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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My brain is full

I don’t even know where to begin. This has been a good day albeit a tiring one. What makes it good? Hmmm?? Spending time with my children. Getting some important health things accomplished and hearing news that didn’t make me crumble.

As you know I had bone marrow taken about two weeks ago and, let me tell you, it was even more painful than the first two times I had it done. I was badly bruised for quite some time afterward and I still feel some pain as a result. Thankfully, the bruising has started to fade.

The results of that test and the MRI were explained to me today. The MRI confirmed what the x-ray showed and picked up on a few small lesions that were under or overlapping the one that the bone survey detected. Because of this I will be getting a full-body MRI – from top of head to feet – to see if there are any other lesions present. If there are then I have “full-blown” multiple myeloma. My bone marrow shows that I am producing more plasma cells than I should be and I have already been diagnosed with plasmacytoma, which is cancer. Here’s a definition that I found on CancerAnswers.com: “Plasmacytoma is basically a cancer of the plasma cells, meaning that they are multiplying out of control.” In layman’s terms, and how the PA explained to me, my bone marrow is making plasma cells more than it should.

The exact treatment plan will not been determined until all the additional testing is done (further results will be received on February 1st), including another blood workup where they’re planning on taking a gallon of blood (okay, slight exaggeration). And, to top it off, mild osteoporosis is present. What I can tell you thus far is next week I begin infusions to treat the osteoporosis. And, as far as the cancer treatment: If it is multiple myeloma I will begin a serious treatment plan and be put on the list for a stem cell transplant.

This is the way I look at it: I’m fighting cancer. Period. I do not like to say I “have” cancer. It doesn’t have me; if you know what I mean. As I learn more about what is going on within my body I will do a better job of relaying it and understanding it. For now, I wanted to share with you what is going on “in this woman’s world!”

My instructions thus far are to get a lot of rest and eat healthily. I have a new addition to my medicine family to help with an absolutely, terrible and awful pain in my neck. Right now, even as I type, I’m dosing off. Although I will try to blog hop, comment and do all the things I normally do I suspect that resting is going to be at the top of my list for quite some time.

I really want to thank those who have sent well wishes, prayers and kind words my way. You’ll never know how very much it’s appreciated.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Let the countdown begin

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am truly amazed that another New Year is upon us. I know many people are making celebration plans or deciding on resolutions, and then there are some who are trying to finish some things before the last day of the year. I’m doing both.

Quite some  time ago I stopped making resolutions and began making personal commitments, which I think I’ve mentioned to you before. For some reason that word alone – commitment – made me more… uh, … committed. For 2011 I’ve committed to organize and minimize. Although I quite often purge our belongings by throwing and giving away or repurposing, I want to take it a new level. It just so happens that in the middle of my commitment there are some major changes coming.

Or I guess I should say a major change. I’ve alluded to that as well, but I’m still not ready for full disclosure. I’d like my plans to be in place and actions in motion before I come clean.

imageBut I can’t resist having a little fun with it:  Do you think you can guess what the change is? I’d love it if you’d leave your guess in the comments; it’ll be fun to see if anyone gets it right.

And while you’re in the mood for commenting, tell me what your New Year commitments (or resolutions) are. Before you decide, however, I challenge you to think of something that you can really commit to and achieve. For instance, if you say every year you’re going to lose 20 pounds and every year you don’t reach that goal then what can you do to make it a reachable goal? As a suggestion: Instead of saying you’re going to lose 20 pounds, how about committing to being active for 30 minutes, four times each week?

The reason why I use the phrase “being active” is because we don’t always consider the enjoyable things that can cause us to get moving and burn calories. Like dancing to your favorite upbeat song with your kids or playing tennis with your teen. Make a date with your husband or significant other to see who can clean their portion of the house the fastest. Get creative.

Now, that’s enough reading, go ahead and comment. Have a great week.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you’re spending today surrounded by love. I hope you’re relaxing and enjoying your day. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas blessings

DSCF5458I’ve mentioned before how the last four years have been really tough and it’s all been coming to a head at the end of this year. I’ve been preparing myself for a lot of changes and considering my New Year’s commitment of organizing and minimizing. In the midst of everything going on there are the events and tests surrounding my health, and within my head I’ve been dealing with the fact that there may not be many gifts for my children. Although I know it’s not about the gifts, my three young children haven’t quite got that and they’re all pumped up about Christmas.

I’m going to make a long story short and tell you that God definitely opened a lot of doors this year. My family was chosen to receive a food basket from the church affiliated with my youngest daughter’s school. The ladies in the office at the school got together and gave all of the young children gifts, and when I was putting the gifts in the closet I saw a gift in there for me as well.

And that’s not all.

Amber’s, my oldest daughter’s, college roommate who is one of her best friends was talking to someone (I’m still not clear as to who) and was telling them about my medical issues as well as financial difficulties, etc. To my amazement, a company along with a group of individuals, raised a large sum of money for us and also bought gifts for the children.

There are gifts hidden around the house…

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To hear the news and see the roommate and her family show up at my home to deliver everything has not only renewed my faith in the love and care people have, but has also reaffirmed that my mother’s prayers have been answered. It has taught me a lesson that God is still and always there for me; that my karma, good deeds or whatever you want to call it have been returned to me; and, above all else, that the true meaning, spirit and love of Christmas is alive.

My hope and wish is that everyone feels this measure of love. I realize it doesn’t come from the material goods, but it has come from a place of love that resides within individuals. If we can do just one thing to help someone else this year – whether it is a gift, a kind word, a gesture, etc. – it makes all the difference in the world.

I share this with you not to brag, but to let those who care for us (my blogging buddies, virtual friends and faraway family) know that we are doing just fine. And to relate to others that there is always someone out there that cares. 

God bless you all during this holiday season. … Have a wonderful weekend.

Smooches, hugs & love,

Petula

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Purging toys to prepare for holiday gifts

Every year I’ve cleaned out my children’s toys in preparation for the gifts they’re going to receive. As my daughter Amber, who is now 19, got older she started purging the toys for the children, which involves a giveaway pile and a donate pile. I would prefer they giveaway and donate all of it, but you know that’s not going to happen so I settle for what I can get… or give.

This year I had the children – ages 7, almost 6 and 3 – do it themselves. I explained to them that since they would get new things that it would be best to give some away to children who may not  have  any and throw away the things that are broken,  missing parts, etc. I was pleased at their positive reaction to this and even more pleased that my son was the most generous about what he gave away and thoughtful about what he should keep.

I didn’t think to get before pictures, but here’s a glimpse of where they were before we paused for lunch:

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This is the girls’ toy box after they cleaned it out. It’s still a little too full for my taste.

DSCF5448This is the toy chest in Andre’s room after it was cleaned out. Notice how he still has room, which will be somewhat filled with the toys leftover in the living room. (See below.)

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These are the toys that belong to the girls, which were found in Andre’s room. Think they’ll fit in the box above? I’m gonna make sure they do.

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See that round, blue bin at the top of the picture? That’s the toy bin that is kept in the living room closet. It’s usually reserved for larger toys, but there were all kinds of things in there. To the left are the toys that belong to Andre, to the right are the toys that belong to the girls. And the bags in the middle: blue for giveaway and white for trash.

As we put the last of the toys away, I’m going to see if I can’t get some more into the two bags by having them think about their choices again. Overall, I think they did a good job for their first time and I’m happy to get rid of more clutter. They definitely don’t need anymore toys for Christmas, but… well, you know.

DSCF5450They’re looking pretty tired as they wait for lunch, huh? :-)

Do you have your children throw or give anything away before they receive something else? Leave a comment and tell me how you handle that.

Enjoy your week.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fashionable scrubs

I don’t know if you’ve noticed how medical professionals are rocking some fancy and in-style scrubs. The scrubs nowadays come in a variety of styles and made by with comfort and individuality in mind. There are Medcouture Scrubs and Izzy Scrubs that make getting dressed for work something to look forward to.

It’s interesting how things have changed over the years in fashion and those changes have hit every type of clothing. Remember when nurses only wore dresses and scrubs only came in green? Remember the little hats and the stocking with the wedge-heeled nurses shoes? I can’t say that I recall seeing all of that in person, but I have seen old pictures and other media that shows how things were “back in the day.” I’ve seen some that don’t even look like scrubs.

Do you work in the medical field? If so, what is your daily attire like? Do you enjoy getting dressed for work in the morning or dread putting on the same old thing? Spice your wardrobe up some with stylist, up-to-date looks (yup, they have that in scrubs too) and spread a little sunshine to brighten up your day as well as those you take care of.

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Toy Story 3 Action Links get an A+ {product review}

I was supposed to host an in-home party sponsored by Toy Story 3 Action Links™ stunt sets from Mattel about a month or so ago. Unfortunately, I became sick and had to put off some of the things I’d committed to. I must say that putting it off was a little difficult because my children were itching to have their “play date” and bust open the packages of Action Links stunt sets and buddy packs.

DSCF5433 The day before the party, I set up the stunt sets on the table while my children watched. They have seen the movie and I haven’t so they were telling me about it as I worked. Putting together the sets was a piece of cake: simply remove from packaging, follow illustrated instructions by popping the pieces together and play. After each stunt set was ready we had to test it out. With a push of a button (Yup, no batteries! Hooray!) the action began. I was as amazed and as amused as the children.DSCF5434

When the guests arrived the next day we did a little demonstration and showed them how things worked then the play began. The children played with the Action Links for about three hours straight without stopping. Sometimes one or the other paused to get a snack, but for the most part it was excitement, jumping, laughing and re-arranging that kept the party going.

 

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After the friends left (with their own buddy pack – similar to the one at left), my children and their best friend, Aries, played with the links and buddy packs for two straight days. And they haven’t stopped since. The one thing that is true about these Mattel products is that they keep the children occupied by challenging their imagination. They can reenact the movie or come up with their own scenarios. The adults who were present during the play date were in awe as well. … I know I had fun pushing buttons.

 

I think this is an ideal Christmas gift for children ages 5 and up; it’s easy to put together and doesn’t require batteries. The sets are available at major retailers and online at Shop.Mattel.com.

Disclosure: I received Toy Story 3 Action Links™ stunt sets and Buddy Packs from Mattel for the purpose of review and sharing with friends as a member of MomSelect. No other compensation was received and any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Health, weight loss {update} & yoga {CD review}

The review:

It’s been quite awhile since I received Yoga, the CD, presented by Putumayo World Music and the first time I listened to it I was intrigued. It’s relaxing, easy-listening music that I enjoy relaxing to. I’ve used the excuse of getting into the music and really wanting to evaluate it as the reason why I haven’t done any yoga with it as my background music. Today, as I listened to it again, I could see myself getting into a relaxing, strengthening and stretching mode that the CD would be a good accompaniment to.

So the company’s description of “A soothing collection of songs for yoga, meditation and relaxation” is right on point. The artists featured on the CD are The Lucknow Project, Sean Johnson and The Wild Lotus Band, Shantala, Wah!, Ben Leinbach and Geoffrey Gordan, Faura Vani And As Kindred Spirits, Amounsulu, Susheela Raman with Ayub Ogada, Krishna Das, Karnamrita Dasi, Niraj Chag, Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetze, Lama Gyurme & Jean-Philippe Rykiel, and Yogini.

This CD is ideal for anyone interested in a relaxing, inspirational, soothing, different music that accompanies yoga, stretching, meditation and the like. Get one for yourself (click the picture above to purchase – I’ll get a small commission) or one for a friend or loved one.

For more information on Putumayo World Music, check out the Putumayo site.

A quick health and weight update:

The last time I told you about my weight I was 186 pounds and thanks to not feeling well I loss about six pounds then gained two or three. Being at 182 is better than 186 and I hope to get even lower as time passes. So, I’m taking one day at a time on loosing more weight because right now it’s important to focus on my health issues.

image imageI’m happy to report that I have completed all of my medical tests and will get all of the results on December 28th. Here’s a recap: My fluctuating blood levels in certain areas is not normal, but stable. My blood tests also shows the presence of protein, which for me means a possible development of multiple myeloma. I submitted a 24-hour urine test and had bone marrow extracted (OUCH! OH MY GOODNESS. OOOUCH! I think it’s more painful to me because of the fibromyalgia.); in those the doctors are looking for the presence of protein to make a solid determination. Why is all of this happening? Because the bone survey showed a lesion on my right … uh, hip bone (best explanation I can come up with right now). The nurse explained that the increased pain in my left hip could be a result of the lesion on the right – it’s called rebounding pain. I’ve also had an MRI to look closely at the lesion to determine if it is what the bone survey (X-ray) has shown.

Worse can scenario: I’ll get treatment and/or a biopsy of the lesion. Best case scenario: Everything will be stable and the doctors will continue to watch my levels to ensure I remain that way.

After going to the Veteran’s Hospital three days this week, I’m excited to resume a semi-normal existence. This also explains my recent absences around the World Wide Web.

I hope everyone else is enjoying a relaxing and fulfilling weekend; I know I am. I’m going to do that amidst trying to catch up on my life.

Disclosure: I  received the Yoga DVD for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Funny travel tales, part 2

I know you remember Amber’s travel exploits that I shared with you yesterday. (As I write this only a few hours have passed.) You know, the suitcase that was 15 pounds overweight and the $90 they (the airline) wanted in order for it to be taken to the destination. BTW: Does the person who picks the bag up and load it on the conveyor get that money? An-t-way, I digress.

So with a rescheduled flight that had three stops and two layovers, Amber was on her way yesterday afternoon at about 4ish in the afternoon. That first plane was delayed because of a crew member causing Amber to miss her connecting flight.

funny travel tales part 2 The solution and the only way to get her to her final destination? Fly back to Atlanta (yup, where she came from) and take a flight straight to her final destination. (See map at left.) Estimated time of arrival? About the same time it would have been had she taken the three-stop flight.

She called to relay this information to me as the flight she was about to take announced their final boarding call. Okay, picture the Tasmanian Devil and Roadrunner on steroids and a travel high. This is what I heard:

“OkaymommycanyoucalldaddyandtellhimthatImissedmyconnectingflightandtheonlywayfformetogetthereistotakethisplanebacktoAtlanta…” You get the point, right?

I uh-huh'ed my way through the conversation, did a brief recall and hung up. Whew!

Then I called her dad, relayed the information and hung up. Sigh.

Now, my only question is, why didn’t her dear ol’ dad book her on that straight flight from the get go? Men!

Oh, I forgot the other question of the day: Do we think Amber’s luggage will make it to where it’s supposed to be when she gets there? Now that, my dear readers, is definitely the question of the day!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Funny travel tales

Today my oldest daughter is traveling to see her paternal family and be there when her oldest sister has a baby. She’ll be an aunt for the first time and she’s way pass excited. Knowing that I had to drop Amber off at the airport isn’t that big of a deal. She’s been flying alone since she was about 8 or 9 years old and she knows the ends and out of our busy Atlanta airport as well as travel tips and safety. So, I don’t worry.

However, we always have stories to tell from her travels. Usually before she even boards the plane. Today is no different. I had to take her to the airport a little early because the rebooked time of her flight clashed with my afternoon carpooling time. (Because of weather conditions most flights have been cancelled and delayed beginning about 6 p.m. last night.) We arrived as scheduled and because my youngest fell asleep in the car I took Amber to the curb, opened the hatch and promptly had this gigantic suitcase – that she had loaded – tumble out and attack me. I should have known that was a sign.

We hugged and did our fast goodbyes and I watched her sashay into the airport. I pulled away and realized that she was gone for the holidays. I sent a text, “awwww…. merry christmas…” (The fact that she won’t be home for Christmas is an entirely different post so you’ll have to wait for that one.) A few minutes later, as I passed the terminal again, I texted, “went wrong way, had to rtn 2 terminal. lol.”

(No, I wasn’t texting while driving either time. I was texting while sitting in my car oozing pass the terminal. And I went the wrong way ‘cause I was looking at the clouds and daydreaming.)

I got back on track and was halfway to the highway when my phone rang. I saw it was Amber. “Hey Munch,” I said happily. “Want me to come pick you up!?”

image “Uh… noooo… howwwweevvveer… My bag is over the weight limit and they’re going to charge me $90 if I don’t get rid of 15 pounds.”

“I’m turning around now.” Mom to the rescue.

I told her I would call when I pulled in front of the terminal. I called; it went to voicemail. I called; it went to voicemail. I texted. Then called… again. Voicemail.

I finally walked over to the Delta employee and said, “Can you do me a favor?” After repeating myself for the second time – amidst the high winds and roaring airplanes – I see Amber clicking her way out of the terminal.

We load her bag in the back of the van and she proceeds to mumble, giggle, talk, laugh, complain, dig and search… while I stood there shivering and holding her purse, phone and book. Finally after one of the reusable shopping bags was filled she pulled her suitcase over to the outdoor check in while I watched from the van, just in case. She turned to me and I made the “how much” hand sign with dramatic mouthing.

Four pounds, she gestured and mouthed back.

“OMG,” I say to no one, but the sleeping child in the back. I watch as she digs further into her suitcase and expressively talks to the airline employee. Finally, she clicks over (yes, she’s wearing high heels) with a couple of items in her hand and says, “I still need two pounds, but he’s working with me.”

“Great. Love you. You left your purse. Bye.”

I was supposed to be driving away, but I just stood there looking at my daughter. It was a semi-weird moment. She’s a young adult – a 19-year-old woman. I’m proud of her and glad I could be there in her “time of need.” I can only imagine what she would have done had I already made it back home. I envision a mysterious box left in the airport with my name on it, the FBI knocking on my door and a bomb squad slowly approaching with a robot.

An-t-way, she turned as if she felt me looking and did the little “mooommmm” expression with the laugh and wave. I waved, smiled and finally left the airport terminal.

Her traveling technical difficulties – and blog fodder – haven’t ended quite yet. The 3-something flight that was supposed to take off hadn’t left at 4:10 because of a missing and stranded crew member. She’d already had to switch gates three times and she has layovers and connecting flights to get.

That’s the current traveling story and I’m sure there’s more to come… ‘cause we can’t just have normal, uneventful travels. I have to tell you about that time I was happily standing in the line to get to security, enjoying a bottle of water while I listened and chuckled at people complaining. I was in my travel Zen… me and my big 8-month-old belly. An airport employee strolled by, looked at my belly and gestured for me to approach. She looked at my ticket and ID then got me through security quickly. How nice of her to let a big pregnant woman get through without having to stand. What I realized after I got through was luckily she had stopped ‘cause I was pregnant, but when she looked at my boarding pass she saw I was about to miss my plane. LOL… yup, total Zen and pregnant brain.

Have you enjoyed my travel tales? Do you have some of your own? As people begin their holiday traveling and vacationing I’m sure there will be a lot to share. Why don’t you share yours here?

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Children’s books about saving animals {book review}

I was trolling the pictures on my camera one day when I came across a few of my children holding some books that I’d received to review. It’s been a very long time since I received them (so long ago that I’m embarrassed to tell when), but I know they’re ones you want to hear about and share with your children.

094These children’s books relay true stories of special animals that have been rescued, rehabilitated and adopted at the Compassionate Pet Sanctuary, Inc., a non-profit organization in California. They sent us The Miracle of the Little Kitten, The Three-Legged Kitten, Stinky Little Scroungy and Our Orphaned Owls, which were all written and illustrated by Samuel Lopez. My children are true book lovers so it’s no wonder they loved these stories, but they were even more enthralled when they discovered that they’re actually true. My son was particularly amazed by the pictures of the actual animals that are included in the books. (I have absolutely no idea why my daughters didn’t have on their shirts… I’m sure that’s a post for another day!)097

The books are written in a way that are easily understandable the children, and I must admit that I also found the stories to be quite engaging. It’s always interesting to read about true-life stories of success, adventure and rescue.

096These books, which can be purchased at True Stories About Saving Animals for $14.95 each,  have found a home on my children’s bookshelves to be enjoyed over and over again.  If you have an animal lover on your holiday gift list then these are definitely books they’ll enjoy.

Disclosure: I  received the Compassionate Pet Sanctuary, Inc. books for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

The best hint ever {product review}

I twisted the cap off and a whiff of fruity flavor entered my nostrils. It was a strong, fruity  scent that made me expect a strong, sweet, fruity taste. So I, honestly, wasn’t expecting much. Boy, was I wrong. That first sip of Hint amazed me with just a, uh, hint of flavor and the refreshing splash of H2O. My hint to you: You have to try it as soon as you get the chance.

image Hint is touted as being naturally-flavored water and I think that description is right on the mark. It comes in 10 different flavors and I had the privilege of trying several flavors including pomegranate-tangerine and strawberry-kiwi. Others available are cucumber, raspberry-lime, blackberry, honeydew-hibiscus, lime, watermelon and pear. I was pleased with the taste of each Hint I tried. Instead of a beverage that has a little flavor and a lot of artificial sweetener, Hint – the Drink Water, Not Sugar® beverage – is definitely premium essence water.

Facts about Hint:

  • Premium essence water with a hint of flavor
  • No calories, unsweetened essence water available in 10 flavors
  • HINT is the preferred alternative to fatty juices and high calorie beverages
  • Available in Whole Foods, Stop N Shops, Starbucks, supermarkets around the country and Drink Hint site
  • Retails for 1.79

Out of all the water products on the market, Hint is at the top of my list for flavored water. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Disclosure: I  received samples of Hint for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dancin’ & learnin’ with Phonics Fantasy Theater {giveaway}

Most kids love music and dance; and most parents love that for their kids especially if they’re having fun and learning at the same time. That’s exactly what they’ll get with Phonics Fantasy Theater®, a supplemental phonics program that teaches children to read using African-Caribbean dance moves. It’s a multi-sensory approach to learning that focusing specifically on the kinesthetic modality style of learning. For instance, many children learn better when doing something while they learn as opposed to just sitting and watching or listening.

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The Phonic Fantasy Theater has developed an instructional DVD called Phonics Fantasy Dance™, which won The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval 2010. The DVD was designed to be fun and interactive by guiding children through 19 lessons, which use repetition, delayed responses, graphics and games that they can participate in at their own pace.

Our take on the DVD:

Both us parents (myself and my BFF) and our children (the four of them) found the DVD to be quite entertaining. The children – ages 7, two 5 years old and 3 – laughed and participated the entire time. My BFFs response? “Kudos!… I enjoyed watching her do the sounds and the dances. She even told me she likes it without my asking.”

The facts (taken from their site):

Phonics Fantasy Dance ™ was developed by a speech-language pathologist and theater arts educator in collaboration with dance instructors, teachers and parents. It  was designed as a fun, interactive program where students can independently advance through the 19 lessons. The repetition, delayed responses, graphics and games allow children to view and participate at their own pace while being highly entertained. It’s
primarily designed for children ages 4-7 years old (pre-kindergarten through second grade) and will help improve the child's ability to: Name individual letter sounds, blend letter sounds to form words, take apart words sound by sound and clearly pronounce all letter sounds. The children get an introduction to African dance; consonant sounds including stretch and stop; and short vowel sounds.

How to purchase the Phonics Fantasy Dance™:

The DVD is available on the Phonic Fantasy Theater site along with catalogs to use for educational purposes at home or school for $19.99 or a 10-disk set for $150.

A fabulous deal for you:

Phonic Fantasy Theater has generously offered a discount code when you purchase Phonics Fantasy Dance. The code – holiday11 – will entitle you to a 40 percent discount and is available until December 31, 2010.

The giveaway:

Phonic Fantasy Theater has also generously offered one DVD to giveaway to a lucky reader.

How to enter:

Mandatory: It’s easy! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what is your child’s (or the little person in your life) favorite way of learning. (1 entry)

Earn extra entries for the following to increase your chances of winning:
  1. Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave the link to your post in this post’s comment section. (Counts as 3 entries; leave 3 separate comments)
  2. Mention this giveaway on Facebook (or other social media besides Twitter) and leave a link in the comment section. (1 entry)
  3. Follow me on Twitter and post the following. Don’t forget to leave the direct link to your tweet in the comments section. (1 entry):  Enter to win a Phonics Fantasy Dance DVD from @Petula1968 at It’s a woman’s world! http://tinyurl.com/2am2gwn

This giveaway runs from today, December 12th to  December 20th at 11:59 EST and is open to U.S. residents only.

The winner will be selected using Random.org, will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Please be sure to leave a valid email address.

Disclosure: I  received a Fantasy Phonics Dance for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Truly making happy happen

I received a press release yesterday that I felt compelled to share because it touched me. What a wonderful story of giving and a program that’s really trying to make a difference. Please read and pass on.

“Kyle Cobb is 14 years old and earned more than $1,000 this summer.

The money is gone, yet the Atlanta teen could not be any happier. His money didn’t go to clothes or video games, but to a new friend named Kiwane Clay.

Kiwane, 15, was born with kidney complications and has been undergoing dialysis since birth. Due to the expenses of dialysis and other treatments, Kiwane and his family have endured several hardships.

Kyle never thought he would meet someone like Kiwane. He also never knew he’d end up on dialysis as well.

In 2009, Kyle experienced a rare condition where he outgrew his kidneys and went through dialysis treatments for three months. While undergoing the treatment and waiting for a new kidney, he met and befriended, Kiwane.

Once Kyle received a new kidney he decided that it was time to help Kiwane. So, he asked for donations from a local motorcycle team, friends and families. Kyle raised $1,200 and will continue to raise money until Kiwane receives a new kidney and is no longer on dialysis.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is celebrating this holiday season with a Make Happy Happen campaign.

Every week through December, we will post videos profiling people like Kyle, who make happy happen every day for our patients.

Whether they support Children’s with their time, financial gifts or their inspirational stories of hope, these special friends spread the message of giving not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.

Visit www.choa.org/makehappyhappen to learn more about the project and make happy happen this holiday.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all do at least one thing to make someone else happy this holiday season and everyday afterward? Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Which side of the moon?

Over the past day or so there have been a lot of thoughts brewing in my mind. I’ve been sick for about four days and although I’m on the mend, so to speak, there are still the medical issues to deal with. But, as a friend of mine always says, “It is what it is…”

During the past four years there have been loads of things I’ve had to deal with – some would say, “Just like everyone else.” Well, I say, it’s all relative. But that’s not what this is about. This is about where I’m going and what I’m doing… it’s about where I am.

image For some reason as I pondered my writing, finances, friends, children and everything else in between, I thought of the title of an anthology, which in 1994 published a poem I wrote. The anthology is called “Dark Side of the Moon” (published by The National Library of Poetry) and for some reason I’ve always loved that name. It draws me in ... I haven’t laid eyes on the book for quite some time so since it was on my mind I grabbed it from my bookshelf. The art on the cover shows a likeness of the moon, just a corner of it, with a pair of dolphins diving pass it and a splash of light in the background.

It’s mystic… mysterious? For me, it holds unanswered questions and unrealized dreams – sort of like my life. My world.

Today (I began writing this post a couple of days ago), the thought came to me again while I talked to a friend of mine the thought of where I am and what I’m going to do came to the forefront of my mind again. I guess this will be the time I set some goals and implement some changes in my life in preparation of the New Year.

These changes are fueled by the necessity to better manage my health and stress as well as facilitate some financial changes – in the positive, of course! How that will manifest here is infrequent posts after I catch up on some review commitments. Over the next couple of weeks/months, I will begin to make more commitments to myself while letting go of things that are hindering me and holding me back.

This will more than likely be an ongoing process as I dive into it with the gracefulness of those dolphins I told you about and work around the darkness that may try to cover me. But in the background, I hope to see the light. As I “travel,” I will more than likely reveal what I’m experiencing.

ImageChef Custom Images

Oh, do you want to know about the poem I wrote? Although it has nothing to do with this post I thought you’d like to read it.

It’s called Dance of Love…

Their long, lean bodies intertwined.
Honey-brown limbs resting comfortably as one.
Two hearts beating in sync.
Fingers trailing over sensitive skin.
Lips brushing against earlobes,
Tongues flicking -
They began the dance of love.
Her taut nipples pressing against his hard chest.
Meshed together, their breathing quickened as they unite.
Pulsing, pumping, loving, pushing…
They couldn’t get enough.
Muscles tensing and quivering
Toes curling.
She grips his broad shoulder, he cups her round butt.
Then their breathing slows.
They find each others’ lips and tenderly kiss.
He runs his fingers through her hair,
Then moves to lie next to her.
Their eyes close – fingers and legs intertwined.
Content – dreaming of their dance of love.
                                                      ©Petula Renee Lloyd

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Replacing printer ink, toner cartridges

A friend of mine was nice enough to give me a fabulous Christmas gift last year (or was it the year before?), a four-in-one printer. When I received the printer it worked fabulously and the ink cartridges lasted about six months or more. When the cartridges finally ran out I replaced them and was surprised that they only last about 30 days, and I hadn’t done anymore printing and copying than I usually do.

That’s why it is important to purchase quality printer ink and toner cartridges. Although I don’t have a Dell 5110cn color laser printer, which many people swear by, I will be sure to get the best cartridges I can get next time for the best printer I’ve ever had.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Big needles & big bodies

I began writing this post about three days ago and forgot to post it; since then I’ve been pretty sick. This post is about how I felt before that time… since then I’ve felt like a chewed up piece of gum that’s stuck to the bottom of a combat boot that’s being pounded into the sand every few seconds. …

I’ve been negligent in posting my health and weight loss journals – for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, I haven’t really had any new developments and there isn’t really a need to share my day-to-day pains all the time. On the other hand, I just haven’t felt like it.

If you’re new here, let me give you a brief update on my health: I suffer from sjogren’s disease and fibromyalgia. Together these issues cause a myriad of symptoms including  exhaustion, dry mouth and eyes and chronic pain. One of the tings I’ve dealt with is abnormal liver level readings that are monitored on a continuous basis. They’ve been abnormal for so long that I had a liver biopsy earlier this year.

I went to the oncologist yesterday and found out that I’m more anemic than I was the last time I had an office visit and my blood tests are a little suspicious (my word, not hers). My oncologist visits began years ago when I was [allegedly] misdiagnosed with multiple myeloma. Because of that diagnosis and the sjogren’s determination I’m monitored for the development of myeloma by getting bone surveys and scans. And, much to my dismay, bone marrow taken. That will be next week.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had bone marrow taken and it is the.most.painful.thing.in.the.entire.world! I’m not exaggerating. I always say it’s more painful than childbirth, but I guess it’s just a different kind of pain. It’s an awful pressure as they push a gigantically long needle into the area between the bones at my joints near my hips (they enter from near the top of the gluteus maximus). And I’ll have a bone survey this Friday – that’s not so bad, it’s just a long process.

That’s really all I’m going to say about that for now. I’m just numb to all of this. Of course, I don’t feel well each day and there are some new worrisome aches and pains, but it seems to be a “normal” part of my everyday life. I’m not going to bellyache about it and I’ll just focus on continuing to be proactive by taking my medications and making it to my doctor’s appointments. It’s really all I can do right now.

On the weight side of things, I hate to admit that I’m 186 pounds. I’ve been on a fairly steady gain since around September. I guess the beginning of the school year contributed, additional stress, a bout of emotional eating as well as a loss of self control are also culprits. I’m a little amazed that I’ve gained a lot of the 60 pounds back that I loss. I know “they” say most people gain the weight back, but I’ve never experienced this before. In the past it has taken me 10 years or so to gain this much weight (20 give or take) and now it takes a few months. Not cute and not cool.

I’ve begun to get my butt in gear a little, but I don’t think I’m making any promises. There is possibly a huge change in the near future that can effect this entire process. So, for now, I’m watching my calorie intake again, trying to move more and managing my health.

Consistency is the key… Uh, if you have some consistency, could you send it my way? LOL

Clicking any of the above links will take you to my other posts on the subject.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Have you heard of the supplement glucosamine?

If you’re like me you’re interested in ways to improve and maintain your health. That’s why when I read about glucosamine I thought you’d like to read some information about it and share what you think.

Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body to assist with the repair and maintenance of cartilage. That’s why  Nature’s Best recommends this supplement and reports that it has had good results in clinical studies and with the millions of people who have tried it. The company, which sells glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride, recommends the sulphate version because it’s the form that has been used in the most clinical students and that research appears to reveal that it is more effective than the hydrochloride.

Because each person has different needs within their body as well as different mineral deficiencies  it is important to make a decision on what will work best for you by evaluating the information presented. In some individuals the supplement has been used to prevent cartilage degeneration, treat arthritis and has been used as a therapy for osteoarthritis.

Whatever supplements or minerals you decide to consume I always recommend talking it over with your physician. In my situation, I take about 12 pills a day and I am always cautious about adding anything without finding out the interaction between my medications and any supplements or minerals.

Are there any supplements or minerals you take on a regular basis? Have you heard of glucosamine?
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Stealing someone’s identity can be easy

This morning I was looking through my medical records from about 1988 to 1992, which is the time I served in the military. Not only did I find what I was looking for, but I found the social security numbers of every doctor who treated me during that time.

How easy would it be for me to take those social security numbers and get a credit card or do some other form of identity theft? Even as careful as some of us are today; it’s easy to find certain information if you know where to look and what you’re looking for.

identity theft chartIdentity theft is all over the place. I’ve recently come across a couple of blogs that spoke about someone stealing their online identity and spamming blogs with content using the innocent bloggers information. One lovely blogger went to a site that she reads on a regular basis and was shocked to see her picture plastered all over a post in association with the word SPAM. Needless to say, she was embarrassed even though she hadn’t left the spam comments. 

*Chart is from FTC.gov.

I discovered some statistics about identity theft and if you do a search you’ll be able to find even more information*:

  • According to a 2009 study by Javelin Strategy and Research, 1 in every 10 United States consumers have already experienced identity theft.
  • I was surprised to discover that 7 percent of identity theft victims had their information stolen for medical identity theft.
  • A lot of people (38 to 48 percent) find out their identity has been stolen within three months, but 9 to 18 percent don’t discover it until four or more years later, according to a 2004 Identity Theft Resource Center Aftermath Study.

*This information was taken from SpendOnLife.com.

Although I had a comedic moment of thought regarding what I would do with the found social security numbers, I’ve put the records that contain them away and know that it’s sensitive information that should not be shared. Hopefully, other individuals will think of the damage they can do to someone’s life before they steal someone’s identity.

Do you do anything specific to protect your identity?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Cornucopia of Blog Hops…

 
 

To celebrate the Fall Season  a couple of fabulous bloggers are hosting The Cornucopia of Blogs Hop!

Hosted by

I decided to join in. Visit the hostesses and make some new friends!

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Only 100 percent juice

I’m a juice snob. I can admit it. I’m a bit obsessed with ensuring my children only drink 100 percent juice, soymilk or water, and I normally shun all other so-called beverages. I just recently started to relax a little by letting them have a little lemonade, iced tea or soda on a very occasional basis. It was more because they were able to have these forbidden liquids while away from home so I thought instead of depriving them at home and being the “bad guy” I would be a little more lenient.

Lucky for me, even with the leniency, my children still prefer water or 100 percent juice so I knew they would be game to try Welch’s Healthy Start 100% Juice. It has no added sugar, contains two times the antioxidant vitamin C of the leading orange juice and drinking 8 ounces of the juice gives you two servings of fruit.

When I received the coupons from BzzAgent to try the juice, I wanted to taste the blueberry pomegranate concord grape, but the store where I was shopping wasn’t carrying it. I ended getting the grape juice and I didn’t expect to see any difference in the taste than the regular 100 percent grape juice I normally purchase

I poured a cup of the juice and my taste buds went wild. The grape taste was so fresh and pure that it is actually the most refreshing juice I’ve tasted in a long time.

This juice has natural antioxidant power straight from grapes and it’s an excellent source image of calcium. In addition to the  grape and blueberry pomegranate concord grape flavors, it also comes in white grape orange mango. Available in the refrigerated aisle at grocery stores and Walmarts everywhere, Welch’s Healthy Start retails for $3.79 for a 59 ounce carton.

To keep up with what’s going on at Welch’s visit their site, Welchs.com, and follow them on Facebook to learn about promotions, coupons and contests.

Disclosure: I received coupons from BzzAgent.com, of which I am a member, to purchase Welch’s Healthy Start 100% Juice for the purpose of sharing information about them with my friends and family. The opinions expressed here are my own and are in no way influenced by BzzAgent or Welch’s. More information can be found in my complete disclosure policy.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

$25 Amazon.com gift card {giveaway}

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!

Congratulations to Valerie from Frugal Family Fun Blog.
You have 48 hours to respond. Merry Christmas!

It's a woman's world! is pleased to announce we are partnering with Crib Mattress Reviews to host one of their giveaways. We have a $25 Gift Certificate for Amazon.com to giveaway to one of our loyal readers. This is the ideal giveaway this time of year to help with holiday shopping.

How to enter:

Mandatory: It’s easy! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what you will do with the $25 Amazon.com gift certificate if you win. (1 entry)

Earn extra entries for the following to increase your chances of winning:
  1. Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave the link to your post in this post’s comment section. (Counts as 3 entries; leave 3 separate comments)
  2. Digg, Stumble, etc. … this giveaway (1 entry each)
  3. Follow me on Twitter and post the following. Don’t forget to leave the direct link to your tweet in the comments section. (1 entry):  Enter to win a $25 gift card to Amazon.com from @Petula1968 & #cribmattressreviews at It’s a woman’s world! http://tinyurl.com/27m4dns

This giveaway runs from November 28th to  December 15th at 11:59 EST.

Official Rules:
  • Open to U.S. residents only
  • Must be 18 or over
  • No purchase necessary

The winner will be  selected using Random.org, will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Please be sure to leave a valid email address.

About the sponsor:

Crib Mattress Reviews provides free, quality information related to baby mattress reviews such as facts on choosing the right crib mattress size and choosing the correct crib mattress to keep your baby safe and comfortable.

Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Exciting, mysterious journey {book review}

When I first began reading the advance reading copy of Guardian of the Gate, which is the second book of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. In the beginning,  it seemed as if I needed to have read the first book to understand what was going on, but I was mistaken. As the book progressed, enough of the background was revealed to make it an interesting novel to stand on its own.

Guardian of the Gate, which was released in August 2010, tells the story of Lia Milthorpe who journeys to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos, which are supposed to tell her how to end the prophesy that has turned generations of sisters against each other as it has already done to her and her twin Alice.

It is a book of ancient myths and legends that includes romance, danger, betrayal and intrigue. And it’s a book that keeps you wanting more. Will Lia find the missing pages, will the darkness win, and will her twin’s growing powers and dark nature beat out Lia’s light and goodness?

A little bit of a SPOILER follows…

The answers to those  questions won’t be answered in Book II. You won’t get to the end and find out if Lia defeats Alice, if her powers get any stronger or  if she ends up with her true love James or Dimitri who she seems to have an undying passion for.

…end of spoiler.

I like the details of the book and the fact that you – as the reader – don’t have to be too knowledgeable of ancient myths and the like. Although I like a book that sets you up to want to pick up the next one, I don’t like a book where you have to get the next one to find out what happens. On the other hand, after reading the press materials that arrived with the book I understand why the Zink takes this approach. The book is published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers for ages 12 and up; that demographic of readers are loyal to authors and normally collect books in a series.

I found Guardian of the Gate to be a truly interesting read even as an adult, and given the opportunity I will definitely pick up a copy of Prophecy of the Sisters and look forward to the release of the next book in the series.

To learn more about the author  and her fascination with ancient myths and legends, visit Michelle Zink online.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink free of charge to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. If you make a purchase through the above Amazon link I will receive a small commission. For more information review my complete policy.

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Do you need a personal trainer?

A lot of us had taken the time to share what we’re thankful for this holiday season. Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, but we’re still basking in the love, family, friendship and food! The food, for some, will continue on for several days and some of us may gain a little weight or get off track of our healthy and weight loss programs.

Now would be a good time to hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer is someone who embraces your goals and pushes you toward them. I’ve been surprised at home many people are taking advantage of the service and the areas you can find one. In fact, I recently learned of a Vancouver personal trainer who comes highly recommended.

Whatever you do to get back into or stay in shape during the holiday season, be sure to continue on that path.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and don’t eat too much sweet potato pie.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have a joyous, fun-filled Thanksgiving

It dawned me a few minutes ago that I should have scheduled a Happy Thanksgiving post, but I didn’t so I just popped on here to wish you all a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving day. I’m not going to stress about what I haven’t finished or didn’t get to, and I’m hoping you maintain a stress-free, joyful day filled with family fun and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Here’s to a day of family, love and turkey-day goodness.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to take care of your lips

I’m not one of those women who has to put on makeup before I leave the house. Even though I go through stages of wanting to “put on a face,” the stage doesn’t last long. So I resolved myself to maintaining the health of my skin, putting on mascara to define my eyes and applying lip gloss to keep my lips moisturized.

I find that I like to use lip gloss and lipstick along with some type of lip balm. Using two products instead of just one makes lip color last longer as well as assists in keeping my lips moisturized.

One of the best products on the market is lip lacquer, but they aren’t all created equal. The first time I used that type of product was in 2002, for my wedding, which is when it was just becoming popular. Although I liked the concept and it lasted longer than regular lipstick it was difficult to remove. Lip lacquer has come a long way since then. It can now be used alone or with your favorite lipstick and it maintains its shine and prevents color from bleeding. An added benefit is the natural ingredients: vitamins A and E, avocado oil, sesame seed oil and jojoba seed oil.

Take the time to at least add a little color and shine on your lips. What is your one beauty must-have?

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Wordless Wednesday – Anna’s best friend from school

DSCF5419

Imagine Anna’s delight when her little friend came over for the Mega Blok play date.
Aren’t they cute?

Check out  pictures of all my children.
And visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome home…

PetAmber08 On June 23, 1991 I gave birth to my first child, my first daughter, and up until the time she graduated from high school we hadn’t spent more than a week or two apart. And we have rarely went more than 48 hours without talking on the phone.

Amber came home for the summer and went back to school to begin the fall semester and, believe it or not, I’ve only seen her once in the past three months. The longest we’ve ever been apart. As she gets older, and makes a life for herself, I’m sure those time periods may get longer and longer… But I don’t have to think about that right now.

me and amber summer 2010 Sometime this evening my first baby, Munchkin, will be home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I relish in the time we’ll have together this week and I’m already anticipating the laughs, jokes, sharing and getting on each others’ nerves (LOL) that’s sure to accompany the visit. It’s something – and someone – I’m really thankful for.

Welcome home, Amber…

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Mega fun with Mega Bloks {play date re-cap + review}

One of the reasons I love blogging is I can do things for myself and my children that are either entertaining, educational or necessary. Another of the reasons is I thoroughly enjoy sharing products and information with my friends (including my blog readers and friends) and family. So when MommyParties contacted me about hosting a party sponsored by MegaBloks I jumped at the chance.

DSCF5392 The MegaBloks party was this past Saturday and, despite my nervousness, it was a huge success. Not all of the children showed up that were scheduled, but it worked out perfectly. My youngest, who was the official host, greeted her guests at the door and they all went right to the Play’n Go Table that was set up in the middle of the floor. Before the children started their building and playing, I told all the mommies (and a couple of grandmas) about the Play’n Go Table.

DSCF5389 I love that little table, which you can see here without the Bloks on top. Those four pieces – the yellow, green, blue and orange ones – lift off and there’s a little storage area within for the MegaBloks. It’s easy for children to unlock the table, with a little knob in the center, and get ready for play all by themselves. If you want to take the table to go, all you have to do is push two tabs on each leg and all four legs fold down and you’re ready to go. No assembly, no mess and no fuss. Just the kind of toy I like!

DSCF5393

 

The party was planned for children in Anna’s age range (she’s 3), but when everyone didn’t show up that allowed the three older kids (my two ages 7 and 5, and a friend’s daughter also age 5) to participate in the fun. I was amazed at how long the children played with that table. The built cities and buildings then tore them down, they built again and knocked them down… over and over again.

 

 

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Most of the children had noticed the Lil’ Vehicles (Lil’ Pink Bus, Lil’ School Bus, Lil’ Boat, Lil’ Dump Truck and Lil’ Tractor) sitting off to the side and it wasn’t long that they all tired of waiting to get their hands on them. Once they all decided on which vehicle they wanted, we set up races two by two.

 

Here are Anna and Aries, looking very serious, waiting for the signal to go (no, we didn’t let Aries get a jump on Anna. LOL… She scouted back a little)…

DSCF5401…  And they’re off!

DSCF5405

These boys (who I call Little J and Big J) are cousins. Here they prepare to race.

DSCF5402 My two middle children, Andre and Amareah, got in on the fun again. I think they tied each time they raced each other!

DSCF5404 

Each of the children raced two or three times, if not more, and by the time they tired themselves out it was juice pouches and a Mega Munch snack for everyone. Stopping for a snack and a drink did not stop the children from playing; they continued to roll around their vehicles around the room as some continued to play with the Play’n Go Table (retails for $39.99).

DSCF5387 One of the most exciting parts of the play date was the drawing at the end. When the adults arrived they filled out an information card that was put into a bag for a drawing of the raffle gift, the Pull Along Musical Pirate Ship (retails for $29.99).

 

 

 

And the winner was… Giselle and her son Jalen (please forgive me if I misspelled names). The mom, who really only came to bring her sister and her son (Damien, one of Anna’s favorite friends at school), was thrilled when she won. And, of course, her son was as well… such a cutie who was excited to find out that he had won.

DSCF5407DSCF5409

 

 

 

 

 

 

My review: The Mega Bloks Play’n Go Table is a fabulous choice for children ages 3+. The table is sturdy –  one play-date guest decided to slam it up and down – and versatile. The children at the party made so many different structures, buildings, towers, bridges and scenarios that I lost count; and my children have since found other blocks that also fit coming up with hide and seek for the little play people and a variety of other structures. The ‘Lil Vehicles, which include bloks inside of them, also proved to be sturdy against dropping, continuous rolling and crashing.

One of the things I like about Mega Bloks is how easily each separate toy fit with whatever you purchase. For instance, if you get the play and go table and later get a vehicle, the bloks inside the vehicle are easily incorporated. And the bloks can be bought unisex in the Classic 80-piece bag or strictly girly in the Pink 80-piece bag.

Now Anna wants to know when her friends are coming over again… Oh boy, I think I and MommyParties have created a “play-date loving monster!”

To check out the toys I mentioned here, as well as others, visit the Mega Bloks site. Be sure to surf around after you take a gander at the Maxi toys because there are all kinds of Mega Brands that your kids will love.

Disclosure: I received, free of charge, a Mega Bloks MommyParties Kit that contained enough Mega Bloks and information to share with 10 children and their moms.  No monetary compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

How to deal with paralyzing stress

There are moments in life when you’re sure of a lot of particular things or subjects then there are moments in life where those subjects become even clearer causing a somewhat surprising – and sometimes “duh” like – moment. Intellectually, I realize that personal situations and setbacks cause stress and inner upheaval, but it wasn’t until today that I realized how truly paralyzing some of these situations can be. Or, for my new-age, uber positive, overly thoughtful group: how truly paralyzing I allow them to be.

I’ve mentioned in the past how… uh… challenging the past three and a half years of my life have been. And I’ve even eluded to what has been going on the past three weeks. I told someone that either something truly, extra, stupendously fantastic is going to happen or it’s all going straight to hell. Yea, that’s a little chuckle worthy, but it’s so how I think. Let’s look at the most recent evidence:

  • Almost three weeks ago I had the washing machine replaced after the other finally and completely died. Huge sigh of relief and happy dance to have a new one, and a bundle of love and thanks to the person who enabled that to happen.
  •  DSCF5374 About two weeks ago, a small leak in the tub began. That turned into a major, gushing waterfall. It went from a potential $55 job to a $345 job. Good gracious. Another happy dance for getting it fixed, for the sound of running water finally stopping and for the plumber who allowed me to give him half of the money at the time of repairs. The other half? Well, let’s just hope he’s understanding and patient.
  • Last week, Friday, the alternator in my van died. Suddenly, but slowly. I did my morning run/carpooling and it slowly died and shut down during my afternoon carpooling. Thankfully, I got it into the driveway (happy dance for that!), and I won’t tell you how the past week has been trying to find rides for the children to get to school, waiting for money to get it fixed and the ensuing stress of the whole ordeal.
  • Then the phone goes out. That’s all I’m going to say about that one.

That’s where the paralyze-ation comes in.

As I’ve tried to force myself through my regular activities and work, I couldn’t figure out why I was so immobile. Why nothing was getting accomplished. Why I felt … AARRRGGHHHH. Yup, that’s the only word I can come up with for the feeling.

That’s when I realized I was paralyzed. I was paralyzing myself. I couldn’t shake the thoughts of trying to solve these problems especially the one of not having a vehicle to take care of my responsibilities especially when it comes to my children. Of not having enough resources. I couldn’t focus on anything else.

Now the question is: How do I un-paralyze?

I’ve found that if I completely and narrowed mindedly focused on one task, I can forget about everything else and get through it, but that didn’t cause an ongoing level of movement. It only caused spurts; important responsibilities were being neglected. Before I – or anyone else – can move through paralyzing worries there are some steps that must be taken:

  1. DSCF5381 Read a book or watch a movie/show that is entertaining or interesting to you, which  normally works for me. (Right now I’m reading Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink.)  By focusing my mind on something else it wipes the worries from my mind. But you can’t do it without also …
  2. Meditating. For some that means prayer, but I mean just spending quiet time clearing your mind. Think about what you just watched or read, and gradually let your mind drift. Picture a meadow, a sea, the sun, a naked body – whatever causes you peace, happiness or both. Now you should be ready to get things in …
  3. Order. With a detached attitude and logical thought make a to-do list of what you must do. These are things you are in control of. My list looks a little like this: wash a load of clothes, write a post (with the subject, if applicable), wash dishes, straighten living room, make bed, complete assignment, call mom… You’ll notice the list consists of work- and home-related tasks. For me, it’s the only way to move forward because if it’s all work I’ll feel overwhelmed again. Before you begin your list, you must decide on a …
  4. Treat/Reward. Yup, you have to treat yourself like a child. Well, I have to treat myself like a child. For instance, if I complete my assignment I can have another cup of coffee. If a wash dishes then I can have a piece of chocolate and so forth. It doesn’t have to be food or beverage, but you get the idea. Then you’ll have to …
  5. Repeat.

One of the keys now is for me to remember my own advice and, most importantly, implement it. In fact, the act of writing this post has been somewhat therapeutic because it’s doing something I love to do.

Now it’s time to move on to the next task. While I’m working (sleeping, goofing off…), take a moment to share how you move pass paralyzing stress.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just a little reminder about Campus Talk Blog…

… I’m over there as well.

At the very cool and informative Campus Talk Blog, I’m the resident “first-time college mom” and I write Parents’ Perspective. In case you’ve forgotten, my baby went off to college last year (summer 2009) and now she has about two years under her belt. I think for her it feels like 10 years, but that’s another story.

image So while it seems like I don’t talk about my beautiful Amber that much any longer – that isn’t necessarily true. She’s actually the topic of conversation in almost every one of my posts. Lucky her. :-)

I’ve been able to take my experiences as a first-time college mom – and her experiences as a college student – and mesh them with some helpful, entertaining and informative pieces. Not every post is about Amber, but just about every post is inspired by the fact that I have a child in college.

image Be a dear and pop on over for a peek. The CTB experts (in student leadership, finances, study skills, relationships, etc.) would love it if you took a look around, read a few posts and left some comments. Then come back here and let me know what you think. Mmm’kay?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What I should have said…

I’m taking Bloggy Moms’ November 2010 Blog Challenge

This may be a hard post for some to read and understand, but it’ll be the only time you’ll “hear” me say this online. I never want my children to think that I don’t love them or want them, but I must admit that I wish I had said no when my ex proposed.

Or I guess I could write, I shouldn’t have said yes. Either way – it shouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have let it happen.

Yes, my children are a blessing and a gift – the situation, in my eyes, is not. And it wasn’t necessarily so from day one of the marriage.

I should have known the second day of our honeymoon. The minute I thought, “What the hell have I gotten myself into.” The next thought was I should leave immediately and get an annulment. Not a great way to start…

There’s no way to relay all of my thoughts and everything that happened from that moment on. It would be a lie to say every moment was awful and, from my perspective, it would be a lie to say that my short marriage was good.

There were good times. Good moments. In the end the bad moments, and one significant final moment, tainted the entire relationship. It’s unfortunate and even sad especially for my only son – and second child – who still has memories of his parents being together.

Hopefully what I should have or shouldn’t have done will become a distant memory. There will be no guilt, no blame and life will continue to move forward … for the sake of my children who I love with all of my heart.

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