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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Slow, sad, super Saturday

Ho-ing a little hum. (You know, ho hum.) An-t-way, my humor is about the same as how I feel today. A little dry and down (physically not mentally). I haven't been feeling well since last night sometime and when I was awakened this morning I didn't feel any better. A little worse as a matter of fact and moving really slowly. Even my skin is tired. I'm assuming it's one of my "attacks" - for lack of a better word. I haven't gotten as much sleep as I should have over the last week or so and that's usually one of the things that gives me days of exhaustion, more pains and aching. I've even napped today, but my eyes are still closing some.

I'll hopefully take another nap after I get a little work done. I also need to accomplish some housework, but each time I get up and move around a little it seems like my temperature rises. The mounds of laundry and dishes may just have to wait.

I guess this is like a mini health and weight loss update, huh?

The sad part? Not having one person who will stop by to help out, bring a pizza and some fun for the children or anything that will temporarily relieve the stress of not getting what I need to done. I always think it has something to do with the invisibility of my illnesses. I wonder if I broke my leg, had cancer, was in a car accident or something would anyone come through to help me out. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt it.

The super comes in the form of three little people who have undying energy. While I napped they chased each other through the house screaming and giggling; they played in their room; they drank water; helped their sister in the bathroom and who knows what else. I'm glad there weren't any fights and I was able to sleep relatively well with the noise level, which is a true indication that I definitely don't feel well. Sleep + running, playing children normally = mom irritation, but today I was thinking that I'm glad they're enjoying their day despite the cloudy, rainy weather and their mother passed out on the couch.

How's your weekend thus far?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Break the Cycle of Failed New Year's Resolutions with New Book, Achieve Anything in Just One Year

This is a sponsored guest post written by Jason Harvey on behalf of Achieve Anything In Just One Year. Post powered by Sponzai.

On January 1, more than 100 million Americans will make a New Year’s resolution, according to a University of Washington survey. By March, however, most resolution-makers will already have broken their newly minted promises. 

In his new book, Achieve Anything in Just One Year: Be Inspired Daily to Live Your Dreams and Accomplish Your Goals (Amazing Life Press, $29.95,, Jason Harvey provides a blueprint for personal success that can make 2010 the year that resolutions become reality. 

Most resolutions fail because people try to change too fast and accomplish too much all at once,” said Harvey, a Certified Life Coach. “My book is about learning how to make small daily changes and be your own personal life coach.”

The most common resolutions - to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, spend more quality time with family, etc. - are also the easiest to break. “The truth is, we set ourselves up to fail by making resolutions that are sweeping and unrealistic,” explained Harvey. 

The resulting cycle of making and breaking promises is self-defeating - so how can individuals make resolutions stick? Achieve Anything in Just One Year equips readers with the tools to: 

  • Be truly committed.Don’t just go through the motions - act like you’re making a promise to your company, or to your best friend. 
  • Be specific. A resolution like “I want to lose weight” is easier to ignore than “I want to lose five pounds by March.” 
  • Set a deadline. A timeframe equals commitment and helps quantify success. 
  • Avoid overwhelming yourself. You may want to lose weight, quit smoking, achieve moderation with martinis and cut up your credit cards all at once, but let’s get real. Focus on a limited set of goals and plan on taking stock mid-year. 
  • Change one thing at a time. Recognize that change is hard. Wait to achieve one goal before starting on the next. 
  • Be realistic. Taking charge of a fitness regimen is a realistic goal, while exercising seven days a week may not be. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment with lofty goals. 

The idea is to take daily action that creates a ripple effect in your life,” said Harvey. “By transforming your life with small steps, you can stay motivated, focused and balanced. Best of all, you’ll feel happier about pursuing your personal success.” 

Achieve Anything in Just One Year is available to BUY NOW at


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Take time for a good read... or two

Dear Dedicated (Book) Readers,

Please forgive my delinquency in posting book reviews. My only "excuse" is the busyness of the most recent holiday season that had my days a little off kilter. I am hoping that I am on the road to a more organized, and committed, blogging schedule that does not neglect my book and product reviews (as well as my other responsibilities), the readers of my reviews, and the publishers and publicists who vigilantly work to promote these great works.

Humbly yours,

Petula, the blogger, mom, writer... uh, woman.

Engaging & fulfilling
Those are two of the words I'll use to describe "Love You To Death" by Shannon K. Butcher. The book jacket is what intrigued me to read it:
It's been days since reporter Elise McBride has heard from her sister, Ashley, She's convinced Ashley has met with some kind of foul play, especially when she learns that bodies of other missing women have surfaced in around Chicago - all the victims of a brutal serial killer. Convinced her sister is still alive, Elise vows to risk everything to save her...
There enters the hunk of the story: ex-cop Trent Brady who not only has skeletons in his past, but commits to helping Elise find her sister. In the process they, of course, fall for each other. Bad thing is; the psycho has his eyes on her as well.

I'm loving the novels that mix suspense, drama and mystery with a little romance and sexual tension. It's the fabulous change to chick lit called romantic thrillers. If you haven't figured it out yet: I really enjoyed this book.

One of the things I found most fascinating about the author is she's the wife of bestselling author Jim Butcher. She learned to write from him by helping him with his stories. The urge to create her own was too strong and the industrial engineer is now a full-time author. (Inspiring, right?)

If I were you I'd order a copy, and to make it a little easier for you I'm including a link to Amazon here. Yes, it goes through my Amazon associates account, but I know you wouldn't mind clicking through to support a hard-working, freelance, single mom of four. ;D

Artful & thoughtful
The Art of Meaningful Living by Christopher F. Brown, LCSW, MBA, with art by John Palmer turned out to be more than I thought it was. It's one of the best coffee table-style books I've read since Dreads. With so many self-help books on the market that only speak to the mind and not the soul, this book is intended to offer "a framework for navigating significant life change through a combination of psychologically-based techniques and provocative abstract artwork."

It's that and it's beautiful. I find it to be a book that you can browse through and absorb yourself in the artwork or you can read the text to delve deeper into the true purpose of it. It's filled with psychological concepts that Brown says has worked on himself and those he has treated in his private practice while Palmer contributes original pieces of art that was inspired by the text.

To really experience The Art of Meaningful Living you'll have to see it for yourself. If you like beautiful artwork with the added benefit of a purpose, or vice versa, then you'll definitely want to grab a copy of this one.

Bonding with baby
For centuries mommies have figured out that most babies love to be touched and soothed. Now there's a book that uses massage-touch play activities to enhance that bonding experience and creative development. "Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy" by Martine Greeneveld* with art by Brad Kunkle includes brief instructions and suggestions to lead mommies (daddies can do it too) to make this a fulfilling and fun experience.

Honestly, the book wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, but I definitely see how today's new mommies can incorporate the techniques into their daily routines. For me, it would have been a great to have when my middle daughter, in particular, was an infant and young toddler because we had a daily massage routine. Even as early as three months old she showed how much she enjoyed massage. She would pause in sucking her fingers, widen her eyes and expectantly lift her eyebrows and wait. Once I began her massage, she would slowly suck her fingers and blink her long eyelashes laying there for as long as I decided to massage her little legs and feet.

That daughter, who's almost 5 years old, still enjoys her legs and feet massaged so I am glad that I have that bond with her. And with the "Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy" book I could have learned more techniques to develop a massage touch and play routine with all of my children. If you're looking for a way to enhance the interpersonal communication, promote health and well being as well as cognitive development then grab a copy so you can begin drawing stars on your little one's tummy.

*Groeneveld is a registered nurse, licensed massage therapist, certified infant massage instructor and mother of two.

I received the above mentioned books in order to compose these reviews/synopsis. No other compensation was received. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise indicated. 

I can see you!

Today is the day I ask ALL of you for a favor. Quite awhile ago I participated in Delurker Day. Well, today is Delurker Day and I'm am calling you out. If you're lurking in the background, reading on the sly or secretly, hanging around to see what's going on or even reading in your email, Facebook or any other alternative virtual place, click on over here and leave me a comment.

Come on; show me whatcha got!

Why? 'Cause it's Delurker Day. One of the pleasures of blogging is getting comments from readers. I don't normally say anything about those lurking (or, like I like to say, stalking) around. I don't tell you to come out and reveal yourself all the time, but every once in awhile I need a little variance in my day to boost my blogging mood.

Revel at The Velveteen Mind has quite a few lurkers as does Greeblemonkey so get a little out of your comfort zone and reveal yourself. For me? :)

Where did I go?

After such a wonderfully creative and inspiring (and well-written!) post on Monday for my weekly inspiration, I just knew this week would be filled with expertly written posts. Well, it kind of has been, but not here. Sadly I didn't do what I said I would do, which was peruse my files for writing fodder when I got stumped. Thought of it - didn't do it.

Even this post seems randomly, meaningless and just yuck.

Okay, deep breathing is in order here.

Let me try this again.

This week has been crazy. The heat in the van, the heat in the house, the printer that won't load to aforementioned laptop (the one I'd like to shoot into the trash can), the misunderstandings, irritations, money issues, children, forgetful brain and all have literally sucked the life right out of my It's-a-woman's-world writing brain and pushed it somewhere else never to be seen from again.

Okay, the end of that was a bit too dramatic, but you know what I mean.

An-t-way, just wanted to let you know that I'm around. Look for me all over the place: Super Amazing Savings, Coupon Trunk, Facebook, Twitter... send me an email even 'cause I've been in my in box more than I've been here.

Enough shameless plugging? Good. But be on the lookout for some more information about a little project I'll be participating in. I'm a little excited 'cause it'll be another opportunity for me to share my wonderful self with the world. As if you wanted more of me, right? :)

Hope your week is going well. Leave a comment and tell me all about it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby memories

Have you ever heard of TextTrust? I hadn't until today. And, no, that has nothing to do with this post except that coming across that site led me to one of my old posts called "What a crazy morning!" Before I could even finish it I was tired. Having a baby is work... Here's a peek at the beginning of that post:
My morning began at 3 a.m. when the baby woke up crying. It was one of those cries that said, "Come get me." Then a misleading pause to make you think they went back to sleep before the "Come get me" gets louder. I stumbled into the children's room and scooped up the baby before she woke up the other children. She was very warm.

It took me a minute to get out of my fog, but I realized that her warmth was not a result of being snuggled comfortably under the blanket... it was coming from the inside of her body. My baby had a temperature.

I grabbed the diaper bag, her sippy cup from the fridge and took everything to my room turning on the light so I could get a good look at her. She was breathing very rapidly and she seemed drowsy. I immediately gave her a dose of Tylenol and encouraged her to drink. She drank thirstily...

 Click here to read the rest of the post...

Online college courses

One of the things I've been strongly considering is going back to school to get another degree - I'd like a master's in creative writing. As most of you, my writing friends, know it isn't a necessity in this field to have advanced degrees. However, I'm one of those crazy individuals who enjoy going to college and learning. That's just to start with. One of the things I'd like to do is teach at a college level, and having that degree would make me qualified to do a little more. Know what I mean?

I've looked at some Online Colleges as I've considered this new chapter (transition?) in my life. I actually think I want to go back to the classroom; even if it's just on a part-time basis. Whatever I decide to do - online or in a classroom - I'll have to consider the pros and cons.

A few of the benefits of taking courses online are:
  • lower costs
  • saves time
  • easier to balance work, school and family
  • ability for a more specialized degree (some profess)

For me, the benefits of attending classes on a campus are:
  • Face-to-face feedback on writing
  • Interaction (I already work from home)
  • Meeting new people
  • Change of environment
If you're considering going to school or going back to school, think about taking classes online. It's a great opportunity to assist with career advancement and many top universities now offer online courses. A lot of individuals think they don't have the time to pursue a degree, but taking online classes could be just the key to making dreams come true.

What about you? Have you ever taken classes online?

Weekly Inspiration: Just being me

Today things started off a bit slow. To be honest I guess I should say that I started off slowly. It's one of the two Mondays out of the month that I don't have to get up to take the children to school or the youngest to daycare so I took advantage of it by sleeping in. I turned in late last night and took some very drowsy-inducing meds so lazying around this morning didn't seem to be a problem.

Until I got started on my day...

The first thing I noticed when I stumbled out of my bedroom was the temperature. 'Guess I better get someone over here to look at it,' I thought as I quickly showered and dressed.

I sent a text to the neighborhood handyman and he was on his way before I even had a sip of my first cup of coffee. I turned on my computer and found a few things still amiss so I called my computer, best friend guru.

Between the hold ups of getting to work on my computer and discovering that one of my units (the compressor, I think it's called) needs to be replaced... I started getting a little irritable, but I resisted being overcome by my irritability and tried to continue what I was doing. I hoped over to Maternal Spark to read the Weekly Inspiration post and was immediately inspired and encouraged to tackle large projects in bite-sized bits. So how can I do that with my computer issues, my heating issues and other things on my plate?

That's an ongoing question. A question that I can't forget to keep at the top of my mind. If you have large projects that you need to tackle then take Heather's advice at Maternal Spark to bite off a little at a time. (Be sure to check out her post today and join in by sharing your inspiration this week in the comments or on your own blog.) That leads me to what's inspiring me this week

Being me is what's inspiriting me right now. More specifically: Being a blogger. My job/work as a writer and editor inspires me. It's not only the thing that makes me a little mullah, but it's the thing that I most enjoy. I get a high out of writing, creating, being artistic, inspiring, educating and sharing. I can't say that I don't sometimes get frustrated or stressed about it, but at least it's something that I love.

I need to use my love of what I do to fuel me throughout this week and every week. When I get stumped or have writer's block, I should be able to pull up a document on the computer or open a file in my cabinet and use something that has sparked me in the past.

I hope it doesn't sound conceded to say that just being me is what's inspiring me, but it's true. I even wore my blogging t-shirt today as a reminder. Let the week - and the inspiration - begin!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wrestling with technology

After about two weeks of taking over my daughter's laptop (that she took back to school with her) my best friend, an absolute computer genius, was able to resurrect my old laptop. It took a lot of erasing, removing, deleting, waiting, disconnecting, reloading, rebooting and all kinds of other crazy computer stuff that I have no idea about to get it going again.

He's given me a little more time to get the money together to get the laptop I really want. I'm kind of on borrowed time and I'm going to try not to get too attached to this one 'cause the next time he gets his hands on it (he fixed it virtually this time), he said he's going to wipe it clean and start all over.

Oh, the fun of technology.

It was all fun until I finally sat down today to get some work done and realized I had to install Microsoft Office stuff and re-do all of my settings, etc. So instead of actually beginning with work I've been doing a lot of restarting, downloading and trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing.

Now it's time to get some work accomplished. If you need me, I'm the lady sitting on her couch with eyes blurred and frantically clicking and typing. Oh, but it's not that bad: Even with the technology wrestling I have really enjoyed my day so I'm not going to complain or get stressed out.
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