Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's official! Taco Bell has come to town!

I have been waiting awhile for Taco Bell to finally arrive here. See, when I was pregnant with Deja I had late night cravings. And Taco Bell was the place to go. Deja was a nocturnal baby. Before her ultrasounds, my son gleefully got to shock her to wake her up during our daytime fetal movement monitoring. He really enjoyed it when the lady would tell me she needed to be moving more, because he knew what was coming. Now, if the lady had made appointments at 2 am there would have been no trouble with fetal movement, believe me. But since I was 35 and pregnant, they wanted to be cautious-and make sure all was well.
Anyways, back to the land of of Chalupas and Nachos... Deja would keep me up all night, and I would alternate between going on the computer and watching horror movies on the Dish. Hubby had a weird schedule too, so we were often awake together, in the middle of the night. Or he'd wake up and be hungry before heading out to work, and that meant a trip to the late night Taco Bell on Rte. 1 in South Attleboro. Boy, did I love that place. My craving with Deja was nachos loaded with jalapenos. Jose would scold me and tell me I was gonna be sick, but I ate every one of them darn jalapenos and felt great. Deja doesn't like spicy food, unlike her older brother-who LIVES for it. (and was very happy when I told him earlier today that Taco Bell was open) I figure the reason Deja hates the spicy stuff is due to the overload of jalapenos she got in the womb.
So now a Taco Bell has opened in my hometown. It's about time. I really felt like I was living in the last frontier, but I think the last frontier already HAD a Taco Bell. We used to have to drive around 2o miles to get some tacos-but now I can head on up the road at midnight and know I can have my tacos. Today Jose and I had to go, it was the first day they were open. Traffic wasn't bad, and they served us pretty fast too. They had lots of workers there too, which made it lots quicker. My chalupas were great, so great I now am wearing them via a big old stain in between the "girls" when a piece of the meat fell out. Going back to work, they all knew where I had been. The stain told the story. And I was so careful too. I know where I am heading this Saturday at 1 am...I have a date-with Taco Bell.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pasta at Pizza Hut? You Bet!

I was very fortunate to have won a free Tuscani pasta meal from Pizza Hut over at http://lisacooking.com a short time ago. Now, I am a Pizza Hut fan from long before these pasta dinners came around . As a matter of fact, I just bought the fundraiser card for the freebie pizzas from a co-worker this past week and am awaiting the October holiday in a few weeks that will give me a day off and time to enjoy the lunch buffet at the great price of 99 cents due to a survey I took earlier from a previous visit. See, I told ya I LIKED the place.
So, I'd been hearing all around the blogosphere about these Tuscani dinners and how great they are. At the buffet, I usually have a little bit of the Cavitini pasta they have sitting there, but I am not nuts about it. And hubby, well, if he has alot of tomato based products or a really saucy dish-the Prilosec comes out. He can tolerate it, but he is not the huge pizza fan I am for that very reason. So when I heard they have a new Mac and Cheese Tuscani bake with bacon on top, I thought this was something I really wanted to try. We like Mac and Cheese, and thought the bacon on top would give it an extra special taste-which it did.
My prize came in the form of a $20 Pizza Hut gift card. Now with me being a bargain hunter, I began searching for Pizza Hut coupons to use with the Tuscani dinners. Luckily, mom had one left on her doorknob earlier that day-and she gave me one for a Tuscani dinner and 10 Hershey dippers for $15.99-hmmm, dinner and dessert-sounds like a plan. I called in to order while we were shopping at Kmart, and when we got there they informed me they'd burnt my Hershey dippers (oh-oh) but were making new ones. (phew!) I also added cheese to the breadsticks for $1.00 more and added some Marinara sauce. My daughter LOVES their cheesy breadsticks, so I figured if she wouldn't eat the Mac and Cheese Tuscani bake, I could at least get something in her belly before dessert.
We took it home and I was really impressed with the portion size. We had some of the bread sticks first with our daughter, and then started on the Tuscani pasta. My daughter had a little bit, and seemed to like it well enough. I asked hubby what he thought, and he gave me the so-so sign. I took my first bite... and really liked it. So much that I went back for seconds. Hubby ate his portion and didn't talk much, but that night as he was finishing off his second portion before heading to work he told me he really liked it alot. The only thing he had was he wished it had just a bit more bacon. Ok, so maybe it could have used a smidgen more of bacon-but every bite I took had some bacon in in that gave it a really good flavor-so overloading it with bacon would have been too much. Funny, for someone who thought it just so-so he was asking when I was going to order it again. So, it looks like when I want an easy night at home and minimal clean up I will definitely be calling Pizza Hut. Thanks to Lisa and to Pizza Hut for giving me a chance to try this dish. It is not something I usually get at Pizza Hut, so this is another great option for us when we don't want pizza again. And I am hoping to see more coupons for this great product from them soon! Go to their website www.pizzahut.com and take a good look at the three flavors you can get. I am sure there is one of them that you will love. And we all need an easy night in once in awhile, don't we?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Time to decorate your stuff with PakNaks!

Awhile back, I was lucky enough to win a set of 3 PakNaks from Mom's View and I sat down with Deja and looked at all the wonderful designs on their website.
They had so many cute things I had a hard time choosing-take a look for yourself: http://www.paknak.com/paknak-shop/paknaks.html I let Deja choose the three designs she wanted the most (don't get me wrong she wanted MORE, alot more!) and she chose Claire the kitty, Kyla Jane the Butterfly and Minty the hearts. When they arrived, I let her open the package. She was thrilled beyond belief and told Daddy she wanted them all on her backpack. It was a cinch to apply the velcro to the backpack, and then stick the PakNaks on. And they DO NOT come off. Unless you pull them off the velcro to rearrange them or something. I am pretty impressed with that, because I was sure that after a few weeks these would be falling off.
At school, Deja's friends oohed and aahed over her PakNaks because they had never seen any. I am pretty sure they went home and asked their parents for some... I also love the fact that these are made of a rubbery type material and can wipe clean easily. Claire, being a white kitty tends to get a little dirtier than the rest, but using a wet wipe, I was able to clean her off in seconds and put her back on the backpack. Quick and easy-perfect for a busy mom like me. Also, they sell extra velcro if needed. One thing Deja mentioned to me was that next year she still wanted her PakNaks on her new backpack. (she likes to think ahead) So it looks like new PakNaks and extra velcro are on my shopping list for next school year. These would make cute stocking stuffers for the holidays or great party favors at a birthday party as they have them for both boys and girls. Anne is very nice, and it was a pleasure receiving my PakNaks from her. She really cares about what her customers think, and that makes me happy. Go over to her site and take a look, I'll bet you will have a hard time resisting a PakNak...or two.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kiss Whose Face?

Oh, I get it... Kiss My Face! Mercedes is having a giveaway for a full line of kid's Kiss My Face products over at her blog. Lots of great stuff I know my daughter would be drooling over! You need to enter by 9/30 before 10 am CST though, so get going! Oh, and check out the scenarios and deals she posts too, I am tellin' ya, with my work being so busy and all I am loving these blogs dedicated to helping ME find the best deals! Here is the link:


Say hello to a new blogger....

Angie over at http://angiesangels.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/my-first-giveaway/ is having her first giveaway! She says she has been blogging for about 8 months and enjoys meeting new friends! Stop by and leave her a comment, she is giving away some really neat prizes-and I am sure she'd love to hear from friends, both old and new! Her giveaway ends Sept. 30th, and be sure to let her know micaela6955 (Michele P.) sent you!

Sales + Coupons = Coupon Organizers, check it out!

I like organization. But I am not the best at it. I've been trying, but I swear there should be a 12 step program to help us disorganized individuals out there. If someone moves something on my desk, I can no longer find it. Never mind the fact that my desk is so disorganized they probably had to hunt for it in the first place! But see, I know where it was. (and sometimes I don't!)

I like to save money and go shopping. Who doesn't want to be able to shop to their hearts content, save some money while doing so, leaving you MORE money to do the fun things ya wanna do...? But in order to be organized and hit the sales, and get the best bang for my buck-I need to organize my coupons and rebate forms. Not an easy task for a woman who has stuff scattered all over her desks, both home and work. And I gotta admit, there has been lots of disappointment lately, as I finally find that great form or coupon, only to find out the deal has expired.

But http://momshelpingmomsave.blogspot.com/ has the perfect answer to that. You can win a cute little coupon organizer for shopaholics like me. But hurry, because she is only taking entries until Sunday the 28th. And you definitely want to be in the running for this one, because even if ya already have a coupon organizer it'd make a great gift for that friend or relative who needs some organization in their lives. And check out her great deals while you are there! You'd be amazed at how much she gets and how little she pays!

Arf! Bailey Sez...

Head on over to my mommy's blog as she is doing her first giveaway! But you gotta be quick, because she will be drawing not one, not two, but THREE winners on October 6th...

And guess what? She has some really cute goodies to give away-with the last prize being a mystery prize for those that like surprises. And no, I am NOT the mystery prize...she wouldn't think of parting with me!

Woof! So head on over http://suziebuttoncreations.blogspot.com/ and check out her First Giveaway post, she'll be glad ya did!

Love Handbags?

I know I do! I love a good quality handbag that is fashionable and just my style. Over at Handbag Planet they are launching their site on October 15th, and giving away a bag an hour for a total of 24 awesome handbags!

Head over now, www.handbagplanet.com and sign up to win. You can even pick the bag you like and get extra entries for blogging about it, like I am, adding them to your friends on a social network site like MySpace, etc... or emailing your friends directly. Good luck, there are lots of cool handbags over there!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The next Picasso?

This is a pic of Deja from this past year, before the "critter incident" which caused her to have her hair cut to shoulder length. (which by the way I love, because she looks like the little lady and it is SO much easier to take care of!)
As you can see, she is a budding little artist-she loves coloring and drawing and I have a feeling she will be on Etsy someday! She helps me decorate envelopes and loves to enter kiddie coloring contests in the newspaper. She is very proud of herself, she won a free Kids Meal at Applebee's from the last one and 2 movie passes from the local cinema for the one before that. When we went to San Antonio, she entertained herself on the plane by coloring and drawing. And by watching mommy cry because she was so darn scared of the bumpy plane ride....but that is another story in itself.
Today when I went to pick her up at afterschool care, she was making an awesome spider for Halloween. I have a whole bucket full of her crafts since she started preschool and hate to part with any one of them. And the fridge? Well, that's full too. I still have lots of stuff my son made me in grade school too, and now that he is older I like to take it out and look at it. My son really didn't get into art much, but my daughter is just the opposite. My son was a whiz at making Legos creations...Deja can tolerate a few Legos but prefers to draw.
So today, I wanted to do a tribute to my little artist... who adorns my home with her wonderful creations and makes me so proud. Keep up the good work Deja, mommy loves you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

For the perfect pairing...

Back in July, I was lucky enough to win this lovely Dip Duet set from AmyEsther Ceramics Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5399153 At the time, Jose was away in Guatemala, and I had visions of guacamole and salsa in that lovely set.

When it arrived, I decided it was a great set for one or two people, not a houseful. So Jose and I put it to work. We tried it with Lobster, it was perfect for the melted butter. We tried it with guacamole and salsa-we usually make BIG batches of this at home, and rather than take the whole bowl out of the fridge we were able to scoop up some salsa for one side, and use a fresh avocado for the homemade guacamole on the other side. It was just enough to provide us with the necessary condiments for our tacos, nachos, you name it. Sometimes, we wanted guacamole and sour cream-again a perfect fit as we only took out what we needed rather than waste more than we should.

For those that eat alone, or prefer to use a small amount of condiments, butter, etc... this would be great. Even for a couple, like Jose and I-it was a great fit. We constantly found ways to make the perfect pairing, as we'd say-depending on what we were eating. The set is easy to clean too, I hand wash it and it cleans easily and is ready for the table again in seconds. She also has lots of other nice ceramic goodies over at her shop that compliment this Dip Duet Set. Why don't you go and check it out, you might find your own perfect pairing over there. Thanks so much for letting me be the first to review and use this piece, it really is a fun piece that anyone would enjoy having in their kitchen!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Congrats Rhonda!

Woohoo! My coworker won a Harley! As in Harley-Davidson motorcycle... $10,000 worth and all hers! She has won a few other things, but this is the biggest and best thing she has EVER won. She found the entry blanks at the store, while buying car parts for her constantly broken down Dodge Neon (which would be in GOOD shape if someone didn't hit her and take off the front end while she was sitting in a driveway.) Rather than total the Neon, like they should have, they fixed it-but it was never quite right. And she has sunk money into that thing herself, which is painful when you are still making car payments too. AND she needs surgery on her shoulder, major surgery, but refuses to have it right now. The funny thing is, she had a motorcycle and rode one for many years when she was younger. But when she became a new mom, she decided riding the bike was too dangerous and sold it. Now that her son is 15, she can take up her passion of motorcycle riding again, albeit this time on a Harley. Plus, with the money she spends on gas to get to work, this will be a serious investment for gas savings. She won it from Miller Lite, so I guess I know what she and her boyfriend will be drinking this weekend at his big birthday bash. Funny thing is despite her busy schedule, I told her all about my latest fun hobby of blogging and so she started a blog and began entering the giveaways here and there. And the one she really wanted over at Ecorazzi for the cool battery powered lawnmower? She won it! I was pretty happy, because that one will be so much better for her shoulder than the one she was using now. And now this win... geez, I guess when she gets to work on Monday I had better rub her for good luck, huh? Now if she only can win enough money to live her dream life. She wants to live on a dude ranch and be a walnut farmer... and she'd probably kill me if she knew I posted this out in bloggyworld for all to see. I guess Monday she best be buying a lottery ticket, because she certainly has been very lucky lately! Congrats Rhonda, enjoy your new ride!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ewwwww......Not again!

No, these are not from my house. But they are back. School has started and I noticed the suspicious looking sticky eggs (or if it wasn't them, it sure fooled me) in Deja's hair this morning as I was brushing it. No live ones detected, but you can bet when she gets home from school today I am going to condition her hair to death!

It didn't help this morning when another co-worker of mine had to go home immediately as they found head lice on all THREE of her children. I have been so careful with Deja, but do you know how hard it is to tell a 6 yr old not to get TOO close to your friends or share hair items, especially if you are a girly girl and into that kind of stuff?

At the Afterschool program she attends they play dress up sometimes, and I have warned her to be careful. You'd think, with head lice being such a problem they wouldn't be doing that. She can still attend school, but the Afterschool program has a no nit policy, but they still want their $$$. This summer, I spent 3 weeks searching for nits when she came down with her first infestation (during the start of their summer camp program) and got hit paying $85.00 a week and keeping her home until they found NOTHING in her hair-for 3 weeks. Geez, I just wish they would check the hair of the other kids-I report this stuff, as a good parent, but I can bet there are some parents in the program who are keeping silent and letting their kids go in untreated. And no one is checking their heads or keeping them out of the program.

Anyways, I was going to work overtime tonight-but that option is out. I am going to work on taking care of this issue before it spreads, because you know it will. It was dark this morning, I had my mom look (we are both head lice dumb-only seen them one other time this past summer) and she thinks there might be a problem as well. Ah...lucky me, I knew that laundry detergent I got on sale was going to be used for something important.

I pity my poor co-worker though, THREE kids all with long hair (even the boy has a full head of hair, not long but just very thick) she is going to have her work cut out for her for awhile. Well, lunch has ended so it's back to the office for the afternoon!

UPDATE: Yup, it's eggs. But they are small, meaning probably just laid a few days ago. No live ones found. Hubby refuses to get treated, thinks he is immune I guess. Gonna sneak a peek when he rolls over. Me, I am getting ready for some Nix. Just seeing those darn eggs this morning has had me scratching all day. Deja is sitting with Nix on her hair now. I have a natural remedy, but you gotta wait four hours to take it off, she will be asleep by then-so better 10 minutes and Ni-the quick fix, lol. I did buy some Tea Tree oil today to put in her shampoo until an order I have from Circle of Friends comes in with Lice Shampoo and Conditioner... And I am gonna put some drops of tea tree oil in a sprayer and spray the mattress and stuff I can't wash. But since Deja sleeps mostly in our bed when Daddy works nights, Daddy won't let me tackle the bedding because he is sleeping... so hoping nothing has gotten to the bedding-and will tackle it on the weekend. I guess there goes my chance for overtime at work, since I need to treat the house on the weekend when daddy is up and about. Oh well... ya win some ya lose some.

Monday, September 15, 2008


No posts today, just feel completely crappy. Daughter picked up some germ and said germ decided to migrate to my poor immune system. Thus I have a head cold, and a good one at that. Waiting for the cold meds to kick in at the moment, but no such luck. Been entering a few giveaways, but feel like I am in a fog-and will be heading to bed soon to get up for work tomorrow! These colds due to the change of the seasons (cold nights, hot afternoons) and not knowing what to wear-- suck! A few other co-workers are sick too, so it's just not me who is germ laden and miserable. Hubby is feeling like it will hit him soon too, so it's making the rounds. So far, the cats are fine. Lol... Thanks for understanding, hope to be well enough to be back online and posting again soon!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pringles Stix Giveaway!

Head on over here: http://freeisfun.blogspot.com/2008/09/pringles-stix-give-way.html and enter the Pringles Stix giveaway! Great, healthy snacks for the kiddos too! I have never tried them, so would love to win them as well--hurry on over, and send her the email entry-your chances are better the earlier you get the entry in!

Esty Find-Susan's Keepsake

While looking for good quality, large luggage tags on Etsy, I stumbled across Susan's shop http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5960140&section_id=5498076 These luggage tags are nice, colorful (no problem picking out our luggage at the airport with these, though we did have several people ask us if we just got back from Hawaii!) and good sized.
She adds a little plastic window, where you can slip in a business card. I don't have business cards so I cut a plain 3x5 down to size and slapped on my address labels and handwrote my email and cell numbers. When hubby goes to Guatemala he usually ties one of our daughter's colorful socks at the top to distinguish it from others but this time around on our family trip to San Antonio a couple of weeks ago we used these for our luggage and it worked great! Susan was even kind enough to send me a handmade extra with my goodies-a travel sized Kleenex holder which Deja keeps in her backpack.
She has so much more in her store than just these luggage tags -cute sports tags too for those equipment and duffel bags, beautiful bonnets for the young ones, aprons, totes, book covers, tea cozies, cell phone/iPod carriers, pillows...so many things in such beautiful fabrics and prints. I was very pleased with the quality of my items, and I know you will be too. Pay her shop a visit, she just might have the perfect item for you!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Birthday Crisis, saved by Gracie from the Land Down Under

... A few weeks ago Deja was invited to a birthday party at the last minute. One of those, oh my party is tonight and are you coming??? type events that I am SO unprepared for. I had to work all day until 4:30, pick up Deja by 5 at summer camp, and the party was at 5:30---nothing like last minute planning, huh?
Here is a pic with Callette (center) the birthday girl and her older sister Genesis. Deja is happily wearing her Princess shirt and posing for the pic as well. Now I sent my retired mom off during the day to get the gift (Bratz) and when the time came, I realized I'd forgotten to get a card!
Luckily I was chosen as a winner in July on Gracie's blog (http://graciebellabutterfly.blogspot.com/) of some awesome notecards (not exactly the ones pictured above, but very much like them!) These cards came all the way from Australia, and while Deja wished she would have thrown in a live koala bear too, I was very happy to have them. We rushed home and got one of Gracie's cute little butterfly notecards and Deja signed it and we taped it to the gift. When Callette opened up the card, she just loved it. I love unique cards, and this truly was a unique girly one with butterflies and pink design. I have four more cards I am saving for these little girl birthday parties that Deja is sure to be invited to in the next year. The little girls love them, and even the moms oohed and aahhed thinking I had made them. (and they liked it even better when I said I'd won them on a blog giveaway from a nice lady in Australia!) Phew, another crisis solved-thanks Gracie! Your notecards are cute and very, very nice, perfect for party gifts!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Handmade Soap & Hardwood soapshelf giveaway!

Head on over folks-http://www.homesteadoriginals.com/?p=111#comments by the end of September as she is drawing a winner the 1st of October!

Wouldn't you want to win this? I know I would! And keep checking her blog, because from time to time you just might find a giveaway. I just subscribed to make sure I don't miss out on anything...

Good luck in the drawing! If you win, can we share? No, just kidding! But I do want to try this soap and love the idea of the soap shelf, perfect for those handmade soaps, because those plastic little dollar store dishes I have in the bathroom just ain't cuttin' it. Now go enter!!

Look at this giveaway at Blogmommas!

Isn't this neat? If you like to scrapbook, or take digital pictures-or do both, here is an opportunity for your little one to have fun with it too!
Perfect for those kiddos ages 4-8 this can really be the start of them creating some nice memories. Head on over to http://blogmommas.com/?p=842 and make sure you get in on this before the drawing on the 17th!
Good luck to all of you, it really is a nice giveaway item and would make a wonderful holiday gift for that special little one. Just think, they could be taking all the holiday photos and creating a scrapbook with them!

Soy Candle Giveaway!

You've got to check this out--if you are a soy candle fan, like I am, then this one is for you! It ends Sept. 15th so you need to hurry to get your entry in. Lara's Lullaby is giving away to TWO winners one Autumn Berrylicious soy candle.

Mmmm.... can't you just imagine what a nice Fall scent that will be wafting through your home? To check these candles out, head over to http://thesagegrove.com and pick out your favorites. To enter the giveaway, hurry on over to the blog site at http://laraslullaby.com/lullaby/?p=484 and get your entry in before it's too late! Good luck, but make sure you save one for me ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Those Were the Days

Ah, work... it's what we do, whether we want to or not-to get that next paycheck. I am tired of work, really I am. But in figuring out my years to retirement, I figure I have about 30 more to go, maybe more by the time I am ready to retire if they keep passing laws raising the retirement age.

So I will be working well into my golden years. Paying bills, worrying about fuel costs, and remembering the good old days when gas was $3.65 a gallon. I honestly DO remember it at .99 a gallon, and fuel oil was .79 a gallon and kerosene was .99 a gallon. What prices do you remember gas and home heating oil at? I can remember when a buck bought lots of candy (OMG remember PENNY candy, where you could get a bagful for a quarter?) and I can remember my great grandmother crabbing about having to shell out $2.50 for a 10 inch pepperoni pizza AND 2 ltr bottle of soda for our weekly pizza night at grams. Now to her, that was expensive. Funny how times change, huh?

I just came home from Wendy's-almost 18 bucks for two small value meals (1 was a dbl burger tho') and a kids meal and twisted Frosty my daughter wanted to try. I can remember feeding a family of four on $10 not very long ago. (and I still can if I stick to the basic dollar menu items) I like to save money with coupons and refunds, but it has been so busy at work that my poor coupons are neglected and I am forced to eat out way too much instead of preparing something at home. So looks like I had better spend weekends making some meals ahead...

What about any of you? What can you remember of prices long ago? Just think, our kids will probably think the price we paid for food, gas, oil, etc... was a bargain compared to what they will be paying in the future. I think there will be alot more co-living-actually I am seeing that now-kids and their families have moved back with their parents, elderly parents moving in with their kids, college kids returning home to live with mom and dad because they can't make it on their own, etc... As we do applications we are seeing this trend, which isn't very noticeable now but I think it will be as time goes on. (and the mortgage crisis continues to hit, forcing people to lose their homes and if ya haven't noticed, lenders have really tightened up the purse strings lately) I really don't mind having my daughter and her family live with me, a couple of Jose's sisters and their kids live with his parents and his brother and family live upstairs. I had hopes for my son too, but with his current issues I don't know what will happen with that.

Geez, it has been fun reminiscing about prices in the past-but depressing too. I miss those prices, but also realize that the pay was lots less too. Hmmm, I can see me right now, like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future returning to the past and heading to the betting parlors in the past and giving all the right bets, and getting rich in the process, haha. Now that would be an adventure. So, what is your all time favorite thing you could buy in the past for $xxxx amount of money? And what is it costing now?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Stones Cry Out-A great read!

Awhile back, I won a book called The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello. Knowing I would be on a plane and nervous, I took it with me to Texas and read it on the plane.

I enjoyed the main character, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon and her persistence in getting the case solved. I don't read many detective novels, so this was a new experience for me. But as I am getting older I am experimenting with many new forms of writing (and reading!) and I have to admit that this was very intriguing. I found it hard to put the book down, and became engrossed in the story-wondering what would happen next.

For me, it was a true whodunnit, who was responsible? type of read. I mean, during a rally in the seedier section of town two men, one black with past trouble with the law, one white and in law enforcement both fall to their deaths and no one seems to see anything. Or is it that they are just not talking?

Raleigh Harmon, agent assigned to the case-is determined to find out. Even when higher ups pressure her to just close the case as a lost cause, she never gives up. Harmon, haunted by her own demons, the unsolved death of her beloved father, her mentally unstable mother, and her unwillingness to let others get too close to her proves to be the classic heroine and determined, if yet obsessed, agent who is willing to go the distance and prove her theories correct. Even if it means going against orders higher up, she has to find out the truth. Using contacts she has in Washington to analyze evidence she has collected, along with her own knowledge as a forensic geologist she is able to get a good idea of what happened.

The author does a great job in detailing the whole investigation procedure, I learned things about how investigations are done that I didn't know before. No detail is left unturned in Raleigh's quest to solve the case. It was riveting and definitely a page turner from start to finish. I mean, I finished it in two days-while on vacation. In the evenings, I'd be tired and come back to the hotel to escape the TX heat, and read before drifting off to sleep. Like I mentioned before, I've never really been a detective story reader, but this really kept my interest. Thanks to Tami Hunter at http://creativetree.typepad.com/treeswingreading/ She is always giving away some good books, head on over to her blog and check it out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Review-Nana Star

Deja was just thrilled when we got the package from Nana Star (http://www.nanastar.com/) to review. She loved the soft Nana Star doll, accompanying CD and the wonderful book, full of vibrant illustrations that told the story of Nana Star.

She opened the package shortly before bedtime, and begged me to read her the story. How could I refuse? Even I was curious by then.

I read on the website that Elizabeth Owens, a grandmother of five herself, is the real Nana Star. She and her little grandson loved to gaze out at the evening sky and look for the Moonman and the stars. When her beloved grandson moved away, Elizabeth began sending him handmade cards filled with a grandmothers love and wonderful imagination-cards which spoke of delightful characters she had created, and which let him know that the Moonman would always be with him no matter how far away he lived. What a wonderful inspiration and comforting message for her little grandson! I remember when my son Demetrio was three, we moved to Rhode Island. We lived there for seven years, and during those years my own mother sent him homemade drawings she had done, pages she had colored for him, and wonderful little cards she had made as well. I still have them, years later, in a special place in my closet.

Elizabeth's lovely stories of Nana Star and her friend the Moonman are shown here: https://www.nanastar.com/shop/ along with wonderful products you can share with your own little ones. While the Nana Star book is first in the series, along the way Nana Star meets up with many new friends in her adventures, friends who can provide her with positive influences and help her develop her own character. As the series continues, it will give your child plenty of inspiration and help them to develop creativity-not to mention teaching them positive behaviors such as respect, sharing, manners and many others.

Without giving too much away, Nana Star tells the story of a little star that has fallen out of the sky and wants to go back home. He feels lost, frightened and all alone. The little girl, Nana Star, decides she will help the little star to get back home. The Moonman provides guidance and comfort along the way. The theme is about helping others, and it goes to show that no matter how big or small you are, helping others is important.

I know Deja can't wait to read more books in the series. By the way, did I tell you that four generations of Nana Star's family are involved with this book? Elizabeth is the creator, her eldest daughter is the illustrator, her two granddaughters are the writers and publishers of the book, and her great grandchildren are the inspiration. They've really made it a family affair-and I am so glad they were willing to share the story of Nana Star with the rest of us.
I look forward to reading future installments in the adventures of Nana Star, and meeting her new friends too. Deja plans on taking her Nana Star book to school soon, so the teacher will be able to share the story of Nana Star with her classmates. After I read Deja the story of Nana Star, she fell sound asleep with her Nana Star doll by her side. I couldn't resist taking a photo. Sweet dreams, Deja. May Nana Star and the Moonman always watch over you.

Update on Stubby...

Well, I went to TX on vacation last week. My three big kitties can fend for themselves, but I was not about to leave my tiny little kitten with those three brutes.

So I asked my dad to babysit. He fell in love. His dog fell in love. His 6 mo. old female cat (another rescued kitten I had saved from a demise in the river...) is now "Mama". While Deja is a little pouty that her Pepere is going to keep her kitten, she knows that he will be well cared for. And fed.

In the morning, bacon, in the afternoon, hamburger, in the evening, steak-they all eat what he eats-in moderation of course. Plus pet food. Candy the female cat is treating Stubby like her baby. She becomes frantic when she can't find him in the house, and is teaching him to use the litterbox. He sleeps snuggled up next to her, and the dog sleeps next to both of them. With my father in close proximity as well.

You know, I knew this was going to happen. I am a little bummed myself, because Stubby is a cutie-but he makes my dad happy. And I just can't take away something from a 70+ yr old man who has been battling skin cancer for the last couple of years (too much sun in the past, laser treatments on his face within the past couple years) and who is just getting over shingles. His enjoyment is staying home, watching CNN and swearing at Bush (who he seems to think can hear him) when he is on the TV. And he loves his animals. I called him tonight and Stubby was snuggled in between his feet on the couch. The dog was up by his head and the other cat by his side. How he can move, I have no clue. Dad has told Deja that Stubby will be her kitty always, but he is going to keep him there to play with Candy his cat. I am glad he will be going to a good home, with my 3 big kitties I was a bit worried about taking him in in the first place. I will post some pics of the kitties together soon-until then, just wanted to fill you all in.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A confession to make....

I cried. Yup, I really did. And I thought for sure I'd be brave. I was ok for the flight down, if you can call not moving, knuckles gone white from clenching the side of the chair a normal reaction.

On the way back, we got into the big plane. And about an hour into the flight the turbulence hit. It wasn't HORRIBLE, now that I reflect back on it. But there were enough bumps to cause me to lose it. The pilot said we'd have several times where we might hit turbulence, and I kept listening for any sound that the plane made that wasn't normal. From creaks to grinds, to roaring to whistling. It was all there, but apparently NORMAL. Jose laughed at me. Until I told him he'd be driving a rental car home to Maine from Detroit if he kept it up. Deja, my 6 yr old held my hand and said "Don't cry, Mommy. It's ok." and seemed happy with all the ups and downs. I finally had to close my eyes when they hit, and imagine my husband driving his Rodeo on a dirt road, and the bumps I was feeling were from him hitting some potholes.

But then, due to nerves and the 20 oz. Diet Coke I'd finished at the airport-the inevitable happened. I had to go to the bathroom. Now on the way down, I did not move. Literally. After asking Jose at least a hundred times (well, not that much... but close) what the time was and calculating that I still had two hours to go, I realized my bladder was not going to make it. Now I could have gone and left a puddle on the floor. But I doubt the stewardesses would like that. So I had to make the difficult choice to stand up (in turbulence, no less) and go to the bathroom. I literally have watched too many scary movies-at takeoff, I think I am in the plane from Final Destination and during flight I am thinking I am in the plane in Flight of the Dead (zombie movie on a plane FYI). Now here I was going to the bathroom-a small, cramped area where I am thinking the dead are going to come up thru the floor and grab me. As I search the area for signs of zombie activity, I hit my elbow-hard-on the sink as I am bumped around in turbulence. I have never been in the bathroom on a plane. I don't know what this fascination about the mile high club is-but I can tell you I will never be a member. I can barely fit my own a$$ on the toilet without having to worry about someone else in there. Flushing was another nerve wracking experience. The loud sucking sound seemed to go on forever, and I had visions of being sucked down thru that toilet into the abyss. Let me tell you, I got the hell out of there without even washing my hands.

The flight in Detroit was in the evening, and somehow, I did a little better. I think it is because I can actually look out the window and not freak out, seeing how high up we are. I was fascinated by the lights, and this smaller plane flew at a lower altitude as well. Jose was relieved he did NOT have to drive home from Detroit. And my coworkers were relieved too-since we had gotten behind on our work due to my being out. So I have learned a few things from my flight: 1. My 6 yr old is braver than I am when flying.

2. Night flights are better for me due to not being able to see outdoors that well.

3. The evil dead will NOT pop out from behind the bathroom cupboards or through the floorboards and if I don't dream something horrible is going to happen before the flight, remember it during the flight AND see the grim reaper, then I don't have to worry about reaching my final destination. (at least not yet!)

4. Just in case, hubby had better have access to a rental car, Amtrak, or ground transportation. Because if anything in #3 above comes true, you can bet I will be traveling by land!