The Ultimate Chick Flick Contest

So, this really awesome thing happened last week. I received 3rd place in the Storymakers First Chapter contest. Remember that? Well, as part of my prize, I received a nifty $15 gift card to the Megaplex Theatres. Very fun! But wait - there's just one problem. The only Megaplex Theatres are in Utah. Hmm . . . since we live in Kansas that's a mighty long trip to watch a movie.

Tonight I was thinking, "What am I going to do with this gift card?" And it hit me like a raging migraine - a contest!

But not just any old contest. Oh no! A Chick Flick contest. But wait, there's more . . .

Not only is it a quest to find the ultimate Chick Flick, but my hubby - the chick flick tolerater, the "I'd rather sleep while you watch the movie" guy - is going to be the judge!

Am I brilliant or what?

So, here's the rules. Please be sure to read and follow them!

1. You must live in Utah if you want to use this gift card. Or know someone who lives in Utah you want to give it to.

2. No Rated R Movies! G, PG, and PG-13 only.

3. To nominate a movie, please leave a comment on this blog with the title and year the movie came out (for example, if you wanted to nominate Sabrina - I would need the year to know which movie version you are nominating). Also, each movie nominated must be available at a local movie rental center. If we can't find it, we can't watch it. In such case, it will be disqualified. All nominations must be received by midnight on Saturday, April 12th, 2008.

4. Each person may nominate up to three movies.

5. On April 15th, I will post a poll with all the movie nominations. This is your chance to vote for the ultimate chick flick. (Hello again - my hubby just pointed out this is tax day! Ha!)

6. When the poll closes, my hubby will watch the top three movies. Then hand down the judgment of which flick was the best.

7. The winner will be announced no later than May 1st (possibly earlier depending on how long it takes my hubby to watch the movies). The winner will be contacted via email and must reply within three days. The winning movie & winner's blog id will be announced on this blog. The gift card will be snail mailed to the winner.

PLEASE NOTE: In the event that a chick flick is nominated more than once (hello, I'm totally sure that's going to happen!), I will keep a list of who nominated each movie. If a movie wins that was nominated by more than one person, all of those names will go into a hat & our one year old will choose the winner.

For your information, the Megaplex Theatres are at the following locations - The District, Jordan Commons, The Junction, The Gateway, and Thanksgiving Point.

Happy nominating, everyone!

LDS Storymakers Conference and Contest

While in Utah, my hubby and I both had the opportunity to attend our 4th LDS Storymakers Writers Conference. It was awesome! We had a blast with all the Storymakers and our friends from AuthorsIncognito.

Some very awesome things happened while at the conference - one of which was my submission Rebound received 3rd place in the First Chapter Contest. Everyone, quick! Turn cartwheels and shout "Yahoo!"

To find out more about what all happened at the LDS Storymakers Writers Conference and to read Rebound, visit our FergusonAuthors website. Be sure to leave me a comment or email after you read Rebound. Enjoy!

A Utah Travel Log

Whew! It's been quite a while since I've posted. I've been in Utah on vacation for the last two weeks. Our family had a fantastic time in Midway. We have a WorldMark timeshare and stayed in one of the condos there. The weather was supposed to be cold and snowy, but turned out to be absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed the indoor pool, played lots of family board games, and watched the Hot Wheels World Race movie more times than I can remember.

We traveled down to Orem several times to visit with friends—all our friends at church, our old neighbors The Gockley's, The Fronk Family, and The Banta Family. I was even invited to attend Enrichment at my old ward. It was fantastic to chat and catch up with everyone.

One day we went to the aquarium with our friends, the Fronk Family. Anna totally loved the huge shark tank. She stood on the ledge with her hands and nose pressed against the glass. Each time a shark swam by, she'd just laugh and giggle! Her favorite shark was the Leopard Shark.

The older kids enjoyed the manta ray tank where you could put your hand into the water and pet the rays.

Can I just say that I'm a chicken? It took me a good five minutes or so to get brave enough to put my hand in the water and touch the rays. Not MJ or Rob though. They rolled up their sleeves as fast as they could, then dove right in. Isaac was a bit more on the cautious side. It's good to see at least one of my kids inherited my common sense!

At the end of our week in Midway, we drove to Sandy and dropped off the kids to our friends Robin and Randy, who were totally brave and volunteered to watch ALL four of my kids while John and I attended the LDS Storymakers conference (more about that in another post).

After getting the kiddos settled, we checked into our hotel then were off again to Orem. I had the opportunity to meet with the GIANT Steps Autism preschool parents and present about stress relief strategies. It was a great workshop. I started out with some facts about stress. Then as a group we talked about how stress affects us and shared ideas of how to overcome the stress of raising kids with special needs. The parents were fantastic and so much fun to talk to. We had so much fun sharing, we went over our meeting time! After the parent support group meeting, John and I attended our monthly Friends of GIANT Steps board meeting. It was nice to attend in person rather than over the phone! This school year is the first time in many years that John and I have stepped back and had other parents step forward to head up the board. I have been super impressed with all the wonderful things this group has put together to benefit the GIANT Steps Autism preschool. They have accomplished so much and each of them deserves a huge pat on the back (along with lots and lots of chocolate!)

After the LDS Storymakers Conference, we stayed with Robin and Randy. Together, our two families had a totally fun Easter. We attended church with them, where some super funny stuff happened. I'll write about it in another post. But let's just say that Rob thinks he found his first true love—less than five minutes after being introduced as a visitor to the Sunbeam class. After church, our friend Kim came to participate in all the fun Easter festivities. The kids (all seven of them—ours and theirs) enjoyed the easter egg hunt. I'm sure that if we hadn't waited until after dinner to start the hunt, the adults would have been re-hiding the eggs a few more times!

Monday, we started our two-day journey back to Kansas City. Now here we are! The kids are back in school with lots of exciting stories about what they did during their spring break. Be sure to check back for pics from our vacation. I should get them up sometime before the end of the week.

Calling All Goddesses . . .

"When the Goddess of Distraction calls, sometimes I've just got to pick up the phone."

- Marcia Menter

Check Out My Totally Cute Tote!

As a writer, I always carry either a paper notebook or my AlphaSmart Dana (pictured above) with me everywhere I go. I used to carry my purse and a brief case, but that was such a pain. On top of that, there just aren't any pretty brief cases out there--and yes, pretty is a big factor for me. Three years ago, Joni Gardine, who is a creative genius, offered to custom design a tote for me to use as both a purse and a brief case. She even designed a nifty cover for my Dana to keep it safe.

Fast-forward three years and I need a new tote. I still absolutely love my old tote and didn't want to give it up. Both Joni and I had moved away from Utah and lost track of each other. I started shopping around, canvassing the stores for something to replace my tote. The only thing that came close was a messenger bag by Vera Bradley. It was totally cute and would have worked but was also totally expensive and, honestly, just not the look I was going for.

So I took a long shot and emailed Joni at the last email address I had for her. Luckily, she still occasionally checked that email account AND was still designing custom bags. Joni sent me out to a few websites to check out fabrics. I loved the Freshcut designs by Heather Bailey. I sent Joni a list of my three favorite fabrics, but told her to be her creative self and make me a totally cute tote. And of course, she came through. Check out my new tote below!

My cute tote! Don't you just love those fabrics?

The inside of the tote. There's a divider to separate my Dana from my planner and other every day things. In the picture, you can see my Dana cover inside the tote bag. On the every day side, there are three deep pockets which I use for holding pens, gum, a little wallet, etc. When I just have my paper note book, I can put a few diapers and some toys on the "writer's side" and Voila! Mommy/Writer on the go!

The new cover for my Dana. Isn't it awesome? You can't tell in the picture, but she quilted the Dana cover.

The inside of the Dana cover - cause you know it has to be stylin' too.

For all of you envious readers out there, Joni has tons of gorgeous designs for purses and totes of all different sizes. If you'd like more info, feel free to email me and I'll send you her email address.

Now, please wipe the drool from your chin before it drips onto your keyboard.

Head Colds, Babies, and Teething - Oh My!

Did you miss me last week? I thought a lot about posting, but was never able to get to the computer long enough to write anything down and actually post it.

This past week, I helped some friends of ours by watching their kindergartner and baby girl, who is just a few months younger than Anna. I enjoyed having their kids over—Rob especially appreciated having extra play mates while his older brother and sister were at school. And Anna was thrilled to have another mini-person to crawl around with. In fact, she was so excited she actually started walking while playing with her little friend! The sad part? Towards the end of the week, both the girls started teething at the same time. Imagine two cranky babies who felt like there wasn't enough Tylenol in the world to make them feel better. Poor chickies.

While we mostly had lots of fun, I had to forgo many of my weekly habits. Such as my trips to Olathe Nutrition for a shake while Rob's at preschool. I missed my girl-chat time with Eddie and Kelly, my nutrition consultants. My family missed that I wasn't able to run day-time errands. We actually ran out of milk and it took me two days to get to the store to buy more. Heaven forbid! MJ was unhappy when she couldn't have her favorite cereals for breakfast. Sorry, no Lucky Charms. How about eggs instead? Oops—did we run out of those, too? Poptarts, anyone??

No only was I busy during the day, our family was swamped with activities at night. Monday night was Family Home Evening, MJ's Brownie meeting, and I had a yearbook committee meeting. Tuesday, Isaac had scouts. While John was at scouts with him, I threw all the other kids into the tub for a little cleaning time, then off for a late bed-time. Wednesday night, I weighed in at Olathe Nutrition for the Biggest Loser Contest . . . then snuck off to Olive Garden for dinner with John (hey, I may not win the competition but after lots of late nights at work on John's end, I just wanted to spend some time with no kiddos and my hubby). Thursday night, MJ had a Dino Show at school. It was very cool. The first grade sang songs and told us all about dinosaurs. Very educational—or at least I think it was. Rob was being a bit cranky and I got to see MJ, but not hear much of the program. Then we come to the absolute ultimate—Friday night. Our elementary school held their Annual Fun Fair. This year's theme was “Leap Around the World”. Quite appropriate as it was held on Leap Day. We dropped Anna off at a babysitters and picked up another little boy, whose dad just had his wisdome teeth taken out and wasn't in the mood for festivities. We had a BLAST! John took Isaac and off they went. I took Rob, MJ, and Karl. We played lots of carnival games, visited with friends, and just had lots of fun, fun, fun. When John and I met back up again, we bribed the kids with cotton candy and loaded them back into the van. It was way, way past bedtime by the time we dropped Karl back off at his house, picked up Anna, and returned home.

So you'd think we'd all sleep in on Saturday, right? Not at the Ferguson home. The kids are up by 7 am, just like clock work. The boys were cranky from lack of sleep, but refused to rest some more. MJ and I went out to run errands, which included stocking up on groceries again. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! John and I wanted to take the kids to play at the park, but the boys just wouldn't co-operate by playing nicely. Instead, we opened the back doors and let the kids run free in the back yard. Sunday brought another beautiful day. Unfortunately, I woke up with the throbbing head cold. John stayed home from bishopric meeting so I could rest. At the last minute, I dragged my pitiful body out of bed in time to pull on clothes, pack my stuff for my Sunbeam class, and joined my family for the last two hours of church. Thank goodness I had prepared lots of activities for my Sunbeam lesson ahead of time. The kids enjoyed learning about the Day and Night. After church, we came back home and I plopped back into bed.

Yes, nuts I know. And think, that was the short version! But hey, at least it kept life interesting. And I know several of you reading this are thinking of your own similar experiences. So tell me—what was your craziest day or week like?