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I am coming to realize, that parenting teenagers is a lot like riding a roller coaster. Up and down we go. There are wonderful highs and then sudden, fast-paced dips that bottom out into rattling lows and then all of a sudden we are climbing, climbing again to another beautiful high. It’s a wild (and mostly fun!) ride, to be sure.

Last week, my oldest daughter Anna went to her first high school dance…Homecoming. Boy, was she excited to go and we were so excited for her! With this being my first daughter to head off to a dance, I was worried about finding a dress that was both modest and reasonably priced. Lucky for us my cute sister-in-law Mary found a bunch of dresses on sale (for super cheap) at Ross that we were able to choose from. The cute blue dress you see Anna wearing didn’t have any sleeves, so we bought some fabric and made some. I followed this tutorial I found online as a basic guide (for any of you who might be in need of sleeves for a sleeveless dress).

Once the sleeves were taken care of, I figured we were all set. We just needed a pair of sparkly silver shoes and we would be good to go! We were on a Homecoming high, ladies and gentlemen. There was mother daughter bonding, she was happy and all was well. Surely shoes could be found quickly and with ease. Boy was I wrong.

10 hours, people. We spent TEN EXHAUSTING HOURS shopping for shoes. Now please keep in mind that I am not a shopping guru in any way shape or form. If I can’t find it on the clearance rack at Kohl’s or Walmart (please don’t judge) it rarely finds its way into my life. Clearly, Sparkly Silver Shoes were way out of my league. Anna and I searched the better part of the Salt Lake Valley. We went in stores we didn’t even know existed! Sparkly Silver Shoes in a size 7 1/2 were NO WHERE to be found, anywhere along the entire Wasatch front. Not heels, not flats, not shoes with a tiny heel or big heel or medium heel. None. Zero. Zilch. We were at a low. Homecoming was losing its charm, and she hadn’t even gone yet!

I was minutes away from buying some silver spray paint and glamming up an old pair of Anna’s galoshes when the wise girl said “Mom, let’s just order some on Amazon and cross our fingers they come in time.”

And we did.

And they did.

And all was well again on the Homecoming Rollercoaster Express.


The day of the dance MyHandsomeHusband and I decided to can some Homemade Salsa, because our basement storage shelves were salsa-less and because it’s September and because my man loves it. We sort of forgot about the fact that when you make salsa for umpteen hours in one day your house and everything in it, smells like onions and peppers for like a week.


This cute girl of mine locked her pretty Homecoming dress in the back of her basement closet and wrapped the door handles together with a rope. No one wants to go to a school dance smelling like Salsa Surprise. They really don’t. Even I can understand that. 🙂

So, with our house reeking like salsa and my daughters and I in the back bathroom working on makeup and curling hair…Anna’s date knocked at the door an entire 20 minutes early. This provided all kinds of panic where my younger daughter Emily was sent flying down the stairs to retrieve the dress from the (roped together) closet, lip gloss was added in a fast fury, last-minute earrings were frantically shoved into ear lobes…


and this HandsomeHusband of mine answered the door in my Queen of the Kitchen Apron and invited Anna’s date to come in and have a nice chat. Ha! The two of them talked about typical father/date subjects until the important fatherly questions ran their course the conversation fizzled into a semi awkward silence.

Clearing of throats.


“So, Um…” Anna’s date said. “You guys can salsa every year?”

“Nope. Not every year.”

What a polite kid. 🙂


He was a great sport. The great news is Anna did not go to the dance smelling like Salsa Surprise, thank goodness!


She had a fantastic time with good friends a-plenty…


a fun (and handsome) date…


and Sparkly Silver Shoes, size 7 1/5 that didn’t remotely resemble galoshes.

The Homecoming Rollercoaster Express, ladies and gentlemen.

It was a super fun ride.

About Jamie

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  1. Oh my, how exciting for your daughter. I have four sons and only one daughter and we went through that while trying to find shoes for her wedding. And then when we had given up on looking and were walking through a store that we never would have gone to for shoes, there they were!! Front and center on a display, flat white dress shoes (my daughter and her husband are the same height)and we were so excited!! Your daughter was beautiful!!

  2. I can so relate to this post. We ordered a dress online and it never came. The Tuesday before Homecoming we were frantically searching for a dress, preferably one that would match the shoes that did come. We ended up borrowing a beautiful one but my procrastinating daughter had neglected to get jewelry, even after mom suggested it 4 days before, so I was still on the search an hour before and luckily found some on the JCPenny clearance. Winterball will be a little better planned. Maybe, the missing dress will show up in time for that 😛

    1. Bridget,
      Oh, my…that sounds like bad news. 🙂 At least you can still use the dress for another dance! 🙂

  3. Wonderful story–beautiful daughter–handsome date (they both look so nice for the dance)! Thank you so much for sharing–brought back lots of memories! Our family is now into grandsons going to homecoming–still lots of fun!

  4. Such a cute story and a cute daughter.

    I also make salsa and have for many years. About 15 or 20 years ago I purchased a Camp Chief 2 burner outdoor free standing stove and have been making the salsa outside on the patio. No more salsa smell, heat or steam in the house. The best place to purchase used to be and may still be Smithfield Implement in Cache Valley.The online price is nearly twice as much as I paid.

    1. Pat,
      Thank you for the great tip about canning outside! I will look into it for next year.
      All the best,

  5. Oh I love these posts that make me smile! 🙂 Love your daughters dress, and she looks absolutely beautiful. Her date looks handsome too. Hope she had a wonderful time at the dance, and glad the salsa didn’t follow her to there. Haha! And yay for Amazon – when in doubt, I always look there too, although I do love me some Kohl’s (I don’t judge).

  6. I am making your salsa as we more hour and I get to can it up..can’t wait to try it..;) thanks for all the wonderful recipes..our current favorite and the neighbors as well is the apple fritters..oh man…they are fact I made them this morning and spread the love to the vets and friends and my brother in law..;)

    1. Gina,
      So happy to hear you have been enjoying the recipes! Hope the salsa turned out great!
      All the best,

  7. Jamie,

    That was so fun to read (like all of your posts). I am so glad she had a great time and she is absolutely beautiful (and modest–hallelujah!!) It’s so great to see girls that know they can be beautiful without showing off their body 😉 You are a wonderful mother for teaching her that! Luv ya