Turning Thirty Seven


Today I turn 37.

I say this so I can recount the year. Put it into perspective. And think about the showing of age:

Late thirties. That is what thirty seven is.

About three years ago I noticed that when I would put on my eyeshadow the whole eyelid would move. It was the first sign I noticed of me getting older. And it was an unexpected one. Eyelids moving? Who knew?

Stray hairs. Then two years ago I started getting a random wiry white hair that would protrude from my chin. I like to think that this started happening two years ago because that is when I first noticed it. And by that time it had grown rather long. Now I search for that beast at every make up session and it is always with great joy when he is eradicated.

Laugh lines. I do not know when these came. They snuck up on me. I remember when my Auntie M took my friend and me to Maui at the age of fourteen. I hate getting my face wet and we were going snorkeling. You can see the odds were not in my favor. The captain tried to cheer me up by saying, “Come on. Smile. Show me those laugh lines.” And I did smile but then he lamented that I had no laugh lines. And it was said with such a sadness that I vowed one day to have my very own laugh lines.

Well, now I do.

And I can now say there’s a lot to be said for remaining stoic.

It is hard to believe, but sometimes the best beauty advice does not come from a boat captain.

Regardless of of those things, the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin. I feel more myself as time passes. And I am looking forward to the years ahead.

What did thirty six mean to me? What did I accomplish at the age of thirty six? Thirty four had me losing weight. Thirty five had me starting a blog. Thirty six I… I got nothin’. So, I better get started on somethin’ so that next year’s question does not result in the same sad answer.

Today will be spent swimming and reading. I still have not decided what I want for my birthday dinner. My husband and kids will be making me my favorite kind of cake: yellow with chocolate frosting. I can’t wait!

As for gifts: I asked for this dress in ivory and my husband purchased this necklace from Etsy two months ago when I asked for it for my birthday. I cannot wait to finally get to wear it!

What do you request for your birthday dinner? Your cake? Do you go out or stay home? I need ideas!

“Hokey Pokey”


I am a klutz. I was a klutz growing up. I am a klutz now.

Enter my worst nightmare: growing up during the roller skating era. This was before rollerblades. Before rollerblades became replaced with scooters. Before scooters became replaced with electric scooters. And this whole time, the bicycle was laughing. This was old school. This was terrifying.

Every single birthday party I went to in my youth was held at the local roller rink.

I would linger in the sitting area while tying my roller skates onto my shaky legs. I would act like staying on the carpet was the most exciting thing to do. It never worked. Some grown up would grow weary of me eavesdropping on their conversation.

“Go out there,” I would be told.

I would make my shuffling way to the rink. Dread settling in my stomach like a day old biscuit that I didn’t want to eat. Each step, a bite scraping on my teeth. A slanted chew. The crumbs of panic sliding down my spine. I would grip the edge of the rink with my fingertips. The walls were made of carpet. Or carpet covered the walls. It mattered not. It provided enough of a texture for the end of my fingertips to grip into the edge. And around I would go.

It never failed.

“Let’s hear it for the birthday girl!” I would be halfway around the rink. My fingernails aching.

“Everyone in the middle!”

I would flatten myself against the carpeted wall. Strobes flashing to the fast beat of my heart.

“EVERYONE in the middle. You! On the wall! Get to the middle!”

One time, I didn’t move. I figured, “What could they do?” Let me tell you what they could do. They will turn on all of the lights. Everyone in the rink will stare at you. Some bored teenager will be sent to pry your fingers from the wall and skate with you to the center of the rink, where they will deposit you into a glaring circle of children. And without fail, “The Hokey Pokey” will begin.

It was easier and less dramatic to just let the inevitable happen. To let go.

And so the festivities would be put on hold as I creeped my way to the circle. Every eye upon me. Cold sweat clinging to my back.

I would finally make it there. And it would begin.

“Put your right foot in.”

My nightmare would pause and I could manage to fumble my way through the familiar song. A beat I could finally follow. A song that told me what to do.

But then it would be over. And just like that, I was in the middle of a tornado of children. Swirling by me. It was no wonder I was a prodigy at “Frogger.” I lived that game from the time I was eight to the time I was twelve.

As soon as I would make my way across the round room of pulsating horror, the party would be over.

Until the next weekend.

I never did get over my terror of the roller rink. But I did grow up. I realized that not loving to roller skate is not a flaw. It is not a social stigma anymore. In fact, if I showed my children a pair today, they would probably laugh. The roller skates to them being silly shoes with old fashioned wheels and nothing more. Not an object of failure. Just shoes. With wheels.

I know that now.

“And that’s what it’s all about.”


* I wrote this in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. . The challenge this week is “moved by music.”

* Pictures of roller skates are from Target’s website. They are very cute…for roller skates.

A Minecraft Party


My son wanted a Minecraft party. They do not make Minecraft party supplies. You have to make them yourself. The very name “Minecraft” even has the word “craft” in it. Here is the problem: My name does not.

A dilemma was born. What is the lazy, uncrafty mom to do?



Attempt to make invitations. In bed. With a glass glasses a lot of wine. While watching the Food Network. Call it done. Send them out and hope the parents think your child made them. (This actually worked out exceptionally well, as several parents called me to tell me my son did a great job on the invitations. Cheers!)





Thankfully, there are many moms out there who are crafty. And they will sell you the things they have made… For a price. I purchased most of the items for my son’s party from Ebay. Unfortunately, most of the items have increased in price by more than 30% since I purchased mine. Bummer!


They are cute, though. And the kids loved the masks.



My good friend, Kellie, taught me how to make candy molds. If I can do this, anyone can. It has to be Merckens chocolate. The Wilson chocolate that you can buy at craft stores is… not my favorite. The Merckens brand is delicious. So good. I actually think it tastes very similar to Lindt’s white chocolate. We have a cake shop in town that sells it. Amazon also carries it. But it is much more expensive there. Check your local area first.

After I finished making the last mold, I licked the bowl. I stood there over my kitchen sink and licked that bowl clean. My family was clueless in the other room. I have good manners like that.

I just melt one small batch at a time in a bowl. I put it in the microwave for thirty second intervals. Stirring in between. Usually it takes one minute. Just stir the bits of chocolate around until they are all melted. Pour the chocolate in the candy mold. Gently tap it to get rid of air bubbles. Refrigerate the candy mold for about thirty minutes. Pop chocolate out. Bag it. Repeat. This is so much fun and the kids love this. I made big white chocolate video game controllers for each kid. In typical Jenni fashion, I made the wrong kind of controller. However, I bet they tasted good, all the same.



For the cake, I ordered a half sheet cake in green with writing on the corners. Then my husband broke up some hershey bars and made a creeper face (this was my idea in my head.) It was touch and go. It was definitely another Jenni DIY project. As in, the kids liked it. I hid it from the adults. We had twenty minutes to make it. It was actually fantastic for the time allotment. I was having a meltdown with the candy bars and the stickers while my sweet husband made the face.



And there you have it. We went to a trampoline park. The kids had fun. The facility cleaned up. Score! This mom went home and had pizza and wine. I thought I would do a post on this in case there were any other uncreative moms out there with kids who want a Minecraft party. In searching for ideas, I ran across so many awesome DIY moms who did amazing parties. I am not that mom. The parties these moms threw (I mean…Wow! Just google it. But then come back here for a dose of reality. And don’t cry.) had me in a panic. A cold sweat. Tears. I knew I was on my own. You are not alone! There is hope! Invest in some hershey bars and wine. Then call it a day! Your kid will love it! (The candy bars, not the wine.)

What have been some themes your kids or yourself have requested? Did you run into the same problem I did? What did you do?