I’m 1 Year Old! Happy Birthday Go Mama O!

Cheers! My Blog is officially 1 year old today! AND it’s my 100th post! I celebrated last night on a date night with Daddy O.  Here I am toasting myself with a cucumber, cilantro vodka concoction.

blog bday

We had the most amazing tapas! It was the perfect meal for an end of summer evening to dine al fresco and sample bits of this & that (without committing to one HUGE entree). This savory waffle with smoked gouda and chives topped with chicken asparagus and mushrooms was so pretty I HAD to take a picture before devouring it. Tell me I’m not the only one who takes pictures of my food…c’mon! delicious tapas

Looking Back

Reflecting on Go Mama O’s first year, I would say that I have learned a lot this past year.  One of my earliest posts, Top 5 Things I Learned from my Kids, still holds true even one year later, and I’m STILL learning to be a more patient parent.

In this past year, I met some helpful fellow moms along the way – including a sweet elderly woman at a grocery store. Gained a contract job that I did while my son napped and my daughter watched all episodes of  Wonder Pets on Netflix. I job hunted & got rejected several times before finding the right fit.  In the meantime, I learned to slow down more and enjoy many million dollar moments of parenting.

I am most proud of times when I gave up control a bit and empowered others to make a “good choice.” When potty training my daughter, I ultimately told her that SHE WAS IN CHARGE of her pee-s and poops.  I mistakenly gave her too much free reign on one toilet session, and paid for it dearly, so much so that I had to call in for back-up.

This aforementioned incident aside, I started to realize that this parenting thing DOES get easier as your kids grow older and slowly more independent.

Come April, I had landed a part-time marketing job that continues to be a good balance of work & parenting.  A few job related posts:

We have mostly overcome issues with growling, survived a cross-country road-trip, and I’m adjusting to the dinnertime rush on my workdays. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come (and my family too) in this past year.  For all the stress and worry that I felt one year ago, I wish I would have just RELAXED more because everything did work out for the best.

Thank you so much to the many fellow blog-friends, and my readers, who may relate to or simply enjoy my mom / work / cheese obsession / travel posts.  I look forward to celebrating more Blog Birthdays with you in the future!

Any feedback, suggestions, or thoughts on topics that I write about?  I’d love to hear from you!  Do you frequently look back at old posts and think about how life has changed since then?

Virtual Hug Received! Thanks!

I’ve just received a virtual hug (and the promise of a brownie) from Kaela at The Girl Who Blogs, who was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Blog Award.  If you’re not following her already, you should definitely pop over to Kaela’s blog. In her words: “This blog is alternately fun and serious, personal and objective. I like to laugh so I tend to focus on the funny things in life.”

I also have to thank Tricia at Do Gooder Mama, who nominated me MONTHS ago, and I didn’t finish the post until now with my abbreviated guidelines (so sorry)!  Be sure to read about and join the Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

The rules:
1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you, with link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 of your own questions to ask your nominees.
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice: new, old, just found, following, or you think deserve some notice; and let them know they’ve been nominated!
4. Show off the Award photo on your blog!
5. No tag backs–meaning you can’t just re-nominate the person who nominated you.

Due to the awesomeness of Kaela’s blog, she took the liberty to reduce the number of required questions to 5.  I welcome and appreciate this.  As a girl who loves to quickly scan and read, I’m going to nominate 5 blogs and ask 5 questions too.

And the nominees are:

I Will Have My Cake

All Marketing Things (watch the cat / dog videos in her latest post)

A Teachable Mom

The Thing About Joan

Healthy Mommy For Life

My 5 Questions for my dear nominees to Answer:

1. If you could pick a theme song for yourself, what would it be?
2. What is your favorite quote?
3. What are your three favorite summer activities?
4. What is your favorite meal (and you are NOT preparing it)?
5. Why do you blog?

My answers to The Girl Who Blogs 5 questions:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would actually choose my home state, where I am right now: Wisconsin, BUT I would love to travel to different cities and live there for a few weeks / month at a time.  Maybe someday!
2. What is your favorite book of all time? Oh my, there are so many favorite books that I don’t know I could just pick one: Tuesdays with Morrie, Memoirs of a Geisha, The House of Spirits, historical fiction by Philippa Gregory, and Catcher in the Rye.
3. It’s your last meal. What would you eat? Eel sushi with BBQ eel sauce, another amazing sushi roll with avocado and raw fish, breakfast taco I had in Austin, TX, and fresh, squeaky Wisconsin cheese curds with chocolate cake and mochi ice cream for dessert.
4. Cats or dogs? Why?  Cats because they are more low maintenance than dogs.
5. What’s your favorite things about yourself? My long arms – great for hugs, carrying / holding my kids, snuggling, reaching for toys in the backseat, and playing basketball & volleyball.

Cheers everyone, and THANKS for reading! Virtual hugs all around.

Newsflash: Cardboard Toys Don’t Last

I knew that, right?!

When I set upon making the Cardboard Kitchen and Cardboard Choo Choo Train, I knew it wasn’t going to be a keep-forever type of toy.  I was simply making use of some old cardboard boxes in my basement, hoping that they’d have more value as my kid’s toys instead of in the recycle bin.

Since CARDBOARD happens be a a popular search term on my blog (geez, my writing on other topics must be so thrilling), I thought I’d share a look at these cardboard toys almost one year later.

What can I say, it’s been well loved, and a cheap toy for hours of enjoyment for my kids!  I have been thinking about pitching it in the recycling bin, but just saw my kids playing with it yesterday.  It will be a fixture in our basement for a bit longer it seems.

The Cardboard Train Engine has fared slightly better than the kitchen – a testament to my superior cardboard construction skills.  It still has that slight lean to the right in the cab – again a testament to my superior cardboard construction skills.

More Cardboard Craft Ideas

As part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge, I found some other bloggers with more cardboard craft ideas.

  1. I love this post from Zing Zing Tree. Egg Cartons, Houses, Cars, and Story Diorama. Check it out for some fun craft projects on a smaller scale (it won’t take up as much space as the cardboard kitchen or train engine)!
  2. The Little Crafter that Could shares an awesome cardboard letters project. This would be really cute in my kid’s rooms!
  3. Finally, the BEST CARDBOARD MASTERPIECE that I found comes from Japanese artist who goes by Upunushu: Matsumoto Castle.  Apparently she has been working with cardboard since 5th grade and is now in her twenties.  All I can say is WOW!  You have to check it out!

Home Improvement Blog – Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

In light of some recent home improvement work we had done at our home, I searched for blogs on that topic, since it is so near and dear to our hearts right now.  It seems that EVERYTHING we do or have quoted on our home is $300 minimum.  New glass block windows in the basement = $600, stone block railing = $500, ant control program = $155 + the bargain price of $31 per month, equaling $310 for the rest of the year!  Wow – where do I sign?!  Guess who was hiding some child-resistant ant traps and spraying eco-friendly ant spray before sitting down to blog tonight?  You got it – this lucky Mama O.

With a home that would definitely receive the senior citizen discount, we are doomed blessed to have home improvement projects that keep us – or expensive contractors busy!

In honor of this reality that is our life, I bring you some blogs on home improvement as part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

One of the first blogs that caught my eye was Dogs, Dishes and DecorIn This House Needs a Hug (Or I Want to Fix Everything), – what a fantastic title right – she grabs me with a line from one of my favorite films Dirty Dancing.  It’s a quote from steamy dance instructor Johnny to Baby.

“I’ve never known anyone like you before. You think you can make the world better. Somebody’s lost, you find them. Somebody’s bleeding…”

“And I go get my daddy.”

Anika feels this way about beautiful architecture.  Check out her blog for the adorable home that needs a hug – STAT!

I can also relate to things of mine being covered in pet hair, though I have the feline variety in my home and usually clinging to my clothes.

When perusing her blog a bit more, I came across This One’s For You, Justin (Or How to Make a Kale, Banana, and Nut Smoothie). It’s a post about family, loss, and finding ways to honor a loved one.  This truly struck a chord with me as I remembered my Grandpa on July 3rd.  Anika’s statement about food being so much more than just food is spot-on.  Read her full post and have a tissue ready.

Happy Reading, and feel free to join the challenge!

Related articles

Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge – Part 2

Aside

I’m at it again – reading and discovering new blogs that pique my interest as part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.  I don’t know that I’ll be posting DAILY as the challenge recommends, but I’ll do what I can….here goes –

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

I have a soft spot for new bloggers (since I’ve still been blogging for less than a year too – that’s still new, right), especially those who seem to cover topics on my radar: parenting, working, marketing, travel.

I discovered Jo’s blog All Marketing Things with her post Audience, Are You There? It appeared in my Related Articles suggestion when I was writing Blogging Blues.  I could completely relate to her questions about how some blogs seem to have “it” while some others do not.  It certainly takes time, discipline, and good writing to attract a following (and have fun while doing so).

I also think it’s quite genius for university students to start their own blog – especially when going into fields of advertising (like Jo), to learn firsthand about social media and showcase your talents for prospective employers.  She smartly talks about the need to use caution in social media in her post You Never Know Who’s Watching.

In this post she says, “It’s an amazing thing the internet, be careful what you do with it!”

So true!

I also discovered this blog post when writing my last post about padded bike shorts.  This tip is essential for buying new gym gear!

The Lululemon Effect