Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! It's a Giveaway :)

As I posted earlier today, it is FREEZING here in Maine tonight. But that's not stopping the kids from going out and enjoying their Trick or Treating. As I passed by a certain area of town where all the trick or treaters go there were literally hundreds of kids and their parents walking around.

My daughter is there right now... we had gone to an event at the High School, and she met up with my little grandson, my son's girlfriend and her sister in law and little one and she wanted to go with them to help out with their little ones... so as I write this she is trick or treating with them.

I did manage to get a few pics of my daughter the vampire chick at the high school event-it was chilly so she wore her jacket and didn't want to take it off, even inside the school so you really can't see her long black and red dress but you can see her fangs as she was decorating her pumpkin :)

Since Fall is now officially here-so are the craft fairs. I managed to get to one yesterday afternoon and got a little present for my readers in orange of course, to keep with the Halloween spirit. It consists of tangerine dream handmade soap, an orange dishcloth and an orange scrubbie for dishes. All packaged in a cute little wooden crate. And it can be yours if you follow the instructions below.

Giveaway starts tonight and ends November 12th at 11:59 PM EST. It is open to US only this time. One winner will be selected by to win the prize.

Ok, since this blog is called Creative Writings 101 I want your first MANDATORY entry to be a finish this sentence type of deal. It can be funny, scary, or stupid-just finish the sentence however you want, but please keep it clean. Since it is Halloween, I want you to finish the sentence below:

It was a dark and stormy night... (you supply the rest!)

You can get more entries by doing the following (leave separate comments for each)

+2 Already be a blog follower via Google Friend Connect. Leave 2 comments

+1 Be a NEW blog follower via Google Friend Connect.

+1 Follow me on twitter (or already be following) @micaela6955

+2 Tweet about the giveaway (you can do this once daily) Leave 2 comments

that's it! I am trying to keep it simple and I look forward to reading your entries-Good luck!

It's Snowing!

and WAY too early, lemme tell ya! As I sit here waiting to go into work this am for a few hours, I am staring at the huge snowflakes falling outside my window.

Yuck... I am so not ready for this. Maybe it's a Halloween trick. Either way, it won't last, but it will just remind me of what is to come in a month or so.

The kids next door are excited. They've been outside all bundled up with shovels ready. When the snowflakes got bigger, the little 2 year old went back inside and came out with an even BIGGER shovel. Guess he is expecting a blizzard.

You really can't see the snow very well, but if you look at my black car you will see the white sloppy flakes passing by.

I'm off to work-enjoy your Halloween everyone!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shout and Growing Tree Toys Review

Fall is a great time of year here in Maine. No humidity, no snow, and certainly not any mud! Exercise is great for my daughter, and I encourage her to get outside and play whenever she can.

But even though she isn't sweaty, cold and wet, or muddy... she still gets dirty. From picking apples or choosing the right pumpkin to raking leaves and jumping in the huge pile of leaves on the front lawn-she's bound to come in the house with her clothes smelling funky or stained from something. It's a given with kids, take it from a mom who knows.

SC Johnson's Shout has teamed up with Growing Tree Toys, a wonderful online store of learning toys and other goodies for children as part of Shout's Go Play Initiative . I recently had the chance to try out a few Shout products and review a set of cards, the 52 Nature Activities card set by Lynn Gordon. I have to admit, we've had lots of fun so far trying out various games, art projects and activities using the set and it has encouraged my daughter to get out and about and have fun doing so. The fun thing is that this card set has 52 activities that you can do with your child in regard to nature-these activities can be done by a group of children, a single child, in a backyard, or in a park. My daughter plans on doing some of the activities with her friends next door-and bringing in the set to show her teacher as well once the weather gets warmer in late Spring and they start going outside again to enjoy the sunshine.

Some things to know about Shout's Go Play Initiative:

Shout knows play is so much more than fun and games. Studies show that unstructured play helps kids build fundamental skills like problem solving, coping, and conflict resolution. In other words: play is how kids become happy, healthy adults. Fall has arrived with crisp, cool air and new reasons to go out and play. So, let your kids take that rewarding jump into a pile of leaves. Take at trip to the park and watch their imaginations run free. The one thing you won’t do is worry about their clothes; play should get messy and Shout can help.

More information on Shout, and their Go Play Initiative can be found on their Facebook page.

I have used Shout in the past, and was happy to receive a package containing Shout (Triple Acting) Laundry Stain Remover Spray, Shout Advanced Ultra Concentrated Gel, and the new to me Shout Color Catcher In-Wash Sheets. With my daughter coming home with stains on her new clothing a few times a week, and hubby who likes to tinker on cars in his spare time, I happily put Shout to the test. I've always used the spray in the past, and although I had seen the gel before in the stores, never purchased it. I did like the fact that I could apply it and scrub it right into those stains using the scrubby brush on top. That seemed to work the best on hubby's stains he had from working on cars all week. The color catcher was something I had never tried before, and I've tried it out once so far and am pleased with the results. I am looking forward to using Shout to help me "shout out" those laundry stains and get my clothes stain free and looking like new in the future.

Disclaimer: I received these Shout products and card set in conjunction with Growing Tree Toys for free in exchange for my review. All views and opinions with regard to the products or the company are my own and were not influenced by either company.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Check out ModernSurvivalOnline's Jericho Season 1 DVD Giveaway!

We've been hearing now for quite awhile about how things are going to happen in 2012. How we need to be prepared. How some people are already preparing. If you are like me, sometimes you may wonder what will happen if terrorists or any loony person with the potential to do so set off nuclear bombs in places here in the US that we know and love.

It may be many miles from your own home, and you may be safe from the radiation. But there are other things that will be affected, such as communications, food, shipping, transportation, electricity-all those things can and will be disrupted by such an event. In the show Jericho, you can see how a small town reacts after such an event.

And right now, if you hurry and enter by October 31st, you can win a DVD copy of Jericho Season 1 over at

With the world we live in today, we just never know what might happen down the road. Even here in the US, with the economy in the tank and the growing frustration many are experiencing-it's great to be prepared. Check out the ModernSurvivalOnline's Jericho Season 1 DVD giveaway, you won't regret it :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

I've been MIA lately...

But not that I WANTED to be, of course. For the past 5 days or so, I have been confined to bed rest mostly. I tried tweeting with a laptop on my stomach, amazingly it didn't work half bad... and from time to time I'd get up and sit at the computer or so for an hour after I had eaten since I didn't want to lie back down with a full stomach.

So... here's the scoop. A little over 3 weeks ago I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It was dark, and usually I can manage to get around pretty good in the dark since I know my bedroom pretty well. I have no idea what happened that night (actually early morning) but when I headed back to bed I vaguely remember whacking my lower leg... hard... on the wooden waterbed frame.

I woke up a few hours later, and headed to work. Sure it was sore, but since I somewhat remembered hitting it a few hours earlier I didn't put much thought into it. So time goes by, I have my physical at the doctors and forget to mention it... after all, it really was just a bruise anyway.

I seriously thought I was imagining things last week when I saw that the area was red, splotchy and a little warm to the touch. It was also pretty swollen and very tender as well, walking was getting pretty difficult and by the end of the day I was pretty much in tears. Usually bruises turn black and blue, then shades of yellow...but not red. At least mine don't.

So, feeling like a wimp I head to the ER since my doctor's office had closed. In the ER they tell me I have a skin infection, called Cellulitis which is a non contagious spreading bacterial skin infection of the deeper layers of the skin. I am allergic to Penicillin, so have been on one med so far with no results... and the other one is not doing much either. We will just have to wait and see. The redness has fortunately faded quite a bit, but the pain has NOT gone away at all.

As long as I am not in a hospital room with an IV stuck in my arm, I suppose I will be okay. I've been watching horror movies all week, and just got the next one in my Netflix queue over the weekend... Cabin Fever 2. Not sure how appropriate that is, since it deals with people getting this flesh eating bacterial virus but as long as I am not one of them I will be just fine. I've gone back to work today, and it was great to finally get some work done. Bed rest is only fun for the first day, after that, you're all caught up on your sleep and want something to do... take it from someone who knows.

So bear with me as I get caught up on work and work on getting better. I certainly don't want to have this thing develop into something more serious, so am doing what the doctor ordered... Have a great week all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

I've been home with a leg infection the last few days... so trying to blog with a laptop on my stomach hasn't been working well. I'll be seeing the doctor tomorrow morning and hoping to get back to work soon as we are so far behind already...

Thanks for entering my latest giveaway...without further ado, the winners are:

Belinda M. and Mami2jcn! Congrats! I will be emailing you both soon. And for the rest of you, keep your eyes out for another giveaway coming up soon.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-10-21 19:30:24 UTC

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pardon Me, Do You Have Any Grey Poupon...

I remember the commercial well... my friends from high school and I would roll down our windows and ask the driver next to us if they had any Grey Poupon before taking off at the light giggling all the way while recalling the surprised looks on their faces. Heck, we were young, and stupid, and just wanting to have fun, as Cyndi Lauper sang it. But those were the 80's, and a whole world away...

Driving in Guatemala can be downright dangerous. Sure, the crazy drivers, drunk drivers, lack of enforcing a speed limit and dangerous curves can all be hazardous. One thing NOT to do...
Don't pull up next to someone who is driving and stick your digital camera out the window to take photos of them. See, in Guatemala sometimes you can be driving along minding your own business and someone decides they like the looks of your car, truck, SUV, whatever. Normally you'd be proud that someone happened to admire your vehicle... but there it can literally cost you your life.

As we were heading to my brother in law's house we happened to see cousin Mario a bit ahead of us in his truck. So my brother in law who was driving managed to catch up to him and just as he did hubby stuck out the camera and snapped a photo of Mario. Mario was NOT happy, but very relieved it was someone he knew. At times, it could be a loaded gun pointed at you to force you off the highway to rob you...

A few years back my brother in law was robbed, they couldn't start his truck due to the alarm so they made him drive his customer's car to the outskirts of the city at gunpoint and threw him out of the vehicle. Lucky for him, they didn't kill him. Ever since then, my brother in law has been packing his own .45. (legally, and with a concealed weapons permit FYI)

I was pretty embarrassed to be riding around Guatemala in a late model Toyota 4 Runner with dents, a bad paint job and a busted front window. But even a blonde, blue eyed gringa drew a little attention in the old 4 Runner-I shudder to think what attention I might have called to myself had I been driving around my 2010 Mazda 3... When we head down there again next year, we will probably be driving a vehicle similar to the one we used this year. As long as it gets me from Point A to Point B without losing its brakes and plunging us over a ravine I am fine. Less attention is a GOOD thing.

So here's a pic of Mario, a bit asustado (surprised) but happy to see it wasn't a gun pointed at his head. (just the camera)

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Back to School Tomorrow!

Well, it's been a great long weekend-but like all good things, it must come to an end. Back to work for me and back to school tomorrow for my daughter. Unfortunately she won't be wearing shorts however, since we have a freeze advisory predicted for tonight, Brrrr....

Hoping all my readers had a great weekend and wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Death Do Us Part, A Guatemalan Divorce Nightmare

My Guatemalan husband divorced his Guatemalan wife here in the US. The papers were sent her way, she signed for them, and years ago he went to court in Rhode Island to get a divorce so that we could get married and adjust his status here in the US. We'd been together for a year or so, and his "wife" met another man shortly after he came to the US and had a child with him. My hubby had the pleasure of supporting them by sending home money for his two children, not knowing that she had a new man and a new baby to support. When he found out, well, the gravy train stopped and the boyfriend was long gone... (yes, he continued to support his kids by paying for their education, materials for school and uniforms and all clothing needed directly by sending the $ to his parents who paid for those things to make sure it was being spent on the kids)

Anyways, the lawyer told us that the paperwork would also be filed in Guatemala-but come to find out, it was never done. Now, over 10 years later we find that his divorce was never registered there. Actually his ex wife called last Christmas time asking for a divorce. Apparently she believed she was still married since the paperwork had never changed and when she went to register her newest child with yet another new boyfriend they told her she had to get a divorce first. Sigh... so we headed to the Guatemalan Consulate in Rhode Island and submitted all the paperwork for verification. For those that are unfamiliar with this, it is very hard to do since each signature must be verified-the court clerk, the notary who did the translation from English to Spanish, and the judge's signature-all verified by the Secretary of State in RI then brought to the Consulate for official stamps and then the paperwork needs to go to the Ministry of Exterior Relations where it is verified yet again. Then off to RENAP (their registry of people in the country) or so we thought.

We actually took in the paperwork during our visit in June/July and were told that a verification of one signature more was needed. Why someone from the Consulate did not tell us that in the first place, I don't know. So we came back to the US on July 6th and headed to the Secretary of State's office in RI and got that signature verified. Then sent it via express courier to my brother in law to take it back to the Ministry of Exterior Relations. And it sat for a week or so, until they told him to come back, pay a fee, and then told him it was all set. Or so he thought.

My brother in law brings the paperwork to RENAP only to have it refused-twice. Apparently the translations we have provided here and had to have verified weren't legal. So we had to pay for MORE translations there. And then pay the lawyer for her stamp. And on the 28th of September it was supposed to be all set. But it wasn't, because now the JUDGE needs to stamp it as well. Everyone gets a fee, for a stamp, a signature, or whatever. I originally told hubby we should have paid a lawyer in Guatemala to do this for us once we found out the divorce wasn't registered. But he refused. Too expensive he says... Um, the fees for the translation, the lawyer RENAP suggested (who happened to work in their office btw) and the judge are adding up.

Once the judge puts his signature and stamp on it, it's back to RENAP for my brother in law. He will turn in the paperwork and *pray* that they will issue my hubby a new birth certificate that says he is single. Once that happens, his ex can get married and register her kids with her new man. Now this has been going on since APRIL so I can only hope we will have some success. (FYI, Guatemala has begun a new process which is using a different format birth certificate and has begun a new national ID card as well-the system is a bit messed up and has had its share of problems since Day 1)

Once hubby gets a birth certificate from his brother stating he is SINGLE, it is back to the Guatemalan Consulate in RI again for us. This time, with our own marriage certificate from 1998, my info, etc... and all those signatures, stamps etc... to be verified again before being sent to Guatemala and the Ministry of Exterior Relations to register our marriage and add my name to his birth certificate. Hubby will be heading down there in December and hopes to get this paperwork resolved and our daughter's Guatemalan birth certificate (she is a dual citizen) so we can get her passport. (from Guatemala-she still has her US one)

It's funny because my hubby has family members here who are married legally in Guatemala and married here in the US too. It used to be easy to rip out the page that was on their Cedula stating their civil status (married) which is one of the reasons I think that Guatemala has put all that stuff on one ID card instead. I have in the past argued with these people saying they are bigamists, but they just ignored me. Their wives here apparently weren't too upset either. I've met many Guatemalan people who have said to me that they thought the marriage in Guatemala was only valid there, and their marriage to US spouse was only valid HERE. Um, no-you are married in one country, you are in the other as well. Until you get a divorce...or are caught for bigamy. Granted, I can see why so many people don't bother to get a divorce over there, it is expensive and a pain in the a$$ to do so. Everyone has got their palm out asking for money for a stamp, a validation or a signature. (but even here in the US, greasing the right palms is done on a regular basis, though it may not be as noticeable here at first glance)

So now I sit and wait-Guatemala knows hubby is divorced legally, the Consulate told us not to worry about it, all was done correctly-though they did scold us a bit and say the divorce would have been much easier had it been done in Guatemala to begin with. But, according to them, it is their citizens responsibility if they live in another country to make the changes at their local Consulate so it DOES get reported to their country as well, something our lawyer who charged us $$$ here in the US did not tell us. (and yes, he was a lawyer who worked with many immigrants and knew the requirements!)

So here we wait, since April, for the right paperwork to be done so we can register our own marriage down there. My brother in law is traumatized by all he's had to go through, and he's not even the one married. (and he states that he won't be either, after seeing all of this take place-much to the ire of the woman he has lived with for the past 10 years or so) After all this is done, I will breathe a big sigh of relief-but it won't last too long because I still need to adjust my daughter's status to having parents that are married on her birth certificate. (the Consulate put parents are SINGLE since they couldn't put us as married as he was already married per their a different woman) Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shabby Apple Review

The first week of school here in the Northeast was brutal. High humidity and 90+ degree temperatures with NO air conditioning. My daughter so wanted to wear a dress for the first day of third grade, but it was not to be. I sent her in a tank top and shorts and she was STILL sweating.

My daughter, the Princess Diva as I call her, is into things pink, frilly and feminine. Her little friend Evan loves to see her in a dress, and personally I think she enjoys wearing them for his benefit since he always compliments her on how nice she looks. (somehow I have visions of them dancing at a prom together in 10 years lol) When I was offered to review a dress from Shabby Apple, I really had to think long and hard whether I wanted one for me, or one for my daughter. It was a hard choice, but my daughter won out. I have to admit that I found their Fit to Flatter tool very helpful in finding perfect styles for myself, and I love the fact that they offer plus sized dresses for women my size.

After much debating, Deja chose a dress called Not Your Mama's Mumu. I had to smile at the name, because I remember very well the Mumus my grandmother used to wear and while they were comfortable, they were not stylish in any way. This dress, on the other hand, is gorgeous. Stylish and elegant rolled into one-your little girl will feel like a princess wearing it. I know Deja does.

When the dress came, I let Deja take it out of the package and she was delighted to see the shiny, soft fabric and feel how comfortable it was against her skin. The dress itself is loose and gives your little one plenty of room to move around without being restrictive, like some dresses are. This fabric is almost silk-like, and in the sunlight it really shines. The great thing about this dress is that your child can wear it for a special occasion, or just because.

Shabby Apple has a really neat contest going on right now. If you've ever dreamed of being a fashion designer, now's your chance! The Dare to Design contest lets you design a Shabby Apple dress and if you win, your creation will become part of their Spring collection and you will receive a 3% royalty on each dress sold. I think that is very cool, and the perfect opportunity for someone to see their dreams come true by designing a dress for the Shabby Apple Spring Collection. The contest only goes on until October 15th, so hurry!

I also like the fact that besides women and girls dresses, Shabby Apple also has shoes and accessories that compliment their lovely styles. Their items are competitively priced and they often have great deals going on. By signing up for their newsletter, you can save 10% and if you refer a friend who makes a purchase, you can earn $25!

Check out Shabby Apple and find something you love. You won't be disappointed. A big thank you to Olivia at Shabby Apple who provided us with the opportunity to review the lovely dress my daughter received. Today was school photo day and this was the outfit my daughter wore. When I brought her in to the school gym to go to childcare this morning, several of her little girl friends were oohing and aahing when she showed up in this dress. Lucky for us, she finally let us snap a photo of her even though her eye infection still lingers on. Granted, we had to take pics far enough away so she wouldn't notice her swollen, red eyelid in the photos. We visited the doctor last night and got antibiotics, so that should help some. And if her photos don't come out good we'll be retaking them in November-but hopefully they will come out great since this dress is so pretty!

All opinions on the dress we received are mine and my daughter's-I received no other compensation for this review of the product I received. Again, thanks to the sponsor for their patience in my getting this review out.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's a 3 paycheck month...GIVEAWAY

I love months that I get 3 paychecks... unfortunately, it only happens a couple of times a year :(

But, because I am feeling generous I want to share a little of the love with you. None of the businesses listed below have sponsored this-it's just my way of saying thank you to my readers for putting up with me...

I am giving 2 readers a $10 GC to the establishment of their choice, OR $10 in Paypal instead (if you are international, you qualify for the Paypal payment only, ok!)

Places you can choose from are:

Tim Hortons
Dunkin Donuts
Pizza Hut
Burger King

So, if you win-you can get a $10 gift card to one of the places listed above OR $10 in Paypal. If you are international, and you win-I will Paypal you $10 USD. You must have a way for me to send you the Paypal though, so make sure you have an account!

Giveaway starts today, and ends on October 20th at 11:59 PM EST. Two winners will be selected via and will have 48 hours to reply to my winning email before another winner is chosen. Winner will have their choice of a gift card to one of the establishments above or $10 in Paypal deposited to their account. Giveaway is open to international entrants, who will only be eligible for the $10 Paypal if selected as a winner.

For your first MANDATORY Entry: You must be a blog follower (new or current) and then tell me, do you want the Paypal or GC and if the GC let me know where you want it from- see the list provided above. You must leave a way to contact you in either your comment or have a way to contact you via your blog in your profile.

EXTRA ENTRIES: You can get extra entries by doing the following below, please make sure that you leave a separate comment for each entry!

+1 Follow me on Twitter leave your twitter ID (current follower count too!)

+1 Subscribe to my feed and let me know! If you already do, let me know.

+1 Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link! Can be done once daily.

+3 Add this to any giveaway linky and let me know where, unlimited.

+5 Add my button to your sidebar, or put me on your Blogroll

have fun and good luck!

Fantasy Jewelry Box Winner!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-10-02 13:07:17 UTC

Just got around to picking my winner this morning and the winner is... Rachelle from Mommy I'm Hungry! Congrats! I'm off to email her now, and be sure to check out her blog as well for any giveaways she is currently running!