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    The Most Accidentally Searched For American Girl Doll - TheDustyParachute.com

    The Most (Accidentally) Searched for American Girl Doll of the Year

    Update: January 11, 2016 – I wrote this original post one year ago. Since then, it has continued to receive search traffic on a regular basis, from who I’m sure are very confused parents trying to shop for the new American Doll of the Year. It appears that The American Girl Doll Corporation has not taken any of my suggestions for the American Girl Doll of the Year 2016…..there’s always 2017……

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    It’s January, and you know what that means. Sure, it means the holidays are over, you’re busy breaking your resolutions and cursing all the stray Christmas decorations that you missed in your haul up to the attic.

    But there’s something even more exciting that comes with the turn of the new year: The introduction of the new American Girl Doll of the Year 2015.

    Are you on the edge of your seat wondering:

    “Who will it be this year? A little white girl with long blonde hair or a little darker-white girl with long brown hair?”

    “Will her hobby will be walking homeless puppies or perhaps this year she’ll branch out from ballet dancing to tap?”

    Well, the wait is over. May I present to you, Grace, the French Baker.
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    5 Reasons You Need to Take a Vacation Without Your Kids

    For some moms, the idea of a week away (or even a night away) from their kids sounds like paradise….for others, it sounds like a nightmare.

    I have to admit, I’m a big fan of ‘me-time’ and since becoming a mother over ten years ago, I have tried to work in little trips for myself at least once a year.  I’ve gotten to the point where I barely think twice about it – The kids are older now (11 & 7), they’re in good hands while I’m away, and I believe we all benefit from a little ‘absence making the heart grow fonder.’

    That being said, I wasn’t a natural at this maternal separation.
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    Top 10 Reasons to Visit The Dusty Parachute in 2015

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    New Year’s Day is the perfect time to reflect back on the past year (while lying hungover on the couch eating stale Christmas cookies.) Many of the bloggers I follow are doing fun ‘Top 20 Posts of 2014’ lists. I thought of doing something similar but seeing as how I have only done around 30 posts since starting The Dusty Parachute a few months ago, that would be like saying “Come to the site & read everything!”

    So, instead I’ve categorized some of my 2014 posts to help give you an idea of which ones you will enjoy most based on your interests.  Assuming that many of my 2015 posts will fall into these same categories, it also doubles as a “Top 10 Reasons to Visit The Dusty Parachute in 2015”.
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    9 Tips For Living A Happy Life, From My Dog

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    Our beloved dog, Jackson, passed away this week. He was 12 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer six months ago. Although we knew it was coming, nothing can prepare you for the heartbreak of losing a pet.

    The kids have never known life without him and we have a hard time remembering what life was like before bringing him home and totally pissing off the cats exactly 12 years ago.

    We’re doing our best to focus on the happy times instead of dwelling on the sadness of missing him. In that spirit, I would like to share with you some of the valuable life lessons I have learned from Jackson.
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    5 Reasons You Should Read The Shell Collector by Hugh Howey

    Hugh Howey’s latest book, The Shell Collector, was released this weekend and here are just a few of the reasons I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did:

    1. You liked 50 Shades of Grey but prefer your S&M to stand for ‘Shells’ & ‘Mystery’.  The Shell Collector takes all the elements of a fun romance read, (sexual tension, a super hot leading man who’s completely loaded) and partners them with an important environmental message and the page turning mystery of ‘what is that Ness Wilde up to, anyway?”
    2. You loved the Wool/Silo series but always hoped Juliette would bust out of the silo and find a sandy (non-apocolyptic) beach to hang out on with an umbrella drink. (And if you have not read the Wool series, then you now know what you should be reading after you’re done with The Shell Collector).
    3. You have a deep, seething disgust and hatred for the oil tycoons of the world and have a secret fantasy of getting to be the one to wear a wire, expose them and send them to prison for the rest of their lives.
    4. You are worried about global warming and the irreversible effects on the environment and could use some hot love scenes to take your mind off of it for a while.
    5. You’re curious if it’s possible to have sex in a submarine. (Not telling – you have to read it to find out.)

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    Enter to Win the Dusty Parachute Console-ation Prize

    It has been a prize filled week, and I don’t want it to end.

    Last week I won a Liebster Award, thanks to Kirsten at Kids Are a Trip.

    On Thursday, I went to have my first mani/ped in 4 years thanks to a contest that I won which was hosted by Kristin at Two Cannoli.

    Before this week, my lifetime achievements/prizes included:

    • 2nd Grade – A case of motor oil at a school carnival
    • 9th Grade – Most Valuable Typist
    • College Graduation – Most Valuable Student in Marketing
    • Yr 2 of my last job – A really over the top ‘Queen for the Day’ Award where I was sent away to the spa for a day after completely losing my sh*t after several 90 hour weeks and having to pull together a giant client presentation for 200 Marketing Directors at one of the top 10 companies in the world while also trying to get 30 of their campaigns live at the same time.  (Did I mention I completely lost my sh*t?)

    When they’re wonderful spa packages, prizes are fun.
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    Help Me Remodel (Two) Bathrooms

    Our bathroom saga continues.

    If you need to get up to speed, there are two previous posts:

    Part 1:  A tale of how I’m so effective at denial, I can convince myself that a giant wet spot in the closet, accompanied by a mysterious musty odor is not a problem (probably just the cats, or the house settling…) And how my husband can break into a locked bathroom with just a slap bracelette. You can read all about it here.

    Part 2: How a month after we finally accepted that the giant puddle in our closet was due to a shower pan leak, we still hadn’t even found a contractor to repair it.  It’s all here.

    Part 3: How home repairs snowball quickly.

    Here’s a breakdown of what has happened since Part 2: Read More

    It’s An Honor Just to be Nominated

    Not too many people give out awards for being a SAHM, and it has been a long time since I received the “Most Valuable Typist” award in the 9th grade, so I was super surprised to receive this Tweet recently:

    Liebster Award

    That’s right, I have received the honor of being nominated for a Liebster Award. Although I wasn’t entirely sure what I Liebster award was, it was an honor because I was nominated by Kirsten from Kids are a Trip and she’s one of my favorite blogging moms. I would have been pleased just to have her send me a note saying she knew I existed, so sharing this fun award with me was truly exciting.
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    Wishing You a Very Craigslist Christmas

    Wishing You a Very Craigslist Christmas!

    I hate shopping.

    And I’m not talking about Christmas shopping.  I mean 365 days a year.

    I hear the stories all the time about all the moms who love their trips to Target and my eye starts to twitch a little (okay, a lot).

    I hate the crowds, I hate knowing that whatever I buy will likely go on sale the minute after I buy it and I hate knowing that whatever I buy will be outgrown, obsolete, forgotten about in a matter of weeks.

    So when I hear about people waking up at 5am on Black Friday to do the most extreme version of the thing that I do my best to avoid at 2pm on a Tuesday in April, you would assume that I would think those people are crazy, but I don’t.
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    My Love / Hate Relationship With Christmas Cards

    It’s that time of year again: Time to start thinking about Christmas cards (at least according to Shutterfly, Pinterest and all the other services catering to organized, crafty mothers).

    Few things fill me with as much simultaneous excitement and dread as Christmas cards.

    The ‘excitement’ part goes back to my childhood. My mom used to make a whole day out of preparing her Christmas cards. She would bring out her address book (an actual, padded address book with alphabetical index tabs), flipping through the pages, making edits to entries of those who had moved during the year. She would write a little personal note in each card and address each envelope in her perfect, ‘deserves-her-own-font’, script.
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