Friday, July 31, 2009

Win this Vera Bradley Microfiber Tote! Ends Aug. 12th

Just gorgeous... You can't enter here at my site but you can enter at the Discount Vera Bradley Blog. Good luck!!

Check out my Purex 3 in 1 stockpile!

I used to hate to do laundry-really I did. With my hubby the grease monkey in his spare time, a 7 yr old Diva daughter who constantly changes her mind on what to wear, a teen son who changes at least twice a day because he says he sweats too much, his girlfriend who suffers from new mommy formula spit up stains on her clothing and of course a little baby grandson who makes a mess in his own right my laundry room is constantly full of clothing to be washed.

I recently killed my old washer, and then a brand new one by stuffing it too full. After one load. I really think the man who picks up old appliances and metal scraps and takes them to the metal recycling center was VERY happy to stop by my house TWICE in the same week. Hubby really didn't know what to do with me, so he bought me a new front loading washer and dryer. Not wanting to make the same mistake a THIRD time, I have been very careful.

Gone are the days when I was dumping 3 capfuls of detergent into the washer. I really like lots of scent, but my little grandson is sensitive to it and breaks out in a rash. And I absolutely HATE lugging big, heavy bottles of detergent and softener to the wash. I have had multiple arm surgeries, and when my arm aches, I don't want to bother with it. But as they say, the show must go on. And the laundry needs to get done. So when I saw on several blogs that Purex had a new 3 in 1 product out that was a sheet that had the laundry liquid, softener AND then went into the dryer for a dryer sheet as well I was bound and determined I was gonna try it.

I knew that there was no way that I was going to kill my new HE washer by using too much detergent-and I wanted to make sure that I was going to get something that was safe for HE front loading machines. Purex 3 in 1 fit the description to a "T". My local Shaw's store had the starter kits and refills on sale for about $4.99 and there happened to be a high value $2.00 off manufacturer's coupon floating around as well. Since I already get the Sunday paper delivered, I decided I would hit up family and friends for their coupons if they weren't going to use them. Plus of course, the recycling center and dumpster diving were not completely ruled out either. And of course my buddies in refunding circles too. I was determined that I was going to get some of these coupons-because the same week CVS also had a sale of B1G1F and I had managed to snag a couple before they ran out and liked them a lot. I also had a Shaw's $25 GC which I got from transferring a prescription and that made the Shaw's deal particularly sweeter. (plus I got rainchecks from CVS too)

Here is a picture of my Shaw's deal: after the $25 GC and 12 $2.00 off coupons I paid a little over $17.00 out of pocket. I have been using the ones I got at CVS and love how easy they are to use. I no longer worry about my teen son or hubby having a crisis with the laundry because they have put in too much soap. The clothes are smelling great, soft, and even my little grandson hasn't broken out when I have washed his clothing and blankets with the Purex 3 in 1. Once this stash has been used I will be buying more-lets hope another great deal and great coupon comes out again too ;) !

Become a Facebook Fan of Cumberland Farms ChillZone

and if they reach 50,000 fans by Aug. 15th, every one will win a Free ChillZone! Check it out! They are gonna do it, they have almost 42,000 already so be sure to get in on this great deal!

Ends 4pm tomorrow August 1st!

I happened upon this blog as I was searching for healthy stuff...I can say she definitely has it going on in that area! I know I should try to be more healthy, and have been checking out other bloggers recipes, words of inspiration, whatever I can find to try to jump start me to begin doing what I need to do to ensure that I will be around to see my kids graduate.

I absolutely loved the photos from Mexico, especially Cancun-what an amazing sunset! And the food! I dunno though, I probably would have been on taco overload. As a present to her readers, she is sharing a bit of Mexico with them-by giving away this gorgeous trinket box. Check it out, I love it! Be sure to enter quick-it ends Saturday the 1st at 4pm! Enter here:

Win a 20 oz Aluminum Water bottle!

I love to drink water, unfortunately I DON'T love to drink water from plastic cups that much because I swear I can taste the plastic in the water. Plus, plastic cups don't keep the water cold for very long so I am constantly getting up to get a fresh cup.

Here in Maine, we recycle plastic bottles so I do buy bottled water but it can be an expensive habit, and again we have the plastic factor come into play. I haven't drank water from the tap in quite a long time-even though it does have obvious benefits. The reason is simple, one day I went to the tap to get some water and it had a fishy odor. Phew! That was enough to turn me away-however, at my workplace we have a water cooler filtering tap water and it isn't bad at all. The Water District has been tearing up pipes in our area and the filtered water at work still tastes great. But I have realized that I need a nice water bottle-not one of those plastic ones that gets smelly after a few washes or already stinks when you first open it. So when I saw that Avon Liiv Botanicals had a 20 oz aluminum water bottle on sale, I knew I had to buy it.

And lucky for you all, I happened to get an extra. It even has a neat design on it, which is pretty darn cool. They only had the 20 oz size, but that is perfect for me. I haven't used it yet, since I just got it only yesterday-however I was a little disappointed to see the made in China label and sincerely hope that it is a great water bottle. So, if you wanna win one you need to do this:

Entry begins today July 31st and ends August 15th at 11:59 pm EST. yes, it is open to International readers! (since I am paying for the shipping I can do this!) Winner will be chosen by

MANDATORY ENTRY: For your first entry you will need to leave me a green hint or tip: something that you do around the house, in the garden, whatever! I am looking for ways to make things greener at home, and just might follow that advice!

OPTIONAL EXTRA ENTRIES: (leave separate comments for each please)

2 extra entries for putting my button on your sidebar

2 extra entries for following me on Twitter AND tweeting about this giveaway

3 extra entries for subscribing to my feed

5 extra entries for blogging about the giveaway with a link back to my blog

Tons of ways to get entries, so good luck everyone! And if you don't win this one, keep your eyes open because I just may give away more goodies like this soon!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Almost Swabbed for Swine Flu H1N1

I feel like crap. My right ear is throbbing and my sinuses feel like they are going to explode. My throat is sore and scratchy and my body feels like I threw myself in front of a bus.

And the exhaustion! I have been in bed at 8 pm for the past 3 nights, snoring loudly, I might add, because I just can't breathe well. The Advil Cold & Sinus had the two day trial period, and when it became painstakingly evident that there was no way to get rid of what I have without a Z-pack I made the call to my doctor today.

Today we had a work meeting and offsite outing-I felt like I was in a fog the whole time, I could barely speak with a scratchy, sore throat and my hearing and sense of balance was off. It was a potluck, and the food looked great-we have some awesome potlucks-I managed to eat a few things early off then just wasn't hungry anymore. But my coworker Nikki makes the most awesomest (only way I can describe it, even if it is not a valid word)taco dip, and I had been waiting in anticipation all week.

So I headed to the doctor a little after noontime. Tell them my symptoms and he starts checking me out. Usually when they check your throat with that wonderful wooden stick while saying "aaah!" I do just fine. But the poor guy almost got puked on twice. Lucky for him he kept his distance. Embarrassing yes-but not much I could do about it.

So then he tells me he wants to test me for Swine flu. Which involved sticking something up my nose high enough to make me think twice. Hell, I already get violated with one of them cotton thingys when they give me my annual exam and now they want to violate my nose too...! Thanks, but no thanks I told him. I mean, sure he could find out the results and all but then he says even if I tested positive there was nothing he could do because it was too late since whatever needed to be administered needed to be done within the first 72 hours or so. He does think I have something viral though, opposed to bacterial but because I am showing signs of getting a secondary effect of a sinus infection developing (good old postnasal drip) he gave me my Z-pack to shut me up. And excused me from work tomorrow too-as a precaution and just because he saw how shitty I was feeling and probably didn't want me to pass on the misery to co-workers. (really, no one wants to be this sick!)

So I am off to get some rest, drink lots of fluids and let my Z-pack kick in. Kind of bummed I didn't stick around for dessert though-and more taco dip! I will be on and offline a few times over the weekend, and will notify the JumpStart winner the beginning of the week when I am hopefully feeling better. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Take me Out to the Ball Game!

July 4th we attended the Fisher Cats baseball game in Manchester, NH. They were playing our home team, the Portland SeaDogs and it was Deja and Daddy's first time at a semi-pro game. Geez, when we lived in Pawtucket, RI we never went to any of the games down there, now hubby sees all the fun he missed!

It was a great game and lots of fun-Deja managed to get a tour of the ball park thanks to Tanya, a NH friend who had organized a convention in which we were attendees. She and daddy really enjoyed seeing the ball park behind the scenes, and she couldn't wait to tell me that underneath the park there was beach sand. We got a nice buffet and then the highlight of the night, fireworks!

The weather co-operated too, which was amazing since every other day managed to be a washout. New England weather has been terribly rainy this summer, and now that it is hot and humid, I am sick! Go figure, I end up getting a cold from the air conditioner. I am stuffed up and miserable, and existing solely on Advil Cold & Sinus for the moment. I am headed to take a nap, so have a great week people!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Relaxing Sunday

Today I spent some time online while the laundry was doing its thing... a bad thunderstorm just passed by and my cats all decided to join me, as evidenced by Stubby here lying across my keyboard... Tippy is no where to be found, though I did see him for a bit yesterday before I left in the morning. He had been in the cellar, where I had hoped to keep him for a bit until I could take him to the vets-but as always, he must have found a way to escape yet again. I think, that the fleas are getting to him, causing his weight loss because he is doing alot of licking and scratching-and the areas are not infected, just scabbed and crusted over. If I can get him to a vet for treatment, rabies shot and also to make sure that his blood work is ok, and that he doesn't have feline leukemia or something like that, just maybe there will be hope for him yet. I think maybe he has anemia from the flea bites-and I need to go to the vet anyways to get the monthly dose of Frontline for all of them. Last time I managed to treat him was June 1st, so maybe that is all he needs.

Hubby found some fresh coconuts from the local Hannaford grocery store yesterday-a new store opened up yesterday and alot of the products are organic or green along with even the materials used to build the store itself. So he split one in two with his machete and here he is enjoying the coconut milk... (it was good, but would have been better chilled IMO) and then he cut the coconut in half and we each got to eat some of the meaty goodness inside. Yum, now THAT was good! My daughter wanted none of it however. She tried it, but didn't like it. So I am finishing up on some housework, and relaxing a bit before I go to bed. I have the SciFi channel on (new name SYFY, now what is up with that! lol) and am thinking about what to make for a quick supper. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review-Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

Right before we went away for our July 4th vacation I received a package from My Blog Spark-in it was the Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters, one of each flavor (Roasted Almond, Roasted Cashew, Honey Roasted Peanut, and Nut Lovers)to try out with my family.

I am no stranger to granola bars, I will eat them occasionally and I like the ones that have nuts, or chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, etc... I really don't care much for just plain granola bars. I was familiar with the name Nature Valley, since I have purchased some of their other products in the past but it had been awhile since I had eaten anything remotely healthy for me.

First let me start by saying I don't eat healthy. Fried, fast food and lots of calories have been my best friends. Sure, I will drink a diet soft drink-but get the large fries and sandwich which kind of defeats the purpose. In the past, eating something even remotely good for you had the flavor and texture of pressed cardboard, so I stopped eating it. Now, I am obese and miserable- and at the heaviest I have ever been. I would love to find a great snack that can satisfy my craving for sweets but also be good for me. Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters fit into both categories.

My first bag I opened was the Nut Lovers. I love nuts, and am also aware that eating them in moderation can actually be good for you, and provide a health benefit. The first thing that hit me was the aroma-these nut clusters actually smelled good. Next, I took one out and saw that there was no skimping on nuts here, every piece (and that goes for the other flavors too) had lots of nuts in them. The size of the Nature Valley Nut Clusters was perfect: not too big, nor too small. Perfect for just popping one into your mouth and savoring the nutty flavor.

Soon, hubby and my daughter were peering over my shoulder, anxious to see what I was trying very hard to hide. (hey, they are GOOD and sharing wasn't in my vocabulary that night!) I gave in and let them try, and they were both very impressed with the flavor and amount of nuts in each bite. Low in saturated fat and with no trans fat, these nut clusters are a sweet treat that definitely can't be beat! I will say that each bag is about four and a half servings, with servings running 140-160 calories each. I could easily have scarfed down an entire bag of these because they are so darn good. Next time I buy them, I am going to be sure to take out enough for one serving-and make that my snack at morning or mid-afternoon. My favorite flavors were the Nut Lovers and the Roasted Cashew, hubby loved the same ones I did and Deja enjoyed the Almond and Peanut ones for herself.

Thanks to MyBlogSpark for sending me these goodies to try! I will definitely be putting them on my shopping list the next time I hit the supermarket. Give them a try, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Difficult Decisions

Years ago, I rescued 3 cats from Rhode Island when I lived there. Had I not rescued them, they would have ended up on the streets and probably not have lived very long.

First, I got Brujita. She is a tortie and basically a good girl. However, at her last vet visit she had some heart irregularities and the doctor told me she could basically fall asleep and not wake up. She's 10 now, and doesn't do well with other cats that live in the household. For several years now, I have been finding accidents-and I thought for sure it was my cat Shadow who was doing it since he is disabled. But it seems that Brujita has been peeing everywhere she can-she grew up with the other male cats and I can see her starting to do this once my dad's cat got here, but this actually has been going on longer than that. The doctor didn't seem too concerned, and basically told me she was old, and sometimes that happens. She has her own litterbox in the basement, but refuses to use it. I just don't know what to do about her, I refuse to give up on her because she is old and incontinent-geez, if that was me I'd hate to think my family would get rid of me because I missed the toilet once in awhile. (actually for her it is more than once in awhile now-she just doesn't use the litterbox and she doesn't have full run of the house anymore.)

Shadow is my disabled kitty. He is pretty happy go lucky and about 9 now. A bit of a pig, he will sometimes hog the food dish but otherwise than that he is affectionate to all and as long as he gets de-wormed and gets flea meds he is good to go.

Tippy is about 7. I found him while he was a tiny kitten eating garbage outside on my street. Knowing he would get killed, I tried to get him to come in for the longest time-but he always had a wild streak to him. He and Shadow became buddies and Shadow treated him like a dad, bathing and watching over him. When we moved to Maine, Tippy started going outside through an open window. I wasn't pleased because all were housecats after being fixed and having their shots. Our neighborhood is actually a great area for feral cats and Tippy was very territorial, getting into fights with them to keep them away. But now Tippy is not looking so good. He is very hard to catch and hasn't had a rabies shot in a few years now. Every time I manage to corral him into a place where I can get him, I call the vets office and they refuse to see him as I need an appointment. I have made appointments, but never could keep them because when the time came to get the cat he was nowhere to be found. We blocked the pet door coming through the cellar door-he escaped from a window, digging around the area to get out. Today, he actually let me pet him. And he is thin, full of sores and some are infected. I tried to grab him again, but he ran. The last few weeks, he has been gone for long stretches at a time and for the past few months he hasn't been around our house, only coming home to eat. (I do leave food and water for him on the porch)But if he does have something, I can't pass it on to my other cats-who have all been vaccinated and stay indoors.

Unfortunately, I think his time has come. I will need to call animal control to have them round him up and take him to the shelter where he can be put to sleep humanely. My vet's office says this sometimes happens and not to feel guilty-but I still do. I know he had a great 7-8 years with us, and had he lived in RI he probably would not have made it to his first birthday. I just wish he hadn't escaped, since he is one of these cats that make catching him impossible since he is always nervous around people-he would even run from us and zoom out the pet door (installed by a previous owner of the house) if we came too close. In this case, knowing that he is not feeling well and has lost weight, is full of sores and is becoming more feral-I think the best thing to do is to have him put to sleep. At least I won't have to worry about rabies or other diseases that could infect my other cats or my family if he bites one of us. And it would be much quicker than the slow death disease can sometimes bring. I still feel horrible though, but it looks like this weekend I will try to lure him into a carrier so animal control can come and get him. Wish me luck, because this is not going to be easy. :(

Monday, July 20, 2009

PR Blackout-My Thoughts on the Subject

I don't quite get this PR Blackout or what everyone is talking about lately... But since I like to open my mouth and express my opinion about things I will give it a shot.

First, I don't make money off my blog. Not because I couldn't use the money, because I could use it more than ever now that hubby has been out of work. Sure, I will admit that I signed up for those sites, and saw dollar signs before my eyes after reading what mega-bloggers can sometimes make. But time-wise I just can't commit to something like that right now plus I know at this time in my life a blog that JUST does reviews is not something I can do either. First, because of time constraints with family life and my own out of the home FT job-and second because being able to meet deadlines might not always work. I can honestly see where some FT reviewers actually can get burn out from writing about so many products in such a short period of time. And I admire them for being able to keep it together and do it within guidelines that are established. For me, losing my dad in February and my grandmother in April made me realize that life indeed is very short. I wholeheartedly wanted to write reviews during my layoff but the few that I did write actually took a bit longer than expected due to funerals, settling estates, etc...

I like my blog to have a mix of family life and reviews, and I very much enjoy reading reviews from other bloggers and also entering and winning the giveaways. I have discovered many new products this way-and I like having my own giveaways too. I have found that the PR people and bloggers I have dealt with have been for the most part, honest and reliable. I am trying to get myself in the habit of emailing or mailing the sponsor and blogger to let them know my giveaway item arrived and to thank them personally for it. There are times that I just get bombarded with other things going on in my life and something slips by. One thing I never do is depend on a prize to get here. You see...

In the beginning, I counted on all my bloggy wins arriving. And sometimes they didn't. And I would be disappointed. A couple times I emailed and the issue was resolved, and a couple times I waited...and waited. Shit happens, and I know sometimes the sponsors don't get the info from the blogger or the blogger has an unreliable sponsor etc... I've gotten to the point that I am not going to hound anyone over something that I was getting for free in the first place. I myself am notorious for being late in sending stuff out if I host my own giveaway. Partly because I am too darn lazy to go to the post office, so pawn it off on my mom. And partly because I am too poor that particular day to get the thing shipped. Or the Avon might be on backorder-and then I have to wait.

I would love to write a review for every single item that I have won in a giveaway. But in all due reality, I just don't have the time to do it. I can say that every item that I have gotten has been wonderful, and I have never had anything that just plain sucked. Yes, some things have been out of my price range, and I probably could have never afforded them on my own-but due to the generosity of the sponsor I am able to try out something new AND that person I run into on the street might just ask me where I got that neat item and go out and buy it. Given the current economy, our sponsors can use all the help that they can get in order to stay afloat.

To me, this PR blackout is fine for those that choose to go along with it. I can still visit their blogs and read all about family life or whatever they so choose to write about. And those that continue to do reviews, giveaways or whatever during the blackout will also get a visit from me-if I myself got a review to do and had the time to do it within that PR blackout I would still do it. I don't answer to anyone else, just myself when it comes to my blog. Because these are my opinions-just like the disclaimer says. There are some things I choose not to write about any more though-like my job- because with social media being what it is, sometimes your vents and frustrations are not always taken the way that you meant them. Or maybe you did mean them, but went about addressing things in the wrong way. Or perhaps you were just having an all-around shitty day and had a shitty attitude about things. We all vent, we all have frustrations, we are all human.

To me, doing a review on a product is giving it sufficient time to try it out. I like to try things out for about four weeks. That way, I will know if it does what it claims to do, because if that item will shrink or fall apart after multiple washings 2 weeks later or make me break out in hives from using it after 3 weeks, I want my readers to know. The only way I know if a product is going to work for me is by repeated use. And it also offers me the chance to check out durability and how well it functions AFTER that repeated use. I just can't justify doing a glowing review after having the product for three days and then have it stop working on the fourth. Yes, I do accept PR if contacted. I am not a blogger that has tons of offers and accept the ones I do receive. If I don't have the time, I feel there is no harm in being honest and saying no-although I might try to work with the rep on a review further on down the road when other blogs are not all working the same product. I am not in it for the money (which I have never gotten by the way) or the freebies, though both are nice perks-I'd be lying if I said they weren't. I do like reviewing things and won't stop just because someone told me to, or because another blogger I know chooses not to for awhile. I'm not part of the flock-never was, never will be.

By keeping things real, there are days that I won't please the majority-and I know that. As far as your blog, be yourself, march to the beat of a different drummer if you so choose, write about what you want, review or don't review, make money by placing ads or don't, follow or stand alone-the choices and decisions are up to YOU.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Downtown Camden Maine & Deja with Daddy at Young's Lobster Pound

Belfast, Maine-Lobster and Penobscot Bay

Well, I wanted to see the ocean, so I went. It was a perfect day, lots of people out on the water and lots of lobster eating going on too!

We traveled along Rte. 1 in Camden, where there was a huge Antique fest going on and then down into the Belfast and Searsport areas. A visit to the Maine coast isn't complete without seafood: and lobster was the catch of the day. My dad's favorite place to go was Young's-they have HUGE holding tanks with fresh lobster and it was neat watching the cooked lobsters and corn on the cob and clams served to you in a nylon mesh type bag-fresh from the boiling water. Since I don't eat lobster (yikes!) and Deja freaks out with anything that have antennae, we got the hotdog plate and some ears of corn. Now I wish they had had fried Maine Native Shrimp or Fried Clams, but this place is strictly lobster, chowder, steamed clams, etc...

After Young's, we headed to the local state park and made our way down to the water. The tide was out and we were able to find lots of sea life such as live crabs underneath rocks and in the small pools left behind. It was pretty rocky, so after doing some exploring and picking up some shells we headed back to the bench to relax. I saw some pretty pink flowers near the walkway down to the beach and snapped a photo-I thought it would look good blown up as a 5x7 or 8x10 on my wall someplace in the house. After relaxing a bit under the cool sea breezes, we headed to our friend's house for a cookout-Deja had fun making friends with their parakeets (whose Brazilian names I can't pronounce or even spell! lol) It's almost 9pm and I just got home and figured I would upload these pics to share and then do some laundry. Hope you all had a great Sunday too!

Odds are great, enter my JumpStart giveaway!

well, no entries folks! And it ends tonight, so your odds are good. It really is a great program, and you are getting three months for free to try it out. They don't ask for credit card numbers or anything like that. Deja is really enjoying it alot and I know your little ones would too. On those rainy summer days when they are cooped up inside and you have housework and cooking to do, they can go online safely AND learn while playing-it doesn't get much better than that folks!

I may extend the giveaway another week or two, and try promoting it some more-I have seen a few of these giveaways on other blogs and it could be that people are entering those but not searching on google and finding similar giveaways like mine listed.

I am heading to the coast for a nice ride today, it's gorgeous out and I want to see the ocean. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meet Stubby Stripes

This is Stubby Stripes-he is about a year old now and while I originally got him for my dad I ended up with him again after my dad passed away in February.

Notice the stub of a tail... and how he lies down-I have never seen anything like it. He is the guilty party for ruining my keyboard-he jumped up to see me and get some love and affection and ended up knocking over Deja's can of orange soda pop. I got affection all right-in the form of a sticky shower of orange droplets and the majority of the contents landed right into the keyboard. I still can't use some keys, such as the question mark, even after cleaning things out. I think Stubby got a taste too, since I caught him licking his fur while looking guiltily at me from the hallway floor.

From what I can see, apparently he is an American Bobtail cat. His mother, Stripes, doesn't have a full tail either; although her tail is a bit longer than Stubby's. She has had other kittens in her first litter that didn't have tails either, so apparently there is some sort of a genetic mutation going on somewhere down the line. My son saw a male Manx cat near Stripes shortly before she got pregnant (Stripes is Demetrio's girlfriend's cat) and he insists that that cat is Stubby's dad. Another thing, this cat is HUGE. He was almost 9 lbs when he was 6 mos. old and he keeps on growing. A gigantic mutant cat, how wonderful.

But he is a good cat and has a great disposition. He has taken over control of the house however, and my older three cats are not dealing with it too well. (everyone is fixed, so that is not the issue) My alpha female cat Brujita is none too happy that Stubby wants to play-at 10 she has outgrown that type of behavior and is much happier if left alone curled up in a ball somewhere taking a long cat nap.

The hallway looks kind of gross, but we took up the carpeting and are going to be putting down wood laminate soon. With hubby's foot issues, we have the materials but it has been a challenge trying to get things done. Hopefully soon some friends of his will come over and help out and we will have wood laminate flooring in the living room and entry hallway. Hubby was in lots of pain (which he felt afterwards) for ripping up the hall carpeting-so I don't want him to make the mistake of doing it alone and hurting his knee and foot even worse. And as far as I go, I am totally useless in those types of things!

So anyways, meet Stubby-a very crazy cat with a very strange way of relaxing. Maybe some of you have a cat that does this too, I just thought it was a very strange position to be all stretched out like that. Have a great weekend folks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Address Change!

I am so not liking this! I just got a note yesterday when hubby went to pick up my mail and packages that Mail It Quik (where I have my suite box that accepts Fedex and UPS too) is going out of business due to the economy! And he only gave us 2 weeks notice! Yikes!

USPS mail should be ok, because I can have that forwarded to my home address but UPS and Fedex don't forward stuff----so, if anyone is sending anything to me PLEASE send me an email if the items come back to you.... I will feel badly if it happens, but I just got the notice in my box yesterday and didn't see it until today when hubby showed me the mail! I really wish that the new owners who took over several months ago would have told me they were closing down at the beginning of this month, when I came in to pay ahead a few months :(((((

So, if something comes back-contact me for my home address PLEASE! Thanks for understanding everyone!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Four Seasons-Where is this Famous Place in Maine?

Maine is known for its rugged coastline and lobster during the summer months, along with lighthouses, whitewater rafting, whale watching and a whole other bunch of summer activities and fun festivals. In the Fall, we have spectacular foliage and our fairs-usually starting in late August to early October you can usually find a fair going on somewhere in the state. In the Spring, there is mud...lots of it. But also the leaves and the flowers are blooming, and there is the smell of warmer weather in the air after a long, cold winter. Spring gives us hope, and after many cold, dreary days those first few rays of sunshine make you temporarily forget how many inches of snow you had to shovel last winter.

But there is one season in Maine that seems so much longer than the rest-and that is winter. A time of cold, ice, and snow. Where any trip outside requires bundling and shielding from the elements, and making snow angels and sliding seem to be the activity of the day with your kids. But even though it's cold as heck that doesn't deter the outdoor enthusiasts from snowmobiling or even skiing at one of Maine's many fine resorts. In the photo above, you will see winter and summer pics of one of Maine's most famous places to ski-can you guess where it is?

While the first snow is pretty, and it is nice to see some snow on the ground during the holidays-I would love to see it all disappear with a wave of the magic wand and have constant 70 degree temps with plenty of sunshine and the occasional thundershower as my winter. Driving is not a picnic, and downright hazardous on the ice and snow. Roofs buckle and leak under the weight, and even sometimes collapse. I am amazed at the number of places I go to that have pails on the floor with water dropping from the roof as the ice and snow melts away on sunny days, or the stained ceilings I see from water damage. I actually had a leak on my roof and had a bit of staining in my daughters room a couple of years ago, but we checked it out and sealed the small hole we had. This summer I have to have hubby coat the roof, one of the advantages of having a metal roof on our home is that the ice and snow slide right off it rather than build up on top of it, which adds extra weight and can cause leaking, damage, and even collapse. Make sure you know how much your roof can handle if you live in an area of ice and snow-to avoid problems later on.

Yesterday I went to a Luck of the Draw Auction (Chinese Auction, Tricky Tray, Penny Social-whatever you call them in your neck of the woods!) to benefit the local Veteran's Park in Skowhegan, ME. Just by chance, I was chosen the winner of a 5 person swim pass to the last place in Maine I was checking out for a weekend away from the kids (with a five person pass, looks like I will have to bring them now!) I posted about this place last week and it was open to guesses and was the Canaan Motel in Canaan, ME. That was TOO funny! Maybe if I blog about it, I will win it? Now maybe I will win passes or a nice weekend getaway to the place above-I don't ski, but sitting around the fireplace drinking a hot toddy sounds nice!

Now, tell me: where do you think this is in Maine? Have you ever been there?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jump Start-Review and Giveaway

When my son Demetrio was younger, he had learning disabilities in school. He had a hard time with pretty much all of his classes, and spent lots of time in smaller group settings and special education classes. I'd never had problems myself in school, so dealing with this was a mystery to me.

One thing that Demetrio learned early was that if you are not good at it, don't do it. So basically I had to struggle with him to get his work done, and he would shut down and refuse to do anything if we pushed him along. One thing that Demetrio loved was video games-he could spend hours solving puzzles, zapping monsters and driving his race car.

Being a first time mom, and not accustomed to dealing with ADHD and learning disabilities, I myself was at a loss. I read up on everything I could and decided that if he could spend hours in front of the TV playing video games he could spend hours learning as well. But learning wasn't FUN, he'd whine, and pitch a fit whenever I suggested it was time to open the books. That is when I discovered Jump Start. I was amazed that you can learn while having fun, and figured that if my son thought he was playing games, he would be able to learn as well using their easy programs. I purchased the First Grade for him and popped it into the computer-and all of a sudden my son was watching the screen intently and interacting with the game to get to the next levels...but learning while doing it! After several weeks of playing online, I received a call from the Special Education teacher telling me that his math and reading had improved. She asked what I was doing, and I told her. She sounded surprised, but told me to stick with it, and get the next level for him to work on during the summer so he'd be prepared for second grade.

While Demetrio still does have some learning issues in high school, I can say that Jump Start was a major factor in helping him to survive grade school and move ahead into the junior high setting with minimal special education classes.

I recently was cleaning out some old boxes, and found Demetrio's old Jump Start CD's. His little sister Dejanera seemed very excited and wanted to try them out. I figured the programs had changed a bit since Demetrio was her age, and went to the Jump Start website to check it out. I was amazed at how much it had changed! With the creation of an online, interactive website Jump Start makes it easy for you to get started immediately.

I was lucky enough to be able to review this website and was amazed at how easy it was for my daughter to navigate. I sat and watched as she created her Jumpee and began to explore the site. With an interactive map on the site, I was able to see just how many places she could go to-all while in a safe, online environment. It soon became apparent that I would not be getting my computer back for some time since my daughter was unwilling to share :) I quickly pulled out my laptop and told her she could play on that-thank goodness this is a multi-PC household!

The website was easy to navigate for my 7 yr old-and she quickly realized that learning can be fun too. There are three different worlds-she has visited two of them so far Story Land and Adventure Land. Coming soon will be Future Land, for children in 3rd to 5th grades. She was excited about all the different things to do, and earning coins to buy clothing and other items for her Jumpee. She also likes the Jump Stars that you can earn on the site as well.

Also, by being a paid member you have access to download the programs too-Deja and I downloaded the 6-8 year old Jumpstart 3D program and she has been having lots of fun playing it. It's also convenient having it right on the PC, all she has to do is click on it, and it's there for her to play. (after mom puts in the username and password of course!)I am happy that she has been visiting the Jump Start site, with school being out I don't want her to forget what she has learned already, and I would also love to see her ready for second grade in the Fall.

Now that we have been using the program for a little over a month, I am happy to say that it is something we enjoy very much. I am impressed that Jump Start actually sends me progress reports on how well Deja is doing-directly to my email. It lets me know what her strengths and weaknesses are, and that is SO important because it gives me the chance to work with her on the areas she has problems with, and when I am busy or working she can go online and use their program and try to do it on her own as well.

Would you like to try a three month full membership to the Jump Start site for your child? I can guarantee that they will have lots of fun while learning too. And now with summer in full swing, why not have them using Jump Start instead of sitting in front of the TV all day? Jump Start would love to offer one of my readers a full three month membership-here is what you need to do:

Giveaway starts 7/9/09 and ends 7/30/09 at 11:59 pm EST One winner will win a full access 3 month Jump Start site membership. EXTENDED GIVEAWAY DATE

For your FIRST MANDATORY ENTRY: Go to the Jump Start blog and look around. Check out their learning tips and come back here and tell me a tip that you learned while visiting their blog.

For additional entries: (leave a separate comment for each please!) also, leave your email in the comment or make sure it is available in your blog profile so I can reach you!

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Register on the Jump Start website (you can also play for free!) +10

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Look at my new babies!!!!

ha! And you all thought they were kids, right? Nope, I have a new washer and dryer coming in a few days and I can't wait!

I have wanted one of these front loaders for the longest time. See, our washing machine and dryer are already up on a homemade pedestal (leveled wooden plank) and being a top loading washing machine the loading part is fine, it's the taking out that is the tough part. I have to reach in on my tippy toes to get everything that seems to stick on the bottom, and there are times when I can't reach every single sock and I have to leave them in the machine, to wash thru the next cycle, and the next... until they shift position or my son or hubby comes into the room to get them for me to put into the dryer.

Lemme tell ya, I had gotten pretty darn sick of doing that and have been screaming for one of these newfangled machines for awhile now. I like the front windows, and the fact that the new washer/dryer set I got will save water and energy too. My regular machine used 45 gallons of water, this one only uses 20. I will be happy once the quarterly water bill comes around and it has gone down-so many bills keep going up nowadays, if I can get one to come down I am certainly going to enjoy that. The downside is I won't be buying the cheaper detergents anymore, I want to start things off right and use the HE recommended detergent for the new machine. I already killed the new 2.4 washer I used only once, and don't want to repeat that with this machine by using the wrong laundry soap.

I will have to go to the 24 hr laundromat tonight or tomorrow with hubby to wash some towels and stuff that needs to be washed, but only until the new machines come. The cool thing is that these were on sale at HD AND I also got another 10% off (ends today) too! So this made these very price competitive with the top loaders I was checking out earlier. Since there wasn't much of a difference between the top loading family sized machines and this one, I chose this one of course! I actually didn't wanna wait, but it had to be ordered since the store had sold out of their stock due to this great sale.

So by next week, I will be washing away-and you can guarantee I will be able to reach that last sock left in the drum without standing on my tip toes or waiting for someone taller than me to come along and help me out!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where Could This Be?

Nope, the above pic wasn't from MY vacation! I thought it'd be fun to post a little where in the world is this place here on my blog.... (I have seen it done on travel blogs, and thought WHY NOT mention a cute little spot close to home that you just might want to visit?!) Besides, why not promote a STAYCATION in my local state since it's summer and there are plenty of places I haven't been yet!

1. I have never been there, but it is located in the state I live in.
2. It is open year round, and is not a chain of hotels/motels.
3. There is an indoor pool and hot tub. (now I want to go there! lol)
4. There is a horseshoe pit and snowmobile trails leading to and from the
5. There is a theater, ski area and fairgrounds close by. You're getting warmer!

Think you know where it is? I think I am gonna check out this place with hubby when we want a nice weekend to ourselves ;) I gotta admit, the fridge is a great place to keep the beers and the kitchenette is perfect for bringing a blender and making some strawberry margaritas, or whipping up some exotic gourmet dish! Sometime next week, I will post another spot in my state, it could be a specific place, a scenic view, a park, etc... I just figured I would highlight a hotel this week since I spent most of my past week in one! haha.

Home from vacation!

Just got home-planned on coming home tomorrow but had to make sure my son and the cats hadn't destroyed the house. It was a close call, but I think the house is gonna survive. It feels great to be home, staying in hotels is nice-but nothing is better than sleeping in your own bed at night.

We had a couple of sunny days, but the overcast skies and the rain were pretty much the theme of the day, even in Southern New England. Irregardless, it was a relaxing break from the view from my front door and I didn't have to deal with the new washing machine I broke after using it only ONE TIME before I left. It still sits there in my laundry room, brand new, stickers still on it-and shudders and shakes every time I turn it on. Note to any readers who care: DO NOT overload your washer. I went from a family sized one to a 2.4 model-better suited for my mom who lives alone. In my laundry room it now sits-a cruel reminder of my stupidity. I guess shit happens, but now I have tons of laundry to do! Never fun in my opinion, lol. (and to rub it in, I got a notice the water will be shut off in my area tomorrow during most of the day due to a pipe line issue...guess I can never win!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth!

Well I was FINALLY able to pry away my laptop from my 7 yr old while here in NH on vacation. I have a few minutes to blog, so just wanted to let you all know that after a soggy couple of days-the weather turned out nicer today. Which is good, because we are heading to a Fisher Cats-Portland Sea Dogs baseball game with fireworks later this evening.

I am a convention with a bunch of friends and having lots of fun. The convention ends tomorrow around noon or so-and then we head to RI to see my hubby's sister. Speaking of hubby-today is his birthday, the big 39-lol! I am heading to RI to get him a tres leches cake with strawberries from the local Guatemalan bakery, yum! Well, off to our afternoon session! Hope you all have a great Fourth with fun, family, friends and FIREWORKS!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ficklets Winners!

Random Integer Generator

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Timestamp: 2009-07-01 05:47:30 UTC

Congrats to News Around The Blogs and Tylerpants both winners of Ficklets! I know you are going to LOVE these, my daughter has had so many compliments and by wearing them she is definitely showing much more of an interest in wearing her glasses. I will be emailing you later today and then sending on your information to the sponsor. Thanks for entering!