Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

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The new Prime Photos Family Vault makes it easy for family members to store and share their favorite moments! Plus an opportunity to win a $500 gift card provided by Amazon.com

We take a lot of pictures. That is probably the understatement of the year. Individually, each of the six of us take several pictures. Combine those photos together and you have…..countless photos. Now there is a way for us to easily combine, organize and share those photos with each other.

Prime Photos – free for Prime members!

We can pull up those pictures from that snowy day where we rode trees or from that amazing 14 mile hike this summer quickly and easily.  On our next adventure we no longer will worry about running out of memory when that one photo opportunity presents itself! You can free up space on your phone using Prime Photos. As a Prime member there is free, unlimited photo storage,

Amazon has launched an all-new Prime Photos experience with Family Vault. Now, Prime members can share their benefit of unlimited photo storage with up to five family members or friends at no additional cost. Prime Photos is free for Prime members and makes it easy for family members to safely store and share all their favorite photos.

Additional new features include: Image Search, People view and Places view.  I love that photos are organized by location – we have so many adventures that the locations and exact times sometimes run together. I can quickly locate a photo and determine if that was from spring break or holiday break.

Prime members can now order photo prints, cards, photo books, and calendars directly from their Prime Photos account. I can’t wait to make gifts for family and friends from our pictures!

Download the new Prime Photos app here: www.tinyurl.com/PrimePhotos


a Rafflecopter giveaway


This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. Amazon.com is providing the gift card prizes. Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!
Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.





Use Your Words – November Style…sort of…

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 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……..At the end of my post, you’ll find links to the other amazing posts. Check them out. Some pretty amazing people let me participate in this challenge and I’m always excited to read what they write.

I had a post written 7 days ago for this challenge. It was scheduled and ready to go. This morning it didn’t post and I can’t find it. So …..I give you the following from my brain. I can’t seem to form coherent thought structures this week. So come along with me on some stream of consciousness writing…….

On a typical day, anyone that knows me well knows I may well be at “0 miles to empty” in whatever vehicle I’m driving. I know exactly how far it is to the nearest gas station – 2.56 miles – and how far it is to my gym – 5.65 miles (and there are two gas stations right along the way to the gym.) Keep in mind that I live where the temperatures can reach a balmy -15 degrees Fahrenheit for a HIGH in the winter. With winter’s approach eminent, I promise, on the threat of having to sit on bird poo daily, that I will not let my gas tank go below half full for the next 5 months. (But as there are few birds around that leave much poo in the winter, and most bird poo is semi-snow colored, I anticipate it will be difficult to follow through on my self-imposed threat because the reality is I’ll be lucky to keep it up above a quarter tank.) Because running out of gas in the winter in Wisconsin is a tad different than running out of gas in Texas. I’ve not ever hit that point….(searching for wood to knock on….)

This weekend we are taking our oldest to a Hawkeye ballgame – I think….. I’m mentally preparing for the traffic jam that will occur while we try to find parking. There will be a bazillion people there and it’s pretty awesome. There will be food vendors galore, merchandise to shop, and of course FOOTBALL. There’s something about a night game in Iowa City at the stadium. As a kid, I spent a lot of time there and I love it deeply. I got engaged in Iowa City on the bridge and love visiting that spot. But now I’m not entirely sure which combination of people will be going….keep reading…..

Going to football implies we’re heading to my parents’ house. My mom always buys the kids all the foods I don’t buy for home. There will be Eggos and syrup. Fruit Loops and juice. I am just hopeful we don’t have the same thing as last time….my OLDEST spilled maple syrup and my YOUNGEST walked through it and tracked it all over the wood floors. Luckily I’m good at cleaning so……


Right at this very moment I’m craving some comfort in some form or another. My dog had diarrhea all the way from the spot in front of my son’s bedroom door, through the family room, the base of the steps, all up 8 steps, on the landing, and up all remaining 8 steps to the main level. As I cleaned it up, my Littlest started throwing up. So there’s that. I’m not really hungry because … gross .. at the moment … but comfort food like clam chowder bread bowls … implies warm, cozy, barf free situations. And calm. All the calm. And no bad smells. (enter me, standing in tree pose – something I do when I’m just overwhelmed…..)

Is it too early to have an adult beverage?




My words : Run out of gas ~ spill maple syrup ~ ballgame ~ traffic jam ~ sit on bird poo ~ clam chowder bread bowl

They were submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Southern Belle Charm                            http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Not That Sarah Michelle                         http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                               http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                         http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                    http://dinoheromommy.com/

Climaxed                                         http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

On the Border                                        http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Evil Joy Speaks                                     http://www.eviljoyspeaks.com



Blessings of Change

I haven’t written a poem that has the seen the light of day in YEARS. YEARS. But today, fueled by a friend and her challege, here goes …. but first – here are the links to the other participant’s poems. If you didn’t figure it out already, the theme for this month is very fittingly, Blessings.



Karen of Baking in a Tornado : Blessings

Diane of On the Border: Blessings

Lydia of Cluttered Genius : Hidden Blessings

Jules of The Bergham Chronicles : Blessings Overflowing





Blessings of Change

If you can find the sunshine in the dark – you can find the happy in the sad.

If you search for the sparkle in the mud – you can find beauty in the mess.

If you seek joy in the tears – you can reap thankfulness in the end.

When the days were dark I found people to lead me by the hand – kicking and screaming the entire way – to a brighter place.

As the days were less dark I began to find my way to that brighter place a little more easily – taking the offered hand – showing me how to get there.

Then the days became brighter and the place I found myself going to each day glowed with brilliant light.

I didn’t need anyone to show me the way, I found it.

Changes happen swiftly and loudly. And quietly and slowly. But they happen.

Be ready to find the blessing in the change.



Shaking the Tree .. Or Not.

Who’s ready for Tuesday to come and go? Actually, who’s ready for Wednesday? Wednesday we should know who will be the next President of the United States.

THANK GOD. I’m over this election season. More than ever I am ready to see it complete. I’m done with the negative campaign ads, the controversial articles, and MEAN PEOPLE.


So I had this whole post written under the above statements. It was pretty middle ground and nice. Because honestly, I don’t feel I get to force my opinions on anyone, ever. (Except my children – because I’m raising them to be adults I’d like to see in our world – they have to follow my rules – but they can form their own opinions as they grow up!)

Instead of writing about which candidate I think is better, I want to focus on humanity and how we treat each other. On Wednesday after all of the votes are counted, we still have to go to work together. We will grocery shop, attend school, go to church, and live our everyday lives with people around us – not necessarily knowing how they voted. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…all the social media inputs have granted people the platform to show who the support – or the option not to voice their thoughts. While my view of some may be affected by what was posted on social media, I hope to focus on people and how they live their lives, not what they shared on Facebook. As my friend said, “everyone wants a better world for their children to live in. Just in different ways. I can’t hold that against people.”

Before anyone starts in on me, know this : I believe in the good in people. I try to find the silver lining in almost every situation. There is something positive in most things and given time to reflect upon the situation, I’ll find it. And I’ll hold on tightly to good. Some call this idealistic. Some call this foolish. I don’t care. My life is mine as theirs is theirs. My finding the joy in things doesn’t affect them finding less than that.

The sun will rise Wednesday. Someone will win the Presidental Race and someone will lose. Of course I hope my candidate wins – as does everyone who is invested in the race. Nevertheless…. We will find a way forward. That’s the thing about this country.

We will find a way.


Happy HalloHoliday

I wrote this a while back but as I get out Christmas lights in preparation for tomorrow’s decorating…it seemed appropriate to hit “Publish.”


Happy Halloween! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Christmas! Happy HalloHoliday!

Yup, I did it. I mentioned Thanksgiving and Christmas prior to the strike of midnight on Halloween. I committed that sin. Through the years, I’ve been a staunch supporter of acknowledging only one celebration at a time, the next not allowed prior to the completion of the current. Meaning No Thanksgiving Until Halloween is over and No Christmas until Thanksgiving is done. And certainly, NO CHRISTMAS BEFORE EITHER HALLOWEEN OR THANKSGIVING!

As I’ve gotten older, my holiday acknowledgment rules have slipped a bit. I’m a planner. Today is Halloween. Last Monday, 26 October, I completed 90% of my Christmas shopping. In one trip. All local businesses downtown. And even better, a lot of the stuff I bought comes packaged up nicely so I don’t have to wrap a ton of stuff. I’d guess you can say I ran rampant over my holiday rule. But you know what? I’m going to relax and enjoy the snow when it comes and focus more time with and on my family instead of shopping myself into exhaustion.

I work a seasonal job in the winter. My time becomes more limited than normal. I have ridiculous expectations for myself. Any little thing I can do to ease the stress I do. If that means shopping for December in October, you bet your arse I do it. I was able to pick gifts thoughtfully and calmly. My girls and I took advantage of a day off school and made the most of our amazing local businesses. We do get gift cards for out of town family as exchanges are hard if something doesn’t work.  But for the most part this year we accomplished my goal of shopping local.

We put up our Christmas lights as soon as we can. Normally it would have been yesterday but we all needed a break so maybe next weekend. I live in a part of the country where Halloween can mean 70 degrees and pleasant or feet upon feet of snow like the “Storm of 1991.” Doing it early just means less frostbite later.

This year we host Thanksgiving. I will attempt to decorate for Christmas before everyone arrives. Once Thanksgiving is here I typically am full steam ahead with my seasonal gig and lose my decorating mojo. I try to make Christmas magical for the kids and that means not losing my shit over decorating last minute.

So here’s my advice. Because I know you want it. Let people be what they are and embrace what matters to you. Just make sure not to complain about the constant playing of Hallmark movies in my house when you’re here. I love them and you’ll be dead to me if you rip on them too much.


Music is ….

Music is Love. Music is Fun. Music is Sad. Music is Inspiring. Music is Memories. Music is…. Life.


This is kitchen speaker. This speaker plays music of all types – Classical to Kayne, Indie to Kiddie. I love music. Recently I wrote about music having a deeper meaning to me. It’s my life line to sanity some days. Music is my inspiration to pound out one more mile when I run. It’s the thing that keeps me awake when I’m driving. Music gives me confidence when I’m terrified of the mountain in front of me. Music makes me feel all the things I would shy away from – do shy away from – without it. Joy, exhilaration, fear, sadness, hope.

I went to a concert with my daughter as an early birthday gift. The Naked and Famous. If you haven’t heard of them – GET ON THAT! Three of my favorite songs are Higher, Young Blood, and No Way. I play those on repeat when I write. This morning as my speaker blasts a play list I created from the songs performed at the concert, I am transported to being THERE. To standing right in front of the wall of speakers, my arm around my daughter, my husband’s hand on my arm. Once again, getting chills as I hear chord progressions. I imagine my daughter bouncing up and down to the beat and the look of pure happiness as she belts out the lyrics she knows by heart.

Music brings my family together. If I think about it, music created my family. I met my husband at band camp (insert corny joke.) And I play flute (laugh a little harder! Truly it’s okay – I love telling everyone. This one Time…at Band Camp…) There are songs that we all connect on. It doesn’t happen often but when it does happen it’s magical.

And my kitchen speaker brings us that wonderful music.


What brings you happiness?


This post was part of a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My prompt was submitted by the amazing Karen of Baking In A Tornado. My prompt was : Pick any item in your house, show us a picture of it and tell us why you have it and what it means to you.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:


Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Not That Sarah Michelle            http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles            http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                 http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver     http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                 http://thelieberfamily.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Southern Belle Charm                        http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Climaxed                                          http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                        http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope                http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Evil Joy Speaks                            http://www.eviljoyspeaks.com




Music moves me in a way not everyone understands. I connect memories, feelings, emotions, and even movement to music. 

Tonight we took one my daughters to see The Naked and Famous. One of my favorite bands and  It. Was. Amazing. 

When I’m working on a new article, post, or chapter I listen to one of two TNAF songs on repeat – “No Way,” and/or “Young Blood.”

Tonight they played both. And I’m so excited to write while listening to those songs with my new memories of tonight. 
What moves you?

There is a lot to say….

There is a lot to say…..

I’m not sure I’m ready to say it tonight. But I’m getting there. 

November brings with it a host of emotions. Two of my children have birthdays. Several of my siblings have birthdays. Thanksgiving. Usually the start of snow – which leads me to my happy place. 

And the reason I found my happy place. That reason still – five years later – sometimes makes me cry. 

And that’s okay. 

So tonight as November presents itself once again – I’m saying a bit. I’m saying life is good. I’m saying it’s okay when it isn’t. And it’s okay when a day….is just a day…..or when it’s a DAY. 

Tonight. I don’t have much to say. But it’s a start. A start to finding the voice I’ve lost the past few months. 

I Failed At Soup : A Tale Of Mush

You know when you try to a good thing? I tried.

I failed miserably.

Soup. I failed at soup. How does one fail at soup you ask? Let me tell you.

I should have known things would go south from the start. The chicken was simmering as I sautéed the vegetables. I prepared the spices and noodles – although my normal noodles were hiding so I grabbed the closest ones I could find. I got everything ready to assemble into the crock pot and quickly realized I had no stock, broth, or base. None.

Well crap. I guess a store run is in order.

I got the missing broth and finished making the soup – the same way I do every.single.time.  My family loves this dinner – we all eat it all – including the leftovers. It’s a standard fare in the winter – probably twice a month. Lucky for me (and the teachers) I decided to give it one last stir before packing it up for school. It smelled amazing but the color was a tad off.

As I stirred I realized I didn’t see the nice, firm noodles I was accustomed to finding. But I did find mushy, gross, floury like strings of stuff.


I now had an exceptionally large crockpot full of crap. Total and complete crap. It was terrible. I only had 20 minutes before I needed to leave and deliver the offending soup to school. What to do???

The fact that I have ton of children played in my favor. I tend to triple recipes….one for dinner, one for left overs, and one to freeze. There was still a pot of broth, veggies, and chicken left uncontaminated by noodles. I had just made a ton of brown rice for my lunches for the week. I grabbed that crockpot, threw in the rice, and packed it up for school. Good enough right? Let’s get this show on the road.

Dr. Evil was on travel and I was driving his beloved car. Let’s just say I thank God for those plastic, made to fit, awesome floor liners. The soup did NOT travel well. I finally got this soup concoction to school, cleaned his car up, and went to the gym.

I vow to never make soup for school again. Ever.

Sour cream in a container from the store?  Sign me up for that stuff.




Time to Grow Thicker Skin

The time has come to grow thicker skin. I’m trying – I really am.

Normally I post and share what I want. But this election season has me questioning each post. While I feel EXTREMELY strongly about a lot of topics I find myself unwilling to share a lot of things I’d normally share without concern. 
I love discussion. I love debate – when it’s done properly. I love that EVERYONE gets to have their own opinion and should be able to have it without being attacked or attacking when they share. Honestly I love when people have  opinions different than mine. I am willing to learn and have my eyes opened to the other side of an opinion. That means sometimes I change or alter my stance and other times I don’t. I believe strongly in agreeing to disagree, not taking away one’s voice, or silencing another. That’s one of the things that makes our country great – we can say what we want, what we FEEL. 
Along with the rest of the world, I’ve watched a disturbing trend. On-line when people disagree, not only do they disagree, they attack each other. The mask of the internet makes people think it’s okay to behave in completely unacceptable ways. It can be – it has been – frightening. Receiving messages or comments that are threatening is scary. And there is where my skin isn’t thick enough.
I’m in awe of many of my friends who post what they want, when they want, regardless of the comments or actions of others. There are so many things I feel passionate about but have stifled what I want to say. I don’t have a thick enough skin at this point in my life….
But … maybe it’s time to grow that thick skin. 
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