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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Win a dream kitchen makeover

A contest for Canadian residents

Have you experienced the Maple Leaf Market yet? Check it out and meet the butcher, the baker and the pasta maker and - while you're there - get easy-to-make, quick meal ideas. You can watch the butcher slice up some pork tenderloin, see an appetizer demonstration by the pasta maker or check out what's going on in the bakery. It's all a yummy little virtual world. There are also tips, recipes, coupons, contests and much more like seeing details about a featured product.

To celebrate the launch of the Maple Leaf Market, they are giving away a $32,000 Dream Kitchen makeover and 12 Frigidaire® fridges that will be stocked with new Maple Leaf® Prime™ Premium frozen chicken that is now available in your grocer's freezer. And the cherry on top is that each contest entrant will be eligible for a $500 rebate offer from Frigidaire®.

Wouldn't it be exciting to win a kitchen makeover? If I were to makeover my kitchen I would definitely get new cabinets and counter top along with a fresh coat of paint, new floor and brand new appliances. I can just picture the beauty of a new kitchen. Can’t you? If you won this contest what would you do to your kitchen?


Fittin' it in with a dance, yoga

Over the past week or so I've been trying to organize around the house. The area that has yet to get a little organization and structure is my office; however, much of the house is coming along nicely. One other area that hasn't been organized is my life. More accurately, having balance and fitting exercise and movement into my days.

When I first began to lose weight more than a year ago, one of the things I did for exercise was dance around the house with my teenager and when I was here alone. Well, since she's been away at college (and since I'm not alone any longer thanks to the presence of my 2-year-old daughter) I haven't danced as much or exercised as much. Today, I began to dance again.

It started last night when I popped in a Mary J. Blige CD I haven't listened to in quite awhile. I played that CD about three or four times last night and the same today and today I danced until I could feel it. So freeing.

Then I began getting a little irritated at the 2 year old because I am running out of time to get things done before my son gets off of the bus and it's time to get the 4 year old from headstart. My free feeling started to dwindle away and my face started to frown, and then I was irritated about not having time to do yoga. Geez, I went from one freeing feeling to a total irritating irritation!

I suddenly thought of an article I had read early in body+soul magazine about doing certain yoga moves to assist in building the immune system in fighting colds and flu and I decided to do yoga right that moment. Right in the hallway.

Getting out my yoga mat, book, CD, block and strap is such a process. Yoga books recommend wearing certain clothing and being freshly showered while having a designed spot and mat that is just for that. All of that preparation was hindering me in getting it done.

I did the two poses that I remembered from the article and some others I know from my yoga CD, adding some stretches and some breathing. I did this all while the preschooler brushed pass me, touched my hair, played with my belt and tried to talk to me. I stayed in complete zen mode.

And... you know what?

It was so worth it. The free feeling came back and it was a good movement/break from the desk and computer.

I guess, from now on, I won't worry about the preparation and specifics of exercising. I'll just get it done and fit it in.

Christmas shopping for kids

Whether you want to think about it or not, Christmas is only about two months away. I can't believe it. Given the necessity to budget, the need to save money and the desire to purchase gifts for your children that they will really love, it's best to start organizing and shopping now.

Gone are the days where you have to drive from store to store finding the best deals or the most coveted toy. Now you can shop around on the Internet. In fact, you don't have to leave your house at all if you don't want to because you can purchase from home easily and quickly.

To find what you're looking for just check out Maybe you're looking for an electronic toy car for your son or a classic red wagon to fill with small holiday toys and then use it to roll your youngest around in. Whatever it is Shopwiki will find every store on the Internet because it crawls Google. It's rumored that other shopping sites only display paid advertisements to consumers, but Shopwiki will show you everything available.

It's time to turn thought into action - get started on holiday shopping for your kids. Grab that action figure or new Barbie for the little loved ones in your life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Molly the Monarch Butterfly

My children are fascinated by creatures of all sorts - bugs, animals... anything non-human. So, of course, when I got wind of The Adventures of Molly the Monarch Butterfly and Friends(c) Series, "Molly: A Butterfly's Story" by Maureen Akey, I had to request a review copy.

My children - 6-year-old Andre and Amareah, 4 - listened intently while 2-year-old Anna imitated what I was saying. After I finished reading I asked them what they liked about the book.

Here's the dynamic duo checking out the pictures
before I read the book. Okay, I made them pose,
but they were still looking at the pictures. :D

Amareah said she liked when the caterpillar was drinking from the milkweed plant. When she pointed to the picture, I said, "You liked when the caterpillar was eating..." She corrected me and said, "It was drinking." I guess it seemed obvious it was drinking since it's a milkweed. Andre said that he liked when the caterpillar busted out of its egg, and - in case I missed it - he described the entire process.

It's really a pleasure to hear the children talk about the books that I read to them. The amount that I read to them is actually thanks to Andre's kindergarten teacher who "requires" a minimum of five minutes of reading to the children per night. (I'll save my comments about the amount of homework for another post.)

If you're interested in purchasing a copy of "Molly: A Butterfly's Story," which was illustrated by George Arnold III, it's $14.99 plus $3 shipping and handling. Just write to the author, Maureen, at

I think any children's book that entertains as well as teaches is a wonderful addition to your child's library.

Getting back on track

Before I get into my health and weight loss journal, I want to ask you a question: What do you think about these types of posts? I've noticed that, for the most part, I get few comments on the health and weight loss journals. I actually didn't get any on the last one and, on the other hand, there have been quite a few in the past that have attracted numerous comments.

The vote stands with you. Do you love me? Circle yes or no.

LOL... I couldn't resist saying that. The real question is: Should I continue to post my health and weight loss journals? Yes or No. Please comment. :) Thanks!

Currently, I am getting back on track with healthy eating... well 75 percent back on track. The other 25 percent is the minimal amount of green vegetables that I eat. I need to make a gigantic improvement in that area. Otherwise, I eat a lot of fruit, drink a lot of water and generally don't have a large sugar intact. Lately, however, I have been snack - sweet and salty - crazy.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I was "enjoying" a little emotional eating. For once it wasn't fueled by depression or sadness, and it's an area that I don't want to reveal right now. I know I share a lot with you, but I am too ... I don't know the right word... I guess, shy about telling this one.

Right now it's way beyond my comfort zone to share.

Moving right along. Thankfully, I have been feeling "normal." What that means for me is the chronic pain is still there, I have been having bad stomach discomfort (cramping, nausea, etc.), and frequent headaches. BUT I haven't had any terrible attacks of severe pain that leave me laying down most of the time and moving around hunched over. I haven't had as much dizziness and been as lightheaded over the last few days as I normally am. The exhaustion is still there... but for someone with a chronic condition I am feeling "good."

Wordless Wednesday: Another critter takeover

5 Minutes for Mom WW participants

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rare silver coins

Do you collect rare silver coins? If the answer is yes then you know that, as a collector, you want to ensure you're getting certified rare silver coins from a company that knows what its doing. Check out Monaco Rare Coin, which is part of the Monex family of companies, a trusted 40-year-old leader in precious metals investments. The Monex companies have helped investors invest over $25 billion in hard assets including rare coins and other precious metals.

Monaco has experienced and knowledgeable representatives, which is so much better than simply trading coins online. If you're going to trade or invest your rare silver coins then do it with a company that has a solid reputation, expansive knowledge and dedicated professionals.

One busy, tiring, celebratory day

I have been offline the entire day. I didn't hear my alarm go off so I slept through it. What makes it so bad is that I was awake at 5 something and 6 something. I was able to sleep late because the children were still with their father, but I had planned to get up, do some yoga, shower, dress and eat before they arrived with hopefully enough time to get some work done.

Didn't happen. When I finally got up I only had time to shower and dress. They were here before I ate or anything. By the time I was finished eating (and, of course, two of them wanted to eat with me even though they'd eaten with their dad) it was time to leave the house for Amareah's yearly check up.
This is before she received FOUR shots!

I'd told the kids that we would have lunch at Chuck E. Cheese's to celebrate Andre's 6th birthday after we left the doctor's office. We stopped to get a cake of his choice then proceeded to the Chucksters. I don't really like going to that kid-friendly establishment, but it's excellent during the weekday when it isn't crowded with rude little... I mean, uh, a lot of little people.

Andre and Amareah really had a great time and, overall, Andre enjoyed his birthday. He also celebrated over the weekend with his dad. I'm sure his cousins were all in attendance and they had cake and ice cream. Two celebrations. Can't beat that.

Happy 6th Birthday, son!
The cake was really yummy.

Now, it's almost time to begin preparing dinner. Anna is irritable, but that's what happens when a 2 1/2 year old misses her nap.

At least she enjoyed the cake! :)

Being offline is worth it when celebrating such a momentous occasion, which was topped off by a call from his big sister Amber a little bit ago. Now, if I can only find that card my mother sent to him about two months ago all would be right with the world. LOL... (Don't tell her I misplaced it. It was on my desk until I "straightened" up and put it somewhere that I wouldn't forget it.)

Following is Amareah's creative photography. She constantly asks me to use my camera and I finally gave in at Chuck E. Cheese. (I know what I'm getting her for Christmas!) I thought you would enjoy a peek at her work.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Small appliances

When I was in the Air Force, stationed in Rome, New York, I lived in the barracks, which was more like a dormitory. It was a room/living area with a sink area that had enough room to include a small refrigerator, a microwave and any other small appliances like a toaster oven.

I remember whipping up quite a few tasty meals in that small space. I wonder how much more I could have made had I had a conveyor toaster oven. I could have fed the entire dorm with one of those or at least the entire floor I lived on - that would have been something to see.

If I remember correctly, I gave that toaster oven to a friend of mine. Do you use a toaster oven?

Weekly Inspiration: Broken

I'm having a difficult time starting this post because I'm listening to India Arie and dancing in my seat. I could concentrate much better on working if I stopped thinking about my to-do list and the music. Funny how thinking about the to-do list can prevent one from actually doing it!

No worries though... I am breezing right through it. Well, sort of.

But that's not what I want to talk about it. Last week saving money was inspiring me (although I forgot to label that post as my weekly inspiration). I get a GIGANTIC high/thrill/surge from getting something that we need for an excellent price.

This week my inspiration is a little odd: I'm inspired by stuff breaking down. You know, I had the car issue just a month or so ago. Yesterday morning my coffeemaker just died before I could make my morning cup of joe. Then when I went to put clothes into the dryer I found the washing machine still filled with water. Seems like that has broken as well. And before all of that, my sausage got trapped in the pot.

Yes, you read that correctly. Let me see if I can explain. I was cooking sweet Italian sausage. I put some chicken broth in the pan so the sausage wouldn't burn. (I hate standing over a stove and I like the sausage tender and juicy so I put the liquid in and put the lid on.) After checking it a few times I was ready to take it out and I tried to lift the lid off. It didn't budge.

I picked the pan up, looked under it, shook it around and tried the lid again. Nothing. I tried to pry it with a knife, a spatula, a can opener... I scratched my head and looked around the room for the hidden cameras.

It surely was a joke, right?

Well, problem is, I was home alone. Hmmm?

I call my BF and ask him (not gonna mention any names, okay Frankie?) to activate his science. "Is it cold or hot that it needs to release?" He says cold. In the freezer it goes. A few minutes later I look at the top and it is dented further in. I call back. "You have your science backwards."


"Backwards." And I explain the situation. Oh yea, it should be heated.


Now, I'm thinking I hope there's still liquid in there because I made a big deal about making sure I didn't burn the sausage while I watched television. After quite a few minutes the top started to feel a little loose and, with all of my might, I pulled!

It popped off and nicely splashed hot liquid on my thigh and my tank top. Ouch! But, alas, the sausage was rescued. And tasty. Nope, it wasn't burned.

Why in the world would this be inspiring? I don't really know. ROFL. All I know is that I've been working hard for the last couple of days to maintain a positive attitude despite everything that continues to go wrong. It's tough getting outta a funk and negativity. This has been a rough two years for me. And as I try not to think about everything that has happened and everything that may happen, I am ignoring (at least for now) the sadness that travels through my head on a regular basis.

The worries are off to the side. The anger is pushed down. (Except when I talk about it. :D) Right now there's just one day at a time, everyday.

Now, if the dryer dies then I can't be responsible for my actions. ... I'm just saying.

Oh what a weekend!

The good thing about this weekend was that I took a computer break... for an entire day! Now that may not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but bloggers and writers know that getting away from the computer is like pulling yourself away from an addiction. A necessary addiction.

I don't have much time to post right now, but I wanted to let you - my friends - know that I am around and I am okay. :) My to-do list has somehow magically went from 0 to 1,000 in 10 minutes so I have to get rolling. My three youngest children are with their father so I better get my errands finished and then rush back here to finish up the housework.

Oh... the weekend. That's right, I wanted to tell you a little about that. Here's a brief re-cap and I'll share more later:

A pot trapped my sausage
My coffee maker died
The washer won't drain water or spin

Other than that it was great. LOL. I watched a lot of television, snacked a lot, read magazines, stayed in my jammies for an entire day and generally tried to relax. I'll leave out the other thoughts and emotions that passed through my brain, but - you know me - ever the sensitive, creative writer.

I'll be back later. I hope you had a fabulous weekend... I can't wait to hear all about it. Meaning: Leave a comment telling me what you did. ;)
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