Friends From Uranus

This is the title to my middle grade, humor, adventure, scifi book. FRIENDS FROM URANUS is completed at 36k words and underneath I have my illustration example pages 🤗

This book is centered around my blended family, if Martians took up base in our upstairs toilet. With this said, it’s not exactly my family- but definitely inspired by them.

10 year old Aslan smacks the spider in the upstairs bathroom for his younger sister, only to see a teeny-tiny green man jump, lasso another spider, and rush out of view. Once he befriends the Uranians, they tell him his dad is targeted by the Martians. They need his help to save the earth and his dad before his dad’s memories are lost for forever..

Litter Getter Power Today

Today was day two for me picking up litter by my hometown exit off of I96. My funny and kind daughter was with me today. We both had fun filming our litter pickup and talking about what we were finding.

She had so many ideas for today’s videos and plenty more for later. I heard all about them on the ride home.
We really had a great time together and she wants to do more. Yay!
The Litter Collector on Tiktok

Today was a stackable kind of day, where all of a sudden there was a shift in my plans, I handled it well though. I was able to still push through and pick up two bags of trash. That right now is my goal per pickup. It takes about forty five minutes to an hour to pick it all up and walk it all back our jeep.

Day Two Done!

We found lots of cans and water bottles; car parts; plastic bags from shopping, salt, soil; capri sun; plastic cups; fast-food packets; and much more. Most rememberable item: a metal cover for semi truck wheels.

While I started editing for this blog, I noticed I got into great detail explaining my reasons why I am getting a job this year. If you’re interested in that it’s below. Otherwise, have a lovely day and if you see some litter pick it up! Then clean your hands.

I’m a stay at home mom and an unpublished children book writer. Though, I’m applying for remote work currently. I had a year off for my dreams after getting my Bachelors degree- and the year happened to be 2020. Not the best year to give to my dreams, but I’m ready to make some money. We live in a cramped townhouse, five of us currently in a two bedroom townhouse, but we have made it a true home for the last seven years. I’d love a house before my two youngest are in high school, which is this fall. I have to say, I’ve been super grateful for last year and the time I’ve had with all my kids, being there for them during it all and having a lot of fun together.

I realized a couple days ago that I’m putting my masters on the back burner for now. I’m not sure if I should go towards botany, get my MFA in creative writing, or figuring it out myself with learning on the web for both. I had an aha moment when I figured out I can pick any job I want right now.

I thought hard and I figured out what I truly want in a job. One that helps the environment. I have a deep sadness that comes over me when I walk by litter and I don’t pick it up. I feel great when I do. I also would like a job that paid me with an abundance of money. Something I could do from my home, especially for the next semester for my two eighth graders. They are on and off again with their grades with online school, but neither one has entered a school this whole year. So, I remember what my friend Kim said, “Just be a little gentle, it’s a hard year for everyone.”

I do, but I also take away one technology item for one D or lower and if they have two- no technology. It’s so funny how quickly they read books with out their phones and other devices. They read everyday during school and for thirty minutes before bed. But no tech, way faster.

Back on topic!

My three job requirement checklist: Helps the environment, pays me fabulously well, and is a remote job. I’ve been applying this week. Also I wouldn’t mind a greenhouse job for the summer. My best Christmas present was a Greenhouse from my husband. After the whole year of me verbally telling my husband and anyone how much I wanted one. And yes, maybe I even started collecting parts to make my own.

With this all said and done, I am also doing Tiktok and picking up litter for my purpose. I feel a deep need to and I think in a while I might do meetups and clean up a whole area in a day. I saw some bad spots passing through some towns to grab some Christmas plates for my mom from swap. I’d love to clean up a large portion in a day.

Ahh, see that whole rant did circle back on to why I created my Tiktok for right now. Haha. Okay, I do like that I have incorporated a service, my purpose into a routine and so far it feels great. Goodnite!

My youngest stepson is 14!

Technically, he’s still 13, but we celebrated his birthday today. It’s been a joy watching him grow up, I’ve known him since he was six. My youngest stepson I knew before he listened, had glasses, type one diabetes, and celiac disease. His biggest problem when I met him was getting him to sit down while he ate. And also for, wanting all the attention, all the time. He didn’t care if it was negative or positive. Until slowly he started to listen..

Now, he’s a grateful guy who continues to give me hugs after every single meal I make or for bringing him anything he needs. He’s always there with a hug and a genuine thank you. He’s also been my litter picker upper partner for a long while. We’ve been picking up litter before Covid, but I looked at it differently since. All I saw was germs. Until this week, I’ve had enough. I want to do my part and I can do it smartly. (See post before this 😉 )

Personally, it’s getting harder for me watching all my kids grow up. It’s also been a huge blessing, I’ve been able to be truly present with them. Fourteen to me is a true teenager, he’ll be starting high school next year. Hard to spit out: same with my daughter. For me, I’m going to cherish these last couple of years.

Almost my whole family, missing one girlfriend. Also the girlfriend in this photo is accidentally being blocked by my husband in four of the five photos I took. :/

We had a great Birthday dinner. I barbecued chicken and burgers; steamed broccoli; and I made my signature cheesy potatoes. We bought a DQ sheet cake. We made it gluten free by doing Reese’s blizzard and Reese’s crushed inside instead of the normal cookie crumble. It’s a delicious substitute! Our Dairy Queen in town is one of the best.

He’s been obsessed with that silly Glizzy song. Glizzy means hotdog. I was awkward to the max when I ordered this cake, but they pulled it off.
Glizzy ice cream cake it is! 😂🤣😂

He got a nice gaming keyboard, mouse, and headset and some Xbox cards from his oldest brother. He’s been a gamer since he was four I think my husband said, maybe five? If you ever want an earful about video games ask him what he’s currently trying to defeat. This year I’ve been playing Fortnite with my kids, I’m getting better. They mostly make fun of me for being newb.

The last year he’s been trying to put his knees up on the table during dinner. I have rules at dinner time. So of course during his birthday cake he had his knees on the table and he had to stand up to open his present. Okay bud, Happy Birthday.

I’m writing this reflecting on our laugher and also I’m awake waiting thirty more minutes so I can check his blood sugar before I head to bed. I wrote my MG FRIENDS FROM URANUS with him as the main character. I had so much fun writing it for him. I’m changing the beginning with a goal of querying by the 30th and moving onto a new project in February.

The main thing he said about his book, was to make sure his Omnipod was showing in each of my illustrations. Omnipod is his disposable insulin pump that is always on him. We talked over and over again how much of a role his diabetes should play in the book. After he read it he said, “I can’t believe how much you got into my head!” I laughed and reminded him that I’m always listening. I have my illustrations in my artwork tab if you’re curious, but know I need to redo them I’m when I change my first chapter.

Time to check his blood sugar.

Goodnight✨🚀

Resolutions

If you follow the astonishing The Crow Lady Tarot on Youtube- Sagittarius reading for January, you might notice some symbolism.

I had some large-in-charge plans for last week and instead I ended up taking time for my spirit. I thought I only needed one day to be sad, but I guess I needed a little more. I had a different Christmas than I planned and my confidence shifted. With all this said, I’m over being upset about my wrecked plans and now I’m moving forward with a week missing. This Sagittarius can’t be down for too long.

One of my plans is picking up trash multiple times a week and hopefully leading into everyday routine. Today was day one. See, I have had this soul-pull to pick up the trash all last year. I used to do it every time I went on my daily walk, but with Covid happening, I’ve hesitated. I have looked away and watched in all of my experiences be surrounded by trash, litter around me. I haven’t from the mere germs of it all. Recently my soul has been screaming at me, so I bought these grabbers you’ll see in my video below. After today I will buy gloves too for next time. Lesson learned: Amazon grabbers with frosty snow is a no go.

I got my hands nice and dirty today and I was okay with it. I used the snow to clean my hands. It was a beautiful day a little chilly around 32 degrees out with the sun peeking through the clouds.

My expressway exit to my town has been bothering me since June. I got my grabbers in the mail yesterday and I told my stepson he needs to help me. My daughter will be helping me on as well, I get her back from her dad’s tomorrow.

With the snow at first it was hard to find anything, but the closer we got to the expressway the more we found. We picked up two bags full of bottles, cans, a life jacket, fuel can, car parts, a couple of buckets, and a super large piece of rusty metal. most likely a car piece.

We left things behind because I only thought two bags would be enough, but I see this area will take a while to clean up and I’ll most likely see plenty more after snow melts. So, join me on Tiktok under The Litter Collector or follow me here. After my commitment to myself gets stronger, I’ll have meetups for certain parts of the expressway, or streets that need a little love.

#pickitup #I96 #litter #trash #dowhatyoucan #letsgetit #littercollector

Back to School; Virtual Edition

I decided to be there for my kids this school year. It needs to be said that there is no right or wrong way to make your choice, this just happens to be mine. Reasons are firstly I’m unemployed, easy to stay that way when my student loans payments have been pushed until January. Secondly, I couldn’t get over the fact that it seemed like calling for me because of my kids overall safety, my stepson is a type one diabetic. Thirdly, I feel like it’s a civil duty, that I am ready to take on.

Once I made this decision, I went full force ahead like the over achiever I am. I saw a picture on Facebook for a divider for vitural school and decided I can make one, well two. But since my stepson started school this Monday, I did his first, my daughter starts the day after Labor Day. I wanted mine to be bigger- full townhouse, no room for desks, and also I wanted my two kids not to look at each other, to be at the table for school, and to be able to fold it up when they were done so it didn’t take up too much space- achkem crowded townhouse.

I went to Target with a thought in mind and picked up these supplies. I also bought back to school supplies because I needed this to be more on the fun side rather then the boring side.

Once I figured I’m doing a black trifold, I figured on neon colors and I gathered some pictures. One picture of their friends, a picture of them doing something fun, a large pic of them doing their sports and another one from visiting my husband’s cousin- playing on some big kid toys. I also printed off something that my kids are into, with Aidan he’s into Terrieria and my daughter is into Riverdale.

Next I made a plan, here’s me holding it slightly stir crazy at midnight:

I wanted a large picture on the front with their name and I started there.

Those letters I bought at Target in Michigan for 3 bucks and I already had some bright papers because in college I like printing off poems or required reading on fun colored paper. Let’s be honest, I do a lot with colored printer paper, I love making things out of paper. Hence, here we are. These letters and numbers have a sticky top but I used glue sticks to make sure they don’t fall off. And yes, I did use the glue sticks I bought my kids for the year. (I found out later that my stepson hates this picture of himself, though I love it.) I ended up adding his wrestling picture that he took for the team on there too. Sorry no pic.

For the inside I wanted him to have all the important- homework papers organized and ready for the teacher. I bought dividers with large pockets so they wouldn’t lean out of the folder. I cut off all the tabs and quickly realized than my plan won’t work, but I still was able to get six folders up. I also printed out this calendar from his school’s website along with his school’s crest.

Also at Target I grabbed these dry erase post it boards and stuck them in there too, so they can write funny jokes, or I can write something encouraging as a surprise. I also bought command strip hooks for his headphones and some pencil holders I found in the craft department at Target. I figured they can paint of draw on them and keep all there new tools organized.

Below is the final result and I’m pretty happy with it. Originally I was going to make a mural, but I wasn’t sure if it was cheesy or not, since they’re going into eight grade. I might make one later and post it in that blank spot.

Note from a stepmom.

I made all this by Saturday- posting it on Tuesday, because I thought I had an understanding with his mom that I would be teaching him. More like guiding him- making sure he’s paying attention. He needs consistency and it’s something I can offer since my husband and I decided to have myself dedicate to his learning during these strange times first semester. Well, Sunday night his mom decided she’s not working the first three days so, she’ll have him just stay home. I wanted to share this information for the other stepmoms for when you do all this work and it doesn’t work out like you would like to. Something you try to control, but at the end of the day you don’t have total control so your plans can change. I was super frustrated since I spent the last three weeks staying on top of everything so I knew how the online classes. Why? Because the mom was trusting me to handle it, and she was on vacation when a lot of the info was going out.

I screamed, sulked for most of Monday, and finally let go. Which, letting go has been something that has become easier and easier to do with time. I still showed up, but she didn’t. That’s on her and it sucks that it’s at the expense of her kid not learning, but I’ve let it go and got an extra three days off to myself. Hopefully she’ll get sick of “trying” or “faking it until you make it” and will let me have the school reins.

Thank you and I hope your virtual divider turns out magical!

#stepmom #homeschool #virtual #mom #projects #virtualdivider #aidan #surroundedbyfarts #blog #homeschooling #writer #lovemyteachers

An Introduction

This is my first attempt at a blog, with that being said I feel in order for you to understand my personality, my personal lens, viewpoint, etc.. you should know where I come from. I happen to be a white female who was raised in the upper middle class twenty minutes from Detroit. Around the nineth grade my city was named the seventh safest cities in the United States. My mother ran a daycare through our colonial house from the expressway, in our quiet subdivision while my dad supervised at three am a Detroit Edison Pole yard for over forty hours weekly. 

            Though you would think being in the safest neighborhood’s we would lack diversity, you would be right, but also wrong. My first childhood friend happened to be a different race than me. As a child, all I knew was the endless supply of Jordan almonds and how my friend Diana had hungry hungry hippos in her basement. With also a ginormous coloring pad that we took turns from each activity and then would play outside. Later on, we moved same town but different schools and my next door neighbor also was a different race from me again, his house always smelled so good, but with different spices from what my parents used. Jason had the first Nintendo I ever played on and he had these glass spheres with little sharks, scorpions, and alligators. Are friendship ended once he threw up his hamster to see if it would bounce on the cement. Boys are dumb. (Also, I grew up with a younger brother, Kelly. I relentlessly picked on him, like an older sister should.)

            Because of these two childhood friends, I had seen no difference in me and in them besides food and sometimes a different language would be used by the adults. Now as a grown up women, I see the difference and my blessing by having a mother who didn’t push me away from families different from my own, but instead giving me a guiding hand to these friendships. So, when the first black family moved into our subdivision, I had a play date in the fourth grade with Eelicia. I played dolls with her, my one real American girl doll and the three other fake ones. At the end of our play date she brought home the one doll and put straighten her hair by putting products in that I never smelled before, but I enjoyed the coconut mixture. I don’t think my mom liked it, but she also didn’t fuss too much about it either. 

            Fast forward to me as an adult, I had my first run at a racist friends. First was a friend I made at the end of high school, a natural blonde, who would yell the n word in parking lots. I was taught the n word in seventh grade because Eelicia would be sent home early from being called it in class. By this time, we talked at the bus stop, but don’t really hangout anymore. I don’t know why, but if I had to guess it was because I became a dork in seventh grade and my friendships began to crumble. First seventh grade they spilt into half and then into a handful, by high school I made two new friends and became acquittances with my elementary school friends. Even some of them would join up with the bullies against me, trying to get me to sit on a brownie during lunch, so it looked like I pooped my pants. Thanks, other girl scout friends, you really made some great choices. (This would be the start to a very long line of me being bullied throughout middle school and oh yes, all the way into high school.) Therefore, you understand my distain for school and for socializing. What another introvert writer? Yes, yes I am.

            Okay, back to racist friends. After my first encounter, after that friendship sizzled, another racist would make it into my friendship circle. Now, as I say, “another racist” I need to be clear, I was not looking for a racist friendship, it’s just how my life panned out. It would take me over ten years to figure out, she will always be a racist, even when she would pretend not to be. Even if, her first time was with a black man. Even if, she had more black friends than me, she still will always be a racist. This friend happened to be a daughter of a Detroit police officer and even though her father was always nice to me, I’ve never met so much hate over a race. I’m most ashamed over myself for thinking this friend would change her viewpoint, she doesn’t though, and that became my end of the line. 

I mean she also was never happy for me- like ever- so a bad friend overall. She also had a childhood friend who was even a bigger racist than her, also a Detroit police officer’s daughter. Sadly, she’s a detective now in the town I grew up in. I now know why we were the seventh safest town in United States, our “excellent” police force. I could go on, but I’d rather not. With me dumping that friend a couple years ago, I’ve been happier. With some distance, I see how she was the worst friend I’ve had in a long time, yet I kept her around for who knows the reason, but for over ten years.

Currently, I have two best friends, three if you count my husband. Best friends: Kim and Arielle. I’ve known both of them since I was a junior in high school, we all were employed at Target over almost 20 years ago. Yeah, twenty years of friendships. Wow. They’re keepers though. Rays of sunlight, my cheerleaders, my best friends, my people I go to. Kim lives in Garden City, Michigan now, Arielle in Houston Texas, and I live in a town that was small, but that keeps throwing up mansions on green acres- South Lyon. I used to run the Corporate gas station in town and I decided to live here because of all the nice people I met- my smile hurt at the end of the day because I was so happy.

My husband’s name is Jon, he grew up inside a very small town called Hastings and he happens to be adopted. He’s never might his biological parents, his biological mom tried to find him, but she died before six months before he started trying to find her. My husband is actually my second husband. (Try to not get married at age 22/23, sometimes the people that you love lie. Crazy huh. Lesson I learned in my first marriage.) I have my daughter from my first marriage, which I almost died from having. I ended up with postcardium cardio mothapthy and which told I couldn’t have anymore kids because the chances of me living were twenty percent. It caused a depression in me at the time, since all my life I wanted three boys and a girl- you know like the Taylors from Home Improvement.

When Jon came into my life, after a whole year of being separated from my husband- filed for divorce, but not started in court yet, he brought me my three boys. I’ve been living in a little bit of a fairy tale ever since. But the kind of fairy tale without a castle. Because the one thing I’ve learned about divorce and re-marriaging, is you start all over again financially. I walked into my current husband’s life and he literally had two mattress on the ground for his kids, a tv, a ps3, and a small children’s picnic table in the kitchen. I was shocked at how much his ex took. I wasn’t one to talk though, because during my divorce I only wanted was my kitchen table, the elliptical, and my puggle Scrappy.

Together Jon and I really had nothing, I had some money saved up from not being with the succubus of my first husband. But Jon was in a tight spot from paying a little over 1,600 in child support a month. Three boys, my wish was attached to a pretty big price tag. But we’ve been together for seven years now and made our kids a priority. We have a mattress for each kid with a bed, though they kept growing up. 

We have Cole, I met him at age 14, he’s now 21 and lives fulltime at his moms. Noah, met him at age 12, a big kid still at heart even at age 19, he lives with us in his room in the basement right out of high school. Aidan, met him at age 6, he’s now a teen at age 13- we really bonded when he was first diagnosed with type one diabetes a five weeks before his eighth birthday. He’s court order that took up the last of my savings made it so he comes over our house Thursday through Sunday. Then there’s my sassy girl Aurora, who was five when she met Jon and is now turning thirteen in two weeks. She had the hard transition from being a single child- to having three older brothers. Her dad ended up having two girls, so she’s the big sister over at his house.

            I currently am starting this blog, duh, but also, I’m beginning my journey for my master’s degree in children’s literature. I still need to fill out my application, but I received the go ahead on my financial aid and will most likely being going to Eastern University for their Children’s Literature Master’s program. I want to be a children’s author. My dream, what I’ve been actively working towards, with me going to obtain my masters, there’s two things it allows me to do. Firstly, keep my housemaker slash Jon cleaner job going and I get to be around my kids for two more years. Secondly, they have programs for literary agents, publishers, and editors, all the things I need to know more about and hopefully I’ll make some connections as well. I finished my BA at Madonna University- because I grew up across the street from the university was why I spent more at a private college. (I love that I got it, I wish I could have received the same degree with less student loan debt.)

            I’m a little worried about the fall- so I didn’t grab a job yet because I might be homeschooling and being a student, myself would be enough to keep my plate full and make me feel like I should be writing more. 

            Intentions of this blog:

            Humor, I have funny stories- I’d like to share them.

            At some point a gratitude challenge. I enjoy them.

            Projects, I’m a crafter- I need another creative outlet besides writing, always have, always will. Watch me sew an oversized beach bag, make something with stain glass, or do a watercolor painting. I’ll give you my tricks I’ve picked up along the way and maybe you’ll give me some.

            Watch me fail over and over again, trying to become a commercial children’s author. As, of right now I have three children’s picture books completed and a 36k middle grade Sci-Fi done. Then there’s my ten-year-old, young adult, mermaid, high school story finished- with a major plot point missing, I think. I’m actively trying to get an agent with my middle grade book, which I completed example illustrations for two weeks ago. I’m not sure if that will help, but I’ve always loved drawing cartoons, and my illustrations are pretty awesome. I’ll make sure I inbuild some pictures. 

            With those three points, I will also from time to time talk about my love for diversity, the hardships of being a stepmom along with the joys, and how I deal with rejection in the pursuit of my dreams. 

            Lastly, let me explain my name: Surrounded By Farts. My husband came from the westside of the state in a small town called Hastings, it’s about an hour and a half from our townhouse. We go over that way about six times a year, if we’re lucky. Time goes by fast when your kids are growing. So, on the way home from Hastings my husband’s minivan would be full with all six of us in there and they would all die laughing from finally releasing their gases on me on the long excruciating ride home. I would gag, try to roll down my window and throw my head out of the vehicle and the laughter would fill up the minivan rolling on and on. I’m one who likes to be seen as a fragile woman at times, with farting being something I don’t do in front of people or burbling. I have no problem that my daughter does it, or if any other women do it. I’m a bulky broad-shouldered woman, so for me I keep some things in my life dainty, feminine. But don’t get me wrong, I am just as strong as a man, my husband with tell you that too- took him four years to agree with me and now he willingly tells guys that I am. With that said, I pick what I want to be known as a woman for. I like some traditional roles, but I know I can do anything I want without a man and I know my worth is high. That sentence took me a long time to own up to, but since I knew those truths, you can’t really wreck me, because I truly love myself and I know God does too.

            Well, surrounded by farts is something I always will be. My husband still has not dutch- oven-ed me even though he’s tried for the last seven years. I’m a ninja. Thank you for reading my first blog!

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I’ve been baking gluten free cookies from scratch since 2015 and I finally have the chocolate chip cookie down! My house always loves my baking, but I’m the biggest stickler because normally with baking gluten free from scratch I can taste all the individual ingredients. It wrecks my enjoyment of the desserts. But not with this recipe!

Insert evil sugary laugh😏

So here’s my approved Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This is a Double Recipe because I like making big cookies. Why not? This makes 32 big cookies and probably 45 normal size ones. ( I wouldn’t know, because bigger cookies are better.)

Ingredients in the order that I put them into my mixer:

2 large eggs

2cups of half-way melted butter

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1&1/2 teaspoons of sea salt

4 teaspoons of vanilla

2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

1&1/2 cup of brown sugar packed

1&1/3 cup of granulated sugar

4 cups of Namaste Gluten Free Flour

1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips

1 bag of dark chocolate chips

375 degrees for 12-15 minutes

This is my gluten free favorite flour. It can be found at Costco, I picked this up earlier this month for 8.99. I live in Michigan. It already has xanthan gum in the mixture so you don’t need to add any. 🤗

I scrape a full fork full and plop onto my cookie sheet. I use parchment paper and air bake baking sheets so my large cookies tend to cook for the full 15 minutes. I do suggest if you make your cookies smaller to maybe only bake for 10 minutes and see how they’re doing. I feel like with an air bake baking sheet they need to be in the oven longer.

Now eat your delicious cookies! 😋