The kids and I were talking last night about our fond memories of travel. Two of our favorite trips that make us the happiest when we talk about them are:

when we went to see my brother’s wedding in California and the other is when we went to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida with my parents and sister.

We thought it would be fun if we could just do those two trips over and over back to back. They were both fun for different reasons, but I think the main thing is just that when you take the time to get away from everything, you get back to what is important…

Each other.

Game Changer Nail Polish

I didn’t lie in the title of this post…this polish is truly a “game changer”.

Why is it a game changer?  Because in my time of wanting beautifully painted nails, I have spent hundreds of dollars on a professional manicure as well as professional grade products from the stores like Sally’s.

I had peeling, flaking nails, they were thin and brittle When I would go to the Salon (and pay big, huge bucks) for Gel polish, it would peel off in one solid piece. I even invested money buying my own products from Sally’s, and STILL it would come off after about two days.

How exiting when I happened upon Gel Moment and took a risk to give it a try.

The first thing I noticed was the cute little lamp.


Then, all these beautiful colors – OMG, I was foaming at the mouth for Silver Marlin.


So much to love for me. I was obsessed and had to peel myself away from the computer. I took a risk and placed an order because I could see it was “chemical free” and the bottle promised 15 manicures. It promised that I could have a full manicure from the comfort of my own home in just a few minutes.

Could it really be true?

More to come…

But I leave you with this.


Guest Post on A Fine Parent

Looking for a way to bond with your kids after a beautiful day at the pool this summer?    I am honored to share this article with you that I wrote for A Fine Parent.

25 of the Best Family Movies for Teaching Honesty, Grit, Courage and More

I hope you enjoy it – and please let me know what other movies you would add to the list.

Dear Diary

I have a problem.

No really, I do. You might think it’s silly. But that’s only because it’s not a problem for you.

I’ve spent entirely too much time being serious. The challenge for me is going to be to make sure that I schedule more “fun” things for me to do in my life.  I like to get things “done” – in fact I feel very awesome about myself if I do get everything “done”. But if you were to put a something like “blowing bubbles in the park” on my list, you would likely get met with a look on my face of

Say what?

Like, tell me again, why would we want to do this? Just ask my friend, Ronda. I had told her that I needed to make sure to have more fun in my life and while we were walking, she pulled out a thing of bubbles saying “I brought these for you, Tiffanie”.

I hesitantly grabbed the bubble thingy and gave it a try, and passed it off just as quickly to my friend, Melissa. It was at that moment that I realized that seriously, like I have a problem.  I need to allow myself to just relax and enjoy life more.

So I challenged myself today.

I decided to fore-go my usual “to do list” on my lunch hour.   Instead, I chose to go to the Library and pick up a book that I’ve had my eye on. After a while, I find myself at this little park. I roll down the windows. The beauty is everywhere. The breeze is perfect. The birds are chirping. I pull out my lap top, because not much brings me as much Joy in my life as writing.

I have the ideas just bursting in my fingers and need to simply get them pounded out. I wonder what keeps me?

I breathe in and observe the following scene:


And in Life’s true ironic form, a man drove by and hollered out his window

You can’t park there!”

I look up and sure enough, I’m parked in a “no parking zone”.

I move my car.

Oh, life.

You crack me up.

The Cookie Thief & Mother of the Year Award

untitledWhat do a mischievous little dog named Trigger and a Cookie Thief have in common?

Well I’m about to tell you.

I had a deadline. I had only just so much time to get the first draft of a project I was working on to my Editor.

Isn’t it funny how the picture we conjure up in our minds so many times does not match AT ALL the reality of what really happens?

Come on, I know I can’t be the only one.

So in my mind, I have totally concocted this view of myself. Here I am, sitting in my beautiful home, surrounded with love, peace, and life. I’ve got my coffee next to me, my laptop on my lap and I’m working on my project, which is due in less than 24 hours. In my mind, I just know the kids and everyone around me are going to part the ways and make it easy for me.

I mean, they KNOW how important I am, right?

Yeah. Okay.


This is the real world. Remember? Maybe I have spent too much of my life with my nose in a good book or dreaming about a movie or something.

My #1 Teenager (whom I might add has a head full of red hair and not at ALL the temper to go with it – AHEM!) had made some homemade cookies. She’d spent hours in the kitchen preparing the goodies and had a customer who was to buy them.

They are not just any cookie.

They are the homemade chocolate, Nutella goodness of the Pinterest recipe world.


So, I’m trying to fit in to my pants and working hard and making good choices. Knowing that the goodies will torture me and sidetrack me, I make the (what I think at the time) wonderful and smart decision to remove the cookies off the counter in the kitchen and have my #3 Teenager (Blondie) put them on Red’s desk in her room.

She shuts the door behind her.

Squabble avoided.

Tighter pants avoided.

I’m good. AHHHHH, back to writing for my project, which did I mention has to be done within (less than) 24 hours now?

Click. Click. Click.   I’m typing away. Progress. Maybe my vision of being one with the universe and getting it all done is going to happen after all.

But wait.

The Universe has others ideas in mind for our household.   At that moment, I hear a blood curdling screech coming from the other room.


In classic great mothering, I look at my kids to blame them. Blondie is looking at me to blame me. But we both know the truth.

Red comes out, in her hands we see the remains of a crumpled up and abused plastic container. Not one cookie left. Not one.



Oh look, he has some chocolate on his mouth. And there is a trail of plastic going from her room to where he is. And you know that moment when you ask a dog a question and they get all innocent looking on you and try to act like it didn’t happen? You know how they cower down and look UP with pitiful eyes, just letting you know that they would never, ever, never-ever eat the Nutella Chocolate Cookies?

Yeah. That’s what happened.

Then, in one moment the entire house falls to pieces and any shred of normalcy is gone.

In my mother of year style, I sit there and keep typing and try to pretend this isn’t happening.

This is good parenting, right?

Meanwhile, it’s getting louder and louder and things are festering.

I know what I should have done. But hind-sight is always 20/20. Instead, I decide to scream at the top of my lungs “WOULD YOU ALL JUST STOP?!? GOOD GOD! IT’S JUST SOME COOKIES. AND I HAVE A DEADLINE TO WORK AGAINST HERE. JUST BE QUIET AND STOP!!!!!”

What was a 10 on the loudness chart has now escalated to 100 because when a parent loses control, the entire house loses control. I know this, but I made a choice and hey, it’s the honest truth of what happened.

Finally things quiet down. I think the storm has passed. Then, it occurs to me. Wait a second, the dog (who is NOT supposed to have chocolate) has just downed a DOZEN chocolate cookies. I should probably put him outside before he –

Never mind. Too late.

Not sure how to spell the awful sound that happened followed by the big pile of regurgitated cookies that were now sitting next to me.

In my beautiful world.

Where I’m typing.

A masterpiece.


And that’s how I won my mother of the year award.


Prairie Fire Crabapple Tree Blooms

Stage 1
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 2

Look at those tiny little buds appearing.


Stage 3
Stage 3


The blooms are so light and airy.  They almost look like little cotton balls when you are standing at a distance.  Up close, they are so dainty and delicate.

And this is just the beginning.  This tree is gorgeous all year round.  In the summer it turns dark green and purple.  Then in the fall, it will be orange, pink, and yellow.

Summer and gardening makes me serene.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. (Alfred Austin)


Getting Published Takes Matzi


Just like the blooming of this tree that lives in my front yard, I am having fresh and new ideas in my heart right now.  I’ve begun the process of sorting out my thoughts towards the first story that is jumping inside of me trying to get out.

I’m trying right now to decide which direction to go, and the way I see it, there are three options on how my book could come out.


Option 1:  Not so sure about this one

Write the story as it truly happened.    However, the drawback on this is that I would have to list real names and people and this could hurt others.  Since hurting others will never be my intention, this option may not be viable.

Option 2:  A real, live, grown up Novel?

Write the story as a Novel.  This would be fun because I could take liberty in parts and really get creative and add many things to the story line.  I could take the characters wherever they want to go and really have fun in the process.  I really like this option the most  because what’s in my heart is to write an inspiring novel like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  She took a hard story and turned it in to a spiritual solution without being overly “religious” – which I definitely don’t want to do!   I just know in my heart that there are ways to share and touch people with bringing in the spiritual aspect that can give hope, and that is my ultimate goal.

Option 3:  Non-Fiction Self Help

I could write it as a Non-Fiction Self Help book.  Now this would be good as well because I could offer true and practical tips and help.  This one would require tons and tons of research and the like – but what a fun challenge.


In the end, I realize more than ever that it really takes courage to write anything at all.  I probably have this on my mind as I’ve been reading Courage to Write.  What a wonderful book for anyone to read before they would set out to publish a book.  I think just the fact that I am “aware” that the fear can be there,  gives me strength to go ahead instead of allowing myself to be paralyzed n the fear.

Even just pushing publish on this post requires a certain amount of steel.

Naked Authors?

10904_10205068959856692_8260032182457779553_nQuestion for you… What fancy computer program is the famous author using to write his or her book?  

The answers might surprise you.  They sure did surprise me.     

  1. Ernest Hemingway balanced his writing between a simple pencil and a typewriter.
  2. George Clooney is not good at technology – he was quoted as saying “literally when I cut and paste, I cut pages and tape them together.  But somehow we make it work”.
  3. Danielle Steele uses a 1946 Olympia Typewriter and writes in 20 hour blocks.
  4. Quentin Tarantino never uses a typewriter or computer.  He writes the whole thing by hand.  He goes to a stationary store and buys a notebook, just one and then fills it up, telling himself it will be his next big seller.
  5. Mark Twain wrote lying down in bed.  He also experimented with left handed writing when his writing became painful, and eventually began dictating his stories.
  6. Ernest Hemingway typed standing up.
  7. Victor Hugo, writing “Hunchback of Notre dame”, wrote naked so he couldn’t leave his house in order to make a deadline.  (naked?!  Really?)
  8. Many authors have special pens and/or pencil preferences, to the point of being a bit quirky.
  9. Vince Gilligan used index cards to line out the “Breaking Bad” story line. 

After completing this study, I went to the store and spent $10.00.  I bought an orange spiral notebook and two pretty pens.   I handed the $10.00 bill to the cashier while I reminded myself that this notebook will contain my next big seller.   It made me smile.

In the end, I think this said it best:  

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. 

W. Somerset Maugham


Stepping Out, Looking Crazy, But Doing It Anyway

cropped-1276913_10201178584239733_1250361750_o1.jpgI like to walk.  On most days, I will take a walk because I like to listen to the birds singing and observe the nature around me.  I get nervous and tongue twisted around people, and I generally fear what they may think of me, so going on a walk is a perfect time to spend alone.  Spring is my favorite time to be out and about.

There is a path that I generally walk.  Along this street, there is a particular house that I always notice and pay special attention to because I love the flowers and landscape.  I am curious about all of the flowers around that house but especially the beautiful little tree out front that has gorgeous white and pink blooms and then lovely dark green and purple velvet looking leaves after that.  I notice it particularly because it is so little.  It beckons me.

This particular day, I am not walking by, but driving.  I happen to have my camera in my car and as I’m driving by, the idea strikes me that I could go to the door and ask the person living there what type of tree it is and get permission to take a picture of it, so I could add it to my ideas for my own landscape.  I argue with myself for a while because I’m shy and I wonder what will she think of a stranger asking about her yard?

I drive past her house.

Then, I stop and put the car in reverse and back up slowly to her front yard.  Steeling my self composure, I get out and walk up to the front door and bring myself to knock.

(I can hardly breathe at this point.)

What a surprise when a friendly lady answers the door with her gardening hat on and gloves.  I bring myself to tell her how I feel about her little tree and ask if she would mind me taking a picture of it.   I will never forget her sideways grin and broad smile!  “Well, heavens yes, my child.  Thank you so much for the compliment.  Come on out and have a look at it.  It’s a dwarf ornamental peach tree.  It will not get any taller than 4′ – isn’t that amazing?”

I follow her to the tree and *snap* I take a picture of it.  I’m feeling really good because I can tell that she is so delighted to have someone interested in her tree.

Then, the best part comes.

She looks at me with a sneaky little grin and says “Say, you wouldn’t like to have a starter of this tree, would you?”

I gush and say yes, of course.  She takes me to the side of her house where she has a tiny little seedling of tree.  She explains all about the little plant to me and tells me how to take care of it.  I get a lesson on all sorts of plants that she has.  The little gardener in me was so excited and happy scooping up all this wonderful info.

As I am walking back to my car holding that little seedling, I feel so glad that I took the chance to stop and knock.   I smile with pride, excitement, and wonder.  I admire it’s tiny little leaves.  I imagine it fully grown and visualize the years in between.

I am so glad that I took the risk of looking crazy to a stranger and smile with the knowledge that now I have a new friend.  We spent quite a bit of time talking that day and I often wonder how she is doing.  Now, seven growing seasons later, I wonder how she is.  I should take a picture of the full grown tree today and take it to her.  Or better yet, invite her over to see.