Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Currently in Central America...

Hi everyone! I recently got internet access (albeit very SLOW internet access) and just wanted to check in. I am currently staying at my brother in law's house, and it's been frustrating because in addition to the slow internet, the power here sometimes goes out and takes me off line in mid-sentence.

The weather here in Guatemala (where it is currently winter by the way) hasn't been too bad, temps in the mid 70's and rain showers here and there. We've only had one totally rainy day since I arrived last Tuesday-mostly there are afternoon showers and thunderstorms which cool things off substantially after a hot afternoon sun.

Women here also use umbrellas for not just rain, but sun protection. I kind of thought it was funny at first, but after having an umbrella over my head during the mid-afternoon hours I realized just how important it was.

The kids here have a holiday tomorrow, apparently it's a national holiday of some sort, Army Day. My daughter has been attending school all week with her cousins and enjoys the attention she is getting from the other students who often stop to ask her what something means in English. We decided to put her in school so that she would learn more conversational Spanish and also to get some reading/writing skills too. The good thing is that she understands what they are saying, since we are pretty much bi-lingual at home.

I've got a couple posts done up, but haven't been able to get the pics taken for them yet. The rooster across the street has been a pain-waking me up at the crack of dawn with his incessant crowing. I am SO totally ready to make him disappear lol... He just might end up in someone's soup that evening...

So here I am, on vacation and trying to get in some R & R before I start work again a few days after I get back from Guatemala. I hope to post again soon, but I really have to fight with the kids over the internet since they love to play the games their cousin Deja is showing them.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies Review & Giveaway


Being overweight, snacking has become an all too important part of my life. Unfortunately, unhealthy snacking has become the norm. I am usually hesitant to try any "diet foods" because although they have low calories, they tend to taste like cardboard. And NO ONE likes to eat cardboard, lol.

Unfortunately, with high blood pressure and diabetes knocking on my front door-I need to lose 100 lbs. to get down to a more comfortable weight that I can manage. I want to be around to see my daughter grow up and watch my grandchildren become adults too. I went shopping yesterday for some clothes, and was just so totally embarrassed by the size I had to get. I've spent far too many years putting other people's needs and work ahead of my own health, and it's been a rough 2011 for me health-wise so far.

Today I received a package of Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies in the Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors courtesy of My Blog Spark. Since I love the flavors of chocolate and peanut butter combined, I had to try them first. Upon opening the box, I realized that while they were small, they seemed very moist. I was a little disappointed that there weren't any nuts-I love nutty brownies-and would much rather have settled for a regular 90 calorie basic brownie with a nut or two if they had them in the 90 calorie version.

They were very moist, and didn't leave me wanting a glass of milk afterward-so they got a big plus for not being dry. While it doesn't taste like a traditional full flavored brownie, the taste really wasn't half bad. Also, it didn't leave an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth like other diet foods do. I tried the chocolate fudge flavor afterward, and found it okay. I am not a person who likes double chocolate anything, even with all the calories and fat, so for me, it was just a personal taste preference. One thing I love though, was that in addition to being just 90 calories these brownies have an awesome 5 grams of fiber, which is 20 percent of the Daily Value of Fiber. Definitely a smart snack!

My overall opinion is that they taste like a light brownie. Sure, they have the chocolaty taste-which is all good-but don't expect the same flavor as a regular brownie. For me, this would give me a taste of something sweet while controlling portion size, calories and of course giving me the added fiber benefit. I would purchase them again-as a healthier snack or treat and of course pack them in my daughter's lunch as well. I am leaving for Central America in a couple of days, and I've already packed the remainder in my purse for a quick, healthy snack at the airport while on layover. I'd rather have us snack on these than run to the vending machine and get a candy bar.

How would you like to try the Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies for yourself? You can win a prize pack (pictured above) just like I received. Giveaway starts today, June 18, 2011 and ends July 15, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST. US Entries only please. Winner will be selected by and will have 48 hours to respond to email before another winner is chosen. Please make sure to leave your email in your comments or have it visible in your profile. Also, keep in mind that I will be in Central America during this time frame-internet access may be spotty due to circumstances beyond my control-however I will contact the winner as soon as possible and provide them with the 48 hour time limit to respond irregardless. You must first complete the mandatory entry below and additional entries are available. If it says +2, leave 2 separate comments.

For your first MANDATORY entry, you can tell me what time of day you would like to snack on your Fiber One 90 Calorie brownies... or you can tell me where you would plan on enjoying your Fiber One 90 Calorie brownie.


+2 Like Fiber One on Facebook and leave me your FB name (1st name & last initial ok)

+1 follow me on Twitter @micaela6955 leave twitter ID in comment

+1 (can do daily) tweet this giveaway, see button below & please be sure to use hashtags #myblogspark #giveaway in your tweet

+2 follow me via Google friend connect, leave name used so I can check.

+5 add this to any giveaway linky, sweeps site, & leave link so I can check it out.

+2 add my button to your blog sidebar, or put me in your blogroll

that's it! You can do as many or as little as you want-it's all up to you!

Disclosure: I was provided the information, product samples and gift pack through My Blog Spark for General Mills in order to do this review. Product opinions are my own.

Mother's Touch Thermometer Winner!

Congrats go to amyd who is the winner!

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Timestamp: 2011-06-19 00:43:38 UTC

I am off to email you now :) Please respond within 48 hours so I can send you your prize!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bra Shopping... a Necessary Nuisance

It's been a rough day... I hate shopping for myself now that I am overweight. Before, when I was thinner, you couldn't keep me away from the stores. Now I consider it a chore, and even a pain-to buy something as simple as the basics, such as bras and panties. As a matter of fact, I bought two Playtex bras today that were the wrong cup size.

I brought the bras home and showed hubby. He looked at me and laughed. I was NOT happy. I bought DD instead of D. The cups on the things were HUGE. He argued that there was no way I was that size and that HE should know of all people. Lol... ya right. I am just wishing for the days when I was a plain ole 36C.

My mother went shopping with me today and promptly announced that I had gotten what she didn't. It seemed to have skipped her generation, she and my aunt have regular sized breasts. I made up for both of them and more, and as age and gravity head my way I have nightmares about it. Both my grandmother and great-grandmother proudly displayed their "ample bosoms" for many years. I told my mom I do not like the fact that if I don't wear a bra one day my breasts will hang down to my belly button and I will resemble a milk cow. My mother snickered. I glared. And because I was so traumatized by visions of my grandmothers sans brassieres I purchased a cup size too large.

I'm not there...yet. And maybe, just maybe, if I lose weight I will lose it there as well. They say that you do. And I can only hope for a miracle, right? So the new $33 each bras sit in the bag, and I ponder on what to do with them. My guess is that I will return them to the store and look for something more appropriate fitting. Maybe I will take hubby with me, since he seems to be an expert on women's breasts.

I've got some more shopping to do in the next few days... for pants and other items. I really don't want to do it...but someone's gotta. I do have a couple of nice shirts I received from an online store that I absolutely love... but more on that in a day or two. In the meantime-the bra saga is to be continued...

Monday, June 13, 2011

8 More Days!

And I am SO not ready! After going on a shopping spree, and being prepared to pay $100 each for THREE extra checked on suitcases with American... they placed an embargo on the number of bags we can take!

I wish I'd known this BEFORE I bought new luggage of course. But I am relieved that I checked the website last night and discovered the embargo (which was just in effect as of June 9) prior to heading to Logan Airport and then being told we can't each check a third bag.

So now the fun begins. What to take? What NOT to take? What to send down separately via an international courier? (and had we known we would have sent the stuff down to Rhode Island separately via courier a few weeks ago, to ensure it would be delivered while we are there since it takes 3-4 weeks to get there so we will be cutting it close irregardless)

They say going on a vacation is supposed to be good for you. For me, it's more stressful planning, packing, running around the airport and then worrying about lost luggage, flight turbulence, and weather conditions where I will be heading. Nothing like a hurricane, volcanic eruption or earthquake to make things a little more exciting. This is definitely one of those "Pass me a Rum and Coke, please" moments and most likely that feeling will remain as the countdown enters its final days.

Once there, it will be hectic as everyone from hubby's kids to 8th cousins twice removed shows up to say hello and sticks around with hopes that they get something this year from us. See, when we go to visit people talk. And those people say that we bring tons of stuff. Neighbors pile out of their houses in the Colonia, curious to get a peek of what we are taking out of our luggage. My father in law even stated that we had enough stuff to have our own Paca (flea market) but was quickly met with furious looks by family members lined up to start taking things out of the boxes we'd sent previously and luggage we brought with us.

Poverty is extreme over there. I count myself lucky for having all that I have here, even if it is not much. Hubby's family isn't super poor-they actually do quite well, but they aren't wealthy either. And even though they do well, there is actually no extra money to buy game systems, games, brand name clothing etc... That is where WE come in. It actually is like Christmas in July-I love shopping all year round, so love to see my shopping for bargains pays off and makes lots of people very happy in the end.

The next few days are going to be super crazy. We have to open up NINE huge bags and make them fit to SIX under 50 lbs. Not an easy feat for sure, but we'll manage. I hope to be posting while there, once I can get the prepaid internet to work. But this time, I am bringing the Dell Laptop. No MacBook-it's still in a frozen state from last year after they messed with it at the prepaid internet company. :( Once I find my startup discs in this crazy house I will reformat it and hopefully it will take it back to factory settings and fix it. If not, it goes to the shop...

Like last year, hoping to have a few giveaways for stuff from Guatemala too. Not sure what yet, won't know until I get to a market. In the meantime, enjoy the Guatemala pics above... (one is a pic of the market in Antigua, Guatemala where the guy didn't really like having his pic taken apparently lol, and the other is a small town called Pastores on the outskirts of Antigua, where hubby and his brother went to get boots-many people live on hillsides like the photo shown, that is why sometimes you hear of people dying or losing their homes due to a mudslide, flood, torrential rains, earthquake, etc...)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review & Giveaway-Mother's Touch Forehead Thermometer

Even though the winter months have passed, summer colds and sickness still exist. With the heat and humidity, it is often hard for me to tell if my daughter or grandsons actually have a fever or are a bit overheated by the weather conditions. With one grandson heading towards the "terrible twos" this coming Sunday and another almost 11 months old, it is really hard to get them to sit still or stop squirming long enough to take their temperature.

As a parent, I need a quick, reliable result. At home, we currently have a digital under the tongue thermometer for adults and the often unreliable in your ear probe for the kids. To be honest, I don't enjoy taking temperatures with this because if you've got an ear infection which is causing your fever the LAST thing you want is something stuck in your ear-take it from one who knows.

I was thrilled to be able to review the Mother's Touch Forehead Thermometer. And over the past few weeks I was able to try it out on my 9 yr old and both of my grandsons to get a better idea of how children in different age groups responded to it.

Bentley my 10 month old grandson had an ear infection when he came over last weekend. He was fussy, and kept tugging on his ear-sure signs to me that he was needing to be checked before a doctor's appointment could be scheduled. The neat thing about this thermometer is that it resembles a ring, and by placing it on my finger and soothing him by touching his forehead I was able to get an accurate reading within the 6 seconds as advertised on the box. The good thing was Bentley didn't even know what I was doing... he thought I was just stroking his forehead and had left my hand in a certain spot for a short time. I was impressed with the short wait time for the reading and the fact that there was no squirming or fussing. The final result? Temperature a bit elevated, and upon return to his other grandmother the next day she confirmed that he had an appointment scheduled to check his ears which made me feel a lot better.

Demetrio, my often wiggly and very curious almost two year old grandson was a little different. He was actually intrigued by my pretty ring and wanted to see what it did before I put it on his forehead. After trying it out on my own forehead, he determined that it wasn't anything that was going to hurt him and allowed me to check him out. He actually fussed a little bit but that was because he wanted to play with it, and wanted me to do it again so he could see the numbers. AND he managed to sit still too~something that is always a challenge with a child that age. His results? Perfectly normal temperature, so he was just fine :)

My final test was with my daughter. She had been watching curiously as I had tested the Mother's Touch Forehead Thermometer on both her nephews and wanted to see what it was all about. When she gets sick, boy, don't I know it-she's a bit of a drama queen and can be quite demanding. Rather than me try it out on her, she wanted to try it out on Daddy-while he was sleeping. Interestingly enough, she managed to do it while he snored away, unaware that he was getting his temperature taken. He did open his eyes after the fact, but we didn't tell him what we were doing ;)

I had done a review previously for the TempleTouch Thermometer, and I was happy to see that the Mother's Touch Forehead Thermometer was made by the same company. When my son and his girlfriend moved out with the boys last summer, they took my TempleTouch with them and I was pretty bummed since it was so easy to use. I have to admit, when your little one is sick, and just wants to be comforted, this thermometer is perfect!

Some neat features that the Mother's Touch Thermometer has are: Memory Recall, a large backlight display, can be used in Celsius or Fahrenheit for readouts and the most important... you don't have to put it in your mouth so germs don't spread amongst family members just by taking the temperature. (even though I usually get what they get sooner or later-I know I won't get it by taking their temperatures!)

I'd like to thank the sponsor for providing me with the product to review and for having the patience while I reviewed the product over several weeks in order to get reactions from different aged family members. And do you wanna hear what is really neat? They gave me another Mother's Touch Thermometer to give to one of my readers! Trust me, this is a necessity if you have kids or grandkids :)

Now I know that you want to win it... so below please find the specifics on how to be able to win one :)

Giveaway starts today, June 2, 2011 and ends June 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST. Giveaway is open to US Residents. One winner will be chosen via Winner will have 48 hours to contact me after receiving winning email. I must have a way to contact you, so please be sure email is in your comments or in your profile.

For the first, MANDATORY entry-Please visit the sponsor's website: Mother's Touch Thermometer and tell me something about the product that I did not mention above.

You can earn extra entries by doing the following: (if +2 leave 2 comments)

+3 current blog follower via GFC, +1 new blog follower via GFC

+1 twitter follower micaela6955

+1 tweet this giveaway (see button below) can do once daily

+5 post this on any giveaway linky and let me know where, or blog about it and leave me a link to the post.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review. I was also provided a similar product by the sponsor to give away to one of my readers. Opinions expressed within are my own.