Mome reads Mommy, My daughter's way to spell it when she was younger... It stuck. My son calls me Mome... just like it looks. I now sign all my notes to them "Love, Mome". It's our inside secret and makes them smile. I always want them to smile.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Drink at Home or With a Designated Driver

I love to drink my wine. I prefer to drink at home. I would love to say that I have never driven buzzed, but that would be a complete lie. I not only did it, I was lucky on more accounts than one. It was foolish, childish and one of the few things I regret in my life. The fact that I didn't kill anyone, including myself is just plain luck. Those times are many years behind me and yet every time I hear of an accident involving alcohol, I think how lucky I was.

Now I'm a Mom. I may drive after a drink or two and I will ride in a car with someone who has had a drink or two (still withing legal limits)...

What I will NOT do is to put my children in the car with myself or anyone else that has had even a drop. I don't believe it's my choice to make for them. As they get older we will enforce the "never getting in the car with someone who has been drinking" rule. Right now we can only make sure that they don't. If we go to dinner and I decide to have a margarita, Hubster drives. If he decides he wants a drink with dinner, then I refrain and become the driver.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council are encouraging everyone to travel safe over the holiday by signing a pledge. Sign it yourself and get your young adult children to do the same. You can also follow them on twitter @buzzeddriving. I can't think of a better way to remember NOT to drive buzzed than getting tweets about deadly statistics.

With New Years upon us, I can only try to teach from my own mistakes. If you plan on drinking, make arrangements for a ride home with someone who isn't. Find a designated driver in the group or call a cab. The money will be well spent. No amount of money can bring back a life. We all think it can't happen to can. Be safe, be responsible, and bring in 2010 at home or with a sober driver getting you there.

What the Hell Wednesday 4~ The Inappropriate Customer

Here's another installment of What the Hell Wednesday. I've been saving this one since Sunday and it was hard. If you would like to play along, click the image above and head on over to Elle and Stacy's place and link up.

So. I was working on Sunday. A man came into the store and like everyone else that enters I said hello and asked him how he was doing. As I was cashing out another customer I heard him respond (or so I thought) "I'm doing well, and yourself?" I replied I was doing well too, and Thanked him. Here's the conversation that followed. What the Hell?

Him: "Really?"
Me: "Really what?"
Him: "Did you even hear what I said?"
Me: "I believe you said you were doing well."
Him: " That's not what I said at all. That just goes to prove my point that all you people in the retail business like to ask people how they are doing but never pay attention to the response because you don't really care."
Me: "I'm sorry. I was cashing someone out and may have been distracted when you answered. I thought you said you were doing well and I really do care about your response. so what did you really say?"
Him: "You don't really care. If I told you I was having a crappy day are you going to offer to not make it crappy?"
Me: "If it's life in general that's got you down, probably not. But I can empathize with you and say I'm sorry your having a bad day."
Him: "But you don't really care to fix it."
Me: "I'm not sure it's my place. What did you really say?"
Him: "I said "I'm horny as hell, and yourself?"
Me: "Hmm. What I think happened then is this. I asked how you were doing and maybe you're right, I should have waited until I could give my full attention to your response, but I didn't. In trying to listen to you and help the people at the register I listened to your response, but I believe my brain translated what I heard into a normal response. Does that make sense? Now what can I help you with in the store today?"

What the Hell? I think he realized he messed with the wrong woman. I took offense to what he said...the part about being uncaring. It's one day a week, I can care for that long. I do care.

I spent the last couple days glued to the couch. The flu finally caught up with me, What the hell?
While I was laying there in a daze my mind wandered to the neighbors little pond in front of their house. I have no idea why. I was wondering what the hell they did with the fish? I'm sure the pond pumps continuous movement of the water kept it from freezing but it's only a foot or so deep, so it has to be cold. Did they take the fish out? What the Hell do they do with them until it gets warm? I may just have to march on over there today and find out.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I Learned Over Christmas

This Christmas was a learning experience. First, we were trying to figure out if we needed to give the kids (age 6 and 3) the same number of toys, spend the same amount, or just get them what we thought they would really enjoy (and stuff they asked Santa for). In the end we did the latter. No one noticed that one got more and had more spent on them. This may not have worked in reverse (with the 3 year old getting the most), but this year, everyone was happy.

I also learned that even if the dog hasn't touched the Ghiradelli chocolate tower, still wrapped in cellophane, in the last 3 days it's sat under the tree, if left for any duration, boredom will set in and you will find it demolished. You will also find a sick dog and a trail of "sickness" throughout the house...on Christmas Eve. I really thought the dog was going to need international travel insurance, either for her trip to heaven, or for wherever Hubster kicked her too when she finally showed herself. She ended up living through it. I stayed up until almost 2am to monitor her. I also learned that you can give a dog peroxide to induce vomiting (but I didn't do it). I gave her bread too absorb the caffeine and calm her.

I learned that when you arrive home with tired kids on Christmas Eve to find piles of doggie doody splattered around the house and insist the kids stay put on the couch until you can track it all down and scrub the areas, it becomes "The worst Christmas ever" to a 3 year old who watches too much Drake and Josh. I also found out that opening a zhu-zhu pet from her brother 5 minutes after the disaster was cleaned up, turns it back into the "Best Christmas ever."

I found out that you should also never underestimate the observations of children on Christmas day. My MIL had gotten gifts from our oldest to his Mom and Dad. He didn't know anything about the gifts, but she handed him bags and told him to give us each one. As we opened them and thanked our 6 year old, who was as shocked as we were, my darling 3 year old went across the room and picked up her coveted Playdoh burger factory and came over to give it to me. I told her it was for her. She said "Boog got you something so I want to too." She was serious. She wouldn't let me give it back. She insisted that we could play with it together, but it was mine. Why wouldn't grandma pick out something from both kids? The gifts were things people had donated for the kids at church to "shop for their parents". Our kids weren't there on this day so grandma picked some stuff out. I don't even think she realized how it would, or DID affect Puddin Pop. I swear that little girl of mine is the sweetest thing.

Oh. I also learned that offering to help get Christmas Eve Dinner ready is a BAD idea. My MIL has all sorts of yummy snack foods laid out and getting there early and walking past all the chips and dips and candies was just too much temptation for me. I was stuffed before dinner even started. Next year she's on her own.

What did you learn this Christmas?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Whew, I'm Back!

As I'm sure some of you have noticed (maybe it was just Sandy), this blog has not been accessible. I couldn't figure out why I was only having problems with this one and tried several different things. I finally noticed under blogger settings that it wanted me to revert to a classic template if I was using an external FTP server. I switched to the classic template and could see everything fine, but all my widgets were gone and the only way to re-add would be through some serious html coding. I had no option of the easy features blogger offers. I couldn't figure out why this changed. I never had to use the classic template when I moved from bravenet to blogger, and I racked my brain and read a lot of stuff I didn't fully understand to try and figure it out. I also found out that the people who are supposed to be the big helpers in google help aren't very nice. I never even got around to asking a question as every response for other's questions were met with "C'mon people. Do some work. We'll help you if you try to help yourself. Read the help answers, read the FAQ's, don't just ask questions." Actually, they weren't even that nice. I don't know about you, but half the time I try to find an answer to a question I click and realize it's not what I'm looking for and trying to even find the same category takes a lifetime. Maybe it's just me. I finally figured out that I had changed to the new "updated editor" and for some reason this blog didn't like it. I'm now back to the old editor and all is good.

So. Since I'm here, and my stress level has just drastically dropped. Merry Christmas. I hope the New Year finds you solving all your problems and brings your stress level down a couple notches too.

Holiday Consideration

It's Christmas Eve. 5 years ago I spent my last Christmas Eve working in the restaurant business. Four days later I was DONE working. While there have been some challenges, both financial and adjusting to staying at home, the choice is one of the best I ever made. I don't think Puddin' Pop would be here if I hadn't stopped working. There just wasn't enough time for working 50+ hours a week, taking care of a toddler, taking care of a household and taking care of a husband. I just didn't have it in me.

As I sit here typing this, while baking a cake and playing Lego Batman with Boog, my heart goes out to all the poor souls that have to work today. Be it the restaurant business, retail, or an ever-so-busy fulfillment center, these people are working hard for us to be able to have a great holiday. I think everyone should be a little extra nice while out shopping and eating today. Be nice to those that have to work. Be grateful if you're one of the lucky ones that gets to spend time with your family, be considerate to those that don't.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays and a Snowball Fight

It's the closest we'll get to tossing snowballs.

Have a Very Merry Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

WTH Wednesday 4

Joining the girls over at Blue Monkey Butt for another What the Hell Wednesday. Click the image, grab the button and rant away.

Last night we had dinner and the snuggled up to watch a movie. About half way through I started feeling like crap. Hot...cold...nauseous. What the Hell? It came on all the sudden and the last thing I need right now is to be sick. I feel better this morning but Hubster says I'm "burning up". I refuse to believe him and will NOT take my temperature. I am not getting sick (*whisper* I am not getting sick)

All my shopping and wrapping is done. What the hell? This has never happened before. I'm usually scrambling on Christmas Eve and then spend the entire night wrapping gifts. Not this year. I'll be drinking.

What the hell is the proper formula for getting gifts for kids? Do you try to spend the same amount on each kid, or is it more important that they have the same number of gifts. We're just getting to the point where they are both asking for stuff. Well, one is asking for everything Lego and the other is asking for everything she sees. My MIL is going for dollar amount but this means PP will have more gifts from Grandma and Papa then Boog will. She (MIL) always wants to get them one "big" gift and then lots of smaller ones. PP doesn't really want anything that could be considered "big" ($100) so Hubster has picked her up a couple things for the money his mom gave him. We have spent less on PP too, but I don't think either kid will notice. Should we spend the same anyway?

Another year of cake balls for the neighbors. These are so yummy. While they are relatively easy to make...they seem to take forever. What the hell. I just need to commit and spend a couple hours rolling and dipping and be done with it. I usually start a couple days out and spent some time here and there. 18 dozen little chocolate covered cake balls are tedious...just saying.

When did blogger change the editing buttons and where the Hell is the spell check button?

Thanks for stopping by. From our family to yours... Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Candy Cane Reindeer

We love to do crafts.  Especially ones where we can use stuff around the house.  Boog wanted to make candy cane reindeer for his classmates this year.  I thought we could do Rudolf, but I must have been late at getting out to the craft store.  All the brown pipe-cleaners and red pon-poms were gone. I imagine finding these at Cristmas time is like trying to find Ferrari parts for a 1980 model...not so easy.  No worries.  The rainbow colored ones (of each) didn't make them any less cute.

What You'll Need
Pipe cleaners (any color)
small googly eyes
small pon-poms
candy canes

Glue eyes and nose to front of candy cane.  Attach antlers (pipe cleaner) by twisting at top of "head".  We also put a drop of glue to hold antlers in place.

This is a fun and easy project for smaller kids and a great gift for friends.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Walgreens, I'm a Little Disappointed in You

I'm not in any way trying to get anyone to ban Walgreen's. I don't have anything against them. I've used them in the past for photo copies and collage prints. Overall, I think they do an awesome job. I just want to share a recent experience, so maybe I can help you avoid the same situation.

I don't print a lot of photos. I save them to flash drives. I'm going to do a video scrap book, or maybe several Cd's. Right now they are saved. When I do want copies, I usually print from one of my three home printers. I'm currently putting together a gift box for my parents and on of the things I'm including is a 5x7 of each kid. I have Boogs school picture and to have them from close to the same time, I decided to use a picture I took of Puddin Pop just before Halloween. In going to print it I realize that all 3 printers are low or out of one or more cartridges. Instead of figuring out which ones I need, I figure it would just be cheaper to have Walgreen's print it. Everything else they've done for me has been great and I knew I could get it fast. Here is the picture I uploaded to their site

I love this picture. A friend had given me the idea to put a sheet over the couch to create a backdrop. That's where the problem begins. While the picture turned out well, the backdrop caused some issues.

I received an e-mail that the pic was ready, less than 2 hours after uploading (I had requested it for the following day), that was a bonus. When I arrived after work on Saturday to pick it up, the young girl at the counter asked my if I had a copyright release form. "I'm sorry?" I said. Apparently the backdrop is a red flag to them that it is a professional photo and they require a release form from the photographer allowing it to be printed. I chuckled and explained that the so-called backdrop was actually a sheet over my couch. She didn't look amused. She explained that she would have to pay a $10,000 fine if she released the photo. I thanked her for the compliment and said I would surely fill out her release form. She said I had to provide the form. What? "You need a release form but you don't have release forms?" I was assured that it was my responsibility and she couldn't do anything else to help me. I left...without my picture.

When I got home I put a message out on Facebook to inquire if any of my friends had a release form. Apparently I'm not the first to have this happen. One person told me to talk to a manager, one person told me if I still had the picture on my camera (which I didn't) that they would do it. My neighbor actually brought me a CD with the copyright release on it. I was going to print the form, but then realized my ink situation. I sulked for 4 days and finally went back today. I explained to another young girl my situation, assured her that I had taken the picture and asked if there was any way she could help. She said as long as I was willing to fill out a release, she could give it to me. I then told her I didn't have a release form. She got me one. She said that they really aren't supposed to do that, but she did. I'd mention her name to publicly thank her, but I wouldn't want to get her in trouble. I appreciate her going the extra mile to get me my picture.

I want to say again that I am in no way telling anyone NOT to use Walgreen's for their printing needs. They actually have some of the best prices on picture gifts, graduation announcements,
picture cards and photo calendars. Use them, just be careful of using backdrops to create Look-a-like professional photos. If you do use a backdrop, here's a release form you can use if you find yourself in the same situation.

Copyright Release Form

Christmas Concert 2009

The kids had their Christmas choir concert at Church last night. They were so cute. Thankfully, no one picked their nose. Boogs first year we weren't that lucky. Puddin Pop and the other pre-schoolers were so cute. They partly participated. partly danced around, partly stared into space, and smiled and waved at all the familiar faces in the audience.

The older kids got up to do their songs. Boogs been at this for 4 years. He doesn't dance around like he did in previous years. He seems more nervous that he was in the beginning (at 2) but better than he was last year. He's the one who had both fingers wedged up his nose the first year. He's outgrown he's moved onto this...

Maybe he was hot? Yep. That's my kid. Pulling his pant legs up to show off his knees. Gotta love the photo ops these concerts create.

It was a lovely evening. We had dinner with the other church families and I got several inquiries in my employment status. How do you tell 80-something folks that you actually DO work...from a blogger? I just told them I did some freelance writing and they seemed impressed by that. I wasn't trying to impress, but they never get it if I say what I really do. Some of the older women actually seem disappointed that I no longer spend 60 hours a week in the restaurant business. I guess they thought that was a good job to have. I'll take the non-paying job of Mom, any day, over that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Never too Early to Make Your Summer Vacation Plans

It's really going to happen. I keep talking about wanting to take a family vacation. I'm saving money and have tossed around different ideas of where to go. We have not had a week long vacation since the cruise Hubster and I went on in 1999. The kids are old enough now to do fun things with and they LOVE the beach, so when a friend mentioned their previous Outer Banks vacations and sent me the link to the house they are renting this summer I said "Hell Yeah." So it's set, we will be spending a week at the beach. I feel relieved that it is finally going to be a reality. I'm good at talking about it but trying to put all the details together and getting Hubster to take the time off...that a whole different story.

On a funny note...

When I asked Boog what he thought about going on vacation with another family he thought it was a "terrible idea." That shocked me knowing how much he loves the beach, and the fact that we've never taken a vacation. Turns out...he thought I was planning on sending him on vacation with the other family...just him. Once he realized we'd all be going, he thought it was "the best idea EVER."

Wordless Wednesday: Why you shouldn't come to visit if you're afraid of birds

Look at all those birds...
Whew...They're leaving...

Nope. Just going across the street for a bit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Tuesday Shopping and a GPS

My first official Random Tuesday Thoughts. Go over to The Un Mom to grab a badge and play along.


Yay. I'm always excited to go wine shopping. I'm putting together a gift box of various items for my parents for the Holidays and the box wouldn't be complete without wine. Last year I sent Chateau Morrisette's Service Dog Red and Service Dog White. I always try to find unique wines (labels) to send them. My step-mom has a service dog (she has MS) and I thought those choices were appropriate. My parents are definitely wine lovers and border on "snobs" but are slowly coming around and know that there are under $10 bottles that are thoroughly enjoyable. I thought I would pick out a selection of my favorites from Trader Joe's and send them along in the box. I only know for sure that I'm putting in a Tempranillo, the rest I will decide when I get there.

I need a good life insurance lead. I'm thinking more and more about NOT having a policy covering myself. Hubster has one through work and both kids have been covered since birth with the Gerber Grow-up plan x3. I always had a decent policy through employers, that my family would benefit from (not secret ones like Wal-mart takes out on their employees) but now I sometimes have visions of my family surviving without me and know that a little money would help. Where do I begin? Any insurance sales people available To talk options??

I'll leave you with this Random Tuesday Thought...

I bought Hubster a GPS for his birthday last month. He's into gadgets so I knew he'd like it. Last week he called, as he always does, to let me know he was on his way home (from work). I heard a voice and asked "Can you turn the radio down?" He said, "That's not the radio, it's my GPS." I asked "You need the GPS to tell you how to get home?" He said "No. But it helps me get ready." "Ready? For What?" He says "I have a woman telling me what to do the minute I get home, I may as well have a woman telling me how to get there." Maybe I should be offended. But I'm thinking...SMART MAN!

link up your Random Tuesday Thoughts.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gingerbread House

The kids had so much fun doing this. Puddin Pop has a small jawbreaker in her mouth she is crunching on thus making her look like she's doing her best pirate impression. This kit came with the icing already made in an easy-to-use pouch. I started the house by putting the walls and roof on and then let the kids do the rest. I thought they would've eaten more of the candy, but they were having so much fun decorating that the nibbling was minimal.
Do people really eat these?
We tried the chimney. Boog thought it was great with icing. I didn't care for it that much and it was a little hard for PP. The candy is slowly disappearing. I'm giving up on trying to find the best weight loss pills. I'm not a pill person to begin with and am thinking that moderation this holiday season and more time playing Wii games and using my Wii Fit for extra exercise is my best bet. I even skipped the chocolate chunk cookies with ice cream that the rest of the family enjoyed last night.
We picked up the tiles for the coasters the kids are making for the grandparents. We got extras for a Teacher gift for Boog's teacher. I'll post that once they're complete. This is a super inexpensive gift that the kids can personalize and take pride in giving as a gift. I can't wait.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fine Wines to Enhance My Mood

I must concede.

I tried a bottle of Louis M Martini Cabernet last night and LOVED it. This is bad...very bad. This bottle retails for close to 6 times what I'm used to paying for my wine. Worth it? Heck Yeah!
I realized a couple things.

I tend to sip more expensive wines, really letting all the flavors and aromas sink in. The cheap stuff...I gulp it right down and head for another glass. I've tried to let the flavors create an experience for me, but sometimes they're just not there. That's not to say that I haven't had some yummy $5 wines, or that I don't enjoy the less bold flavors of others, it's a mood thing...I guess.

Last night I was in the mood to treat myself. The kids were working on their Gingerbread house and I wanted to sip on a fine glass of wine. With the aroma of dark cherries, vanilla and tobacco, I knew I had picked the right bottle. The cherry-vanilla-tobacco was also part of the bold flavor. It was smooth, spicy and had a lingering finish. I almost felt full after one glass. I don't get that with my less expensive varietals.

I'm seriously thinking about taking a class on different wines. I'm fascinated by the complexity of different flavors some wines produce and would love to learn more about how that is achieved.

A course in wine tasting, like GMAT prep , would position me better to talk about and enjoy finer wines. I envision the prep work to consist of sampling tons of wine...oh wait. I already do that. Maybe I'll just continue to hang out with and read other amateur wine lovers and we can figure this game out together. Do you really need a wine degree to enjoy and talk about it? Obviously not!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wine and Christmas Specials

The last few days are a blur. We've been trying to get in all the Christmas Specials and I've been sampling a lot of wine. It's a blur not from the wine, but because it seems to go by so fast. We still have all the Christmas decorating to do. I'm done shopping, but we still need a tree, to decorate it, put out the lights outside, and put Frosty out on the grass. It saddens me that Frosty has to sit in the grass, maybe this year he'll get to see some snow.

I went shopping and to lunch with a friend yesterday. We stopped to look at the laptops. I never thought I would like a laptop. I was comfortable with our desk top and was pretty sure the mouse pad on a laptop would piss me off...especially when playing games. But now I am hooked. I only wish I had another. I'm thinking one for posting and one for games would be a good idea. Maybe a cute little Sony VAIO mini notebook? Santa. Are you reading this? We also had lunch at Olive Garden. It's been so long since I've been there. When did they get a fourth soup? The chicken gnocchi was wonderful. I was still full at dinner time.

It's almost time for Christmas break. I may be a little sparse on the posting, but I'll be sampling more new wines and make sure to tell you all about them. I love this time of year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adoption, the Good and the Great

By complete accident I found myself watching Find My Family (on ABC) the other night. It followed a Christmas Special, otherwise I would have never known about it. I watched as a woman talked about "feeling abandoned" and not feeling "complete" without knowing where she really came from and not having the answers as to why she was given up in the first place. I could relate.

I've spent my entire life looking over my shoulder and wondering...what if. When I was told I looked like someone, I thought "could be." I've always been fascinated with "nature vs. nurture". I've wondered who I really look like and who I got my love for reading from. As a child, knowing I was adopted, I was always hyper-aware of differences between my other family members and myself. Wondering how things may have been different and whether those differences would be positive or negative. It didn't consume me, but it did take up a lot of my thoughts during different stages in my life. Just now, I followed a link to I've been there before. With millions of adoptees and birth families registered it's hard to see "No matches found" when I type my birth date and state. No one? Not a single person, not a birth parent or sibling or other family member is looking for me? That's hard to swallow and usually is enough for me to put it out of my mind...until next time. I have no information and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. I now have a family of my own and couldn't imagine ever giving them up.

My story is easy. Un-wed, young mother who wants the best for her child. Puts it up for adoption, knowing it's the best for the child. that's how I choose to think of it. But what about the children who are removed from their families? What about children who know and live with parents in unimaginable situations only to be taken away and separated from siblings. What about all the children in the Foster Care system who KNOW where they came from, KNOW they can't go back and don't know what is going to happen next. These children have seen and been through things no child should be put through, and now have no stability and no place to call home. They are in temporary housing and dream of a loving family of their own. Why shouldn't they get that? Why should any child have to feel unloved and insecure about this basic right...Family?

Adopt Us Kids is an organization that brings together foster kids with waiting-to-adopt families in the United States. They provide the tools to families that want to help nurture these children and give them what they want and need most...a safe and secure place to call home and a family to love and trust, people who will unconditionally love them. Adopt Us Kids has already helped over 11,000 children find homes, but there are still more than 123,000 that need this basic right. Even if you can't bring a child into your home, you can help. Check out the site and get involved. The future of these children is something we could/should all invest a little time in.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Double Standard with Regards to Stupid Retail Associates

What did we do before all these social networks popped up? I'm "in touch" with all sorts of people from high school and admittedly don't even know who some of them are. Every once in a while I get a friend request and after looking at "mutual friends" I have to ask someone who they are. I've even gotten responses like, "Oh, you wouldn't know him(her), they lived in my neighborhood but didn't go to school with us." Should I be flattered? Did I say something witty that they saw and thought I would be fun to be friends with? Cool. I'm a chatty person anyway, even more so after a couple glasses of wine. It's fun to chat and comment with others after the family goes to bed. Who did I talk to before FB?

Nothing going on on FB? I can usually find some interesting topics over at TwitterMoms or MBC. There is always somewhere for my voice to be heard. I think it's a good thing, others may think otherwise. I have no problem stating my opinions on these social networks so...why do I hate dealing with complete strangers over the phone or in the retail arena? If I'm calling the cable company to resolve a problem or pay a bill I WANT the automated system. The minute I get "Please hold while we connect you with a live representative", I hang up and try resolve the issue...using the automated system. Why is that? If I'm having an issue while placing an online order and get a message to contact merchant services, chances are I'm just going to try and re-place the order. I don't want someone to help me figure it out. Here's the catch. I've been working part-time in the retail arena. Selling stuff I know absolutely NOTHING about...and I love it! I crave the interaction each week. Do the shoppers feel the same way? Or are they, like me, trying to avoid personal contact...with a stupid associate... who knows nothing?

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Storytime Friends Review and Giveaway

***Winner announced***Congrats RedKathy***

Last week we received one of the best blogging "perks" yet. Just ask Puddin Pop. As a reviewer for Mom Bloggers Club, My Storytime friends sent us their interactive set. The minute we opened the box Puddin Pop grabbed out the bear, and she hasn't put "her" down yet. Beary has been to the grocery store, to church and a birthday party (but stayed in the car for the party) and slept with PP every night.

What It Is
The My Storytime Friends set includes a unique combination of a plush stuffed animal, an inspiring hardcover storybook written by award winning author Andrew Wolfendon and a lifetime membership to the My Storytime Friends Book of the Month Club. My Storytime Friends membership also includes free access to My Storytime Friends™ online, an interactive place to learn and play

My favorite part is the book-of-the-month-club. I love to read and truly want to inspire my children to read for enjoyment. There are so many options to receiving the new books each month that it's hard to choose.

Membership Benefits Include:

* Narrated online flip-book version of the Book of the Month
* Printable colored PDF copies of each Book of the Month story plus black and white
versions for coloring. Hardcover copies of the books are available to members for just $6.95 with free shipping included.
* Access to educational, interactive activities on as well as
additional offline activities for children and workbooks for parents.
* Audio-book version of each story

The books are really nice, hard-bound stories with beautiful illustrations. It's a great way to start (or add to) a library for young children. While one of my kids grabbed the bear, the other (age 6) went straight for the book. We've already read it several times.

Additional Online Benefits:

1. Children can catch up on their Storytime Friends between books by visiting the Newsstand.
2. Kids can interact with characters from the stories by sending and receiving mail through the Post Office.
3. The My Storytime FriendsTM online store features fun accessories and outfits for the plush toys available for purchase.

My Storytime Friends is a gift that keeps giving. Each month new stories become available. I love that the kids can check in on their favorite characters and even write letters to them. Having a first grader (Boog), I find that getting him to put thoughts on paper is sometimes a challenge. Writing a note to a friend is more enjoyable and why I think My Storytime Friends is an exceptional gift that grows with your (my) child.

Being able to "make friends" with their favorite storybook characters is a fantastic way to keep them involved and make them eager to read the next month's selection. The stories reinforce the lessons we try to teach our children everyday and, in my case, are probably better received from such adorable characters.

How can you get one:

Log onto My Storytime Friends and purchase one for only $39.99.


Enter to Win one Right here.

My Storybook Friends and Mom Bloggers Club have agreed to give one lucky winner this packaged set just in time for Christmas. Like every contest there are rules. I'll make them simple.

First Entry (mandatory)
Go to My Storytime Friends and tell me who you would like to get this for. (comment here)

Extra Entries (leave a comment for each action)

Follow More Fun Than Allowed...with Kids

Follow MoreFunMom on Twitter

Tweet about this contest (make sure to use @morefunmom so I can track) You can also just click the retweet button at the end of this post. You can tweet each day, just make sure to comment each time.

Contest ends Monday December 14th. Winner will be drawn Tuesday, December 15th with

Thanks to My Storytime Friends and Mom Bloggers Club for this awesome gift and giveaway!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Books do NOT Have to be NEW to be Enjoyed

I was recently made aware, from another post I did, that there are a lot of people who didn't know about getting used books from Amazon. I rarely pay more than a penny for my books and even with shipping, most books cost me under $4. I love to read and this is an alternative to paying full price for my reading enjoyment. It allows me to try new authors without feeling the "sting" of regret if it turns out not to be my style of writing.

If you go to Amazon books and type in the Author or book you are looking for, you will see the price plus what the used books are going for. There aren't always books for a penny, it usually depends on the age of the book, but you can still save a ton by purchasing your books used.

(click to enlarge)
If you click on the used books, you will get a list of sellers and their price, including shipping. I usually try to get the books I'm looking for from the same seller as they will, in some cases, combine the shipments and reduce the price of shipping. This is a great was to get multiple titles for the price you would pay for one new book at the book store.

I can also tell you that, as an avid reader, I would NOT be upset with a basket of used books as a gift this Holiday season. It's the thought...right?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wine as a Hobby

I was thinking last night about my love for wine. I guess it's like loving art or music. It's a learning experience as well as a delight for the senses. We have the right to choose what we like and enjoy to our hearts content. We can choose to share our passions with others or keep them all to ourselves. Unlike relationships with people, we can choose to stop loving a certain varietal or choose to just love a new one more...and no one gets hurt.

I find that I'm not as stuck to one grape over the other as I thought I was. I also find similarities that I previously didn't notice. Take for instance the One Hope Merlot I was enjoying last night. If I had been blind folded, I would have sworn it was a Zinfandel. It's aroma was light and of oak, pepper and wild berries. It had the flavor of spicy cherries cooked over oak chips. The finish was smooth and medium. Not only did I enjoy the flavor of this wine, but the fact that 50% of the profits of this Merlot go towards Fighting Aids made it even more enjoyable.
My newest curiosity is whether or not the "pros" can tell the difference between the different grapes or if all the different blends have them as perplexed as I am. I just like to enjoy wine. I like the experience. I like the flavor. I like to learn about the different wines and grapes they come from. Call it a hobby of sorts.
What's your favorite part about wine?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Busy Hands are Peaceful Hands

So much to say and so little time. So little time because last week Puddin Pop was playing on my laptop and accidentally dropped it. It fell right on the backside where the power cord attaches. The cord held on for a couple days and then snapped off...with the silver part stuck in the machine. I'm now rigging it to charge but can't keep it plugged while typing so I have about an hour before I have to plug it back in. $65 for a power cord and I'm having trouble locating the right one. We were supposed to get a refurbished laptop from Hubster's work a couple months back...for just $80. They ended up using them all for agents they re-assigned to work from home so...I'll have to keep looking. Any ideas?

We bought a Gingerbread House Kit yesterday and I can't wait to put it together with the kids this weekend. We also still have our Shrinky Dinks tree to put together and the ornaments still need to be colored and baked. The kids get along so much better when they are kept busy. Is that just my kids? With a purpose they are polite and so kind to each other. Sharing and helping each other out. Leave them to play on their own and all heck breaks out. One is always teasing and tormenting the other. When Boog gets bored with making his sister cry, she starts in on him. It's maddening. I don't know why I'm surprised. I had an older brother (and a younger one). My older brother tormented me to no end...and then I started fighting back. I guess this is what I deserve. I hoped, but didn't expect, things to be better. Keeping them busy helps keep me sane.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Roof and Fun with Legos

Yay! After 3 weeks of intermittent rain, the roofers have finally arrived and started taking the old roof off. We've been tole the new roof will be done by tomorrow. We've waited a long time and now they have finally started. That's one less thing to worry about...for the worrier in the family (not me).

The Holiday weekend was fun. We took the kids to a Winter Wonderland and let them see all the decorations. I got to sample some new wines and just relax with the family. You know what I found out is really fun and relaxing. Building with Lego's. I've mentioned before that Boog has really been getting into it. Lego's are so much more than when I was a kid. They have "kits" with simple directions (mostly) on how to put together different vehicles and command centers. Some of the boat and truck accessories in these kits are amazing. Ejecting seats, flick-to-fire missiles, and all sorts of attachable weapons. We decided this weekend to just do some "free play". We took apart some of the vehicles and decided to just use our own creativity and imaginations and built our own boats and motorcycles and command centers. I really thought I would suck at it. It turns out I'm not too bad. I'm mainly using all the "old school" pieces and not the new technology rotating pieces, but I still thought my boat was pretty sweet. I was going to show you a picture but Boog decided it was sweet enough to take apart and build something else with before I could get a pic.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Shopping Begins

I'm not the Mom who shops for Christmas presents in July. I wait until December. Not even the displays right after Halloween can tempt me. We have purchased a couple things for the kids and will continue. I will do my shopping online. I'm not a fan of shopping to begin with and the madness at Christmas is just not something I'm willing to participate in. Maybe if stores had self-checkouts like the grocery stores do, with POSGuys barcode scanners and credit card machines to avoid dealing with the holiday (temp) employees I'd consider it...maybe.

My darling Puddin' Pop asked how to pause the TV the other day. She had to use the bathroom and didn't want to miss anything. Two hours later I came in from doing some laundry and found her sitting patiently in front of a paused commercial. She said "Can I have that for Christmas?" Way too smart for her own good. I'll regret showing her the pause button for the rest of the season.

If you're looking for unique ideas or just like the idea of helping other mom-preneuers. Twittermoms 2nd annual "tweetable" Holiday catalog is now live. It's being updated all month long so keep checking back and get your products listed.

So. I'll be doing what I do best. Searching the Internet for cool and unique gifts for all the family. The kids are BIG into Legos, so I think most of the money will be spent there. I'm actually excited about the pink and purple Legos PP is getting.

Are you an Internet shopper, or do you get into the festive mall shopping?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bad News

I have some bad news. Fortunately it mostly only affects me. It's not the "no chance of
low cost health insurance for anyone" type of bad news. It's the "experiment gone wrong" type of bad news.

Thanksgiving day was supposed to be the first official tasting of my first attempt at wine making. Sadly, my barrel was tainted, and only the dozen or so maggots I found floating in it were able to imbibe...and they excess. I was going to take pictures but didn't want any of you who may receive future bottles to have that image in your mind. Trust me, I thought about skimming the juicy buggers right off the top. It is alcohol. But thought I could wait until next year and give it another try. Bennett's Bin 1 may have gone down the drain, but Bin 2
will be in the works for next Christmas.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful Guilt

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are behind us. We had a Wonderful Thanksgiving and are thankful for so much. I wonder, though, in these economic times, if it's right to feast with so many others unable to. I felt guilty looking at all the food we had, knowing so many had/have nothing. Maybe it's just me. When we give thanks for all the things we have, aren't we also reminded of what others don't have? We are Thankful for healthy children, because we know others have sick little kids. We are thankful for the food to nourish our bodies, knowing there are millions without anything to eat. We are thankful for a roof over our head, while others are living on the streets...

It goes on and on. It makes it almost shameful to put out such an elaborate feast when we might feel more Thankful that we have the ability to help others. Over the next couple days I'll be looking into helping others this Christmas. I'd like to provide someone else with a feast. I'd be thankful if someone would allow me to.

I do NOT shop on Black Friday. I do NOT like to shop after Thanksgiving unless it is online. With all the lines of people rushing the doors, the added cardboard displays and sales people think they can't live with out, it's a tradition I never started. The thought actually scares me.

How was your Thanksgiving? What deals did you get (or avoid) on Black Friday?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday was spent cooking and enjoying time with Family. Every year we go to my MIL's house. She usually tries to do everything but over the years we've managed to get her to do less by taking on responsibilities and getting her to reduce the amount of variety prepared. It's my MIL and FIL. My husbands uncle and his girlfriend. Hubster, the kids and I.

I got to do the turkey! It's not my first, but it has been 6 years since I got to do the Holiday bird. I usually got the "we really want our house to smell like Thanksgiving excuse". With the smell of stuffing and pies and all the other goodies, it smelled like Thanksgiving. I promise.

The last year has had everyone worried. My FIL has felt pretty bad most of the time. He was tired and dizzy and the doctors couldn't figure it out. Doctor after doctor. Changed meds for his heart and diabetes, checked his thyroid. Checked his sinuses and ears. I think he had everything checked. Finally, his defibrillator was put into use. He feels like new. We are Thankful for that. I've become more and more aware of AED (Automated External Defibrillators) located in public places. I know now that having these available must make heart patients and their families feel safer.

The kids wanted to know why we took one day to be thankful. We explained that we should be thankful everyday, but sometimes we get busy and wrapped up in our problems and everyday life and forget to really appreciate what we have and take notice of how lucky we are. We take one day to make sure we give thanks, acknowledge and truly appreciate all we have.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cabernet vs Merlot, and Other Things I'm Noticing About Wine

Recently I've been tasting a lot of different brands of wines. I've strayed from my usuals and ventured out to find new gems. I thought a was a diehard Merlot one point, then I came across Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs. Was my mind changed by the fancier names, or was it the flavors I was enjoying more? I thought it was the flavors, but have recently been enjoying some Cabernets, which I thought I liked less than I actually do. Are you following so far? I'm working on an experiment right now and it seems as though I like Merlot better than Cabernet on the higher price (by high I mean $20) brands but prefer Cabernet on the lower priced (all the way down to $3) brands. Is this coincidental? I first noticed this with Tisdale. They're the $3 gems I found at our local Bottom Dollar. I bought both Merlot and Cabernet, and Pinot Grigio for my neighbor (it's one of her favorites). In tasting them I became aware that I liked the Cab better. It kinda shocked me. I've come across some folks recently who don't care for Merlot and prefer Cabs, so I thought, when given the option, I would get both from the same winery. With Barefoot wines I prefer the Merlot and I recently had the chance to try Clos Du Bois and preferred the Merlot from them as well. While both wines were good, the Cab started out a little overbearing. By the second and third glass it had mellowed a little. May have been my taste buds numbing or may have been due to the extended breathing the latter glasses were exposed to. I find that big flavored wines almost act as appetite suppressants for me. If I drink a light bodied wine while cooking dinner I eat a regular meal. If I've opened a deeply flavored bottle, as the Clos Du Bois Cabernet was, I find myself less hungry when dinner hits the table. Anyone else find that to be true?

One more shocking truth...

It was suggested a while back that I try Delicious Red by Vella. A box wine. I couldn't find it anywhere and finally decided to try the Burgundy by Vella. I think I mentioned already that I liked the lighter tones for a casual glass while making dinner or relaxing in front of the TV. I finally found the Delicious Red and like it as well. It's a sweet red without overbearing sweetness. While I would never use either of these as a complimenting beverage with a meal, they are both fine for casual sipping. Rather enjoyable actually.

Let the banter begin.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wine and Charities. What Could Be Better?

If your familiar with my other blogs you know I'm a huge lover of wine. I'm not the snobby sort who can only consume the most expensive of varietals and looks down their nose at those with lesser tastes (or budgets). Yes. I am a fan of low budget wines. Some will say it's lack of knowledge, which in part is probably true. I don't taste a lot of high dollar wines so my palate is that of an amateur. It doesn't mean I don't truly enjoy my less expensive choices. Consider my palate untainted by money. The fact that I've never driven a Bentley doesn't mean I can't appreciate my Hyundai. If I drove a Bentley would I like my Hyundai less? Possibly. But anyone who knows me, knows I have never based my opinions on the likes of others. In fact, the opposite is almost true. I make my own decisions. If I say I like something, it's true. If I don't like something, chances are you're not going to persuade me to change my mind. My opinions can not be bought.

I'm also a sucker for a good charity and am always eager to point out folks who are doing something to help others. If we all strive to be the best we can be and look for ways to help others whenever we can, the world would be a much better place.

So what if we combined a love of the grape with a thoughtful nature and a need to give back? What if a group of eight, 20-something professionals got together to share their marketing and wine knowledge along with their passion to create awareness and give back? What if?

In 2007... They did come together.

In 2007...ONEHOPE Wine was created.

Since their inception in June of 2007, ONEHOPE has donated over $100,000 in cash an in-kind donations. They have also participated in over 300 charity events. They donate 50% of their profits to charity.

ONEHOPE isn't satisfied with just one charity. They have created five varietals with each bottle representing a different cause.

50% of the profits from ONEHOPE's Chardonnay are donated to fight against BreastCancer.

50% of the profits from ONEHOPE's Cabernet Sauvignon are donated to fight against Autism.

50% of the profits from ONEHOPE's Merlot are donated to fight against Aids.

50% of the profits from ONEHOPE's Sauvignon Blanc are donated towards saving the Environment.

50% of the profits from ONEHOPE's Zinfandel are donated to support our Troops.

Doesn't this make you want to go buy some? Whether it's for the Hostess of your next Holiday party or something for you to enjoy alone, I urge you to come up with one reason why ONEHOPE wouldn't be your first choice. Of course, I only received these yesterday. Keep an eye out for individual reviews over at Wine at Five?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Girl's Night In~ Fondue

I'm off my game. I'm not sure what happened. Usually our GNI evenings are well organized and go off without a hitch. I don't know if it was because there were only three of us. or because a printed menu wasn't distributed, I just felt the whole week like I was going to miss (forget) something. Fortunately, I remembered to purchase everything, I just forgot to take them all over and had to run back home...twice. It's only 3 doors down, but I felt like I earned my meal after sprinting back and forth. Then I forgot to take pictures. We scraped together some food as we were doing the dishes, but dessert was history. The night was still a blast. I'm only telling you because the pictures don;t do the meal justice.

We started with a glass of wine. Thanks to Alex and Friends at Turning Leaf for providing us with a sampling. I decided to go with the 2008 Cabernet and will save the Merlot for another day. Becky enjoyed the Chardonnay and Kathy, our White Zin drinker, brought her own. The Cabernet was perfect with our Steak and Shrimp Fondue and complimented the salad as well. I'm usually a Merlot fan but have been hearing more and more great things about Cabernet, so I wanted to give it another chance. This Turning Leaf did not disappoint.

Turning Leaf 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (from the winery)

Harvest Notes:
The 2008 season finished with a warm October allowing the grapes to fully ripen on the
vine producing a Cabernet Sauvignon with exceptional richness and a smooth finish
just in time for our new 2008 vintage.

Tasting Notes:
Supple with aromas of black cherries and boysenberry jam. Notes of vanilla and brown
spice complement the dark fruit on the palate, resulting in a rich and lingering finish.

We sipped our wine while tinkering around the kitchen putting the salad together and setting up the fondue pot and unwrapping the meat, shrimp, and sauce. The salad was a combination of mixed greens, blueberries, toasted walnuts, and bleu cheese crumbles tossed in a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. We followed that (or more like intermingled) with ribeye steak and shrimp we cooked to desired doneness in oil.

Dessert was lemon pound cake and fresh-from-the-oven brownies dipped in melted chocolate. I actually think I may have been on the verge of a sugar coma. It was SO good.

We haven't actually planned January's menu yet. We're taking December off for the Holidays and instead I will bring you recipes from a cookie swap on December 12th.

I'm thinking we should take our show on the road. A new sort of reality show. You watch from your plasma tvs as we celebrate food and beverages that are easy to create, all while enjoying the company of good friends. Okay. Maybe not too exciting. There is very little drama. I do usually knock over a glass each month, but that is hardly worth mentioning since I haven't broken anything...yet. It's just moms talking about life and kids and husbands and jobs and food and WHATEVER.

Until next time....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laptop Securitiy

We are awful with computers. Hubster and I got our first desk top 13+ years ago and when it started acting funny or running slow (it was dial up, and slow for that), we decided it was just an older version and we bought a new one. It seems as though every mutually shared computer would contract some virus and have awful pop-ups that would never be removed from our protection programs. Hubster would load every anti spyware and spam programs he could get his hands on. Whatever the techies at work told him to try he would. It made things worse. He claims I must of clicked on something I shouldn't have and of course I thought it was him.
He finally got a laptop for work and another for his DJ business. I requested he leave the desk top for the kids and I...he didn't think that was convenient.

I finally got fed up with all the issues and requested a laptop all my own. I didn't want anyone else in the house to touch it. I know this sounds selfish, but after years of knowing that the pop-ups were not from sites I visited I had to be able to prove myself, even if I was the only one who knew. Two Chrismases ago Hubster got me my laptop. The first thing he said Christmas morning was "Can I shoe my parents the screen?" "no." They looked at me like I was crazy. I couldn't take the chance. To this day, if I'm on my laptop and he wants to look something up he'll say "Since your computer is up, can I..." "No, I can look it up for you, but you can't touch it." Seriously, he does have two laptops of his own. I can't help if one doesn't work properly and the other just had to be replaced because something happened to the screen. I don't mean to be selfish, I just know that in two years I have never received a virus that my security scans couldn't remove, and I have seen no naked ladies pop on my screen either. What would you do?

Friday, November 20, 2009

E-mail vs Snail Mail

I'm amazed at the amount of crap mail I receive. It doesn't seem to be limited to my snail mail but also flows over to my e-mail. In a perfect "protect the environment" world, it would all be e-mail. We have the option to receive paperless statements from every bill we receive but what about all the correspondence we don't solicit. If you had the option to receive your "free weekend at one of our dominican republic hotels" or the "promise of a lower mortgage" through e-mail for the sake of our trees, would you? Shouldn't we just be getting rid of all this? It seems like more and more I see "at home opportunities" that are nothing more than mailing out offers that are bogus at best. Now we are getting those in our e-mail boxes without the slowdown of offers delivered by the mail carrier. Should I just be happy they aren't calling me? What crap are you receiving?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tell the Truth. Is This Me?

Okay. Let me get this out of the way. I work for Warner Brothers. Now that that elephant is out of the closet (because it has to be) I'll tell you what I have to do. I have to watch TV and tell you about it. Pretty cool gig, huh? Especially since I have to watch shows I was already watching. Be jealous later.

So, this week I was watching The New Adventures of Old Christine. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is even better than she was in Seinfeld. The last episode showed her ever too eager to quit anything the moment it got hard. She's a flaky, quirky woman who is never "on-point" or on time. Isn't there one in every group of friends? I started to think of all my friends to try and figure out which one she was most like. I couldn't think of any. Does that mean it's me? I'm never late. I do however avoid housework whenever I am able. I also tend to talk randomly about anything and am sure that could be perceived as a little flaky. But I think I'm funny...just like Christine. Rats. Have I been enjoying this show all along and not even realizing I'm watching myself? I have a much better work ethic...or at least I did when I actually worked. She even likes wine.

Please friends. Tell me it isn't so. If you're not familiar with the show I urge you to check it out here. Please tell me the truth. Is that me?

The Sacrificial Sock

It happens to anyone who does laundry. People have been talking about it for decades. Ever since the clothes washer and dryer were invented this problem has existed. To the best of my knowledge no on has ever solved this mystery. Some say "they" get lost in the washer. Under the drain ring, but I've never, personally, seen one retrieved. You know what I'm talking about.
The mystery of the missing socks. Where do they go and how do we prevent this from happening?

One company has stepped up to the challenge. Through extensive research and trial and error The Sacrificial Sock was born. With "smack talk" included.

Just in time for the Holidays. This is the perfect gift for the office "Secret Santas". Especially if your giving to any woman with children. It is a proven fact (by me) that the more socks you wash, the more socks you lose. The smack talk took a little getting used to. With phrases such as "Your lint trap is so full it makes you look like a chipmunk." and "Your momma was a cement mixer." Berating the dryer was hard at first. I've overcome my fear of talking to appliances and know that the socks are the real victims. I can do it for the socks.

Add this to you Holiday List for yourself and loved ones. It's sure to please all and makes a great stocking stuffer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Loves

As awful as last week was, you can read about that here, I was still fortunate to A) be reconnected with a lost love, and B) find a new love.

Ya know how you have fond memories of things you loved as a child. They really come back to you when you have kids. Then you try them as an adult and...they're not so fun anymore? Like about a year ago when I thought it would be fun to slide down the stairs on my shorts. The extra weight and lack of leg protection left me with some heavy duty road rash on my thighs. I would not suggest this.

I was thinking of things (crafts) to get for the kids to occupy them during the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. They get along really well when occupied, for shorter stretches when left to their imaginations and their toys. So we are regulars at Oriental Trading, and I still have the Christmas gifts for the Grandparents to work on, but I wanted something different. Something I loved as a kid. I came up with an idea and hoped it would be as fun as I remembered. It was! So much, in fact, that I don't even have pictures of the kids creating because I was too busy right beside them making my own. Hubster even got into the fun. SHIRINKY DINKS. The kids loved coloring them and then watching the magic in the oven. I had ordered a set for both that made these cute dangly "people". Boog got robots and Puddin Pop got dolls. She loves hers so much she took them to Grandma's house yesterday and forgot them. So you only get to see Boog's.

Aren't those flippin' adorable? The set came with pre-cut "parts", a pack of 6 colored pencils and the jump rings to connect them. only $5.40. I also ordered a pack of (what I thought was) 30 Christmas ornament that even have a 9" tree included. I think we'll work on that over the Thanksgiving break. I'm excited just thinking about it.

My new love is thanks to my little brother. I'm NOT a regular at Starbucks. Their coffee is over-priced (in my opinion) and I always go for the super fattening cappucino' I had to give them up. I'm definitely not a coffee snob. Fresh brewed, doesn't matter, I just have to have it in the morning. This is a non-negotiable. While visiting him I awoke to find he had none. He used to work at Starbucks so this was never an issue in the past. Now that he's a bachelor...again, he apparently has fallen victim to the ever-so-popular-over-priced energy drinks. Fine for him, but I sent him out to get some coffee for me. He knew it wasn't an option. He brought me a cup (large) of Starbucks and surprised me with a couple packs of their "ready brew". WOW. I thought I made strong coffee. I was wrong. Their instant brews say they make one, 8oz cup of coffee. Who drinks 8 oz cups? I have a 14 oz mug and it was still stronger than any coffee I've ever made. Not in a bitter bad way. In a I'm-awake-ready-to-tackle-the-world way. I really need to check out the price on these. They fit easily in my purse and are perfect for a mid-day pickmeup. My NEW Love.

I swear I would take these with me wherever I go. Be it to gulf shores alabama or any other distant (by car) travel. I'll be the one at the rest area getting the cup (preferably larger than 8 oz) of hot water.

101 Excuses NOT to do the Laundry

I'm actually happy it's Monday. After last week, I'm glad to have a fresh start. I have a ton of laundry to get caught up on. I just couldn't get to it last week. I was gone Tuesday-Thursday. It rained all day Friday. I know, that one is lame. But you see, my washer and dryer are in the garage. The overhead fluorescent bulbs are burnt out and the only way to get light is to open the side door. With the heavy rain, there wasn't much light to speak of and the wind was blowing the rain right into the garage. That excuse is one of my best yet. I had to work all day Saturday and Sunday, at least until it was dark outside, and then it became a lighting issue again. Hubster is walking on a sprained ankle now from falling off a ladder on Thursday and I'm not changing light bulbs in the dark. Especially the 3 foot fluorescent ones. So, here I am. A beautiful, sunny Monday...doing laundry all day.

Today also happens to be the Hubster's birthday. It was tradition (in the old days) that even if he didn't get "it" any other time ( we're not talking regular "it" but a guys favorite "it"). He always got "it" on his birthday. He reminded me of such this morning and I politely responded by telling him I decided to get him a gift instead. It's a pretty cool gift too. I can't tell you now, on the (very) slight chance that he'll read this post but it's cool. Trust me. He'll be playing with it all night. Which was kinda the idea. So he won't be trying to play with me. He is injured after all. Amazing how all the aches and pains subside when "it" is a possibility.

On another note. This Friday is Girl's Night In. It's going to be amazing. We've been sent some new wines to try out and the menu is sure to create some excess belly fat , especially the desert. But it's going to be so good I don't care. I'll have a whole month before the next one. We're always looking for new drinks to try with our foods. Feel free to contact me about any drink ideas or about sending samples. Check back over the weekend (Monday at the latest. Depending on my work schedule) for all the great pics and beverage discoveries.