Friday, December 29, 2017

Put Your Back Into It #FunnyFriday

Today’s post is December’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. This is the last one for 2017! Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write five captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.





Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles ... Yep, that's me! :)


47 - The Bergham Chronicles - December 2017.jpg



1. Gigi: You call that effort?!
Me through gritted teeth: Yesss.
Gigi: Effort smeffort. Put your back into it. Push!
Me, glaring: You are proof positive I know how to push well. Now, hush.
Gigi: But Ma, you told me to help you.
Me: We have different ideas of help.


2. Gigi: Dad, take my picture.
Chad: I am taking Mommy's picture.
Gigi: But I am cuter! *poses* See!
Chad: True. *takes pic*


3. Gigi: C'mon, Mom. You're acting like it is actually hard or something.
Me: It is hard.
Gigi: Not that hard.
Me: *grumbles and tries harder*


4. Me: How many was that, Gigi.
Gigi: Um. I don't know. I lost count.
Me: What?! You said you would count.
Gigi: I was busy posing for pictures.
Me: Pictures? Now? While I'm dying.
Gigi: Well, I think it was like forty eleventy nine seven.
Me: Sure. Sounds right to me.


5. We are blessed with these awesome parks here, that have awesome workout stations throughout. The machines are a mix of exercises. Some have weights attached, and some work with your own body weight. The best part, is thanks to our awesome weather, we can even use them in the Winter. I actually love working with them. I am not great at it, but I do try hard. Gigi, is a mild drill sergeant, but mostly she is just my biggest cheerleader. However, she does put me to shame. Serious shame. She is so strong and determined. She owns these machines. She is only four, so we have to be cautious, but man does she give it her all. In this particular picture, I was dying, probably more literally than I care to admit, and she was having a little posing fun off to the side. Chad was taking photographic evidence of my last minutes alive, and Gigi, who had just worked her butt off at like five machines, still had energy to get in some poses. Did I mention she puts me to shame?!!?

So, there you have it! Now, be sure you take a peek at all the other Funny Friday posts, and see how they captioned Gigi and I!! I will meet you there, right after I get more coffee. We are working hard at getting Gigi on a better schedule. Our schedule is iffy at best, and with us all being sick recently, it really got off track. Last night was night two (I am actually typing this is 9:03 pm of "last night"), and it went smoother than night  one. Night one when great, with one huge glitch. Gigi was asleep by 8:20 on the couch, but when Chad went to move her into bed, she woke up. Rather than going back to sleep, she stayed up. She did not go to sleep until after eleven, which means I was up until nearly 1 am. Nonetheless, I was up before 8, and had her up and moving before 8:30. So, we are on track. She has been asleep since just before 8:30, and the transfer to bed was smooth. So, fingers crossed. So, yes, I am probably sleep deprived and groggy, because changes in schedules are harder on me than her. SO, first coffee, than meeting you at the rest of the Funny Friday posts!! 

I hope you all have an amazing last weekend of 2017. I hope this year ends well for you all, and 2018 starts amazingly well. Hopefully, we will all have a fantastic 2018!! Just a heads up... I am joining in on the Blog With Friends post for January. Stay tuned for it, coming your way! I talk to you about resolutions! 


Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Cognitive Script
Southern Belle Charm
Bookworm in the Kitchen
Baking In A Tornado

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saved by Angel Payne #BookReview

I recently read Angel Payne's latest release, and let me tell you, it was not a disappointment. I will start by saying, if you are not into BDSM themed books, than you may just want to skip this one. BDSM is woven throughout the story, and it may be hard to ignore.

Now, if you don't mind BDSM, military hotties, romance, suspense, and action... This is definitely a book you want to read right away. The plot is entertaining and well thought out. The characters are interesting and well developed. The ending is steamy hot, and qualified for a HEA status.

This book offers plenty of steaminess, lots of action and suspense, and just enough intrigue to keep you guessing. We work through the characters struggles, both with major events that happen, with their relationship with their inner selves, and with their relationship with each other. This book has something for everyone.

Now, if you maybe don't love BDSM, but you can tolerate it, I would recommend you give this book a try. It does play a major role in the book, but their is enough to the book outside of the BDSM, that you will still feel fulfilled by reading it.

If you love military heroes, and like to see the good guys come out on top, than this is the book for you. If you love a good romance, but need something more to the plot than just the romance, than this is the book for you. The romance is definitely key to the story, but it is not the whole story.

This book kept my interest, pulled at my heartstrings, frustrated me, and made me happy. It is a well rounded story. It has so many different elements woven together, to create this tiny corner of the world, that you will definitely enjoy your stay in.

So, definitely check it out, and let me know what you think!! Read on to learn more about this book, the rest of the books in this series, find our more about the author, where to get a copy of your own, and to find a link for a giveaway!! Happy reading!!

 Saved (Honor Bound Series #1)
by Angel Payne.  
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Released 19th December
Synopsis
Saved
He saved her life…she saved his soul.
Garrett Hawkins is the most valuable asset to his Special Forces unit, because, frankly, the guy doesn’t care if he lives or dies anymore. Since the love of his life, Sage Weston, was kidnapped and killed with her medical unit a year ago, Garrett has turned the shell of his soul into the armor of a finely tuned fighting machine. Being the first tapped for the unit’s craziest missions is just fine by him. The less time for memories and the agony they carve into his soul, the better.
It’s a plan that works, until Garrett’s world is upended one night in the jungles of Thailand. Memories become reality when the unit is called to rescue a group of kidnapped aid workers, and they discover Sage and her teammate among the retrieved women. Now that Sage is back in his arms, Garrett doesn’t know what to do. He has changed in dramatic ways, especially in the darker tastes of his passion. If he touches Sage again, he’ll want to claim her, restrain her...dominate her.
Is Sage’s love strong enough to let Garrett back in, not only as her fiancĂ© but her Dominant? Can she trust that visiting the new shadows of his life will lead her to ecstasy and not ruin? Or can Garrett’s discipline be exactly what her soul needs to find its way back to life—and love—again?
Amazon             Nook

iBooks

Google              Kobo

Meet The Author
USA Today bestselling romance author Angel Payne has written for four publishing houses, and is also independently published. She loves to focus on high heat romance with emotional twists. She has numerous book series to her credit, including the Honor Bound series, the Suited for Sin series, the Cimarron Saga, the Temptation Court series, and the Secrets of Stone series (with Victoria Blue). 
Angel is thrilled to be an author for the bestselling Misadventures series, and looks forward to the launch of the Bolt Saga, featuring her super hero Reece Richards, launching in Summer 2018. Angel lives in Southern California with her soul mate husband and beautiful cosplaying daughter. As an “anime family”, they enjoy attending pop culture cons together.
                     Facebook   Twitter
          Instagram                           Website

Saved, Cuffed, and Seduced, will re-release in ebook and print paperback formats 
19th December 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~*~*~*~
What I need you to know... I was given an ARC of Saved to read, so that I could give an honest review of the book. I was not paid to say anything, and everything stated above is my honest opinion! 
~*~*~*~

Friday, December 22, 2017

Unmistaken by Lyz Kelley #BookReview

Do you remember when I reviewed the books in Lyz Kelley's Elkridge Series for you? No? Okay. Do yourself a favor, and get familiar with the books, and read them. Everyone one of them. Yes? Good. Well, I just finished the latest release in the series, a Christmas special. You know what I am going to say, right?

Go get this book. Read it. Read every word of it. Get to know Ethan and Noelle. Find out their story. Get another glimpse into Elkridge. Just do it.

I am not even joking. I love these books. I love these characters. I love these stories. I love this town. Love. Love. Love. I wish I could move to Elkridge. I HATE snow. I would pretty much rather die, than live in a place where it snows (I have five years spent in Buffalo, NY, for this deep hatred of all things snow), but I would happily live in Elkridge (if it were a real place).

Trust me, this latest addition to the series does not disappoint. Not even slightly. Once I started reading it, I did not want to put it down. It is definitely another page turner. It will pull your heartstrings, entertain you, and keep your attention. 

Keep reading to find out more about this latest story, find out where to get a copy of your own, find out where to get copies of the previous books, learn more about the entire series, and to learn more about the fabulously talented Lyz Kelley.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this more recent release. Do you love Elkridge as much as I do?! 


Unmistaken (an Elkridge Christmas Novel) by Lyz Kelley
Release Date: 20th December
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
#UnmistakenTour



Synopsis
Can two souls to save each other in this festive, second-chance, small town fairy tale. Doctor Ethan Brennan wants to ignore Christmas. With the anniversary of his wife and child’s death looming, he's buried himself in his work. Hopeless romantic Noelle Conroy returns home for the holiday’s only to find no where to stay. When the blizzard leaves Noelle snowbound in Ethan’s cabin, he starts to open up to her magic—but is love enough to overcome a tragic past?

Buy The Book
Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Meet the Author
Award-winning author Lyz Kelley resides in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. She’s a lover of board games, gardening, and painting, a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob. She loves writing about strong women who have endured challenges and the men who enrich their lives.
A healing love is at the heart of her book series. Creating wounded yet amazing characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—is what gives her joy. Lyz is pleased to share that joy through her masterfully written stories.
To keep tabs on her award-winning novels, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Members receive an exclusive copy of Regrets, (the prequel to the Elkridge Series), learn about thoughtful giveaways, and get a sneak peek at upcoming releases. Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com

 Facebook     Twitter    Pinterest    Instagram



Why would I want to read the Elkridge Series?  Each book in the Elkridge series is a piece to a puzzle—a suspenseful mystery involving the murder of a small-town sheriff. You get six contemporary romance books to figure out the mystery and a bunch of happy ever after (HEA) endings. Two novels in this fiction series—Blinded and Orphaned—are award-winning romance books.

Where is Elkridge, Colorado?  Elkridge exists only in my mind. On any given day, I can stop at River Creek CafĂ© for Jenna's fresh baked cinnamon rolls, or shop for a birthday present at Mara's Blooms, or get my nails done at Kym’s nail salon. Sitting in the park eating lunch, I can watch the kids play and hear the latest gossip from neighbors. Later, if I want, I can stop at Mad Jack’s to hear a local band play and get some dinner. Elkridge is a great small town where the sun shines 360 days a year and people do their best to make ends meet.

Would you tell us about your writing process?  It takes me awhile to write each stand-alone story because I am passionate about creating the very best stories for my readers. These contemporary romance books have complex plots and sub-plots and include suspense romance threads, with deep emotional women’s fiction elements, humor and even a bit of quirkiness. I’m so excited to see the 5-star ratings because it means I’ve created the ideal mix to provide readers with a few hours of enjoyment.

Other Books in The Series


Blinded - Buy Here








Spurned - Buy Here
Abandoned - Buy Here









Orphaned - Buy Here








Exposed - Buy Here








Rescued - Buy Here


~*~*~*~
What I need you to know... I received an ARC of this book to read and give an honest review of. I was not paid to say anything, and everything I say is my honest opinion.
~*~*~*~

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Last One #UseYourWords

Welcome to December's Use Your Words. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


My words are:
double digits ~ injured ~ company ~ taping ~ cloves ~ handwriting

They were submitted by:
https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/ (Thank you, Tamara, for such interesting words!)

I had a few different ideas on how to use these words. If I am honest, I most wanted to use them to write another installment of Stable Layne. Do you remember that?! You guys are beyond due for another installment. However, I already have a plan for that. I want to gather all the parts together into one post, so you can easily catch up, and then start gradually adding to it. So, I decided to stay on course with that plan.

I first wrote a poem using the words, but I have shared so much poetry lately, that I did not want to force another one on y'all. I promise this will not become a poetry blog. Though, would that really be the worst thing?! Poetry is one of my biggest passions.

I also considered having my friend HUZ give me questions based on the words. I just know he is super busy this time of year, and did not want to bother him. So, I finally decided to do a reveal post of sorts. I have pondered ever word, and come up with some detail about myself/my life, that is not common knowledge, and I am going to reveal them for y'all.

I remember turning ten. I thought it was so amazing that I was FINALLY going to be in the double digits. I think everyone gets excited over double digits eh?! This is probably the most embarrassing thing I am going to reveal. So, I had older cousins growing up. Actually, I was kinda the baby. Not entirely the baby, because my cousin Mathew was the official baby, but I was still a bit younger than my other cousins, but quite a bit older than Matt Matt. So, suffice it to say, I was always tagging along with my cousins, and I probably should not have done most of the things I did, at least not as young as I did them. Not long after I turned ten, those magical double digits, my cousins had convinced me to have sex. Yes, I am not even kidding. Now, as a nearly thirty-five year old, I am cringing at the thought of this. At ten, I was totally unable to see the flaws of this plan. So, my cousin helped me get ready, then I went into their bedroom, and their friend was sent into the room, and we were locked in there alone. Now, I do not remember what was said afterward, as to what happened. I cannot remember any of that. I do remember what happened in the room. We talked. He was so sweet. He was older than me, by probably three years, maybe more. He was a cool guy. I remember him telling me that  this was stupid, and he didn't know why he agreed to it. I remember he talked about his sister. That was it. We talked. A lot. It was cool. We left the room. Life went on. Looking back now, I am so grateful he was such a great guy. I am so grateful we did not do anything stupid that night. I was so naive. I think, at ten, I thought I knew it all. I knew nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

I have been injured so many times in my life. Most recently, I fractured my right wrist. I do not recommend fracturing your dominant wrist/hand/arm. It was AWFUL. I mean truly, genuinely awful. However, the most injured I have ever been, was when I was sixteen. I got hurt during karate. I actually broke my big toe, and basically shattered my bones in foot. It was bad. It hurt. I did not say a word. I finished that practice, went home, did my homework, and went to school the following day. It was not until I got home that next day, that I finally complained. Pamela (my adoptive mom) had me take off my shoe, and my foot was purple and black and swollen. She immediately took me to the hospital, and x-rays confirmed the injury. I was put in a boot and given permission to wear sneakers at school. That was basically the best thing ever, since I attended a private school, and had to wear leather dress shoes daily. I really did a number on my foot. It took nearly two years and one surgery, for it to fully heal. The thing that isn't so common knowledge about my injury? I broke my foot, by kicking my sparring partner in his shin. I was a pretty new karate student, and he was way more advance, so when I went to perform a kick that I barely knew how to do, he was skilled in blocked the kick on habit. Bare feet are no match for a shin. Why was I kicking him? Well, I was sixteen and he was in his twenties, and had just casually told me he wished my gi (karate uniform shirt, held closed by the belt) would pop open. He wanted to see my boobs. Like really? I don't know. It made me mad and I kicked. I should have just punched him.

I have had several dreams over the years. I think the one I had the longest was to be a lawyer. It is probably the one I came closest to achieving, before I decided I just did not have it in me, to take on our legal system on my own. That is another story entirely. However, another dream I had, that I sometimes reconsider, and try to figure out how to make it happen... I wanted to open a club. A multi-level entertainment club. I then wanted to turn the club into a company, once I had enough money saved up. I was not sure exactly how far I would take it. In one version of my plan, I would get my law degree in either entertainment or contracts. I wanted to have karaoke be a part of one of the levels, and I figured if anyone was really good, I could sign them, and help them make it huge in the business industry. My goal was never to be rich. I just wanted to really have fun and help talented people make it huge. It was a pipe dream. It changed a few times over the years, but it all boiled down to me being involved in the movie industry, and being able to see concerts whenever I wanted. I love music, and being involved in the music industry seemed awesome. I guess, in a way, it still seems awesome. I have really only ever shared this with one friend. I had such a detailed plan. I even had a name for the club, that would eventually lead to me starting the company. 

So, taped was probably the hardest word to come up with a tidbit for. I was struggling and struggling. I think it was because I was so focused on the thought of video or audio being taped. Then, just when I was about to give up, I remembered something. So, I have a large chest. I always have. Whether I am fat or skinny, my chest has always been large. I think now, at thirty-five, I am pretty comfortable with it. However, there have been times when I struggled with it. Mostly, struggling with being embarrassed at how large my chest is, and a few times, I struggled with getting comments about them. So, I went through a phase that lasted for about a year, where I taped up my chest. I used ace bandaged and medical tape and masking tape. I taped them up as tightly as I could, and tried to wear tops that did not bring attention to my chest. I am not even sure if it really did any good. In my mind it helped, and I guess that is all that really mattered. However, I do not recommend doing this. It hurt. It took me a solid year to feel normal again, after I stopped taping them down. They were constantly sore, and bras did not fit quite right for a while afterward. I think I probably taped them up to tightly. It was just all kinds of bad. However, once I quit taping them down, I seemed to just feel comfortable with my chest afterward. I now have zero issues with them. They are part of me, plain and simple.

This tidbit isn't so much of a secret, as it is just a tidbit. Looking back on my childhood, a few people really stand out in my memories. One of these people is my Aunt Helen. Now, I think she may have actually been my great aunt, I am not entirely sure. I just know that she was Aunt Helen. I have so many memories of her. I loved that woman. I still love that woman. I hope she is in Heaven right now, smiling down, as I type this. She gave me so many little bits of knowledge, and they have all stuck with me. I am especially fond of my memories of helping her in the kitchen, and eating her amazing goodies. She made the BEST chocolate covered pretzels. I have eaten a lot over the years, and NONE have ever been as good as hers. I have no clue what she did that made her special, but they were amazing. She is also the reason that I always make sure I am wearing good underwear when I leave the house. She is also why I feel guilty, any time I leave home, and I am looking less than my best. She is also the reason I have been searching through the gazillion ham recipes on the Internet lately. I want to make a ham for Christmas, but I want to make it the way she did. I obviously have no clue how she made it. I do remember helping her stuff cloves into little holes all over the ham. So, I have been searching for a recipe that involves cloves. It is difficult, because many also include pineapple, and Chad hates pineapple. Nonetheless, it has been nice searching. I quietly ask her in my head, is this one good, Aunt Helen? Think it will be half as good as yours? Then I tell her that I doubt any will be as good as hers. I think that may be because everything my Aunt Helen did, she did with love. She was the embodiment of love. I miss her.

I thought about just telling you guys about how much I hate my handwriting, but I thought that might be the easy way out. I really do hate my handwriting. What is worse, in this digital age, I think my handwriting is getting even worse. However, I thought of a better tidbit to share. So, my dad was big on discipline. I will not get into a debate on the goodness or badness of his discipline techniques. I survived, that is all that matters. However, I will admit, that as a kid, I did everything I could to avoid being disciplined by him. Unfortunately, that did not always entail simply avoiding getting in trouble. So, on occasion, notes were sent home with me from school, informing him of my bad behavior. Now, at the time, I really did not think I had done anything too bad, but looking back now, I cannot help but think that Gigi better not ever even think to do some of the things I did. Especially, how I had worked hard with my dad on my writing and learning my alphabet, and somehow had perfected his handwriting. Specifically his signature. So, my entire fourth grade year and a small portion of my fifth grade year, I never gave him the notes sent home. I simply signed his signature and called it a day. It worked so well. It was actually awesome. Until I had to tell my dad one day, that I was no longer allowed to participate in the student government, and he demanded to know why. Well, had he actually received the note that had been sent home the previous day, he would know about the in school suspension I had received for a huge fight I had participated in on the playground. I would have then been able to tell him, they did not feel that fighting was behavior befitting a member of the student government. Yeah, that really blew up in my face. Suffice it to say, I have never ever forged my dad (or any ones) signature since. If you ask my dad, I am probably still in trouble for that stunt, and I am nearly thirty-five. Trying to avoid little bits of discipline here and there, I really got myself into trouble beyond anything I could have imagined. I guess the good part is, I did learn a valuable lesson. 



So, like it or not, you know me just a bit more now. I am very curious, did any of these words bring to mind a tidbit about yourself? I would love to know, if you are willing to share in the comments! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! Do not forget to check out all the other posts in this month's Use Your Words roundup!!


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

La Fin #PoetryCollaboration

Welcome to December's Poetry Collaboration. This month's theme is endings. Considering this is the last month of 2017, I feel that this theme is quite appropriate. I hope you enjoy the poems my fellow bloggers and I, have created for you all to enjoy!




Poem 1: La Fin

Last day together.
Almost to much pain to bear.

Finally realizing it is over.
Internally praying you change your mind.
Never ready for this goodbye.

Poem 2: Endings

Everyone must come to an end, they say.
Nobody is every truly prepared for the end.
Despair and sadness are usually felt.
Incredible strength can come from it.
Next doors open can be better than previous.
Growth and healing are welcomed.
Strengthened bonds can grow.

Poem 3: Endings part deux

Emotions running wild.
Never-ending stream of tears.
Doubts filling your brain.
Inescapable worries and fears.
Nagging feelings of failure.
Getting weighed down by the feeling of loss.
Sadness seeping into your soul.

Poem 4: Untitled

We both knew this day would come.
We had talked about it often.
I am not sure either of us believed it would finally happen.
I am not sure either of us are truly prepared.
I am torn between wanting to accept the inevitable fate,
or try to prolong it a bit more.
I feel like either way, I am going to hurt.
I love you with a love so deep, I cannot find its end.
I just know that we aren't good for one another.

I never could quite understand this about us,
and that is probably why I have fought our end so long.
One one hand, we are perfect for one another.
Our love is deep and real.
Our passion is undeniable.
Our connection and bond is profoundly strong.
We are a match made in Heaven.
On the other hand, we are terrible for one another.
I have hurt you deeply, without even meaning to.
You have hurt me so deeply, I thought I would die.
Even the simplest of discussions, between us,
can turn into the most heated argument.
We can rarely agree on anything.
Your wants are the exact opposite of mine.

I would die for you, without even a moments thought.
In my heart, I know you would do the same for me.
Nobody else will ever make me feel the way you do.
Nobody else will ever bring me to the heights of passion,
you've delivered me to.
Nobody will ever love you as deeply as I do.
Nobody will ever be able to replace you for me.
I am confident you will never find a replacement for me.

Despite the good,
despite the bad,
despite the pleasure,
despite the pain,
despite it all.
The day has come,
for us to say goodbye,
and for our story to end.
There will be no more us.
There will be no more dates.
There will be no more passion.
There will be no more arguments.
There will be no more debates.
There will simply be no more.
Our ending has come.
Our fate has been sealed.
It is over.
Farewell.
Good bye.

So, there you have it. My contribution to this month's poetry collaboration!! Be sure to check out what all the other bloggers created for your enjoyment!! 



Karen of Baking In A Tornado



Dawn of Cognitive Script

Monday, December 11, 2017

Celebrate Good Times #BlogWithFriends

Welcome to December's Blog With Friends roundup!! This is my first month participating, but this is a regular monthly roundup. Each month, a theme is chosen, and the participating bloggers create blogs featuring the chosen theme. This month's theme was celebrate!! 



My birthday is in January, and I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I have specifically been thinking about how to celebrate it. So, when I saw this month's BWF theme, I immediately knew I needed to participate. It is slightly ironic, that I am choosing to write a post on how to celebrate your birthday, since I have never truly celebrated mine. I have done things a handful of times, but I have never really gone all out, or celebrated at any great length. I have never had a big party, or done anything epic. Most years, I really do nothing at all. 

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to really celebrate my birthday. Each year since, I have really wanted to do something, and celebrate it big time, but I have yet to really do so. Maybe one day. This year, I am turning thirty-five. I have wanted to be thirty-five since I was about eight years old. So, I really should have gotten my ducks in a row, so I could have celebrated this year. This was my year. I am FINALLY going to be thirty-five. 

Well, you will be surprised to know, that I have zero plans for my birthday. None at all. I am going to turn thirty-five quietly, at home, doing the same things I do every day. However, I am hoping the same will not be said for when I turn forty. Yes, I have chosen my fortieth birthday to be the one that I turn into an epic birthday. I have some ideas, some crazy, and some not so crazy. Either way, I really want to celebrate forty.

In the meantime, through my brainstorming for ideas, I have come up with a few ideas, that I thought were actually really cool, and wanted to share them with you all. So, just in case you were looking for ideas, I am gifting to you all five ideas for how to celebrate a birthday.

1. This is the one that I still may try to pull of for my thirty-fifth birthday next month. I don't know about you, but I love to volunteer, and I love to help others as much as I am able. Sadly, I don't get to donate nearly as much money, as I would like to, because my budget doesn't allow for much. I give what I can, but always wish I could give more. Whenever I am able to give, it fills me with great joy. So, I was thinking a great thing to do, is to ask your friends and family to donate to any charity of their choosing, but to do so in your honor, in celebration of your birthday. You could ever choose the charity, if you really wanted to. 

Another variation could be, that they give you food or toys, and you donate those to the local food bank or shelter. You could easily host a small food drive or toy drive. Food banks need food all year long, so even if your birthday isn't near the holidays, the donation will be a blessing. Your family, friends, and yourself will be filled with joy, knowing you helped local families in need, and to me that is a perfect celebration.

2. Do you have a bucket list? I do, and most everyone I know does. Well, you could create a special bucket list, or simply choose a few items on your bucket list, and spend your birthday crossing things off the list. It could be something simple like taking a cooking class, or something major like visiting New York City. It will definitely make for a memorable experience, plus you will feel like you have accomplished something awesome. 

This is the option that I am most considering for my fortieth. I really want it to be a memorable experience. Since I really want to include others in my birthday celebration, I have contemplated how to do that with this option. You could pick a few friends to include, and come up with a group bucket list. You can each add an item or two to the list, and then work together to complete the list. You could also do individual lists, and be supportive of one another as you complete the list. The birthday girl/guy, could create the entire list, and the friends can just be super awesome, and put themselves at the birthday person's mercy, and complete their list together. 

There are tons of options for how to pull it off, and as a group, it should be easy to decide on what works best for all involved. One other variation, that I am seriously considering... Now, keep in mind... We named Gigi by pulling pieces of paper from a hat.... You could write bucket list items on pieces of paper, put them in a hat, decide on a number, and draw that many pieces of paper from the hat. The items pulled from the hat will create the bucket list that you all complete. This option has the most potential for a crazy bucket list, but the unknown element definitely adds for more fun and excitement. 

3. Is by far my least budget friendly option. It is also the option that I am least likely to ever do, unless I win the lottery. You can pick a place you want to visit, and plan a vacation there. Invite your friends to join you. You could even rent out a house, rather than stay in a hotel. Rather than a destination wedding, have a destination birthday. You  could even pick some place local, but choose an awesome resort or hotel,  and pretend you are some place far. 

There are plenty of ways to save money, while traveling, and if you plan far enough in advance, you could pull off a very affordable vacation. I strongly recommend searching on Living Social and Groupon. You may just be surprised what awesome deals they have on vacation destinations. I am a bit spoiled here in California, and live near some totally awesome vacation locations. I am constantly seeing surprisingly affordable deals on Living Social and Groupon. I am actually hoping to take advantage on a deal for Tahoe in the near future. Gigi REALLY wants to spend time in the snow, and I see deals for stays in Cabins during the winter, and have decided it would probably be an amazing experience. 

This option would be fun with your friends, or without. I think we often put off doing things we really want to do, which is probably why bucket lists have become so popular. You deserve to enjoy life, and to take advantage of the things you really want to do. So, why not pick a place you have always wanted to go, and just go there! Celebrate your birthday while you are there. Honestly, depending on where you go, you could end up with an amazing birthday feast! Just a quick side note... If any of you do this option, and you choose Italy, may I recommend a birthday cannoli, instead of birthday cake?! Eating a cannoli in Italy is on my bucket list! The older I get, the less I like sweets, but I do not think I will ever outgrow my love for a yummy cannoli!! 

4. This option that I am giving you, is one that over the last few weeks, I have really become obsessed with. I am seriously thinking I will be doing it for my next birthday (not the one coming up in January, but my thirty-sixth one coming up in 2019). It is similar to my previously presented bucket list idea, but slightly different. Rather than completing a list on your birthday, or the few days surrounding your birthday, you complete it during the entire year. Maybe pick one thing per month, or possibly make a list of items, one for each year you have been alive. Then you utilize that year to do it. Each time you complete an item, you can celebrate, and it will be like celebrating your birthday for an entire year. You can do a bunch of different things, or maybe the same thing multiple times.

I was thinking about doing one 5k race every month. If for some reason I cannot find a local 5k one month, I could simply do two the following month. That way, I will complete twelve 5k races, to celebrate the fact that I lived to be thirty-six. Another idea I had, was to pick one healthy thing, and assign it to the month, and I do that thing every day that month. Maybe January could be sit-ups. So, every day in January, I would do thirty-six (my age) sit-ups. 

You could also simply pick a goal, and work all year long on that goal. You could get your friends involved, by finding friends that would like to achieve the same goal as you, and you all work all year to complete it, or even each pick an individual goal. I was thinking I could select lose 36 pounds, and have the be my goal. The only reason I am not picking this option for this upcoming birthday, is because I really want to involve my friends, and I fear it is simply too short of notice for this birthday. If you do want to do this option, I think it is a good idea, to run the idea by your friends a bit in advance. That way you can all prepare, and be ready for a year of working towards your goal.

5. Do you like learning new things, or becoming better at something you are passionate about?! I definitely do, and one of the things that I really want to improve at, is cooking. So, I recently thought of this idea, and it is definitely something I want to do for one of my upcoming birthdays. Gigi is only four now, and I want to save this for when she is a bit older.

Gigi loves to help in the kitchen. I actually enjoy cooking, though I could definitely use some improvement. So, I had this crazy idea.... I want to get a few of my friends and their kids, to take some cooking classes with Gigi and I. I did a search, and there are several local places, that offer cooking classes, in a more relaxed manner. So, basically, you can take these classes, and not have the end goal of becoming a chef. It is great for Mommy/Daddy and me dates.

So, since my birthday is in January, I thought my friends, our kids, and myself, could start attending classes a few months in advance. Then we could create a menu, and prepare our dishes, and come together on my birthday, and have a potluck meal, containing dishes we all prepared with our kids, utilizing the skills we learn in our cooking classes. I think it would be fun and yummy.

I like this option, because it includes my friends, our kids, yummy food, and self improvement. It would not even need to be just cooking.... You could take classes on carpentry or painting or sewing. The options are endless. Depending on the class you take, would depend on how you celebrate in the end. Maybe you all create art pieces, and do an exchange at the end. Maybe you all build things, and exchange them. All sew a quilt, and do a quilt exchange. Tons of different options. The best part, will be having fun together.

Also, you could really have a lot of fun with the cooking class/big potluck feast option. You could create a menu using different countries. You could assign everyone a different country, and they will bring a dish that is popular in their assigned country. You could choose something everyone loves, and have everyone bring that dish, made their own favorite/special way. So, thinking Macaroni and Cheese, and everyone brings their own version. Do you know how many variations there are of dishes?! 

So, there you have it. Just a few ideas on how to celebrate your birthday. The possibilities are endless. I am still trying to pick something for this year. I had actually thought about doing a movie night. Picking a few of my favorite movies, having friends over, wearing our jammies/comfy clothes, and eating movie snacks. Unfortunately, our house is tiny, and it just wouldn't work. It is definitely an idea I will revisit, if we ever move into a bigger house.

For now, I am just trying to think of something cheap and simple, and at the end of the day, I realize I will probably celebrate turning thirty-five by doing absolutely nothing.

I am curious though... Our of all your birthday celebrations, which has been your favorite?! What did you do?! Tell me all about it!



Do not forget to visit these other AWESOME blogs, and see what they are sharing with your, as we all join together to CELEBRATE our latest Blog With Friends round up: 


Karen of Baking In A Tornado

Dawn of Spatulas On Parade

Tamara of Part-Time Working Hockey Mom
Project Name: Elf on the Shelf

Think in English

Lydia Richmond of Cluttered Genius

Rabia of The Lieber Family blog

Melissa Robinson of My Heartfelt Sentiments

Rambling Outlet #UseYourWords

Welcome to May's Use Your Words round-up! This is how it works: participating bloggers chose four to six words or short phrases for anot...