Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Good Gift

by Amy Platon

If you have a little artist in your home, then you know that the fridge is the usual display spot. If you are looking for an inexpensive gift idea for a mom that you know, consider this…..

It’s a picture box and you can pick one up at any craft store or frame shop although an crafts store may have the better price. I picked this one up for $12.99. And I LOOOOVE it. My daughter comes home with all kinds of cute crafts from school, and they are at times too heavy for a magnet. That’s when I tried to look for a sophisticated solution that would blend with my homes décor.

I printed her name in a pretty font from the computer, and pinned it in the box. Then when she comes home with a new masterpiece, I slip the old one out and into her scrapbook box, and the new one goes in.

She loves it, and so do our guests!

When I gift it, I plan to print out their child’s name and pin it in for them. Then I'll tie a thick fabric bow around it and fasten on a beautiful tag.

Also, watch for another gift idea that I’ll reveal that I’m doing for my children for Christmas. I think it’s safe to post, they don’t know Scribble Ink Café exists…..yet ☺

Want some more inspiration? Click below:

My Kitchen Renovation
More Kid Design Ideas
Patio Makeover

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Festival of the Masters

by Amy Platon

Well hubby just completed this beautiful piece of digital art for Disney's Festival of the Masters. Disney liked it enough to make some limited merchandise out of it.

Sharpie liked it too. They did a kids exhibit with it. The kiddos got to color their own tiles to make up the mural that was displayed for the event.

Hubby even signed his work for the adoring fans! Now the only place to land some of this fine merchandise is on Ebay. haha.

If you like Arnel's work, I'll announce the launch of his artist site, just as soon as he gets it all ready. Here was his last piece for FOM

It was an especially beautiful day to be a family!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Crossover

by Amy Platon

As homeowners who decorate for the holidays, the first weekend in November is a toss up. You know the Halloween décor needs to come down, or you’ll be that family… the one that leaves their stuff up just a little too long after the event has passed.

If you are like us, you consider for a moment, to trade the Halloween stash for Christmas decorations. “That way,” I say, “We only have to open the attic once.”

Hubby and I know it’s just too early for Christmas lights, and at 5:30 on Saturday night, neither of us are ready to get started on that project now or this weekend for that matter. (Besides, it’s not fair to put that kind of pressure on the neighbors this early in the season, haha) However, I convince my man to drag out a couple of lighted trees and a wreath. “The kids will love it.” I say.

So he does. And this morning we woke up to extra greenery around the house, but just a touch of it. It was nice. Even husband was impressed. We stood at the top of our stairs staring at what we were able to accomplish so early in the season. He says, “You even had time to put fake snow on the wreath?” As he stepped in to take a closer look, I was forced to confess… “That’s insulation.”

And the Santas had a jolly good laugh. Almost spilling coffee right down the new stairs.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

If It’s Options You Want…..

A word from your REALTOR/Bartender/Writer/Mom/Head of Household.

I’ll just say it. This housing market is a total drag.

I have some friends who bought at the top of their price range, anticipating raises and employment to continue on it’s upward trend. I mean we all did. Our job market was too promising for too long. We all but forgot that there could be a slump in the economy.

The more I walk into abandoned homes and trudge through over grown front yards, the more I think how some of this could be avoided. That’s right, I said avoided!

Look here, if you don’t like your house, you’re not trapped in it, even though the market sucks. You have options. First, ask yourself, can you renovate to make it the beautiful home you’ve always wanted? No? It’s not beauty that stops you from loving your home? It’s the sheer expense of it? Then consider renting it out.

Stay with me now.

If you rent your home out, and you can cover your expenses or at least come close, you can then rent, for yourself, a place that better suits your needs (whether you are trading up or down.) Renting may not sound like a “good” idea to you, but if you can’t stay in your home and you can’t sell without shorting the bank then RENT IT!

Who cares if they spill on your lovely carpet or if they break a tile, or get the walls dirty. That’s all fixable (and comes right out of the security deposit, by the way). Don’t get hung up on the fact that your precious home won’t be kept up, cause you can fix that later (with their money.)

Just because you are a home owner, doesn’t mean you can’t be a renter. So once you get your home rented out, you go find a place that fits your needs and rent it for yourself. If you are able to rent for less than you are paying now, then you can lower your expenses.

Here’s an example, if you currently pay $2000 a month for your 5 bedroom home, but you are willing to go down to a 3 bed room rental that costs $1100 per month. You rent your place for say $1800, then your expenses go from $2000 per month to $1300 per month ($200 your not getting to cover your mortgage plus the $1100 in new rent expenses.)

You lower your cost of living exponentially (including lowering your utilities) and you still keep your investment. If you rent in the town where you own, then if worse comes to worse, and you can’t find a renter the following year, you can leave your rental and reoccupy your home. But come in close, because I’m about to tell you a secret: The rental market is doing great. There are more renters looking for homes than there are buyers. Just be prepared to prove to your new tenant that you are up to date on all your house payments and be prepared to have their security deposit in a separate escrow account for their protection in case you default.

Don’t be a victim to a downward financial spiral. Pilot yourself out of it! We need to quit jumping ship!

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Cheap Renovations - See My Home:
Update Your Stairs
Decorating for Children and Adults
Kitchen Facelift
Patio Magic

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back To Basics

I'm sooo excited! Remember this? I've been looking for this thing (for my daughter) for about a year now. I just remember playing with it for hours when I was a kid (okay maybe I really want to play with it again). You pick a skirt or pants and pick a top and rub a crayon over the paper sideways so the image is drawn on the page.

I didn't remember the name of it, but as it turns out, there is no actual name for it (they call it "Fashion Designer").

Once I stumbled on this site, I decided, that from now on, I'm only going to Back To Basics Toys when I want nostalgic toys. They really do have it all. It's the perfect site to shop for birthday gifts, especially for kids who have it "all" already. (No they didn't pay me to say that.) After all, sleigh bells are ringing in the distance.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share, in case any of you moms couldn't think of the name of this thing either. LOL.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

DIY Explosion!

by Amy Platon

Well folks, it's done! Hubby and I (mostly Hubby) just converted our stairs. Here's the "before." As you can see behind me, we had traditional carpet covered steps.

Now see the finished product.

We had this project priced by several professionals and the lowest figure was $1500 (and that was just labor). We completed this project ourselves for right around $400.

Can you see the fear in his eyes? Yes, he totally ice skates down the stairs. He's only slipped on the bottom two steps. Now he's much more careful!

We're so happy with the result! it only took 3 weekends! We did the landing first then took it 3 steps per day from there! Ahhhh I love the sound of DIY success under my feet!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pickin' Peppers again! HA HA!

WOW! I just got this email forward from a friend, and I had to post it for the blogosphere. Sorry if you've seen this already. The above pictures are actual peppers! The email reads that the farmer says these can grow up to 18" long....That just brings tears to your eyes, doesn't it?

Ha, ha! Too funny. This pic wasn't posted on the email I got once that showed how each vegetable that resembles an organ benefits the organ. I guess the peppers don't do much for that organ!

Cheers! Have a great weekend.

PS I hope to have some exciting pictures to share on Monday! But you'll have to wait and see.......hint, "Todo" is gonna kill me!

UPDATE: I found that hot peppers cause prostate cancer cells to fight themselves! Here's the link for that article! Too Cool!

Monday, September 14, 2009


by Amy Platon

No, I haven’t forgotten about my blog. I could never ever do that. In fact, if you only knew how much I thought about this blog, then it would be killing you too that you couldn’t find the time to sit down and tend to it. Well, I’ve forced myself to do it. And did I say crazy?

Ready for the news?

I’ve just started a new “mom” career! Writing is still in the plan, but honestly, it’s slow going. And since I can’t really bartend till I’m 60 (or at least I don’t really want to be that lady) then I better start deciding what my back-up plan is going to be.

The mission: to set out and find a career that 1. Interests me. 2. Can provide me at least $30,000 a year. 3. Have the potential for growth. 3. And the clincher – it has to be flexible so I can still make time for mom stuff. Hmmmm.

A little about me: I love my home, I love my family, I love talking to people, I love my community. No, I didn’t become a politician, where’s the flexibility in that?

I became a Real Estate Agent. The only variable is the “income” part. But I will keep my day job, so to speak, until business starts picking up. But since passing the class then the state exam I have been in training for about a week now. And it has consumed me. But now I’m ready to get going making some money (if there is any to be made, only time will tell). I’ll keep you posted! Promise!

PS. The little ones are loving school. As my 6 year old son gets older, his electronics are advancing. We are now into Wii, Itouch, and Nintendo DS. The problem is, that lately when his buddies come over, they sit around and play their own electronics. So, new rule in our house. People First!

If there is a friend at the house, then play with your toys, not with your video games. I think it has helped to draw the line for him early. I know some adults who are still taking calls and checking emails while out to eat with their friends. Even when I’m an ultra successful Realtor (wink) I won’t be that lady! And if I can help it, he won’t be that guy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hope is Not a Plan

by Amy Platon

How does it go? Never underestimate the power of a back-up plan?

Well I would totally buy that. Especially with the little things. For instance this weekend, hubby and I re-touched our walls around the house. But of course, once you get started in a “little” project like that, before you know it you’ve painted everything in the house.

I gathered the children. “Family, the entire house is wet. Don’t touch the railing on the stairs, any wall, any closet or room door. In fact don’t touch anything white anywhere.” As my kids blinked at my directions, I could see their little minds taking themselves through the house on what would become a complete obstacle course. “You’re right. Let me try that again. Try not to touch anything white in the house, you will get paint on you.”

Anyway, once I said that, ineviatabley someone NEEDED to go potty. Someone else HAD to go downstairs to eat. And though both of those things went well, we all know wet paint never goes untouched.

Enter: the back-up plan. “When you do touch the paint that I’ve just told you not to touch, do not wipe it on your shirt. Hold your hand up, come find me and we will wash it off.” It ended up we only had a minor incident. The paint dried fast and we were back climbing the doorframes and using the walls as brakes in no time.

Having a plan for the failed first plan was just what the kids needed to limit residual damage. Because hope, as they say, is not a plan.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do You Hear That?

by Amy Platon

I thought it might have been something in the air. I started to think it, could have been that football season was coming around. One thing I knew for sure was that it was nowhere near Christmas. But the parents in my group of friends were especially happy - giddy even. I had never seen so many hi-fives and fist bumps as I did last weekend when we got together. Smiles were contagious and the off and on whines from the children went utterly unnoticed. Patience saturated every moment.

Then I realized what it was. It was the last weekend of summer break. And as happy as we all are for summer to roll around, we are just as happy to see it go – Or should I say, just as happy to see fall arrive.

My enthusiasm for Monday morning came as inevitably as the school bus did around the corner. I waved a vigorous goodbye and boasted an energetic smile. Of course, I was just trying to help my boy feel excited for his first day of first grade. My son and all of his neighborhood friends peered out the windows smiling back at me only because it was expected.

No, he didn’t want summer to end. And we did have a ton of fun! But I have to tell you, going back into a quiet house that stayed clean almost all day was a beautiful thing.

The tissue train made no stops at my house. I did have friends who mourned for a moment, or two. It is hard when all your kids are out of the house for the first time. I remember constantly checking the back seat for my daughter the first time she went to school. Then when I did have them with me, I would second guess who I should have with me. It is an adjustment. I get that, but I’m not gonna lie – I am enjoying the silence.

I love my children, but even moms need a little personal time. I needed a little time from them and they need their time away from me. Hooray for school. High five! And God bless those teachers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


by Amy Platon

“Mommy, I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.”

As a Mom, I guess I’m supposed to have faith that she’ll grow out of that. Not that I’m opposed to ballerinas. It’s just that I’m one of those Moms…princess stories don’t scare me. That is, when I watch a performance or a movie that spotlights a female in need of rescue, I’m not the kind of Mom that worries if my daughter will reenact that behavior in her real life.

How can I be so sure? Because, she’s got me for a Mom.

When my daughter said, “Mommy, I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.” I said, “Oh, honey. I think you would make a fabulous ballerina. And did you know you can be a ballerina, AND something else?”

“I can?”

“Yup. You can be as many things as you want to be. Say your brother wants to be a football player when he grows up. Well, there are football teams for dads to play on when they are home from work or on the weekends. Just like there are mommy ballerina classes. When you grow up, and have a job, you can be a ballerina after work and on the weekends.”

“Oh.” She says. “So, I can be a Mommy and a ballerina?”

“And what ever else you want to be. You don’t have to choose just one, you can be them all, if you want.”

Poof! Just like that, her fantasy becomes a workable reality. She doesn’t have to be the best ballerina in her class. She just has to love it.

I wasn't born this way. I was that dreamer. I didn’t have someone helping me move the pieces of this puzzle we call life. Showing me how they fit together. In fact, I'm pretty sure someone took a few of the pieces from my box. But I’m the kind of Mom who is going to give every secret to my children. Everything I’ve learned I will give to them, so they can be a step ahead of me when I was their age.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Dr. Is In

by Amy Platon

Advice on stitches removal. Hand the tweezers to your six-year old son.

I see that look of horror on your face. But I mean it.

Lots of good things come out of empowering your kids with real responsibility. The beautiful thing about stitches is that they look so medically important. They look complicated, painful, and even a little gross. But the reality is, that at the end of their term, there are virtually painless. They’re also super simple to extract… only the kids have no idea about that. Let’s face it, my kids think rice crispy treats require culinary skills, and I’m nowhere near bursting that bubble!

So, on to some good ol' fashioned Mommy Magic. I called the whole family into the bathroom. I cut the knot off and I pulled the first two stitches out to show them how it’s done. Then I handed the tweezers off. My son pulled out the next two and my daughter (not enough coordination to use the tweezers) pulled her two out with her fingers.

They were so absorbed in the experience that 1. I trusted them with not just my body but with my boo-boo. 2. It made them feel like doctors (no harm in that). 3. It Dissolved any potential fear about getting stitches, should they need them in the future. And 4. I had them “fix” something on me, that I didn’t scream and cry about.

And believe me, I made that point clear. “See Mommy doesn’t mind letting you help me with my boo-boo. Just like you let me help you with yours.” Ahh yes, I do believe the lights came on about that one!

Don't have any stitches to share? Well next time you get blood drawn, have the kids watch - if you don't scream and cry that is. Or let them put your eye drops in for you. Still not that brave? Let them administer your band-aid then. They'll totally love you for it!

I guess I need some sort of disclosure about this post, just to cover any potential issues, so here goes: I’m no doctor, despite the title. These are merely suggestions from a crazy mom who just wants to take any opportunity to open her children’s eyes a little wider to the world around them. Her stories are for entertainment use only!

But they are true.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gift of the Magi

by Amy Platon

So remember that skate camp I sent my son to? Well I thought I’d share a beautiful piece of advice that his instructor shared with him. His instructor’s skate name is Magi, hence the title. Wink.

Well Magi told my son that when he tries to learn a new trick, try not to get frustrated. Which is a big expectation for a six year old. But then Magi said this: “You know what I do when I’m not getting a trick? I just go back to a trick that I can do, and do that one for a while so I start feeling good about myself again. Then when I feel good, I try the new trick again.”


So, later that day we were at home. My son came downstairs to whine about how he wasn’t getting to the next level of the game he was playing.

I evoked my inner Magi and asked him, “What would Magi do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Magi says to try a different game until you start feeling better about yourself then go back to this game and try again.”

“That’s for skateboarding.”

“No, it’s for everything you do. If you get frustrated, take a break from it and do something you are good at, then try again.”

Pretty good advice for just about anyone, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Van's Skate Park


Anyone here? Well I'll just assume you can hear me.

Here go the updates:

My gun shot wound is healing right on time. I'm planning to take out my own stitches, so look for that exciting post on or about August 10th!

I think I might replace the stitches with six bar bell earrings, just cause I think it might work. I don't know. We'll see.

So, I sent my boy off to Skate Camp this week. We are so lucky to have an indoor Van's Skate Park here. He's learning lots of cool tricks. He attempted the vert ramp (half-pipe) and at six years old that thing must look crazy big. For the rest of us it's 13 feet tall. Today they learned about having a good skate attitude.

And here I thought I had to send my kid to karate for good moral values, but we never did karate cause I couldn't get past the irony. Then there's always church, but somehow if you're a kid, it's way cooler getting the good attitude talk from a full grown skate rat aka x-pro skater turned instructor. Dreads, tattoos, and an herb pipe somewhere (totally kidding), he has my sons full an complete respect.

The Van's employees are just so nice. They are so great with the kids (young and older). If you're ever in Orlando, and you like to skate, do check out the park! Even if you don't skate you will enjoy watching from the top deck. It's a bridge style walkway that lets you observe all areas of the park without even touching a board!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jalapeno Attack

by Amy Platon

So, I haven’t been the same since that jalapeno seed attacked the back of my throat at lunch yesterday. It lodged itself at the top back part and no matter how much I coughed it didn’t help. It burned me and choked me all at the same time. It was awful, and I’m pretty sure I nearly died.

I mean, that jalapeno had my number. I suppose it could have been the anesthesia from the mole I had had removed from my stomach earlier that day. But either way, I was delirious…from something….not self-inflicted.

And, I even asked the nurse if it was ok to work that night. She said it was fine. But unless it was in my chart, I don’t think she knew what I did for a living. Because she didn’t even ask me. What if I was in construction? What if I was a belly dancer? Would I have been able to complete my work duties with a two inch gaping whole in my abdomen that took six stitches to tie back together? I don’t think so! …Fortunately, I’m a bartender. And, I went to work.

But once I got there, my little excision turned into a gun shot wound. As in, when people asked me why I made a squinting face when I bent over or over reached, or bumped the damn thing, (I say it that way cause that’s what sucked the most. When I hit it. Which happened three times.), I said it was my gun shot wound. Why? Because a gun shot wound sounds way more exciting than the real story. And I’m not going to see these people again. They are all traveling business men. And it’s not something I normally do. Lie that is. But, since I am really good with the serious face, and since I totally don’t fit the part of a gun shot wound victim, those business men laughed it off, “Really?”

*Serious Face*

“How’d it happen?”

“Still under investigation.”

“What happened?”

“Can’t talk about it. Don’t want to blow my cover.”

Where did I come up with that one? It may be because ever since the TV show Alias with Jennifer Garner, I’ve secretly wanted to be an under cover special op agent. But I’m blaming it on the jalapeno. Because my throat still hurts a little and because I thought we were friends. Most people hate jalapenos. I never minded them tagging along on my Publix sub. But it’s totally over between us now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rejection With Referral

I have received a rejection with referral by Janet Reid! Yipppeeee! See her breakdown here. I really never thought I'd be so happy to get a rejection. I'm totally honored. I'm not sure what this says about my standards.

Thanks anyway Janet Reid. I'm off to search again! Query letter here. Janet got a modified version of the top one.

Oh, and I found a secret little blogspot, if you're a writer and you're looking for a view of the "inside" then do skip over to the the INTERN. It's yummy hardcore advice! Hurry, The intern won't be small time for long. Janet outed her! Lol. I love a good hook-up!

And In Other News: Why Frosted Flakes Rock

by Amy Platon

First and foremost, they’re always there for me - mainly, because it’s the last box of cereal that my kids go for. (Sorry Tony!)

They never complain about the slightly bruised banana that I put on top of them.

They’re always crispy, mainly because the kids don’t eat them. The bag stays nice and folded within the box just the way I left them before!

They work as a breakfast food and as a late night dessert.

AND they are almost always on sale at the grocery store.

Frosted Flakes are totally my MOM fuel!!! They’re Grrrrrreat!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Come Undone

by Amy Platon

They have taken you beyond agony.
There is nothing more they can do.
Come to me.

Mind, go. You need a holiday.
You have carried him so far. Take this time to yourself.
Go somewhere – hide away.

Heart, I will bring you with me, where for the moment you can survive.
We can spend some time together and beg the healing of my eyes.
We can rest beneath the Weeping Willow, though he knows nothing of what we pray.
He’ll offer a communion place for our withering way.

Eyes, you can stare across the lucidity of this lake
just after rain.
Where the ripples hold their breath, like you, motionless, mundane.

Arms, go, escape with the dragonflies that take to flight.
Dream of carrying yourselves away from this sick body into the night.

Feet, warm yourselves in the setting sun.
Lungs, be drunk once more with sweet moist air,
before you come undone.

Faith, hold your strength for the stars that will brighten as they appear.
Hope, you will find a friend in the dandelion that loses her breath in the docile air.
Love, time will not penetrate this place and it too has mastered years of loss.
Body, live for this moment, and be free of fear…

My fingertips race to memorize your skin, as the blood beneath it runs cold. My hands do nothing to warm you…

I trust the moss - will weave you a blanket, above an earth that takes you in…

I will think of you when rain soaks the ground, the way my tears are soaking your hospital gown.

I’m sorry to have to let you go, and with so much more to do…

I melt with you, from this burning wick, as the sun drips beneath the horizon. It is a flat line that deafens me, pulls me back to our reality.

Remember us, as I remember you. Remember the lake, that Willow, that time those hours my loveyourepeacemyhope – Don’t go.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Patio Magic

by Amy Platon

Well, since we all like home makeovers, I thought I’d share my newest creation. Behold, our new and improved back porch. This little 10x10 space needed some sprucing up this summer.

I started with ordering some new JCP cushions that were half-off. The bench cushion they offered was too big for my loveseat, so I opted for two cushions to take advantage of the deal. Then I was off to installing my ultra cheap painter’s drop cloth curtains. Thanks to Layla Palmer over at Lettered Cottage for this fabuloso idea. Cost: $20 for two 8ft drop cloths. Bonus: they are water resistant so perfect for outdoor use. I bought the rods at Target as well as simple black clip rings to hang them with.

And how do you like the pillows? Hmmmm?

Well, this is gonna make you gasp (out loud even). I bought 2 short table runners from Old Time Pottery @ 6.99 each. They were double sided.

I just opened the seam at one end for the lumbar pillow and stuffed it with the stuffing from a pillow I hated. Then, for the chair cushions, I cut the runner in half and stuffed two pillows. With only minimal sewing skills, I had three pillows for less than $15. The table runner fabric is like a canvas material, and seems to be water repellant, but I bring them in at night to preserve them. I also bought two more runners for back up since they were such a bargain.

The potted plants are from Home Depot at $12.99 each and voila! Cozy summer back porch in full swing. There, now I’m all ready for the 4th of July family get together I’m hosting this year.

Wanna see the before photos:
Home Sweet Home

Other home ideas:
Kid Infusium

Our "in progress" kitchen makeover:
Kitchen Inspiration

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chugging Along

Here's an article I wrote for a our local Senior Center. It just ran in the Nona Vista View. It's so nice to add things like this to my portfolio of work. Super motivating, because it would be so easy to get sucked into what I'm not accomplishing instead of focusing on what I am accomplishing.

Thanks for reading!


Sunset Years Worth Waking Up To
by Amy Platon

If you are a senior and you haven’t been by to check out the activities offered at Renaissance Senior Center, then consider this your strategy guide to getting involved with this state of the art, parks and recreation facility.

First thing’s first. The guidelines are a little more specific than say, McDonald’s coffee discount for seniors. Even if you have received a discount coffee or senior discount of any kind, it may not be enough to qualify you as a senior. Officially, a senior, as defined by the Center, is a person of age 55 or “better” as Carrie Flood, Recreation Leader would say. (Although, the center does occasionally offer intergenerational classes. Check www.OrangeCountyParks.net for a listing.)

So, once you’ve determined that you are in fact a senior, it may help for you to consider your motivation for participating in this recreation facility. Maybe you are looking to meet some new people or perhaps looking to improve your health. And yes, it can be both, in which case what are you waiting for?

If you feel like you could use a forum to make some new friends, this is just the place to do it. Try starting off with Walking with Friends. It’s the centers number one activity with about 35-40 people per class. Don’t like the heat? Well, this class is indoors to keep everyone cool. Hmm, does it still sound a little too sweaty for you? Maybe Scrap Booking, Bingo, Karaoke, and Movie of the Week are a little more your speed. And if cooking is your thing, you should consider attending the Recipe Exchange. Participants are encouraged to bring all of their recipes (well the ones you’re willing to part with anyway) to exchange with others. It’s one of the Center’s newest programs.

If socializing isn’t your target, but staying healthy is, then the open-hours workout room might be just the soft entry you want. You can work out on your terms and during the hours that work best for your schedule. If you prefer a class setting, Tai Chi, Yoga and Spinning are available, and all without the intimidations of a traditional gym. Who needs that kind of pressure? This is supposed to be fun.

Still not sure what works for you? How about getting a feel for the activities by becoming a volunteer. They are currently looking for fitness room monitors. Weekly and weekend hours are available. Additional new programs include Self Defense and BRITE both free and specializing in self-reliability and self-management. Call
407-254-9070 for all the info you need to get started.

So if your days feel long, or if you can tell time by what episode is on TV. Then come make some friends, get healthier, and get involved with Renaissance Senior Center. Whatever your goals may be, they offer something for everyone. Take part in making your sunset years worth waking up to.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Second –fiddle Holiday?

by Amy Platon (inspired by Bobbs)

I read in the Orlando Sentinel that “When it comes to cards, gifts and money spent, Father’s Day runs a distant second to Mother’s Day.”

There were lots of pie charts and graphs to illustrate this article, and if you’re interested, you can read it in full here.

It’s a cute article. But I couldn’t help but notice that all the money spent on a day of golfing wasn’t included, that I could see. And hey, a day of boating and fishing gets pretty expensive too. And then, just try to put a price on freedom. Some Moms I know give the gift of freedom to Dads on Father’s Day, when some husbands choose to spend money on a gift and cards. I know growing up we always ended Father’s Day with Mom cooking Dad his favorite meal followed by his favorite dessert. Priceless.

Father’s Day for us this year, included a green flag beach day and hubby getting a new pair of swim trunks. Honestly, it was a great day. We spent it with friends, and family basking in the sun and cooling off in the ocean. But then those are my favorite days, when we’re not spending too much money and we’re just taking each other in, soaking-up conversation, and making stupid jokes.

If I were to compare it with my Mother’s Day I’d say we both nailed it. Because for Mother’s Day hubby woke up, got dressed, and put on a tool belt. He followed me around the house asking what else? All the home-loose-ends were tied that day, and that too was priceless.

I for one, love the penniless holidays. Flipping around the paper and reading the rest of the news, it seems that’s just where our focus should be - enjoying our time together and keeping an eye on our budget.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kid Infusium

by Amy Platon

I’m really big on trying to keep my kid friendly home as adult as possible. I once made the joke that at first glance you would never really know that kids lived in our house. That is until you walked into our kitchen and saw the fridge! It’s like a really ornate totem pole strewn with scrapbook guts that stands poignantly in the kitchen as a conversation piece.

But this is not to say that I deny my children space. I just do it in a way that works for us all. For instance downstairs the couches have tons of pillows, which the kids love to jump on and make really awesome forts out of.

The coffee table has sturdy legs because it’s really a bench, therefore makes a great launching pad or extra seating. That coffee table also doubles as a long kids dining table for parties when we push four kid chairs up to it.

Our downstairs closet has been dubbed the “Play Closet” and houses our art activities as well as a display area.

We do have a children’s table downstairs for all of those activities, and recently I did this to organize it. I am really proud of it because it’s been working so well. I just had to share.

I used wooden spice racks which I got from Ikea and stained them to match our décor.

The lower rack holds washable paints in spice jars and the upper rack holds Playdough.

The Playdough was never really a problem for the kids to get on their own but the paints were, so doing it this way has the kids only having to grab brushes, water, and paper, to get going.

It’s the kind of decorating I like to call “child infused” rather than overrun. That totally works for us!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Passion vs. Talent

by Amy Platon

Imagine if your passion is ice fishing, but you are born in Hawaii. How would you get from here to there? How would you know if your child has discovered his passion? How would you know the difference between passion and talent?

Stephen King wrote in his book On Writing that his son was taking music lessons for an instrument that he asked to play (can't remember which one). So, Stephen and his wife put their boy in private lessons for two years. Their boy was doing well, he was practicing like his instructor was asking. He was learning all the notes. He was willing to go to all the lessons without a fight. But then after two years Stephen told his wife, "We should take him out of those lessons."

“Why?” she asked. The answer was, because his son was not blowing up at it. He went to all the lessons, he did all the work, he was advancing at it, but wasn't tricking himself out on it. When the lesson was done, when practice was over, the instrument went back in the case.

Because Stephen knows that when you are tapping into your true passion, hours feel like minutes. You can’t get enough of that thing - You can’t not do it. You fill every minute of every day with it, or the thought of it. That’s when you know you’ve hit it.

I love that glimpse in time and matter that SK writes in his book. It was a huge parenting lesson in the last place I expected to receive one. I already knew as a writer that place he was talking about. And I feel lucky to have stumbled on it, or fortunate that my passion was at least an obvious one.

He revealed for me what I already knew as a writer but what I had forgotten as a parent.

Now, all I can hope is that my child’s passion isn’t ice fishing, cause we live in Florida and it might take us a while to figure that one out. Thanks Steve!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Heart Amtrak

by Amy Platon

Well, the family and I just came home from one of the best little vacations we’ve been on in a while. We boarded Amtrak and took the night train to Raleigh NC to visit some friends. Half our neighborhood came with us totaling 15 people (six kids). It was a nice little group. The round trip ticket cost the four of us $230.

I’ve never taken a train to travel but I have always wanted to. I am so glad we did it. We boarded at 6pm and arrived at our destination at 9am the next morning. No sleeper car just camping in the extra-big, better-than-first-class recliners for us.

Before the sunset we got to see all the little towns along the track from Orlando to Georgia. The nifty iphone app. Google Maps kept us all tracked so we knew the name of each town we rode through. There is an App for that!

Quick Stop: the Amtrak employees are like Disney-nice! They were super accommodating and helpful beyond expectations.

Sleeping for most of the fifteen-hour ride was the way to go with the little ones. It’s like cruising - wake up at your destination. There wasn’t even enough time for a single, “Are we there yet?”

I also especially liked the fact that we could stand as much as we wanted throughout the trip. We packed a cooler full of food and a few beers, pillows and blankets and had a great time chatting and switching seats as often as we wanted.

If you are considering a summer trip, I highly recommend Amtrak. It was unexpectedly fun. We will be doing it much more often.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cracked Jacket

You know those books I've been telling you about. The ones I've written and am searching endlessly for an agent to represent. Well I've decided to post the cover letter I've written for suggestions if anyone has any. Also, I have linked a sample chapter of the book for you to read as well if you are interested. And of course, by all means, if you know anyone who might be interested in representing me, please pass this along. Thank you for all the continued support. I look forward to your comments. Have a great holiday weekend.



Newly Updated June 20th.

Dear Mr. McVeigh,

I am generally hesitant in sending my work to male agents, but when I read that you are someone who believes that we have entered a time of trying new ways, I just had to query.

So, I will have to ask that you imagine that you are a thirty something mother (of at least two) who has just dropped her children off at the local bookstore for reading hour. It’s just the thirty minutes of complimentary quiet time you need to get you through your long summer days. As you are browsing the shelves for an interesting book, your eyes land on CRACKED, by Amy Platon. You open the book to read the jacket…

The question is not if, but when. Just how long can Jill Buchanan withstand the chaos that is her life, before she cracks?

Jill Buchanan is a woman with dreams, drowning in an ocean of problems. She is served a heavy helping of reality, in the form of fast food humiliation as her debit card is declined for a mere $4.19 purchase. It is as if she wakes up in her cozy suburban life to find that her kids are spoiled rotten. Her neighbors are plotting against her. Her husband’s checked out, and now her check card’s declined. However, this reality is the draft notice for a battle she wants no part of.

Jill has no choice but to trade in her Coach-bag existence for an apron. Choking down inferiority like a shot of warm house tequila, she takes a job bartending at Mickey McAllister’s. She’s working hard nights, and long days as an at-home mom to her out of control boys. Pushed to her limits, Jill tells her neighbor how she really feels about her. But her newfound strength becomes shaken as she discovers the woman, later, lying in a self-inflicted pool of blood. It’s an event that brings Jill closer to her husband with every detail.

But Jill has a plan that just might pull their family out of the debt that is burying them alive. And just as things begin to look up, Jill answers a call that changes everything about who she thought she was.

You can trust this author to tell a good story, because she is just like you. You’re even familiar with this book because you’ve read about it in cyber blogging halls, a place where you hang out when the kids are sleeping or when they are accidentally entertained by the newly emptied laundry basket.

And what do you do next? You flip to the first page and begin learning about the life of Jill Buchanan, and how similar she is to you. You bond with her immediately, as she whisks you away in the flurry that is her life. And before you know it, you’re fifteen pages deep, waiting in line, and deciding on a new bookmark before the clerk calls, “Next please.”

Mark, those fifteen pages, or if you would prefer, the completed manuscript is yours to read at anytime.

Please visit my Web site for examples of published work at www.ScribbleInkCafe.com. But above all, thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Take Care,
Amy Platon

And here's a new one:

I’m Jill Buchanan. I’m the one this book is all about. And yeah, I guess I’m a pretty good mom. Ok well, I’m not totally proud of the chapter where my neighbor Tess and I run into each other in the grocery store. No. Not one of my finest moments. But, we all have those moments. Moms, I mean. We can’t always be perfect.

Let’s face it. Tess isn’t perfect either. The cop even said, women who cut the vein in their leg as a form of suicide, do it there, in case they live. Wrist slits are just too visible. She knew she was going to live.

But she had a lot going on in her life. It wasn’t just over what I said.

And she’s not the only one with things happening. We’re all overwhelmed. This crappy economy is no help either. My husband Mike and I have had our share of trouble. Real estate ain’t exactly payin’ the bills anymore.

But I’m not like Tess. I knew what I had to do. And I did it. I got a job. That’s right. I traded my Coach bag poshy existence for an apron. And you know what? Bartending - it’s like riding a bike. No, scratch that. It’s more like The Perfect Storm. You know, when the guys get to that great fishing spot and they are catching all that fish? It’s like that. But it’s hard work. Great when I was fresh out of college, but not something I can do ‘till retirement.

Menu-less restaurant.

What do you think? I know. It’s a hard sell. After all, I did just call this economy crappy. Even Mike is skeptical. But I think it can work.

Or at least I did, until I got the call that had me collapsed on my kitchen floor. I would never do that to my children. But even though I’m a mom, I’m still a daughter. And if my own mother couldn’t trust me, let’s be honest, how could I trust myself?

I can assure you, her death will haunt me for the rest of my life. It stripped me of what little hope I had left.

And about my life, if you’re interested in reading more, then contact Amy Platon at AdPlaton1@Hotmail.com. She’s the one who created me for the book CRACKED and for the world of Women’s Fiction.

Take Care,

Here is a sample chapter from the completed book. Please explore this site for additional examples of my published work. But above all, thank you for taking the time to read this query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bad Mood Mud

by Amy Platon

I was out on Sunday running errands and I had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with several (as in more than three) bitter customer service personnel. So, what’s the first thing I do? I blame myself. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not coming across the right way. I am cringing even now as I type that. Because as memory does, it adds a tone of outcome to the dialogue, so I hear, nah nah nah. Nah neeh nah nah. Blah.

Without going into too much specific detail, I got nicer and nicer (on purpose) with each incident. I was even cheery. So then, I say to my daughter, “I know what will cheer us up (by us I mean me). We’ll go to the pet store!”

“Yeah!” She was totally on board with that one. So we pulled into the store that does pet rescue adoptions on the weekends. It’s the same store we rescued our dog from, about eight months earlier. We went in and had a good time looking at all the cute puppies, cats and bunnies. We even picked up a few toys for our dog. I did feel better. All better, in fact.

So, we sauntered over to the adoption desk to spread the cheer. “I just wanted to tell you, we adopted a dog from you all about eight months ago and…” Before I could even finish, the woman (who I adopted from) looked up over her sandwich to ask, “Do you still have it?” Her voice came down hard on the “have” you know what I mean? There was no room for misinterpretation. “Well yes. In fact, he’s great!” She looked back at her food, “Great, you need another one then.”

My eyes pushed themselves up into my head, and frankly I don’t blame them a bit. We had had enough! “I was just letting you know that we are very happy.” My mistake lady, I thought you cared about the dogs you placed.

But here’s the part I wish I said. People like you, in your pissy mood, can shove it. I get to say that, because I too am in customer service. So don’t tell me I don’t understand. I do understand. I get it that you’re having a bad day, but when you snap at me, this is what I see. I see you playing in your little mud puddle and you’ve just splashed me with your nasty little comment. I see you as an out of control child that isn’t behaving.

I grabbed my daughter’s hand, “Ewe! Honey, let’s go.” Because how am I supposed to raise a respectful little girl when people like that are over here getting us all dirty?

Grow up! Clean yourself off. Have a little respect. And if you can’t, then go take a break. Go get laid, something. You need some maintenance.

Huhhh, sorry for yelling. I just had to get that off my chest! I have to work tonight and I can’t harbor that, or I won’t make any money! There. All better.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Award Bucket

Hi Lily,

Not that you need a button for this, but I just wanted you to have a sign from Scribble Ink Cafe. So here is your NICE award. You so deserve it. Best of luck in all you do!

Blog on sister!


Monday, May 11, 2009

A Beautiful Gift

by Amy Platon

Well it was a great weekend, yay for Mother’s Day. I used to think it was a Hallmark Holiday, but I have a new appreciation for it. My son came home with a beautiful handmade card from school. It had a poem and his hand prints. The best part of the card was how he answered the questions about me. Apparently I have “bage” hair, I’m about 40 years old and I weigh 90 lbs, and my favorite activity is ice skating. Hmm, I’m a native Floridian, and we still live here. We did do some ice skating over Christmas, but “favorite” activity? And for the record, I’m nowhere near 40. At least I think. I’d have to do the math for that one and it’s too early in the morning for all that. I am, however, 90 lbs. (Man, I can’t even say that with a straight face.)

Anyhoo, all this had me thinking, why are all those mistakes so darn cute? And ladies of the mommy sisterhood, I think I’ve got it. And let me start by first saying, I hate the pressure of the idea that requires me to “mold” my child, because that is so inaccurate. Guide, yes. But mold? The truth is that our children have as much right to walk on this earth as the rest of us do. And not necessarily in my footsteps. It is not their responsibility, or ours as parents, to force them to “fit” in with us. Their life is their adventure, and at the most we are observers. (Lucky us!)

So, what about sex, drugs and smoking, right? Well, I lead by example. So when my kids point out that someone is smoking, I say, “Yes, she is smoking. Does mommy smoke?” No. “Do you smoke?” No. “So that person is smoking, but we don’t smoke. Is that right?” Right. And because we have relatives that smoke, I usually remind my children at that time that smoking is addictive just like drugs are very addictive and once someone starts it’s very hard to quit. It’s easier to never start drugs or smoking for that reason. The lesson is that some people do things that we don’t.

So when my daughter came in from playing with her friend who is a boy, to tell me that they were pretending to have boyfriends, I said “Oh, ok.” She turned to me to say, “He’s going to have a boyfriend too. That’s weird right?” I said, “Well, no. Sometimes it happens.” The message isn’t for her to go out and have a same sex relationship, but that she knows:
1. I’m an accepting person.
2. What one person does is not what all people do.

The big lesson is that she doesn’t have to fear differences. So when we see other same sex couples out in public, she isn't going to feel confused, scared, or sick over it. It's like sweeping the path.

At the end of the day, the only thing we mothers are responsible for in the growth of our children is to help them find who they really are. To let them grow from the inside out, not the outside in. You know, keep the road clean.

And so, about the card, while being a 90 lb ice skater with beige hair is gift enough, the real gift is why those little mistakes are so beautiful. It's because they are a glimpse of the person my child really is. A glimpse of him just being him and not trying to be the person he is expected to be. Humm, what a beautiful day.

I've listed the lovely blog carnivals I'm participating in at the top right of my scroll bar. Do take a look for more stories from other bloggers there.

More Stories Like This One:
Tales from the Sidelines
Finding My Stride
Swimming In Circles
Still Learning

Monday, May 4, 2009

Updates of a Writer in Progress

by Amy Platon

Ok, I am feeling especially happy today. And not to cast a shadow on the Roll Awards, but this just couldn’t wait!

No, I haven’t sold my book…..YET! I don’t even have an interested agent….YET! (But you can read my latest query letter here if you're interested.)

But I just received an email that I’ve won an Honorable Mention the April Poetry Contest over at Wordhustler. I’m totally stoked! Read the poem I entered, Wind and Winter, if you're into poetry. I promise it won't make you cringe. I hate it when poetry does that to me!

As far as updates, I have an article coming out in a local paper called the Nona View and it is a funny take on our local Senior Center. I had to get a lot of info in, at least I tried to make it light hearted, you know, a good entertaining read. You can read it here. So yippee for the progress of a writer!

I just got another reader response for my book and it looks like 100% of the readers think it would sell in a minute. Which is fabulous news because they have all been within my target market. WoooHoo! If you want to read an excerpt of CRACKED, then please do. Give me your comments too!

AND hubby and I got the bead board up at our bar area from the kitchen renovation we’ve started thanks to Layla Palmer’s photo consultation. I debated weather or not to post “in progress” pictures but I chose the Oprah route and decided to hold off for a completed reveal! I don’t want any bored readers. However I will say, it looks amazing and I am in complete love with my husband for dedicating his Saturday to doing it. If you’re reading honey….MUAH!

Thanks for all of your support. I love you, my readers, for making my dreams come true just by being here!

Final Roll Award

by Amy Platon

Well hello again, this week I’m coming to you from inside the stall of my first place winner of the Roll Awards. Please erase that image from your mind, this is not your regular stall, there are lots of seating options here, how do you know I’m actually sitting on the toilet seat?

I know what you must be thinking. How could she have found an even better bathroom than Ikea or McDonalds? And to tell you the truth folks, it wasn’t easy. This next winner is also a huge chain.

I’d like to present this Golden Roll Award to (boy it really echoes in here) Kohl’s Department Store.

And you’re never gonna believe what they have thought of for us, ladies. First, the doors are a beautiful opaque frosted glass with thick dark wood trim for an open yet private experience.

Once you enter the oversized space, you are greeted with bright lighting, and subtle colors (my favorites). There are two toilets, one for mom, and one for the kiddos. It’s positioned at kid height with a flowery shaped seat for encouragement. These potties are not auto flush, which happens to frighten my four year-old, so we were totally happy with that.

Also there’s a huge bonus. They have a toddler seat built into the wall. For those who don’t know, it’s to strap your toddler in, so they are not crawling on the floor while mom is busy. Why aren’t those standard in all family stalls? Kohl’s also has a clean changing table station with liners, not just an empty spot where liners once were.

Speaking of liners, the tampon dispenser machine was placed next to the mommy potty, which I think is brilliant because you can reach it during a surprise attack.

The sink has a smooth marble top and a handle free paper towel dispenser. Clap, clap!

The bathroom décor was minimal, but when it comes to public restrooms, function is what matters most! The only thing that could be improved with this bathroom is to add a step stool for children to wash their hands. Otherwise this experience was just about perfect! If you find yourself in a new Kohl’s store, do take a moment to visit the restroom. It’s just lovely!

Alright someone’s knocking, gotta go…..I’ll just leave the award here next to the sink.

Other Roll Awards:
Roll Awards: Part 2
Roll Awards: Part 3

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Old Is Cute

by Amy Platon

We just had a lovely week. My kids’ Auntie stayed with us for 7 days, which meant some much needed fun and relaxation. It’s the only thing I would change if I could do it all again, I’d live closer to family.

It’s funny what memory does. It’s like it holds out. My memory of Auntie had her pretty much stuck at oh, 45. So every time we get together, I’m surprised at how much older she has gotten.

The things I’ve noticed has me on the look out in my own life. For instance, you know you’re old when you use the window in your wallet (the one that’s meant for your driver’s license) for your insurance card. You also know you’re getting older when you spill your coffee on the floor as you walk, but you have no idea until twenty minutes later when you’re wondering who spilled coffee all over the floor. (And some of you know, I don’t drink coffee.) You also know you’re old when you say stuff like “What is a blog honey?”

I say all of this in love, and because old is cute-when it’s on someone else.

So while Auntie was here, husband and I took off for one night to relive our youth downtown. Oh don’t laugh like you haven’t done that.

Again, my memory left off when I was in my 20’s. But oddly, I didn’t feel old when we were out. We had some drinks and watched a cover band play songs older than us, and we had fun. Then we started saying to one another, "Hey, remember Barbarellas? Wonder if they are still playing the Smiths."

So we payed our tab and marched down to what has now been renamed Independence Bar. And they are still playing the Smiths! We got carded at the door (how cute) and our adrenaline was on the rise as we realized the place hadn’t really changed that much. We grabbed a beer at the front bar and made our way to the back of the club where all the dancing takes place.

We arrived to an entire club (I mean entire club) of people rocking out to Sister’s of Mercy - we were loving it. Although, as our eyes adjusted to the smoke and strobes, we began to sense something was not quite right. (No it hasn’t become a gay club – not that there’s anything wrong with that, I have friends who are gay.) But it turned out that everyone dancing was in their late 30’s early 40’s. And it was like the exact same crowd we remembered when we used to go there, only fifteen years older, fatter, and poorly dressed. Oh my god! Husband and I looked at each other and our mouths dropped. “It’s us!”

We drank our beer and he grabbed my hand - not a moment too soon. We hit the dance floor and danced like two birds splashing in the fountain of youth. We blended right in and had the best time we’ve had in forever!

Cheers - Here's to gettin' old! And having A Beautiful Life, hope I'm cute!