where the heart is

How to Write Like a Professional: Outline Writing Skills

Since I started blogging, I have talked to so many people who have told me, “I’d love to start a blog! I have so many ideas about fitness/fashion/parenting/crafting/name-your-topic, and I think I could really help people! The only problem is, I’m not so sure about my writing skills.”

The good news is, writing is a skill that can be learned, honed, and not-quite-perfected-but-close. (You’re not a real writer until you’ve learned to obsess over words and paragraphs, never quite feeling like the piece is done until you hit a deadline and have to just STOP TINKERING AND SUBMIT THE THING ALREADY!)

With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog called Writerly Wednesdays. My intention is to help bloggers improve their writing skills to make your posts as engaging, entertaining, and un-put-downable as possible.

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How Could Motherhood Possibly Be This Hard?

I want to warn you, before you read any further, that this will not be my typical, dumb humor post. I won’t be telling you some sarcastic, relatable story about a time that my kids did something aggravating, then toss in some “funny” so that you can walk away with the feeling that this is all normal, lighthearted stuff. 

If you want to maintain the illusion that my life is perhaps a bit chaotic, certainly full of hard work, but at the end of the day we can all hug it out like an “aw shucks” moment on a family sitcom, you should probably stop reading now. 

7 Children’s TV Characters Who Will Probably Grow Up to Be Degenerates

Hopefully, all of your children can name at least 1 character from a book, movie, or television show whom they absolutely adore. These are your Nemos, your Boo Boos, your Harry Potters. All of the 101 Dalmatians.

You can’t help but root for these guys. They’re so earnest and good natured. Your kids love them. You love them. Everyone’s happy.

The characters in this list, however, are none of those things.

Grocery Shopping with Kids: A Tale of Two Ladies

The other day, I took my 2 boys grocery shopping at Aldi. The second we got in the car, R announced, “I don’t want to go to Aldi!”

“Sorry, Bud,” I said. “We have to.”

“Nooooo!” he wailed from the back seat. I simply drove.

When we arrived at Aldi, I grabbed my purse and my shopping bags, pulled the baby from his car seat, and stood by the open van door waiting on R. “Come on, Buddy. Let’s go.”

“I’m not going!”

“You have to,” I said.

“No I don’t!”

“Fine. Come on in when you’re ready.” A power struggle with a 5-year-old isn’t really my thing, so I walked off toward the store. And just like I knew he would, R followed me. (At a distance. He had to save face, obvs.)

How to Fold a Shirt, in 13 Easy Steps

I bet you thought you already knew how to fold a shirt. I did too! It wasn’t until I assigned the task to my 8-year-old that I learned I’d been doing it ALL WRONG. You see, I’d thought the thing to do to get the task going was to, you know, pick up a shirt. (Or something along those lines. I’m still working it out in my head.)

But no. As I learned today, there are many, many more steps involved before any part of your human flesh can actually touch the laundry. 

So, here they are, the 13 steps to folding a shirt, according to my 8-year-old daughter:

13 MORE Reasons Mommy Needs Wine

As moms, we all have our reasons that we drink. Some are big. Some are small. Some are shrunken versions of ourselves with the balance and social skills we can only find at the bottom of a wine bottle. Yes, it’s true that I’m #rockingmotherhood most of the time, but sometimes at the end of the day, I just gotta have that glass of red zin.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a list of 13 reasons that Mommy Needs Wine. Now I’m back with 13 more, and I’ve printed them out and stuck them to some wine bottles. 

Your Penis Is Not a Lightsaber, and 13 Other Things Boys Should Know

You might remember, a few weeks ago I posted a heartfelt letter to my daughters with a list of life lessons I hoped they’d learn before middle school. I got such a positive response to that article! So many moms told me they hoped the same things for their girls, and many said they would share my letter with their own children. I can’t describe how much that touched my heart. As I said to some of my commenters, that may be the best compliment I’ve ever received on my writing.

The No Fail Gift Guide for a Potter-Obsessed Child

It is possible that my consummate, unadulterated, and downright child-like passion for all things Christmas and magical may be coming back to bite me. You see, I have a bit of a–let’s say “feverish obsession” with convincing my kids of the existence of magic.

As you may recall, I am a bit infatuated with Christmas and Santa Clause. In my house, Santa brings the presents on Christmas. He has magical elves who watch over my children all year and report to Santa on their behavior. Sometimes the elves leave letters for the kids, or inadvertently tip something over, leaving evidence that they’ve been there.