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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Whataya know? Comcast cares.

About 24 hours ago, give or take, I posted “Does Comcast care?” It’s a issue I’ve thought a lot about and really needed to express my displeasure. This, friends, is my Comcast update:

After I tweeted about my post, I received a response from @comcastbill requesting I email my information so someone could review my bill and offer assistance. (This is the second time I’ve been impressed with the response of Comcast representatives via Twitter.)  I did as he asked and today received a call from Comcast. “Ut oh,” I first thought. “I’m in trouble now.”

*chuckling*

On the phone was, let’s call her,  Ms. B an Executive Escalations Specialist. By the way, she doesn’t introduce herself that way. Now that I know I’m dramatically assuming my account has been flagged as “troublemaker.”

*looking over my shoulder*
*snickering*

ImageChef.com

I digress. Ms. B offered a couple of options in the form of promotions to lower my bill and spent time going over each choice as well as answering all of my questions. There is really  no need to mention how professional and courteous she is because I’ve never had an issue with the professionalism of the company’s representatives. I’d just like to point out her positive, helpful and professional customer service because she deserves that recognition.

After I chose the plan, she emailed the specifics for me to have in writing. Tomorrow she will follow up with an email or call  to let me know exact details on the amount of my current bill, which will change as a result of her backdating the promotion.

To say I’m pleased with the response is an understatement. I’m not sure why I wasn’t able to get the same result by calling customer service in the past, but that’s neither here nor there at this point. Obviously, Comcast has proved they do care.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Scrapbook-worthy memories

I began writing this post the day after Christmas. It’s always a reflective day for me because the stress of the holiday is finally over, and I’m no longer worried if my children will be pleased with their gifts and the holiday in general. There are two things that come to mind in the first couple of hours of December 26th:

  1. I’m exhausted
  2. Spending time with my offspring is awesome

christmas tree 2012On Christmas Eve – or, technically, early Christmas morning – I didn’t fall asleep until about 3 a.m. The day had been eventful and unpredictable, but I really wanted to go to sleep earlier. That didn’t happen, but I figured I could get a little extra sleep the next morning – Christmas day.

I thought it was a realistic expectation because almost every year my three young children sleep late on Christmas morning. They may rise around 8 or 9 a.m., which is absolutely fine by me and much preferred. This year they were up and chattering in the living room around 6:30 a.m. I could hear the excitement in their voices and was hoping they would decide to get some cereal or do something else so I could sneak in a few more minutes of sleep.

Of course, that was wishful thinking. Finally I called out, “What are you guys doing?”

“Sitting on the couch waiting for you to come out,” my trio said in unison.

“Are you coming out?”

“Come out!”

“Are you getting up?”

trio fall 2012I could hear them approaching my bedroom door as they tried to coax me out of bed. My door opens slowly and after watching what looked like blurry shadows dance in my doorway, I sleepily said, “Merry Christmas.”

My children said Merry Christmas in return and sang the words as if they were harmonizing. They were each hopping up and down.

Again, “You getting up….?”

“Ooookkaaaay, I’m getting uuuupppp…”

I’m not sure if I said something about laying back down or why do I have to get up, but whatever occurred they started to sing, hop higher and dance all the while moving closer to the tree as I approached.

“It’s Christmas time, it’s Christmas time, it’s Christmas time.” On beat, harmonizing and bringing a sleepy smile to my lips.

It was like they planned a little holiday production to celebrate my rise from the depths of my bed. Their enthusiasm kept my shuffling feet in motion, and it took quite a few minutes for the sleep fog to clear as I passed out their gifts and tried to keep up with everything they were saying.

amber november 2012Sometime during the day I thought I would be able to sneak in a nap, but between the children and their gifts, my best friend arriving for dinner and my oldest daughter needing more of my assistance with Christmas dinner (regardless of how much I tried to get out of helping), I didn’t get a chance to sit down much.

Autumn 3 months dec 2012Although I am exhausted, I do not regret one moment of this day. I spent time with my children (ages 21, 9, 7 and 5), my 3-month-old granddaughter, her daddy/my daughter’s boyfriend and my best friend. It was the baby’s first Christmas and the simple joy of being in her presence is magical. Those are definitely scrapbook-worthy memories.

I wouldn’t change anything about this holiday season except for the amount of sleep I’ve had. And, now, I look forward to 2013 with a positive outlook, a renewed sense of purpose and the chance to make more memories for my scrapbooks.

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Does Comcast care?

I’ve been planning to write a post about Comcast with the words “rip off” in the title, but I changed my mind when a customer service rep successfully helped me with a problem. Last week I DSCF5854 contacted @comcastcares via Tweetdeck. The first rep who responded offered a remedy that didn’t work. Later I tweeted again and @comcastwill provided the correct solution in one try. Go, Will!

Other than that one day, I stay miffed about Comcast mainly because of the cost. My issue with the amount of money I spend for Internet and cable services began to boil again when I discovered a new customer I know pays less than I do, but has more channels. (More about that in a minute.) It’s particularly maddening because they don’t offer any options to help me cut costs and save money.

In 2003, when I first signed on with Comcast, I had  phone, Internet and cable services. About a year later I no longer used the home phone regularly and turned off that service   As things worsened for me financially – I was pregnant with my fourth child, separated from my then husband and the economy had taken a turn for the worse – I called to cancel my cable to further reduce expenses. I needed the Internet to make money, but cable seemed like a luxury. I was surprised to discover an Internet-only package costs more than having both.

Recently I found out my daughter, the new customer, pays about $45 a month for cable plus two premium channels  and Internet. I pay about triple that without premium channels so I called again to see if  there are deals or plan changes for current customers that would  reduce my bill. Still nothing.

On top of fees, surcharges, taxes, etc., the luxury of Internet access and cable television is costing more than necessities. Since that’s the case I should really take advantage of the services, right? So I checked their website about adding HBO. If you want that service they’ll happily add it for $10 per month plus a connection fee. If you decide you don’t want it any longer they’ll kindly charge you a disconnect fee. Didn’t someone just enter information into a computer and the computer sent a message that activated the service? Seems like I’d be paying for someone to push a button. Isn’t that what they pay their hourly employees for? That person must get the 10 bucks in their pocket. (You do know I’m being sarcastic, right?)

From where I’m standing, Comcast doesn’t care about their customers. I have yet to see a change made that doesn’t involve increased rates or expenses. For instance, the digital television switch supposedly prevented me from using my DVR as my cable receiver and continue to have the ability to record shows, which I had been doing for some time. In order to do that I would have to purchase their DVR and pay for the service.

This company is an adequate representation of the direction this nation is going in. It’s all about the bottom line… of the accounting ledger, not appreciation for the loyalty of longtime customers.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Having healthy skin

A lot of mothers and grandmothers – including myself – recommend a regular dose of 100 percent juice that includes vitamin C to help stave off any cold germs that might try to take root. We’re now discovering the go-to vitamin wields other powers: the ability to give skin firmness and strength as well as create scar tissue and ligaments that help the skin to repair itself.

What does this mean for you? It gives you the extra knowledge you need to give SkinCeuticals skincare products a try. SkinCeuticals was founded 15 years ago and from the beginning they delivered innovative products to improve the overall health and beautiful of the skin. Those products include a topical vitamin C that protects skin from environmental damage; a culprit behind the signs of premature aging.

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 GelThe SkinCeuticals line includes hydrating gels, clarifying cleanser, equalizing toner and a number of other creams and SPF protective products. Smoothing on pharmaceutical grade, pure products is your first line of defense to keeping your skin from the harmful effects of the environment around you.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Evaluating emotions

I was browsing my unpublished posts and found this. I wrote it sometime over the summer and I’m not sure why I didn’t share it with you…

I've been sitting here pondering a couple of overwhelming emotions I had today. In a particular situation my emotions & feelings are running rampant, but I'm conscious of not letting them run me and focus on thinking logically.

One thing I do know is when we react to something based on intense emotions we may react incorrectly. I'm so extremely glad that I didn't react to someone based on my emotions and now I sit here patiently waiting to discuss a situation. (Thank you Amber for "listening" to me.)

I have to know that it's not always about me. I shouldn't think negatively first and disrupt my flow and motion of my day to dread something that may not happen. I don't have to be scared of being happy or any other wonderfully positive emotion and keep thinking there's a gigantic ball waiting to drop and ruin it.

Living in the moment and enjoying every minute.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Serious skincare

Cold weather and dry air are not friends to our skin. Add to that any hormonal or medical issues we have and our skin really deserves special care.

Dermalogica Super Rich RepairThat’s why it’s important to have special and reliable skincare products at your disposable to ensure your skin maintains a healthy, beautiful and hydrated appearance. Dermalogica products are one of those that will serve you well in that area. The company has been a worldwide leader in the industry for more than 25 years.

The company has about 15 products available right now on AstonishingSkinCare.com including Daily Microfoliant, Clearing Skin Wash, Multi-Active Toner and MultiVitamin Power Serum. Dermalogica has a product for every skincare need, and with regular use your skin will be clearer, softer and healthier.

What’s your biggest skincare challenge?

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Explore my archives…

sweet naughty baby

My youngest, almost 5 years ago, exploring under a park bench.

If you’ve read my blog frequently then there are a few things you definitely know about me, but maybe there are a few things you’ve missed. For those of you who are new then let’s get you all caught up:

  • I’m addicted to fruit, skin and hair care products, dark chocolate and coffee.
  • I have quite a few health problems.
  • I like to read and write book reviews, and I’m always behind on reading… What book addict/nerd isn’t behind on reading?
  • It’s fun to review skin and hair care products; at least I think so.
  • I have no problem talking about my children because I adore them (and because they get on my nerves).
  • Amber gave birth to my first grandchild in September, and I can’t believe she’s 3 months old already. She is the sweetest and chunkiest little sweet potato.
  • I have a little issue with procrastination, self immobilization and “laziness.”

There’s a lot going on in this woman’s world – and brain! LOL – search (upper left-hand corner) or ask in a comment and I’ll be happy to tell you. I may whisper it, but I’ll share.

Come back again soon, k?

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Celebrate life, honor loved ones

The holidays are upon us and while people are enjoying that by honoring their religious and family traditions they are also celebrating other events and experiences. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned recently, at a time of year when everyone should be joyous some are being forced to remember recently loss loved ones.

It is a good idea to use sparklers to celebrate or sky lanterns to honor the lives of loved ones who aren’t alive to share the holidays. This could be especially important for children who need a positive memory of someone they love and of a time of year that is special to them. SparklersDepot.com has sky lanterns (sort of a mini hot air balloon) and sparklers, which are hand-held fireworks.

When celebrating the life of a loved one sparklers can be lit and placed in a vase, held or whatever feels comfortable. The lantern are released into the sky and used to symbolize different things. Wouldn’t it be nice for a child to be able to verbalize how much they’ll miss their loved one or share a favorite memory.

What do you think about using sparklers or sky lanterns in this way?

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Cash-only schools

If you make the mad dash to get kids to school in the morning – or you’ve ever made the mad dash – then realized you forgot to send money for a field trip, book fair or some other event or item… then you know what it’s like to have to quickly take care of the little parenting problem. While driving to the school or rushing to the bus you scribble out a check.

IMG_20120513_142740 That’s what would happen to me when my oldest daughter Amber, now 21, was young and it still happens to me today with the three youngsters who are ages 9, 7 and 5. The difference is the three younger children’s schools don’t accept checks – not even for book fairs or t-shirt sales.

I’m finding this “new” cash-only policy quite annoying. I’m sure it has to do with fees the schools incur because of bounced checks and the processing of said checks. I also know I’ve not been one of the culprits. Everyone makes mistakes, but I strongly dislike being punished, so to speak, for others’ errors.

What policy does your children’s school have regarding writing checks and paying cash? What do you think about the cash-only policy?

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Find unique, useful baby gifts

Just when you think you’ve  seen all there is to see in baby gear there’s even more than you knew was there and it’s even cuter than ever. That’s what happened when I visited SimplyBabyGifts.com again.

Burp cloth, bib and wash cloth Fresh BloomI browsed to the sales page and came across their burp, bib and wash cloth, which is a 3-in-1 product that makes taking care of baby a lot easier. As a burp cloth, mommy slings it over her shoulder for full coverage. For a bib it wraps around baby for full coverage and is secured with rust-free plastic snaps to ensure the bib stays in place. And, it’s a large (9 inches x 20.5 inches) soft, absorbent, 100 percent cotton fabric wash cloth that’s machine washable.

Produced Locally, cranberry bootysuit size 6-12There is one other item in the sale section that is also quite adorable: cranberry bodysuits and t-shirts with the slogan “Produced Locally” imprinted on the front. I’m a sucker for those little shirts and find most of them quite entertaining and clever.

Whether you shop the sale section or the rest of the site for baby gifts, you’ll find exactly what you need. Among the baby gifts are baby yoga pants, out of stroller blankets, personalized Rudolph plates, baptism gowns and clothes.

Don’t wait too long to place your order ‘cause you’ll want it to arrive when you need it. While you’re at it be sure to get the free ground shipping deal, all orders exceeding $75 receive free shipping.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

PeachSuite: one stop shop for hotel supplies

Years ago I dreamt of opening and running a quaint little bed and breakfast that was expertly decorated and masterfully equipped with everything the guests would need. Of course, it would also need to be stocked with every supply and amenity of a five-star establishment.

PeachSuite Hotel Supply is an online retailer that can supply the  supplies and amenities  needed to take care of the everyday demands of effectively running a hotel, restaurant, bed and breakfast, catering establishment and health care service. They have been providing top quality Hotel Supplies Online for more than 30 years.

This retailer offers the hotel industry low prices without compromises quality and ensures quick, easy and secure online shopping. For those who want to experience the quality in person, the Atlanta showroom and warehouse is an expansive 120,000 square feet and houses thousands of products that are ready for shipment.

PeachSuite is your Hotel Amenities Supplier, they can handle your hotel resupply needs as well as impress with their specialized and convenient service of new hotel openings. This hotel supplier is committed to delivering what they promise. For now, I’m just going to get back to my dream.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Bubbling with pride

If you’re following me on Facebook you probably saw my post about my son winning runner-up in the K-7th grade category in the Earth Day Network’s National School Lunch Week Poster Contest. A few months ago I saw an announcement for the contest printed on the bottom of the school’s lunch menu. It’s ironic because I rarely read the menu in its entirety, let alone the text surrounding it, I normally just post it on the door for the kids on the off chance they decide they want to know what’s for breakfast or lunch on a particular day.

HomeOnce I noticed the contest I asked Andre, who has showed a love and talent of drawing at an early age, if he’d like to enter. After I explained what it was for and what he needed to draw he decided to go for it. Once he started his poster, his sister Amareah who is a year and a half younger decided she wanted to enter as well so they both worked diligently to meet the deadline.

After I submitted their posters via email they asked me fairly regularly if I had heard anything. Imagine my surprise – and utter pleasure – when I received an email informing me of Andre’s win. I think my eyes got a little teary. I was so excited that I called the kids, who were with their father for the weekend, to tell them about it.

Poster Contest Winners Announced Earth Day Network 2012-12-03Amareah wasn’t too happy to hear she didn’t win, but it was a perfect opportunity to teach her about being a good sport and let her know that the judges noticed they were siblings and would include a t-shirt for her in the prize package. And Anna, who could have also entered and chose not to, was upset because she wouldn’t get anything. That was my chance to tell her not to be unhappy with her choice and maybe next time she’ll chose to participate.

I’m so proud of my son for his effort, talent and win. I’m proud of Amareah for participating, her talent and being supportive of her brother, which is so hard for her! I’m also extremely proud of the baby of the family – at 5 years old Anna held in her disappointment when the box with Andre’s prize arrived the other day.

As luck would have it there were enough t-shirts for him to share with all of us! Anna got one, he gave Amareah two, he kept two and he gave his mommy one. He got a reusable coffee mug, which he promptly asked if he could put coffee in, (Uh, I bought him some hot chocolate.) and a Ziggy Christmas movie that he watched with his sisters. He was really pleased with his prized, his win and seeing his picture and the other winners on the Earth Day Network’s web page. Even better for him was finding out I sent text messages and posted about the news on Facebook, which garnered congratulations and “so proud” remarks from friends and family who care a great deal for him.

I think a lot about how to best spend time with my son, boosting his self esteem, supporting his interests and raising him to be a confident and responsible young man. Of course, I do this with my girls, but it comes a little more naturally. Being the primary parent our days are filled with a lot of structure, discipline, rules and routine so for them to see the fruits of their labor and to celebrate with them is a true reward as their mom.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Have fun, save money at DealDash

There has been a lot of talk around the web – on blogs, social media networks, forums, message boards – about DealDash. I’m sure most of us have seen the posts that seem like promotions exclaiming the extraordinary deals received on name brand products and how everyone should rush right over and snag what they want too.

We’ve also read comments by naysayers who strongly believe it is a scam. I must admit I was a bit wary, but held my judgment since I hadn’t taken the time to delve deeply into the site and do my own research. When I had the chance to read a DealDash Review, and share it with you, I thought it would be the ideal time to form an opinion of this penny auction site. My opinion immediately changed when I discovered that the site has 1.5 million loyal shoppers.

The article is written by a freelance journalist who has taken the time to do her research on the background of the site, how penny auctions began and she sat down to put in the time needed to participate in an auction. Ultimately, she thinks Deal Dash makes shopping fun like a game. She may have a point.

Read the review, follow her advice then, if you’re interested, try it out for yourself. You may be able to score some Christmas gifts for the low-low and you’ll have a good time while you do it. If you do dash and deal, please pop back over here and tell me how it went; I love a good dish on a deal.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Daydreams & random thoughts

(c) CraigCreative '12
My brain has been busy most of the week, but the thoughts are lost in the static. Lost in the crowd of conversation. It's like my muse is shopping among the shelf of ideas and each time she picks up one the others fall and knock her over so she just gets discouraged. This among the frustrations of co-parenting: My children, who spent the entire holiday week with their father, are not in school today... that's a long story.

As I lay about, sometimes too annoyed to do anything and too lazy to do something else, I daydream about love and life. I realize on some level I absolutely adore living alone - without children - and wonder if I want a live-in male companion or "just" a nearby male companion/friend/love; you know what I mean. I'm looking forward to the empty nest and enjoying my granddaughter (and - wow! - any other grandchildren I may have then) when she visits as well as not scheduling my life around my children. I'm looking forward to not having this feeling of dread that I'm failing at my current job. You know the one: Parenting. My two middle children had perfect attendance. My youngest has a project due today. They should have been home in time to catch up on sleep as well as get back on schedule and routine to begin their week in a structured way. I know, it's not my fault they aren't in school today or are traveling when they should be home, but I'm the responsible mom.

While I watch another movie, a show's marathon (Castle, Flashpoint, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds) or something else On Demand, I glance out my window at the fall-colored leaves and imagine an impromptu drive up 75N to visit friends and families in other states. The trees remind me of driving the highways at home. If I had the money, and only had myself to worry about, I could stay as long as I wish. Or I could hop on a plane and enjoy a vacay in the Caribbean, on an Hawaiian island or at a Jamaican resort.

If it weren't for the television and daydreaming, it wouldn't take me entire days to wash, dry, sort and put away laundry, or to iron and hang uniforms. I eat breakfast at noon, lunch at 4 or so and then I remember to eat dinner before I go to bed. It sounds like the life, but it's the life of one who steals in moments between down in the dumps, laziness and relaxing. I plan to go out, but I normally don't. I don't want to do any random shopping; I've already spent three days not writing my shopping list and organizing my coupons. There's something about holding in my annoyance and anger regarding my continued disappointment in this co-parenting situation or any situation ... it puts me into an inactive and sometimes semi-inactive mode. Then it results in a lot of introspective moments. Mini daydreams. Thousands of thoughts. The same hopes and wishes... unrealized - the ones so hard to let go.

Here I sit again with the television still booming, the pile of clean laundry growing and this post still unfinished. I've been writing it since the sun was high in the sky. There's something missing, a thought brewing under the murkiness that I'm aware of, but one I'm not sure I fully want to reveal. It's sorta here, mixed in with everything else but it's one of those things people think they should placate you on. There are no true answers, I suppose, and the "it will come in time" or other answers of those type that most people like to hear for themselves only aggravate me.

I've learned that's one thing that bugs me about a couple of people who hold very high positions in my life. I made a decision long ago to keep most of my personal business to myself when it comes to them. They don't understand my perspective, beliefs or me as a person. They respond from their paths and pasts, which aren't similar and there is no way to understand in a "walked a mile in your moccasins" kind of way. They speak only from faith. Now before you stop reading and rush to comment, hear me out. Speaking only from faith does not connect you as a person - you must connect with people where they are. Believe it or not, I know of what I speak. Not only was I "raised in church," but I was a believer who shared her testimonies and encouraged people through my words and actions. I never preached.

There's a point in all of this somewhere. Actually, there is more than one point. My brain is full of thoughts I wish I could get out of my head and into action. If I could get into action I think some of my dreams, hopes and wishes would come true. Some of those hopes and wishes are tied to love; yes, the love I want from a man and the love I want to give. I'm looking forward to the empty nest, but I'm committed to doing right by my children. I'm aggravated by the roadblocks co-parenting puts in the way of (some... it seems like a lot) of the good things I teach my children.

Ahhh, here it is: I just want my perfect life. Not the perfect life, not a perfect life, my perfect life. *nodding*





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Friday, November 23, 2012

Light up the holidays with Chinese sky lanterns

The end of the year is an exciting time. Families, friends, colleagues and acquaintances will have parties, gatherings and get-togethers. They’ll exchange presents, share spirits, consume goodies and play games. Some will tell jokes, sing and dance or make memories  with their new family, baby or marriage proposal. Let’s add another layer of excitement and memories to the mix and release Chinese sky lanterns into the night sky to culminate the end of the year. It’s beautiful to watch the lanterns as they are lit and released.

White Sky LanternSky lanterns aren’t new on the scene: Traditional sky lanterns used in Asian societies were made with oiled rice paper that was placed over a bamboo frame. Now modern sky lanterns are made using flame-retardant coverings and biodegradable materials. Those are just as beautiful and functional as the originals, and affordable.

You can get a sleeve of six colored for $20 and a case of 36 for $100. The white ones are the same price, but with singles are $3.50. More information about the sizes, shapes and prices can be found at Sky Lanterns Depot.

Get started now on planning your new, end-of-the-year memories.

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My babies over the years

2012-06-23 23.21.44

In the above photo are my four children – my oldest Amber with my three youngsters: Amareah, Anna and Andre. That was taken during this past summer on Amber’s 21st birthday. Below was about three and a half years ago. With just a glance at each of these photos I can remember a lot of what happened in our lives around the times they were taken. I really love looking at photos of my sweet babies… It helps me to remember what’s most important in life.a times four again

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

God bless the baby

A lot of families have their children baptized, or dedicated, according to their religions and customs. When that happens the children are dressed in beautiful, satin outfits and gowns. SimplyBabyGifts.com have some of the most beautiful and endearing baby baptism gowns.

baptism gown This Victorian Lace Heirloom Christening Gown is 26” and has a handkerchief-styled hem with elegant sculpted sleeves decorated with lace and ribbon accents. It comes with a matching bonnet, a separate slip, and is 100 percent cotton and handmade in the U.S. This particular gown comes in sizes 3, 6 and 12 months.

Thinking about the baby baptism gowns has me wondering whether my daughter and her boyfriend have thought about baptizing my sweet, little grandbaby Autumn. Not only is it a great way to honor her beliefs, but it also a beautiful way to celebrate the new addition to our family with the support of family and friends.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Let me confess

There has been something lingering in my mind for a few months or so: The thought of Christmas causes me major anxiety.

222Last year it didn’t hit full force until I was shopping for Christmas presents for my children. I was abiding by a list and budget when I nearly had a panic attack in the store. This year it’s been slowly building. I’ve tried to be oblivious to holiday decorations that appeared in stores in OCTOBER. I even held my ground when my children pointed out some.

christmas treeWhen we walked into Garden Ridge the week of Halloween and the place was flooded with every color and size of Christmas tree, all sorts of inflatable lawn doohickeys and other holly jolly decorations my blatant denial was over. My children oohed, ahhed, pointed and chattered. I.panicked.

My blogging comrades are posting holiday guides, gift ideas, giveaways, Pinterest pages of gifts, coupons for gifts, crafting gifts, scrapping gifts, links to discounted gifts and whatever kind of gift page, idea, link you can think of. It’s everywhere. Deep breathing exercises and trying to slowly get on the bandwagon hasn’t helped.

I cringe at Holiday Gift Guides – it means I need money. I long for  more talk about spending time together. Times seemed much simpler, and more family focused, when I was a kid. I looked forward to travelling to my grandmother’s house (one or the other, or an aunt) to enjoy a large spread of all the foods I love  as well as spend time with aunts, sometimes uncles (exactly where did they disappear to?), my grandmother, cousins and other relatives coming and going.                         

DSCF5431Different memories flash through my mind: The frozen coffee pie Aunt Liz made one year,  my cousins and I as teenagers eating at three different houses (loved having relatives living so close) and the taste of classic, homemade dishes my oldest daughter Amber continues to prepare.DSCF5432 (She’s been making those dinner rolls from scratch all by herself for years… and I remember when she prepared her first turkey.)

This year, I talked to my children about not getting as many gifts, especially toys, and receiving more useful and quality items. My son seemed accepting of the idea. Anna, my youngest, says yes now; however, we all know 5 year olds reserve the right to change their minds 10 times or more if necessary. I definitely want my children to be happy (at Christmas and all year long for that matter) and material possessions are not the key to happiness, but I don’t want to disappoint them.

258These pictures  are from a few years ago. Anna was about 2 years old. With the help of my best friend and my oldest daughter, the little ones had a wonderful Christmas and got a lot of the things they wanted.

266265My baby got a baby she wanted, my budding photographer got her camera, and my little man was happy with his big boy robe and all the little gadgets a boy can dream of. They all still use/play with those items today. I think that’s also the year they received bikes.

Right now, about 99 percent of my money is allocated to living expenses and the needs of my children. I’ll figure out a way to get them the couple of things they’ll like, but just thinking about it and the money to do it does not keep the anxiety away.

264

Well, at least I got that off my chest.

 

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Clinical strength Obagi products for skin health

As the years have passed a lot of us are really grateful for the advancements in technology when it comes to skincare products and services. Obagi has been in the midst of advancements and has developed health products and systems for the skin that are mainly used for the plastic surgery, dermatological and aesthetic related markets.

obagi Their products and systems have been clinically proven to improve the absorption of prescription and cosmetic ingredients. That absorption is ideal to cross the skin barrier for skin conditions that plague a lot of adults including hyperpigmentation, sun damage, acne and rosacea.

It would be a good idea to check out  Obagi skin health products especially if you need products with clinical strength. One can never have too many quality skincare products.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keep germs away with shopping cart covers

This is the ideal gift to ease mommy’s nerves and ensure baby’s comfort and safety: shopping cart and high chair cover. SimplyBabyGifts.com has four of the cutest patterns on these covers I’ve ever seen. When I had my first child there was nothing like this and I marveled at the moms who crafted their own buggy covers – I hope some are profiting from the invention – now they’re relatively easy to find.

shopping cart cover One reason I like the ones at Simply Baby Gifts is because of the patterns. My favorite is the Licorice Swirl pattern:  It’s classic and works for a boy or a girl as well as helps with the little ones cognitive abilities. The covers are also good if the child gets tired and needs to take a nap they can just hunker down into the cart and doze off ‘cause there’s nothing worse than a cranky kid during a shopping trip.

The covers sold at this online retailer have three uses; in addition to the shopping cart, they can be used as a high chair cover and on a double warehouse shopping cart cover for one or two children. It’s a great way to protect your child from germs and it makes for one of the best baby gifts ever especially since it includes a safety belt, two toy loops and handy pockets as well as a reusable carrying case.

Do you use a shopping cart cover or have you ever used one? Think you’d give it as a gift?

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Life of a nomad

There’s an image in my head of myself strolling barefoot along a beach in a long, red, semi-sheer, flowing skirt with a fitted tank covered by a sleeveless, red-flowered shirt that’s light and sheer… my face is relaxed, my children are running freely ahead, a book is in my hand and a blanket is thrown over my shoulder. Somewhere nearby is a shed, a lean to, a tent, a cabin or some place equally low maintenance that contains a few backpacks, provisions and everything we need to survive minimally and happily.

129 Living an itinerant life has been an on and off thought for quite some time. When I mention something like that most people chuckle and think I’m joking; they don’t realize that if I could really relinquish most of my responsibilities, drop off the grid and enjoy life as a vagabond I would do it in a split second.

I suppose vagabond wouldn’t exactly be the correct word to use because I wouldn’t be totally delinquent. I’d take care of my children. How? Hmmm… I guess I didn’t mention that every two to  three months my oldest daughter would contact me (I’d always let her know where I am) and she along with my granddaughter would visit. She’d bring my earnings from my book sales as well as any instructions and manuscripts to edit then take my USB drives to my editor who she would work with and ensure my agent received the new manuscripts on time. Only if any major rewrites need to done does Amber contact me, but – for the most part – she handles everything (oh, she’s nicely compensated).

That, sorta, means I have to get busy writing, huh?

With that said: My fantasy (vision, dream, wish…) is this new way of life will so reduce my lifestyle to-do list and the strain on my brain. My creativity will increase 100 fold. My chronic pain will ease. We would learn multiple languages. Life and living would be peaceful, filled with learning, adventure and new experiences.

Being peripatetic (I just had to use that word) or acting like hobos (yea, I’ve written about that before) seems to be an alright-y life to me.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Buying baby gifts

It’s probably a good thing I’m still raising children because I would already be buying my granddaughter, who’s just a month and a half, a whole lot of things she doesn’t really need. However, with the holidays approaching I have an excuse to get buy some goodies for her.

I’m enthralled with baby’s first products: I’ve already gotten her a baby’s first Thanksgiving bib and a pink baby’s first Christmas stocking. (I’m not even going to mention the adorable little onesies I found to give her from her young aunts and uncle.) It really is fun shopping for baby gifts when it’s for your grandchild, and SimplyBabyGifts.com has loads of goodies that I can choose from.

simply baby gifts deluxe basket While I was surfing the baby gifts site I saw a personalized deluxe baby girl gift basket that would be perfect. It has a cute teddy bear that Autumn would love especially since she’s started noticing the world around her; the softness of the bear should be especially enticing. And I won’t get in trouble with Amber, my daughter and Autumn’s wonderful mother, because there are useful items in the basket as well: onesie, bib, burp cloths, hooded towel and blanket all with the baby’s name on it.

When shopping for baby gifts remember to keep in mind what the parent(s) can use for their little bundle of joy. Items, like the stocking, can be mementos and bibs, onesies, burp cloths, etc., are always needed.

Are there any little ones in your family you’ll be buying gifts for this year? What gift ideas do you have?

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Unexpected inspiration: watering can

watering can 3

When I moved into my first apartment in 1990 I had two plants. The green of the leaves brightened my days and lifted my soul. At the time I composed a lot of poetry and, as a nature lover, the plants seemed to fuel my creativity.

watering can 2Two years later I moved to a larger apartment with cathedral ceilings, eight-foot high windows and cabinets with the requisite space that plant owners covet. My plants, which by then numbered at least 12, flourished. I watered, fed and repotted them when needed; the few moments required to play with them were enough to take me away from the grind of full-time college, part-time working and single parenting of one very busy little girl (that would be Amber, now 21).

By the time I moved to Georgia, my vines were long and cumbersome to move, the pots heavy with soil and my tree (no, I don’t remember what kind) was tall enough to bend when put into the car. I left Upstate New York heading South in the middle of May and arrived in Georgia when it should have been warm and comfortable. It was, however, an unusually brisk and frosty evening. My plants caught a little chill and I lost quite a few. Of those that survived, I sadly watched leaves wilt and fall while branches died. I nursed and fed ‘til the threat passed and was left with about seven plants.

About 10 years ago I moved into a house, again with the wonderful above cabinet space, and kept up with my plants until my second pregnancy. This time, with two other “big people” in the house, I tired of pulling out a step stool, lugging me and my belly up to water plants, sliding the stool and doing it all over again about three times. The heavier the belly, the less I did it.

When the plants started to “disappear” the other big people questioned me saying, ‘but you love your plants.’ I, with a little twist of my neck and an arch of my back to emphasize the belly, said, ‘no one else is watering them even though they see I’m tired of climbing up there and the plants are dying.’ [Insert eye roll here.]

watering canThe baby who was in the belly is now 9 years old and I’ve just begun caring for plants again. The first is a beautiful money tree; easy to care for and quickly growing. The second one, I bought mid-summer, is a petite rose plant I call my happy day plant (I’ve written about it once before). It had three small, red roses when I bought it and has since bloomed again. It’s a little high need, but I’ve come to love the little thing. It’s beautiful and is also steadily growing.

I have been watering using a small cup, but recently bought an inexpensive watering can and the feeling of plant-loving euphoria washed over me. My brain felt the jolt of creative juices and the tweak of what nature does to my system.

It’s amazingly crazy how a simple, tan, plastic receptacle made to water household plants has fueled these memories. It also eliminated my reasons excuses for getting more plants. No, the lighting isn’t ideal where I live now, but there aren’t any bellies in my way, my children will love to help me care for the plants and – most importantly – it makes me happy.

Has there been anything unexpected inspiring you lately?

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Add a unity candle ceremony to your wedding

I remember attending a wedding where the couple lit unity candles during their ceremony. It was a beautiful and sweet statement that not only added a personalized touch, but also included their family and engaged their guests.

A unity candle ceremony is a fabulous way to create a lovely presentation for family and friends to signify the start of their life together. The unity candle ceremony can be customizable to match the color and decor by selecting from a variety of holders, vases or choosing personalized options such as etching names or wedding dates into unity sand ceremony sets.

The possibilities are within the happy couple’s control. Weddingstar has the supplies wedding planners and brides-to-be need for the big day to pull off what can make a ceremony truly original. Let them help you create your ideal unity ceremony.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Year-round school shopping: Finding the best deals

I found the receipt!

Most, like 99.9 percent, of media outlets including bloggers will tell you where to find the best deals on school clothes when the school year is about to start, but what about when you're in the midst of the year and your child has outgrown something. What about when you weren't able to get everything at the start of the year? Maybe they’ve already ripped holes in the knees of their pants.

Amareah uniform deals postEvery year my children require replacements or additions to their school wardrobe mainly because they wear uniforms.  This wasn't as big of a problem when they wore "normal" clothes. The other day I went into Kohl's - one of my absolute favorite stores when shopping for myself - to return some shoes I'd purchased online. They didn't have what I wanted for an exchange so I returned with the intention of reordering online. While I was there I, of course, had to stroll pass the girls' clothes to see what was in the clearance section. I'm super, extra glad I did. Guess what I found:

  • Two $28 Chaps dresses for $8.40 each (70% off each) - both in navy. Even though both girls wear different colored shirts (same school), all of their basics are the same.
  • One Chaps navy cable knit sweater for $12, which is normally $30.
  • A long-sleeved, white polo shirt for my youngest, Anna, for $8.80 that was priced at $22.'

I’m not even gonna brag about the $64 sweater I snagged for myself for $12.80… Well, I guess I just did, huh? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 

Anna uniform deals postAt another one of my favorite stores for the kids, Payless Shoe Source, I found a pair of Disney Shake it Up shoes for Amareah for $12.99. They were originally $24.99. And the cutest miniccigirl knee-high, pink, ruffle-top socks with bows for about $2 (originally $3.99). Although I'm excited about the deal; I'm not excited that I was returning a pair of shoes Amareah outgrew before she had a chance to wear them when I bought them only about a month and a half ago. Go figure.

A couple of other retailers with great deals and sales throughout the year are JcPenney, Sears and Walmart because if you’re like me you’ll need to shop for school essentials at various times. Now, tell me, where do you find your best deals on school supplies, clothes and uniforms? Share your answer in the comments.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Winter pedicures, warm feet with PediSavers

Sixteen years ago I lived in Upstate New York where the winters were brutal. For the most part, during my seven years there, I did my own manicures and pedicures until one winter I decided I needed to treat myself. The weather was in the low double digits so I wore socks and sneakers to the nail salon and pulled out my flip flops to wear home. Not only was it a precarious trek to my car across snow and ice, but my feet – albeit cute with newly painted toenails – were feeling the bite of the cold. I began to think a pedicure during the winter was not such a bright idea.

pedisavers PediSavers, which “protects pedicured piggies™,” has solved the problem of cold feet after a pedicure. These pedicure socks are available in black and white knee socks as well as black, white and pink anklets. You can use them whether you’re doing your own pedicure or enjoying one at a salon. Just slip them on right before it’s time to polish – they also serve as toe separators – and you’re all set to go. They’ll look and feel great with your favorite flip flops and, as an added benefit, they’ll help keep your newly pampered feet moisturized.

This would be the perfect time (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) to purchase a pink pair of the PediSavers because proceeds from each sale of them will be donated to Breast Cancer Research. Visit PediSavers.com to purchase, and while you’re there buy a pair for yourself too. Even as the weather continues to cool down you can still pamper your piggies and keep them warm.

What do you think? Are PediSavers a product you would use or buy for someone else?

Disclosure: I received a the PediSavers product to facilitate my review and did not receive payment for this post. Any opinions expressed here are my own. More information can be found by reading my complete disclosure policy.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Understanding pill addictions

‘I’m an addict waiting for my dealer to come through. I have the shakes, nausea, vomiting, pain and never-ending  headaches. I’ve got to get a fix.’

I didn’t hear that from someone else. It’s me. Sorta.

Background

In the past 30 to 45 days I’ve been feeling unwell more often than not. I’ve shared my health issues here before, but if you’re new please click the “health” link in this paragraph to catch up. My current issues started more than a month ago with just feeling a little off then I had an “attack,” which means my body shuts down and is bombarded by all-over pain (some throbbing, some constant), nausea, complete exhaustion, inability to concentrate, increased sun sensitivity… etcetera. That’s some of what I experience when dealing with sjogren’s syndrome and fibromyalgia.

That attack lasted a week, which I spent mostly in bed. The next week when I planned to catch up my grandbaby was born. The busyness of my daughter giving birth brought on a mild attack. Then one of my children had strep throat, which made me a little sick as well… All of this plus some (it would be TMI to continue). You can imagine, right?

You can also imagine how housework and paperwork can get behind. Now here’s where we get to the understanding of addictions: One of the worse things about these attacks and my prescribed medications are the side effects and residual effects.

Withdrawal

When I’m enduring an attack it’s difficult to understand the most rudimentary of tasks. For instance, understanding a brief letter or article can take 20 times longer than normal. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t realize a med was low and the renewed prescription hadn’t been processed. Had I noticed I would have driven the 40 minutes to pick it up instead of waiting for it to arrive from the Veteran’s Hospital.

Because I was recovering from the attack I didn’t realize right away what was happening. For more than a week, I was nauseated, agitated, had headaches, stomach pain as well as complete body pain, chills, mild sweats… After a week of feeling like death, another week of feeling like death revived and all the excitement in between, which is what happens when you have four children, I’m finally feeling normal. In fact, today I was scared to say, ‘I feel good.’ I’m detoxified… And, in the world’s craziest irony, the meds arrived yesterday.

Addiction

While the medication was getting out of my system, I had an overwhelming feeling of doing whatever it takes to never deal with that again. It helped me to intellectually understand how soccer moms and business executives can become addicted to pain medicine and the like.

According to DrugAbuse.com, prescription drug abuse means:

“… taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed.”

This definition doesn’t apply to me because I was taking it as instructed, but I can understand and empathize with prescription drug abusers.

Five Cents

If you know someone who takes a lot of medication and often feels unwell give them a hand sometimes to help them stay on track. It’s no fun, and rather depressing, to deal with invisible illnesses alone.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

I’m Gigi

Gigi. That’s me. Just looking at the name Gigi makes me smile.

Sorry it has taken me so long to get around to telling you about the new addition to our family. I’m sure some of you may have already met little Ms. Autumn on Facebook. She arrived on September 11th at 5:17 in the evening. She weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was about 18 inches long.

There is quite a long story surround why Autumn Lynn arrived on September 11th, but I think I’ll save that part of the story for another day. I don’t think I have the energy to tell it right now. She is definitely a lovely light in our world and she’s the sweetest baby (funny how every baby is always the sweetest baby). She’s pretty funny as well. I am absolutely sure this is the first time any of my “children” have had such a personality. She responds to everything. If you’re talking nearby she’ll grunt, giggle, laugh, moan or make all sorts of noises in response – or at least it seems like it. Then she settles down. She even does it if you’re talking directly to her. If you move her when she’s totally comfortable she’ll let you know every.single.time that she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t really cry to let you know she’ll just sort of express a sort of unhappiness about it and sometimes she’ll let out a little yell if you don’t get the message.

I just call her a tiny bit of nothing ‘cause she’s so little. I think she’s going to be a small person with a great big personality. And she already has her mother’s magic over me: regardless of how I’m feeling I already love to be around her.

Amber and Autumn My daughter Amber is a wonderful mommy and I think I’m doing well in not giving unsolicited advice. Well, the baby is only a couple/few weeks old so I guess that’s not enough time to get into grandmother trouble. The feeling of being a grandmother is… different. Right now, since it’s so new, it’s difficult to describe. There’s this attachment that’s not like with my own children, but a protectiveness that is. I’m sure as she gets older and I’m able to take her with me to care for her and spend more time with her we’ll establish our little bond. Right now it makes a difference that I’m still raising children.

Speaking of which, the little aunties and uncle were so excited to meet their niece and she seemed quite excited (maybe content is more the word) to meet them as well. They wanted to constantly touch on her, look at her, hold her, ask question about her… they tired me out. Since she was only a few days old I had to go ahead and take them home because they were making me a little nervous. Although I had cleaned them up and got them out of their school uniforms, I didn’t want to have to be the hawk watching over the baby. As soon as my youngest is completely well and now that Autumn stays awake a little longer in the evening, we’ll go over one weekend and they can entertain her ‘til they’re bored. ‘Cause seriously, she doesn’t do much EXCEPT already rolls from her back to her side!A times three meet Autumn

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get 10% off any SimplyBabyGifts.com purchase ‘til 9/30

There are a few things that are truly official:

  1. I’m a grandmother
  2. Grandparents Day is being celebrated
  3. Autumn begins on September 22nd
  4. You can save money at SimplyBabyGifts.com

simplybabygifts What do these things have in common? I’m glad you asked. They all mean we get to buy baby gifts. It’s true. As a new grandmother I have permission to buy my granddaughter, Autumn (so timely, right?), baby gifts whenever I see fit. In fact, since she was born close to Grandparents Day that means I can treat myself by buying her gifts until she’s old enough to buy me gifts. (Everyone nod with me.)

Regardless of what my daughter says, a grandparent’s logic when it comes to buying cute clothes and accessories is always right. Unless, and of course until, she puts her foot down. Then I’ll be forced to pout and she’ll have to give in or at least compromise.

What in the world does this have to do with Autumn? Will you pay attention! *giggling* With the change of season comes fabulous sales including sales on cute little baby gear including the fabulous finds as Simply Baby Gifts, of course. So don’t hesitate any longer, click on over there right away to get 10 percent off your purchase (no minimum purchase required) between now and September 30th. Simply enter the code fall10 at checkout.

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Who stole my journal?

You know that moment when you walk into your room, office, space, wherever and notice your book, purse, journal, whatever missing and you blame your kid, spouse, sister, mom, whoever for moving it? You run through an entire investigative scenario in your head while making note of the details of the case: the last time you saw said item, what you were doing when said item was there, who was present, who was present when you weren’t, etc.

Ah-ha! You think. Raising your eyebrows as the silent victory presents itself. You proceed with your day, waiting for exactly the right moment to pounce on the culprit who violated your privacy, space… the one who betrayed your trust or didn’t follow directions. Just as you’re about to gather your momentum you open your drawer, look in your purse, grab your shoes, go in your closet and discover the aforementioned stolen item. Just as suddenly you recall putting it there because of … well, whatever silly reason you had at the time.

Moral of the story? Hopefully you’ll also remember all of the details before confronting the suspect.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Easy ways to keep my home smelling fresh

I’m one of those unfortunate souls who has a sensitive nose. In fact, almost every time I enter a room in my apartment I make a face because I swear something smells unpleasant. I regular spray air freshener, light candles, use plug-ins, closet fresheners and anything else within reason to keep my home smelling clean, fresh and lovely.

That’s why when I was offered the chance to test out Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist and Oil Diffuser starter kits I didn’t have to think twice about whether I would participate. As a BzzAgent I received coupons to get the two starter kits for free and could hardly wait to purchase them. When I finally went to the store I couldn’t decide which fragrance to get so I chose Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice in the oil diffuser and Cotton & Italian Mandarin in the fragrance mist.

After about a week of using both fragrances, I’ve decided I like the Cotton & Italian Mandarin the most. It has a light, fresh scent that I prefer and that I think would be nice in just about every room of my place. The Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice is a little more subtle and spicy, and at first I didn’t notice it at all. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first, but it is a scent that grew on me.

The dispensers for both the mist and oil diffuser are artfully designed. The oil diffuser looks like a work of art and the mist container could easily pass for a decorative vase or something similar (the label is easily removed). And when it runs out, you simply twist off the bottom, remove the empty cartridge and replace with a new one. No need to buy a complete unit. The same thing goes for the diffuser: Simply purchase a replacement, click in place in less than 30 seconds and enjoy your Glade Expressions for another 30 days.

This line comes with two other scents – Pineapple & Mangosteen and Lavender & Juniper Berry – but I don’t think I’ll experiment anymore. I’ve found the scent for me.

Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. As a BzzAgent, I received coupons for free Glade Expressions starter kits in order to facilitate my review and all opinions expressed here are my own. More information can be found by reading my complete disclosure policy.

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Individuality is a funny thing

I want to be called a creative. Not a writer. Not an editor… or artist… or poet… blogger… SEO specialist… jewelry maker… none of those other things that I do because they all – pretty much – fall under one category: creativity. I came to this rather spontaneous decision while chit-chatting with a friend.

  2012-07-05 04.24.06My brain seems to work differently from other peoples, but – funny thing this is – I can find people who understand. I always say that doesn’t count ‘cause those people are sorta like me: my oldest daughter, a fellow Virgo, a fellow nerd, another writer, a free thinker… you get the point.

Ideas about different things come to me so fast I often don’t get a chance to write them down. One minute I have an idea about a piece of jewelry I wanna make, the next I get inspiration for something I want to draw, then there’s the post idea, after that I’ll have an idea for a project to do with the kids then I’ll remember something I want to tell my daughter, but before that’s over something else will dawn on me. Is that why I forget so many other things?

In the middle of having a conversation I often forget what I was going to say; happens to everyone, right? Of course. With me it happens four, five… maybe six or seven times in one conversation. Now, most people don’t know this. My daughter knows and my closest friend knows, but I mostly just cover it up when I can. I think that happens because there is some many new information coming in and there is little space for old information. I’m going to stick to that. The other contributors: medications, headaches, migraines, etc.

The last of my individuality craziness is my love of being alone. I absolutely love myself. I like talking to myself, watching movies, reading, sleeping, being quiet, staring at the wall, eating, lounging and everything all.by.myself. However, I am a very needy person. Go figure. I like tons of attention. If you say you like me, care for me or are interested in me and you’re not in touch with me or don’t  check on me I get very, uh, disagreeable. Imagine that. An antisocial, creative, loner who needs a lot of attention and gets annoyed when left alone too long.

Yea, now that’s creative.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Everyone loves football! Except mom?!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Buffalo Wild Wings for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When football season comes around I very seldom know it is coming and almost every single time I'm surprised. When I was married I may read while sitting on the couch with the hubs as he watched the game and occassionally jumped up and down while yelling at the television. And other times I enjoyed the quiet time when he and the guys gathered somewhere else to elevate the noise level around the football game. This year it'll be fun to do something a little different and venture out with my beau to B-dubs, Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar that has complete full menu, a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere where friend and family can chill out and enjoy the game.

 bdubs_newlogo_black_hor.jpgI just like people watching, snacking and enjoying the company while I silently pat myself on the back for getting away with not having to cook. My football-loving honey (who I normally don't get the opportunity to see as much during football season!) will absolutely enjoy one of the many big-screen televisions and if the kids are with us then they will be having a ball, no "punt" intended, watching the game (especially my 8-year-old son who rarely gets the chance to do something that's just for the guys) and eating whatever they like; they'll think it's a party just for them.

What are you going to do during football season? Does your family make plans together or do you send the guys off to get them from under your skin? I'll tell you what you have to do: Protect the football. Get to B-Dubs. Also tell your friends and family about BW3, you'll be a hero during this football season!

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Clever ways to eat veggies – for you & the kids

The other day the children and I had “personalized turkey burgers,” which is a quick, school-night meal to fix that is fun and filled with variety. I’m sure you can fix this using beef, but this is a non-beef eating household (even though I allow the children to eat beef when out – a little occasional cow never hurt anyone). Make your turkey burger or buy previously prepared, but all-natural turkey burgers (Butterball’s are great). I’ve done both methods – getting the frozen variety is even easier because you can pop them in the oven while you do other things, season them when they’re half done and flip them then take them out.

I put the burgers on the plate and took all of the ingredients to the table: two types of cheeses, three colors of bell peppers (raw), spinach leaves, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, 100 percent whole wheat bread and blueberries (I’ll explain that in a bit). My son was “brave” and tried the green, red and yellow peppers. I thought the yellow pepper was a little tasteless or something and Andre didn’t like it as much either. I already knew he wouldn’t like the green one, but he tried anyway and so did Amareah. Anna, who had already tasted the yellow pepper and made a yuck face, didn’t even try the green one. We all decided that the red one was the sweetest, but Andre and I choose to add red and yellow to our sandwiches.

DSCF4830 This process went on for about 10 minutes as we all decided what we wanted on our burgers. We all had most of the vegetables, I’m happy to say. We’re a big fruit eating family – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert – so instead of having chips or something like that with our burgers I chose blueberries. Needless to say, fruit doesn’t last very long in this house at all.

What’s so funny about my failure to consistently provide vegetables for us to eat is that I like vegetables – sort of. I really prefer salads with all sorts of crunchy, yummy, fruity, dark leafy goodness, but I hate fixing it. I really dislike that it often goes bad before I can eat it all… and that make me not want any… It’s a deadly cycle. Then there is the fact that my children have somehow all developed different personalities and tastes. The nerve of them to be individuals! That makes it pretty redundant for the types of veggies all of them will eat.

Before I realize it we’ve gone weeks without a peep from a veg and, of course, a kid! They don’t say a word. If I keep up with creative and fun ways to incorporate vegetables into our meals both the children will learn something, enjoy new tastes, be healthier and enjoy time with mom and I’ll get more vitamins, maybe lose a few pounds and feel like Mom of the Year.

What food group is a problem in your home?

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