Saturday, October 31, 2009

Magic Broom Trick

Have you ever heard of a broom standing completely on its own? My friend sent me a picture mail and text the other night showing her broom standing in the middle of her kitchen floor. She was amazed and said I needed to try it myself. We got our broom and took it into our foyer. At first, it just fell over when we tried to stand it. But, after several attempts, my son got it to stand on its own. This is the actual picture of our broom - standing completely on its own.

I tried to google it and figure out how this works. Some say it has something to do with the way the planets are aligned at a given time. Others said it was related to barometric pressure. I really have no idea how it works, but, we thought it was pretty cool. The broom stood all by itself for about 30 minutes, then it just fell (scaring us half to pieces). Have you ever heard of this? Ever tried it? If you do, let me know if it works for you, too.

Happy Halloween! Everyone have a safe and fun night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipe Organization

This mess you are looking at is my recipe book. As you can see, it's very unorganized - overflowing with pages and pages of recipes that I have printed on the computer or pulled out of magazines. Every time I get it out to look for a recipe, it stresses me out...papers fall out or I can't find what I'm looking for. I really want to work on this and get it in order. I'm having trouble deciding how I want to organize everything. I don't like recipe cards, they seem too small and condensed. I do prefer the idea of a recipe box over a recipe book. And, I want to keep the photos that are on the recipes I've printed or pulled out of magazines. So, any suggestions? How do you organize your recipes?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hannah's Socks Holiday Sock Drive

I would like to join Mom Central and help get the word out about the wonderful charity, Hannah's Socks. It all started in 2004 at Thanksgiving; four yr. old Hannah Turner helped her mom serve food at a local homeless shelter in Toledo, Ohio. Little Hannah noticed a man at the shelter who had holes in his shoes and no socks. She asked her mom if she could give this man her own socks. Instead, Hannah and her mom went out and bought socks to give out at local shelters. Over the next two years, with help from family and friends, they collected nearly 10,000 pairs of socks to donate to shelters. Since then, Hannah's Socks has distributed over 100,000 pairs of socks for homeless and domestic violence shelters. Today, the organization kicks off the Hannah's Socks Holiday Sock Drive, to collect socks and funds for this year's upcoming winter and holiday season.

Inspired by Hannah's story, The Clorox Company became a sponsor of Hannah's Socks this season. The goal is to gather and donate 10,000 pairs of new socks to underprivileged children's programs as well as homeless and domestic violence shelters.

This is such a heart-warming story! It's also a great way to teach our kids about how a simple act of kindness can make a difference to someone in need.

If you would like to get involved, you can collect socks at home, school, work, or church for this great cause. Families can also donate funds and find out more about Hannah's Socks and the Holiday Sock Drive at

Book Review - Hope Faith and Charlie

I received a complimentary copy of the book Hope Faith and Charlie from author Deirdre Carey. Deirdre wrote this book in order to share the story of her baby boy's heroic battle with cancer. When her baby, Charlie, was just about six months old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain and spine cancer. Their world was turned upside down. Soon, Deirdre, her husband John, and their other young son, Jay, were thrust into a world full of doctor appointments, hospital stays, medical treatments, and surgical procedures.

When Charlie was first diagnosed, doctors gave him less than a 20% chance to survive. Less than 20%! I cannot even imagine the helplessness that this family must have felt. But, Deirdre and her family just wouldn't accept that and reached out to other medical experts for more opinions. They met a doctor who immediately made an impression on them, saying that "we don't focus on statistics" instead "we treat the child, the individual, not as a number, but as a person." This was the first professional to give them a glimmer of hope since learning of Charlie's diagnosis and they knew she was the person they wanted to oversee Charlie's care.

What came next was almost two grueling years of extremely aggressive chemotherapy treatments. Through it all, Charlie proved to everyone that he was a fighter. His sheer will and strength was awe-inspiring. Deirdre became a fierce advocate for Charlie - always asking questions and demanding answers about her son's condition and treatment. In her own words, she "freaked out" over the smallest things. But, this was her baby boy. Can you blame her? Deirdre was totally devoted to her family and determined to fight for Charlie. She also remained committed to making sure that their other son, Jay, had as normal a childhood as possible. She vowed that cancer would not control their lives.

From the beginning, Charlie's family asked everyone they knew (and even those they didn't know) to pray for Charlie. They truly believed in the power of prayer and always maintained hope that Charlie could be saved. There was an outpouring of support from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers. So many people came through for this family in so many ways, providing not only emotional and financial support, but also help with the little things that really made a difference in their daily life (cooking meals, cleaning their house, shoveling their driveway, etc).

Today, Charlie is in remission, living the life of a normal, happy school-kid. Sadly, Deirdre's marriage came to a sudden unexpected ending shortly after Charlie's therapy was stopped. But, once again, Deirdre persevered. She is now a working single mother, taking care of her boys and in a happy loving relationship. Though it was sad and heartbreaking to read, it was also very uplifting. I am a believer in miracles and this powerful story just made my belief even stronger.

10% of all proceeds from the sale of Hope Faith and Charlie will be donated directly to The Floating Hospital for Children's Cancer Center at Tufts-New England Medical Center (where Charlie was treated). If you would like to purchase this book, you can visit

Movie Trivia and 400 Posts GIVEAWAY

~This giveaway is now closed~

To celebrate reaching 400 posts on my blog, I've decided to host another game of Movie Trivia. All U.S. participants will be entered in a drawing for a giveaway prize. You do not even have to answer all of the movie trivia questions correctly - you will be entered just for playing along.

The Rules:

1. Submit your answers by commenting on this post by 10:00 pm EST 11-1-09
2. I will announce a randomly selected winner on 11-2-09
3. Make sure I have a way to contact you in case you are the winner
4. Sorry, you must live in U.S. to be eligible for the prize
5. Winner has 48 hours to respond back to me or new winner will be chosen

After you have submitted your trivia contest answers, you may do the following for extra entries (leave a separate comment for each thing you do):

1. Follow my blog (see sidebar)
2. Subscribe to my blog via email (see sidebar)
3. Grab my 'Alas 3 Lads' button to display on your blog (see sidebar)
4. Grab my 'Movie Trailer Tuesday' button to display on your blog (see sidebar)

The Prize:

$25 Visa Gift Card

Thanks for playing and good luck! The movie trivia contest starts now....

You must identify the name of the movie for each of the following 10 pictures:











Random Scoop

50. New Moon  -  11.20.09Image by ฿lαcĸouт14* via Flickr

Guess what I now have in my hot little hands?...4 tickets for next month's midnight premier of New Moon! My friend and I took our daughters (age 13) to see the midnight premier of Twilight when it came out, starting a fun tradition for us. When we saw Twilight, they were so excited that we let them go to a midnight movie on a school night. We definitely earned some "cool mom" brownie points. This year, however, even though they are excited to go to another midnight movie premier, they have informed us they will not be sitting with us in the theater. Uh...okay.

Our 16 yr. old son has his first real job! A "nationally-known grocery store chain" is building a new store just minutes from our home. He started training this week. Yippee! I'm excited for him and anxious that he will have the opportunity to start practicing some money-management skills, as, up until now, it has usually burned holes in his pockets;o)

My daughter's class had to do an 80's project - they were put into groups and had to make up some type of performance based on a song from the 1980's (they could sing, dance, act...whatever). After everyone did their performances, my daughter was telling me a little about them. She was going on about how one boy was obsessed with Billy Joel and that his performance was "so lame." I said "Oh, I love Billy Joel, he's good." She replied, "yeah, but you're old!" Are you starting to see what it's like living with a 13 yr. old girl?

I have now surpassed 400 posts on my blog! That's quite a feat, at least I think so anyway. To celebrate, I'll be posting another round of Movie Trivia along with a giveaway. I hope to get the post up later today, so be sure and come back soon. Everyone who plays along will be entered in a giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card - (U.S. residents only for the giveaway)

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Charlie Bartlett

After being kicked out of so many private schools, rich kid Charlie Bartlett must now give public school a try. To fit in, he starts playing "psychiatrist" to his fellow classmates. This turns him into an instant success at school, but, doesn't exactly win over the school principal (whose daughter Charlie happens to be dating). Soon, Charlie finds himself in over his head and must figure out how to make things right. Robert Downey Jr. does an excellent job, as always, playing the principal. And, Hope Davis is a lot of fun as Charlie's quirky mom. It's a sweet, funny, feel-good movie.

Monday, October 26, 2009

General Mills Free Movie Night - GIVEAWAY WINNER

Thanks to everyone who entered! And, thanks again to General Mills and My Blog Spark for making this giveaway possible.

The randomly selected winner of the General Mills package of 4 e-movie cash certificates and one coupon for a free General Mills cereal goes to the following commenter:

The Double Dipped Life said...
How fun! My favorite General mills cereal is honey nut cheerios.

October 23, 2009 11:47 AM

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2009-10-26 19:18:59 UTC

Thursday, October 22, 2009

General Mills Free Movie Night - and GIVEAWAY

~This giveaway is now closed~

Right now, there's an awesome promotion going on with General Mills. Purchase specially marked boxes of General Mills cereal. Then, simply go online to enter the codes found inside these cereal boxes. With every two codes you enter, you can print a free movie certificate. Participating brands include select sizes of: Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix and Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs. For more information and to check for participating theaters, visit General Mills.

To help spread the word about this promotion, General Mills provided me with a free package consisting of 4 e-movie cash certificates and a coupon for a free General Mills cereal product.

General Mills has also very generously offered an identical package of 4 e-movie cash certificates and one coupon for a free General Mills cereal to one lucky Alas 3 Lads reader. For this giveaway, you may enter up to three times by doing any or each of the following:

1. Comment on this post and tell me your favorite cereal or your favorite movie
2. Follow my blog (see sidebar)
3. Subscribe to my blog via email (see sidebar)

You must live in the U.S. to enter this giveaway. Winner will be chosen by random selection on 10-26-09. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.

Thanks to General Mills and My Blog Spark for this promotion!

Another Visit to the Orthopedic Doc

I posted a couple weeks ago about our youngest son having a fractured collarbone. He was playing football outside with his brother and some other neighborhood boys when he was tackled by one of the bigger kids, who landed on his collarbone. He's in a clavicle brace that he has to wear for another few weeks while his injury heals.

This past weekend, our 11 yr. old son was outside playing. He was running in the field by our house and came upon an unexpected small dip in the ground, which caused him to twist his foot. He now has a broken foot and is in a full boot cast for the next 4-6 weeks. I'm glad they didn't put him in the actual plaster-type cast; this boot cast that he has can be taken off for baths and to change socks. It's much more comfortable for him than a regular cast (and less stinky, too)

Sheesh! Maybe we need to go ahead and put the orthopedic doc on retainer. I've never had any broken bones. What about you? Have you ever broken anything?

What Do I Fear?

Stephanie over at Steph in the City has invited her readers to answer the following question, "What do you fear?"

Fear is defined as "anxious anticipation of danger, pain, etc."

I fear many things. In fact, I will be the first to admit that I can be a big ol' scaredy-cat.

*spiders, bugs, mice, snakes - any kind of creepy crawly creature scares me

*tornadoes - tornadoes are a reality in our part of the country

*choking - maybe it's irrational, but, I have a real fear of my children choking

*falling - I'm not the most graceful gal and I have a fear of tripping and falling flat on my face

*deep water - this is probably my greatest fear, I do not want to be anywhere near water that is too deep for my feet to touch the bottom

Then, there's this -- fear of not being in control. I am a bit of a control freak. No wait. I'm a 100% bonafide control freak. And, not being in control scares me. I've blogged about this recently and it's a perfect example of me feeling like I'm not in control - our oldest son is 16 and has several friends who are starting to get their driver's licenses. Of course, like any normal teen, he wants to go and hang out with his friends who are now driving. Letting him go, knowing that I'm not in control of the car he's in or the places he is going, has been a hard thing for me.

What about you? What do you fear? If you would like to blog about this, be sure and visit Stephanie to add your post to her Mister Linky.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How Many Are On Your List?

PresentsImage by Alice Harold via Flickr

I realize it's not even Halloween, but, I am already thinking about Christmas shopping. Every year, I vow to get my shopping done early - so that I can actually enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas, instead of running around town, stressing about trying to find last-minute gifts. Of course, that never happens. For whatever reasons -- procrastination, lack of money and/or time, or just difficulty choosing gifts, I can never seem to accomplish my goal. Then, because I am still worried about shopping up until the last minute, I don't get to spend the time doing the fun things I want to do around the holidays - baking, decorating, having friends over, etc.

Once again, I am telling myself that this year will be different. I WILL get my shopping done early. I would love to be finished by December 1st, but, ssshhhh!...I'm afraid to actually say a deadline out loud - that would be too much pressure. Anyway, I sat down to write out my shopping list, keeping in mind that we are having a really bad year financially, so, I'm trying to keep my list as condensed as possible. My list includes what we consider our immediate families - one set of grandparents, our parents, siblings, several nieces and nephews, and a couple great-nieces and great-nephews. Just on our "Family" shopping list, we have 30 people to shop for! Then, there's our "Friends" shopping list - this list is made up of another 11 people - our closest friends, neighbors, and a teacher. Now, I'm at 41 people to shop for, and that does not even include my husband or kids. I have condensed my list quite a bit, crossing off several friends, a school bus driver, and teachers (3 of our kids are in middle and high school. They have 4-5 teachers each, so even if it was something really small, that would still be another 12-15 gifts).

ACK! 41 people. Does that seems like a lot?

We don't buy extravagant items, it's definitely not about spending a lot of money. But, with that many people, it adds up quickly. We already let the kids exchange names on my side of the family, so that helps. And, several of the nieces and nephews are married, so we usually buy a "couple" gift for them, like a restaurant gift card or something they can use together. Everyone knows it's been a rough year for us and I know we should try and cut back even more. I feel like I've already narrowed it down to the bare minimum.

I'm many people are on your holiday shopping list? Are you a last-minute shopper, or do you get yours done early?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Movie Trailer Tuesday - White Oleander

I first read this novel and then watched the movie several years ago. It's a somewhat dark, but moving, story. You'll enjoy the terrific ensemble cast in the film.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Icing On The Cake Award

Thanks so much to Kathie at My Net Finds for giving me this adorable bloggy award! She created this award to celebrate Sweetest Day and here's what she had to say about it:

"I award this to all of my sweet followers who are the icing on the cake to me. I appreciate each and every single one of you! I'm grateful for your loyalty, your comments, your support and your bloggy friendship. I hope that you will accept and proudly display this award and also pass this award along to other sweet bloggers who are the icing on the cake to you!"

I would love to pass this award along to all of my wonderful followers as well. I truly appreciate your friendship and support!


Would you like an invitation to join PineCone Research?

In case you are not familiar with them, they are an online research panel that gives you the opportunity to get paid for completing surveys. They also occasionally send you sample products to try as part of your survey. I have belonged to this 'invitation-only' group for several years. They are currently growing and have offered me the chance to extend some invitations.

If you are interested in checking them out, let me know. I will forward the invitation information to the first 3 people who express interest by commenting on this post. Be sure that you leave a way for me to reach you via email.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Share-A-Smile Saturday!

It's been a crazy few weeks for me and my blog posting has been put on the back burner. Thanks again for all your support and comments that you have continued to send my way. Today, I thought I would share a few of my favorite links to things that have made me smile. Enjoy!

Advice From A Lazy Housekeeper - I love this, it's hilarious! If you are not exactly June Cleaver-ish (which I am definitely not) when it comes to housekeeping, then you will love these tips.

12 Amazing Pools - Now that the weather is turning colder, it's nice to look at these gorgeous swimming pools. They are absolutely amazing.

Great Thinkers - Wow, here are some real words of wisdom...not!

A Friend In Need - How cute is this?

Have You Ever Been So Tired? - This is about how I've felt lately.

*I am about to reach my 400th blog post! To celebrate, I'll be hosting another Movie Trivia Giveaway. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Well, I was hoping my Dad wouldn't lose his hair while taking his chemo treatments, but, it has started to come out. My mom called yesterday and asked if my husband would just go ahead and buzz my Dad's hair, so he wouldn't have to deal with watching it come out in big chunks. I'm aggravated at myself for not taking a before picture, but, here is the after photo - my Dad with my three sons, all having just had haircuts by my husband.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Foodie Swap

I recently participated in the Fall Foodie Swap hosted by A Dozen Eggs. What a wonderful swap theme - I love fall, I love food!

Thanks to my awesome swap partner from Preppy Pink Crocodile. Here's a peek at the fun goodies she sent.

I feel just awful because I was late mailing out my end of the swap - with all that's been going on with my Dad and then me being sick I just couldn't meet the deadline. But my swap partner was so kind and understanding and I'm happy to report that her package is finally on it's way. Thanks also to our swap hostess at A Dozen Eggs.

Movie Trailer Tuesday - The Cider House Rules

Have you seen this one? If not, I highly recommend it....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Here's what's going on with me these days....

• Thanks to everyone who has continued to send encouraging words about my Dad. So far, he’s had one chemo treatment (will have them every 3 weeks for awhile), and seven radiation treatments. He has to go Mondays-Fridays for radiation treatments for about six weeks. I think for the most part, he is feeling okay; just very tired and maybe a little weak. I know this should be the least of our worries, but, I’m really hoping he does not lose his hair. He is 72 and still has a head full of thick salt and pepper hair – it’s something that makes him feel very proud.

• I have been sick for going on my third week now. I finally went to the doctor last week. He said I have bronchitis and ear infections AGAIN – I just had the same thing back in July. I think I’ve let myself get run down and have not been eating well or getting enough rest. I really have to start taking care of myself. I’m tired of feeling so crappy all the time.

• You know I am a huge watcher of movies. I’m ashamed to say that my last Netflix rental was sent to me on Sept. 11 and I STILL have not had time to watch it. That is not like me at all. I normally get at least 5 or 6 movies per month. Thank goodness for Netflix and their “no late fees.”

• I am getting very close to posting my 400th blog entry! That seems hard to believe. Stay tuned – I’ll be hosting another movie trivia contest/giveaway to celebrate.

• Our microwave went out. I didn’t realize how much I used it until I didn’t have it anymore. We are lost without it. I don’t usually like to product bash, but, we will NEVER purchase another GE appliance again. They have been nothing but problems for us. It was going to be around $150 to repair so we decided just to wait until we can buy a new one. Financially, it’s a terrible time for this to happen. So, we will probably be without a microwave for awhile.

• I’ve still been job-hunting. Having no luck. No luck at all.

• My youngest son (age 9) was outside playing last weekend. Several boys from the neighborhood were in the yard playing football or something and Zachary got tackled by one of the bigger kids (he is the youngest around here and always tries really hard to keep up with the big boys). Anyway, he ended up with a fractured collarbone. He has to wear a clavicle brace for about 4-6 weeks. He was pretty uncomfortable all last week. He is not allowed to participate in P.E. or do any running, climbing, jumping – anything that might make him fall and re injure himself. This is extremely hard for him. He’s my little busy-body who can hardly ever be still.

• Are there any IPod geeks who happen to be reading this? My daughter’s IPod has decided to go crazy and we cannot figure out what to do. She plugged it into the computer and went on ITunes to buy a song. After she bought the song and unplugged it from the computer, ALL of the music on her IPod was gone. At one time, it gave her a message about needing to be reset, but, she didn't know what to do. Her pictures and games are still there.

• I am super excited that the weather has been nice enough that we have not had to turn on the air conditioner or heater for over two weeks. Whoo hoo! Finally, we might have a decent utility bill. On the same subject, I’m so looking forward to the cooler weather. I love it!

Giveaway at Living Locurto

Head over to Living Locurto and enter a fabulous giveaway. You could win an iPod touch, courtesy of DuPont (Valued at $199). While you're there, check out the list of their top favorite DIY apps.

For all the contest details, click here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Dragonfly

Have you seen this movie? Kevin Costner plays a doctor who is distraught over the loss of his wife. He begins to see signs and images that he believes are messages being sent by his dead wife. His friends and coworkers think he's losing it, but, he is determined to figure out the mystery of the things he is seeing. This supernatural thriller is full of suspense. And, the will blow you away. (Rated PG-13)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Take A Chance Challenge - Challenge #6

I'm so excited to be participating in the Take A Chance Challenge hosted by Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here. She has come up with 10 fun and clever tasks that involve books, reading, and even a little writing. This is my blog entry for Challenge #6.

Here are the instructions for this particular challenge:

6. Public Spying
Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.

For this challenge, I read A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. I saw someone reading it while I was at a doctor appointment a couple months ago. I requested it from the library and ended up having to wait quite awhile before it was available. I finally got it and read it as I've been sitting at the hospital with my Dad.

The setting is 1907 Wisconsin. A town where the long, harsh winters drive people to do crazy things - like set their house on fire for no apparent reason, run naked through the streets, or even kill their loved ones or themselves. Ralph Truitt is the wealthy businessman who owns most everything in this town. At age 54, Ralph has spent the last 24 years alone. His past is full of pain and loss. Tired and weary from his loneliness, he advertises for a "reliable wife." Catherine Land is the woman who answers his advertisement and agrees to come to Wisconsin to be his wife. With her arrival, Ralph hopes to begin a new life - a life where he can share his past secrets and recover from all that he has lost. Catherine, who is twenty years younger than Ralph, has some plans of her own. She also has a secret past and shares a hidden connection to Ralph. Catherine sees her marriage to the wealthy Ralph as a way to have a new life.

I don't want to give away any more of the plot. It definitely takes some shocking twists and turns. The story is beautifully written; it's dark and full of sadness, love, and passion. Just to let you know, there is a lot of mature sexual subject matter. I was drawn into this book from page one and couldn't put it down until I was finished.