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Saturday, August 29, 2009

From Toddlers2Teens












When is the last time you checked out my other blog: From Toddlers2Teens? If you're new around here then you may not have known I have another blog. I have a somewhat difficult time keeping up with two blogs, but I am going to try and update that one at least once a week.

Are you a parent of a multiple generation of children? If so, share your ideas about what you would like to see on my Toddlers2Teens blog.

I appreciate any input as long as it's constructive. :)
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Breezes Resorts

There's one thing that I've never forgotten, which I learned when I used to do travel writing on a regular basis: Always vacation at all inclusive resorts. If you've ever vacationed somewhere for more than a couple of days and the food wasn't included in the price of your stay, you'll realize how quickly that can become a major expense.

The food at the majority of resorts is normally very tasty and convenient especially if you choose to stay at one of the caribbean resorts. I probably shouldn't say that since I'm a little biased (I've never been to a resort outside of the Caribbean), but that's where I've had all of my experiences.

Breezes Grand Resort & Spa
Negril, Jamaica

Whether you decide to visit Bahamas, Costa Do Sauipe, Rio Bueno, Trelawny or one of the other destinations, Breezes All Inclusive vacation resorts will not disappoint. Each resort is beautiful, relaxing, romantic and accommodating. Imagine an ocean view from your room... Can't you smell the fresh air already and hear the waves lapping against the shore? Now all you have to do is slip on your shoes and stroll into the dining area to enjoy the food that is prepared for you.

It's all about relaxing. Swim and lounge to your heart's content and let someone else fuss over the details. Believe me, once you've experienced an all-inclusive resort you'll never vacation the same again.
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Interesting horoscope

I happen to click on a link to my daily horoscope at LexiYoga.com because she left me a message inquiring about whether I wanted to include horoscopes here. (I haven't decided yet. What do you think?)

An-t-way... every once in awhile I check out my horoscope, but I don't follow it on a regular basis. I was surprised when I read this for tomorrow's:
"Health related problems might cause discomfort. Do not overspend on household luxuries. Health condition of a family member will cause some stress. Your beloved will be difficult to please. Watch out for individual who might try to mislead you or give you information that might cause you some harm."
I haven't been feeling well lately, which is what makes that first sentence interesting to me. There was another couple of areas that struck a cord, but we'll see how that plays out. Do you follow your horoscope?
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Find a host

Who is your Web Hosting Provider and how much do you know about the company? For that matter, how much do you know about web hosting? I, for one, do not know much about it, but I am learning more and more each day. A good Web Hosting Provider site is HostNexus.com. They have a visually appealing site with easy-to-find information on a variety of hosting options (shared, blog, reseller, VPS, etc.) at competitive prices. You won't have to search around the site for the information you're looking for like the cost of the service you need and, if you're interested, you can even sign up for their affiliate program. I don't know about you, but I love a company that also makes it possible for me to earn money. You're heard me say it before: Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself.
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Looking at the Sky on Friday

Dark and rainy... (through the windshield of my van)

This is what it has looked like all day... well, except for when there was a solid sheet of rain pouring from the sky. My driveway was flooded so I had to get creative getting the children off to school this morning, but at least they enjoyed themselves. They need some rain boots so they can splash to their little hearts' content. I need a rain hat so I don't have to juggle with umbrellas and whatnot.

Photobucket
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Real page turners for big & little kids

On the Woman's (and the kids') Bookshelf

This month, when it comes to reading, I have been on a roll. It's something I thoroughly enjoy and it comes with the added benefit of discovering new authors as well as exploring different styles of writing and new ideas.

Two books I am excited to share with you today are A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi and The Zoopendous Surprise by Boots Hensel with illustrations by Andrea Gabriel. These books are worlds apart, but I enjoyed each one immensely.

I "met" Preetham Grandhi on one of the forums or social networking sites I am a member of. In fact, I don't even recall which one. I believe he introduced himself and included a link to his site. When I clicked through and read the synopsis of the book I was immediately enthralled and requested a review copy.

From the first line in the prologue to the last sentence of the final chapter, A Circle of Souls - Grandhi's debut novel - kept me reading every free moment I had. It's described as a "new kind of psychological thriller," which is definitely fitting.

Here's the gist of the story: A little girl is found murdered and Leia Bines, an FBI agent, is called in to investigate. At the same time, Dr. Peter Gram - a psychiatrist - is working with Naya a young girl who is having nightmares that are causing her to sleepwalk and potentially harm herself. The murder and the psychological evaluation collide when Naya's drawings of her dreams lead to clues about the murder.

My description does not even come close to doing the novel justice. So, you'll just have to take my word for it that it's a fabulous read and head on over to buy A Circle of Souls for yourself.

On the lighter - and younger - side is The Zoopendous Surprise by Boots Hensel. I knew I had to review this and share it with my children when I read the story behind the creation of this book. It's based on a true story to give honor to the author's daughter Courtney who died of cancer four years ago. Courtney was a zookeeper for two Asian elephants at the Little Rock Zoo in Little Rock, Arkansas.

It's such a sweet and entertaining story of the elephants, Mary and Ellen, who try to find out what's going on around the zoo. None of their animal friends will tell them what the surprise is and just as they're getting discouraged and about to give up they discover what it is.

What do you think it is? That's what I asked my children when I was almost finished reading the story. Between the voices that can be used for each animal, the colorful and beautiful illustrations and the suspense of trying to figure out what is going to happen, The Zoopendous Surprise is a book that your children will love hearing and reading again and again.

Amareah and Andre were happy to tell me what they liked the most about The Zoopendous Surprise, and everything they mentioned had to do with the animals. I don't know if I've ever met any children who are as fascinated and in love with animals as these two are. Their love has rubbed off on their little sister.






Thanks to Andre's kindergarten teacher, we have to read to the children at least five to 15 minutes a day (I know you're saying: Weren't you doing that anyway. Oh never mind me, pay attention to the post!), so I've discovered and rediscovered my love of children's books.


 




Although Anna won't cooperate with answering the questions based on the stories, hogs the book and pretends she doesn't know which animal is which, it's a delight watching her become fond of reading and books.




 



Here is Boots with Mary and Ellen; stars of The Zoopendous Surprise. I would love to meet all three of them. :)
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A blog of your own

Not too long ago I was having a conversation with a good old friend of mine and she was asking me questions about starting a blog. I told her of the platforms that I knew of, but I couldn't think of all of them. Since that time I have come across a couple that offer Free Blogs.

It seems like regardless of what you're into today, hosting a blog or at least a retail website is the way to go. Although brick and mortar buildings will never be extinct, shopping and communicating from the comfort of your own home without even opening your mouth is the way to go.

There are quite a few options and avenues to consider when you're about to start a blog and OkayBlog.net seems like a good one to investigate. It is a free blog hosting site powered by Wordpress blogging software. I've heard that quite a few people extol the virtues (too dramatic?) of Wordpress and highly recommend it.

I'm going to leave that up to you to find out for yourself. Develop a couple of test blogs or start two of them. You can run blogs at the same time and determine which hosting site you prefer. Now you know you also have a choice with OkayBlog.net.
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She should be arrested!

I wish I had had my camera ready and taken a picture of what I saw today.

I was going to pick up my middle daughter and we were stopped at a traffic light. I'm in the left/straight lane and a car pulls up next to me waiting to turn right. For some reason I glanced over and saw the driver holding an infant.

My first thought was, "Wow, she sure did get that baby out of the car seat fast." It was a split second thought 'cause it didn't add up that she would actually be driving while holding her baby who looked to be no older than two months old.

She adjusted her baby at her breast - SHE WAS NURSING! - and she pulled away. Nursing the baby AND driving.

Yup, that's what I said.

I was stunned. I have seen all kinds of crazy things on the highway. All kinds of irresponsible parents with their children not strapped in, but this lady took the cake. She won the Irresponsible Parent of the Month Award.

Now, I'm in no way a perfect parent, a perfect driver or even a perfect person, but come one! I.have.never.nursed.a.baby.while.driving.

I felt like I should have taken off after her and called the police to report her license plate number. Or yelled out: Stop, you're endangering an innocent baby.

She should be arrested and charged with child neglect, attempted manslaughter, child endangerment... or at the very, very least ticketed for not having her child properly restrained.

SIGH... I just had to get that off of my chest. Can you even believe that?
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tests, treatments, thoughts...

My health and weight loss journal

SIGH......

That's the only thing I could think of to write when I sat down to compose this because that's exactly what I did. I let out a big sigh.

Last week I told you about my upcoming MRI and the follow-up doctor's appointment. The good news is my MRI didn't show what the doctor thought she saw on my bone scan.

:| The bad news is that one of my blood tests, which I think I mentioned several weeks ago, was positive for lupus. I keep saying it was positive for a strain of lupus, but I'm not sure if that's the correct phrasing because I am just learning about this disease.

Although I do have some symptoms of fibromyalgia that don't correlate with lupus, the main concern and problem is the lupus. Fibromyalgia is secondary.

SIGH.....

You know reading about lupus isn't that great of an experience. It's bad enough that I have been feeling worse lately and that I already experience the chronic everyday pain. It's just so much information and since my appointment yesterday I have forgotten almost every specific thing the doctor said. The general stuff is still hanging around in my brain, but there's more information I need to know.

This is the line they hooked to me last week when I
had the MRI. They had to test my blood for something
and put some stuff in there half way through the MRI,
which - by the way - was no fun.

I have oodles of more blood work in the process (they took like 100 vials of blood yesterday) and a couple/few more tests. One, which I am so not looking forward to, is a "pin prick test." The doctor says, quite stoicly I might add, it's a little uncomfortable.

Ya think?

It's called PIN PRICK TEST! Great. I've already told everyone that I know that someone is going with me for that test.

SIGH....

I can't seem to stop sighing. Like my friend says, "Well, you're okay, right?"

I kind of smiled and said, "If you want to interpret like that. ... There isn't a cure."

"Yea, but now, you're okay?"

"Yes."

"Well, that's good." Leave it to him to look at the bright side of things. He always does so I guess I need someone like that around. "We're going to have to fight this together." Well, now that's even better.

How do I feel mentally? Right now I am pretty "up," so to speak. Although my brain is tired. How do I feel physically? Not so great (really hurting/sore) and I'm totally and completely exhausted.

The results of the blood tests (vitamin levels, hormones and some other stuff I can't remember) along with the urine test and the pin prick test (testing my nerves' reactions) should help to solidify a plan of action and a way to cope/live with this. For now... I just...

SIGH...

Right now, it doesn't seem important how much I weigh. Well, LOL, it's important to me, but there aren't really any updates in that arena. However, if you can give me some tips on incorporating the doctor mandated exercise (15-20 minutes a day, six days a week) into my schedule I would really appreciate the suggestions. And the prayers. I'm just saying.
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Permanent cosmetics

I have noticed as I've gotten a little older that my eyebrows are getting a little thinner. Well, thinner in a weird way. I've always had really think eyebrows. Okay, I'll say it: I've always had a uni-brow, which I started shaping and grooming sometime in my 20s. (Yes, it took me that long because I didn't want to conform.)

The memories of my classmates and so-called friends teasing me about my eyebrows haunts me to this day, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I really did somewhat have a uni-brow. (They didn’t really meet there was just a little hair between them.) The only difference now is I wish that the thinning parts were the parts that shouldn't be there and vice versa. Now the thick eyebrows are getting spacey and sketchy. I never really thought about any other option besides using eyebrow pencil to fill them in until I heard about permanent cosmetics.

Permanent cosmetics alleviates the need to apply makeup everyday or the frustration of having makeup rubbed off or smeared while working out or simply wiping and touching your face. You can choose to have lip color, eyebrows or eyeliner permanently tattooed to those areas using micro pigmentation. Those who have had it done swear by the convenience it gives them because they don’t have to take the extra time to apply that particular makeup.

I’ve never been very good at applying eyeliner and it sounds really convenient, but I don’t think that’s for me. However, having my eyebrows done is something to be considered, I suppose. (Well, kind of like I “consider” having a tummy tuck.) It would be nice to wake up in the morning and not wonder if I have enough time to make my eyebrows look a certain way.

I’ve always been a low maintenance type of girl, but I do like to look nice and put together. What do you think? How would you like to have permanent eyeliner, lip color and/or eyebrows?
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Muse: Busy brain

Sometimes I'll sit down to the computer and my brain is blank. There's not a useful creative thought brewing no matter how many times I scratch my head or look around the room. There are other times when ideas keep popping in, but they're so bad that I know I can't share them. This is one of those times that is somewhere in between.

My brain is busy with all kinds of thoughts, but none of them relate to anything creative. I'm thinking about the doctor's appointment I had today (I'll share more of that with you tomorrow when I post my health and weight loss journal), my children, finances, writing and blogging obligations, how I feel, people in my life who I love and some that I don't love so much, books that I've read... the list seems to go on and on. There are so many things that ran through my head in the last couple of minutes that I'm not sure what to do next.

I think I've talked about this before in another Monday's Muse: The necessity to rest the brain. For the past couple of weeks or so I haven't really been able to do that. In fact, that's probably one of the reasons I have been reading so much because it's the only time I get to "get away." I would usually sit down and stare at the boob tube (I'm not going to talk about that broken television again), but that's not possible. So... I read.

Right after I finished writing my reviews on Thursday I began reading A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi (look out for that review on this Thursday) and I finished it today. I could hardly put it down.

My point is when all your relaxation techniques have failed you may want to try something that engages your brain like reading. It'll temporarily relieve you of thinking. At least it's worked a little for me. I just have to decide what I'm going to read next.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Share your thoughts

Blogging, social networking and everything related seems to be growing more and more each day. If you are interested in adding another outlet to your Internet presence then check out another service where you can create a blog to share your thoughts with the world.

I already have two blogs along with my social networking so I am not sure if I want to create another one, but if I did Thoughts.com (a community blogging site) would be a great place to do it. It is a user-friendly service that allows you to be apart of a community that will give you honest opinions on your thoughts.

Although there is a basic template, like every other blogging platform, I did check out the choices and they seemed elegant, colorful and unique. One of the great features that I noticed from taking the tour is to be able to easily set a different privacy setting for every post, picture or video that you publish. Now that's complete control. And, of course, another feature is if there is a cost. There isn't. Thoughts.com is free.

Thoughts.com seems similar to a platform that I really like, but sometimes one that works for one person may not work for another. If you're not sure what you want to do, you can at least pop over and take the tour. There's no obligation. You don't even have to sign up to tour, which gives you easy to see, colorful screen shots of every section.
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Help Flat Carter

My friend Shaunalynn posted about a friend of hers who has a son named Carter. His class is reading a book called Flat Stanley about a boy who gets flattened by a bulletin board and then gets mailed to California for a visit.

Well, Carter has made himself a Flat Carter. Flat Carter would like to visit lots of different places. If you would like to host Flat Carter for a visit, please go to this link (or any other link in this post) and print out Flat Carter.

If you're going to participate, there is information on the website about how to send your Flat Carter story via email.

I think this is the cutest project ever and I hope you'll help Flat Carter.
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