28-Day Reading Challenge

I am issuing, to myself and anyone who would like to join me, a challenge to read for pleasure at least once a day for 28 straight days.  I have a Very Large stack of To Be Read books that I seem to have a great deal of trouble getting to.  I’m hoping this challenge will get me in the habit of daily reading so that I can finally enjoy these books I selected for myself.

Let me know how you’re doing, on Twitter or Instagram, #realmugglemomchallenge and/or #28dayreadingchallenge.  Let’s do it!

Twice Goodbye

A few weeks ago my mother passed away.  Dealing with the loss has been hard.  Talking to other people who have lost their mothers helps, since I know they know what I am going through.  However, my situation is different from many others in that my mother had actually been gone for about ten years.  I lost my mother, as I knew her, to Alzheimer’s.

Over the years I have shed so, so many tears.  I’ve grieved for all the losses – my actual “Mom” that I miss so dearly, the grandchildren she never really knew, the grandchildren she did know who have experienced her agonizing decline, the plans she and my father had for his retirement years.

Because I had already gone through this heartbreaking process, I felt that when her time came to leave this life, it wouldn’t be as painful as it might have been without the Alheimer’s.  I was wrong.  It was still a punch in the gut.  A very final end.  Gone is the tiny hope that a cure might be found during her lifetime or that at some point, Hollywood-style, she would suddenly have a lucid moment where she could talk.

It’s been a double whammy.


Last Friday I was preparing to go out of town with Muggle Man and Ginny – she was cheering at a basketball tournament and Muggle Man had a barbershop rehearsal on Saturday.  All was fine until around lunchtime, when I started feeling queasy.

The queasiness grew until I started to get that feeling that I might throw up.  I lay down in hopes that the queasiness would subside while I tried to figure out what could be causing the problem.  My first thought was migraine, but there have been a lot of stomach bugs going around so that was also a possibility.  I wondered if I would have to stay home from our trip.

The queasiness kind of came and went so I decided I’d give the trip a try.  If I ended up in bed the whole time, so be it.  

Long story short, I made it through the weekend OK.  However, Monday morning I was still queasy.  Ugh, really?!  I was going to give it one more day then realized that I was scheduled to work the rest of the week and didn’t really *have* one more day, so I called the doctor.

The doctor determined that I have gastritis, brought on by stress and taking too much Advil.  She asked if I had had an increase in my stress level recently.  “Well, two weeks ago my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, plus we are trying to figure out where he is going to go to college.” (Let’s not even mention the month-long most recent craziness/snafus/mess-ups with our mortgage account or Ginny’s early AM and Muggle Man’s late night E/R visits!!).  “That would do it!” she smiled ruefully.

I was instructed to avoid Advil/Aleve, caffeine, alcohol, and decongestants.  My Zantac prescription was refilled.  Blood was taken for bloodwork and a just-in-case ultrasound of the gallbladder scheduled.

A week later, I’m finally starting to feel better.  It helps that we’ve had snow days where I could stay home and take it easy.  Its been frustrating, though, not knowing when I will be feeling like myself again.  A couple of times I’ve just cried.  I’m ready for this to be over, though – and, after going through all this I’d better at least lose some weight!!

T1 Diabetic Hallows

Last week we were all rather shocked when Ron, 18, received a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. Thankfully, this happened at his physical and we did not have to find out through a traumatic event.

I feel that writing about our experiences with Type 1 Diabetes will help me in dealing with this new challenge. By posting my thoughts via blogging, I hope I may help other parents in some way, either in recognizing the signs and symptoms of T1D, sharing information, and/or supporting them.

I decided to start a separate blog for posts related to our diabetes journey. Being me I still wanted there to be some sort of Harry Potter connection so the name of the blog is T1 Diabetic Hallows.. I have also created a T1D Pinterest Board which Ron checks regularly.

Not an Elder Wand, but an Insulin Pen. Not an Invisibility Cloak, but an Invisible Disease. Not a Resurrection Stone, but rather a Juice Box.

(Image from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” ©WarnerBros. 2010 taken from IMDB)


In which MuggleMom enters the world of Vlogging

Yeppers after waffling back and forth for who knows how long I decided to GO FOR IT and have started a Vlog!  (which I prefer to pronounce Vee-log!).  Check out my first video for a quick glimpse of moi and I hope you will Subscribe so that you don’t miss future updates!


Please Tweet me your reactions, suggestions, and/or ideas!  @RealMuggleMom

User review: Becoming a Julep Maven (Part 1)

Julep began in 2007 as a boutique nail parlor in Seattle.  Julep now offers a line of products promising professional results at home.  One can purchase these items at Julep.com but the special twist they offer is to shop with them by becoming a Julep Maven.

image from www.lydianflash.com

Nothing like freshly painted fingers and toes

Becoming a Maven, which is kind of like a subscription service, is quite simple.  On the Julep home page you will find a Style Profile quiz.  Taking the quiz will place you into one of several Style categories (descriptions are my shortened versions of their descriptions):

“It Girl” – a natural trendsetter, cutting-edge colors

“Iconic Beauty” – timeless aesthetic with chic, elegant colors

“Boho Glam” – a creative free spirit, a mix of earthy tones and chic, vibrant colors

“Bombshell” – bold, glam colors and anything that sparkles

“Modern Beauty” – a savvy tastemaker who wants to try the latest and most innovative products


Photo not meant to imply any sort of endorsement

Each month, there is a carefully selected box for each style profile.  Depending on the profile, the box contains nail colors, beauty products, or both.  Julep says that each monthly box, priced at $19.99,  contains products worth a total of $40 and up.  Each month a Maven has the opportunity to preview each box and select the one she prefers.  Once she has a chosen a box, the Maven is then presented with opportunities to add certain products to the box at discounted prices via the Secret Store.  She will also receive free shipping and 20% off at Julep.com.

This offer appealed to me for several reasons.  One, it sounded like a good deal, and I’m all about a good deal.  Two, I love getting packages in the mail!  And three, when it comes to special little treats like nail polish, I tend to either purchase very similar items (“rut”), not purchase things because I think I don’t “deserve” them, or just never get around to buying them.  Having a monthly box delivered will “force” me to a treat that I probably would not otherwise have gotten myself, along with trying colors and products I might not otherwise have purchased. Kewl.

image from www.kristendukephotography.com

A package! A package! Somebody loves me!

PS – Through the Powered by Girlfriends program Julep donates a portion of their proceeds to “organizations that support and empower women.”  These include National Women’s Sports Foundation, Dress for Success Worldwide, Girl Up, Polaris Project, and the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

PPS -Can’t wait to become a Maven?  Here’s my referral link to join.  Use code FREECOLOR to try it out for free!


(sorry, couldn’t resist, used to always do that on my notes to friends when I was a girl!)

Coming up:  I discover my style profile and I receive and review my first order!











Harry Potter Haikus


‘Tis a wonderful thing when the planets align and creative inspiration flows.  This most recently happened to me last week in the Lowe’s parking lot, where I had pulled into a spot to eat my Steak ‘n Shake drive thru meal and kill time until Ginny’s ballet class was finished.  Somehow or another I had the idea to write Harry-Potter inspired haikus and the ideas just started flowing!  I’ve been trying to be more consistent about carrying my Planner Pad with me and fortunately this was one of the times when it was in my bag.  I grabbed it and began writing.

getting out of bed haiku


Below is what I came up with.  No, they aren’t totes amazeballs, but, to have just come up with the idea and to have written them all out one after the other in the space of about 10 minutes, I think they are kinda cool.  What say you?  Do you have an HP Haiku (or any other, for that matter, I love haikus!) to share?  Tweet me @realmugglemom


I hear the whispers

And scream as I watch you fall

Away behind the veil

Hermione weeps

Her heart is torn asunder

Ron kissed Lavender

Harry’s bones are gone

His arm is now like rubber

Uh-oh, Skele-Grow

Luna is special

She sees things others cannot

Thestrals and Nargles

Harry is chosen

The Tri-Wizard Tournament’s

First Fourth Champion

Something slithering

Through the innards of Hogwarts

Its a basilisk

Moaning and crying

Inside the bathroom plumbing

Its Moaning Myrtle

Dumbledore’s office

Portraits, spinning things

Thoughts in the pensieve

On the Quidditch pitch

Dementors oughtn’t to fly

They’re cold and scary

Clue: The Golden Egg

When opened a horrid screech

Song of the mer-folk

Draco is trying

To travel between cabinets

Letting in evil


For the First Time in Forever — Follow Up Friday

small_3397858623Why yes, it has been a while since my last post.  What better way to jump back in than with a “Follow Up Friday” post so I can follow up on previous posts and catch you up a bit on what-all has been going on with me.

First, regarding previous blog post subjects:

  • Hermione the bread starter is no longer.  I had a bunch in the freezer but ended up throwing it out in a big clean-out.  I would like to maintain another starter someday, not necessarily the Amish Friendship Bread, but right now I feel like I have enough other things to take care of!blogging word cloud
  •  I still plan to finish my series about our Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend because it is still fresh and beautiful in my mind and something I will always remember!
  •  I also plan to finish my series about training for my first 5K.  *Spoiler Alert* – I completed the 5K, in a time I was pleased with, even!  Unfortunately I never did start to like running but for a reason which shall be revealed, last month I completed another 5K AND a Half Marathon!  What the what?!
  • We sold our cluttered house and bought what is pretty much our dream house (not necessarily in that order …).  Lots more deets to follow on all that.
  • Since we moved I haven’t been shopping at ALDI very often
  • I’m not sure where my french Harry Potter book is

In addition:

  • I am now working outside the home part-time as an inventory auditor
  •  I have become a “Hunger Games” fan
  • We adopted two cats, adorable solid black brothers we named Toby and Tolkien, aka The Chocolate Drops.  You can see a picture or two of them on my Instagram and on Crookshank’s (might as well call him by his real name now that we have more than one cat! = Teddy) Twitter account, @Teddy0605.  The kittens are so cute and entertaining that I’m working on a new blog about them that I hope to make live soon.
  • Not to brag, but I have over 1,000 Followers on Pinterest — would love for you to join us!
  • I have a precious nephew, “Teddy Lupin,” who turns two tomorrow
  • Time marches on!  Ron is now 17, Ginny turns 13 next month, and Muggle Man and I celebrate our 25th anniversary this year!

What caused this sudden re-emergence into blogging?  An opportunity to write reviews for a website which required samples of my writing.  I sent a link to my blog, which of course I “keep meaning” to update.  As I looked back over old posts, I came across this one, and it was such a wake-up call and reminder of why I started my blog in the first place (I really should print it out and post it for frequent reference!).  My blog needs me, and I need it!

(All aboard The Feels Train)

feels train

Thanks for checking on me, as always please Tweet me @realmugglemom



(skeleton) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/3397858623/”>Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(blogging cloud) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnett/2836828090/”>Kristina B</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(Feels Train) http://www.funnyjunk.com added by poxitorium at Zombie Master


Butterbeer Cupcakes


Image by jenni from the block via Flickr

(aka Part 2 of my Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend)

In the week leading up to the “Deathly Hallows” premiere,the subject of  Butterbeer Cupcakes arose on Twitter.  This sounded like a recipe that I really needed to try.  Obviously premiere weekend was the perfect time to give it a go.  Friday afternoon I made sure that I had all of the needed ingredients.  Saturday after the movie I pulled up the recipe on my notebook computer, tied on my apron, and got to work!  Ginny started out helping me but somehow ended up drifting out of the kitchen.

I used this recipe, which looked easy enough but did prove to be a bit of a challenge for someone who has never filled cupcakes before.  Everything went smoothly (and, being a batter-eater, I must note that the batter is SO GOOD!)  until it was time to fill the cupcakes with the Butterbeer Ganache.  The recipe suggested doing this using a squeeze bottle.  I’ve seen empty squeeze bottles for sale, but when it came time to purchase one, I went to three different stores and couldn’t find one!  I decided that I would just use my  Tupperware Pastry Bag decorating kit –  which I had never used before (Danger, Will Rogers, Danger!!)

Unfortunately, I assumed that I was supposed to insert the pastry tip into the bag, then fill the bag with the ganache.  Actually, you are supposed to screw the tip onto the outside of the bag.  So, when I poured the ganache into the bag, it immediately started running out of the tip AND out from around the sides of the tip.  What. A. Mess.  I managed to insert the tip into the cupcakes but the whole process was really messy, drippy and sticky.  Maybe I should have waited until the ganache had cooled some?  I had expected it to make a little “filling” in the center of the cupcakes but it pretty much just got absorbed into the cupcakes, I’m not sure that it was even worth all the trouble.  Never having made ganache before or filled cupcakes before, I don’t have anything to go on.  If I made the cupcakes again I’d be tempted to skip this step, though I now have a squeeze bottle and would like to try again, using the squeeze bottle and a cooler ganache. 

After the ganache fiasco, I frosted the cupcakes and then drizzled more ganache over the tops of the cupcakes.  I did not think this procedure through beforehand and as I prepared to drizzle I realized that the cupcakes were on my cooling rack, meaning that any ganache that dripped off would be dripping right onto my counter (which already had enough ganache on it from the “filling”).  I’m not a good “clean as you go” cook/baker so I did not have much counter space available and decided to just leave them on the rack.  I put paper towels underneath to try to catch/absorb the drips. 

Here’s the finished product:

My first attempt
Muggle Mom’s Butterbeer Cupcakes
(Notice the ganache-drizzled paper towel underneath?  Ha ha.). Not works of art, but still visually appealing (in my opinion, anyway!).   Tastewise, they were quite delicious and everyone in the family loved them.  I’ll definitely make them again.  Also, there was almost  a cup of ganache left over and it tasted great warmed and drizzled over vanilla ice cream!!
PS – In case you’re interested, here’s my post about making Butterbeer:  https://realmugglemom.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/how-i-celebrated-harry-potters-birthday/

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Loved the look of Shell Cottage in the movie!

Image via Wikipedia

(aka Part 1 of My Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend)

Like all Potter fans I had really been looking forward to seeing “Deathly Hallows Part Two,’ and when it happened, wanted to do it right.  I started by watching some funny parody videos on YouTube.  Here are my faves, Tweet me a link if you know of some other good ones:

Harry Potter Friday Parody  by The Hillywood Show

Hallows Harry Potter Parody by iMandy

Like a G6 Parody (Like It’s Quidditch) by The Station (I think?)

I would have loved to have seen Part 1 in 3D immediately followed by Part 2 in 3D.  However, this option was only offered starting at 9:00 PM.  I wanted to be fully awake and alert for my viewing and preferred to go during the day.  Of course I pre-ordered our tickets — three (for Muggle Man, Ron, and myself) for Saturday afternoon.

Thursday I started a movie “countdown” by watching my “Order of the Phoenix” DVD.  Friday morning I picked up our tickets and that day I also watched “Half Blood Prince” and made sure I had all the ingredients to make Butterbeer Cupcakes.

Saturday morning Muggle Man and I watched “Deathly Hallows Part 1” on DVD.  Ron and I donned our RIPT Apparel Limited Edition ‘Horcrux Collectors Club” Tees.”  We’d been saving them to wear to the movie!  I also had some Harry Potter-shaped 3-D glasses that I had ordered from the UK off eBay. 

Cute glasses, too bad they didn't work
Purely decorative “3-D” glasses

Unfortunately, when I tried them out at home they did not work.  I stuck them into my purse just in case, though. 

Our tickets were for the 2:00 3-D IMAX show.  We arrived at the theater about 1:15 PM.   There was already a line outside the IMAX theater, but at that point it wasn’t too bad.  There were maybe 30 people in front of us?  The way the line wrapped around, we were positioned in line right outside the theater door, with the first people in line between us and and the entrance.  I heard those people say that they had arrived at 12:45.  Several people commented on Ron’s & my T-shirts, and/or asked where we had gotten them.

A little after 1:45 they started letting people into the theater.  We tried to figure out the best spot to sit.  We knew we wanted to be in the middle but weren’t sure how far up or down to go.  The people who had been first in line were slightly to the side on one row so I suggested that we sit in the middle of that row,  next to them.  I figured if they had stood in line that long to get those seats they must be good, he he.  I was very interested in experiencing an IMAX movie since I’d only seen a couple before, at science museums.

The screen lit up with the first of a couple of trailers.  They were SO LOUD I could not believe it.  I would have brought ear plus if I had known.  Poor Ron, who is very sensitive to loud noises, had his fingers in his ears.  I remembered that I had some ear plugs in my purse from the Taylor Swift concert Ginny and I had attended recently so I gave them to Ron (wishing that I had more for me!).  Thankfully once the actual movie started, it was not quite as loud (or maybe my ear follicles had been dulled enough by then that it didn’t seem as loud?!).  I put on my British fake 3-D glasses just to be sure they didn’t work.  Nope.

The movie kept me enthralled the whole time (didn’t check watch, etc.).  The only distraction was the kid next to me wh osqueaked his drink straw up and down almost the entire frickin’ movie (grrrr  — Silencio!”).  The audience was pretty quiet for most of the movie, one funny incident was the first time Lord Voldemort appeared on the screen and a little voice said, “Got your nose!” 

 I was glad that I had remembered to stick some tissues into my purse as I spent at least the half hour of the movie blowing my nose and dabbing at my eyes.  I really liked Part 1 and had been worried that Part 2 would somehow be a letdown.  I think I also was worried that the majority of the movie would be a violent, bloody battle.  I was not disappointed at all and I thought that overall the battle was portrayed very well.  I really want to go see it again!