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Friday, March 27, 2009

Toe-tapping, heart-touching tunes

I've been tapping my foot for about the last 20 minutes and, to be honest, I'm quite surprised. This is the fourth time I've listened to the Ballas Hough Band's CD, BHB, which is their debut album released by Hollywood Records. During my first listen the sound interrupted my work for about 10 minutes before it blended into the background and easily fueled my work. I'm not normally a fan of pop/rock, but this CD has me tapping my foot and re-evaluating my music choices.



The Ballas Hough Band CD, which was released March 10th, has a subtle yet soulful sound with words that touch your heart and your mind. Of the 11 songs, I think my favorites are "Do You Love Me," "Longing For" and "Fall." According to what I've read about the song "Longing For" it has "intricate guitar-work, wistful harmonies, tug-at-your-heartstrings melodies and lyrics that read like the love letter every girl dreams of." Now that's what I call a good song.

Members of the band are "Dancing with the Stars" favorites Mark Ballas and Derek Hough on vocals and guitar, Emily Grace on keyboards and vocals, bassist Sam Marder and drummer Harry Sullivan. These are five artists you'll definitely want to take a listen to.

You can take me word for how great it is or you can buy a copy for yourself. Once you do, be sure to come back here and let me know what you think.

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Blessings Abound's bracelet blessing/giveaway


Blessings Abound is giving away a Twisted Silver Aurora Bracelet for Giveaway Pool Friday. If you haven't seen Twisted Silver's jewelry you really should check them out at Twisted-Silver.com. They have unique and beautiful pieces. I've viewed their collection a couple of times and there are quite a few things that I wouldn't mind having.

Head on over to Blessings Abound to see how you can enter this fabulous giveaway.
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Free speech?

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Let me think...

As far as I can tell there isn't one creative thought in my head today. I'll just blame it on the rainy day drowsiness that is lurking around. It's a sneaky little monster that keeps creeping up when I least expect it.

I even wandered around the house looking for something that would spark an idea and that I thought would be of interest to you. Maybe you wouldn't mind seeing my dirty coffee pot...

Or the two middle children's responsibility chart that I haven't taken the ... uh, responsibility for keeping up with...
Then there's the laundry room that is literally overflowing with clothes - both clean and dirty. Almost every time I walk into this room I am a little overwhelmed so I just walk back out. I must admit that it's not the best approach to getting the laundry completed...
I straightened up my magazines. The pile in the back are the ones I haven't started looking at yet, the pile in the front are those I've already began reading and I also haven't read the two Jet magazines. (There are also two or three magazines, including another Jet, in my bedroom.)
There are some unreal (I don't like to call them fake. LOL) flowers in a vase on my desk. The vase has some little secrets in it, but I didn't think you'd want to hear about that either...
I thought about telling you about all of the clothes on my teenage daughter's bed, but then that wouldn't be fair given the amount of dirty clothes on my bed that I am not telling you about.
Then I thought about asking you if you had any ideas (that don't require buying anything) to fix the window covering in the children's room. I had the blinds secured so that they covered the top half of the window, but the children pulled them down. There was fabric on the bottom half - yellow on the inside and black on the outside - and the kids started pulling that out as well. They also yanked down a vine of sunflowers that surrounded the window. It's hard to explain, but it looked rather nice.
And while I am revealing what the children have been up to, I might as well tell you about this. I took these drawers, where the children keep some of their toys, and put them in the hallway because the baby was using them as steps while she was in her crib. Well, one day they decided to open all of the drawers at once and it fell over, which somehow caused one of the wheels to break. Now, the wheel-less drawer thingy is permanently stranded in the hallway.
Then I was looking through my camera and found pictures of my teenager who wiggled down the hallway on her belly one night because the baby wasn't asleep and was looking into the hallway. Every time she saw someone pass by the door she would whine and cry. It took Amber about 10-15 minutes to get to her room; it was quite funny.


I still feel like I'm missing that spark of inspiration, but as I review this post and see it's about everyday happenings I realize that this is representative of a lot of what goes on in this woman's world. It may not be that creative and I'm still quite drowsy, but I entertained you a little, right?

I hope you have a creative, un-drowsy and inspiring weekend. :)
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

For the love of sales

This is one of those deals you don't want to miss: From now until April 18th Sears is offering 75-80 percent off original prices on all Fall and Winter apparel. The best time to buy items for the colder seasons is now while they are on sale, and that is especially important given the increased necessity to spend wisely.

Besides the cute little Southpole Juniors Long Sleeved Sweater that I spotted there are tons of clothing for the entire family at Sears. I thought the sweater would be perfect for my oldest daughter when she goes to college next year. It was originally at $42 and is now $9.99. Now, that's the kind of deal I like.


If you need clothes for work, school clothes for your kids, weekend or casual wear, a sale like this is the ideal time to find everything you need. Do not waste anymore time thinking about it, pop by Sears.com or head on out to your favorite Sears store right now to take advantage of these awesome deals. Who knows, you may see me there. Happy money-saving shopping and, when you’re finished come back here and tell me what you purchased.
Click Here

Besides finding sales like this one at Sears, what advice do you have for others on saving money?
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Relunctant rise, sneaky sun

Getting out of the bed this morning took every single piece of effort and strength that I had. I moaned and groaned like a child being forced to take a nasty-tasting medicine. I could hear the rain drip dropping on the roof and feel the damp chill in the air.

Nevertheless I still had to roll out of bed. Despite my best intentions to get up at 5:30, it was 6 o'clock. Shuffling into the bathroom to take care of my business and splash cold water on my face did little to improve my morning mood. However, once I started popping green grapes (my favorite!) into my mouth, fixing the children's breakfast and brewing coffee, I at least felt a little human.

Being a little human is exactly what is needed when one has to spend time with a bunch of little people. Remember two weeks ago when I went on a field trip with my 5-year-old son's class to the library? Well, today was the field trip with my 4-year-old daughter's class to the same library.

I dropped off the baby first and rushed to get the two middle children to school. Since we were a little late I had to take my daughter to the restroom because she missed the time that they go as a class. When she was finished she said, "You're not leaving, are you?"

The brightness in my heart to know that she enjoys having me around during the day made it seem like the sun was brilliantly shining. Especially since I had just spent most of the day at her school on Tuesday during Male Involvement Day.

After helping to clean up breakfast stuff, singing & dancing, doing the morning work and another trip to the restroom, we were finally ready to board the buses for the field trip. (The adventures of boarding the bus is an entirely separate story!)

We arrived for story time a little late, but the children were still able to hear about a story about a kite. Yea, that's all that I know because I had to keep an eye on the children, as one of the chaperons, and I kept losing track in the story. After story time we gathered at a table to help the children make their own kites. (Seems to be the theme of the week, huh?)

While I did help some of the other children with their little projects, I spent most of my time talking to and working with Amareah. And I couldn't resist decorating my own kite. My little girl and I had fun talking about the colors we would use and where we wanted the bows and glitter.


Notice how my kite (on the left) is sporting red glitter lipstick... and Amareah's kite has some lovely mascara-ed eyelashes. She had so much fun decorating the kites that she wants to add more glitter details to her kite at home.


On the return trip, Amareah said she didn't want to go back to school because she wanted to come home with me. When I said she couldn't do that, she said she wanted me to stay at the school with her. Not only did my heart shine brightly this time, but I could hear a little song coming through the clouds.

Aren't we cute? We enjoyed sitting next to each other on the bus back to the school. And, you'll be proud to know, this sometimes impatient mommy didn't even flinch at Amareah's whining about staying with me for the rest of the day.

It's nice to realize that a cloudy, dreary day can still be filled with sunshine and singing birds. Did you see the sunshine today?
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Perfect house plans

I have been careful about my daydreams lately. Given the economy and my personal circumstances, I don't want to spend time visualizing things that may be unrealistic. However, we all know, a good dose of dreaming can do a soul some good.

Today I decided that a good way to dream would be to take a look at a couple of house plans. I am always thinking about what type of home I want to provide for my children and the necessary amenities that the five of us will need. And as my oldest daughter grows up to begin her own life, I think about the type of home I would want her to come home to visit and spend some downtime.

I went to www.HousePlansandMore.com to get an idea of what a search would come up with if I put in my preferences. Imagine my surprise when the parameters I entered - five bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and a minimum and maximum square footage - turned up one of the types of house I've pictured in my head in the past.

The house, which I believe is one of the country house plans, is beautiful. It has a front porch that spans the entire front of the house and a covered porch in the back, and those are two features I really love. There are nine foot ceilings on the first floor and the kitchen is large with an over-sized island.

The site also includes easy-to-follow information on how to alter your chosen house plans. I may go back later and change my parameters to find the "perfect" house to build. Although I was just doing a little dreaming, I did get to test out this site and found that you can search for just about any type of house plans you want (like a ranch house plan), learn how much it would cost to build that particular house in your area and save your plans for future reference.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Parties, webcasts & more ... oh my!

Oh my!
It seems like I've already been swamped this week and it's only Tuesday. I guess it just feels that way since I started off the week without Internet thanks to some Internet Explorer drama.

My three younger children came home after a weekend with their dad so they were extra talkative and extra disobedient. My teenager had Calculus tutoring early yesterday evening so it's a little difficult to keep the children occupied and quiet during that time. And today was Male Involvement Day at the younger children's school and we flew kites. Yes, I was at Male Involvement Day because not only is it a day to encourage men in the children's lives to participate in their education, but I am the Parents Committee chairperson and I've been trying to be more active.

This evening is another tutoring session for the teen and I've been clicking away trying to catch up on everything. I've even had time for partying...

Join the party
The Ultimate Blog Party is still going on over at 5 Minutes for Mom. Have you gotten in on the action yet? If not then you're missing tons of great giveaways and the chance to meet a lot of new friends. Oh, if I haven't mentioned it before, you don't have to be a blogger to get in on the fun and win some loot.

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

I'm participating in the party fun by visiting new friends AND giving away a copy of Randy Petrick's book "Money Games" as well as a Baby Signs® Potty Training Complete Starter Kit. Not too long ago I posted information about those giveaways so just read I love to party! to find out exactly what to do.

For UBP first-time visitors, let me tell you a little about myself and this blog. This is a fun place where you will read about my sometimes crazy and often interesting life with my four children ages 17, 5, 4 and a little bit about my pending divorce. I write about health and weight loss issues (mine and others!), compose creative posts (like Monday's Muse) and generally try to provide entertaining, enlightening and educational information.

I've been blogging for almost three years even though I said I've been blogging for one year on a webcast I was interviewed on Sunday evening...

Did you see me?
Just two days ago I was interviewed on NewRoadsVideo about my writing and editing services, my blogs (I have another one called From Toddlers2Teens) and about writing in general. I was so nervous that I was fidgeting under the table.


The few people who saw it said I did well, and since it was my first time I am not going to be too hard on myself except to say I wish I had sat up straighter. LOL.

Don't despair if you missed it; you still have a chance. Watch it by clicking here: Petula on NewRoadsVideo.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Internet Explorer drama

Although I spend a lot of time on the computer and think I am fairly proficient at using it, the technical side often gets the best of me. Because of that, I seldom bother with new programs and software without asking my best friend who is a real-life computer nerd.

On Saturday night, after a few hours of work and with a very tired brain, I saw a link on my browser to download Internet Explorer 8. I checked to see what version I had and with the thought that I was being proactive, I clicked and downloaded it. After the process was complete it restarted, but I was ready to go to bed so I shut down and turned. And, I must add, I was feeling quite pleased with myself.

The next day, I tried to get on the Internet, but it wouldn't load. I had an excellent wireless connection, but IE8 wasn't working. I immediately called my BF and we tried un-installing to go back to IE7 with no luck.

My BFF tried helping me by IMing IE7 to see if it would load correctly - to no avail. He suggested different solutions, but we still couldn't find the problem.

Then I IMed (yup, that was working fine) a computer guru who has helped me before. When he finally got in touch with me he couldn't figure out it out either. He tried IMing FireFox to me, (no, I didn't have it) but the transfer kept failing.

So we met today and he loaded FireFox and THANKFULLY I am back online... I'm way behind in work and whatnot. (Did you notice that I haven't done Monday's Muse today?) I haven't gotten the chance to tell you how the Webcast went or had the chance to blog hop and comment.

Well, at least I'm back and you know I'm trying to catch up on everything. I hope your weekend online activities went smoother than mine.
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