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

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Remote computer access

I have a friend (actually my oldest daughter's godfather) who is a self-taught computer geek. We both live in Georgia, but he's two hours away from me. When I have problems with my computer he's able to access it from where he is using remote desktop software.

This type of software allows one computer to access or control another one through the Internet. So when my friend accesses my computer he can troubleshoot, access files or data and collaborate with me on whatever I am complaining about. I have found it to be a really convenient way to get my computer worked on and I don't have to worry about taking it somewhere to get it looked out.

Nowadays companies that work on computers of course have the same type of capabilities. The remote desktop software is a business-oriented service that is secure. One of the best things I like about software like this is I don't have to be sitting at my computer for him to access it. He can see the computers in the house that are available in my network and any number of tasks.

Imagine having this set up in your office. With this software you can also have your tech team remotely accessing the computers under your charge without the operator knowing it. Whether it's for security reasons or to keep from bothering someone who is working.

This remote access software has 256-bit encryption, which is the highest in its class. I love a service and product like this, and if I had a large network of computers it would definitely be the type of software I would use to maintain performance and reliability of my systems.
SHARE:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Excited children, tired adults, crazy teens

Today was one of those Fridays where I just kind of went with the flow. Last night I remembered (was reminded?) that I was supposed to go with the daycare children to Maxx Fun, an indoor family entertainment center with rides, games, etc. Most people know that I don't like to go anywhere like that unless my mind is ready. Meaning: I have gotten myself prepared for the noise, the questions, the repeating myself, helping little people, being tired and hungry, etc.

Since I forgot, I didn't really get my mind right, but I went along with a good attitude because I knew I would have fun talking to and hanging out with Kellie (who I think of as a sister!). I was running late, got in the car and realized the teenager didn't let me know I was on "E" (She used the van all day yesterday) and proceeded on my way.

After picking up the field trip money from the children's dad, arriving at Kellie's, getting everyone to use the restroom, deciding to go back home and get Amber, stopping to get gas... we finally made it to our destination. The children had a ball! They enjoyed the rides, played the games and climbed through the tunnel, ball, slide thingy.

The teenagers tackled every game in their effort to gain as many tickets as they could. They laughed, teased, dragged and chased (me when I grab some tickets and ran!). By the time Kellie said we were ready to go I was tired, but happy.

One of the most exciting things about the day was the fact that Anna (you know, my 2 year old) wore panties the entire day and did not have an accident. She went from a potty training no go to an expert overnight. I am so proud, but I'll have to tell you more about that later. (If you're interested in my potty training adventures then click here.)


We took the kids to McDonalds for lunch and made the trip home. I didn't get any pictures of the teens or anything else... as you can see my mind seems to be a little off 'cause this post is kind of rambling and thrown together.

Enjoy the pictures though! LOL
SHARE:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Help for back pain

Spending so much time on my computer causes my back to hurt. Normally I try to take a break as often as I can, but I've learned that there are back exercises that can help to reduce back pain.

Back2Yourself.com has great pictures and instructions for doing the exercises. And it's more than pictures; it also includes video instruction, progress tracking and professional support.

If you have trouble with back pain then check out Back2Yourself.com, they offer a free trial and free access to exercise pages. The actual program includes daily routine with video play list and there's a lot more than just a list of exercises.
SHARE:

I kinda miss TV

I think I mentioned not too long ago that there's a ghost in my television. Well, I guess it's not a ghost... the TV has decided to die.

More than two months ago the television started turning off on its own. It happened one day when I was home alone and I thought it a little odd, but I figured it was a fluke. It came back on and I didn't think nothing else about it until a few weeks later when Amber was watching it.

Suddenly I heard her say, "Hey!"

"Oh, did the TV go off? I forgot to tell you about that. It happened to me the other day."

It started off happening once every two weeks, then once a week, then a few times a week, a few times a day... now it turns on and off so fast I can't even sneak in 45 minutes of a show that I've recorded on DVR. It won't let you turn it off anymore so I keep it on the DVR menu, which goes to a screen saver, so that the noises of television don't scare us to death.

It is now very annoying.

Not only that, but I record all the shows I like to watch and sit down during my lunch or whenever the kids aren't around and I have a moment to become engrossed in a show in peace. It's not something I do often, but when I do it I really enjoy it.

I have quite a few electronic things around here that have decided not to work and I was thinking of posting them for sale on CraigsList as parts. I'm sure there's a techno gadget geek person out there that needs part for an old exercise bike that lost its tension, a couple of TVs that don't work, some computer parts and whatever else I find that is supposed to run on electricity.

In the meantime, maybe I can find my favorite shows online. As if I don't spend enough time here. :)
SHARE:

Secure your home

There is more than one way to maintain home security, but one of the best and most common ways is to get a security system. Quortek offers home monitoring systems from ADT Security, which is one of the popular systems used by consumers.

We don't want to take chances on our or our families safety so be sure to find the home monitoring system that works best for you.
SHARE:

Sibling interactions

Two peas in a pod. Don't they look sweet and innocent? Don't let them fool you.

As most people know I have four children; three girls and a boy. Although my girls can kick up some drama, my boy is the most emotional of them all. Unfortunately the sister who is closest to his age plays into this.

A typical conversation between them could go like this:

"Amareah, the sky is blue," Andre says.
"Hmmm, no it's yellow," she'll respond mischievously.

Now as soon as I hear the beginning of this conversation I know that she's about to aggravate him. Sometimes she does it because she's trying to get back at him for something he did to her and other times she is just being a little ... uh... mean.

The conversation continues:

"No, it's blue," he says with his voice slightly rising.
"It's yellow," she says with the calmest voice I've ever heard.

"Blue!" Now he's raising his voice.
"Nope, yellow."

"BLUE!!!" He screams at the top of his lungs, tears brimming.
"Yellow," she insists, still calm, while slowly backing away from him.

I think they are so adorable when they're getting along (LOL). Here they are during international day at their headstart this past school year. They're only 15 months apart in age.

Now he's screaming incoherently, flailing around, throwing himself to the floor, pounding his fists and all sorts of unpleasantness. Most of the time we - me and my three daughters - just sit there and look at him. Sometimes we're trying not to laugh. And other times I wait until he's calmed down some and send him to his room to get himself together.

Later I'll talk to him about ignoring his sister, not letting her get to him and remembering that she's doing it on purpose. Has that worked? Nope, not yet.

Then I'll talk to Amareah about instigating, antagonizing and being mean to her brother. That hasn't worked either. I'm sure eventually they'll leave each other alone, but until then I'll play referee sometimes. Mostly, I wait to see if they're going to work it out on their own - whatever their disagreement is - and they haven't permanently hurt each other yet.

I love when they pose nicely together.

What's amazing is how they act like they can't live without each other. Right this moment they're eating their snack and having a conversation about ... well, I have no idea what about 'cause I don't understand. I think it's a story they've made up.


They will cry for each other, pout if the other isn't around or bug me to no end about each other. But then there are those moments when I hear some tussling, screaming and yells for help and I pretend like I don't hear a thing. I've heard this is normal sibling interactions so I don't worry too much. I just make sure the toddler gets out of the direct line of fire.
SHARE:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ouch, yuck!

I have been a little itchy lately. It's not anything new... sometimes I itch when I'm anxious or when something is bothering me. I often don't even realize when I am doing it. Sometimes I itch when I am grossed out like when talking about critters or yucky skin ailments. Lately, I've been feeling itchy and scratching because I have a couple of bug bites.

Well, as I sit here knowing that I need to shut down and turn in, I've been wiggling and scratching. All of a sudden I feel pain and burning on my right wrist. I look down and I am immediately grossed out. I have scratched the skin off of a small burn. It must have started itching because it was healing and I scratched it (repeatedly!) unconsciously.

I had forgotten all about the burn. I didn't think it was that bad. Now I know I need to go to bed. Thanks to my compulsive scratching I'll have to add cleaning the burn to my bedtime routine.

G'nite. Sleep well.
SHARE:

Finding the best wrinkle cream

I'm always searching for skincare products that work fabulously on my skin. I've gotten many compliments over the years so I continue to try to keep my skin in prime condition. That's why when I find the Best Wrinkle Cream I'll be sure to share it with you.
SHARE:

Not gonna bite my tongue

I am going to try to make this as non-vent like as I can, but if I seem to go off on a tangent please excuse me. I've been stewing on this subject for quite some time and had decided to let it go, but it was a comment left on one of my posts today that really bugged me.

The comment I'm referring to was worded very nicely. It was neither disrespect nor rude, but I did think there was an underlying judgment. In a nutshell it said, 'I came by to see what's going on with your life, but it's nothing but advertisements.'

It was left on a paid post and directly under that is a few product reviews. I want to make something very clear: 99 percent of the product and books I review are done because I want to do them. Every product and every book I have reviewed I either requested it from the public relations person, the author, happened upon it myself or accepted it from a program that inquired as to whether I'd be interested. The only "perk" I get is the privilege to try the products for free. I am not paid to do so.

Reviewing stuff is something I absolutely love to do. It's a part of this woman's life. I am a journalist by trade and education, and I have worked as an editor in the magazine industry. When I found out I could do this on my own without having to work full time for a magazine I jumped at the chance. (I did the same with travel writing awhile back.) Not only do I give honest opinions, but I think that the products I talk about are ones I think those who read my blog are interested in. For the most part.

Secondly: I write paid posts because that's the only steady income I have. I am a single mother going through a divorce and raising four children on my own. Currently, I get NO financial assistance from my children's fathers. Once again I love to write and if I find a paid post that interests me and brings in some dough then I must - and like - to do it.

That brings me to the last thing. I have noticed that comments have dwindled (well, they were never that high) since I've been doing more paid posts. Should I stop because for some reason folks are offended by them? I think not. When I go to a "friend's" blog and they have paid posts I comment if I'm interested, sometimes I comment if I'm not interested, I generally non-judgmentally respect their decision to write what they deem fit on their blog and I wouldn't dream of making a comment about them that could hurt their feelings. Regardless of how nicely it was worded.

Those who think the paid posts and reviews are wrong; I respect that opinion. But unless you are supporting my household or something then it would be nice if you kept your damn opinion to yourself.

Yup, you guessed it, I just had to get that off of my chest. If you took the time to read this and put up with my little bit of venom, "Thank you!"
SHARE:

Wordless Wednesday: Little shopper



Take a look at my other Wordless Wednesday photos then hop on over to 5 Minutes for Mom where there are more Wordless Wednesday participants.
SHARE:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Win a HP 550 Notebook (yup, that's a laptop folks)

From July 15 to September 15 Charter is giving away an HP 550 Notebook 15-inch with Windows Vista and a NeoTec Compu Backpack. And according to their site, it isn't just one - it's one a day!

Charter is following up on the success of their HDTV-A-Day Sweepstakes with this new promotion: Laptop-a-Day Sweepstakes. The contest is planned for the student or businessperson who is always on the go and needs a laptop for easy mobility.

B2sbanner

You could also win free gift cards ranging in value from $25 to $100 with special online deals. Winning one of those gift cards would be great because it's just in time for back-to-school shopping. The cards are from major retailers in clothing, home and accessories, restaurants and more.

But you're not going to win anything if you don't visit Charter.com/laptop to register today. While you're there read the complete rules, get a list of winners, check out details on the notebook computer and much more.

To keep up with what's going on with them you can become of fan of Charter on Facebook or follow Charter on Twitter.

Post?slot_id=42172&url=http%3a%2f%2fsocialspark
SHARE:

Relastin Eye Silk Update, neuLash eyelash technology - product reviews

Most people who know me know that I am a skincare, lotion, cream fanatic. I like to try new products (well, any product for that matter) and my nighttime routine consists of cleansing, moisturizing lotion, lip conditioning, putting cremes around my eyes, putting vitamin E oil on my cuticles (toes and fingers) and applying foot lotion.

Yes, I really do all of that. That's why when I get the opportunity to test or review a product I always jump at the chance. Here I'm going to update you on two of the products I've already told you about and reveal some results of a new product I've been trying: neuLash® active eyelash technology.

First, the updates:

It was on or about June 23rd that I told you about Revitalift® Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair from L'Oreal Paris®. I'm almost finished using my sample (I ran out of the SPF 15 Day Lotion), but I still have some Night Creme. The best part: I'm pleased with the results.

I began using the product on April 13 and I think it has worked to its complete ability on my skin. I had fine lines that I wanted to minimize and increase my "youthful appearance." The Revitalift helps to repair deep-set wrinkles and you should notice results in about eight weeks.

More than likely I'll continue to use the Night Creme as a part of my skincare routine, but I prefer a day lotion that has more SPF protection.

The Relastin Eye Silk is reportedly the "first product proven to increase elasticity and decrease the signs of aging around the eye," and - like I mentioned in a previous post - a September 2006 study reported that the eye silk also decreases dark circles under the eyes after about four weeks.

Given the amount of rest and sleep I normally get I think the product has done all it can do on my dark circles. I noticed a difference almost immediately. More than likely I'd have continued using the product anyway because it feels so great going on. It has a silky, smooth feeling during application along with a light, pleasant fragrance.

Now for the new review:

I was really excited when I read about neuLash® active eyelash technology, which is touted as a product that can extend the life of your lashes while allowing them to appear fuller and thicker versus a prescription drug. I have very fine, short lashes and I had to see this for myself.

On July 1st, I began using neuLash®. It's in a tube that's similar to mascara and the wand (an eyeliner-like applicator) is a small brush. You apply it by sweeping the product along the base of your upper lashes. I was a little nervous when I first applied it because it felt wet and I thought it would run into my eyes, but it didn't. After the first application - it's applied nightly - I looked forward to the damp, cool feel of the neuLash. It's quite soothing.

When I look in the mirror it appears that my lashes are thicker and longer, but proof is in the photos so I'm going to compare them right now: When I post them it'll be the first time I check out the results (along with you).


The first three photos were taken on July 1st. (Thanks to a rough night of sleep you're getting a nice view of a couple of bags under my eyes!)

The next three were taken today. (BTW: Please ignore my eyebrows! I am always trying to grow them out so I can get them shaped nicely. It's a never-ending cycle!)

I must admit I don't see a difference, but it could just be the quality of the pictures and the fact that they aren't the same as the before ones. What do you think? Do you see a difference?
You'll have to forgive the bad picture taking. It's a little difficult getting pictures of your own eyelashes.

I'm going to continue using neuLash until it is gone because I want to ensure that I'm giving it an adequate chance to do its magic. And it can't hurt because it offers maximum protection for lashes by delivering proteins, vitamins, peptides as well as moisturizing and rejuvenating ingredients that replenish and strengthen. For some, you'll see results in two weeks with maximum results in eight weeks so I have a few more weeks to see if it'll make a difference. neulash can also be used on the eyebrows.

According to president and CEO of Skin Research Laboratories, Richard Carieri, the product has been proven to be ophthalmologist and dermatologist safe through extensive research.

Although the cost seems a bit pricey to me, at $150, it's more economical than a prescription drug and contains about a three-month supply. The average daily cost for neulash is $1.67 per day whereas a prescription would cost about $4 per day for just a one-month supply.

To learn more about it, check out Neulash.com or visit Saks Fifth Avenue to try it out for yourself.
SHARE:

Diet, weight loss

Although I spend a lot of time thinking about my weight, counting calories and trying to lose weight, I have never used any type of weight loss supplement or weight loss plan. I've thought about it, but have never had the nerve - or the money - to pursue it.

One of the things I like to make for myself the most - when I'm not being lazy - is a smoothie. I add healthy ingredients like wheat germ, frozen fruit, fresh fruit, blackstrap molasses, flax seed, honey and occasionally other ingredients. I was thinking that if I were to try a diet product it would be weight loss shakes. That seems like something that would be a natural and healthy additional to my dietary intake.
SHARE:

Deep sigh of relief

My health and weight loss journal

Remember last week when I reported I gained almost five pounds in about four days? Well, I am happy to tell you that I've gotten back down. Yup, the pounds are off again (with about half to one to go) and I'm back to seriously counting my calories.

Actually I really can't say "seriously" because I have been eating a lot of sweets lately. It's like I started nibbling over the weekend and the taste just stuck with me. Everything sweet in the house is calling my name and I'll be glad when it's all gone. I don't normally buy sweet treats so having them here is like a severe temptation.

It could be just PMS, but I still need to be careful.

On the health front, nothing much has changed. I have an MRI coming up in the next couple of months. So, depending on the outcome of that, which was fueled by the results of another test, I'll have something to share with you then.

I hope you've been successful (happy, encouraged, motivated...) with your weight loss and taking good care of yourself.
SHARE:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Let it shine

Although my oldest daughter and I had a list before we went shopping for things she would need for her room and living quarters in her college dormitory, there were a few things we forgot or didn't think about. One of the those things was lamps.

We remembered to get a desk lamp so that she would be able to see well while she studied, but we didn't think about other parts of the living area. For instance, there isn't a light next to her bed so she needs a table lamp or a lamp to connect to her headboard so she doesn't have to get out of bed if she's laying down reading. And, because she lives in a suite and has a living room and kitchen, it would be nice to have a floor lamp or a multi-necked lamp for more focused light.

One would think it's easy to shop for a lamp because you should be able to just pick the style and color you like and need. Well oftentimes it's necessary to look a little more in-depth at your purchase. There are a variety of features of lamps and if you don't shop around you may miss out on what fits your situation the best. Everything from the style of lamp to the type of bulb, like low voltage halogen lamps, is important. Just ShopWiki to find out everything you need to know.
SHARE:

Where is the money?

Earlier today I read a post on my friend Lin's blog (Duck and Wheel with String) where she was talking about the difficult stage of our teenagers going off to college. Then this evening I was talking to a friend of mine about her daughter going off to college in less than a month and not having all of the financial aspects in order.

That's only three moms and we're all a little frustrated, worried and anxious about this new stage. I know some parents are nervous about their kids going away, some worry about whether their new college students will do well academically, but the majority are thinking about the money.

Although my daughter qualified for financial aid (Pell, Hope and possibly work study), there are still other expenses that may need to be covered. She took out a very small loan to cover the little "left over," but my hope is that she'll qualify, apply and receive some scholarships and grants.

Finding said scholarships can be tough. Beating the competition can be even tougher. But it has to be done. I figured I would bring the question to you - the intelligent, knowledgeable and helpful blog readers - to see if you have any good leads on legitimate scholarships.

Thanks for your help... I better go now and pursue a couple of leads.
SHARE:

Compare credit cards

If you live in Australia and have a need for a credit card then you should do some comparison shopping before you apply. Credit Card City is a site that does the work for you.
SHARE:

My Momfinitions

I found out about this contest from TwitterMoms and decided to participate. The task? To write give Momfinitions and get cash. ParentsConnect published an article that included various Momfinitions. You know, things moms say that haven't quite made it into the dictionary. It's quite entertaining. So, let's see how I did:

StalkerCharge - The one child that is designated to stalk mom while she's in the kitchen preparing a meal. They're supposed to report back to everyone what she's cooking. "Okay, who's going to do the stalkercharge today?" It can be done slowly and sneakily or a quick ambush to which mom always replies, "Stop stalking me."

PasseyPoo - This is the act of saying a sibling, who can't defend themselves, passed gas. "Did someone pass gas," I usually ask before checking the toddler's training pants. "I didn't," comes a chorus of responses. "Anna did!" Of course, Anna just giggles.

GrannyGiggleMunch, MunchkinFace, Moomalicious or PootieWootie (poo tee, woo tee) - It's the combination of nicknames that you've given your child. For instance, I've called my oldest daughter Face, Munchkin, Granny and Giggles so I sometimes combine the names into something unique. I used to call my youngest Moomie (moo me) and I think she's the most beautifully delicious baby so now I can be heard saying, "Come here Moomalicious!"

StricterSnap - It's the dramatic response of an uptight adult to the natural rebellion, curiosity and statements of a child. "He just went strictersnap on her for repeating something she heard him say!" I have to deal with this with my children's father because he's a little uh... dramatic.

InstaSib - This is a sibling who instigates another sibling whether it's to do something mommy said not to do or provoke a sibling to get mad. My 4-year-old daughter is normally the instasib.

What do you think about mine? If you have some momfinitions that you use, I'd love to see them.
SHARE:

Monday's Muse: Simple creativity

I was so glad when I clicked over to Maternal Spark, the host of the weekly Monday's Muse, and read her post about keeping things simple today... well, this week. That seems to be right up my alley.

I've been really dragging for a few days now and although I have been sitting at my computer for more than an hour I haven't gotten anything of importance accomplished. I've been trying to figure out how I can get the necessary things done, continue to move slowly and let my body heal while still feeling like I'm being productive.

Hmmm...

SIDEBAR RE: HEALING - My sinuses have really been weighing me down and contributing to the fatigue I already feel 'cause of the fibromyalgia. And there is another little medical issue that's amiss causing me discomfort.

My goal for the week is to not pile too much on my daily to do list. There hasn't been a message from my muse yet, but I'm thinking that maybe it's a good time to give the muse a break. I mean, who said that because I'm a writer I have to be filled with creativity every single day? That's just pressure we (creative types) put on ourselves.

So, in the spirit of Monday's Muse camaraderie, I'm keeping it simple over here too. :)
SHARE:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Little vacation cottage

Sometimes when I sit outside on my deck, close my eyes and enjoy the breeze on my skin I can picture waking up on vacation in a little cottage near the ocean. It has windows wrapped around the entire structure with sheer curtains dancing in the breeze. The king-sized, canopy white wicker bed is surrounded by mosquito netting and covered in 500-count sheets in ocean blue.

There's white wicker furniture that's unobtrusive and comfy enough to relax on. Each piece is covered in plush cushions that match the bedding. It's a relaxing and quiet environment with soothing shades of green and peach in the artwork. When I walk out the front door onto the screened in porch, I enjoy the solid rustic furniture that blends nicely with the surrounding area.

I could probably fantasize all day about a little vacation cottage. Can you picture your perfect cottage getaway?
SHARE:

Simple Sunday satisfactions

There's always a day or two (or three!) out of every month that I feel terribly lazy. I have no plans for my day - regardless of whether the children are at home - and I shuffle around. As usual I'll start the day with a breakfast of fruit, take my medication then have something hot to drink and eat.

There's always a magazine or book nearby to read while I sip. If the children are home they talk loudly, play a lot and periodically check on me to see what I'm doing.

Today with my newly-home college student in attendance, I sat at the table enjoying some magazine reading. And, I hate to admit it, I drank one cup of coffee, about three cups of tea (At least the tea was decaf.) and several bottles of water.

Sleepiness stayed with me today though and I didn't do my usual mini chores. You know the ones: You're pretty much finished with chores, but there are a few things to do to get ready for the week. Well, ready or not here the week comes without everything complete.


I remembered the children wanted to ride their bikes and I lovingly asked the teen to help me get them out of the storage area, which I recently destroyed by literally stuffing junk into it. They went outside and I realized Amareah's seat was too low so I pulled out the toolbox and raised her seat as far as it would go. I looked up a few minutes later and it was all the way back down. Tightening it would have been good.

I got a good chuckle outta that.


Then I decided they should start learning to ride without training wheels. I removed one training wheel - first on Amareah's bike - and she began trying enthusiastically. She quickly became disappointed and asked for her wheel back. Being the nice, non-coddling mother that I am; I refused.


Andre tried his bike without the training wheel and excitedly kept trying. He even asked for the other one off since he was progressing so well. Ten minutes later he asked for both back. I compromised with him and put one back on so he could better learn to balance.

After a little while he tired of falling to the side and said, "I don't want to ride any longer. I want to catch bugs. Can I?"


Who am I to deprive a child of his favorite activity? I went inside. Oh... and I'm sure you're wondering about Amareah and Anna: Upon arriving outside Anna "rode" her bike for about eight minutes and Amareah soon went in with Amber, the teenager, to get her toenails painted. Priorities, you know?


The rest of the day consisted of napping (me included), snacks, meals, playing and a frustrated, grumpy mom who was still sleepy after a 90-minute nap. The teenager went out with the boyfriend and the kids are in the bathtub. I'm hoping the splashing, yelling at each other and playing will tire them out enough so they'll be absolutely quiet come bedtime.

Overall, it was a pretty satisfying Sunday. Really.
SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig