3 Day Cherry Pie – a new American tradition at our house

Holly Collingwood - 100 Days of Summer:

I think this is how we will always celebrate our anniversary in the future. A new tradition.

Originally posted on Rocky Parenting:

DSCN0886I don’t bake a lot, but when an opportunity nearly cherry drops into my lap, I’m not going to pass it up. This week was our 14th wedding anniversary and we celebrated with homemade cherry pie and this is how it came to be.

Day 1 – Notice that it’s only going to be about 75 degrees and invite the kids on a bike ride to their favorite oversized cottonwood tree. It is across an empty field and near a wooded little creek by our house that always reminds me of “Bridge to Terabithia.” There must be some ingenious tweens that live nearby because every time we visit this tree there is something new to discover. We’ve encountered rope swings, tire swings that extend over the creek, we’ve noticed railroad ties in the tree for climbing (too far apart for my kids to reach) and this time there was…

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Guest Post: Wrongly Incarcerated on Mother’s Day

Originally posted on Rocky Parenting:

(This guest post was written by my friend Susan Peterson – thank you for reading – H.C.)

On November 22, the Friday before Thanksgiving, I stumbled upon an article about my dear friend from high school, Dr. Patricia Esparza. It was unthinkable; Patricia was being incarcerated and charged with the murder of a man who raped her when she was 19 years old.  I spent the week writing to sexual assault advocacy groups, the media, friends and politicians—desperate to find anyone that could help. Five months and hundreds of calls, letters and pleas later, Patricia is still incarcerated.

Dr. Patricia Es

Dr. Patricia Esparza

On Sunday morning, I will fly to Los Angeles to visit Patricia in jail. When I booked the flight as a leg of a business trip to San Francisco, I had not realized I would be visiting Patricia on Mother’s Day. On the flight there, I will speak to myself…

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Publishing News: bad barbies and other toy episodes

So, I wrote THIS story, and Mamalode published it and attached the freakiest Barbie picture ever.

It completely solidified why I never liked playing with dolls. I’ll admit to owning one Barbie as a kid, probably because the neighbor girls across the street had them and I wanted to play with them. One summer day I put my Barbie on a cookie sheet on the front porch in her bikini to get a sun tan. Came back later after playing with dump trucks in the dirt or something more fun and her fingers were all melted. Oops. Barbie fail. I’m just that way.

But I hope you enjoy the story linked above about how exciting my date nights are these days!



Coming out of the coma

Adele - freaking awesome famous singer

Adele – freaking awesome famous singer

My husband and I are just beginning to emerge from the parenting cultural coma. This condition causes parents to lose about five years of cultural stuff from mid-pregnancy to when our kids approach age five. The gap in awareness is primarily caused by complete obsessiveness in our children.

First we all get caught in the stroller wheels of baby gear. Deciding on the best baby swing requires hours of internet research and store visits. Later the Birth Boards of BabyCenter consume hours in which we commiserate with others at the same stage because no one in ‘real-life’ is at the same phase right now. And then it is time to pick a preschool, plan play dates, hit playgrounds and parks and potty train. And finally, sleeping through the night becomes more normal, and the sheer exhaustion dwindles and the fog begins to clear.

Recently we noticed a new restaurant on the corner by our house. It has been there about three years a neighbor informed us.

Apparently I’m supposed to wear skinny jeans now. Still not convinced that is going to happen, but everyone else is doing it.

Movies like Pitch Perfect (2012) just made its way to our DVD player and cracked us up. And I’ve recently discovered Modern Family and The Middle – where were they when I needed them? Oh yeah, right there on my boob tube – unfortunately, I was just too busy figuring out how to feed a kid with my boobs to turn on the tube.

And then there is a singer named Adele. WOW – enough said. She happened. And she had a baby, I learned. Pretty sure that baby is the luckiest one in the entire world. Can you imagine the beautiful lullabies she must sing each night?

And twerking is what?

Embarrassingly, I had to Google Paul Walker several months ago to find out who he was as everyone shared their grief on Facebook. I’ve never seen any of the Fast and Furious movies. I hear they are actually really good.

And one of the coolest things I’ve discovered recently is that scientists landed a rover on Mars that takes pictures, studies the dirt there and Jetsons the information back to us on Earth. Who knew? You can see the pictures here.

Watch out world, the Collingwoods are slowly awakening from this cultural coma.

Although I do fear that just as soon as we start to feel like ourselves, we’re soon to be swept up in the tween years of whatever they consider cool at the moment. And do kids still say, ‘cool?’ But, really, please take me to the pasture if you find me wearing neon (we already did this in the 80s and once a lifetime is enough for neon) or singing anything by Justin Bieber.

Book Review: ‘Secret Daughter’ by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Originally posted on Rocky Parenting:

I love to read books about other cultures and ‘Secret Daughter’ provided me the opportunity to learn about the country and people of India. The author tells us the story of two unrelated families tied together by the invisible braid of adoption.

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

The first family is incredibly poor and from a rural village of India. Their struggles with farming in a slow economy force them move to the city of Mumbai. The author shares their challenges as they unintentionally land in the slums and attempt to work their way out through factory and maid jobs, accidents, scams and illiteracy.

The second family is comprised of two physicians in Los Angeles, California and follows their grief through multiple miscarriages and infertility. Eventually, they decide that international adoption is in their future. The father, though born and raised in India, now considers America his home –…

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Brotherly Love – Or Something

bounceMy boys are 3 and 5 and if you listen to their words during the day, they sure don’t seem to like each other much. “That is mine. I got it first. I wanted the green plate. Your chair is touching my chair. Stop poking me.” So it goes all day.

As a parent, there are a lot of things I want for my children in the world, but a close and supportive relationship with their siblings is probably in the top five. I hope as they grow into adults they will enjoy each other’s company, help each other and take care of each other when needed.

Listening to them talk now, I don’t feel like we are headed in that direction. But recently, there was an incident in which I learned that when it comes to ‘brotherly love,’ actions truly speak louder than words.

We were spending a cold morning at one of those wonderful germ infested bouncy castle places where kids go crazy and parent let them because that is what inflatable rooms are for. At one point, a bigger boy pushed my 3 year old down and was lying on top of him practicing his karate moves. No one was hurt (yet) so I took a quick look around for a parent (absent of course) and was about to kick off my shoes and dive into the castle myself when my 5 year old sprinted over, grabbed the big boy by the back of the shirt and hurled him across the castle in true WWF fashion. Seriously, Hulk Hogan would have been proud.

Whoa, I thought. Now, what to do? But the bigger boy just jumped along to a different castle and was fine, so I stayed out of it.

And then my 3 year old bounced over to me and said excitedly, “My brother saved me from the mean boy. He was jumping on me and I didn’t like it and my brother saved me.” And that is what true love is all about (if you’re 3 and 5).

Vote Now – “Awkward Love” Contest Finalists

Holly Collingwood - 100 Days of Summer:

My writer friends at Rocky Parenting ran an “Awkward Love” writing contest. The stories are hilarious. Come on over and vote for your favorite…

Originally posted on Rocky Parenting:

We are proud to announce the 6 finalists in our “Awkward Love” writing contest.

Please help these writers out by reading and voting for your favorite stories. The stakes are high, a sweet prize has been offered by Kayni Williams from Pure Romance.

And here they are:

You can vote by hitting LIKE at the bottom of each story or you can hit LIKE on our Facebook Page for each story.

We’ll add them together with our wicked English Major skills and make sure the prize is awarded to the…

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Publishing News – 2 Short Stories

photo credit: Holly Chaffin

photo credit: Holly Chaffin

Want the truth?

Earning a living as a writer is hard. Writing and submitting and selling and marketing and tweeting and thinking and writing some more… It is a vicious cycle. But in the midst of this cold, snowy winter we all seem to be stuck in there are bits of sunshine. Mamalode.com is one of them. Each day they publish wonderful parenting stories on their website and guess what?!? They pay…

So if any of you readers are aspiring writers and parents, go ahead, submit a story to them and see what happens…

Here are two of mine that are live on the Mamalode site right now:

This is Why I Believe in God

Dear Monkey Bars

Hope you enjoy them and feel free to share them if they inspire you. Or what I’m really begging is, just click through and read the stinking things – I get paid by how many people read the stories. And my kids eat a lot :)

Publishing News – ‘Always Read the Fine Print’

Fun news – I had another story published by Mamalode! It is called, “Always Read the Fine Print’ and this is how it starts:

I was reading a story with my 5-year-old tonight when he wiped a booger on my face. A booger.

This is the part of motherhood I didn’t sign up for.

I didn’t sign up for carpet sniffing episodes. Is that a raisin? A chocolate chip? Please, please be a black bean.

I didn’t sign up to…     And you can read the rest here:


Thank you – and please share it if you like it! – Holly


Read the fine print!

Read the fine print! (Photo credit: snacktime2007)