Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas Photo...




My daughter loves getting ready for Santa, from the baking of the cookies to the trying to stay up all night waiting for him to come... We DID track him via NORAD this year, which was tons of fun watching where he was in the world at specific times.

This year, she was pretty lucky and kept her wish list reasonable so she was able to get quite a few things from it. (except the live kitten and pony of course!) I can remember asking for a pony too, way back when. A gift we are all looking forward to using this coming summer is the metal detector she wanted. Who doesn't want to find buried treasure? I can seriously see us hitting the beach and parks with it this year, hoping to find something more valuable than then pop tops from cans and rusty old nails. But I am sure we'll find our share of those too!

Hubby and I didn't buy for each other this year. We decided it'd be best to give to the kids and instead we opted for a nice Christmas Eve dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We had what they call a Parillada for 2, which is basically fajitas for 2 with ground spicy sausage, chicken, beef and pork, along with the grilled veggies. Plus we each got a nice side of rice, refried beans and a small salad with guacamole and sour cream sides too. I have a feeling we are going back on New Years Eve, and this time I am asking for the frozen strawberry margarita too! They make them good and strong :)

Just wanted to say hey, Happy New Year's to you all! Work will be nuts this week, and I will be looking forward to having New Year's Day off. But dreading going back on Friday for just one day! So Happy New Year's everyone, celebrate and have fun-but stay out of trouble!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Circle II Circle-New Album Out!



Ok, I rarely if ever listen to metal music. It's just not my thing-although in the 80's growing up I gotta admit I was a fan of the "hair bands." Long hair, big hair, teased hair, no hair- I pretty much dealt with all of the different 80's offerings out there.

Growing up, most of the radio stations played pop hits and while I loved those, I was also a big fan of Europop and dance music from Europe. This wasn't readily available in Central Maine, but a 4 hour drive to Canada did the trick, and at 16 (under the watchful eye of mom and grandma) I headed to the Canadian discos until 3 am to dance until I dropped. I still have lots of old cassettes purchased in Canada from those days, and my teen son will often listen to them with me and laugh. It's a far cry from the rap he is used to-but amazingly he did enjoy several of the songs. One he currently has on his Zune is Blue by Eiffel 65.

My half brother Andy was quite a guitarist back then. He played in several local bands and actually traveled out to LA to visit with Dick Clark and get noticed in the music industry. He can play any type of music, so when he set out for Nashville with some local boys to find his fame in the industry we were pretty proud. And he toured the circuit, appearing in back up bands on CMT and playing in Nashville, Vegas and Branson.

But he always loved rock music, even as a kid. I was pretty shocked when I heard in 2003 that he'd joined Circle II Circle an American Metal Band was was pretty famous in South America and Europe. And pretty darn popular in the U.S. too!(www.circle2circle.net) It seems weird seeing your brother on You Tube and seeing his CD's in record stores. If you're a fan of metal, check out You Tube Circle II Circle Evermore for his awesome solo. This year they have a new album out, and that means a new tour to Europe. I'd love to see them play in New England, since I haven't met any of his band members.

Be sure to check out their website, I plan on getting their new album for my son and will be contacting Andy later on to see if he can spare a few autographed CD's and a tee or two for my blog to give away. Until then, check them out on You Tube and online!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Loving my Pureology...




Back when I first started blogging, I noticed a giveaway for Pureology Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner. I'd never heard of the brand before, and was interested to see what it was all about. Since I color treat my hair (highlights 3x a year at $100 a pop) AND I get dandruff (especially in the winter, the cold really dries out my scalp) this shampoo and conditioner sounded like something I really wanted to try.

I was surprised to win it, and when it came, I didn't use it immediately. I continued on with my dollar store shampoos and good old Head & Shoulders. In early November I got my highlights done again and decided to try the Pureology then. The first thing I noticed was that it takes a little to get the job done-no more slathering on tons just to get some sudsy action. Same goes with the conditioner. The second thing I noticed was the texture, the feel of the shampoo and conditioner in my hand. It wasn't watery, it was smooth and creamy. My concern was that it would leave my hair greasy looking, but I was relieved to see that it didn't. I have fine hair that has lost most of its life (after having kids, I lost my curls) but this shampoo made it bouncy and gave it enough volume to make me feel good about my thinning, fine hair.

If you are looking for a lot of scent, this doesn't have it-sorry. There is a subtle scent, but not an overwhelming "Gee, your hair smells terrific" type scent. But that's ok-because I prefer to have a shampoo that gets the job done, without leaving tons of residue on my hair. Before Pureology I was scratching incessantly like my cats in flea season. Now the only flakes I see are outdoors from the winter snows. My color has remained vibrant, and not faded either. If my darn roots weren't growing out, I'd probably get away with 2 highlights a year using this shampoo.I will mention that it is kind of pricey, $30+ for just the shampoo so probably about $60 or so for both items. My stylist had never heard of it either, and the salon she works at is going to see if they can start getting it in as well since I raved so much about it. Given the cost, I probably would not have ever tried it had I not had the chance to actually experience the difference it made in my hair. But I am glad I did, and will most likely be setting aside some money I saved from coupon cutting for groceries so when I run out of it I can replenish my stock-because I'm worth it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let it snow...No, not again!


It's officially the beginning of winter and I am already sick of snow!!! While we lucked out here in Northern New England with the Friday night storm (we got about 5-6 inches here where I live, a considerable difference from the "dusting" we were supposed to get) today there is no lucking out whatsoever. They are calling for FEET, not inches. And near blizzard conditions.
I am sick of looking out the window and seeing white-sure, it's beautiful and all but my poor snowblower is running overtime and my husband's back still hasn't recovered from shoveling out the walkway yesterday.
It's amazing to see parts of the country getting snow, places that haven't seen snow in years. Along with frigid temperatures, this sure makes the beginning of winter a tough thing to take right now. Even Christmas Eve is not exempt, we're expecting some sort of storm, rain, snow, sleet-not sure yet depending on the temperatures.
So, do you have snow yet? Are you sick of it? Or is snow a rare occasion for you, and you were thrilled to have the kids experience it, build a snowman, etc...? (but I betcha weren't thrilled to DRIVE in it, huh?) Right now, this is one gal who just doesn't wanna hear anyone singing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twinkle, Twinkle-It's the Birthday Girl!



Quite a few months back, I won a GC from Twinkling Tees for Deja and ordered her a lovely PINK name shirt. I decided to keep it for her birthday, to make it special. Since her birthday was on a weekend, I decided to give it to her early, so she could wear it to school that Friday.

As you can see, she is very happy with her new shirt! I love the sparkly pink crystals and the cute little tiara design. Jill did a wonderful job, and her tees are gorgeous! When I placed the order, she sent me several emails letting me know about design, color, and the status of my order. The constant communication was great, it made ME feel special because she valued my business enough to take time from her busy day to update me on my order.

At school when Deja took off her jacket she was greeted to "OOH HOW PRETTY!" from all of her little girl friends and even the boys came over to check out her new shirt. With so many great designs, Twinkling Tees has something for everyone. Now for the sad part-I recently went back to their site (www.twinklingtees.com) and saw a message Jill had posted about not being able to accept more orders for girls or babies after Jan. 30, 2009. Something to do with a new law, testing the products, and making it very expensive for small businesses like hers to survive should this go through. It really irritated me that we can allow all these Made in China items into our country with little regulation, and here is a small business like hers who might be out of business soon due to this new law. We can allow items made with child labor or sweat shop labor (two of my sisters in law work in Guatemala in maquilas-huge clothing factories which pay pennies per piece, long 12 hour days and no breaks) but can't allow a working mommy a break?

I am hoping for some extra money in January-because I really hope to get a couple more shirts before that ordering deadline for Deja. The shirts are just so pretty, and I want Jill to know I am supporting her and think this whole thing is absurd. If you are thinking of getting a Twinkling Tee for your little one, make sure to do it soon! Thanks Jill and Twinkling Tees for making Dejanera's birthday special!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice Storm Update

Well, got home and we still had power :) which I kind of expected since the power never went out once during the storm. My driveway, however is a frozen icy mess. Just getting the car in those huge ruts is a task in itself.

We headed out to RI yesterday morning for a quick trip to drop off Christmas gifts to hubby's sister Vidalia and her family. As we took off, I left my digital camera at home but had a disposable 35mm and snapped a few pics of the scenery from the ice storm. Just getting onto the highway there was a huge tree down, and as we went further South noticed more and more ice coated trees. The ice glinting in the sun was beautiful on the branches, but the trees were so heavy they were bent over almost touching the ground in places.

As we headed South, we noticed the sun had melted some of the ice on the trees-which is actually a good thing because luckily there hasn't been a wind because if there had been, the combined weight of the ice and the wind would have taken many more trees down. In RI, no snow and the temperature Saturday was cold, but not unbearable. The wind there was worse than anything, because when it hit you the cold blasted at you making for some cold body parts that went uncovered :) I never hardly ever wear a hat myself unless necessary so my ears were a bit frosty... Today was sunny when we woke up and quite a bit warmer thank goodness.

Heading North, it looked like the trees in Southern Maine had finally shed their ice coatings but when we got to Central Maine where I live the ice was still heavy on the trees-meaning it hadn't gotten above freezing and the trees could still break from all this weight. And some are STILL without power. I consider myself lucky, because mine did not go out. I hope we have a warm up soon, because all that ice on the trees isn't a good thing. Plus my driveway needs to thaw out! Anyone wanna send me some warm weather?

Friday, December 12, 2008

No work, no pics and a migraine-

Today they cancelled work, lucky me didn't lose power. But some did. I didn't venture out today, even though the ice was melting. Now it is freezing again. You just can't seem to win in the wintertime here in Maine. I was in bed at 9pm last night. Amazing, for me. I am ready for bed yet again as well. I have a really bad migraine-it feels like someone is shoving a screwdriver thru my right eye and temple simultaneously. Ouch. My meds are not touchin' it and I am supposed to go to Rhode Island tomorrow. Luckily we are staying in a hotel, so if I feel sick I will end up lying on my hotel bed in a darkened room with a cold cloth over my eyes. I just hope this isn't one of the few times a year that I have a headache that makes me go to the ER for an IV. I'm off to bed now-hoping to be online tomorrow with my laptop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wonderful...a State of Emergency!

Just checked in on the weather after opening the door and hearing the telltale sign of freezing rain hitting the surfaces... While beautiful, definitely dangerous. Seems the Governor declared a state of emergency...allowing out of state power companies to come in and help us if the power goes out. And they expect it will. So I will be online for as long as I can. This stuff is supposed to go on until midday tomorrow unfortunately. And it is coming down at a good clip right now as it's supposed to all night. I made hubby stay home from work tonight, and my employer pretty much told everyone to get out around 4. Tomorrow might be a snow day, well ice day I should say. Just have to wait and see. Hoping to get some good photos if I can tomorrow-but if internet service and poles are down I might be down for awhile as well as I have DSL. So if ya don't see me post for a bit or get a bounceback on my email-it just might be that the mail box is full! I will be glad to see summer again-and winter has only just started!

Monday, December 8, 2008

HP MAGIC-If Rhonda wins, you could too!

Ok, so my blogger buddy and co-worker Rhonda decided to enter the HP Magic Giveaway over at Chris Pirillo's site and talk about her latest hobby, which is geocaching. Last night she told me her entry had been posted and was open to comments. The person who gets the most comments wins that awesome $6000 prize package. Wow!

Rhonda's son is graduating next June, so she'd love to gift him with a laptop before he goes to college. Plus, I know she is in need of new upgrades herself but, like many of us it's just not possible right now. Rhonda and I were discussing this giveaway at lunch, and she asked a few of our coworkers to help her achieve her dream. One thing that was important for Rhonda and that she was really excited about was the fact that she can share this package with others too. And she decided if people were able to help her out, and if she won, she'd give away a laptop to one of her random commenters too!

So if you want to help her out, please leave a meaningful comment (Chris says short comments will be deleted) on her entry here: http://chris.pirillo.com/2008/12/05/what-is-geocaching/ before 10 pm CST on the 10th. And if she wins, you just might be a winner too!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I wanna have lunch with Mario Batali!

Don't you? Well, maybe not lunch with HIM-but I'd love to carry my lunch around in one of his new stylish lunchbags. Guess what? Over at My Wooden Spoon they are having a great giveaway, with three winners!

I've been looking for a great new bag and the styles are awesome! Head on over and check it out-but you'd better hurry because it ends the 14th! http://mywoodenspoon.com/2008/12/05/mario-batali-can-cook-me-hold-my-lunch-anytime/

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

PC Issues-Bear With Me!

My PC has been very sluggish lately, and I just assumed it was to all the feeds I had subscribed to... it was SUPPOSED to be protected by McAfee as part of my Verizon DSL service pkg. BUT when Fairpoint bought out Verizon here in Northern New England this past year, service has sucked.

I called for help, Fairpoint transfers me to Verizon-get Verizon and then they send me BACK. I guess when the change took place, my virus protection went by the wayside and I didn't figure it out. I deleted off McAfee last night and began running Windows One Live for their free trial. It supposedly isolated 2 adware programs (quarantined) and deleted 10+ Trojan viruses. Yet I still have the annoying pop ups going on, and don't know why that wasn't fixed. The worst part I hate is when my daughter is at the computer and those porno pop ups come up-I could be doing anything, just browsing email, working on my blog, searching for info-and up pops some semi nude woman offering to make my day (or night) Hubby, not normally a computer user-perks right up.

Currently am cleaning out my junk mail, seems lots of stuff got sent there that should not have gone there. So if you sent me an email, please be patient. I think it's time I get this PC to the doctor-but I might just have to make do a bit until after the holidays. (and tax refund time) I do have access to another PC but it is not hooked up yet-but I might be doing that soon! Thanks for understanding!

Sleepless Nights and Infomercials....


Goodness, what a difference a day makes. While I am kind of still in a funk, and still sick-I am past my raving and ranting yesterday. Whew! Who knew that doing all that raving and ranting would leave me exhausted?


You know, I am not sure I am sick with a cold-I mean it's more like allergies. We have forced hot air for our heat source, and I wonder if all that dust is just doing it's wonders to my poor nose. I swear, Jose changes the filters on the furnace every couple of weeks. But this is the reason I SO hate dusting and cleaning stuff, because the minute I get near anything dusty I suffer big time. Itchy red eyes, scratchy throat and stuffed up nose. All the classic symptoms. I was up at 4 am due to nose running, postnasal drip etc... I turned on the TV and sure enough, there was David Oreck talking to me. Well, not to me, but to anyone who would listen at 4 am about his wonderful air purifier. Boy, is he smart. He knows those people that need fresh, clean air are going to be up at all hours, miserable as hell. And there he is, offering help and salvation to those who watch. I could have sworn that as he spoke about his wonderful product and all that it had to offer and stretched out his hand the dirty air in the room parted and I heard the sound of angels singing.


A bright light shone in the room, and I took it as a sign. I started rummaging through my purse for my credit card. Just as I had phone in hand and was ready to plunk down some serious cash-hubby Jose walks in. Seems the blinding light were the headlights from his car as he was parking it in the driveway. Seeing me there, frozen like a deer by a pair of headlights-he swoops in and takes over. Suddenly I am transformed from the peace and serenity of David Oreck's magical promises to a face paced action movie in Spanish. Gone are the visions of thick smoke disappearing in little boxes filled with those air purifiers and now I am staring down the barrel of a .45 at some dude that resembles Juan Valdez. (remember the Colombian coffee guy and the simple nod of the head as he handed you a cup of Colombian coffee that made your morning complete?)


If Mr. Oreck is reading this, he can send me one of those lovely air purifiers to review and I will subject it to cat hair, dust mites, dander-heck I will even start a small grease fire in the kitchen to test out the smoke factor. And I won't hold him responsible if I manage to burn the house down in the process. All I want is a GOOD night of sleep-is that too much to ask?

Monday, December 1, 2008

I know I should be Jumping for Joy, but...



I mean, I won TWO COMPLETELY AWESOME wonderful blog wins today. Things I really wanted and am going to have so much fun using. And I am so damn psyched, but I just can't get around to feeling very happy. I have been so fortunate with bloggy wins lately, it has been amazing. I love reading new blogs, visiting new sites, and most of all meeting some very wonderful people online. Not to mention the recipes, hints, tips and other stuff I have learned.

Earlier this evening, my mom called me and told me she and my dad got back from his dr. appointment. His appointment was originally scheduled for Dec. 9th, but when they moved it up to today, the 1st I kind of knew that wasn't good news.

He has non small cell squamous lung cancer, stage 3. His cancer is good sized, about 6 centimeters and the reason he hasn't been breathing well is that the cancer is growing over his airpipe or in that area, blocking it. He also has moderate emphysema and his heart test didn't come back very good-some of the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes as well. Radiation and Chemo are definitely on the list, surgery in the future, we're not sure. The surgeons and team assigned to his case meets tomorrow to decide on his treatment plan.

My mom was supposed to run an errand for me to the post office since work has been completely nuts-and she hasn't because she forgot. I can understand, because we both have alot on our mind right now. Between my dad and my son-who just might be a teen father in the spring-lots of things have been going through my mind. Some people think I am brave to blog about these things, as most blogs are happy, funny, and very rarely talk about the bad moments. Maybe I am brave, because I bring up the bad moments, I dunno. But to me, writing is all about expressing yourself-the good, the bad and the ugly (which would be just a pic of me at 42 lol...) and if I feel I have to tread on eggshells because of what others might be thinking or writing about me behind my back-then I shouldn't be writing anything. I've seen some blogs promoting blog peace-and wondered what it was all about. I assume it is because people are writing nasty things about each other-which to me kinda sucks and reminds me of the movie Mean Girls. I thought that type of drama ended in high school... maybe I am just being bitchy, maybe it's hormones, a full moon coming up, PMS, anxiety or a combination of all of the above but bear with me-this too, will pass. Until then, goodnight.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What do Latin American poetry and Magic have in Common?

Most of you know by now that my husband is Central American... one of the things I really regret is not being able to keep up with the Arts-reading, (well, if you count Vanidades and People en Espanol reading!) writing and learning about Latino culture. Earlier today, I was entering a wonderful contest where you can share part of your prize package with others-thus bringing a little magic into someone's holidays this year. And wouldn't you know that I found a blog with poetry in Spanish (and translated too!) I was pretty excited because I can actually read something with substance, and since I love reading and writing poetry in English, seeing it in Spanish was a whole new thing for me. While there, and as part of my entry of course, I left her a post telling her a cute story of two women I know who ended up in Mexico-and the nonchalant answer given to one of the women by an older, wiser Mexican gentleman. You can see my comment here: http://liz-henry.blogspot.com/2008/11/translation-emilia-bernal.html while there, take a look at her blog-she has lots of interesting things, poetry, tech stuff, and even a pic of Pac Man cookies she made! Now THAT had me wanting to reach into the closet for the Atari 7800! But seriously, I think I will be making some of those cookies with Deja, she'd love it!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Hope you are enjoying your day with friends and family-eating some GREAT food and relaxing while getting ready for the madness of Black Friday tomorrow.

Today I was bad, I actually took advantage of a freebie meal the town puts on-and had it delivered. I am just getting over a cold, and don't want to be cooking for others sneezing away. They understood, and took it well. We had a bit of turkey, some stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, gravy squash and pies... I didn't even know that it was coming-my mom who is also under the weather herself had called to reserve her, my dads and grams meals because they don't have the big dinner-never have-we used to go out as a family to some fancy restaurant when I was younger, but now with gram at 90 and mom's knees not so good (she needs a total knee replacement-but refuses to have one) and dad's lung cancer and just being ill these past few months no one really feels like going out either. The great thing though is that there are three restaurants (in addition to this free community meal) that are giving away free dinners today. With today's economy what a wonderful way to show the spirit of giving back to the community. And I am grateful for not having to cook today feeling as worn out as I do.

Hubby and I went shopping after I got out of work yesterday. Today he is putting the starter in his vehicle since it needed a new one. I am planning my BF strategies (online and in store) luckily CVS was open today and he was able to go and get me a nice griddle with $10 ECB's back and then turn around and get the rice cooker for $10.00 off too. 30 bucks for both appliances was a pretty good deal, and these are things I wanted for awhile anyways. Now if he can get to WalMart soon enough I want one of those funky colored broom type vacuums they have for 9 bucks. Plus he will go shopping for cheap pants-last year Kmart had an $8 pair deal he was happy about. Ah, and the Magic Jack in Radio Shack-he wants TWO of those. He wants to send one to Central America and have them call for free via computer rather than paying $$$ for regular calls. I plan on staying home and seeing what I can scoop up online. I can shop in my PJ's and not have to worry about getting sicker because I am standing out in the cold. I plan on having my Thanksgiving meal over the weekend-my son is with his dad now and I want to have him home to enjoy our little dinner.

Tomorrow I might venture out a bit but really need some R & R, am so glad I had my flu shot this year though-because I am so run down and subceptible to anything that comes along. My coworkers always ask me, "What?! Are you sick AGAIN?!" And of course, they don't even need to wait for the answer. The first sneeze says it all. So, for all those celebrating Turkey Day today, have a wonderful time. I will be alternating my time between online and bedrest. And celebrating my Thanksgiving later this weekend with family. Have a happy day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deja's Birthday Is Almost Here!



It is almost that time again! Yup, Deja's 7th birthday is coming up on December 7th!

This was a picture taken from last year-I had planned on having a big party at the local McD's or bowling alley, but with my dad being ill and the holidays creeping up on me far too quickly I had to change those plans.

Still not sure what I will do, perhaps take her to Build A Bear workshop and let her make another animal friend. As I am writing this, she is peeking over my shoulder reading this. Amazing how quickly she has started reading-I guess I have to be VERY careful about what I write if I want it to be a surprise! Little does she know she will have other surprises too, which I am not posting here because she will figure it out, lol.

My dad is waiting for the results of his biopsy on this past Friday-he's been kind of bummed and according to my mom, continuing to smoke-although he has cut back lots. He is pretty nervous about all of this, which is natural-but to continue on with those things after he already has lung cancer is just plain stupid. And I told him so. But I think he's a bit depressed, and feels it is hopeless-after all, people he knows are already telling him how so and so's wife had cancer and only lived 5-6 months etc... so hearing all this is getting him nerved up a bit.

yay, only ONE more day of work and then some time off! But know what? I am a glutton for punishment I think, because I probably will end up back at the office working OT over the weekend. Today, I had the liberty of having a clean desk-for about 10 minutes. Quite the accomplishment for me, I should say. But now I gotta go buy the turkey and everything last minute tomorrow night and all that will be left are honkin 20 lb turkeys that my family of four will NEVER finish! Well, heading off to read some more blogs-before I go to bed for the evening!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm making Progress(o) in the Kitchen!

Hurry because this ends on Sunday, so have your entries in before 9 pm! Carol over at ithrowlikeagirl's blog is giving away 3 (THREE!) Progresso Prefect Recipe gift baskets, full of really nice stuff for your kitchen, coupons, samples-you name it. And it all comes with a cute little recipe box, recipe card holder, serving spoons-you get the picture! Since I am not a wonderful cook, I figure my progress in the kitchen can be helped along a bit if I win one of these Progresso baskets! Good luck!

http://carolmehl.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/saturday-stirrings-with-a-giveaway-mixed-in/

Isn't this a cute Christmas keepsake?



Isn't this cute? Vanessa over at inevergrewup.net is giving this away!

I can see it on my tree for sure, with a photo of the kids in it. And you won't believe all the nice stuff Monogram Chick the sponsor has at her website either. I have my eye on a monogrammed pink backpack for Deja next year.

Vanessa just posted this giveaway today, so be sure to hurry on over and enter!

http://inevergrewup.net/giveaway-15-just-in-time-for-christmas/

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kitchen Prep-It beats slicing tomatoes!

Hurry and head over to the Preppy Princess blog http://thepreppyprincess.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/great-preppy-giveaway-week-3-inaugural-dress-update/ and check out this week's giveaway! You can win some cute notecards and a really nice apron and matching gloves-and there's even a bonus prize too! Be sure to enter by the 26th though, because that's when it ends!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Update on my dad... other stuff!

Well, my dad DOES have lung cancer. He goes in tomorrow for some type of test where they take a biopsy and then he is doing more tests for his heart (I guess in case surgery is needed, etc...) and we will find out more as things go on.

My daughter went to the eye dr. today and she has some type of refraction error, so was referred to a specialist and will see him in February for glasses, I assume. He deals with pediatric stuff. She seems to be doing well, and they did say in a few years she might outgrow it but if I hadn't taken her it might have developed into lazy eye. Had parent teacher conference today and she is doing great, but a bit of a Drama Queen.

Teen son-well, he will have to go to court again and has lots on his plate. But irregardless, he did make some positive choices in the past week so that tells me all hope is not lost. I am proud of him for the good choices he has made, and hope he continues on that path-even though I know there will be setbacks.

Hubby is getting older, and feels it. He had a cortisone shot in his shoulder last Friday, and he is still in pain. Xray showed no problem but I know soft tissue injuries can be hard to diagnose without additonal testing so we will take things by day here as far as that goes. Having had four surgeries myself to my hand/arm/shoulder on the rt side I know how these things work.

I have been working OT a little bit, and am so far behind in housework and work work that I am going insane! Well, almost. I finally got around to buying the boxes to ship my prizes to my giveaway winners, and my orders finally came in for the last item in their surprise boxes. Because even though I got them gifts from craft fairs I still wanted to get a special gift-but they were on backorder so had to wait. Got them yesterday so by this weekend the boxes should be on their way-later than anticipated, but certainly not forgotten! So ladies, if you are reading this, I thank you for your patience. These last 3 weeks have had lots on my plate, so to speak.

So that has been my week, or past few weeks. I will try posting more often, but life has been so busy! Thanks for reading!

I Dream of Helene....


Ok, ok-I really don't DREAM of Helene, but I dream of owning more of the GORGEOUS (am I really shouting here?!) earrings that Helene makes.
Wishing Willow (http://wishingwillow.blogspot.com/) had a blog giveaway not too long ago and luck was with me. Out of about 414 comments I won their giveaway of Helene's beautiful Oregon Sunset earrings pictured here. Well, they arrived today and when I looked into that little box they came in all I could say was "oooh". Now hubby was curious by then and peered in as well, "ahhh" it seems there are no words to describe your first reaction when you open the box and see these shining masterpieces in front of you. On to Deja my 6 year old-she peered in and what did she do/say? "Mommy, can I HAVE THEM PLEASE???!!!" Maybe in a few years Deja, but mommy doesn't want to share. At least not for another 10 years.
I was very surprised by the size, these are definitely noticeable in your ears and I actually thought that they would be much smaller. So don't let the picture fool you. I am now whining to hubby that I have to have the blue ones to match and the pink ones too. See, I have already gone to Helene's Etsy site http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5574993 and scoped things out. Santa Claus will soon be coming to town. And I hope he brings me something from Helene. And if he doesn't, my birthday and anniversary are in January, and in February there is Valentines Day. I will beg, plead and whine for the blue ones. Ya know, Helene is giving more of these earrings away-either the ones I won or the gorgeous blue ones I so want right now. I really want to enter, but don't want to be greedy so will let some other very fortunate individual win these lovely earrings. If you want to try to win go here: http://www.the-giveaway.com/2008/11/helenes-dreams-etsy-giveaway.html GOOD LUCK! And don't forget to check out the other giveaways at both Wishing Willow and The Giveaway as well!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alive Cubs-to win one, go and check this out!

I SO want one of these for my daughter...she has seen them on TV now for the past month and has been begging me to go to the store and get her one. I haven't given in-yet that is. But with her 7th birthday on Dec. 7th and then Christmas, boy do I ever have my hands full!

To find out more about these toys that seem SO real (geez, I am feeling left out, where the heck were toys like this when I was a kid?) I headed over to the website http://www.esend.com/WowWee/ and was amazed at all the cool things they have: robots, alive cubs, flytech fairies-something for everyone it seems.

Now you can be lucky too and head over to http://www.mommafindings.com/2008/11/wowwee-alive-cubs-giveaway.html because she is giving away one of these Alive Cubs in her giveaway! I really, really want to win this-and I bet you will too. I will be a little envious though, if ya win-because it is such a cool item! Good luck!

Share YOUR thoughts with the Mrs. and win!

Amy over at Thoughts from the Mrs. blog (http://amyclary.blogspot.com/) is having a super cool giveaway from the 15th to 26th this month with LOTS of cute items. I have been SO busy with work that I have had her button up on my sidebar for quite some time, but haven't had a chance to post until now-and I sure want to be able to enter so make sure you read her official rules before you enter!

I really like visiting her blog-I am a fairly new visitor but I keep going back :) and of course this giveaway is another incentive for stopping by! Be sure and stop by, she's waiting to hear from YOU! (and good luck in her awesome giveaways too!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet dreams, of the sugary kind that is!



Don't these peanuts look delicious? I knew you'd think so. One of my favorite things to eat is peanut butter: peanut butter alone, peanut butter and chocolate, ice cream sundaes with LOTS of peanut butter topping-ok, you get the drift.

So when I happened to find the Peanut Butter blog, with all kinds of goodies to make that featured-what else? Peanut butter, I decided to check it out. (http://thepeanutbutterblog.blogspot.com/)

When I was pregnant for my son one of my cravings was peanut butter sauce-you know, the stuff you put on top of ice cream sundaes. At the time, we had a Friendly's Ice Cream Restaurant about 19 miles away, and I WANTED the sauce. I tried cooking just pure plain smooth peanut butter over the stove in a saucepan, but ended up burning it. Definitely a no-go there, so ended up begging my mom on a snowy winter afternoon to take her very pregnant daughter to the Friendly's restaurant to buy some peanut butter sauce. Once we got there, I had a male manager look at me very strangely when I asked to buy a pint of JUST the peanut butter sauce. And he refused, said it couldn't be done. The assistant manager, a woman, happened to see my very pregnant belly and gave him hell saying he shouldn't refuse a pregnant woman her cravings. The guy felt pretty stupid and gave in, and gave me the pint for FREE because he didn't have a clue how to charge me and probably felt pretty stupid for refusing me in the first place. So I went home, enjoying my peanut butter goodness straight from the carton-and went into labor a days later.

Since then, I have been a fan of all things peanut butter. And yes, I still eat peanut butter sundaes but have foregone the days of eating the ice cream topping straight from the carton. My daughter has even inheirited my love of peanut butter goodness, and we fight over the last spoonful of peanut butter flavored ice cream every time! (funny because when I was pregnant with her it was Taco Bell nachos with extra jalapenos that I craved...)

During a visit to the peanut butter blog I noticed they were giving away some creamy peanuts (pictured above) from the Sugar Dreams Bakery. I was so happy to learn that I won! I immediately checked out her shop on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5747767 and found lots of other goodies too-boy those cupcakes sure looked yummy! I received my creamy peanuts and had to hide them until I was able to try them. The minute I opened my bag, the peanutty smell hit me and I knew it was a match made in Heaven. Of course, my daughter the peanut butter fan in training had to help me sample some-and even hubby got into the act, grabbing a few of his own. My poor son wasn't home at the time, but I managed to save him one and while he didn't say anything about it, it was gone the next day.

On to the creamy peanuts. Besides the wonderful peanut butter smell, these are melt in your mouth creamy goodness. The texture is so smoothe, so creamy that you could just let it sit on your tongue until it dissolves and get a slow, savory peanut butter fix. (I know I did!) Or you could just chew them up quickly for the quick peanut butter burst of flavor. (yup, tried it this way too!) If you love sweet goodness, and peanut butter-these are definitely for you. But if you are not a peanut butter person, those cuppy cakes look pretty darn good too!

UPDATE: I had written this review awhile ago, but just got around to posting it. It seems that due to an accident the sponsor's Etsy shop is currently closed. I wish Stacie well, and hope she will be back in business soon. If you want, you can leave an email so she can tell you when she opens up again. Definitely check out her site, because she has some great tasting goodies sure to please all!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Need a good knife? Check this out!


Sure, anyone can own knives-but this is really a KNIFE. As in high quality, durable Chef material. And you don't even have to be a pro Chef to use it, just think of all the great things you can do in your kitchen with one of these knives.


When I was first starting out on my own years ago, I spent about a hundred bucks on a knife set (back then that was quite a sum of money!) but I found myself only using 1 or 2 knives from the set, tops. I still have those knives, but the remainder of the set got lost when I was moving several years ago. My desire has always been to own a really nice knife that will do exactly what I want to do in the kitchen-because I would honestly rather have one or two knives that suit my cooking needs than a whole set I barely use.
Right now until November 30th you can have the chance to win a great knife of your choice from New West Knifeworks over at this blog: http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2008/11/16/how-to-sharpen-your-knives/ If cooking is your thing, and you need a great knife to work with in the kitchen, head on over and enter! They also tell you the right way to sharpen your knives-I found out I had been doing it wrong so this was definitely an eye opener and helpful tip!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This is a Public Service Announcement!


Don't smoke-it kills. Ok, now I really sound like I am preaching, don't I?
I tried smoking once-in the 7th grade. I thought it was cool to have a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. It didn't last long, believe me. Just the smell, on my clothes, my hair, my breath, did it in for me. I imagined if it smelled that bad, then what the heck was I doing to my lungs?
We don't smoke at my house. Hubby used to, back in Guatemala. But he no longer does, he stopped pretty much when we were living in Rhode Island. Occasionally out with the guys and having a few drinks, he will ask for a cigarette. Then regret it-because he can't stand the heavy cigarette smell on his clothes.
I know there are two sides to every argument, but I enjoy going into a restaurant or bar and not being subjected to someone else's nasty cigarette smoke. I figure if I wanted to deal with it, I would be smoking myself-and I am not so why blow it my way? But I do believe that smokers should have their own areas where they can go to enjoy a meal, a drink or whatever and light up if they want to-along with other smokers. I know in some establishments, they are so small it is just not feasible to set up a designated smokers area, but I am glad that some have as well. Smoking is one's own personal choice, and I have many coworkers and friends who smoke. Along with family-and that is what gets me to this announcement.
My father has always smoked several packs a day. In addition to being a very expensive habit, his health has deteriorated considerably. Recently he had pneumonia, and had his lungs xrayed after having a hard time breathing and just not feeling like his old self. The xray and follow up MRI done a few weeks later showed what we had suspected: a mass on his right lung. This Wednesday he goes for another test, something called a PET where they inject colored dye or something to that effect into the area to see this "mass" and the specifics. I do hope that all will be well, but he and the family are in for a rough time as we wait this one out to see what the results are and what the prognosis is.
So there is my public service announcement. If you have a chance to, stop and think about smoking and what it has done for you. Quitting is hard, but the choices you have to make in the future might be even more difficult. We tried telling me dad all this, but I think his choice to quit came a little too late.

Look at these cute holiday bags!



Aren't they just gorgeous? You can choose one of four cute holiday designs... but first you have to enter before November 16th at noon!

Head on over and check it out now, these purses are so nice!

http://kpmattingly.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/a-holiday-giveaway/ GOOD LUCK!

Pashminas 3 winners-ends Nov 21st at midnight!

I love NYC, and I love the street vendors. Unfortunately, I won't be going to the city for awhile because I am working like crazy (we usually stay in RI with family, then head to NYC-about 4 hours away for either a day trip or a quick overnight) but one thing I DO love are the street vendors. I could have a ball buying things from quite a few of them-and get lots of shopping done.

Lucky Corrin will be in the city over the Thanksgiving weekend, and will be shopping for some lucky giveaway winners too. She is buying pashminas for 3 winners in your choice of color! And she is offering all sorts of great ways to get extra entries as well. Head on over to her site here: http://corrinrenee.com/2008/11/05/i-4/#comment-38301 and be sure to enter!

Friday, November 7, 2008

SAVORing the Moment


Have you ever cracked open a coconut and smelled the pure coconut scent? My hubby, being from Guatemala, likes to go to the market (using down in RI or MA-not here!) and buy a few coconuts and drink the coconut milk. Once he is done that, he gets a hammer and cracks it open, exposing all that white coconut on the inside. The scent is not strong but pure, as in NATURAL. Like you are on a deserted island and just cracked open a coconut shell in that tropical paradise.
I was lucky enough to win a blog giveaway from http://www.bathbodycandle.blogspot.com/ and my prize was a creme fraiche soap in my choice of scent from Savor's wonderful Etsy shop. I knew it was going to be a hard choice, because Lisa has so many wonderful things in that shop that just choosing a scent of whipped soap was going to be difficult. Right now she has about 21 different scents of whipped soap over there http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5358303 and you can enjoy the tropical smell of pineapple buttercreme (pictured) caramel apple, or even marshmallow fudge for those die hard choco lovers out there.
My choice was coconut mochi and when she said it was a pure coconut scent, she was absolutely right. I use a bath pouf in the shower, and a little of this stuff goes a long way because the lather really lasts. Plus, it left my skin feeling silky and moisturized, BEFORE I put on any lotion. I am so used to using drying soaps that make my skin feel tight and dry after bathtime, so this really was a different experience for me. After my shower, for an hour or so there is a trace of the coconut smell on your skin-a fresh, clean scent that doesn't overwhelm you. Hubby wanted to try some, and I let him ONCE. He liked it too much and I am NOT sharing, he can buy his own! My daughter has been asking as well, so we will probably try it out the next time she has a shower (she is a bubble bath type of gal).

Lynde features different sites all the time on her blog, and has amazing giveaways where you can win lovely pampering items. If it wasn't for her blog, I might never have found Lisa at Savor and her amazing coconut mochi whipped soap. Her regular soaps are pretty neat too,
Sex Appeal sounds like the kind of soap you'd want to keep your honey close and My Boyfriend's T-Shirt, well, how many of us actually kept a T-shirt around that smelled just like their boyfriends when we were younger? In high school my boyfriend was a football player and I kept one of his football shirts he'd worn close or even wear it to sleep (it was huge, and I was skinny back then-end of story!) and nope, it didn't smell like sweaty football player but more like fresh washed linen with a hint of his cologne that he wore. Definitely check out Savor on Etsy, you just might find something you want! (and it is NEVER too early to drop Christmas hints!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Winner for my Surprise Giveaway!

Unfortunately, Andrea.Riberi never fixed her blog so I could access it and get her email, and never left her email in her original comment nor came back to my blog to check if she won and then email me her specifics.

To be fair, I had Random.org choose 5 numbers just in case that happened! And the next number on the list is #112 which belongs to a new blogger named Suzie G. It seems she and I have something in common, as we both have bilingual kids that speak Spanish and English!

So I am off to email Suzie and let her know she's a winner! And then once I get her specifics, I will mail out both packages hopefully by the end of the week. (first, gotta check for any more craft fairs to see if I can add more to them, lol!) I am hoping to have another giveaway before Turkey Day and another before Christmas, so make sure you are checking back from time to time!

Problems on the Home Front



This is my son. This is my son when he hangs out with girls. They like to mess with his hair since he usually has it very, very short if it even grows a little bit-they like to braid it all up and take embarassing pics of him.

One of his friends posted this on their myspace and I went and swiped it. He'd die of embarassment if he knew MOM had it up on her blog. That is just NOT the cool thing to do. Heck, what does he know, right?

He and his girlfriend of two years broke up a few weeks ago. She already has moved on and has a new boyfriend. He, on the other hand, is drowning his sorrows in substances he should not be consuming. He doesn't get it at my house either, but at the local drug dealers. Now plenty of you are gonna tell me, get him into counseling, drug treatment. Been there, done that. It didn't work. Because unfortunately if you don't WANT to give it up and haven't hit complete rock bottom, you won't give it up. The kid (he will be 16 in December-still very much a baby!) has had 9 weeks of outpatient therapy. He has lots of anxiety, and unfortunately chooses to self medicate with marijuana.

We go to court on November 10th. Why? Because he broke into and stole things from apartments-they've recovered most of the stuff-but we are talking about $5000 worth of stuff here. A felony, actually FOUR felonies he is facing right now. And that is not including the stuff he has stolen from us. Drugs suck. I hate them I really do. And I wonder if my son will be a career criminal or grow up one day and put this all behind him. I am comforted by the fact that I know I have done all I can, from counseling, case managers, therapy, family therapy-you name it. I did it. Everyones blogs seem so happy, I never see anyone blog about the bad stuff-oh sure, the misfortunate accident or something along that line. But as parents we all wonder what our kids will turn out to be-and if they don't turn out good, is it a reflection on us?

My plan wasn't to have my son turn out this way. Sure, I knew he had bad anxiety and mental health issues. They put him on Paxil and Ritalin when he was only 7 or so-and he was (and currently is) in Special Ed. at school. But I thought he'd get better, or grow out of it. He didn't have a terrible life, the kid has never wanted for anything. Good clothes, afterschool care, love, attention, all the terrific toys, you name it. But there is always that lingering thought, maybe I could have done BETTER. Even when the professionals tell me, no ma'am, you have done all that you could-he made those choices-I wonder if the poor choices he makes are because of something I did.

That is why I don't write about my son much on my blog. I love him, but I don't know what to do. He doesn't want to participate in the normal family gatherings like he used to, he prefers to be with his druggie friends. He no longer attends school. He basically has no life. He refuses to live under my rules, but yet I am responsible for him. His old girlfriend? She just turned 14 on September 30th. Her parents let them sleep together at her house, and now she is supposedly pregnant. I insisted on a blood test since she cheated on him no less than 3 times in the 2 years they were together. They threw me out of their house. When the police raided their home for the stolen property, the search warrant didn't say drugs-so the scales, growing equipment, etc... that was found in the girls parents bedrooom? All confiscated, but they walked. Yup, like I am gonna let my grandchild (if it is his) live in that home where all it is to them is another $138 a month in state welfare funds.

Ok, so I will get off my soap box for now. Court is coming up next week and it will be rough, but I can handle it. I have to. Incarceration in the juvenile facility is a big concern, and a very real threat. But maybe he needs it, I just don't know at this point. It is strange, because I always talked to my son about drugs and the problems they caused, we used to live in a pretty big city when he was younger and sometimes we would drive around late night and observe the crack addicts, drunks etc... on the street. (this was on a late night drive for food mind you, we had Taco Bell cravings after watching movies!) So the kid is very much aware of the damage drugs can cause. Wish me luck folks, because this time I am gonna need it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ouch! Don't forget your Flu Shot!

Deja and I just came back from the Flu Clinic after getting our flu shots. Deja had her first shot ever and she did amazingly well. Considering she has to go back for a booster in about a month. My arm is itchy, feels like it is on fire, and tomorrow will feel like a horse kicked it.

They are predicting the flu is going to be bad this year-considering I have had different variations of the flu that put me out of work for a week-twice-in the past couple of years I thought it was high time I jumped on the bandwagon to wellness.

So don't forget, make that appointment, head on over to that flu clinic, whatever you need to do-because getting the flu totally stinks!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Spa-licious! Visit Jenn's blog to win...

Jenn is having a GREAT giveaway of awesome spa goodies! Plus she loves to discuss tv shows we all know and love. Head on over to her post http://middleagedfangirl.com/?cat=337 and enter before the 6th, as that is when she will be drawing for the winner! Good luck!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kay's 20,000th visitor giveaway!

Hurry, this ends tomorrow at 9pm! Kay is giving away an adorable little zippered cosmetics bag with a couple of surprises as well, in honor of her blog having 20,000 visitors! Wow! What a milestone, head on over and tell her congrats!

http://therusticcottage.blogspot.com/2008/11/20000-visitors-giveaway.html

Surprise Giveaway winners!



Sorry I had to take a pic of the screen-just haven't completely figured out yet how some of you get this right in your blog post, but I guess this will do!

I have two prizes to award, to commenter #69 and commenter #33-who are....

#33 Daisymomto3 http://daisymomtomy3.blogspot.com/ I will be contacting you soon! I still haven't gotten all the prizes together yet, as there are craft fairs the next couple of weeks so bear with me please as I plan on trying to find something special for you at each of them! I will email the winners when the surprises are going to be sent so you will know that they are coming! Thanks for leaving such a neat profile, it tells me a lot of the things you like :)

and #69 andrea.riberi http://www.blogger.com/profile/02290965467125359194 who unfortunately does not have access to her profile available and didn't leave an email in her comment. So if you are out there, andrea.riberi you have until Wednesday November 5th at 8pm EST to email me at micaela6955 at msn dot com your mailing address or I will have to choose another winner. (which I really don't want to do, so please respond!) Again, this stresses the importance of leaving a way to contact you when you enter bloggy giveaways because you could be a winner and not know it until it's too late!

Sikulu & Harambe winner!



Earlier today, I did my drawings via way of Random.org. I first drew for winners of my surprise giveaway, and then for the Sikulu and Harambe book and toy giveaway. (sorry I am late in posting them, but had a meeting in another town for a good part of the afternoon)
The winner is comment number #38, which is Staci from Mommas Gone Over the Wall! http://mommasgoneoverthewall.blogspot.com/ I headed over to her blog and saw her cute little boy, and just know he is going to enjoy that book and hippo or spider toy. BIG congrats to Staci, I will be emailing you soon to get your address and toy choice to send to the sponsor-thank you ALL for your wonderful comments and going to visit the site and check out all the wonderful things they have to offer.


Such a pretty princess!




Damsel Deja said thanks to all you wonderful bloggers that visited mommy's blog and entered to win some surprises! Yesterday was Halloween and the weather had been cold all week, but it was warmer and not breezy-perfect for all those little trick or treaters!
Deja loved dressing as a pretty princess, her new Halloween outfit, a blog win from http://www.aeromaxtoys.com/Products.html They have so many nice outfits there, and not just for Halloween either, you can use them for creative play-dress up, what boy doesn't want to pretend he is an astronaut or a soldier, what girl doesn't pretend she is a princess, or a nurse? With these costumes, you can be who you want to be. And these are not the flimsy rip after one use costumes either, these are meant for lasting wear and play.
The have costumes for all sizes, from infants to adults. Deja loves her pink princess outfit, and had to stop by gram's house to show it off before we went trick or treating. While out trick or treating, she got so many compliments and oohs and ahhs from other little girls. Everyone just loved that dress, and several parents asked me where on earth I'd gotten it. I happily gave them the website address. Out amongst hundreds of trick or treaters, no one had a costume like Deja's-so that made her feel really special. We are so fortunate because we won two special costumes in this particular blog win, and I let Deja choose them both. Next year, she will be a nurse... Their customer service was great to work with and shipping came quickly, I was very impressed with everything and if I am looking for a costume that will last, that has great customer service and comes quickly I would definitely reorder again with Aeromax Toys. Thanks so much to Aeromax for making Deja's Halloween special and encouraging children's creativity and imaginative play by creating such neat costumes!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Surpise Giveaway....2 winners- International OK

excuse the spelling: It's supposed to be surprise giveaway, see what happens when it's late and you've looked at a computer too long? This past weekend and this coming weekend I will be hitting the local craft fairs. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that I will have some stuff to give away of course! But the fun part is, it's a surprise...

You won't know what you're getting because I won't know what I will be buying until I get there. I will give you a hint though, both prizes will include handmade soap from Mrs. T's soaps a local vendor here in Maine (actually right down the road in Oakland where my dad lives) In speaking with her, she has quite a following at our craft fairs and her booth was packed last weekend! I got hubby some nice coconut scented soap and Deja picked out a baby powder bar for herself. She also picked out some other goodies for our winners...

This giveaway runs today to coincide with the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival and will end at 11:59 pm on October 31st. Winners will be picked sometime Saturday and posted later in the day. Please leave an email address in your comment so I can reach you -you don't have to be a blogger to enter, but you must leave your email or have it available in your profile!

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment, any comment-one entry per person, please. Good luck and let the fun begin! (and yes, I will send internationally) Don't forget to scroll down and enter my book/stuffed toy giveaway too!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sikulu & Harambe Review and Giveaway!


Kindness to others-treating others the way we'd like to be treated... It's something we teach our children when they are young, hoping they will learn from our own actions and also from their own interactions with others.
One very important way to teach them about kindness is to read them the story of Sikulu & Harambe, which is based on an ethnic folk tale and written by Kunle Oguneye.
We loved the wonderful tale of Sikulu the Spider and his friend, Harambe the Hippo as they provided a perfect example of kindness to others when they rescued the village woman's clothing from the fast moving Zambezi River. After asking other animals to help her to rescue her clothes from being washed down the river, the poor old woman asked Sikulu and Harambe to assist her. The other animals were too busy, too preoccupied with their own lives to take the time to stop and be kind. I know I have been guilty myself of this-too busy to stop and help a coworker who maybe needed an extra hand, to help the harried mom or elderly person if their grocery bag broke and spilled the contents all over the parking lot, so many scenarios that I've witnessed but never really taken the time to go the extra mile and help out.
This story made me think about things in a new perspective. In helping others, and being kind-I can actually feel good myself. Plus, in doing so you are setting an example for others, including your children if they are with you. Deja loved the colorful illustrations and together we were able to learn about a different culture, learning new words along the way. Sikulu also showed his bravery, by forgetting about his fear of water and the river and pitching in with Harambe to help someone else- because to him, that was more important than his own fear. This book is first in a series of adventures depicting both Sikulu and Harambe in different parts of Africa. With more wonderful folk tales, beautiful illustrations, and new words and cultures I will be sure to follow their adventures and hope you will too!
Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book for your family? The sponsor has generously offered to provide one winner with an autographed copy of the book and either a Sikulu the Spider or Harambe the Hippo stuffed toy!
The giveaway begins today and will end on Friday, October 31st and 11:59 pm. We will choose a lucky winner and post the winner's name sometime on Saturday November 1st. Prize will be sent directly from the sponsor, so I need to restrict to US only for this giveaway.
In order to win, head on over to the website http://www.sikulu.com/ and tell me in a comment what you liked-whether it be the games, the story itself, a fact about the author-whatever you enjoyed most when you visited the site. For a second entry, post a link to this giveaway on your own blog and then come back and leave a second comment with a link showing me that you did it and I will enter your name a second time. PLEASE-make sure that you leave an email address with your comment if you are not a blogger or don't have an email listed in your profile, so I can reach you! If you don't win, you can always buy one of the books or one of the cute stuffed animal toys here: http://www.sikulu.com/shopping.php With the holidays coming up soon, they'd make a cute gift!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween is coming! Are you ready?



I can't believe it has been a whole week since I last posted. I am so looking forward to Halloween, and we are DEFINITELY ready.

Well, I am still tired-wiped out from whatever virus invaded my system but recovering nevertheless.

Work has been HE.. as I expected when they increased the eligibility guidelines in the program I work in. Great for the clients, more work for me. I can be assured of a long, tiring season and will greatly appreciate my layoff (usually in March) this year. Then come July, it starts all over again :)

This is an old pic of Deja from a couple years ago-she loves dressing up in Princess gowns and pink seems to be the color of choice and has been for several years now. I caught her in mid-curtsy lol...

It promises to be a busy weekend, with a craft fair, chicken BBQ, possible work at the office, laundry and other housework needing to be done-and dealing with a family crisis that may last for several months to come. But I will try to post as often as I can and will have fun reading other blogs to get my mind off things. Hope you all enjoy this nice Fall weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sick, yet again...when does it end?????



Gosh, I feel about as sick as this pumpkin. Yet another cold has arrived, and the Advil Cold & Sinus ain't touchin' it this time folks.

I probably will sleep sitting up, maybe even here by the computer-I mean, it IS next to my bed and all, so if I kind of bend that way I could end up on my bed. Darn it, why did I leave my Vicks Vapor Rub at work on my desk? Even though I spent most of the day shoving that up my nose, which usually works at declogging those nostrils, this time it was not working.

I am thinking of doing a Puking Pumpkin this Halloween. I have seen several pics of them on the net, and with the way I feel, it certainly would fit in. Deja wants to do a puking pumpkin too, don't ask why-she just thinks it's cool. So next weekend we will pick out some pumpkins and have fun with carving and roasting the seeds...

In the meantime, its more OTC meds for me, rest, plenty of fluids and dealing with congestion-ugh. At least I can't smell the skunk odor which is still lingering in the basement, lol. But even that has faded thank goodness. Jose brought home all kinds of refill cans for the automatic sprayers we have in several rooms he found them on clearance someplace and figured we needed them.

So here I am miserable as heck, wondering when this will end. I mean, it just seems like a couple days ago I was sick with a cold. But actually it was a few weeks ago. The weather here has been nuts though, warm and then cold. No one knows how to dress, you are either too darn hot or freezing. Ok, off to read some more blogs and then get some much needed R & R. Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pepe Le Peeeyewww!



Every year the area under my neighbor's porch is prime real estate for...skunks, raccoons, squirrels, you name it. The man who lived in the house last year chased out a HUGE raccoon male and female who apparently wanted to nest there. They ran across my backyard and my cat sat intently, not moving, watching them while I watched from the back door.

Lately, on garbage nights (like tonight!) I have seen a HUGE fat skunk waddling around the neighborhood. I assume he lives under the porch as well, since I have seen him in that area. The lady who moved in has three cats, two indoor and one outdoor. Her outdoor cat has apparently used a pet door before because we have caught him in our kitchen several times, eating from my cat's dishes while my cats just sit staring at this uninvited dinner guest. The thing is, the pet door is on my basement door, so the cats have to go through my basement pet door, up the stairs and through another pet door to my kitchen. Quite a long trip for some kibble, eh?

Anyways, last night hubby and I were sleeping when we were awakened by this horrific odor. My eyes were watering, throat burning-and all I could think of was that Pepe LePew had found that wonderful kibble in the kitchen and was chowing down when he was interrupted by one of my kitties and let loose a good one. Hubby decided to be brave, and headed to the kitchen-(we have forced hot air heating so air vents from the basement to all the rooms were filled with this noxious odor) no black and white friend in the kitchen. So then he gets really brave and heads down to the basement, making noise loudly as he goes. I guess he figured he'd scare him some more and get him to run out the other pet door. Apparently our friend was in the basement, but left in a hurry. The basement smells horrible. Have you ever driven by a dead skunk and not smelled anything until you got PAST it? Well imagine that in your basement, and in every room in your house. So in the daytime, we are airing out the house and suffering in the cooler evenings. I don't even want to think about adding some heat to the mixture. I came home from lunch today and thought I was going to gag. Tomorrow is payday, and guess what I will be buying? Lots of Glade scented oil warmer refills-to fill my home full of scent-the RIGHT kind.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pepsi or Coke?


Which do you love? My cat, Brujita, is kind of wondering why I am on the Coke rewards site while I have a Diet Pepsi on my desk...
I actually drink both of them equally, sometimes one more than the other if they are having contests or giveaways. This year, I actually won a flip camera and zune from Pepsi! And I have gotten nice free magazine subscriptions, free Coke coupons to support my diet cola habit, and some other goodies from Coke.
Brujita by the way, means little witch in Spanish. We got her around Halloween in 1999, so she is about 9 years old now. She was left abandoned with her mother and litter mates in an apartment for two weeks with no food or water. I happened to visit my friend Gladys and we all went upstairs with the owner as the lights had been shut off a week before and there were cockroaches and smells coming from that apartment. It was in the evening to make matters worse, and we discovered an overflowing litter box, tipped trash, fish that were amazingly still alive (which Gladys took aquarium and all) and a mama cat and 2 babies who did NOT make it. All of a sudden something little and black ran by my leg and we all screamed. We thought it was a rat or something, but nope, one little kitty had survived-HOW we don't know, but she did. And then she came home with me, end of story. Some people should just NOT have pets, period. But as you can see, she is living the good life with me at the house-along with Shadow, who is another rescued cat who is disabled, and Tippy, who was pretty feral when we got him. Brujita thinks she is the QUEEN and does not like hanging with the guys, but Shadow and Tippy don't mind because they often snuggle together and are best buddies. So that is the scoop on my pets-and how I got them. Which have NOTHING to do with Pepsi or Coke, but what the heck, right?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Circle of Friends-We Love Their Stuff!





I am really impressed with A Circle of Friends-awhile back I won a cute lunchbag and some products from A Wrestling Addicted Mommy's Blog (http://lyricandariasmom.blogspot.com/) in one of her giveaways. A few years back I had found some of their Ana Banana shampoo (which smells VERY good) and their chocolate body lotion in the clearance bin at our local Bath and Body Works so I knew a little about their products and was excited for the prize package to arrive, because it had been several years since I had last tried it on Deja and I had been unable to find it any more in my area.
The package was shipped directly from the company, and when I received it I got the lunch bag and a photo, and a couple of small, individual type samples---not the soap, sponge, and lotion I'd seen on the blog giveaway. I waited a day or two, to see if perhaps the other items were being shipped separately but nothing arrived. In the meantime, I'd gone to their website (http://www.circle-of-friends.com/) and placed an order for the Lice Free Zone Shampoo and Conditioner since I did NOT want another repeat of these critters in Deja's hair. Also, I thought the yummy smelling Abebi's Safari Detangler would be great to ease those morning tears when brushing her hair.

Lucky for me, I had the email address of the gentleman named Danny over at Circle of Friends and I emailed him letting him know, while grateful for my lunch bag, I was wondering if the rest of the items were indeed included with this blog win and if they would be arriving shortly. Later, while at work, I received a phone call from Danny asking me to confirm what I had received and then telling me he would research it and let me know what was going on. He did mention that he thought that perhaps I'd been shipped one of the free lunch bag promo packages instead, which included just a lunch bag, some samples etc... since it was currently a promo they were running for people that had bought their product and filled out a form to get a freebie lunch bag. Danny also seemed pleased that I had ordered additional products from them, and let me know via email that he was glad I was a new customer.
I was very impressed with his follow through and excellent customer service. I mean, they didn't have to send me anything-this a was a freebie that they had donated as a prize but Danny was determined to make it right. Later that day he sent me an email telling me they were sending me out a brand new package, lunchbag and all-and he told me to keep the other one, so Deja and I could have matching lunch bags if we wanted to! I thought that was really sweet of him, and I am so glad he took care of the problem because we were able to try more awesome products that I know we will be ordering again. Deja loves her mandarin orange bath sponge, and so far, after using the Lice Free Zone products we haven't seen a trace of them. (I was a bit late in starting to use them, so we did have another lice scare the first of the school year) It's a good thing too, because the school just sent out a newsletter last week announcing lice are back in the school. I check Deja religiously now just to be sure, but using the Lice Free Zone products have really made a difference for us and given me piece of mind knowing I am using safe products to prevent these critters from coming back-chemicals just are NOT an option.

If you get a chance, head on over and see if they have something you can use for your kiddos. You would be surprised at how many nice smelling goodies they have over there, making bath time safe and fun. I know I will be back, any company that is willing to fix an error and make it right is OK in my book. Be sure to check their promo page to see what is on special this month, you can get some pretty good deals. Also, sign up for a newsletter if you can---because you just might get an unadvertised code to use on a further discount than what is on the site! I just missed an awesome one by not reading my emails until the item that was discounted was out of stock. So be sure to open those emails and act quickly, before it is too late. I am sure you will find something that you will love at Circle of Friends!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Vanessa has a Twisted Silver Giveaway!

Vanessa over at Inevergrewup.net just started an awesome giveaway of a necklace or bracelet from Twisted Silver in their new Hope design... You have got to go over and check it out, I love Twisted Silver myself and think the jewelry is unique and very pretty. Heck, if you mention it on your blog she will even give you ten extra entries, isn't that great? Head on over and check it out: http://inevergrewup.net/giveaway-12-something-pretty-for-mommy/ and GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

my tiny star: Update! Nie Nie Auction and GIVEAWAY!

my tiny star: Update! Nie Nie Auction and GIVEAWAY!

It's my 100th post-Let's have a GIVEAWAY! OVER

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY OVER RANDOM CHOSE CHEFDRUCK AS THE WINNAH! CONGRATS WILL BE CONTACTING YOU SOON! (and I WILL hopefully learn how to post the numbers to show who won from Random, because I currently don't know HOW! lol...hey, if ya know can ya tell me?)


100 posts already, I guess time does fly when you are having fun. And fun I have been having, from meeting awesome new people, checking out really cool blogs and trying new recipes, buying some stuff on Etsy, and of course entering and winning some giveaways!

Up here in Maine, the nights are getting colder. Winter is just around the corner and the snow will be flying soon. What better way to start off the day than with a nice, hot Starbucks coffee? Hmm, not winter in your neck of the woods? Then you could try one of their refreshing iced coffees, or any other drink in between---because I have up for grabs one $10 Starbucks gift card!

Ok, here are the rules: US Residents only (since the GC is in USD-but the next time I do a giveaway and I am shipping a product or something I will make it open to all!)
I need to keep this simple so you can get one entry for posting anything you want below. It can be hi, you could tell me what your fave drink at Starbucks is, whatever. I love comments, so will read them all.
If you post about my giveaway on your blog, you get a second entry. To get that second entry you will need to leave me a SECOND comment with a link to your post so I can check it out!
And finally, this giveaway will be open until midnight Saturday October 11th. Deja or random.org will pick a winner sometime on Sunday the 12th.
YOU DO NOT have to be a blogger to enter, however you must leave your email in your comment so that I can reach you. If the original winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will pick another one, so please leave me your email or check back here Monday sometime for the winning announcement. Thanks and good luck!

Halloween Heroes-What Super Costume Do You Like?

Wow! Over at 5minutesformom.com they are giving away some really neat Halloween costumes. The thing is, they can be used for more than just Halloween-your kids and their friends can use them for pretend play and dress up throughout the year.

Check it out: http://www.5minutesformom.com/4418/costume-giveaway/ Do you see any that you like? Deja's top picks are the cowgirl: http://www.pedalcarsandretro.com/Junior_Cowgirl_Dress_Up_Outfit-p-416.html and the pink doctor's outfit :
http://www.pedalcarsandretro.com/Junior_Doctor_Uniform-p-198.html what cute sets, huh? And there are lots more as well. 5minutesformom is giving away several of their costumes in certain sizes to some very lucky kids. But you have to hurry, because they will be drawing the winners on Wednesday, October 8th! And remember, if you don't see any that you like or just don't happen to win this time around, you can still buy the costumes for your little ones in their store! Good Luck!

Sweet Dreams-Bedroom Set Contest!



Deja is getting to be a big girl, and really needs a big girl bed. Unfortunately, she still has the toddler bed from when she was younger but ends up sleeping most nights in our room with me as her daddy works nights and she gets scared with noises, etc...

We love her, but it is time for this big girl to stay in her own room at nighttime, whether she needs plenty of nightlights or a cat with her on the bed to comfort her. Or even, God forbid-the tv on. She's been in our room since she was born, and it is time we had our privacy too. (not that I am going to kick her out if she comes in crying and scared due to a thunderstorm, bad dream, etc...)

Here she is on our bed, fast asleep after her bedtime story. I would love to get her a nice bedroom set, but I fear I will be spending any extra money this year on home heating oil. (and some new windows too) So, I have entered Deja into a contest they are currently having over at 5minutes for mom (http://www.5minutesformom.com/4380/win-a-new-bedroom-set/) in the hopes that I can send her off to dreamland in style with a brand new Lily Rose bedroom set. This would make me and my little Princess very happy! Once they have voting available, I would love to have your vote-while I can't make promises like our Presidential Candidates are making, I can say that if you ever need my vote for a contest, I would be happy to return the favor.

Monopoly-the McDonald's Way


Ewww... a friend sent me this pic in an email. Um, either someone didn't know how to spell or the G fell off... or someone was just being a smarta$$. I kind of think the last one is correct, though.
It was kinda funny, and I can imagine all the people doing double takes as they drove past the sign. Speaking of McD's-Monopoly starts up again on the 7th. Why, oh why do I subject myself to such torture of large drinks, huge fries, just to get game pieces? I dunno, really. I loved it when they had the Best Buy bucks promotion for a few years, and we could save up those bucks for instore or online purchases. The first year was awesome, people got TONS of expensive electronics for free or very nice discounts. The later years it was offered, there were all kinds of stipulations. But it still wasn't a bad promo. Much better than this 25% off something at Footlocker. You can already get that during a good sale, so why buy a huge drink or fry for that extra gamepiece? Now if they let you combine that coupon with a sale price or something, it might be ok, but still how many things can you get at Footlocker? I wish they had made it to a store where they have tons of stuff, like Target, Walmart, Kmart etc... because then it might be worth my while to buy a bigger size for the coupon. Hear that Corporate America?
It looks like tomorrow will be filled with artery clogging fries and a Diet Coke that will have my bladder full for the whole day. Wish me luck-this goes on for a month. And I doubt I will win a big prize, but you just never know. I bet the prizes I win will be: more McD's food. But there is always the hope that you will walk in a peel off a million dollar winner, so I go in, buy my food, send away for some game pieces too (to save my arteries from clogging completely that month) and win... and if I hit the million? Well, like the rest of America, I will pay off debt. But also set some aside for the liposuction I am gonna need from eating all that food! Hey, if ya won something, let me know-even if it's an apple pie!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Crime in a Third World Country...


Did you know in Guatemala they are killing people for trucks like this? I didn't. This is not the truck that I am going to talk about, but apparently Toyota 4WD pickups are wanted by thieves there. Bad enough to kill for them. The years that are the most prized are usually mid 1980's (1985) to mid 90's. (1995) apparently because they last the longest and the design of the vehicle is before they came out with the rounded style that is prevalent nowadays.
This is actually a truck hubby bought for about a grand, and is sending to Guatemala for a relative. But after today's incident, I know he is going to think twice about it. His brother Mauricio lives and works in the city, as a block mason housebuilder. Last year Jose sent him a truck like this, and Mauricio had it fixed up a bit and installed a good alarm system. Mauricio makes pretty good money, but he needed a truck to transport his crew and materials to the job site.
Today they were in the city building a new house. They had been at work for a few days and saw a strange, white van passing by almost daily. They were cautious, but busy. Today, cousin Raul was outside ripping off siding from an outbuilding when the van slowed, and let out a couple of men. Both were armed. They came towards Raul and tied him up. Shortly thereafter the home owner showed up in his 2007 Lexus to check on the progress. They tied him up. Mauricio, my brother in law, noticing the owner's car outside, but not seeing him come in-had a feeling something was up. He was right. Within minutes the armed men barged in the house and tied up the rest of them. Except for Mauricio. They liked his truck and wanted it NOW. Now he was ready to hand them the keys and be done with it, but there was a problem. On the way out, one of them got a little anxious and tried to open the door. Bad move. The alarm went off. Now this is the type of alarm that locks up the whole vehicle and you CANNOT start it when it goes off, so after trying to get Mauricio to start it while at gunpoint they abandoned that idea and instead told the homeowner to give them the keys to his Lexus. Which he did. And then they took my brother in law with them.
Now I know this is starting to sound like a bad Action movie, but it really did happen to him today, my husband has been on the phone with them nonstop since this morning. I am not liking my phone bill, but it is a pretty serious issue. So they had my brother in law DRIVE them past the big police station (with a gun stuck in his ribs) and once the police saw them, he had to drive at speeds of up to 140mph to escape them. He did end up losing the police, they didn't shoot because they knew a hostage was involved and driving. They instructed him to drive way out into the country, where they opened the door and told him to get out and run into the woods and not turn around-or they would shoot him. So he did as told and was spared. Though I have been told that if they had stolen the truck, my brother in law most likely would have been killed. Hubbys 1st cousin Reginaldo is still missing an uncle and cousin who have never been found, 2 years later-and their truck disappeared along with them.
Now the Lexus owner is apparently some big wig in City government. And he was quite pissed they took his Lexus. So he calls the cops, and files a report. Only thing is besides the report, the cops got a little extra in their pockets. About 20,000 quetzales. More than they make in a year. Well, maybe not a year, but it would take them a long time to get that kind of money nevertheless. (here is the math, it is about 7.5 quetzales for 1 US dollar) The instructions? Bring back the Lexus, in one piece. The thieves? Probably dead by now. Or if not now, they will be soon. Cousin Raul managed to get the license plate of the white van that dropped off the thieves. Last we knew, the police arrived at this man's house to "force" him to give them info. I figure that guy is in deep shit right now. If he is even still alive. See, they will get him to sing like a canary. Then if he won't they will torture it out of him. And even if he does talk, he is dead either way. If the police don't kill him after they have what they want, then the thieves or their gang members/friends/family will do it. My brother in law will be ok, thank God-and the owner has hired guards with machine guns to protect the workers and his property (see, I told ya he has money!) until the work is done. Have any of you ever been to a foreign country and seen stuff like this? Jose and their mom want Mauricio to sell his Toyota and get an old, beat up car like he had before. At least then, his vehicle won't be drawing unnecessary attention from the kind you don't want around. I DO feel bad for the thieves, because being a mother and all, I know they have family that love them and will be upset should something happen to them. Even my brother in law feels badly, because they spared his life but will most likely be losing theirs. Over what? A stupid car. Is your life really worth that?