The Almond Company’s Almonds. It’s Like A Treat Bag For Humans!

Like every family, we have many different tastes. We range from Lizzie and Brian who like most things and me and Antwan who dislike most things. William and Kaleb are in the middle.  But, in my determination to get an honest review of my latest product, I didn’t explain to the youngest three what they were about to try. I simply said “Here, try this!” and for once in their lives, they just followed the direction without asking questions! Brian and Kaleb, however, knew what they were trying. But, you know what? They all liked it!

Including Antwan!  I think he was just as surprised as I was, haha.

California Crown Cinnamon flavored almonds. It seems like that would be for a very specific palate but, apparently not because each and every one of the Parkers was asking for more.

I heard comments like “I like the cinnamon!” and “These are good!” and in the words of a big kid, also known as my husband, “Gimme, Gimme.”

I wouldn’t recommend eating them around dogs, though, because if your experience is like mine was, your dogs (and other people’s dogs) will think the shiny bag is a treat bag for them, not you. 🙂

                                                               Hey! Are those treats??


As a devoted, lifetime “nut of any kind” avoider, I held out as long as possible to try these. Actually, it’s possible that I’m just now about to try one, for the sake of the post. For the record, this is no reflection on the almonds from the good people of The Almond Company, this is a reflection on me and my ridiculousness!

Ok, it turns out that they are really good! The cinnamon taste is totally yummy and distracted me from the fact that I was deliberately eating an almond. 😉

So, if you want to satisfy your family, your friends, yourself (or apparently, your dogs) you can get these cinnamon flavored almonds here! And, if cinnamon isn’t your thing, there are a bunch of other options.  I might have to try the chocolate coated almonds next because chocolate. 🙂

And a big thanks to Candy from geekmamas for keeping me hooked up with yummy stuff to try!



These Are Not Scruffy Looking!

In an effort to be a creative and fun mommy, I ordered a Star Wars ice tray! I thought we could experiment and put different things in it.  And, we did. 🙂  I thought we’d start with ice but naturally, my two youngest had other ideas. 🙂

You can click here to watch a short video of their explanation! 😉  —Applesauce Star Wars since I haven’t successfully added it into the post yet, haha. Sadly, the force is not with me…

(I take it back! I think it worked but I’m leaving the link in, just in case.)

Star Wars Applesauce-style? There is a great disturbance in the force!

Then Lizzie wanted to make hard candy. I had no idea how but that’s when I discovered that my girl actually knows how to make it. It started with sugar and water brought to a boil. She did it all herself except for when she left me in charge of watching the pot of boiling water while she played the xbox for a bit. 🙂 She instructed me to let her know when it turned yellow. I did and she got back on the job.

Much to my surprise, it really did turn into hard candy! Millenium Falcon shaped hard candy that would have made Han Solo proud! Apparently, we have 5 minute crafts to thank for that. 🙂

Step 1: Boil sugar water.

Step 2: Pour it in and then let it sit.

Step 3: Remove your super cool candy from the mold.

Step 4: Feel very proud of yourself. 🙂

She was the learner, now she is the master….

No one has been interested in making Star Wars ice….except for me. But, it has definitely made my Cherry Coke look way cooler.

They were however willing to play with it.

Now Lizzie has ordered soap base with her allowance so there will soon be Star Wars soap in our future! I DON’T have a bad feeling about that…. 😉


Adagio Puts The Geek In The Tea.

When Candy from geekmamas gave me some Adagio Tea to try, I was definitely on board. Not just because I like tea but I also like geeky tea like the tea from Adagio fandom signature blends.
There are so many fun options that cover countless fandoms and you can even purchase
samplers of some of the blends to get an idea of what you like.

So the teas that we got to try were hot tea samples from their Harry Potter inspired collection, Magic Potions!

The tins have fun names and descriptions of the potions like Felix Felicis which would give you one perfect day. Then there was Veritaserum that would “force the drinker to answer all questions put to them truthfully.” For some reason, none of my kids wanted to drink that one, though…

In Emily style, I made a production to get the kids enthused. My three youngest and I went to our favorite thrift store and I told them to pick out  mugs to drink their tea. I picked out three more for my oldest son, my husband, and myself. I even picked out a festive beer mug for Brian to use. It turned out to be a terrible thing to try to drink hot tea out of because it stays really, really hot. But, I stand by my decision! (And not just because there are no returns, ha.)

Lizzie wanted to add food coloring!

So we had our little tea party the other night. The kids loved picking out which tea they wanted and making it with loose tea bags.

The tea itself just looks cool, I don’t know any other way to say it. I didn’t know that tea could look pretty but it really does.


So this was the night that William, Antwan, and Lizzie discovered that they didn’t really like hot tea. 😉

But, it was also the night that Kaleb discovered that he didn’t dislike tea as much as he thought!

As we brazenly passed the tea mugs around with no concern for the germs we were sharing (I assume the magic kills germs), we discovered there were a wide range of tastes to these teas from heavier to lighter.

I drank my Veritaserum without any sweeteners because I’m a purist (or lazy) but Kaleb found that he liked his Pumpkin Potion even better with some honey. And Brian added some sugar to his Beerbutter tea. So with a little tweaking, you can find a good fit for everybody, except maybe kids who are more partial to slushees. 🙂


My Son Wants Me To Forget.

It’s no secret that we have been struggling with William. It seems like the last few weeks, months, years…it’s been one thing after the other.

Recently, he robbed me of my first ever mom break when he got himself kicked out of camp. I won’t go into the details but I will say that it was dumb and all his fault. It wasn’t just a break for me. It was a chance to breathe. It was a chance to reassess. It was a chance to reclaim my sanity. Or try, anyway. 😉 But, it wasn’t meant to be and Lizzie and Antwan headed to camp just as William was heading home.

And, I resented his presence. I hate to say that and I hate even more that it was true. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could be a bounce back mom. But, I was just mad. It’s times like this that I know that I’m failing at my goal of being like my mom. She never made me feel anything but wanted, despite the fact that I’m sure that I wore her out at times. Granted, I never got myself kicked out of camp, ha, but still.

Anyway, when Antwan and Lizzie came home, Antwan, who clearly had been thinking about it, was ready for me. He took the first opportunity to lecture me. He told me that we should let go of the past. He said we should forgive and forget. He said that if I stayed mad at William that one day when he was grown up, he wouldn’t come visit. (Antwan blows me away, by the way.)

I tried to take his advice. Even though, I wasn’t ready to completely forgive and forget, I did try to soften. I was successful, too. I know because way too often when I let my guard down, William decides it’s safe to come after me. So, he did.

I soon found myself sitting on my recliner as William stood at the front of the hallway, refusing to go to bed. He was determined to speak his mind. Since speaking his mind didn’t include a lot of behavior owning, I wasn’t keen on it. He also was choosing to do this on the only night that Brian works. So, as I watched my Emily time slip away, I felt powerless and frustrated. I alternated between trying to ignore him so he would go and taking the bait and arguing back.

Then he referenced Antwan.

It was clear quickly that Antwan had also been lecturing his older brother when William said “Antwan said we should let go of the past!” He added “If an 11 year old can do that, why can’t a 27 year old?”

That hung in the air for a moment as I processed the fact that my 15 year old son had just called me 27.  Then he said “I mean a 29 year old.”

Wait, what? I was really confused about whether he was confused or whether he was making an oddly timed joke. Sadly, I was too stubborn to make eye contact and figure it out. In hindsight, I really missed the opportunity to end the argument in sitcom style. 😉

Eventually, he went to bed, right before Brian got home, of course.

Things haven’t really gotten any better since then. There’s been a couple other issues since then. We’re actually dealing with something pretty bad right now. But, I’m trying to cling to the fact that my troubled son who knows darn well that I’m not 29 was willing to lie about my age (just like I do!) in the middle of a fight. Apparently, that’s the line he won’t cross, haha.

That’s something, right?

So, I guess we’ll just keep on keeping on. Because that’s really the only choice. Maybe next time he will tell me how thin I am! 😉

We can also still rock the selfie. 🙂

Brian Is Redecorating Like A Super Hero!

Brian is a man who needs a hobby. When he comes home from work after a day of dealing with customers who are often less than polite, he wants to be mentally stimulated. I guess he needs to know that he is something besides Brian the store manager. Now me, after a day of momming and animal wrangling, I could sit down in the recliner and stare mindlessly at the tv until I find the energy to stand up and go to bed. More than once, I have opened my laptop with the intent to type and have my own little moment of “I’m more than mom!” But, I’m often too tired and fall asleep with my hands on the keys. I wish that was a joke. 😉

Anyway, when Brian finds a hobby, I encourage it. Either because I’m a loving wife or because I don’t want him to wake me up from my recliner nap with his complaints about being bored. 😉 It could be either one…but, mostly, the loving wife part! His latest and greatest hobby is by far, well, the greatest! Modge Podge! Not just any modge podge but nerdy modge podge! With a little modge and a bunch of comic books, he is turning our living room into a super hero/sci-fi living room. One trash can at a time.

Now I didn’t want a trash can in our living room because I thought correctly that it would just be one more trash can that I would have to empty. But, it’s The Flash so who cares? 😉

And, yes, the can gets filled with trash almost as fast as he runs! (See what I did there?)

So basically, Brian will modge podge anything that he can get his hands on.

As evidenced by the Superman coffee table, Batman and Captain America end tables, Teen Titan coasters and canvas (that less geeky people might paint on), Doctor Who storage box, Scarlet Witch and Vision lamp shade, and Star Trek clock that currently reside in my living room. 🙂


Lizzie took this picture and it was her opinion that Angel the cat should also be represented. 🙂

This was obviously just an opportunity to show off Brian’s skills, but seriously, he’s pretty good, isn’t he? 🙂

So he has many plans for the kitchen cabinets when we finally buy a house. I’m ok with that as long as I finally have my Batman bathroom. For the kids, sure, for the kids, 😉

Adventures In Not Eating The Food

I’m not an adventurous eater. We all know this. Well, anyone who has gone out to eat with me knows this. 🙂 I’m not an overly healthy eater, either. Before the kids showed up, Brian and I had many conversations about how we wouldn’t pass it on to our kids. The good news is Brian is adventurous.  So our party line was always going to be “When you’re grown up like Mommy, you can eat whatever you want, but while you’re a kid, you need to eat healthier like Daddy.”  And, it worked. Of course, William and Kaleb had already established their eating habits. But, Lizzie was a great success. She will try anything. I have vivid memories of hiding my veggies in my pasta to trick myself while she picked them up and popped them in her mouth. I offered them all many things that I wouldn’t eat and praised them for being a better eater than me. Even Antwan (who is, in fact, incredibly picky) will at least try things before deciding. As the girl who only discovered in her 20’s that sour cream is actually really good, despite the name; I can’t say the same. 

Anyway, I have been known to buy veggie pasta for my benefit or drink nutritional shakes to try to supplement my lousy food choices.

I always look for opportunities to make myself healthier while trying to avoid actually putting too much work in. I know, I’m a great inspiration to you all!

So, I was at the store yesterday, being a little more leisurely since the kids weren’t there and I was thinking about getting some bagels. I was bravely considering a deviation from my Cherry Coke and chocolate Pop-Tart ritual. But, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t eat them. They would just sit there.  The cream cheese that I would plan to put on them would expire and the bagels themselves would sit there until they went bad. Just like last time. But, then I saw it. The most beautiful thing I saw all day! Chocolate Cream Cheese!

Now I don’t know if such a beautiful thing has always existed and I just missed the memo, but I was excited, either way. Cut to me excitedly throwing it in my cart with a bag of bagels. By my estimation, this was a healthy choice (Calcium, right??). And I can still have my chocolate fix in the morning! Yay for new adventures.

Ok, maybe, I’ve only been eating it by the spoonful and the bagels remain unopened. And, maybe I just finished my chocolate pop-tart and I’m currently sipping on my Cherry Coke.  But, maybe it’s just because I’m waiting for Lizzie and Antwan to come home from camp so we can do a little taste test together!

Are you buying it?

So what are your vices? What are your healthy choices? Try not to make me look too bad, ok? 😉

Becoming Kaleb’s Friend

I feel the need to write about Kaleb. He came into my life at a point when I wasn’t ready for a teenager.  (To be fair, I don’t think anyone is ever ready for a teenager. ) I did however think I was ready and I did think I knew what I was getting into. Silly Emily!

I spent a lot of time wondering what the heck I was doing and what was wrong with him (as I saw it). There was a lot I didn’t understand.  And, occasionally, a few things I did.

One night, we came to an impass. I tried to make a stand about his grades. It wasn’t the first time he had gotten consequences due to his grades but this night was different. It led to a stand-off of sorts as he tried to leave. I blocked the door to stop him, knowing full well that he could just move me out of the way. He didn’t, though, he was went back to his room. I silently praised myself for not letting him disobey me like that as he climbed out of the windows. Haha. Long story short, he came back, things were weird and I made a decision. (After a lot of advice from a lot of smart people) I backed off. I think there may have been a couple other incidents after and, of course, there were endless conversations with Brian about it, but this was the beginning.

I wanted to micro-manage. I wanted to teach by firm love. I wanted many things but I was only succeeding at making myself crazy. So I backed off.

I broke all the rules and treated him like a friend.  Not on the big stuff, but on the little things. He stayed out later than I ever would have ever been allowed to. I looked the other way as much as possible on the grades. I let go of the idea of him coming to church with us. In return, he made sure to always let me know where he was. He would come to holiday services with no complaints. And, he would even check to see if I had any clothing requests. 😉

I don’t want to suggest that I wasn’t paying attention at all or shirked all mom responsibilities but much to my surprise, the more he felt respected as an equal, the more he respected me as a mom. I guess this is where the whole parenting children with trauma differently thing comes into play.

Somewhere along the line, we got really close. I think so anyway. I started to see him as an amazing young man instead of an angry teenager. But, to be fair, he really was an angry teenager!

And, a couple of weeks ago,  he graduated! And, maybe even more exciting, he was chosen for the Principal’s Leadership Award; a scholarship that he had never heard of and has no idea how he got, haha. Either way, students who have shown leadership to their “peers on and off campus” can receive it. It comes with a small scholarship but I’m most happy about what it says about his character. (It’s something that I already knew, of course.)

Cheering for my son at his graduation ceremony was surreal and I couldn’t have been prouder. I’m proud of us. I’m proud of our family. I’m even a little proud of myself.

But, most of all, I’m very proud of him.

                                                                        From then…

                                                                        To now!