Thursday, September 14, 2017

B Brothers TV

If you haven't heard of this new YouTube channel, you're probably living under a rock.

{Or maybe you're just not my Facebook friend...}

As is likely the case for most kids their age, my boys have a strong desire to be launched into Internet fame. They sit around after school watching other kids pull millions of dollars from opening toys or eating spicy food in front of a camera. It sounds simple enough, so why can't we stack up some cash around here?

For a very long time now, Owen and Nathan have expressed a desire for their own YouTube channel. They're funny, they're cute, and they have done a ridiculous amount of research. I've put their antics on my not-so-publicized channel, and I've shared several of Owen's vlog attempts, but I never let them take over... until now.

My one stipulation for creating content for mass consumption was a desire to take it seriously. I told Nathan I would not edit, I would not come up with video ideas, and I would not tolerate fighting while filming. As you may imagine, it took years for them both to come to terms with this. Over the summer, though, they got it together. They only have five videos up right now, but they have plenty of kooky ideas for more content.

While I am obviously their No. One fan, I think the video they published last night is my favorite. It is a jelly bean challenge that dissolves into them simply eating jelly beans on camera. It doesn't sound like very riveting content, but trust me, it's worth a watch. I lost it in the first few seconds of the video when Nathan noticed his brother looked a mess. Attempt a "try not to laugh" challenge for your own channel using this video. I bet you three dollars you crack.

Yes, Owen and Nathan are the brains behind B Brothers TV. Nathan does all the editing, even coming up with the slick intros and theme music, and Owen provides that comic relief. My only role is uploading {and getting the word out}.

While Owen's already booked his one-way ticket to a two-story mansion in California, "All the famous Youtubers live in two-story houses!" I don't see fame on the horizon just yet. There sure is a lot of fun, though. To help these boys on their quest for stardom, why don't you go visit their channel and subscribe? Aside from the video I've embedded here, there's an informative Q&A and you can watch Owen fail at bottle flipping. This material is pure gold, friends.

I know my kids aren't the only ones out there who want "YouTube Star" on their résumés one day. Does anyone else have kids with their own channel or a habit of bugging you for one? Link up in the comments and we'll rocket these kids to the top of the charts. ;)

Happy Thursday, y'all, and "we'll see you in the next video."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Down at the County Fair

This year's walk around the county fair taught our family three important lessons:
  1. Nora is terrified of enormous pigs.
  2. Owen and Nathan have played enough Goat Simulator that they now speak the language.
  3. If there's only one small cow patty in the walking path at the time of our browsing, someone will step in it.
The first week of September brings the county fair to town, but amusement is not the main focus of this event. We are all about prize-winning sheep, ribbon-bearing jelly jars, and wonderful paintings from locals hoping to be recognized. This year I actually took two trips to the exhibit hall because for the first in my life I was a Field Trip Mom.

When Nora's teacher asked me if I was available to help her cart four-year-olds to look at the animals, I could not think of a reason to get out of it {kidding, I promise}. Now that I'm sans children on Fridays, I can finally help in classrooms. Trust me, it's never fun to be in charge of passing out valentines with a one-year-old attached to your leg. I showed up last Friday morning to load four little girls into four little booster seats. Since it's a Friday in football season, most of them were dressed like this:

I obviously helped herd cats, but I also got to eavesdrop on Nora talking to her buddies like some kind of big girl. Weird, right? Highlights of the morning included all of the squeals when we made it to the bunnies and the kids' realization that every preschool entry got a first-place ribbon. Nora was thrown off when a gigantic pig tried to escape over his enclosure {who wouldn't?}, but she recovered.

I was doing my best to help round up the wild gang, so I didn't get a chance to see whether the boys' art entries placed. Naturally, after school we loaded back up and went out again. This time, however, we skipped the pig row.

The elementary school drawings were themed "Wildflowers of Arkansas" and their awesome art teacher said they could take that direction. Nathan decided to go the anime route and weave in a floral pattern. When the art teacher stopped me in the car line to tell me I needed to check it out, I knew it would be good. Comparing Nathan's first-place fair win to the one he got a mere two years ago shows amazing progress. I can't wait to see what he does with this talent.

Owen told me the first-grade artists were asked to draw whatever they wanted, and to him that meant a neighborhood. His quaint little houses dotted with flowers and a bright blue sky earned him a bright blue first-place ribbon as well. Yes that makes three top spot wins at this year's fair. Now I'm kicking myself for not entering a giant tomato or a jar of sweet pickled peppers or at least a photograph of my kids being cute. Surely that last one would be a shoe-in.

There's always next year!

Have you been to the 2017 county fair? Are your kids scared of pigs? Have you ever heard of Goat Simulator? Join me in the comments and let's get these burning questions answered!
Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Get to Know Me

{Yes, this photo was snapped pre-accident...}

Remember scrambling to be the first to answer the latest MySpace survey?

If you actually do, there's a good chance you're old like me and you haven't thought about your Top 8 in a while. Today we're going to do some reminiscing with a random questionnaire designed to let readers know about the blogger behind the screen. Plus it's Friday afternoon and there is literally no one else in my house, what else am I to do? {There are lots of answers to that actually, but I'm burying them under the pile of laundry I'm ignoring}. So get comfy and read on, you might just learn something about me you did not know:

  1. Are you named after anyone?
    Yes! My great-grandfather. His name was Jess Queen {also maybe a Days of Our Lives character}.

  2. When was the last time you cried?
    It was a painful Tuesday night with my swollen forehead and pitiful stitches. Also I told Jonathan I looked more Beast than Beauty and that probably added to it.

  3. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
    Sure! We have so many of the same interests...

  4. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
    Never. {did that translate?}

  5. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
    I'm pretty sure it's the smile. Noticing someone else's happiness can really change my tune.

  6. Favorite smells?
    The ocean, tomato plants, crisp morning air, clean baby hair, the grass after it rains, and fire.

  7. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
    I went on a cruise to the Bahamas right after high school graduation. We traveled to Nassau and Freeport and I only got a little seasick. I also won $200 playing slot machines under open-water laws. I've also been to Alberta, Canada during trips to visit my family in Montana. You Google which is further. I'll give you a cookie.

  8. Where were you born?
    At the hospital in Blytheville, but my parents drove me in my '80s edition car seat to our home in Osceola.

  9. How tall are you?
    My brain and my license say 5'6" but I have no idea when I measured last. I could've grown, you never know.

  10. What was your favorite/worst subject in High School?
    I am not lying when I say I really enjoyed high school and the learning that went with it. I don't know if band counts as a subject, so I will say English was my favorite and I'll down-vote geometry. I don't mind math, but I'm better at algebra. Ask Nathan, he would probably pick geometry for me, too.

  11. What's your favorite restaurant?
    My husband would call me out if I didn't say Subway, because I love sandwiches and I eat there 2-3 times a week. I also love Chick-Fil-A, McAlister's Deli, Outback, Longhorn, and Park Place in Texarkana.

  12. What sports do you play/have you played?
    You wouldn't know it by my photo albums filled with me holding a flute or twirling a flag or posing with the band, but I dabbled in other extracurricular activities. I did play and enjoy softball for several years before high school. I was the catcher and my favorite part was dramatically throwing my helmet to catch {or miss} pop-up hits.

  13. What did you want to be when you grow up?
    I was torn between professional cheerleader and princess in my early years, then my aspirations changed when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came on the scene. I wanted more than anything to be a television broadcaster like that jumpsuit-wearing April O'Neil. I stuck with that idea so long that my degree is, in fact, in television broadcasting. However, I found journalism a more attractive {and slightly less anxiety-inducing} career, so outside of the UCA campus no one has seen my on-screen skills.

  14. Are you a morning or night person?
    Morning. It's hard for me to wake up sometimes, but once I get going in the early hours, I'm glad I did.

  15. Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods?
    Obviously cravings dictate this one, but I'm much more salty than sweet.

  16. What is the last thing you bought?
    Other than food {which is a boring answer}, it was a few packages of bulletin board borders from Oriental Trading Company {also still kind of boring}.

  17. What's your go-to drink at a bar?
    Depends on where I am, but it's usually Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio or Riesling if I'm feeling fancy. And all the other times it's a margarita.

  18. What are you afraid of?
    Frogs, toads, and any other related amphibious creature. I do not play.

  19. Can you cook?
    Not really, no. #Blessed to have a husband who can, though!

  20. What's one thing you'll never eat or drink?
    For some reason this is a hard question for me. I don't know, bugs? The idea of oysters grosses me out, but I bet you a dollar I'll at least try it one day.

Friends, I hope that satisfied whatever end-of-work-week curiosity you may be feeling, and I wish you a wonderful weekend. Get out and enjoy that incredible weather!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Walkin' in Memphis

1.lack of good sense; foolishness.

Jonathan and I were dressed to the nines Friday as we cruised into a fancy joint called Folk's Folly.

It wasn't until much, much later that night that I Googled the second half of that odd Memphis eatery name to reveal perfect irony. This makes no sense right now, but bear with me, I have suffered head trauma. This post was supposed to be a review of an amazing dining experience, so I'll start there.

Dressed in one of my favorite LBDs with a face full of makeup that took more focus than normal, I waltzed in beside my husband like we owned the place. We had a 6:30 reservation and our bellies were empty. The restaurant was a fascinating place: full of cozy little rooms that separated groups of diners and white cloths on every table. We ordered wine and heard the specials, and understand me when I say we went for it. The actual reason for our weekend in Memphis was a business meeting Jonathan had nailed earlier that afternoon. This was a sort of celebration, after all, so I went for both the surf and the turf.

I've had lobster in lobster dip. I've had lobster on lobster pizza. I've had lobster in seafood bisque. And probably all of those dishes were from Red Lobster. That's it. Jonathan could see the relief on my face when our waiter Kevin asked if he could remove it from the shell for me. Lord yes, Kevin. It was absolutely delicious. The petite filet that accompanied it was topped with parsley butter and cooked to perfection. Every bite melted in my mouth and it's a contender for best steak of my life. Jonathan was much more certain that his steak was hands down the best he's ever had. It was a Frenched prime rib-eye that had been aged for no more and no less than 60 days.

We also shared a blueberry cheesecake that would top our best desserts list. It was not cloyingly sweet and it almost had a salty kick. I'm no food critic, but it was yummy. We left an amount of money at the table that matched our experience {read: a lot of dollars}, and we sauntered hand-in-hand into the parking lot, making more than enough "walking in Memphis" jokes. Too bad the best one was yet to come...

Now this story is going to take an interesting turn, so hold on to your hats. I could tell you about the bar fight I got into on Beale Street, a brawl that landed me in the ER {you should see the other guy and all that jazz}, but that would be a lie. At least the bar part. Because we didn't make it to the bar. We did make it to the emergency room, though.

I'm not going to paint a picture of what happened, because it's gross. I fell in the hotel room when we stopped by after dinner and my forehead caught the nightstand on my way down. What followed was an impressive reaction on my husband's part, and the destruction of about three hotel towels. We raced to the nearest hospital where I got the all-clear on brain damage and two stitches.

I don't want to take away from the image above, but I will say I look a little different. I have a lovely cut and swelling that has found its way to my eyes. It doesn't hurt nearly as bad as it did a few days ago, but I'm already counting down to stitch-removal Friday. Perhaps I'll look a little less like Frankenstein at that point.

As it turns out, the folly from Folk's did not come until after the meal. I will now kick back with another round of Advil and try not to make too many facial expressions. Maybe the next time we make the trek to Tennessee, I'll do a better job of walkin' in Memphis...

Happy Tuesday, my friends. I sure hope your long weekend was well-spent!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Dear September

Hello, September! Bring on the breathable air, cool breeze, and fresh pace.

The calendar page turned, Arkansas already won a football game, and hallways are brimming with school colors and spirit. Heck, last night Jonathan and I traveled to Memphis and when we arrived at the hotel, it was 64 degrees. My husband thought I was crazy for asking if sleet was mixed with the rain, but anything other than summer weather is frigid to me. I know it's not fall yet, but it's in the air.

We are three weeks into the school year and minutes from the first three-day weekend. The kids have all settled into new routines with ease. They're getting their homework done when we walk through the door and they've even aced a few tests already. I know things will start to drag when the novelty wears off, but you can color me impressed today.

Enough about those kids, though, today I'm here to answer a few questions about my current state of life now that September has arrived. Read on to see what's up:

  1. Favorite Thing: I love the routine that comes with school. I don't know if I would call myself a trademarked "Morning Person" but there's something magical about waking up early enough to enjoy coffee while your older kids dress themselves.

  2. Planning: Right now I'm deep in planning for our first full year of teaching high school religious education. Class doesn't start until September 17, but I'm lesson planning and vision making and Googling nonstop.

  3. Eating: It's not often I use the phrase fine dining, but I sure enjoy it. Tonight my husband and I will try famed Memphis restaurant Folk's Folly. There are white tablecloths and foods I've never seen. I can't wait!

  4. Drinking: A large unsweetened tea with lemon from McAlister's. I know this doesn't count as "what I'm drinking in September" but it's what I'm drinking right now and it's amazing. The actual answer is probably wine, to be frank.

  5. Wearing: Most of you know my wardrobe is jeans and/or gym shorts and t-shirts, so I'm the last person to give fashion advice. I will say one makeup item I've been enjoying is the Morphe 9N Blush Palette. I've never been a pink blush girl because I have a lot of redness, but the colors in this are lovely. There are great neutral peach and mauve tones, and they blend beautifully with my go-to bronzer.

  6. Listening to: Nothing! I have enjoyed two of those all-by-myself Fridays I told you about a month ago, and it was weird at first. What am I supposed to do when I'm completely alone? The answer has been a little cleaning, a little writing, and spontaneous naps. I ain't mad at it.

  7. Enjoying: My little corner of Arkansas. Our September calendar is full of local events, including the county fair and a movie in the park {would you believe they chose Nora's beloved Beauty and the Beast!?}. I love the feeling that comes with small-town football season.

  8. Current Project: Our classroom! This year we'll be teaching in the same room we hold youth events, so we get to make it ours. I have bulletin board supplies, laminated letters, and a head full of ideas. We've decided the theme of the year is becoming a saint {anyone can do it!} and we're starting on the room this Sunday.

  9. Hoping for: Health and happiness? If we can keep those on lock, we're golden.

  10. Doing: Tearing out the summer garden. There are a few plants still clinging to life, as I wrote about last week, but soon we will demolish and get the soil ready for next year. I also have plans to renovate two raised beds and fill them with strawberry plants and I have my eye on adding berry bushes, too. Maybe we'll get into the jam and jelly business!

That's a good sample of our to-do list for September. What are you looking forward to this month?