Life... Health... Reviews...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

For more Wordless Wednesday visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

If the shoe fits

I don't know about you but I love to find a pair of shoes that fit me perfectly. There's something almost magical about trying on a new pair of shoes, walking in them for the first time and checking them out in the mirror especially when they fit and are comfortable.

That feeling doesn't always happen for women who have larger feet, but at Samanta they realize the need for women to find a quality pair of shoes in styles and sizes that fit them. Even if that woman wears Size 12 womens shoes they'll find them at Samanta because they specialize in stylish footwear that has unique comfort features. Along with traditional sizes, Samanta offers large size women's shoes in sizes 11, 12, 13 and 14, and is expanding into wide-width sizes.

I wouldn’t mind scoring a pair of Samanta shoes (they have a hot red pump that I think would look fabulous on me) especially since celebrities like Tyra Banks, Debra Messing, Sanaa Lathan, Geena Davis, Queen Latifah and Rihanna (among others) have been spotted wearing them. If you’re looking for comfortable, stylish shoes – especially if you need them in larges styles – then checking out Samanta is worth your while. In the meantime, visit and sign up for email updates to get a $50 electronic gift code.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hip and fabulous

My friend Sandra at Super Mae gave me this award and it's... well, fabulous! Thanks Sandra, you're the sweetest.

As part of the award I have to list five addictions and then pass the award onto five more fabulous blogs!

Here are my addictions:
Blogging definitely

I am going to pass this to...
Maternal Spark
Mom Knows Everything

It's Naptime
Life's Perfect Pictures
Duck and Wheel with String

I have been honored twice today. This second award came from a very sweet blogger Jo from Life's Perfect Pictures (you have to check her out because she is a fabulous photographer - so talented).

I think this is a very cool award and I'm going to give it to:

Super Mae (my buddy Sandra!)

I must say that just because I didn't specifically name you doesn't mean I don't love, appreciate and think about you often. You all are wonderful and meaningful blogger friends to me.


What a lovely Christmas

It's December 30th and I must tell you about Christmas Day before New Year's Day gets here. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I was about to visit another site through my FeedBlitz when I noticed the title said something about "more Christmas pictures."

"That's right," I thought. "I still haven't posted any Christmas pictures." Well, I did let you see the ones of the reindeer that visited us, but that was only a small part of the excitement. The children were very pleased with everything they received. My teenager said something like she got more than she thought she would (a digital camera from her godfather, a few clothes, some money from friends and family and all the stocking stuffers that she loves) and what a sweet thing to say because I didn't think she'd gotten hardly anything. Just the fact that she was happy made me happy.

Her true happiness was reflected in a short, sweet note that she had written and put in the gift she gave me.

Here's an excerpt of the note: "...I admire the fact that you are determined to make many things possible for your children... I love you above and beyond the world; past any flaws that you think you have."

I have to admit that tears came to my eyes. It was the most beautiful and sweetest note ever. Here's the gift she gave me after I investigated everything. She had it fixed so lovely that I wish I'd taken a picture before I messed with it.

We have this sort of tradition where she normally gives me bath and body products and they're normally Aveeno, which I absolutely love. This time she gave me a new product (love that too!) along with a scented candle and plush pj bottoms in my favorite color with a matching top.

As for the younger kids... Anna loved this baby Amber and I picked out for her. The baby has a bottle, a carrier that Anna can put on her back and it makes little gurgling sounds. Anna carried her around and played with her most of the day. Everyday since then she has said, "Baby? Baby?" And we say, "Where's the baby?" Then she goes off to look for her.

The baby bottle doesn't stay in the baby's mouth so Anna will say, "Bodda?" And hand it to myself or her big sister - the expectation is that we'll hold the bottle for the baby.

Amareah loves her art set, which includes paints, water colors, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, art paper, paint brushes and quite a few other creative artsy type stuff. She's already used it - along with Andre - to create pictures for their dad. As you can see below Anna is still holding her baby while Amareah opened her gift.

Here Andre and Amareah are opening the preschool laptop that I found online for an EXCELLENT deal. They keep it on the extra desk in the office and wander in quite frequently to play with it. Amareah does very well with the learning activities, but Andre does more playing. I am hoping to sit down with him soon and encourage him to choose some of the learning games. Here, once again, Anna still has the baby on her lap and is holding the baby's bottle. :)

Andre thinks his Bumblebee Transformer is cool. It was one of the least expensive ones, but I am glad that he likes it. He liked it so much he took it with him when the younger kids visited their dad this past weekend.

Amareah is a whiz at puzzles. It didn't take her long to put together the Five Little Monkeys puzzle that she got in her stocking and then she put Andre's Mickey Mouse Playhouse one together. She's very focused for an almost 4 year old... I am very proud of how she picks things up.

The puzzle is about 25 pieces and my daycare provider, who used to care for Amareah and Andre, told me to advance her up to the next level. I think she's ready!

You can see in this picture that Andre is sitting nearby playing with his transformer. See the yellow toy on the right?

I loved the look on the younger kids' faces when they opened their final gifts...

They all received bikes! I searched high and low for ones that would fit in my budget. (*See my note below for information about my budget.) I worried that they (Andre and Amareah) would be disappointed that they weren't character bikes. Yes, I worried for no reason.

I love to see them on their bikes. It hasn't even been seven days yet and Andre and Amareah are riding like pros. Little Anna's feet, on the other hand, don't even reach the pedals. I found the smallest bike I could and wasn't able to get an adjustable one (remember the budget!), but she enjoyed sitting on it and smiling. When I wasn't instructing the other children, I pushed her and pulled her so she had just as much fun.

Here's one more look at Miss Anna and her baby. (That's Amber's leg with the festive pajamas!)

Christmas Day was a wonderfully blessed, peaceful and joyous day for us all. I wasn't stressed or disappointed, and my children had a good time. What more could I ask for?

On Christmas Eve, I did have a talk with my children about the true meaning of Christmas and I hope they'll get the message like my oldest daughter has. Now, that was a wonderful gift.

Now... tell me about your Christmas?

*I want to say a special thank you to my BFF Frankie. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have been able to give my children half the things they received. Your generosity is amazing!

For more holiday photos check out 5 Minutes for Mom.


Make plans for change today

I can not believe how quickly this year has passed. In just two days it will be 2009. With the New Year a lot of people will make decisions to change or resolutions to commit to change. Some of the things people will promise themselves are to lose weight, go back to school, get another degree, change careers, exercise more, get organized and the like.

Maybe some of you are interested in becoming a social work either as a career change or a new opportunity. Then you realize you need to take the social work exam. There is help to assist you in passing it so that you can make one of your dreams (or New Year's resolutions) come true.

The Social Work Guide, a study tool, is the comprehensive guide to passing the social work exam to get a social work license. It is an affordable guide that you can use independently to prepare for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Social Work Licensing Exam.

Whatever you decide to do in the New Year – continue on the path of change or make major changes – I hope that all of your dreams, wishes and hopes for the New Year come true.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday's Muse - Free up space for creativity

Today, I was able to take about four boxes of magazines to a recycling center. I was very proud that I got that accomplished and that the center isn't too far away. Freeing up space relieves stress - at least it does for me - and it also allows room to receive things that you really need.

You may receive more creativity, less stress, a sense of freedom or simply material things that you need. Now, I have to find somewhere to recycle two televisions that no longer work. Recycling makes me feel good that the things I am giving will be turned into other things or broken down in a way that isn't harmful to our environment.

Now, if I could just free up more space in my office (getting rid of papers, finding places for pictures, finish going through my magazine pile, etc.) I would definitely open up my space for creativity and relaxation.

I can just picture it now: An office where I don't walk into and sigh because I see a large pile of something that needs to be taken care of. Hmmm... sounds great.

Check out more of Monday's Muse at Maternal Spark.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Saturday

I've been a bad blogger and haven't posted my Christmas pictures and whatnot, but you'll be happy to know that the reason I haven't is because my BFF came into town on Friday and I've been maxing and relaxing. Actually, I started relaxing after I got the younger kids all packed up to go with their father.

To tide you over until I come back and write a proper post, I thought you'd like to see the reindeer that stopped by to visit us on Christmas Day!

In a few minutes I'm going to start getting ready so we can go see Seven Pounds. I'm really excited ... normally the only time I get to go to the "regular" movies (and not the dollar theatre, which is just as fine with me) is when someone else is treating. :D I'm also excited because I'm in love with Will Smith. I'm sure any day now he'll be knocking on my door to express his never-ending love for me. (Jada doesn't have a chance!)

I hope you're having an exceptionally wonderful weekend and able to get some relaxing in to digest all that holiday food, some fun in to enjoy whatever you received for the holidays and some love in from family, significant others and friends.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas... Happy Holidays!

I hope that everyone is having a gloriously happy Christmas Day. My children are pleased with their gifts and are having a pleasant day. Well, you know children, so there are moments when there are some tears, fighting and whining... but, hey, you can't get everything you want for Christmas, right? LOL

Last night I started getting excited and woke up today before the children. All anxiety was gone and I was prepared to enjoy this day with all of my children. Later on today or tomorrow I will share some pictures with you, but in the meantime I really hope you're having a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I bang, I bang...

The only time I remember being totally happy with my hair was when I had dreadlocks. I wore them for about 13 years and, for the most part, I thought they were beautiful, cultural and fit me to a T. Then three pregnancies within four years and entering the late 30s at the same time changed the texture of my hair. My hair began to thin (and all over for that matter) at the temples from the weight of the locks and the new growth wouldn't lock. I didn't think they looked nice anymore so I had to get rid of them.

I wish I could go to a salon on a regular basis to get my hair styled, but since I can't afford it I make do with doing everything at home.

Here's a look at my hairstyles during 2008...

I added a ponytail here:

A couple of times I have colored my hair - I think I like the lighter color better. What do you think?

Today, I tried to do bangs. This picture doesn't do it justice... what I was trying to do was get the nice across the forehead bang look (kind of like Tina of MummyDiaries although her hair is way hotter, so much more stylish and way thicker), but my forehead is so big and my hair has receded some so it doesn't stay or come down like I would like.

You can't tell in the picture but the fringes actually brush my glasses and I am hoping they disguise when my eyebrows need to be shaped, which I also do myself. If I could easily choose a hairstyle I think I would want it to be like Mary J. Blige (I like Mary with the bangs, but I really like the blonde bob without the bangs that I've seen her sporting) or Halle Berry. (No, I don't think I want to wear a wig. LOL) I don't think I look that great with short hair and I much prefer long hair.

Mary's picture was taken October 20, 2008 by Jean-Paul Aussenard - ©

Halle's picture was taken on October 6, 2008 by John Shearer - ©

I've also figured out that I'm not very good at styling hair (unless I'm styling a child's hair) so I think that's one of the problems. And, no matter what I do my hair is always dry and it's gotten so thin and fragile. The last time I was able to go to a stylist (on my birthday in September) she put a texturizer in it so I am able to wear it straight or curly. Needless to say -- well to me -- it doesn't that good straight.

So, what's your advice? What in the world should I do with my hair? (That doesn't cost a lot of money.)


Wordless Wednesday - Where's Amareah?

More of my Wordless Wednesday
More Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Your gorgeous

I have a friend whose brother started loosing his hair in his late 20s. This friend -- who's older -- and his brother love to tease each other about different things so this hair-loss issue is one of those things that has been on the table for quite some time.

That's why when I heard about nioxin I thought of my friend's brother. I figured he could use the various systems to treat his hair loss and avoid the taunting of his older brother.

Nioxin can be found at where they have a wide range of this product available including full systems as well as individual products including shampoos, conditioners, kits, vitamins and masques. This is like your one-stop beauty shop because you can also find skin and nail care products, accessories, make up, hair color and home, bath and body products.

That's the benefit of using this site because they have everything you need in one place. No shopping around or trying to figure out where to get what products. You can get everything you need from Hello-gorgeous. Oh, and another perk is their flat rate shipping of just $4.95. Is that a deal or what?

Check out Hello-gorgeous and get everything you need to make yourself... well, gorgeous!

Now I feel like a zombie

My health and weight loss journal

This has been some day...

It all started at 2 a.m. this morning when I heard talking. One of my middle children (the 5 year old or the almost 4 year old) got up to use the bathroom and apparently woke up the other one. They got up talking and playing, which woke up the baby who shares a room with them.

I had already had a hard time falling asleep because I went to bed too late to take my sleeping pill so I first awoke thinking, "Man, morning sure did come quickly."

When I saw the time I wasn't happy. I went in there with my "you better get back in bed and be quiet" face and informed them non too politely that it wasn't time to get up yet. I soothe the baby, cover her up and leave the room quietly.

"No talking, stay in bed, be quiet," I whisper.

I settle back in bed, finally fall asleep... and I hear talking.

Now, I'm really very unhappy. This time I go in with a stronger mom-isn't-happy face and smack a couple of bottoms. They were out of their bed again and talking and playing.

I repeat what I say before. Leave the room. I settle back in bed, finally fall asleep and... I hear talking.

"You have got to be freaking kidding me!"

This time I wake up the house with a very loud angry mommy voice and carefully placed swats. By this time the baby is standing in her crib fully disturbed and awake, but thank goodness she isn't crying.

"It's not light outside. You don't get up 'til daytime or until mommy says so!"

I lay the baby down, leave the room with a loud admonishment, slam my door (hey, one temper tantrum is allowed, right?) and I lay back down. By this time it's after 3 a.m.

I was supposed to get up at 6, I think. But I just couldn't get out of the bed. When I did get up I lingered through breakfast and coffee. (Yes, I had somewhere to be - had to take the baby to the sitter and get to my appointment -- that's 45 minutes away -- by 10 a.m.)

This is where the weight loss part comes in: I forgot to do my weekly weigh in. :D Had I not been so exhausted and grumpy when I got up I probably would have remembered. Really!

(As I was writing this I realized that a similar incident happened not too long ago and, you're in luck, I wrote about that one too. Read: I hear voices)

I rush through dressing, rush to dress the baby and comb her hair. I go in the children's room and I rudely wake them up. Yup, they had to get up... just 'cause they were tired from being up for hours didn't mean anything to me.

"Get up and go play or something!" I say.

I sit down on Amareah's bed to put the baby's shoes on. Stand up and feel my butt. "Why do I feel wet," I wonder aloud. I think, "Oh maybe I brushed against the sink in the bathroom."

But I feel really wet then it dawns on me. "Amareah! You peed the bed?!"

Oh my! I had to rush to change my clothes all the while fussing that they better be good while I'm gone or they were going to be in serious trouble.

"I don't have time for this... I don't believe this... Now, I have to change my shirt and I don't have a long-sleeved shirt to match these pants... Y'all better be good for Amber..."

By this time I was about 45 minutes late getting out of the house.

Oh well... at least I got my coffee.

And, I guess the health part of this is: Maybe I should calm down or, the other option, give my kids sleeping pills. (Please don't leave comments reprimanding me about the dangers of giving kids sleeping pills... I really was just kidding!)
If you want to read a health and weight loss journal that really talks about my health and weight loss, please click here. LOL... I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

If only they were really as sweet as they look here. Don't believe the hype! They are not as innocent as they look.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stylish gear for mother & baby

I've noticed there are a quite a few bloggers that are expecting children. I know it's a special time for them and their families, and they're probably thinking about all the things they need to get in preparation for their new addition. Especially if this is their first child.

There are Baby Clothes, Baby Furniture and Baby Bedding to consider. And it isn't as easy as it sounds, but if they shop at Chulamama they'll find everything they need. When I had my first child almost 18 years ago the choices for maternity wear, baby furniture and baby gear weren't very stylish -- well, in my opinion.

The color choices were yellow, pink or blue and maybe green. And the design choices included images of chubby babies, baby animals and Disney. I don't even want to talk about the maternity clothes - I still cringe when I think of the choices, but Chulamama has some very stylish, retro, must-have items for mother and baby.

It's definitely a place to consider shopping for mothers-to-be and the new additions to their families. In fact, if you have someone like that on your shopping list you should hop over there now and check them out.

For me?

Syari was so sweet to give me all of these awards... How wonderful is that? It's been quite awhile since I've received an award so I wanted to post them right away before I forgot.

I am awarding these to my Top Commentors:

Frankie (48)
Toni (43)
Sandra Carvalho (35)
Lin (30)
Tammy (27)
Tina (23)
Michelle (20)
DeeBee (18)
Jo (14)
Donna (13)

Happy Holidays!

Monday's Muse - I think I'm stuck

Today's prompt at Maternal Spark is "...tell me what's inspiring you this week. What are your plans for the new year?" Sadly, I don't feel particularly inspired. I think my inspiration has been a bit sporadic this week... For instance, I wrote a poem recently and I thought it was absolutely wonderful. (No, I don't think I'll share it with you because it was written for someone.) I've had some ideas for some creative stuff... Ah ha! That's it! It's not a what that's inspiring me this week; it's a who.

My BFF Frankie celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday (yes, I told your age!) and I have been doing small things in honor of such a wonderful occasion - and person. Thinking of him inspires ideas of how I can show him how much he means to me and that's been my creative focus for this month and through the rest of this week.

Ahhh... I feel much better now that I remembered I have been inspired.

Now, what are my plans for the New Year? I don't have any well-laid out plans, but - as always - my goal is to get a job, contract and/or make more money through large writing projects, blogging or magazine work. So every plan or goal or thought I have right now is centered around making more money. Not very creative (except for figuring out how to make money), but oh so realistic.
You can read more of my Monday's Muse posts... I promise they're a lot more creative than this one. Happy Monday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wanna see Celine?

If you're a fan of Celine Dion or just love great live entertainment, check out Celine’s Taking Chances World Tour. Her North American tour dates have been extended into February ’09 so take a look and see if she’s coming to your town. Celine’s concert tickets may just be the perfect gift for a friend, family member or yourself. See what the show is like here.

Experience Celine Dion

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