Nothing Like Your Kid Reminding You That A “Failure” Isn’t the End of the World

I’m probably not the only one who wonders if there’s a break in the sporting seasons. Hockey season has just started, but I’m not sure when the other season ended.

For a few of my boys, they took the summer off. Then there was the one, who hasn’t been off the ice more than a week in two years. He had power skating lessons. He had hockey camp. And of course,  he would want to go open skate with his friends.

He truly was an inspiration. He had some lofty goals. I found myself envious of his dedication. And when it came time for tryouts, I was envious of his go get ’em attitude.

High school junior varsity tryouts came first.  This peanut is just that, a peanut. At 14 years old he can’t even break 100 pounds soaking wet. That doesn’t stop him trying to outdo 16 and 17-year-olds. He showed up to those high school tryouts, got cut, and was still ecstatic that he tried.

Next  up, Bantam AA  tryouts. Though he understood getting cut from high school  try outs,  this one might have stung just the littlest bit, but only for one moment. There were more tryouts to be had, and he certainly was going after them. Not one moment was lost mourning these two tryouts.

Finally, we were at  Bantam A/B tryouts. He had played Bantam B last year, so she was sure this was the end of the line. But, when he didn’t make the A team, his father and I felt as though we had been stabbed in the heart. It’s funny, how we as parents, take everything 100 times harder than the kid. We knew he had tried his hardest. We knew he had done everything he could to better himself. So why not  our kid?

I probably checked on him that night a million times. Kept asking him if he was okay. He had to be devastated. As it turns out, only his father and I were devastated.

I knew that somewhere there was a silver lining. But when was I going to find that? I kept thinking that Walt Disney got fired from the newspaper, because they said he had no talent with his drawings. Michael Jordan was cut  from his high school basketball team. This kid was going to make something of himself. Could I convince him of that?

The interesting part about this journey was, he wasn’t discouraged. I was doing that to myself. Do you know what he cared about? He got to play hockey. Not only did he get to play hockey, he got to play a lot of hockey. He’d been playing all summer with high schoolers–the big guys. He held his own with those AA’s and A’s. And he was going to set out to be the best Bantam B player ever.

As parents we get so caught up in wanting everything perfect for our kids, we forget to take lessons upon ourselves. Though tryout weeks are my least favorite times of the year, I’m reminded each year of my children’s resilience. Nothing will tear them down.  They truly understand the meaning behind shake it off and go on.

The next morning his father and I mutually realized the silver lining. The team he had landed on was filled with amazing families we had played with for years. And just like every year, once the teams were in place, unrealized attempts through tryouts were forgotten.New goal statistics were started. New travel adventures booked. And I, the mother who thinks everyone needs to fail to grow, grew a little bit when I watched my 14 year old son move on to the next thing unscarred by normal events. Not every kid will go on to the NHL, and that’s okay. Not every kid will make the highest team, and that’s okay too. What matters is they can say I did my best, on to the next, and they move on to the next. We so often trip over our own ambitions, we forget that we caused ourselves to fall. I love that he reminds me every year that you can keep on going even if you don’t get what you were hoping for. It doesn’t mean you give up. You keep pursuing and training. Thanks for the lesson kid. I’m sure that by next year, I’ll need the same reminder, and I know that you’ll be pushing through it to give it to me.

What lessons do your kids teach you?

THOB Bernadette Marie January


Plastic Wrap Ball for Christmas Morning for Older Kids

Our tradition was that Grandma and Grandpa would come over every Christmas morning to watch the kids open Santa’s gifts. It was a long standing tradition that was eighteen years in the making. Then…they grew up. Yes, 2016 was the year that Santa didn’t come anymore as our children had aged off his list. So what could we do to make it fun again? The plastic wrap ball game came to the rescue.

I bought some fun items, candy, and added money. Then I wrapped it all in a big ball of plastic wrap. Now, I learned quickly that the ball needed to be many pieces of plastic wrap so one lucky player didn’t get all the goodies.


This year’s ball is already under the tree and waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to join us so they can unwrap their ball. Many pieces of wrap have been used this year, and next year I won’t skimp on the $1 a roll wrap either. It doesn’t quite stick like the good stuff does.

It’s hard to give up traditions, but it’s fun to start new ones. Kids get older. It happens. The magic doesn’t have to leave Christmas though. It’s a great time to just share with one another. And if you can have some fun laughing too, then it’s all the better.

THOB Bernadette Marie January

Our Creative Christmas Wrapping Method

There is nothing quite like the gleeful, giddy feel you get when presents begin to amass under the Christmas tree. It’s one of those feelings that takes you right back to childhood. Of course, if you have kids at your house, and it doesn’t matter the age, they want to pick them up, shake, rattle, and roll them until the wrapping paper is almost in shreds, or the contents may be broken. However, what if they don’t know who the box it for? The mystery then deepens.

For the past few years the boxes under our tree have been coded. There have been a few years where the gifts were “labeled” by wrapping paper. They spent the holidays trying to decide whose paper was whose. For the most part they were able to sort that one out on their own. My eldest and youngest are Star Wars fans, my 18-year-old always was fond of Toy Story. The younger of my twin sons is a super hero kind of guy and the other a fan of Cars.

IMG_8934This year, I resurrected something I did years ago. The packages are all of the above mentioned wrapping paper. But written on the front are obscure words, usually Disney or Superhero themed. I have a master list of riddles for each of the packages and whom they go to. For example, I might ask my youngest son, “Who is Buzz Lighyear’s best friend?” He would then search for the gift marked Woody. (I can guarantee you that all 5 of them, regardless of their age, know what all the boxes say by now and they won’t be searching for long.)

This prolongs the joy of opening gifts a bit longer, keeps it in my control, and makes a fun tradition as well.

What are some of your Christmas present opening traditions?

THOB Bernadette Marie January

Listening to Books on Audible is one of Our #FavoriteThings

Thousands of amazing books at your fingertips! That’s what I love about Audible. Even better, I can read when I’m driving or walking or working.

As an author and a publisher, I find that my time to read is usually spent writing or editing other authors. That doesn’t leave me a lot of time for sitting with a good book. And, as a mother, I find myself in the car all the time. It’s a great place to listen to audio books and enjoy some time to myself. They have everything too! I’m a huge Nora Roberts fan, so I’m usually jumping on those new releases when I get an Audible credit, from my membership. See something you like, you can buy individual items too, no membership needed at all!

A couple of my books have been made into audio books, and you can find them there as well.

This week Audible gets my shout out on Friday as one of my #FavoriteThings.

THOB Bernadette Marie January

*My Favorite Things Friday items mentioned are items that I use and love. The opinions are only mine.*

Making Time for Yourself this Holiday Season and All Year Long

Admit it, you mutter the phrase, “I’m too busy,” too often. I’m guilty of this, and in 2018 I’m making a change in that course of my life. Everything can wait just a moment so that I can have a bit of time to reenergize my soul and my spirit.

For the past six months or so, my mom, sister, and I have been attending painting parties each month. We fell into as you do with most things. I have a friend who does the parties, she works in a restaurant with a back room, they arranged to do these parties once a month. BAM! I have somewhere to go each month with people I like to hang around with. Bonus, I come home with something to display each month too.

We have a few hours, which are clearly marked in my calendar, where we have a beer, eat some dinner, and laugh at the process of trying to paint a masterpiece. We bond. We talk. And we laugh some more.

Yes, parenthood is 24/7. It’s what you signed up for. But if you don’t give yourself recess sometimes, you don’t get to enjoy the ups and downs.

What are some activities you’d recommend doing with friends or family that give you a bit of alone time? Have you done a painting party? If so, I want to see your work!

Until next time, get out and have some fun. You deserve it!


THOB Bernadette Marie January



The Learning Curve of Moving my Blog

This December I took some crash courses on how to get your blog up and running! I’ve been blogging for years, but I’ll admit I wasn’t consistent with it, I didn’t work it too much, and I don’t think I had it in the right place.

During the first week of December, I moved my blog to WordPress, and there is a bit of a learning curve there. I’m pretty tech savvy, but I’ll admit I had to walk away a few times. Things seem to be running smoothly now, and you’ll see many posts from me in the next few weeks as I add new content and carry over content from my other blog.

If you haven’t had the chance yet to follow This House of Boys on the other social media platforms, here are the links. Check me out:


And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and have new posts delivered right to your email! You’ll find the link to do that at the right of this page.

Part of writing a lifestyle blog is putting yourself out there. Parenting themes are subject to great ridicule, and none of us parent the same. But since I’m an author, and I often put my heart and soul on the line, I think this is an obstacle I can over come. However, if you’ve been thinking about blogging, may I suggest you follow the fine people at They are committed bloggers who are making a business of it and teaching others how to do the same. I’d love to be doing that and adding income to my regular line of work as well as offering some greater good to the world through blogging.

So a great big thank you to everyone who had followed me through my new site and the hiccups that have and will continue to occur. Are you thinking about blogging? Reach out and ask questions. I love to share what I have learned.


THOB Bernadette Marie January


My Roomba Vacuum is One of My #FavoriteThings

Talk about a #FavortieThingsFriday item, this is one of my ALL TIME favorites! The Roomba vacuum! I have had one since they came out with them. I’ve run through a few too in the past 15 years. Right now I have two of them. One for upstairs, one for the main floor. During a recent Black Friday sale, I did invest in a different brand, and I can tell you, it’s not as user friendly. In fact, without it sitting next to me, I can’t even remember its name.
These Roombas are schedule-able. Every morning at 9am and 10am they start their journey through the rooms and clean until the carpet sensors say the rooms are clean, or until the battery wears down 2 hours later. Then, they tuck themselves into their base and charge.

I joke often that I don’t have pets wandering around my feet. I have robots!

But this handy guy makes my house look nice all the time. To keep your carpets nice, they recommend that you vacuum them each day. **sigh** Who wants to do that? But with the Roomba you can!img-7556

Until I got the Roomba for upstairs, the carpet very rarely got a good vacuuming! In the
few short weeks where I’ve had it circling around every morning, it has brought life back to this worn out carpet.

As you can see, the circular patterns are where the Roomba starts its journey. It senses its pattern, and this is how you get maximum cleaning done!

img-7554I’ve joked about putting eyes on them. In fact, my husband has named them Ramon and Ramona. Truly its like a kid who likes to clean. It needs its rest to recharge. You have to dump the bin every few days. And of course, you should pick up before it eats up your cords, but unlike the kid or pet, it lives to clean for you.

I cannot recommend a Roomba vacuum enough! Everyone should have one!

If you’re wondering about purchasing one check out the report done by They took multiple robotic vacuums and tested them against each other. High end and lower end models ran the same course. You can see the results and watch the videos for yourself. I’m pleased to say that Roomba came out on top. They’ve built a superior model, and I’ll attest that it is a time savor for the humans in the house. (Especially if you do have pets!) Check out the review here!

What’s your favorite cleaning tool?

THOB Bernadette Marie January

(These opinions are mine only. I was not gifted items or paid for my opinion.)

Grocery Pickup and Delivery…YES PLEASE!

What a time saver! Grocery pickup or delivery has been a game changer.

When my youngest was born,(and was classified as a chronicle sick baby,) and I had 2 toddlers, a preschooler, and a 1st grader on my hands too, needless to grocery shopping was a chore. Right about that time King Soopers stores (Kroger family of stores) in Colorado began delivering for $10. YES PLEASE! Now, I couldn’t afford it often, but I so wished they had had that when my twins were infants. I certainly had my hands full.

Well now they have Click List (each chain is a little different.) You order online and pick them up. Someone else goes through the store for you. It’s $4.95, but it saves us so much in impulse buys, and at least an hour or more a week. And because we order off of our meal plan, because with 7 people you have to have one, we don’t over buy. We don’t miss anything either because we weren’t distracted. From the list, to the computer, pick it up at the store.

Another bonus is that if it’s on sale, you see it. They tell you what you’ve bought in the past, so it’s easy to repeat. Oh, and if they are out and have to sub it for something more expensive, they adjust the price to what you chose in the first place! You can’t do that at the store by yourself.

The other day, our Echo Dot told us we could get a free trial of Amazon Fresh since we used the feature that kept our grocery list up to date. So fantastic! The subscription is $14.95 a month, and free delivery over $40. On time, an Uber driver arrives with your groceries, packed and iced. YES!

So many options to save us all time now. And as a busy mother of 5, this has been a life saver. Now, my husband, who is a full time dad, uses the service. He loves the ease of picking up his groceries after dropping the kids off at school. Meal planning and prep have never been so easy!

What do you think of these services?

THOB Bernadette Marie January Try AmazonFresh Free Trial

Have Kids Will Travel; Disneyland CA post#1

It’s that time of year. Time for the family to head to Disneyland. Of course, for the past three years, it seems that every time you check Facebook, the family is heading to Disneyland. Seriously, how many times can a family of 7 fly from Colorado for this vacation? Not enough, I say.

However, it has made us all experts of sorts. We have made this trip almost every year since my youngest was 2 and the oldest was 8. We know how to travel in diapers and car seats. We know how to appease teenagers. We’ve gone the Disney travel route. We’ve (mostly) done the plan it yourself route. Have a budget? Yep, we worked on a get there budget, a scrape the change out of your car budget, and a skies the limit budget. We’ve eaten in the park and out of the park. Fast Passes aren’t that scary either, when you know about them. Disney trips are nearly stress free now and it is our quest to help you have a stress free Disneyland vacation as well.

So begin looking for my HAVE KIDS WILL TRAVEL segment. (There is also a tab on the side bar that you can follow them in order and by category.) The family is pitching in too. Each of the boys, and hubby too, will be giving you their quick thought on each topic. If it’s ratable, we’re rating it for you!

Have questions about anything? email me at bernadette@thishouseofboys and I’ll try to incorporate your questions.

Happy Traveling!

Love and Thanks

This blog and its contents are the opinions of Bernadette Marie only. This blog is not associated with Disneyland or the Disney brand. Those copyrights of images and names belong to them. I have not been paid or compensated by Disney for my opinion. The tips I provide are based on my experience alone and all other experiences for/from others may vary.

Welcome to the NEW This House of Boys!

Hi Friends!

This House of Boys has been offline for a little bit so that we could bring you a new fresh look. We’ve jumped over to WordPress and soon the domain name will bring you here as well.

In 2018 I’m getting the whole gang together and we’re all going to be bringing you some fresh content which will include a fun podcast as well. I’m really excited about that!

Right now, we are easing into our new blog home and getting ready for the holidays. Expect to see some festive photos popping up on the blog and social media.

I will also be moving over all the great articles we’ve already shared, so you’ll be able to find them here too.

Thanks for sticking with us! Can’t wait to share all the new goodies with you all.

Love and Thanks