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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Contests, contests eveywhere!

Tis the season for giving and many wonderful bloggers are holding so great contests and giveaways. Here are three that I'm particularly partial to. Well, yes, because I am trying to get another entry by blogging about it, but also because I thought you find them interesting and want to enter yourself.

Crazy Adventures in Parenting
I was already in love with ladybugs, which is what I call my youngest daughter: my little ladybug. So when I saw the shoes that Lisa is giving away I knew I had to enter, and I really hope I win. They are adorable little ladybug shoes and Lisa has written an excellent post on how the company came about and how Oprah came to mention the shoes on her television show. Turns out that Suri (yes, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' daughter) absolutely loves ladybugs and the shoes are her favorite. Tom told Oprah and Oprah told the world!

You can read the entire story over at Crazy Adventures in Parenting, just click the link above.


Maternal Spark
I am an absolute journal, notebook and planner addict. (Yes, it seems like I have a lot of vices because I am also a magazine and book addict. Hmm? Maybe rehab is in order.) And is giving away a fabulous Sarah Pinto Weekly Planner. The cover choices are really nice and it's the perfect size to fit in a purse or diaper bag. You'll have to click on over to find out the details of how to enter. Click here link above.

Something Snappy
Dianne is having a birthday bash until December 21st and she's got a lot of great stuff to give away. The one I really like is the Manor Hill Soap Company prize a gift tote that has three full-size classic soap bars, each weighing a minimum of 3.5 ounces and wrapped in classic Manor Hall jackets in a reusable classy mesh gift tote. One large wooden soap deck with contours and holes for drainage and spa white washcloth.

Doesn't that sound great? Just click the Something Snappy link above to find out details on how to enter.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Murder, madness, money, mayhem...

On the Woman's Bookshelf

I have been reading some very good books lately. I recently finished reading the second book in Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it especially since I am reading it with my BFF Frankie. Now, I'm in the middle of reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, and I know I don't have to tell you how good that it. Seems like that book series and movie have taken on a life of its own and fans are growing by leaps and bounds.

Two other books on my just-read list are Child of Darkness Child of Light by Dennis Dufour and Dying for Revenge by Eric Jerome Dickey. Both books are exceptional reads. Dufour's book is a novel that delves inside the mind of a psychologically disturbed child and future serial killer.


Child of Darkness follows Detective Simon Reynolds as he pursues a serial killer who is leaving him sickening clues on his victims. In the meantime, Reynolds is fighting demons from his past that keep rising up in his nightmares. The author weaves this story in a way that forces you to keep reading in order to find out who will be victorious in the end. Will it be the good guy or the bad guy?

In Dickey's book, Dying for Revenge, one minute the main hit man Gideon shows us his good guy side as a tortured soul who is simply seeking the truth and trying to survive. And the next minute you see him as a savage killer who was trained to end another human life. But it's the uncertainty of such a dangerous business that ultimately betrays him resulting in a fight for his own life. Now it's the assassin who has a price on his head.

Things go sour when a client leaves out vital information regarding a hit Gideon is hired to do. He goes after the client who doesn't take kindly to being threatened. This high-powered politician involves Gideon in a cat and mouse game that always leads to a fight to the death.


Dying for Revenge is laced with enticing sex scenes, fast-paced drama, edge-of-your-seat action, unending suspense and all the mystery of a good read. But this is not surprising to me. Dickey is a New York Times Bestselling author and I have really enjoyed every book I've read of his. One of my favorites is Chasing Destiny (look it up and check it out when you get the chance), but I must admit that since I enjoyed Dying for Revenge so much I am going to have to go back and read the two books that I missed Sleeping with Strangers and Walking with Enemies.

If you liked this bookshelf moment as much as I hope you did then take a moment to browse some of my other Bookshelf columns.

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Tick tock, I want a grandfather clock

When I was growing up I remember seeing all kinds of different grandfather clock in people's homes, in museums or fancy offices. I used to think that I wouldn't mind having one because they were so fascinating and gorgeous. As I've gotten older my tastes have changed and I hadn't really considered a grandfather clock until I saw some of the modern ones at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com.

This Kieninger Cabriolet Grandfather Clock (pictured here) is absolutely fabulous and would look perfect in the foyer of my house. My dream house that is. It's contemporary and stylish, and it would fit the image I have of the living room that I want. You know the one that is perfectly decorated? We all have visions like that of the way we want our house to be and I think that 1-800-4-CLOCKS has a kind of grandfather clock that fits anyone's style and personality.

I am glad I don't have a grandfather clock that my soon-to-be ex-husband would want to keep. I didn't know that divorcing couples are also fighting over grandfather clocks. According to the Clocks Blog, who gets the clock in a divorce is a common dilemma. I don't think I could part with it especially if it's like the one that's pictured here or a Howard Miller grandfather clock.

Now that grandfather clocks have been modernized you can probably find one that you like too. I would love to hear which one is your favorite.
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Stylin' & talkin'

In this Woman's World

With four children I have to be creative about spending one-on-one time with each of them to talk to them, share with them, listen to them and enjoy each other outside of regular day-to-day activities. Last night I spent a lot of time fixing and styling Amareah's (my almost 4-year-old's) hair. After her sister took out the old braids and the beads, I washed her hair, blow dried it, re-braided it and had Amber help me put the beads back in.


This is the old hairstyle.

During all of this styling Amareah and I had an opportunity to talk. Here are some of the things I discovered about my middle daughter and a few of our conversations:

Mommy: Do you like living with mommy?

Amareah: Yes.

M: Do you want to live with daddy?

A: I want to live with both of you. Mommy?

M: Yes?

A: Sometimes people don't stay together?

M: Yes, sometimes.

A: Later.

M: Well, mommy and daddy won't be staying together at all.

A: Tomorrow?

M: No, not at all. Sometimes people can't stay together, but mommy and daddy love you, right?

A: Yes.

M: Do you remember when mommy and daddy were together?

A: No. I just want you to be.

M: Why do you want us to be together?

A: I don't know; I just feel it.

Now isn't that the most insightful thing a parent could find out about children. She was able to articulate that she didn't really know why she wanted it, but just that it was a feeling that she has. This daughter of mine has, in the past and continues to do so, shown a deep understanding of the world and how it works. When things are explained to her she understands and, if caught in the right mood, is okay with how things are going to work out. I am amazed and very proud of her.

On a lighter note, I learned that she would like her hair to be like one of the girls in her classroom and because I didn't understand how she was describing it, I asked her to show me the girl the next day at school. "She's sick," Amareah said.

"Oh, she's not at school."

"No. She told her mommy she's sick."

"Did she throw up?"

"I don't know if she threw up at her mommy's house."

This is the new hairstyle.

We also talked about healthy food that make you grow big and strong, and she shared with me the foods she likes. Sidebar: My children really like to eat so I have a good idea what her favorites are; however, I was surprised by this: "I like broccoli," she explained.

"Really?"

"Yea."

"What other foods do you like?"

"I like that brown stuff you put on bread."

"Peanut butter?"

"No, you know the brown stuff..." She gestured, shaped her hands and patted it on the "bread" that was on her hand.

I tried to get the teenager to interpret for me, but she guessed peanut butter too.

Finally, after asking her if she at it at school and finding out that she didn't I reviewed everything we put on sandwiches. "Turkey?!"

"Yea, turkey."

"Amareah, that's not brown that's tan."

"Oh okay, tan."

LOL... I did get a little laugh out of that and discovered that she likes the spinach leaves and cheese that I put on the sandwiches. She also likes to dance and thinks she may want to be a dancer when she grows up or a doctor.

It was such a sweet moment shared with my daughter and I am glad that I decided to interact with her instead of just focusing on hurrying to finish her hair. Nothing can replace spending quality time with her as she'll only be this age once.

So, that's what is going on in this woman's world. For my first In this Woman's World column, click here. And to read what I consider to be a very creative In this Woman's World column, check out what I think about passion here.

My beautiful, insight, intelligent young lady.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't miss this experience



Have you heard about the The Award-Winning Celebrity Audio Bible, The Bible Experience? If you haven't already heard it then you should take advantage of the free Nick Cannon clip available at The Bible Experience website by utilizing the exclusive download code: GEN3SPRK.

Cannon portrays Adam, but he isn't the only celebrity taking part in this awesome production. The Bible Experience is presented by an ensemble of almost 400 of today's award-winning actors, musicians, clergy, directors and producers as well ass original musical underscore by the Prague Symphony Orchestra and Hollywood-style sound design created at Technicolor Studios.

I once saw a promotion clip about The Bible Experience and it talked about how many of these celebrities were really moved by portraying their parts and the entire experience. They really got into what they were doing to present listeners with an authentic, entertaining and moving portrayal of the Bible.

This would be a great gift to get for someone on your holiday list, to share with your kids or simply to pass onto someone who you think will be inspired by it. I've heard that The Bible Experience is truly a magical product. Experience it today with your free download code.

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Will there be potty training success?

A few weeks ago my daycare provider told me that I should buy Anna Pull-Ups so she can begin potty training. I warily agreed and this week began the potty training process.

Two mornings ago when Anna woke up, I was about to change her diaper and noticed she was pretty dry. Since the potty chair was at the baby sitter's place I sat her on the toilet and held onto her. "Pee pee, Anna," I said sweetly.

She looked into the toilet.

"Put pee pee in the toilet."

She looked again while holding onto my arms. She shifted, closed her little feet and seemed to settle in. Then all of a sudden I heard some little trickles. Anna pee peed in the toilet!! Yippee!

I got her off and we clapped at what a big girl she was. I told her to flush the toilet and she did. I bragged to her siblings and her sitter. However, the entire time she had a pretty blank look on her face. Oh my, I thought.

Last night I brought the potty chair home and sat it in the bathroom then put her on it before I fixed dinner. She sat for a minute, but kept getting up. A few minutes later, I took off her clothes and put on a t-shirt that doesn't snap with a Pull-Up and kept sitting her on the potty off and on and she didn't pee.

As soon as I left her alone she peed in the Pull-Up. I gently told her no no and took it off, but I didn't put another one on nor did I put on a diaper. I let her walk around for a couple of hours bare butt and occasionally sat her on the potty, which I moved from the bathroom to the living room then to the office where I was working.

She didn't use the bathroom in the potty or on the floor. This morning when I got her out of the crib she was soaking wet. She had held her pee all night and waited until bedtime to release it all.

SIGH! I guess it isn't going to be as easy as I had hoped. I don't know why I thought any differently since potty training has always been somewhat of a nightmare for me.
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A turtleneck? LOL...

Although I was surprised by the results, I think the description does fit me.




You Are a Turtleneck Sweater



You are sophisticated, streetwise, and even a little cynical.

You are quite cultured, and you don't fall for gimmicks or trends easily.



You are naturally chic. You have a urban, cosmopolitan style.

And you know that the secret to looking good is not trying too hard!

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Get comfy, cozy in a new bed

I think one thing you should invest in when it comes to bedroom furniture is a good bed. Nothing beats a bed that is extremely comfortable, which assists in a good night's sleep, and one that is appealing to look at. I always love to look at the home magazines that feature well-decorated bedrooms with stylish beds that have coordinating bedding.

The bed I have now is comfortable and nice looking, but sometimes it is necessary to upgrade or replace what you currently have. Time4Sleep, which says they provide better sleep for less money, has a wide selection of beds in all sizes (from single to super king). I particularly like the divan beds, which have a distinct and fluid look to them. They also have antique-style, leather, upholstered, wooden and bunk beds - just to name a few.

I do not normally sleep very well so I was wondering if a new bed is the key to my restless nights (actually, it's probably just stress, but I am sure a new bed would help!) What type of bed are you sleeping in? Do you like it or are you ready for a new one? If you are, check out Time4Sleep and their huge variety of beds, mattresses, pillows and headboards.
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Frustrations...

My "husband" and I are trying to finish our divorce paperwork in a uncontested manner and there is one part that is holding us up. He wants to be able to restrict whether I move out of state. Well, he says that's not true. I can move if I want to, but I can't take the kids because he wants to see them when he wants to see them.

He'll say that he's only thinking of the children and that both of us being in their lives is important, but if I need to move to be able to take care of me and all my children then I could but I would have to leave the kids. What happened to both of us being important?

Then he'll say that he can't deal with the emotional thing of the children saying he took too long to see them or come and get them. When I say that has to do with you, not the children then he disagrees. I said, "Every time you say you can't do something or you don't want something then it's about you."

I hate this and I am so extremely frustrated. I mean I could have been a b*tch over the past year because of what he did to cause this entire situation. I haven't argued about his two tickets that I paid, about the $100 a month bill that he has from a car accident, the car insurance that I pay 'cause the car is in my name, the email account... I can freaking go on: holding his mail, storing his belongings and he can't freaking believe that I would do the right thing by him and the kids.

I am not trying to keep the kids from him I just wanna be able to take care of myself and ALL of my children. If I get a job in a different state then it could mean getting out of the poverty that I am in. I would be homeless if it wasn't for my BFF who takes care of the majority of my junk. I am so angry.

He just put Georgia on the stupid paperwork and won't even consider Tennessee or anything else nearby. So if I move I am going to the farthest point out in Georgia. He said if he can't take care of the kids then I can take them. He freaking always has to be in control.

I'm going to end this rant now because I am not even sure it is making sense. I am just angry, frustrated and at my wit's end with what I should do. Everything about the past six years of my life has been controlled and screwed up by him and I have allowed it. Now I have to reap what I sow for marrying him. If I never see him again it would be too soon.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take a look at your tummy

I don't know about you, but I often look in the mirror and long for the younger-looking body I once had. The one that I had about three children ago. Because I was so young when I had my first child (about 22), I didn't have any of the normal "problems" after giving birth. In fact, about a year later, although I wasn't quite as skinny, my stomach was relatively flat. Since I was 35 and older when I had my last three children my body hasn't bounced back quite so nicely.

That's why when I look in the mirror I always wonder what it would be like if I had tummy tuck surgery. This body reshaping procedure would take care of the saggy areas on my tummy as well as tighten my abdominal muscles that have been stretched from multiple pregnancies and weight loss. And I would say that's a definite benefit.

The procedure can be done one of two ways: a mini or full tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck involves making an incision in the lower abdomen and removing excess fat and loose skin. The full tummy tuck involves two incisions, one on the lower abdomen and one to remove the belly button. The muscles are tightened and stitched in place, the excess fat and skin are removed and a new belly button is created.

MYA (Make Yourself Amazing) Cosmetic Surgery has performed more than 100,000 cosmetic surgery procedures reportedly using the most experienced and skilled surgeons in the world. The practice offers affordable and flexible financial packages, but before you decide you can get a consultation, which they offer nationwide.

Having a tummy tuck is an option for men and women and it can assist you in raising your confidence level. Do you also think about having a tummy tuck? If so, then check out MYA Cosmetic Surgery to consider your options.
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Oh, what a day!

For some reason I have been extremely grouchy (on and off) for the past couple of days. It doesn't help matters much that it's rainy and cloudy here or that the baby has been having nice, little, loud temper tantrums. Not the throwing herself to the ground kind, but the screaming, crying, I-want-my-way kind.

Today, I got out of bed a little late and got everyone (the three youngest) and myself ready in less than an hour. I was just a little late getting the two middle children to headstart and only got a little wet getting them into the building. I proceeded to take the baby to the sitter and left there to go to the Department of Family and Children Services office. I wrongly assumed that because of the weather that there wouldn't be many people there.

When I walked toward the door I almost opened my mouth in shock at the line that was emerging from the door. I have never seen it like that before, but I should have known something was up when I had to wait to get a parking spot. I excused myself pass the people in line (they were waiting to get some paperwork) and walked into the room. I could not believe how many people were in there. Every chair was taken and people were lining the walls. It was hot and muggy, and everyone looked miserable.

I went up to window number three where I was supposed to go because I missed my original appointment, which was on one of the days when I was so sick. I was surprised that it didn't take as long as I thought it would to get my business taking care of and I left to find it raining buckets. I raced to my car, thankful that I had left the door unlocked and began my short journey home. As I drove I was thinking about what I would have for a snack.

The rain was pooling on the sides of the street, but no problem, I've driven in worse so it didn't bother me. I stopped at a traffic light and when it turned green I tried to make left turn and discovered that my power steering had went out. I looked down at the gauges because I thought that the car had stalled. Nope, it was running. I struggled to turn the corner and turned the wheel quickly back and forth when I was on the straightaway.

I simply sighed. Great, I thought, just something else to add to my bad mood. Luckily, I wasn't too far from home and I mentally counted the turns between where I was and the house. Another turn was coming up so I braced myself to turn. It was very difficult. I debated in my head whether to stop at the upcoming shop, a tire and brake place that has serviced my van before, and decided at the last minute to stop.

Getting into the turn lane presented a minor dilemma and I had two turns to go. I struggled to turn and safely made it into a parking spot. A little crooked, but stopped nonetheless.

When the guy asked can he help me, I said, "I hope so." I explained to him what happened and told him that he shouldn't charge me a lot of money.

Two hours later... I am cold, tired and hungry waiting for them to finish up. (Luckily I had my book, Twilight, with me.) Finally, he tells me that a belt popped off and they have no idea why. Lucky for me the belt was under warranty because I had had them installed there a few months ago. (Yippee!!) They test the van, drive it and still can't figure out why a perfectly good belt just popped off.

I am just glad -- and thankful -- that I didn't have to spend any money (given that everything is so tight and it is the holiday season!). I am also glad that even though I was grumpy I didn't get upset and everything worked out fine.

I won't even mention the to-do list that didn't get finished or the house that didn't get cleaned. Hey, why tempt fate with a complaint?
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Wordless Wednesday - Pure joy!



For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Goals on the horizon

My health and weight loss journal

I guess I shouldn't brag too much, but I have to say I lost a few more pounds. I was up to about 174 (gasp!), which was a 4 pound gain, and now I am down to 165. I think I lost a little weight before my recent bout with the stomach flu so I'm not going to try and fool you with a bunch of malarkey about how I've been working out and eating right. I was eating okay and then I got the stomach flu, which assisted me in relieving myself of some (turn up nose here) yucky fluids.




Even though my eating has been okay I have kind of slacked off on using my Sensa, the weight-loss system that uses Tastants to curb your appetite. I didn't slack off on purpose, I just kept forgetting. Seems kind of weird because I was doing so well with it. Actually I think I just got tired of shaking stuff on all of my food. I'd have to say that's the only downside, but if it's something that really works for you then you should probably keep it up.

If you're interested in trying Sensa then you can get a 15 percent discount on any order and free ground shipping. Just use the code ROCKETXL at checkout.

As far as my health goes, the medicine regimen that I am on for my fibromyalgia has really been helping. My doctors have changed the medicine, adjusted the medicine and recently added a mild sleep aid. We'll see how that works. I think that if I were getting more quality sleep then I can be more productive during the day. (I know you know what I mean.)

As I mentioned, the stomach flu is behind me but my stomach is still feeling a little bit, uh, funny - for lack of a better word. That feeling is definitely keeping me from random eating so that coupled with my renewed commitment to Sensa, and I should reach my weight-loss goal (15 pounds to go!) very soon.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Meet My Friends Monday

My friend Toni has started a neat meme (is that the right word?) and I think I will try to participate when I can. The purpose of this is to introduce everyone to blogs you like to visit. I am going to randomly choose from my blog roll so you never know who I am going to highlight next. I also think this is a great way to visit blogs that you haven't stopped by in awhile, update your blog list and make new friends.

In the future I may do some interview questions so we can get a more personal look at the bloggers I highlight on Meet My Friends Monday, but today I am going to do a synopsis. Let me know if you're going to participate and don't forget to go by Toni's place at It is nap time to sign Mr. Linky. (In case you're wondering I haven't figured out Mr. Linky yet so that's why I don't use it. :D... don't laugh at me.)

Today, meet my friend Farah at Apples of The Eye. One of the best things I like about Farah is hearing about her life and family. She has a wonderful family and two absolutely beautiful children. In fact, her youngest, Princess Daryn, is around the same age as my Anna and it's funny reading about how someone else is going through some of the same things with their children.

Farah, who lives in Malaysia, is such a sweet blogger who shares her life. She lets us in on her travels, activities and always highlights everything with lots of wonderful pictures.

Now, I would say that you should just pop on by to visit her, but I think she has switched her blog to private. Maybe if you ask nicely in a comment here she'll grant you access.

So, why did I tell you about Farah if you can't just hop over and meet her? Because I think she is a beautiful person and I am glad we have become blogging friends.
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Colic remedies for your baby

I'm sure you've heard the stories just like I have of babies who cry uncontrollably. New parents, and old for that matter, are often at their wits end as to what to do. A lot of times these parents have been blessed with a baby who is suffering from colic.

Babies suspected to have colic normally go through long periods of irritability or crying for no reason. If this is happening then parents may also notice these symptoms: long periods of vigorous crying that occur at the same time; inconsolable; abrupt end to crying; exhibiting signs of gas and bloating as well as sleeplessness.

ColicCalm.com offers great tips on what to do for colicky babies. Among their six suggestions for helping babies get over colic is the use of gripe water. Colic Calm is the First Homeopathic Gripe Water. In fact, when my second child was born someone suggested that we use gripe water because of gas issues and I have heard that it's a tried and true method that has been used for many years.

Don't take my word for it, check out this colic video for proof. If you or someone you know has an infant who may have colic, have them check out Colic Calm for tips, suggestions and colic cures.
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Monday's Muse - Something new?

In last week's Monday's Muse, I mentioned that I would share with you some ideas I have. I mean, what is a muse but a fuel to ideas, right?

One of the ideas is to make jewelry and sell it in an Etsy shop. Now, I don't profess to be all that creative and knowledgeable about jewelry making, but I've made a few pieces for myself and thought that others might like some of the same.

Instead of jumping right into it, I am bringing my idea to you. Take a look at the few pieces I've made and tell me what you think. As usual, your input is greatly appreciated. :)

This was the first thing I made... just a basic red and white bracelet. I added a little dangly thingy (yup, that's right, I don't know any of the correct terms) because I like the way it looks.

I really like how this necklace turned out. It's delicate yet sophisticated with clear and marble-like beads along the sides. I don't know what the pendant is, but each one was unique. And I love that type of closure; I think it looks fancy and it's easy to put on.
This is my absolute favorite. It's the third piece I made and I modeled it after one I saw in a shop. The necklace is leather with the chain droppy thingy ending in beads that are a similar shade to the flat disks in the front and the stone (rock?). That stone is fabulous, don't you think? I used some straight pole thingies to separate everything.
What do you think? Give me your honest opinion. Besides my needing to educate myself on what everything is called and the techniques used, do you think I should trying selling jewelry to make extra money?

That's what my muse has been up to - trying to think of new ways to make money and support myself and my children.

For more Monday's Muse check out Maternal Spark.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Finally feeling better

I am happy to report that I am feeling so much better. After four days of sickness, I am no longer releasing nasty stuff from my body and the weakness is slowly going away. Also, I am not as dizzy and I am even eating a little something. The stomach flu is a nasty little thing. For me, it's worse than regular flu.

Thanks to everyone who left comments expressing well wishes. I hope to be able to visit you all soon.




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Time for a Tooth Whitening System

I am not even going to tell you how long it's been since I have been to the dentist. (It's pretty embarrassing!) I know I need to get my teeth professionally cleaned, but I try to take good care of them in the meantime. Since I drink a fair amount of coffee and indulge in dark chocolate I figured it's time to find somewhere where I can do a quickTooth Whitening System. Have you ever tried one?
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