Guest Kasia James on The Milk of Female Kindness

“I bet you’re looking forward to when the baby comes,” a work colleague of mine said to Leslie, who sits next to me, and is hugely pregnant. “Then you can put your feet up, read some books…”

I must admit that I was somewhat gobsmacked by this statement, having a tiny of my own, and knowing exactly how much intensive, hard work it is to bring up a child. To be fair to my co-worker, I myself had very little idea of what it would really be like until I was caught up in the whirlwind of motherhood. I knew that there would be sleepless nights, and nappies would be involved, but it is difficult to understand the sheer physical relentless nature of having a baby around until you do. Or the way that they magnify all emotions: if they are having a bad day, then odds on everyone else will too. By contrast, when they are happy, they don’t hold back, and you can feel yourself bursting with joy.

There were other surprises too, in the way that I was treated by society, which I had not expected. I felt that people were treating me as ‘Just a Mum’, and hence had dropped about 50 IQ points. Marketers treated me as if I had gone from being a complex human being, with varied interests, to someone who’s world had shrunk to nappies, shopping and the state of my post-baby body. It bewildered me, and made me angry. I started to chat to other mothers from around the world (many of whom I met through blogging), and found that the story doesn’t seem to get much better as our children grow.


So ‘The Milk of Female Kindness’ was born, about a year or so after my bub. Women at all stages of life: mothers of young children, of grown up children, and women with mothers, started writing and sharing their honest experiences of what it is really like. How there are complex decisions to be made, and balances to find. The book came together as poetry, short fiction, essays, artwork and interviews. Twenty-eight brave women have been totally honest about their experiences, and I hope that this will at least broaden the discussion about parenting.

I think that one of the most important lessons to come out of compiling the anthology for me was a simple one: there is no right way to parent, and you can only do the best job that you can. Forget all the media pressure. Buying the latest gadget will not make you either happier or a better parent. In the end, it’s about finding your own way through the labyrinth of motherhood.

Get your copy here

The Parenting Season Rocking My World

When our oldest daughter turned three, we welcomed twins into our family. When the twins turned three, our last baby was born. For about six years, our family life revolved around colic, thousands of dirty diapers, playing Thomas the Train on the living room floor, and gallons of coffee.


Moms, you remember these early years, right? If it’s blurry, the disgusting smell of spit-up, the whirling of the breast pump, and the sweetness of those first baby grins might jog your memory. These infant/toddler years are so hectic, yet the hours of rocking crying babies creep by so slowly.

While in survival mode, I got some advice from moms in a different season. We live in a neighborhood where most of the kids are a few years older than ours. When I was sitting on the bathroom floor during those early years, trying to coax twins to use the potty, my neighbors were outside with their elementary-aged kids. When we would see each other at the park, they would mourn the busy-ness of their lives. “I remember those baby days!” they would tell me. “Believe it or not, your life will get even busier.”

Really? Impossible. Their kids were not only old enough to potty unassisted, they were old enough to bathe themselves. Fifth graders could read their own bedtime stories. First-graders could watch an entire movie without getting distracted. Or freaked out by the bad guys. Or freaked out by the squeaky noise their closet door made. These moms could reason with their bigger kids. Their parenting season had to be easier.

But they only said, “Bigger kids, bigger problems.”

Fast forward to this year, the year that has rocked my parenting world.

Our kids are turning 10, 7,7, and 4. All of the sudden, they’re big-kid busy.

Overnight, they’ve developed these huge personalities, they have all these ideas, and they are always going, going, going. They want to try it all: after-school clubs, activities at church, private lessons, and sleepovers with friends. This means I’ve been promoted from chief bottle-washer to swim team taxi, pool party lifeguard, and math-fact & sight-word tutor. Our lives have suddenly become one of those movies stuck in fast-forward.

You know what the difference is? Why this season feels so much more hectic than the early years did? Because the kids now have their own opinions. Organizing their schedules is like arranging the schedules of four unique adults.

The older moms were also right about “bigger kids, bigger problems.” My kids are struggling with learning disabilities, bullying, hurtful friend drama, and real-life disappointments.

Yes, they may be able to tuck themselves in at night, but it’s important for me to be there. This is when they ask the really important questions. I may not be rocking them to sleep, but I’m still in that same rocking chair, now talking about how we know God loves us and why He lets bad things happen.

While I am able to shower with a little more regularity, this season is rocking my world. It’s definitely the busiest of our lives.

I’m sure the puberty years will be easier…

Right, Moms of teens?




Christina Hergenrader blogs at and writes Christian books for women. She lives in Katy, Texas with her husband, four kids, elderly Cocker Spaniel, and surprisingly-slow Greyhound.




My Family’s Favorite Christmas Tradition by Priscilla A. Kissinger

Welcome Priscilla A Kissinger back to PBK!

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the music, the baking, the giving and receiving of presents, the parties and good food—remembering our blessings and why we celebrate.

Most of all, I love getting together with family and friends to celebrate.  If you read my last guest blog on PBOK, you probably figured out how important my family, especially my three daughters, is to me.

In our house, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without some of our long-held family traditions. I worried as my girls grew older and went off to college that some of these traditions might fade away.  Blessedly, they’ve remained just as important to my girls as they are to me.

Some of our traditions have religious meaning—singing “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” as we light the advent candles on the dinner table. Others are a mix of religious and secular—reading the original Christmas story followed by Twas the Night Before Christmas while wearing our new  pjs on Christmas Eve.

One special tradition we’ve followed every year since my girls were in pre-school is making gingerbread houses. From scratch. I’m talking, bags of flour, jars of molasses, Crisco, sugar, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, eggs, oil and a dash of vinegar. Lots of mixing. Getting an arm workout as you roll the dough. Using pattern pieces to hand cut walls, roofs, chimneys, and more. Puffs of confectioners sugar billowing as you add tablespoons of hot water and meringue powder and start the mixer to whip up batches of Royal Icing. Tables splattered with a mix of candies, chocolates, frosting bags with tips. Lots of snacking as you work and Christmas music playing in the background.

Mind you, this isn’t just an afternoon event. I’m talking a long evening or afternoon of baking pieces. Another day of decorating your building sides and creating fir trees from upside down sugar cones, a special tip and lots of green Royal Icing. Another day of “gluing” your houses together and adding the roofs.

In case you haven’t noticed, we take our gingerbread house baking pretty serious.

It all started when I bought a VHS tape entitled “The Magic of Gingerbread Housed with Cheryl Lesh-Maughlin.” It’s a short video that comes with a recipe and pattern pieces you cut out by hand. Little did I know what I was starting when I watched the video with my girls and sparked our love of house building.

What started out as one simple house our first Christmas season


Has morphed into much more. We’ve made gingerbread neighborhoods, complete with a frozen pond and a sleigh train full of toys.


Being avid Chicago Cubs fans, one year we attempted to create a mini Wrigley Field, complete with mini gummi bears as Cubs fans and a sports bar across the street. Yes, for any Cubs fans out there, you’ll be happy to know we included rooftop seating on the bar and a handicap parking space in the lot.



One year we scratched our itch to travel by creating three spots we’d either like to visit or would love to visit again. This turned into a hotel on the Greek shores of Santorini—complete with brown sugar and cinnamon sand, the Roman Coliseum—with crumbled ruins inside, and a pavilion in Guell Parc in Barcelona—multi-colored Nerds candies provided the fabulous colors Gaudi envisioned in his park.



When my girls were younger, you’d probably find a Jasmine or Belle figurine on the front porch.  Now those figurines have been donated or hand-me-downed to cousins. But the fact remains that my girls still remind me gingerbread time is arriving. One might comb Pinterest for ideas. Another might come up with some outlandish design, which means another one has to talk her back to reality.

It’s a lot of work. A lot of hours. In my mind, that means a lot of bonding time. A lot of singing carols together. A lot of laughing as we reminisce.

We used to start early in December. Then we’d have the house to display during the holiday season. The frosting and gingerbread make a great potpourri on the kitchen counter. Then sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Eve we break out a hammer and a butter knife to start chipping away. Yes, Royal Icing dries that hard. I’m talking, cement hard. That’s what makes it perfect for house building.

So it’ll mean another year’s creations demolished and devoured. But the memories we’ll have created will linger. My girls will once again scatter off to colleges and jobs in other states. But the together-time  we shared will be priceless.

To me, it’s the reason for the season—peace, love, and joy. That’s what I wish for you and your family this holiday.

And speaking of your family, do you share any traditions that carry on, no matter how old your kids have grown? I’d love to hear about them!

A001Priscilla A Kissinger is a three-time Golden Heart finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latino flavor. A single mom with three daughters, Priscilla recently earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. During the day she works as an administrator at a major university, and she spends her free time writing, reading, playing tennis, training for half marathons, watching sports and singing karaoke with her family.  You can find out more about her at


When Baby Girl Grows Up by Guest Priscilla A. Kissinger

We welcome Priscilla A Kissinger to the blog today!

As your children age, your role as a parent changes. The parenting tools you once skillfully used grow dull and you quickly try to master new ones.

The easily answered questions they once asked—“Mommy, why do I have to go to school?”—grow tougher—“Which college should I choose?”

The child who once crawled onto your lap to snuggle or cuddle, now gives you a quick wave on her way out the door to meet up with friends.


The babies who depended on you to keep the household running smoothly, pack their bags and take the first step to independence and living on their own.

All three of my girls headed off to colleges that were multiple states and at least a two-day drive away from home. As children in a former military family Baby Girl 1 & 2 were used to moving; and while we stayed in one place for most of Baby Girl 3’s formative years we travel quite a bit, so she’s used to seeing new places.

When Baby Girl 1 headed off, it took me over two weeks to have the courage to walk into her room. And when I did, I laid down on her bed, imagined her there with me, and, teary-eyed, prayed that she was okay.

Baby Girl 2 headed off to the same school as 1, so I wasn’t as nervous about her being all alone so far from home. Yet, I caught myself poking my head into her room and reminiscing. Pretending she was merely out with friends and would be home soon.

Flash forward to Baby Girl 3’s departure. A single parent now, even though I was accustomed to this important rite of passage, all summer I found myself not thinking about that moment when I would drive away, leaving my baby behind. Rather, I talked about how exciting this opportunity would be for her. Frankly, I knew that focusing on what this rite of passage meant for her was probably the only way I’d get through it.

Parenting is tough. We want the best for our children. We want to protect them. Keep them safe. Ensure they’re happy and healthy.

Yet, our kids age and the time comes for us to trust that we’ve prepared them well to go out into this big, scary, and exciting world ready to make their positive mark on it.

The conversation changes from:

“Mommy, I have a boo-boo.”

“Come here, sweetie, and I’ll kiss it all better.”


“Mom, I have a problem.”
“Okay then, sweetie, have you tried problem-solving for a positive solution?”

Then child who couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge and be on her own, calls you up teary and homesick. Stressed about class schedules, commitments, responsibilities, laundry issues, and life choices. While there’s that a part of you that wants to “make it all better”, you know that’s not what your baby needs.

She needs reassurance that she can handle this. A pep talk reminding her of what she’s accomplished and what she is capable of doing. Sometimes she needs a little tough love—“Adult life is hard, but you suck it up and stop whining.” And sometimes, you just get on a plane and fly half way across the country to give your Baby Girl a hug.

Because you’ll always be mommy. No matter what age they are. And couldn’t we all use a hug from a loved one more often than not?


 Priscilla A Kissinger is a three-time Golden Heart finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latino flavor. A single mom with three daughters, Priscilla recently earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. During the day she works as an administrator at a major university, and she spends her free time writing, reading, playing tennis, training for half marathons, watching sports and singing karaoke with her family.  You can find out more about her at



Who’s Afraid of the Homework Monster? by Guest Mom Gayle Cochrane


Who’s afraid of the homework monster? Me! I know I am not alone in this, as I have heard other parents online and in the real world complaining about the amount and difficulty of their children’s homework. When my daughter, Alora, started bringing homework home in first grade, I was shocked by the sheer quantity.  It was supposed to only take 20 minutes per grade level but it never did. In the early grades I was afraid of the spelling monster. She would come home from school with spelling words that were harder than I expected them to be for her age. Yet, by fourth grade, I knew that the real homework monster was going to be math.

Math was not my favorite subject in grade school, but even then I suspected that I was missing out on something cool. People who loved math seemed to know its magic secret. I was surprised and thrilled when Alora proclaimed to everyone that would listen, that her favorite subject was math. She loved math and I was determined that no one was going to take that from her.


In fifth grade our family ended up changing schools. The new school is a combination of homeschool and resource center classes. Since core subjects are primarily taught at home, the person who was going to be responsible for keeping the joy of math alive was. . . (gulp). . . me.

Fifth grade math was a lot harder than I remembered. So, I was thrilled when she was able to take math at the resource center. Math was indeed a monster. Yes, she had homework, but the teacher gave us an answer book so it wasn’t too bad. If she was really stuck, she could take it to school, and her teacher would help her. Whew! Math monster avoided.

Cue the dark foreboding music . . .dum, dum duuuum! This year the sixth grade math class was opposite the science lab class that she really wanted to take. So she is taking sixth grade math at home. She doesn’t think math is a monster, so my goal is to keep that joy alive.

What to do? Call the math monster busters? As luck would have it, there are many awesome online programs such as Brain Pop, Math Snacks, Discovery Education and my favorite online learning website Khan Academy. All of these great programs have been helpful in getting the math monster under control.

It has become my mom mission to introduce as many people as I can to Khan Academy.  This program is the best for busting the math monster. Whenever Alora starts a new subject such as polygons, absolute value, or coordinate planes, she can go on the Khan Academy’s website and watch a short tutorial video on the subject. After the video there is a quiz and when the student gets five answers correct in a row, then they move up a level in that subject. There are visual rewards such as badges, and a chart to show the areas that the student has mastered and where they still need to work on. Each section is fairly short, so it only takes a few minutes to watch the video and answer the questions.


Khan Academy has this fabulous mission statement:

Learn almost anything for free.

Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. All of our resources are completely free forever, regardless of whether you’re a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology.

My daughter loves Khan Academy and she can go further with math concepts, then she would have been able to with just me teaching it. I am so impressed with Khan Academy and their classes that I have been taking the math class as well as the computer programming classes. Perhaps math isn’t a monster after all.

Are you afraid of the homework monster?

Thanks for having me at peanut butter on the keyboard.

When The Child Becomes the Parent by Sharon Sala

We’re thrilled today to welcome bestselling author Sharon Sala to the blog.


As parents, we usually focus on our baby’s accomplishments. First laugh, first tooth, first time they roll over, first time they stand up, and the two biggies; learning to talk and walk.

After that, we usually mark the progress of their childhood by holidays and birthdays, and then when they start to school. But while we’re busy raising babies, something is happening that we rarely plan for, and hardly ever see coming until it’s fallen in our laps.

Our parents are aging, and as they do, the emotional regression to childhood is shocking. From petulance, to wanting things done their way, to having an unrelenting need to be heard. After eight years of caring for my 93 year old mother who lives with me, and who has dementia, I have become something of an expert at redirection. That comes when the person your parent has become is verging on a meltdown, and you find a way to redirect the negative energy that is pulling them under.

The good part of me being able to keep my mother at home is a blessing. The bad part is that she still thinks she’s in charge. I am, after all, her child, but she is no longer Mother to me. She has become MY Little Mama. Over the years, I’ve come to realize the one thing that sparks her biggest issues is nearly always fear. She has no short term memory left, so there’s nothing in her head to anchor her as to why she’s in my house. To save my sanity, I had to learn to give up the fact that she is no longer the mother who raised me. The woman she is now has become my baby. I make sure she gets her meds. I cook her favorite things because I want to make her feel secure. I put everything from her old bedroom into the bedroom she uses now, and I got rid of a lot of my furniture and am using hers, so that she would have familiar things around her to make her feel at home. And sometimes that is still not enough. I put my cranky baby down for naps. I redirect her anger by asking a question about something else. There is one plus about the loss of short term memory. She forgets that she was mad. But sometimes I see her watching me, and I suspect that, beyond being the woman who takes care of her, sometimes she’s forgotten who I am.

She’s a sly one though; my Little Mama. She’s amazing at pretending. She’s nearly deaf, so she fakes hearing what’s going on, and fakes remembering why something is about to happen. And like the child she has become, the lie she tells is not really a lie; not in her world. It is what needs to be said to get by.

My babies were also so very precious to me, and now so is she. I have accepted that my mother is gone, but I also accept and rejoice the Little Mama she left behind.

About the author091813i-197x300

It was a job she hated that drove Sharon Sala to put the first page of paper in an old typewriter, but it was the love of the craft that kept her writing. Her first efforts at writing came in 1980 when she began a book that wound up under her bed. A second book followed in 1981 and suffered a similar fate, but she claims the writing bug had bitten hard. However, she let life and the demands of a growing family delay her from continuing until a tragedy struck.

Her father died in May of 1985 after a lingering illness and then only two months later her only sister died unexpectedly, leaving her almost blind with grief. She vowed then and there that she was not going to wind up on her deathbed one day with regrets for not following through on her dreams.

She joined writers groups and attended conferences and slowly learned her way around the written page. By 1989, she decided she had come far enough in her writing to attempt another try at book-length fiction and began a book that would later be entitled SARA’S ANGEL. As fate would have it, the first publisher she sent it to, bought it, and she hasn’t looked back.

As a farmer’s daughter and then for many years a farmer’s wife, Sharon escaped the drudgeries of life through the pages of books, and now as a writer, she finds herself often living out her dreams. Through traveling and speaking and the countless thousands of fan letters she has received, Sharon has touched many lives. One faithful reader has crowned her the “Reba of Romance” while others claim she’s a magician with words.

Her stories are often dark, dealing with the realities of this world, and yet she’s able to weave hope and love within the words for the readers who clamor for her latest works.

Always an optimist in the face of bad times, many of the stories she writes come to her in dreams, but there’s nothing fanciful about her work. She puts her faith in God, still trusts in love and the belief that, no matter what, everything comes full circle.

Her books, written under her name and under her pen name, Dinah McCall, repeatedly make the big lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and Waldenbooks Mass market fiction.

Sharon Sala.

A woman with a vision.

Sharon’s next release will be on shelves in February!

Raising My Boys Not To Be Biff by Kimberly Smith

GUEST POST:  Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a wonderful writer, blogger, friend, neighbor, mother, wife, and all around person, Kimberly Smith. Not only does Kimberly run the terrific children’s book blog COOL KIDS READ, she works full-time as an advertising creative director and is the author of 3 children’s books. Wise, savvy, and not one to pull punches, Kim is joining us to start a conversation we all need to have.


Picture this scene from the 1985 film BACK TO THE FUTURE. Marty McFly has traveled back in time to 1955, and is taking his mother (as a teenager) to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance so that she can fall in love with Marty’s father and set the future right again (all to ensure his own existence). Biff, the bully, hijacks them in the school parking lot and pushes Marty’s mother back into the car, crawling up her skirts as he tells her “you know you want it, Lorraine.”

It’s an uncomfortable scene to watch for any woman who’s ever been in that position — and since 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime (George Mason University, Worldwide Sexual Assault Statistics, 2005), that’s a lot of women.

I guess this scene has been on my mind because it’s Homecoming season, and the proliferation of stories in the news like Maryville. It seemed like a good time to discuss the subject with my high school sophomore.

Honestly, I expected the conversation to go like this: “Yeah, I know, Mom, don’t worry.” Instead, his response shocked me.

Specifically in regards to Maryville, he whole-heartedly agreed that these boys were wrong, but he was quick to add that he felt the girls held some responsibility too — that by getting drunk, they also made bad choices. In his eyes, the situation would not have taken place at all if the girls hadn’t made themselves vulnerable in the first place.

This elicited a knee jerk response from me and I went off on him. THAT, I lectured, is exactly the kind of thinking that perpetuates our rape culture. Luckily, I caught myself and stopped ranting before he completely shut down on me. Because I wanted to know how this sweet young man could feel this way. I believed I’d taught him to respect women. His wonderful father models this respect. What he told me opened my eyes.

Wisely, he began by saying no matter what state of mind someone is in, it’s not right to take advantage of them. Under any circumstances. He reiterated that those boys did not do the right thing, but he didn’t understand why nobody thought the girls’ weren’t responsible, too. Not in a “if you dress like that you deserve what you get” kind of responsible, but in a take responsibility for yourself way. “Nobody forced those girls to get drunk, did they?” he asked.

It was a loaded question. And an argument I didn’t want to have. I was leery that putting any kind of responsibility on the girl’s shoulders was a slippery slope. I am adamantly against slut shaming. Wasn’t that what his point of view did?

As we talked further, I realized there was another way of looking at this — the side I saw in my son’s answer.

Maybe our culture does more than perpetuate a “boys will be boys” attitude. Maybe it also tells girls you’re not fun unless you’re drunk. That boys only pay attention to fun girls. Lacing a drink to purposefully drug someone seems a world away from pressuring a girl to “chug” a beer – or six. But is it, really?

From a parenting perspective, how much do you tell your children about the mistakes you made when you were their age? We are pretty open with our kids, but I hadn’t shared this particular story with my son. I wondered if he would feel the same if he knew that his mother was that girl, many years ago? The one who made “bad choices” and put herself in a vulnerable position? The one who drank too much because that’s what you did at a party. The one who said “no”, but didn’t have control enough over her body or the situation to fight back when “no” was countered with “c’mon, you know you want it.” The one who never told. The one who still lived with the guilt and shame.

As I saw the situation through my son’s eyes, and not just through the filter of my own experience, I had to agree with him. If I hadn’t had so much to drink that night, would it have happened? Probably not. There was a reason why I felt guilty. I didn’t need public shaming. I did that to myself.

I don’t have daughters, so I can’t tell them to protect themselves by refusing to give in to pressures to get wasted. I can’t warn them about the secondary dangers that come with being over-served. But I can be the mother who teaches her sons not to be Biff, but also not to turn away from a girl putting herself in a vulnerable situation. I can teach them to take action, to get her out of that situation, to find her friends so she can go home, to stop other boys from taking advantage.

I can talk to my boys about the difference between saying “yes” and respecting “no” in any form. I can help them understand and combat the pressures of society and of the party atmosphere.

Do we live in a rape culture? I believe we do. But I believe rapes will continue if we don’t fight it from both sides. It’s not okay to tell a girl she has no responsibility for what happens to her. To make her feel powerless. To say it’s okay for her to give in to society’s pressures about anything – including how she behaves at a party.

Just like the boys, girls need to know that being drunk does not make you immune from responsibility. It makes you a target. And that’s something they can control. Assuming boys will do the right thing relinquishes control. Assume the opposite. Stay in control. Don’t hand the keys to your future over someone handing you a red Solo cup.

My son argued that those boys were no doubt influenced by alcohol as well. In his eyes, people who might not normally make bad choices, might when they’re drunk. I am glad he saw it that way. And he’s right. While there’s a big difference between being too drunk to remain conscious and so drunk that you ignore your moral compass, “I was drunk” is not an excuse for either side.

Was telling my son about what happened to me the right thing to do? I think so. I hope by showing him my mistake, and bringing home the girls’ side of the story, it made him see things differently. Not that his viewpoints would change, necessarily, but to realize such a thing could happen to anyone. Even someone he respects.

None of this goes to say that boys who choose to take advantage of a drunk girl shouldn’t bear full responsibility of the law for their actions. Preying on someone in a weaker state is a choice, and make no mistake, it is rape. But as parents, we need to teach our girls they don’t have to give up control to be accepted – and teach our boys to help them learn this.


Guest Mom Lily Dalton

We asked author Lily Dalton to answer our almost-famous PBK Mom Profile. Here’s what she said.

Lily Dalton Author Photo-1

Cheerios or Captain Crunch? 

Cheerios USUALLY, but Captain Crunch SOMETIMES. I’ve got healthy and junky in my pantry. When the kids were young, I was a stay home mom so things were healthier. Now I just give them a you-are-what-you-eat! lecture when I get home from work and find the bag of Oreos I bought the night before completely empty on the counter.

Favorite children’s song? 

BACK IN BLACK by AC/DC. (Yes, my kids are teenagers, but we started impressing our music tastes on them when they were very young! I’m happy to report they are successfully brainwashed!)

Favorite kids’ TV show/character? 

Sponge Bob. For years, I avoided S-Bob, thinking he had to be the most annoying creature on earth. That laugh! **cringe!** But then I actually watched the show…he’s adorable, and so is everyone else in Bikini Bottom. My daughter brought home a guppy from school, and a snail that kept the guppy’s water clean. The guppy has since left us, but we still have the snail, whose name is “Gary” (like the cat-snail on Sponge Bob). He lives in a jar that says “cat treats”.

Advice you would share with other moms. 

Don’t have so many activities planned for your family, that you and the kids don’t have home time. I think home calms kids, and keeps them anchored.

Midnight or Dawn? 

Dawn. My writing is always sharper after (at least a few hours of) sleep.

Count calories or exercise? 

Calories… My meals are one extreme or the other. For example, I’ll have a kale salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for lunch, then pizza for dinner. I’m hoping this translates somehow into a balanced diet. I need to exercise more…

Quiet craft or raucous game of wrestling? 

Wrestling! My son is very non touchy-feely. He does not like hugs…but he not-so-secretly LOVES to have hugs forced on him. My husband and I often torment him with forced affection, when we squash him in big MOM-N-DAD “sandwich” hugs.

Biggest turn-on? Biggest turn-off? 

Biggest turn-on is when my husband grinds the coffee and sets my coffee for me every night. He doesn’t drink coffee. Who needs roses? **Sigh!**

Lily Dalton has a new book out this month. Check it out here.