever she wanted.  Jodi and Tim gave me stuff for our nephew who was getting his first apartment. Kaitlin gave Ellen toys she’d outgrown and the stories go on…  And I chatted with my neighbor in the ‘burbs one every year…maybe.

It’s easy to take a neighbor for granted.  It’s not so easy to get good ones.  I hope you take a minute or twenty or more out of your day next Thursday to make it a day to remember.  It will be worth it:

 “As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love and respect build cohesive families and communities.” – Former Pres. Jimmy Carter

Isn’t that what we want for all of us?



And if you do something fabulous (which I know some of you will), please drop by and comment here.  We’d love to hear, or share on Facebook and tag the Riverside Links or me. 🙂  Got some other suggestions for what people could do?  Tell us!