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  1. Mommy’s Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At

    April 22, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli (Peckd2Death)

    If you’ve spent any time in corporate America, you may have heard the buzz word Key Performance Indicator or KPI, which is a fancy way for statistical types to measure the overall success of an organization.  Fun stuff right?  Today I am identifying KPIs that are most important in evaluating my performance as Mommy.  I believe this will give me better insight into the performance initiatives that will help me improve (insert sarcasm here).


    KPIs are often presented to management in the form of a balanced scorecard, a structured report that managers can use to bore themselves into an under-the-desk nap a la George Costanza, or evaluate how the organization is performing with regard to strategic objectives.  It is important that this report have many shapes, graphs and colors.  Repeated use of  donut charts to view organizational metrics is totes responsible for the growth of most billion dollar companies.  Totes.  Just ask

    Lets look at a few of my Key Performance Indicators, the boards recommendations and my responses.


    Mommy Earnings

    Recommendations - Focus on increasing blog monetization as it has the most potential for future income.

    Mommy Commentary - Have you read my blog?  Apparently not.


    Mommys Daily Spending

    Recommendations - Just because you get the 30% off Kohl’s coupon AND Kohl’s cash doesn’t mean you HAVE to use them.  

    Mommy Commentary – Ummm…yes it does.  Have you even done the math?  It is like they are paying me to take stuff.



    Customer Satisfaction Facial Index

    confused and angry


    Recommendations - Implement procedures to work toward customer facial index that reflects satisfied, content customers.

    Mommy Commentary - So… more bribes and threats?


    coffee reheat
    Recommendations - Coffee warm ups are wasting time.  Eliminate coffee.

    Mommy Commentary - So what I hear you saying is ‘Mimosas’?



    Diaper Change

    Recommendations - The optimum diaper change time is within 5 minutes of a poop or 20 minutes for a pee.  Please work to meet these standards.

    Mommy Commentary - So I guess when I see the toddler’s poop grimace during Sprout’s Sunny Side Up show I should try to change him sometime BEFORE Caillou’s lunchtime marathon?  I’ll try to step it up.

    What are your mommy KPIs?

  2. Craigslist Chuckles: Strange And Hilarious Listings (Pittsburgh, PA Edition)

    April 18, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli (Peckd2Death)

    This is the sixth in a series I bring to you each Friday, where I pick a city and share with you some of their strangest (and sometimes hilarious) postings.  I figure the content is endless, so why not!  This week we visit Pittsburgh, PA, the stomping grounds of my husband’s side of the family.

    Craigslist Chuckles


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.40.51 PM

    First of all, Wilmerding is a real place, I checked.  What kind of ‘tricks’ has she been playing on this gator…April Fools? Has it been Punk’d?  


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 3.02.53 PM

    Does it get better with age like cheese? 


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 3.11.43 PM

    Yinz?  Is he really offering free bricks but only if you claw them out of the ground from the walkway? 


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 3.39.06 PM

    Does it smell like an ageist creep? 


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 3.45.19 PM

    But does it smell like old people?


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 4.02.40 PM

    Because apparently Comic Con has a golf tournament this year. 


    Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 4.12.46 PM

     People who cannot spell hamster should not be able to own hamsters.



    View more installments of Craigslist Chuckles here


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  3. Dollar Shave Club Suspects That I Have A Funky Bathroom – 5 Prehistoric Spring Cleaning Finds

    April 15, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli

    I need to start this out by dwelling on the fact that Dollar Shave Club reached out to me to do this post.

    This is not a sponsored post and I am not getting free razors for life for doing this or anything, they are just running an interactive campaign called “Spring Cleaning for Your Bathroom”.   When they emailed and asked me to post on this topic, I answered! (after running to my husband and bragging that Dollar Shave Club knows who I am of course).  BTW, he definitely thinks I am a little cooler now, and that’s something my QVC addiction and adult obsession with WHAM! has never been able to accomplish.

    If you have not heard of Dollar Shave Club, then try leaving your house this decade, because I’m pretty sure that even my kids could pick out Alejandro in a warehouse line up.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, watch this minute and a half video that launched Dollar Shave Club into the stratosphere of viral marketing and you will be prepared to hang with the cool kids (or at least to make Alejandro references around them and observe their confused looks).

    In an effort to get them to notice, tweet, retweet, share, like, pin and otherwise make out with my post online with the world watching, I will mention them as many times as possible in this post.  Dollar Shave Club.

    Alright, now to the meat of this post:  Spring Cleaning in the Bathroom.  While my housewife fails are plenty, I’m not afraid to toot my own horn on surface cleaning.  I can’t fold a fitted sheet, I don’t iron and I don’t even want to think about grout cleaning, but I give GOOD surface clean!  I can prove it, because the sterile photo below is actually my bathroom counter on a normal day.  Even hand soap lives in a drawer because I don’t like clutter. [Insert OCD comment here].

    DSC Pic

    As I started peeking into the cabinets, drawers and closet where the real mess lives in my bathroom, I made several discoveries of items that I have apparently been hoarding since the dawn of time.  My 5 prehistoric finds are as follows:

    1.  Sunscreen – My sunscreen has been hanging around for YEARS.  You are probably thinking “She must be super tan and never burn’ or ‘Man she is UV irresponsible’.  Not so much.  Look in the side bar at my pasty white face.  Scroll up and shade your eyes.  The rest of my body is even paler.  When I was younger, I would purposely lay out and get my tan on every summer.  My sweet mild mannered father uttered this to me in my 20′s: “No man is going to want you went you when you are old and leathery”.  So yes, I got my tan on.   Now that I am old and have two toddlers, there is no relaxing and soaking up the suns rays.  I wear a hat to completely shield myself.  And sleeves.  Yes, sleeves.  In the summer.  Long ones.  I have no time to slather myself with anything.


    2.  Medicine – While I am typically the anti-hoarder, there are 2 things I have a hard time throwing away even after they pass their expiration — spices and medication.  Maybe I think I will have a cumin emergency someday or that Burt’s Bees lozenges will be a hot commodity when the zombie apocolypse comes, I don’t know.  A perfect example is that we have 2 bottles of Ibuprofin.  One is newer and is at least half full, and the other has 1 capsule in it.  One.  I recently threw out my back and my husband went to get me some Ibuprofin out of the drawer.  He went to the old bottle and said ‘Ummm, this probably isn’t good anymore’ and put it back in the bottle.  This scene has played itself out over at least 9 lives of this single freakin’ pill.  My spring cleaning consisted of me throwing the lone pill into the newer bottle in an effort to consolidate and forget that it is from 1993.

    PTDBCs Medicine Drawer

    3.  Hotel Samples – Whenever I stay at hotels, I burglarize the samples as if my hygeine depends on it (see zombie apocolypse fears mentioned above).  At this time, my stash is running low, but the remnants are the bottom of the barrel crap that I will never use.  Lotion and conditioner are always leftovers that hang around for eons, whereas bath gel is a rare find that will only last a minute in the samples drawer (yes, I have a drawer devoted entirely to tiny stolen items).

    PTDBCs Samples Drawer

    4.  Nail Polish – This is my nail polish collection (peeking out from under the nail kit).  I am a nail biter, so other than brief spurts of trying to grow my nails, I have no use for nail polish.  When I try to throw it away, I start calculating “$8 per O.P.I. bottle, times all the bottles equals…well 8 is one of those numbers like 7 that I have a hard time multiplying… but its a lot”  so I keep them in my drawer and make good use of them sitting there.  For that reason, my polish collection is mostly consisting of polish that has turned into some sort of strong smelling clumpy goo whose little mixer ball bearings are stuck in the sludge of the  bottles interior like a fly in honey.  Poor ball bearings.

    PTDBCs Nailpolish

    5.  Shoe Polish Kit – This find was under my husband’s cabinet.  I had to study it for a while to even know what it was.  I recall seeing something like this as a small child, but I didn’t know people still had them and I’m pretty sure I have NEVER seen my husband use it.  As minimalist as he claims to be, I’m pretty sure if his shoe was scuffed he would deem it worthy of a trip to Kenneth Cole for new shoes, not a reason to get his shoe shine on.  Don’t we just use Sharpies to ‘polish’ our shoes now anyway?  For this reason, I conclude that this too is a prehistoric bathroom find and submit it to the  Society for preservation of caveman master bath tools.

    Shoe Polish Kit

    Dollar Shave Club.  Dollar Shave Club.  Dollar Shave Club.

  4. Look Out Below! Bird Poop Stories 2.0

    April 14, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli


    If you read my original bird poop inspired post, this post will make total sense.  If not, let me fill you in on all the details:  I posted about bird poop and this is a follow up.

    More importantly, instead of MY bird poop stories (yes, they really stop before infinity), I am sharing some stories from my blogger friends!  I’m telling you, everyone has a bird poop story and this topic never gets old!

     Look Out Below! Bird Poop Stories 2.0

    Pooped On For Love
    Our favorite Editor In Chief  Val over at BonBon Break shared a romantic poop with us.  Get out your hankies people.  Val was the recipient of a bird poo package in the midst of being asked to prom by her high school boyfriend.  Val was in luck, as her boyfriend’s letterman jacket shielded her from direct contact with the offending substance.  She said ‘yes’ if your wondering.

    Welcome To Spain!
    Amanda who blogs at The Eastern Bay  shared with me a package delivered upon her study abroad arrival to  Salamanca, Spain. Luckily for Amanda, the target was her glamorous, soon to be best friend who was joining as the lone participant from her school in San Diego.  We’re talking as soon as she got off the bus.  Welcome to Spain.


    Bus Stop Brunch Bomb

    Amanda  from Exclusive Pumping (no this is not a story about getting a bird poop bomb while breastfeeding thank goodness!), shared with us a story that happened while she was a single 20-something in Chicago.  She was still slightly hungover one Saturday morning (those were the days), and was headed out to meet some single friends for brunch (I am picturing SATC here and she’s Carrie), when she received the bird stamp while waiting for the bus.  She felt something wet on her back but couldn’t see what it was.  Forgetting about the incident when the bus arrived, Amanda’s helpful friends soon pointed out the large black poop stain upon her arrival to brunch.  Wearing the shirt for the rest of the meal and the bus ride home, Amanda must have a good sense of humor for her friends to laugh with her and not at her.

    Celebrity Bird Poop
    Courtney from The Brown Girl With Long Hair has remained bird poop free herself, and shared a story about Other People’s Bird Poop (or OPBP — yeah you know me).  Cloudy from being passed down through the generations of her family, Courtney told me the story of her dad running track at the University of Michigan, and his football playing friend Mike, a big guy and a popular student athlete at UM.   As big Mike left Michigan stadium one day, you guessed it… bird doody.  Square on the forehead. Not only was Mike a poo target, but was from that day forward a target of bird poop jokes as well.  He went on to become Courtney’s Uncle Mike by marrying into the family, and the story followed him even after he got drafted into the NFL to play for the New York Jets.


    Motorcycle Mahem
    Julia at Happy House and Home let me know that she didn’t have a bird poop story…oh wait…except for that time she was hit in the face with bird poop going 65mph on a motorcycle.  It hurt and she thinks some got in her mouth.  Ummmm…guess what, not only does that qualify, but it might be the best bird poop story ever.


    Cute Poo
    I was excited to receive a bird poop story from Anita, author of Blessed (but Stressed) – A Cancer Caregiver’s Companion, as I have read about her bird watching escapades  on her blog and was looking forward to some exotic bird shit.  Let’s first pause and take in Anita’s birding tip of not opening one’s mouth while bird watching.  Very wise (Julia of Happy House and Home, take note).  So Anita’s incident was actually the cutest I came across.  She was pooped on by a hummingbird and described it as ‘watery spit’- awwwww!


    A Bird Pooped On My Kid
    My Parentz Bop songwriting buddy Meredith at Perfection Pending has a 4 year old child who was recently the target of a bird at the park.  Meredith made the giant mistake of alerting said child to the situation happening on the back of their shirt. The child had been clueless and happy up to this point, however, this news caused him to stand frozen in place and refuse to play.  Complete shirt removal was in order to proceed.  The moral of this story is that if a bird poops on your kid and they don’t notice, proceed as normal and let them live in blissful ignorance.


    The Birds Are Out To Get Me!
    Sarah of Parent Your Business was a fountain of bird poop stories (she claims there are at least 4!).  In one incident, Sarah was biking around Vancouver Island while on a break from a convention.  As she rounded a bend with some coworkers, Sarah got BOMBED by a seagull.  We’re talking loss of sight, making it necessary for her to stop and de-poo.   As she was stopped, her coworkers rode by warning her of the tons of birds still above.  Ominous.  She also gave honorary mention to a bird who pooped THROUGH a screen umbrella at a restaurant directly into her tea. 

    Seeing Red
    Vidya blogs at Vidya Sury and is surrounded by flocks of birds in the building where she lives.  They also like to visit her balcony and have no fear of humans.  Her weekly task list includes scraping the bird shit off the balcony floor.  Per Vidya: “And now, we’re getting the building painted, and no sooner did the first coat go up – these guys have left little nuggets of their wisdom from their alimentary canal.” I had to Google Alimentary Canal before I read the rest of her story, you can do the same.  Back to Vidya’s balcony… one of the birds absconded with her red lacy bra that was hanging out to dry, but it had not properly secured.  It wasn’t until she turned the house upside down thinking her mom had done something with it, and searched high and low for another several weeks that she and her mother spotted the tattered brazierre fluttering near a pipe coming from an alcove near their balcony.  Lets just say that the birds had left their mark and it was no longer useable.  On a more cheerful note, Vidya shared that some people feel it is good luck when a bird poops on the head or any body part.  I would suggest going directly to buy a lotto ticket the next time this happens.

    Vanita of the Blogging Betties (check them out!!) and The Strategic Mama lives in an old 3 story frame house with a pointed roof in NYC. There are flocks of pigeons that hang out there and line up to look extra creepy for passers by.  Here is the part where I said to myself “Self, Vanita has gigantic balls”, because Vanita’s comment included these words to me: “Miraculously I’ve never been hit yet.”  Jinxed much Vanita?  We’re routing for you.

    Thanks so much for sharing your stories ladies!!

    Scroll down a little further and enter your email address to subscribe and receive more cutting edge, life altering posts like these 2-3 times a week (depending how lazy I am feeling).  I’m serious, if this post saves just one person from being pooped on…I have done my ‘doody’.

  5. Craigslist Chuckles: Strange And Hilarious Listings (Lubbock, TX Edition)

    April 11, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli (Peckd2Death)

    This is the fifth in a series I bring to you each Friday, where I pick a city and share with you some of their strangest (and sometimes hilarious) postings.  I figure the content is endless, so why not!  This week we visit Lubbock, TX.

     Craigslist Chuckles

    Boat for family

    This wouldn’t be concerning…except that I found it in the ‘Barter’ section. Hmmmmm.


    Battle Axe

    I thought my husband might be trying to sell me on Craigslist, but after closer examination, I was relived to find that it was only the tool of crazy lunatic. 



    I need to think about this.  I’d like to help him unload his steaks, but I typically don’t pay a penny over $14,000 for my steaks. 




    I tried offering some guns for the hope diamond once and it didn’t go over too well at the Smithsonian, but maybe Craigslist is a better venue.


    Chewbacca Roar

    No comment is necessary on this one.


    free junk

    Well when you put it that way…I’m gonna cut my wookie roar short and head right over!


    Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 1.55.04 PM

    I was just getting over the auto gag reflex triggered by the words turkey and muffin combined together, when I read “Ask about my back rubs”.  Is turkey muffins a euphemism for something?  I’m so confused.


    View more installments of Craigslist Chuckles here


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  6. My Blog Can’t Live Without You! – 8 Blog Sites I Visit Daily

    April 9, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli (Peckd2Death)

    This post is for my fellow bloggers — especially those who may be newer to blogging and still figuring it all out.  I have only been blogging for about 5 or 6 months and since it took me quite a while to figure out what blogging sites held the most benefit for me as far as getting great info and sharing content, I thought I would share with others and get a conversation going about your favorite sites that I may have missed.

    file0001711682994 (1).jpg

    Here is a quick list of what I look for in a blog hang out:

    Shareability – I want to be able to share my post links, or even better a full post or teaser that links back to my website.  The more visibility the better so I can take advantage of another sites audience to further my own cause :o)

    Readability – I want to be able to read awesome work from other bloggers to inspire me, preferably organized by category.

    Linkability - I want to find opportunities on social media to share my posts and get new followers to both my site and my social media outlests.  I also want link ups that are creative and have specific rules so I can participate and find awesome new blogs to follow.

    Loveability – Finally, I am a sucker for some blog love.  If you have opportunities for me to be featured, I am there.  This feeds my attention seeking behavior (ASB) and that’s always a good thing! … Or is it?

    So here are my favorites in no particular order.  I visit most of these daily and follow all of them on social media.  I am sharing which posts I have had featured on each, not because I am bragging (well maybe a little), but to give you an idea of what types of posts I have had success with for each site.

    1.  Blogher   “BlogHer is a platform for sharing great voices, stories and ideas. If you’re a creator, we invite you to share your voice with our community.”

    Blogher offers many opportunities for bloggers from conferences to advertising and everything in between.  What I love is that you can publish your posts on Blogher and have your own little blog that lives on their website and exposes you to their readers (and they have a lot!).  They also organize things nicely into categories so you can check out your favorite areas (I like the humor section under work/life!) or just check out the home page to see what is popular today.  I post any of my regular posts that I feel are widely relevant as soon as I publish them on my site.  Readers can comment right on your Blogher post and you can see how many reads each of your posts has received.


    Blogher also shares the love from time to time by featuring member posts.  Other than publishing your blog post on Blogher, there is nothing you need to do to get your post featured.  You will just get an email letting you know IF the powers that be decide to feature your post.  Curious about what types of posts they feature?  I have posted 37 times on Blogher since January and 4 of them were selected to be featured.  You will see a high number of readers for your featured posts since Blogher will place them prominently on their main and category pages along with a photo (non-featured posts don’t have a photo).  They will also promote them on social media.  My Blogher featured posts so far have been:  3 Plans To Eliminate The Musty Smell In My Front Load Washer (728 reads on Blogher), Why Can’t People With Kids Keep Their Cars Clean? 4 Solutions For Busy Parents (528 reads on Blogher), My Valentine’s Day Evolution (366 reads on Blogher), and Be More Funny! 22 Prompts To Help You Write Humor Posts (1625 reads on Blogher).  Even some of my non-featured posts have had high reader numbers on Blogher, for example: 3 Misconceptions About QVC Watchers (My People) (1080 reads on Blogher).  Blogher offers much more than I have mentioned here including a monster conference in July.

    2.  Bonbon Break – When I got serious about blogging a few months ago, I was trying to find some great female funny bloggers to cyber stalk and came across Kathy Radigan who blogs at My Dishwasher’s Possessed.  As I was stalking her About page, I saw that she had co-founded Bonbon Break and quickly headed over to check it out.  Bonbon Break is really unique because they split up their content by room.  Recipe posts can be found in the Kitchen, parenting posts in the Family Room, relationship and personal stories in the Bedroom and so on.  You can hang out in the place that best fits your mood.  Each ‘room’ has an editor who is also a blogger.  You can submit your existing posts to the appropriate ‘room’ on their Submissions Page, and once you have been published/featured by Bonbon Break once, you can start submitting original post ideas for consideration.  I believe they have a 6 or 8 week minimum between featuring posts from the same author now, but I have had 2 posts featured (out of 19 submissions) to date and love the platform because they will have a teaser on their site and then send readers right to your website to read the rest of the post instead of keeping them captive on their site.  My 2 featured posts on Bonbon Break have been: 3 Unusual Places Mom Can Take A Breather (Family Room) and “Mommmmmeeee!!!”: 5 Ways To Shut Down Nighttime Call Outs (Bedroom).

    Bonbon Break

    Bonbon Break also does some awesome podcasts and runs some great link ups on Facebook (be sure to join their Bonbon Break Chat group on FB as well) and Google+, so be sure to follow them!

    If you are looking for some great new blogs to follow, check out their About page to see bios for the editors of each ‘room’.  I follow most of their blogs too – there are some awesome ones!  I am already imaginary friends in my head with Ellie (Family Room Editor) of Musing Momma and Rebecca (Bedroom Editor) of Frugalista Blog as well as Editor in Chief, Val Curtis.  I’m thinking about begging them to add a Garage or maybe a Butler’s Pantry and let me be the editor.

    3.  Blogging Betties – The Betties are fairly new and I have been checking them out more and more.  I especially love their podcast interviews conducted with bloggers that people like us want to be like when we grow up.  Add a cool black and white landing page and I am in.

    Blogging Betties

    While there isn’t a place to share your content on their site, they recently had a little Google+ thread where you could share the post you would save ‘if your blog was on fire’ – ha!  I got a lot of love for the post I added even though there were only a few others in the thread.  Works for me!  They share some great info on social media, blogging tech tips and blog monetization and they have a cool name and logo, so I expect you will be hearing lots more from them in the near future!  The Betties are Poppy Marler, Vanita Cyril and Tammy Soong .  I was just reading about them and had to subscribe to Tammy’s blog because it is called World’s Worst Moms and well, that blog name just makes me feel better about myself.

    4.  Virginia Bloggers - This is a local site where I hang out and share my weekly posts in their Friday Favorites Link-up.  There are usually less than 30 posts shared in this link up, which I like because I can go through all of them and because they are all written by my VA peeps!  I’m sure this will grow, but it is a cozy hang out for me now.  They also featured one of my posts in their last Friday Favorites:  How This First Time Mommy’s Sanity Was Saved With A Camera.   Check out Virginia Bloggers or find out the blogging website for your state, city, region etc.

    Virginia Bloggers

    5.  Type-A Parent – Type-A is a social network that caters to mom AND dad bloggers, and I feel like I should rub elbows with the men folk at least once in a while.  I latched on to Type-A simply because I found their intimate little Friday Link-up Talk of The Blogosphere.  While this is a small Link-up (30-ish?), I get a lot of love from it and am able to go through all of the posts pretty easily, which makes me feel benevolent and Glinda-ish.  One of the rules of this link-up is to SHARE 3 of the posts, so you get a little more than just a few ‘likes’ from it.  Amen!  Type-A is much more than just my Link-up fix, they have a big bloggers conference each year and have just announced a professional organization promoting the ‘New Media Professional’ among other things.

     Type-A Parent

    6.  The SITS Girls – This is one that everyone probably knows about, but since I was late to this party, I figure a few others might be too.  The FIRST thing I want you to do here is sign up for your feature day.  SITS features a different blogger/blog every day and although I am still waiting for a few more months for mine, it is a great place to be!  SITS gives some info about the blog and the blogger with links over to your home page and three of your favorite posts leading to some serious traffic.  There is a 6 month waiting list, so it will be a while after you sign up and you’ll will want to read and comment on the featured blogger each day to earn the love you will get back when you are featured.

    The SITS Girls

    SITS also offers a Bloggy Bootcamp and provides lots of tips for bloggers on blog monetization, social media etc.  Be sure to follow them on Facebook etc. and don’t miss their Saturday Sharefest where you can link your favorite post of the week and tally up some follows and followers.  This is a big link up with hundreds of posts/bloggers to read, share and follow.

    7.  Project Underblog – The tagline for this site is ‘small and mighty.’  I often scan the side bars of my favorite blogs to see where they have been published so that I can try to copy cat.   I saw this site in the fabulous side bar of Stephanie Sprenger over at Mommy, for Real (She gives good side bar).  Anyway, as an S-Spreng wannabe, I quickly checked them out and loved what I found!

    Project Underblog

    If you are sick of social media, tribes and site stats, come over to this site for a minute and take a breather (then go join a Twitter party ASAP because your stats blow).  Luxuriate here for a minute though.

    “Project: UnderBlog is a submission-based collaborative writing project honoring the smaller voices in the blogging community. With a foundation of 5-10 core bloggers to publish, promote, and engage on a monthly basis, this is ultimately a place where the majority of the content comes from submissions. Anyone can submit and share their voices and stories without consideration of their blog stats, followers, page ranks, and social media reach.”

    Ahhh – isn’t that refreshing!  Don’t miss their Friday Favorites where they include links for 5 of their favorite posts from the week.  I love when someone else hand picks good stuff for me to read, and they rock at this.  Comment on your favorites and then leave a link for your own post in the comments for that week’s fav’s.  Once again small and intimate and I love it!  If you want to submit something for Project Underblog to consider publishing on their blog, you can read the guidelines here.  I am excited to be featured on Project Underblog coming up on April 23rd — woohoo!

    8.  Bloppy Bloggers - Bloppy is a facebook group that I believe was given birth to by Julie DeNeen of Fabulous Blogging.  Many in the Bloppy Army sing her praises on a daily basis as an awesome blogger and social media queen.  I am new and just dipping my toe in the water, but this group has over 1,000 members now and has pretty much daily threads where you can add your blog links for sharing.  There are a lot of active members from all different types of blogs, so you will get a good mix of content to read and a new place to share your content.  There are also lots of Q&A threads about various social media and blogging topics that you can jump in on.  The only caveat is that this groups is SO active, you may find yourself turning off notifications now and then because you get SO many notifications.  A good problem to have though if you are looking to connect with other bloggers!

    What blogging sites can’t you live without?  Share in the comments other bloggers can all benefit!

  7. Small Talk Perfect For Any Situation: A Story About Bird Poop

    April 6, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli


    Although I don’t think I come off this way, inside I am socially backwards.  I prefer to be by myself or with my family or my SMALL list of close friends.  When I am forced to converse with someone outside the circle, I like to be prepared with conversation topics that I can pull out if necessary.  I have found that most people don’t need me to provide a good segue and will dive right in when I ask certain questions.

    One of my favorites when interacting with any type of professional/worker is “What is the craziest thing that has ever happened at your job”.  People love answering this and I love their answers.  I have heard everything from a real estate agent coming into a showing with their clients to find the homeowners in a romantic situation, to men passing out at the eye doctor’s office and needing smelling salts, because apparently many men can’t handle having their eyes touched.  Everyone has a strange and hilarious story about their job.  I keep that question in my back pocket at all times.

    I have recently added a new question to my arsenal.  A question that unites us all:

    Can you tell me your bird poop story?



    This seems weird at first, but everyone has one.  You might be thinking “But I don’t have one.”.  Yes you do.


    Keep thinking.

    You remembered didn’t you?  Your bird poop story.

    1982  My story was second grade.  Recess.  William Shepherd was one of the 2 most ill-behaved boys in class.  To be fair, we had a tyrant of a teacher and it brought out the worst in everyone that year.  I think William and his cohort Mark used disobedience to cope with the oppressive world of second grade.

    When Mrs. T. would leave the room (can teachers even do that anymore?), Mark and William would do touchdown dances while standing on TOP of their desks and moon the rest of the class.  Everyone clammed up when Mrs. T. got back.  As much as we didn’t want Mark and William’s butts as half time entertainment, we all had each other’s backs when it came to Mrs. T.

    In second grade I was IT.  By that I mean I had my purple Osh-Kosk jumper with coordinating purple whale print turtle neck and my other outfits only got better.  I had long brown pig tails and I was a little bit tom boy (and a little bit rock-n-roll).  This is all it took in second grade.  I pretty much peaked in second grade when it came to being a man trap, but that’s another story.

    Mark and William knew I was a catch and for this reason peppered me with pretend finger pistol kisses from across the classroom daily. They also chased me at recess as the main object of ‘Boys Chase Girls’.

    One particular day William was chasing and I, as usual, was avoiding him pretty effortlessly.  That day William was on his game and I was not.  He shouted that I had bird poop on my jacket.  I knew he was lying but still took a quick glance only to find a big white splatter.    It was there.  A bird had pooped on my puffy navy nylon-ish winter coat.  The poop was startlingly near my face and I froze.  In that moment William made his move, knocked me down and kissed me on the mouth in triumph.  I was PISSED.  I punched him but never told the teacher, because as I mentioned, we were a united front in that class and there would be no tattling.

    2000-something   I asked my husband for his bird poop story once I figured out that this simple topic could create a brotherhood of man.  He told me he didn’t have one.  I made him keep thinking and he remembered.  “Oh yeah!  One time I was stopped at a red light and a bird pooped through the sunroof of my 3 series right onto the center console.”  Gold.

    1960-something   I think my favorite so far is my mom’s story.  She was pooped on in her high school marching band.  In one particular parade a bird pooped on her as she played the clarinet.  On her nose.  Apparently high school band is serious business and you don’t fall out of line for anything — certainly not a stray bird poop.  She bravely played on and wiped the offending substance as best she could off of her face with her hand as a red-faced boy next to her named Bruce giggled uncontrollably at her luck.

    Do you have a bird poop story?  If so, let me know so I can re-tell it in my upcoming bird poop follow up, Bird Poop 2.0.  If you are a blogger I will include your blog link if I select your story.  email me @

    If this post about poultry fecal matter has captivated you enough to want more of my life-changing writing, enter your email address below and get an email notification any time I have a new post (2-3 times a week) including Bird Poop 2.0



  8. Craigslist Chuckles: Strange And Hilarious Listings (Wyoming Edition)

    April 4, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli

    Craigslist Humor week4.jpg

    This is the fourth in a series I bring to you each Friday, where I pick a city and share with you some of their strangest (and sometimes hilarious) postings.  I figure the content is endless, so why not!  You may be saying ‘Wyoming isn’t a city’.  You are correct, apparently in some cases, lists are for a region rather than a city, or, in the case of Wyoming, one list will suffice for the whole state.  I figured it must be good.


    Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 7.05.06 AM

    My favorite part is the dollar for dollar exchange rate.


    Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 8.42.04 AM

    After thinking about this one, I might suggest they re-title it ‘Please pay me $100 for nothing and then clean the debris out of my yard’



    Craigslist Prairie Dogs

    ‘Wanted – removal of three unsafe men — signed, The Prairie Dogs’



    Criagslist Prairie Meteorites

     “””I collect Craigslist postings from idiots”””



    Carnival Dolls

    Do NOT look into their eyes.  Do not. Look into. Their eyes.



    Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.28.17 AM

    Questions for seller:  1) Do you have one with a less sad face? 2) Do we really put our antelope head on our bed near the pillows?


    View more installments of Craigslist Chuckles here


    Enter your email address below to subscribe to my weekly Craigslist Chuckles and other Pecked To Death By Chickens posts (1-2 each week).  Cheers!

  9. 4 Tips For Making Long Car Trips With Toddlers More…Tolerable

    April 1, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli

    Listen, this post is not going to send you looking for one of those grocery getters with a third row of seats just so you can cram in a few more ankle biters on your family trip to Super Dandy Wilderness Resort.  It will, however, give you a few tips to slightly ease your road trip pain without using Benadryl, ear plugs or idle threats.

    toddler car trips.jpg

    On our recent family trip from Charlottesville, VA to Hilton Head, SC (an 8 hour trip according to Google Maps), our SUV hosted my 2.5 year old son and my almost 4 year old daughter.  These people are tough customers and I was on my game this time with planning ahead due to some rough experiences in the past.  Surprisingly, this was our best trip yet (we have made this trip multiple times with them), so I thought I would beg for validation share my tips with you!

    1.  Plan Meal Stops Ahead – In the past, we have always just used the navigation to find food stops along the route as we go and as we feel like stopping.  This time I researched ahead by finding a breakfast stop that was 2 hours into our trip (we left the house at 6am) and a lunch stop that was approximately 3 hours farther down the road.  What I found out is that A) The 3 potty-trained bladders in the car only needed these 2 stops and B) Toddlers thrive on stopping every 2-3 hours.  Granted, my daughter was telling me 10 minutes before we hit the McDonalds for breakfast that she only had ‘Five Patience’ left, whatever that means, but it worked out with very little whining.  I was also able to check out the websites for our chosen Mickey D’s and Chick Fil-A for creepiness ahead of time from their websites.  We knew the weather was supposed to be good so we picked a Chick Fil-A with picnic tables outside and a Barnes And Noble next to it so the kids could stretch there legs for a minute in the kids section (I’m sure they loved us there).  Meal Highlights included Girl telling me of her using a plastic knife ‘I learned it from myself’ and Boy announcing when the hotcakes arrived ‘I love chocolate!’ (???).  Girl also thanks Daddy ‘…for taking us to Old McDonalds’.  No matter how many times I tell her, she takes the ‘farm to table’ concept one step too far here.

    2.  Drawing Boards – This was a bigger hit for my daughter, as Boy was in an open-mouthed, Kipper-watching trance when the boards came out, but he did do some crayon drawing on the way home.  I had ordered some cheap little lap desk things from with pockets for crayons and markers and put plain white paper on top of each.  In no time, Girl was showing me Christmas trees, rainbows and floating heads she had drawn.  On the way home, I got a little too comfy in the front seat and didn’t notice that an extreme quiet had started to permeate the back seat.  I soon did a sleep check and realized that Girl had colored the entire palm of each hand and proceeded to smear blue washable marker on her face, carseat and even inside each nostril.  This is still a good tip — just use crayons only to avoid this little setback.

    Girl on road trip

    3.  Don’t Rush Stops – As I mentioned before, we tacked on an extra 30 minutes to our lunch stop by playing at the train table in Barnes and Noble.  We also fed french fries to the birds in the picnic area at Chick Fil-A and my son identified all of the Chick Fil-A chicken face logos or ‘birds’ as he called them on the chairs, cups, fry boxes, wrappers etc. – and there are a freakin’ ton.  I mean a near disturbing amount once you start to take a census.  While you may be itching to get on the road, remember that happy kids who have had a car break will be much happier when they get back in the car.  Bonus: Activity can sometimes encourage a poop so you won’t have to make a poop stop later if you’re lucky.  

    4.  Use Snacks And DVDs Without Guilt – Not much to say here.  No one is judging, in fact providing a steady stream of snacks will keep things like this from happening.  Boy yells ‘STUCK STUCK!’ as he tries to retrieve something from his carseat.  He then pulls a petrified snack from 2010 from the depths of his carseat and announces ‘I Got IT!’ triumphantly before it disappears into his mouth.  DVDs in the back seat = Ability to listen to This American Life and laugh like the nerds that we are.

    So 10.5 hours later, we arrived at our destination, but it wasn’t so bad.  There was little to no whining in the car, the breaks were spaced evenly so we were never in the car for too long and the kids were entertained with DVDs, art and some other goodies I brought like magnet boards and books.  There were naps too of course.  I didn’t plan nearly as well on the way home, but we stuck to a similar stopping plan and my kids have short memories, so the same entertainment worked just as well on the ride home.  I’ll close with this photo of left over Wendy’s chicken nuggets and a banana shoved into my door pocket just in case you were starting to put me on a toddler road trip planning pedestal. That is my foot straddling my purse and a ton of other crap that got piled on me since I still need to work on toddler road trip snack and entertainment organization.  There is always something that pecks at me.




  10. How This First-Time Mommy’s Sanity Was Saved With A Camera

    March 28, 2014 by Susan Maccarelli (Peckd2Death)

    How This First-Time Mommy's Sanity Was Saved With A Camera

    My first baby was one that the books (and my pediatrician) referred to as ‘spirited’.  What that really means is from the moment they are born, IF they are awake, they ARE screaming.  ‘Spirited’ is not to be confused with colic.  Spirited hangs on much longer.  She also never slept for more than 2 hours at a time (often 45 minutes) for months and months.  Even as an older baby, she didn’t sleep well and was crying most of the time.  It wasn’t a ‘something hurts’ cry, it was an ‘I’m pissed’ cry.

    For that reason, I was forever trying to get her to sleep.  She hated the carseat, and would scream bloody murder the entire time she was in it.  She hated the swing, the crib, the co-sleeper and the bouncy seat most of the time at first.  I mostly held her when she slept and then shared the bed with her for the first year.  I was not one of those mothers who loved being a mother and whose heart grew three sizes the moment I looked into her eyes.  I went months without more than a 3 hour stretch of sleep and even that was rare.  One day I told my husband ‘I don’t exist anymore’.  Cue the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie (preferably with a brunette Reese Witherspoon playing me).

    I would see other mothers with their babies out and about and they looked happy and refreshed.  I would stroller her around the town center where we lived, and was sometimes lucky enough that she slept long enough for me to get a milkshake from Potbelly to drown my sorrows.  If she woke up she would scream.  If someone looked at her, she would scream, if she had a bath she would scream and if I was hysterical (which happened a lot), she would scream — assuming she wasn’t already screaming.

    I asked my pediatrician and he was always reassuring and made me feel normal, but I also didn’t think he realized that her weekly batshit crazy freak outs in his office were status quo for me at home.  I didn’t want to hysterically explain it to him for fear he would put me on some sort of postpartum watch list.  I was rational enough to know that she was an innocent little baby and I was just a struggling, overwhelmed, and sleep deprived mom reacting to an intense situation that would eventually pass.

    A few weeks into scream-ageddon I thought I would take a few photos in the fleeting moments she wasn’t screaming – a.k.a. while she was asleep.  I figured I could post them on Facebook and send them to relatives and everyone would think she was adorable.  They didn’t have to know the ugly truth:  that I didn’t enjoy her, she didn’t enjoy me and I was about to see if the hospital had some sort of return policy.

    There was no question that I loved her and I was fiercely protective.  Maybe this was because I knew she couldn’t help that she was a more difficult baby and I wanted other people to be able to see past that, even if it was proving to be tough for me.

    So I took some photos.  56 during month 1 to be exact.

    Wordlessly, the photos said:

    “Look how precious my child is!”

    “She is a miracle!”

    “Words can’t express how happy we are!”


    Oh and of course my favorite… “Look at my well-lit arm, I’m not fat anymore!”



    In reality, I felt like saying:  

    “All she does is scream”

    “I am miserable and so is she”

    “She is the most unhappy child ever”

    “I have yet to meet another mother who feels this way”


    “I understand why sleep deprivation is used to torture certain types of prisoners”

    Of course after posting and emailing the photos, I got responses saying how beautiful she was and I felt a little better.

    …And thus my photo addiction was born.  Month 2 = 94 photos, Month 3 = 196 photos and so on.  I took hundreds of photos every month.  It would have been more, but I was very careful to delete those that were redundant or just poor quality as well as those where she looked drunk or angry (both common photo looks for her).  I would share the photos and get compliments on how pretty, sweet and adorable she was and it would convince me, if just for a moment, that maybe she was sweet and adorable and things would be okay, because soon I would start to see it too.

    One day I caught her smiling in her sleep and thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be crazy if one day she did this while she was awake?”



    And then.

    She did.


    As time went on, I started to believe the photos more and more and she screamed less and less.  This was not a fast process, in fact it was very slow.  The screaming was frequent (bordering on constant) for a LONG time and was just tapering off at 15 months when her brother was born.  From 4 months until  probably close to 2 years old, she would break down if a stranger so much as looked at her and smiled. She is almost four years old now and still very dramatic and emotional.  If I had not seen her since the original photo shoots, I could still pick her out of a toddler line up based solely on her temperament, but it is more predictable and relatable now.  She still keeps her smiles close and is quite serious, but that makes her joy all the more special.

    I still take shit tons of of photos. I still enjoy looking back at them when I have a quiet moment to appreciate the kids, since they sometimes make it hard in their waking moments.  She is sass mouthy, a 0 to 60 tantrum thrower, and stubborn as all hell, but she is also kind and sweet and thoughtful and greatful.  My favorite photos now are not the perfect ones, because I enjoy the kids so much more these days and don’t need the photos to reassure me of anything.  Now my favorites are the ones that capture their personality or soul a little, as imperfect as it might be.


    I was able to quickly pull these photos from thousands I have taken because I must have looked through them a hundred times in those early months and years when I was struggling to find the joy in being a parent.  I know each one intimately and for each early photo of a sweet angel, there is a memory of my insecurity and an inconsolable baby.  Those have faded some and have been replaced by a perfectly imperfect little girl.  She is a little person who drives me a little nuts every day, but who I enjoy more than not.

    I used to wonder when she would grow out of ‘it’.  I’d get different answers and those timeframes would pass with ‘it’ still being around.  Somewhere the edge started to be taken off and I started to enjoy being mommy more and more.

    The photos were a way for me to see things clearly in the few silent moments I had during my early days of parental hazing.  To see that what I thought was an unhappy child and my failing as a mother, was really a lot more than that.  What the photos were telling everyone else was true at some level, but at the time, I just couldn’t find a way to match it up with the reality of a screaming baby at first.  The photos let me look in and see it from a different perspective.

    I am not a photographer, but I do encourage anyone in the same boat that I was in to try to find a different perspective to look at their situation even if it is just the perspective of your point-and-shoot camera.