What's the Difference: Eagle Eye

It's Monday!

Time to play: What's the Difference?

Today's game is a little easier than last week. I think {??}. There are FIVE differences between the two photos (lighting variation is NOT one of them). Have fun.

Photo credit: the inimitable Justin Hackworth

Keep swimming. And did you know that a group of owls is called a parliament? Me neither.
 Ms Fish


Choices + What's the Difference Results

Photo credit: Cores de uma cidade by Rafael Saes'

I used to ask my kids at bedtime if they wanted to get their jammies on. It was the kind of slippery-slope question I would ask before I figured out that kids were not simply adults hiding in a size 6X. When I asked that question, our conversations would be similar to this:

Me:  Do you want to get your jammies on?

Otto:  No

Me:  Are you sure you don't want to cuddle up in your warm snuggly jammies?

Otto:  No

Me:  Don't you want to get ready for bed?

Otto:  No

Me:  Do you want to brush your teeth?

Otto:  No

Me:  Why don't you want to get your jams on?

Otto:  Because I'm not stupid, mom. What kid in his right mind wants to quit playing and lie down in the dark all by themselves and be bored until they can fall asleep?

Me:  Okay that's enough of that kind of talk. You go in there right now and get your jammies on. It's time for bed.

Otto:  But you asked if I wanted to and I said No.

Me:  I only asked if you wanted to because I thought you would want to.

Otto:  Well I don't want to.

Me:  Well you should want to. That's the sensible thing to want. I'm exhausted and I want to go to bed, so you should too. Plus, I'm the mom, so you do what I say. And I say that you want to get your jammies on.

Otto:  But....

Me:  No buts... you get your jammies on or else.

Otto:  Or else what?

Me:   Or.... or else..... or else I'm going to go live in a hotel and rent some children who want to get their jammies on. I'm sure there are starving children in the world starving for jammies.  They'd be grateful for jammies.

Otto:  Okay then. C-ya later.

Me:   What do you mean seeya later? You'd say goodbye just like that? You're not even going to put up a fuss?

Otto:  No, I'm not in the mood to fuss.

Me:  Well, then I'm telling Santa about THIS one! If you don't get in there right now and get on your pajamas and put up a fuss about me wanting to leave, I'll tell Santa not to come. Don't make me do it.

Otto:  Oh... original mom....the old Santa trump-card trick. Ok. Alright. I'm going. But don't forget to put an ad in the paper for those children.

________________________ * _________________________ 

After awhile, I wizened up, and learned to ask better questions so I didn't have to give threatening answers.

Me:  Would you like to get your jammies on before or after your bedtime story? 

That way it was a matter of when not if they wanted to get ready for bed. A subtle but brilliant difference!

Kids need the opportunity to make decisions about things that matter to them, like going to bed or hanging out with friends on a schoolnight. So, I changed my tactics purposely giving choices that:
  • limited the options
  • guaranteed the most appropriate outcome for the situation
all under the guise of free agency.

Is this a manipulative mommy trick? I don't think so. It is simply a more effective way of empowering children with the ability to make choices...choices where both child and parent can honor the final decision.

________________________ * _________________________

Sometimes I wish the best path was a narrow one-way street lined with cobblestones 
to clearly mark the way.

As our children have gotten older, the stakes have been raised. The decisions have become harder with more choices, the consequences more enduring with heavier weight. My 16-yr old son is facing a difficult decision right now. He's at a crossroads and whichever road he chooses has the potential to affect his future. It's a big deal in his teen-age world.

It's humbling and scary to watch my children make consequential decisions. And to give them the trust and latitude to do so. They might screw up. The chances are high they will at one time or another. I certainly have. That's the roll of the life dice. And the risk of agency.

I hope we've taught our children the steps to good decision-making and how to listen and recognize answers from prayer. And how to accept what comes. I hope that all the little opportunities to make decisions like when to get jammies on, or whether to go to a football game if it means staying up till 2 am doing homework, have taught them what they need to know about choice, accountability, the ripple effect on others, and following their inner voice.

I hope with my son, I have the strength to not chime in and make the decision for him. I'm a chimer. And a rhymer. I'm a joker. I'm {not} a smoker. I'm {not} a midnight toker. I sure don't want to hurt no one. ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh...

Sorry. A Space Cowboy came riding by. Where were we?

Oh ya...chiming. Ok, Mr. Fish, I'll admit you are right. I kinda maybe sorta have a tendency to once in awhile slightly accidentally innocently sometimes with best intentions chime. When it's not my time. But I sure don't want to hurt no one. ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

One thing is for sure: no matter what choices my children make, I am no longer in the market for rental children. Mine are keepers and all I want.

________________________ * _________________________

How do you teach or learn decision-making skills? I'm still learning. And would love to learn from you.

Keep swimming and making good choices,
Ms Fish

PS: In the mood for some Steve Miller Band now? Listen to The Joker here.

________________________ * _________________________

Warning! Spoiler ahead.

Congratulations to commenter #11 (selected by random.org) JULIE, who emailed me all the correct answers.

Julie said, "Okay. Finally. I want you to know that I spent WAY too long on this and had to enlist the help of my husband and two daughters, ages 4 and 6 to see the differences. Wow. That's just sad

Well, Julie...it's not sad anymore. You're persistence (and subscription to HIGHLIGHTS magazine) paid off. Watch for your gift card in the mail. And enjoy Olive Garden. When you're there, you're family,  ya know. Ciao!

Now, here are the differences from this week's game. And don't forget to come back and play another round on Monday.


What's the Difference: Oh my Gosh!!

Happy {Holiday} Monday!

Guess what that means? Time to play:

What's the Difference? (For background on this game, read here)

This week, all you have to do to win is simply find the differences and leave a comment. On Thursday Feb. 24, at 10 pm MST,  a [potential] winner will be randomly selected from the commenters and announced on the blog.

Then the winner will win. When, do you wonder? When will they win? The winner will win when the winner's winning answers are verified to win. Should bring a grin.

Good luck and thanks for playing along.

1. Find FOUR differences between these two photos (not counting the numbers labeled for your convenience). **HINT: look closely at each of the girl's head. Won't be able to see it if viewing this on a mobile phone.

2. When you know the answer, please leave a comment (but don't state the answers). If your name is chosen, I will email you and ask for the answers. If they are correct, you will win a $25 gift card to Olive Garden. If the answers are not correct, then shoot-a-mile, gosh galldarnit. I'll have to pick another winner. Randomly. But that won't happen cuz you are all smartypants.

3. Please do NOT state the ANSWERS in the comment section. (Didn't I already say this?)

FYI: I don't change the lighting between the two photos, so you can be sure that will never be one of the choices. If you see light variances between the two photos, that is probably a function of your computer screen or the tilt of your monitor or a moat in your eye. 

Photo credit: Todd Pellowe

Tell me what you think..... was this easy as pie or hard as creme brulee?

Keep swimming and keep sharing great conversation.
Ms. Fish, who sometimes talks in Dr. Seuss speak. When? When the winsome wind spins.

PS: Don't you LOVE this photo? Is anyone besides me dying to know what was said?


Wedding Wednesday

Her ring is gorgeous. And her glow is genuine. 


I can't quite believe 


is happenin'

______________________ * _______________________

A few posts back, I said that big things were happening in the fishbowl. Well, now I can tell you that last Saturday, my dear darling Daisy got engaged.

We are planning a wedding!

I'm still trying to figure out how we got to this point. Daisy just learned to read not too long ago, and started jr. high school last month. Or so it seems. I'm not ready to shop for wedding dresses. I am barely recovered from the trauma of shopping for pageant dresses!

Now in less than 90 days, my grown-up little girl is going to run her own household, decide how often to clean her bathroom, choose her own throw pillows and doormat, and have disagreements about where to squeeze the toothpaste.

I'm feeling a whirlwind of emotions.  I don't know whether my tears are more because I'm happy for her or because I'm mourning the loss of her reliance on me and Mr. Fish and the carefree days of being single.  She's a smart,  mature girl, and I trust her judgment. I always have. I need to hold onto that.

My prayer for her {and all my children} is that they will have a strong marriage full of fun, joy and fights that end with kisses. I pray that they will never experience the sting of divorce, and that their children {and every generation thereafter} will call them blessed and will know and follow God.

In the end, that's what really matters.

______________________ * _______________________

This will be a big DIY wedding, complete with some crazy surprises, if we can pull it off. So every Wednesday, I'll be blogging about the preparations and what I've learned. Or more likely, what I should have learned. That way you can suffer learn right along with me. (See mother. See crazy mother. See crazy mother run. See crazy mother run into a bank. And rob it).

______________________ * _______________________

Keep swimming, and feel free to share tips or advice,
Ms Fish, a self-appointed wedding planner

PS: I would sure appreciate hearing from other mothers. Does anyone out there blog that is as old as me? If so, how did you feel when your daughter(s) got engaged? I certainly had no idea what my mom was going through 27 years ago.


What's the Difference: Lovers

 Feb. 16
**An update from Ms. Fish 
This contest is now closed. We didn't reach 14 comments so I learned that what works for the radio, doesn't work for blogs. Bad idea. Because I know that MANY, MANY more than the 12 who left comments played the game. You were just silent lurkers :)

NEXT WEEK, the rules will change again. The winner will be picked randomly from those who leave a comment. If we only have 12 comments again, your odds are good (but the goods won't be odd). And since we didn't have a winner this week...the stakes will be raised. Come on back next Monday and play. And this time, speak up. You'll be glad you did.


Happy Valentine's Day of Love.  

For our game today, we have a pair of lovers with lots to read and no time to do it (hubba, hubba).
Good luck. And thanks for playing along.

Just a reminder about the rules:

1. Find FIVE differences between the two photos (excluding the photo labels).

2. The fourteenth person to email me with the correct answer will win a $20 gift certificate to Olive Garden. Yum! Free food! Free delicious food!

3. In order to claim your prize, you must have also left a comment on the blog. I'll be checking. (Note: the amount of comments and emails I receive may not be equal.... in other words, someone may leave a comment without emailing me. Or vice versa. So don't throw in the [monogrammed pink valentine's] towel if you already see 14 blog comments....)

4. Please do NOT tell the answers in the comment section. Only through email (link on sidebar).

Photo credit: Todd Pellowe

What did you think... too easy, too hard or just right?

Keep swimming and keep loving each other and books.
Ms. Fish

oh wait...a final treat: enjoy this awesomely sweet song in honor of today.


Valentine's Day Dinner

This morning I woke up with a burning question.

Would it be a slap in love's face, if I don't make my usual nothin' says lovin' like a big hunk of meat and potatoes dinner:

Filet Mignon with Port Wine Demi-Glace and Bleu Cheese Butter
Creamy Cream-Cheese Smashed Potatoes
Grilled Mushrooms
Grilled Seasoned Asparagus

Because here is the deal. This year I really want to make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

They can be special. They can be made with fancy cheese. They can still be made with a side of grilled mushrooms (my husband's favorite!).

To complete the meal, I'm thinking a side of French Onion Soup or Homemade Tomato Soup.

Photo credit: Yum Sugar

This and this and this cheese sandwich all sound delicious!!

Creamy smooth melt-in-your mouth hot flavorful cheese can exude romance, especially if you throw in a little asparagus, which affects the pheromones. If you really want to pump up the aphrodisiac properties, add some oysters.

Just for fun, here are a couple of tips when making grilled cheese:
Grate the cheese instead of slice it. Cheese melts faster decreasing the chance of burning the bread.
Use softened, salted butter... browns more evenly and flavors the outside of the bread.
Cover the sandwich when cooking the first side to help melt the cheese sufficiently

What are your favorite ways to make gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches?
What are you making for Valentine's Day Dinner?

Do you think I'm crazy?

Keep swimming and happy planning for your special Valentine.
 Ms Fish (who may attempt to make a grilled cheese sandwich that will knock my husband's socks pants off.....unless he's too busy sulking from not getting steak!)


A Collection of Things

This is an exciting day.

It's my brother's birthday. He's very cool. And he's lucky, because he will never, ever be as OLD as I am. He's a great dad, a competent physician, and a wonderful person. I love him. Tons. Happy birthday Jerms.

My other brother is doing something absolutely amazing. If you are engaged, or know someone who is, you will kick yourself if you don't check THIS  out.

 I saw this poetic tagline on a cooking blog and it cracked me up. Makes you want to stay and read the blog.

Butter my Butt and Call me a Biscuit

Downton Abbey just became available today on Netflix Instant Viewing. 

Have you watched Downton Abbey?  If not, do you plan on watching it? If so, what do you think of it? Please do chime in.


What's the Difference: Results

Good windy morning!

Last night I was reminded ALL night long that I live in Hurricane. Maybe the strong winds will carry in Spring.

Thanks to all who played What's the Difference

We had a winner at 9:13 pm. Congrats to Justin, an artist with a sharp and creative eye. Several others got it right too.

Now do I tell the answer? Or not so others can still play?

In the trial run I learned a few things. So I am going to do some tweaking. (Did I mention that one of the rules of this game is that I can change the rules?)

Next week, the winner will be the 14th person who emails me with the correct answer (hey...just like being the XXth caller on the radio)! 

Fourteen. In honor of V-day. Lovely.

AND here is the catch. (Why is there always a catch?)  In order to claim your prize, you must have also left a comment on the blog. I know. That is two things you have to do: email AND comment. But we have traditional values around here at Ms. Fish: you can't expect something for nothing. You are getting a free prize for heaven's sake.

It will be worth it.

If you like money. And you like food.

Hope you'll play along next week.

Photo credit: Jamie Hammond

Keep swimming and let me know if you see hints of Spring.
Ms Fish


What's the Difference?

It really isn't full-blown Winter anymore. But it's not quite Spring either.

This is my least favorite time of year. Even with the amount of chocolate available.


until the tulips bring color to our days, I think it's time for a little game to liven things up. Everyone loves a good game, right?

This game is called  

What's The Difference?

(Incidentally, as luck would have it, that's the same question I have about the Superbowl XLV half-time show and the Gong Show.)

Here's how it works: I will post two pictures that look eerily similar. To the untrained eye, that is. If you have a discerning eye for detail and can pick out the most expensive shoes without even seeing the price tag....you will rock this game. Wait a minute. Wrong analogy. Having good taste doesn't have anything to do with the skill needed here.

For this game, your eagle eye needs to find the difference(s) between two pictures.

So here are the rules:

1. Every Monday at 7:00 am M.S.T. (till the tulips bloom), I will post a new photo game.
2.The first person to email me with the correct answer(s) will win a prize. Not like a coupon for CheeseWhiz kind of prize. I'm talking a cool prize.
3. The prizes will vary and will be announced each week, so you will know what you are playing for.
4. Please do NOT state the ANSWERS in the comment section. Play fair, K?

This first week will be a trial run. No prizes...just fun, fun, fun!

The photo below has ONE and only ONE difference between the two (besides the obvious labeling for your convenience). Find the difference and email me (address on sidebar).

*NOTE: The image on the right is slightly larger. That is NOT the difference I'm talking about.

Oh, and please leave a comment below and help me out: was this too easy, too hard or just right!

Keep swimming and keep your chin up till the Spring flush.
Ms Fish


A Little Teaser

Friday I am heading to Provo to watch Otto swim at the State swim meet. Yeah for him!! And yeah for me for driving four hours to watch a 2 minute race. And yeah for my brother who is letting me stay AGAIN in his spare bedroom. I pretty much almost live with him I go there so much. I really should pay some of his electric bill.

Then when I get back there will be big things to blog about...BIG things are a'brewing here in the fishbowl. And by BIG, I don't mean my recent weight gain.

I'll tell you about it real soon....


Photo by Todd Pellowe

Keep swimming. I know Otto will.

Ms Fish


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