Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breaking News

I just received an email. Apparently the president, the finance minister, the senators, the house of representatives, and the central bank governor all met today. They had important business to discuss and they came to the following conclusion:

"we came to a conclusion that we have to pay you the sum of $10.5 M,

therefore send your Name Address and Tel.#. Your age and your company name.

Urgently respond is needed."

Wow! I'm so glad that they are on top of things. I guess the check is in the mail and all my problems are solved;o))

Groundhog Week

I feel like I have been away from my blog forever, but, I am finally back. I have tried to keep up with my blog reading, just been unable to find the time to post. My Dad (for those of you who don't know, my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer last fall) was in the hospital last week with pneumonia. Last Monday-Friday was spent getting my kids off to school every morning and then whisking my mom to the hospital where we proceeded to sit and wait all day for the doctors to come in and tell us that he was still not well enough to go home. Then, I would rush home in the evening, trying to figure out something for dinner or getting the kids to baseball practice. I swear, it felt like Groundhog Day every day last week. I was so tired. I don't know why it wears you out so much to just sit in a hospital all day. But, my Dad finally came home on Saturday night and it's just going to be a slow process for him to recover from the pneumonia and regain his strength.

My husband has stumbled into a "2nd job" opportunity that so far is working out really well. It's been such a rough year for us financially and I have had NO luck with the 15 jobs that I applied for (so I have given up for now). But, this second job is letting him work a LOT of hours (pretty much whenever he wants) so hopefully it continues to go smoothly. I feel bad that he is putting in so many hours, but, right now we have no choice. I'm trying to man the home-front and keep up with all the kids' baseball schedules and guitar practices, homework, etc. (although I must confess that I am not much help to my 6th grader with his math homework - seriously, I suck at math and it's pretty humiliating when I have to call my husband at the firehouse to confer with him about 6th grade math). I like to think that my area of "homework expertise" falls in the language arts/social studies arena.

Speaking of kids and the home-front --- WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME THAT RAISING TEENAGERS WAS GOING TO BE SO HARD? --- Our oldest is 16 and we have been butting heads with him over various issues for several months. I guess I was just living in this bubble, thinking that my kids were going to be just the way I wanted them to be and always do the right thing and say the right thing and make perfect grades and not ever disappoint me....well, I think my bubble has been busted. For the past year, it's been the same thing over and over - arguing over grades, attitude, lack of motivation, etc. I just can't accept his total blase attitude over everything and how he can't see how easy he has it right now. He will be out of high school in a short 1.5 years - it scares me to think how unprepared he is for "real life." I am the type of person who wants to do things for my kids to make life easier for them. In a way, I think maybe that has been a mistake. It hit me like a lightning bolt the other night (after arguing, yet again, with my son) - "ok, I really have to just let him go and learn things the hard way, on his own". The first thing I did was to tell him I will no longer wake him for school each morning. He is extremely difficult to get up in the mornings, I usually have to wake him 2 or 3 times before he's up and at 'em. It was hard for me to just hand that over to him and not get up to make sure he was awake on time. I didn't even set my alarm or anything. I can't believe it, but, so far he's got up every day on time AND made his own breakfast. We have four kids, hopefully things will get a little easier with each one. If not, I may not survive, LOL!

Friday, March 19, 2010

That's My Boy! - Parts 2 & 3

You probably have to be a Swag Bucks user (a.k.a. Swaggernut) or Twitter-user to fully appreciate the humor in these little comments that were made by my youngest son, Zachary (age 9)....

The other morning he woke up a little early and decided to play a computer game before getting ready for school. I was still dozing in my bed (I might have mentioned before that I am NOT a morning person, so it's not uncommon for my kids to get out of bed before I do). Suddenly, he came running into my room to wake me up. He was really excited when he said, "I just won you 2 Swag Bucks!"

(yes, my kids are all aware of my eager attempts to earn Swag Bucks)


Yesterday we were at the baseball park where my 11 yr. old son was having practice. Zachary and I were sitting on the sidelines when a lady walked by on her way to another field. She is an acquaintance of mine, but, Zachary didn't know who she was. She and I said hello and spoke for just a few minutes. After she left, Zachary asked me, "is she one of your Twitter friends?"


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

That's My Boy!

Yesterday I was driving my 9-yr. old son to his coach's house for baseball practice. This was our conversation as we entered the coach's neighborhood:

Son: Mom, don't we know somebody else that lives in this neighborhood?

Me: Yes, I think your sister's classmate, Mary, lives here.

Son: Which house?

Me: (As I'm driving, I point out Mary's house) That's her house. I think it's her house, I'm not exactly sure.

Son: Well, you are usually right about everything, so it probably is her house

I wonder how much longer he will think that I'm "usually right about everything"....and, if only my 16-yr. old son thought the same way. Life would be a lot easier:o)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Never Forever

From Netflix:
This heartbreaking drama, a 2006 Sundance Film Festival entry, stars Vera Farmiga as Sophie, a woman utterly devoted to her husband. But when she's unable to get pregnant, she makes an odd but decisive choice to bring a third person, a Korean immigrant (Jung-woo Ha), into their marriage. It's a fateful decision that soon threatens to tear the couple apart and drive Sophie to the brink of total despair.

I've been a fan of Vera Farmiga ever since seeing her in The Departed. She does a wonderful job in this film, playing the desparate and tormented wife, Sophie. It's a slow-paced movie but very powerful and moving. And, while the ending was somewhat unexpected, it was beautiful nonetheless.

Rated R for many scenes of nudity and sexuality.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Reviw - Unlikely Allies

What do a successful Connecticut businessman, a French playwright, and a sometime spy (and possible cross-dresser) for the French king have in common? They were all instrumental in helping America to win the American Revolution. Although they are not well-known in the retelling of history, these three colorful characters were directly involved with securing French support during the American Revolution, as well as smuggling much-needed weapons and supplies to the American army. Unlikely Allies by Joel Richard Paul is the true story of how the American Revolution was really won; a behind-the-scenes tale full of espionage, deception, and double-crossing.

I love reading and learning about American history, especially the time period of the American Revolution. This book was full of suspense and surprises. For example, some of the Founding Fathers were not exactly what I expected them to be. I didn't realize that Benjamin Franklin was fond of pursuing much younger women; or, that John Adams was considered "obnoxious" and "unpopular". It was also great reading about other known personalities, such as Benedict Arnold, and how he led the charge which would give the Americans victory at Saratoga. Unlikely Allies is a great read, entertaining and informative. It definitely gives a lot of new insight into the history of the American Revolution.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Buzzed Driving - St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and it's not the luck of the Irish that will keep the roads safe, it's planning now for a safe and sober way home.

Are you headed out with friends after work this Wednesday to celebrate the holiday? No? Well, when you and your family are on the road headed to choir practice, a t-ball game, or coming home from school, you may be sharing the road with those returning from a fun St. Patrick's Day event. It's time to spread the word about the dangers of buzzed driving and to remind people that Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving, and the best way to stay safe is to plan ahead.

Let's remind everyone about the importance of remembering to:

· Designate a sober driver before you leave for your event.

· Be ready to take alternate transportation such as a bus or taxi. Have the phone number of a taxi service stored in your phone before you leave for the party.

Even if you will not be celebrating this St. Patrick's Day, keep in mind that in 2008, 1,179 people in other vehicles were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. And for those who don't plan on over-indulging, a buzzed driving crash looks the same as a drunk driving crash.

Global Influence is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council as they continue their efforts with the "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" PSA campaign. Buzzed drivers drink and drive, but do not consider themselves a hazard on the roadway because they have had "only a few" drinks. The campaign hopes to educate people that consuming even a few drinks can impair driving and that "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving."

We need your help in keeping the roads safe for everyone this St. Patrick's Day by spreading the word that buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

To learn more about the impact buzzed driving can have on a life, please watch this important video about the financial and personal repercussions of getting a DUI: http://buzzeddriving.adcouncil.org/sign.php#video

Remember: Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving. Plan ahead and ask your loved ones to do the same.

For more information, visit Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving on Facebook and Twitter @Buzzeddriving.

Mirra Beauty Products Gift Pack - Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway for the gift pack of Mirra beauty products. The randomly selected winning commenter is...

Anne J said...
I follow on google friend connect
March 11, 2010 3:02 PM

Congratulations Anne! I will contact you shortly to get your information.

Thanks to Kroger and The Global Influence Network who provided a Mirra beauty product gift pack for my review and a similar gift pack for this giveaway

Friday, March 12, 2010

Aloha Friday - Weekend Getaway

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and get ready for the weekend. So, Kailani at An Island Life came up with this fun and easy Friday meme....post something that your readers can quickly respond to, then head over to An Island Life where you can link up as well as visit other participants.

My question this week is...

If money was no object, and you could take a trip this weekend just for fun, where would you go?

Me, I'm thinking I would love to go on a little shopping/spa getaway in either New York City or Chicago. That would be so nice....ahhh, if only....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Free Sample of Dunkin' Donuts Dunkin' Turbo Coffee

Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

I'm a huge coffee lover and I always enjoy trying out a new blend. One of the first things I do each morning is have a cup (or two or three) of coffee while I'm catching up on my blog reading and emails.

Head over to Dunkin' Donuts where you can get a free sample of their Dunkin' Turbo coffee.

Mirra Beauty Products - Review and Giveaway

~This giveaway is now closed~

I recently had the opportunity to try out a new line of beauty products from Kroger called Mirra. Mirra products are made with natural ingredients, such as olive oil, aloe leaf juice, cranberry, bamboo, honey, and chicory root extracts. Along with the benefits of these natural ingredients, Mirra products also use proven scientific technologies such as the revolutionary oleosome emulsion technology (which basically means that it delivers long lasting moisture that continues to nourish and protect long after application). By combining quality, natural ingredients with the latest science, Kroger has come up with a line of products that will appeal to many women.

The Mirra line includes shampoos and conditioners, hair styling products, body washes and mists, facial and skin care lotions, cleansers and cleansing cloths, eye firming and age defying creams, and cosmetic brushes. These products can be found in the beauty care aisles exclusively at all stores that are part of the Kroger Co. family.

The Kroger Company along with the Global Influence Network provided me with a gift pack of Mirra products for review. The gift pack included:

1. Mirra Exfoliating & Detoxifying Cleanser
2. Mirra Micro-Remodeling Cream
3. Mirra Hydrating Night Treatment
4. Mirra Daily Smoothing Shampoo
5. Mirra Daily Smoothing Condition
6. Mirra Replenishing Body Wash
7. Mirra Protective Lotion

(Be sure and keep reading - after my review, there will be information on how you can win a similar gift pack of Mirra beauty products)

I have been using these products for about two weeks and I can honestly say I love them all. I tend to have somewhat sensitive skin and all of these products have proven to be very gentle.

*The Exfoliating & Detoxifying facial cleanser contains apricot seeds which help to gently remove dead cells. It really leaves my face feeling so refreshed and clean. The Micro-Remodeling Cream joins aloe and green tea with MATRIXL 3000 to reduce wrinkles, provide skin firmness, and deliver antioxidant properties. A study of MATRIXL 3000 was shown to significantly reduce wrinkle depth and skin roughness while improving skin tone in just two months. While using the cleanser along with the Micro-Remodeling Cream and Hydrating Night Treatment, I have definitely noticed a glowing, healthy complexion.

*The Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner contain aloe extract, wheat protein, and soy protein. I especially love that they are also paraben-free and formaldehyde donor-free. They both have a nice scent.

*The Mirra Replenishing Body Wash is probably one of my favorites from this line. It's made with brazil nut and bamboo & honey extracts which give it the most wonderful scent. It has such a nice rich lather, too.

*The Protective Lotion uses ginger extract and lemongrass to stimulate and invigorate the skin. Oleosomes and olive oils provide skin with immediate moisturization. When I first applied this lotion, I wasn't sure I was going to like it - it felt a little "thin" and almost like it was going to leave my skin feeling a bit greasy. But, after just a few minutes, once the lotion was worked in, I didn't feel that way at all. My skin felt very soft and smooth. Best of all, I have noticed that this lotion has great staying power; the moisturization really does last.

These products were impressive and I will continue using them. It's nice to find such a high quality product that I can pick up while I'm shopping at my neighborhood Kroger store. I love that Mirra combines natural ingredients with proven scientific technologies to give me a product that is not only effective, but, pleasing to use. To learn more about the Mirra line please visit the Kroger website, where you can also find a link for a coupon for $5 off the purchase of two mirra products at Kroger and Kroger banner stores.

Giveaway: (U.S. entries only, please)

If you live in the U.S. you can enter to win a gift pack of Mirra beauty products. To enter, check out the Mirra product page on the Kroger website and then come back here to comment that you want to win. I will choose a random winner on 3-12-10 (please make sure you leave a valid way for me to contact you)

Extra entries - you may do any or each of the following (leave separate comment for each):

-Follow my blog
-Subscribe to my blog via email
-Follow me on twitter (leave twitter name)
-Tweet about this giveaway once per day (leave tweet link)

I received the Mirra products courtesy of The Kroger Company for review and giveaway as a part of the Global Influence Network.

Movie Trailer Tuesday - The Gift

Supernatural thriller starring one of my all-time favorite actresses, Cate Blanchett. She plays a widowed mother who happens to be a psychic and makes ends meet by doing readings for the people of her small town. When a local young woman's body is found, Blanchett's character starts having visions of the woman's murder and may be the key to solving the crime. But, she may also become the target of the murderer. Very suspenseful and terrific cast of actors including, Keanu Reeves (love him!), Greg Kinnear (love him!), Giovanni Ribisi (love him!), Hilary Swank, and Katie Holmes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Aloha Friday - What Makes You Smile?

In Hawaii, Fridays are the day to take it easy and get ready for the weekend. So, Kailani at An Island Life came up with this fun and easy Friday carnival....post something that your readers can quickly respond to, then head over to An Island Life where you can link up as well as visit other participants.

Last week I asked "what annoys you?" This week, I'm asking you the opposite:

What are some things that make you smile, make you happy?

Here are some things that make me happy -

1. watching my kids play and laugh together
2. big dogs
3. hearing a baby/child laugh
4. a fresh cup of hot, black coffee
5. dark, cloudy days
6. reading a really good book
7. a good hair day
8. guacamole from QDoba
9. sitting in front of a fireplace
10. big, fluffy snowflakes

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Dad - Update

I haven't given an update about my Dad lately, so I thought I would tell you what's been going on with him - some of you may remember that he was diagnosed with lung cancer back in September. He had a large, inoperable mass on his lung as well as a couple spots in his brain. Over the last few months, he has completed 6 chemo treatments, 30 radiation treatments on his chest, and 15 total brain radiation treatments. Last week, he went and had another set of scans. The mass in his lung did shrink and is basically what they consider "dead" or inactive. This is good. The spots in his brain also shrunk (shrunk, shrank??); they are still there but smaller. This is good. But, a new finding on the scans showed something on his spine. He went today to have a bone scan to find out more about what it is and hopefully we will have those results in the next couple days. Depending on the findings, he may have to do more radiation. Overall, the doctors are pleased with his treatment results. But, this type of cancer is not going to be cured, and they said it will come back, it's just a matter of when (could be more than 24 months or even as little as 3 months). My dad is pretty negative and pessimistic about things and is convinced that it will come back sooner rather than later. During his brain radiation, he had some brain swelling. It caused him to have left-sided weakness, confusion, and a seizure. It was really scary because he was fine that morning but by that evening he looked like someone that was having a bad stroke. It wasn't a stroke, just side effects from the brain swelling. Steroids and anti-seizure meds took care of it. He is very tired, weak, and dizzy; he said he feels like a zombie. Because of all this, he has obviously not been driving. My mom stopped driving a few years ago (she will only drive if she absolutely has to), so I have been trying to help them out as much as I can. He is definitely looking forward to the spring and some warmer weather. He really wants to take a trip with my Mom to Florida and stay on the beach. As long as he is able, my sister is going to take them in May.

My Dad has always been active and on-the-go. Now, with his weakness and the long, cold winter that we have had, he mostly stays inside and sits in his recliner. Although I know he could be a lot worse, it's just hard to see him like this. His passion is bluegrass music and he has played the fiddle since he was a boy. He has a group of friends that have been playing together for several years. They have decided they are going to make a CD and he is looking forward to that. I'm glad they are doing it, it will be nice for us to have.

Please keep us in your prayers and I will let you know what we find out about the bone scan.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Search & Win

Have you jumped on the SwagBucks bandwagon yet? For awhile, it was all I was hearing/reading about on blogs and twitter. So, I decided to check it out and find out what it was all about.

By simply doing things that you probably already do, like searching and shopping the internet, you can earn SwagBucks. SwagBucks can then be redeemed for all kinds of cool things like gift cards, apparel, books, electronics, music, and more. It's so easy and I was surprised at how quickly the bucks accumulate. You can also be on the lookout for Swag Codes, which will earn you additional bucks. These codes might be posted on twitter, facebook, or the SwagBucks blog. It's pretty fun and addicting to try and find these codes. They even give away Swagbucks throughout the day to random members. If you would like to learn more and find out how to join, here's my referral link:


What I Want But Can't Have

On Sunday, we took a family outing to a "national-retail-chain-store-that-is-all-about-fishing-and-hunting-and-outdoor-stuff" - I hesitate to state the name because I really dislike this store. Now, I'm sure if you are into fishing, hunting, and outdoor stuff, this is the place to go. But, as I am not into any of these things, I do not enjoy going to this store. My boys like it because they have a huge fish tank and they do fishing demos/talks and other totally boring interesting activities. They were having some kind of fishing expo or something, as well as a big sale. The store was packed - I'm talking packed like you can barely navigate through all the people. As hubby and the boys were looking at fishing lures and stuffed deer heads and such, my daughter and I spied something that saved our day. Starbucks! I have to give them credit, they are pretty smart for putting a Starbucks right inside their store. This was the perfect escape so my daughter and I went and enjoyed some nice hot beverages - she had hot chocolate, I had caramel apple spice. As we were sitting and sipping our drinks, we couldn't help but notice there were quite a few people who had brought their dogs along. I thought that was a little strange, but, maybe that's "the thing" to do at these types of stores. Anyway, being a dog lover, I had a great time watching all the dogs. There were two ladies, in particular, who each had a dog with them. I was immediately drawn to these dogs because they were so big and so pretty, and I wasn't familiar with the breed. As I said, they were big dogs, but, they acted so gentle and docile; many small kids were coming up to them and petting them and the dogs were perfectly behaved. I absolutely fell in love with these dogs!

When I got home, I jumped on the Internet to try and find out what type dogs they were. Turns out, they were Bernese Mountain dogs (here's a picture from Wikipedia). The picture doesn't give a true idea of their size; their big ol' paws seemed massive to me.

Is this not the most beautiful creature! Their coats were so shiny and looked soft as silk. In reading a little about this breed, I learned that they are indeed very gentle dogs and great for families and children. They cost around $1500-$2000. I'm now obsessed with these dogs. I found some of the sweetest videos on youtube showing Bernese Mountain dogs - they are so cute and smart.

Here's our sweet dog, Emma. She is an airedale terrier and we all love her to pieces.

We really couldn't ask for a better dog - she is somewhat of a lazy-diva, but she also loves to play with the kids. She never gets into mischief when we leave her home alone (other than occasionally sneaking a nap on my bed, which is not allowed - that's a story for another post). She really is a treasured member of our family. I have been hinting to hubby for awhile that I would love to have another dog; a friend for Emma. He is adamantly opposed to that, and really, I see his point. We have our hands full with four kids and the dog we have. So, I will be content with our Emma, but, someday, I will own a Bernese Mountain dog.

On another note, while we were at the above-mentioned store, my husband decided to make us pose for a family photo next to the big fish aquarium and rock wall - right in the middle of where all kinds of people are walking to go to the next level of the store....uhhhh, you might be a redneck if you pose for a family photo in the "fishing store" My 13 yr. old daughter was mortified, LOL!

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Unknown

Several men awaken to find themselves in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. They have no memory of who they are or how they got there. One thing seems clear, someone is on the way to the warehouse and they are in danger. They must race to figure out what led them to this precarious situation, and, if they are even on the same side.

This movie kept me guessing right up until the end. I love when a movie is not predictable and has unexpected plot twists. Great casts of actors including Jim Caviezel, Jeremy Sisto, Joe Pantoliano, and Bridget Moynahan.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Opposite Of A Green Thumb

Whatever is the opposite of a green thumb, that's what I have. This used to be a beautiful jade plant, brimming over with shiny green leaves. I wish I had a photo of how it looked before it came to live in my house; it was so pretty. The jade plant belonged to my grandmother, and when she passed away a few years ago, my mom took the plant. Then, last fall when my parents downsized and moved into a patio home, my mom gave the plant to me. You should know, I'm not a plant/flower person at all. But, I always loved this particular jade plant and my mom convinced me it was an "easy" plant to care for. It looked great for the first several months that I had it, then it started taking a turn for the worse. I'm not sure what I did wrong - maybe it didn't get enough sunlight or maybe I kept it too close to my furnace register...I don't know. It looks so pitiful and I feel really bad about that. I'm thinking about sending it back to my mom to see if she can revive it. Any suggestions?