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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Show Me the Brie

I was fortunate to receive an 8 oz wheel of Ile De France Brie in the mail the other day. This (brie) is my favorite cheese in the world. I normally enjoy my brie with crackers and a glass of wine (go figure), and this particular brand was perfect for that. It was buttery and delightful with its smooth flavor. My 5 year old, who only eats "yellow, flat cheese", tried and loved it as well.

Last night I decided to make a salad and added small chunks of the brie to it. It made the salad! A simple spinach salad topped with tomato, red onion, mushroom, bacon, egg and brie. And then drizzled it with a warm bacon vinaigrette...Yummy!

If you are a brie fan, I would definitely recommend Ile De France. If you're not a brie fan...WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Win Tickets to Mingle with the Stars at the Hard Rock in San Diego

Not sure how I came across this but thought I would pass it along.
The Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego is hosting a fabulous celebrity bash next weekend to introduce 2 new night-life venues and it's by invite only. You can click here for a chance to win tickets to this bash. With a lobby bar (207) and a pool bar (Float) the hotel is sure to be star studded. Performances by Scott Weiland, Ludacris, Lil John and more will make this event one to remember.

The party is April 3 & 4 so if are planning on visiting San Diego, live there already, or can get there for this awesome event, register for your chance to mingle with celebrities at The Hard Rock Hotel and ditch the San Diego airport hotel reservations.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't Scramble at Dinner Time

I had the opportunity this last month to try out an excellent service for busy parents. The Six O'Clock Scramble. Created by Aviva Goldfarb, author of The Six O'Clock Scramble Cookbook, this service provides everything needed to create healthy home cooked meals without having to scramble. Aviva puts out a weekly newsletter and posts not only recipes for the upcoming week but includes a shopping list for all the ingredients as well. You can shop once a week and have everything you need.
All the meals take 30 minutes or less and the site offers a searchable database to make alternate choices if one does not meet your family's tastes. Aviva only offers tried and loved recipes that have been tested on her own family as well others to ensure satisfaction.
If you are a busy parent, or just one who is looking to increase your family's repertoire of dinner entrees and sides, I urge you to check out The Six O'Clock Scramble. Through the end of March you can get $5 off a 6 month subscription or $10 of a year. Use the code TwitterMoms at checkout for this great savings.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Ramble

Ive decided to NOT post and American Idol update each week because there are a few contestants that I don not think deserve to still be in the competition and do not want to further "put them down." I may pick the updates back up when they are gone. That being said I want to publicly acknowledge the mistake I made in last weeks update. I said that Adam was a good singer but I did not see him as a solo artist but instead thought he would be a good lead singer of a band. I WAS WRONG...and I can admit it. His performance last night was spectacular. His rendition was superb and his clean-cut, Kurt Russell look-a-like appearance was refreshing. This guy has many different sides to him and I look forward to his next performance. Sorry Adam, if I was over judgemental last week.

I have two blogs with that will no longer be able to participate with Entrecard. I'll still drop with my other two but would appreciate an occasional visit to Letters and More Fun Than Allowed...with Kids from all my regular droppers...thanks.

I need to convince Hubster to enter a contest for Maxim Magazine (Yes, I read his copy). They are having a contest to win a 55" Vizio Flat screen and I want it. We would have to get a flat panel mount because it would never fit in the entertainment center we currently have, but we really need to do away with the current one anyway because it is just too large for the room (but the TV wouldn't be, seriously). Anyway, I thought if I could get enough comments here encouraging him to come up with a song for me to video that he would enter. Anyone?

I'm working out a schedule to be more productive here as well as to attend to the housework I've been neglecting (Hubster will be happy to read that). I'm looking to take 3 days off a week, unless something pressing comes up. I haven't quite worked it all out yet. How do you maintain balance between your real life and your virtual one?


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Barefoot Bubbly ~ A Review

I'm not sure where to begin. The Wine Whore and I had so much fun last time with our Hob Nob review that we decided to treat you with another edition of a He said, She said review. This time I let Randy pick the variety and he decided on Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry Champagne. I usually only drink champagne on New Years and other very special occasions, so there is not much about the production I can share with you. I do love everything else Barefoot produces that I've tried though, so I thought I would give it a whirl.
I usually don't drink the extra dry or even dry versions of champagnes because Hubster doesn't care for them and he is usually my partner in crime when there is a toast to be made. That will no longer be the case. I love this champagne and fully understand why it got 90 points in the 2007 California State Fair wine competition.

I started with a glass as I prepared dinner and could definitely taste the apple flavor it boasts. It was very smooth and refreshing and left me wanting more. I paired it with Scallops and a rice-spinach-onion-mushroom medley and it complimented my choice exquisitely. I really think I need to drink champagne more often. I had a key lime bar for dessert with another glass of the Bubbly and thoroughly enjoyed the combination. While some of the champagne's flavoring was masked with different foods it remained very smooth and delightful to drink. A nice diversion from the wines I usually consume.

Overall I would have to give Barefoot Bubbly an 8.5. It might be higher but I'm not a true connoisseur of champagne, yet, and need to leave room for other great selections. Truly enjoyable and I will definitely buy it again.

If you want a real version of a review, with big words and winery terms, or just want another perspective, head on over to Randy's place and check out what he has to say.

If you have a wine you would like reviewed...let us know.

I'll leave you with a picture of my dinner

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm late, I'm late....

Sorry I'm late. I can't believe I jumped right into this party and never introduced myself or let anyone know I was here.

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

I'm Shelly (or Rachele). I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I'm a loyal friend. I'm a daughter and a Sister. I create strong friendships that defy time and distance as well as fleeting friendships that create wonderful memories. I'm a blogger (or am aspiring to be) and I love to try new things and meet new people. I've never been described as shy. I'm witty, sarcastic, and a wine drinking fool.
Blogging has been an outlet for me to voice my opinions and share fun stories and to have something to do while avoiding the housework.
I love a good party and this one rocks. There are so many people in attendance that I hope I have the time to meet at least half. If I don't meet you this week, I'll sneak on by after the party is over and maybe we can have a glass of wine and chat.
Thanks for coming by...don't be a stranger.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

I decided yesterday that Wednesdays are ME days. Hubster and the kids head out to church for dinner, choir practice and youth activities around 4:45 and don't come home until after 8:00. YeeHah! The kids have been going with the In-laws for a while but Hubster just started participating a couple weeks ago. It's a great mid-week refresher. Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a wonderful NY Strip with some sauteed veggies and a wonderful Crane Lake Malbec. I fixed my food and enjoyed uninterrupted grown up TV for 2 hours. It was Great!

I'm a little disappointed with Americas choice to send Alexis home on American Idol. I really thought she was the strongest girl and would have loved to see Megan or Scott go home. I have my opinions but do not vote, so I can only expect so much. On that note. The judges now have the opportunity to SAVE one contestant. They make it sound like it will totally depend on one performance. If they hated the song choice from the night before, how confident can a performer be singing the same song that put them on the chopping block to begin with. Is this "save" going to be used on someone who picked the right song and forgets the words? I'll be interested to see if it gets used.

I made a video of my new wine opener in use but am having difficulties getting it to load. When you see it you'll be running to get one for yourself, I'm sure!

Got another cool "toy". If you look over in the sidebar I've added Natalie MacLean's Food/Wine Pairing widget. You can type in a food or a wine and find what would go best with it. Try it out! It offers thousands of pairings and you may find some surprises.

I Like to Pretend

Yep, that's me, the pretender. I like to pretend that I'm crafty. I'm really not. I try everything...and then usually get bored before I get good at it. I tried beading about a year ago and made several little girls bracelet and necklace sets. I enjoyed doing it and they became Birthday presents for my son's friends. Then I started blogging and saw all the great beaders and their works of art and I gave up on that, knowing I could never compare and feeling silly for the pieces I had given away.
I tried scrapping. I have 3 pages in my son's "album". It goes up to 6 weeks, he's almost 6. I just look at the pages and wish I had more creativity, and now there are a ton of scrap booking blogs that point out how untalented I am.
When I got married I did my own Thank You notes. Those turned out okay. It was almost 10 years ago and I don't have a copy so I like to believe they looked really nice. I also did my son's birth announcements with photo and catchy little phrase (while I still thought I could pull of the scrap booking thing). I don't remember ever sending them out though. Hopefully no on has one of those laying around. I am of the belief that having a son or daughter is the most wonderful time in one's life and should be announced properly. I also think that those of us less talented in this area should use a company like Doodlebugs Designs to get that message out. Who needs to be worried about baby announcements when all we really want to do is stare at our new bundle of joy?
I enjoy doing chocolate suckers and make them for my son's class and the neighbor kids at Halloween. It's easy to impress 5 year olds...and they're chocolate, so you can't go wrong. I also posted them on etsy and recently made my first sale. The order was rated before it was received so hopefully the purchaser was happy with the finished product. I may never know, but no refund has been requested.
Oh, and I also do my kids birthday cakes. Again, it's something I enjoy doing for them. I'm not trying to sell any, but the kids think they are great and that's all that me.
Are you crafty? Or a pretender, like me?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St.Paddy Idol

I'm confused.
Lil decides to show America that she can sing something other than R&B and they think she should've sung a pop remake of a country song. Adam does whatever the hell that was and Randy thinks it's relevant and fresh???
Here's my take...
Michael~ Sounded more like him than last week. Vocals seemed to be buried by the music. Looked comfortable, definitely what he should be singing. Strong performance for him.
Allison~ I like her as a country singer! Her stylist did a great job blending her hair color with the jacket. Very good performance.
Kris~ Liked the performance. I would buy that single now. It's gotta make his wife proud.
Lil~ Great job. I thought she was very believable as a country singer.
Adam~ See? It's not just me that doesn't like the nail polish...and why so much make up? I think I may have enjoyed this performance with a swirly colored background and a hit of acid. I like him less this week and really wonder what he could do as a solo artist. I think he would be great as a lead singer in a band but not sure what he would sing alone???
Scott~ He's Scott. Great on piano, mediocre vocalist.
Alexis~ Showed a softer side and was good at it. I think I like her a little wilder though.
Danny~ Hmm. Didn't love the beginning but by the time he got into the chorus he was back on point. Still my favorite.
Anoop~ Love the tone of his voice. Would buy that song right now...and I never liked it before.
Megan~ Beautiful Girl...that's all I can say.
Matt~ Worried he can't do it without the piano but my favorite performance of the night!
Who's going home? Scott or Megan (again)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hob Nob Shiraz ~ A Wine Review

Okay, first of all I love the enthusiasm of my co-Hort in this little experiment. Randy of The Wine Whore has been gracious enough to join me in a wine tasting and review for your enjoyment. We weren't supposed to post until tomorrow but he "was excited" and posted early. That's cool...I'm ready.

Now for my review of Hob Nob Shiraz.

I opened it. I poured it. I swirled it (which I never do). I sipped it. First reaction is a very bold dark flavor. Now it’s breathing a little and I’ll try some more in about 30 minutes. So far…I like it.
(30 minutes later)
It’s got a spicy oak flavor. I had it alone…very enjoyable.
I had it with spaghetti and it seemed to overpower the food.
I had it with a dark chocolate Oreo and felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.

This wine boasts a cherry aroma and a hint of vanilla ...I didn't get the vanilla.

Overall I’d give it a 7.

It’s a little strong for my every day consumption.

At $11.00, Hubster would kill me if this was a regular buy (yes, I belong to the under $5 club)but still very well priced for what this wine has to offer.

I think this would go nicely with brie and some stoned wheat crackers and would be divine with a garlic encrusted NY Strip.

Definitely something I would buy again when entertaining guests.

Now if you want a more sophisticated review, Hob Nob over to The Wine Whore and see what he has to say. I'm on my way now.

To Randy: The next pick is on you. Ignore the $5 club comment, I'll tell Hubster "It's for work"!

Bean Boozled, Shark Boy goes to the dentist, and my Evening Wine Selection

Jelly Belly BeanBoozled

Do you love a good April Fool's Joke? I do. Jelly Belly is having a special on their famously disgusting flavors just in time for the big day. Just click the link above and you can get in on their Buy 2 get 1 free deal. With flavors such as skunk spray, ear wax and pencil shavings, a candy dish to tempt your friends is a MUST. Just order before March 23rd and use the code:APRILFOOLS. Please come back and tell me how it works out.

I know I was bashing worriers the other week so I must confess that I had been worried the past couple days about Boog's dentist visit today. He was scheduled to have a partial root treatment and have a filling replaced, but I was sure the dentist was also going to want to pull his two bottom front teeth since the permanent ones are already coming in...I'm happy to say I worried for nothing. They gave him some laughing gas, took a look around, and decided to do nothing. Apparently the tooth that needed the filling replacement and root treatment is already loose and they expect it to fall out within the next few months so no reason to do any work. FREE NITROUS for my 5 year old!

And lastly, tonight's Wine at Five will be Hob Nob Shiraz...and I'm not drinking alone. My new friend Randy, otherwise know as The Wine Whore, has agreed to taste with me and we will both give you a full report tomorrow. I must let you know, for an in depth, structured, enlightening review by someone who enjoys wine, you won't want to miss Randy's post. If you want to know what a less wine educated, WAHM (enough said), who NEEDS wine thinks...come right back here.

Until Tomorrow

Taking Meds

I fear getting old for a lot of reasons, one of which is all the pills I see older people taking. I have no phobia of swallowing large horse sized pills, I just don't take medication. I used to (many moons ago) be on "the pill", but now rarely take anything. I don't take (although maybe I should) weight loss pills, I don't take any sort of multi-vitamin (and my Step Mom scolds me every time the subject comes up), and I take aspirin, maybe, 2 times a year. I just don't take medicine, and fortunately don't have too.

I get a little weirded out thinking about all the different meds that some people take. How do they know how the meds will interact with each other? I know that's up to the Doctor's to figure out, but why put so much trust in someone else? It scares me.

For instance, My FIL has been having some dizzy spells and couldn't get right in to see his doctor and couldn't even get him on the phone (maybe having something to do with my distrust). He's a heart patient for pete's sake, and can't get his doc on the phone? Anyway, a friend with similar ailments told him to reduce one of his meds to half a tablet and he did...and the dizzy spells stopped. It should be interesting to hear what the doctor has to say when he finally gets to see him this week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

When will it End?

I am so sick of someone in this household always being sick. Just as I am getting over the cold/flu combo that I've had since arriving in Michigan, Puddin Pop took a nap yesterday (which she never does) and awoke with a 102+ fever. Since 1 pm yesterday she has been awake maybe 6 hours and it is 6pm. Poor thing feels like cheap lingerie, rode hard and put away wet (I only know this because that's how I felt last Wednesday). It's her first illness in her 3 years and she's handling it like a champ, but sleeping most the time.

I'm over this weather, 80 on Wednesday, 40 and drizzly rain today and throughout the weekend. It's no wonder everyone is sick. I'm just over someone being sick in this house for what seems like 4 months now. Please make it go away!

In other news, I've got a couple reviews coming up that I'm excited about and a new wine tasting comparison with another wine enthusiast that is sure to knock your socks off, so be on the lookout for those.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Teaching our Children about Disabilities

My children are fortunate to be healthy and free of any disabilities. I do not take this for granted and hope that they do not either. As of yet, they have had few questions about disabilities in others. When Boog was younger he questioned why Grammy uses a cane and I explained that she has MS and her legs don't work all that well so she uses a cane for balance. He seemed good with that and accepts it's part of who she is.

Now in Kindergarten, he has 2 friends in his class (part time) that are deaf. He seems excited to be learning their language and often comes home to show me the new signs he has learned. He wanted to know why they can't hear. I explained that it could be for a variety of reasons. Some children are just born without the ability to hear and others may have had an illness causing the loss of their hearing. In order to get a better idea of his relationship with these two boys I asked if they played in his group at recess. He replied "no." I was concerned and asked "why not?" He said "I would like to play with them but they do not go to recess at the same time as us."

I love that these boys are a part of his class and he does not see them as any different than himself. He understands that they can not hear and use alternate methods of communication but other than that, they are just little boys who should be on the playground with him.

CVS Caremark - All Kids Can is a $25 million trust that is making life easier for children with disabilities in our local communities. They are committed to supporting non-profits that provide innovative programs for Children with disabilities. They also are increasing awareness with local schools about the inclusion of these students and push for barrier- free playgrounds so all the children can play in a safe, fun environment.

All children should be able to play and learn together. Thank You CVS Caremark - All Children Can for recognizing this issue and taking steps to remove the boundaries that exist so that all our children can benefit from these wonderful programs.

Top 13 Recap

I missed weeks 2 and 3 as far as recaps go. I was out of town for week 2, with limited connectivity (another story) and week 3 I was ill, very ill, awake 3 hours the whole day ill, so forgive me. I'm back and ready to give my opinion on the performances of the top 13, the stylists and the Judges.
Let's start...
Lil ~ Strong performance. Didn't knock my socks off, but good. I think we'll see more of her and I have all ideas she'll have some stand out nights, this just wasn't one of them. Her stylist definitely went for the "baby got back" theme. It was the first thing I thought when she took the stage.
Scott ~ He's a decent singer. No one I would pay to hear. I think everyone is wrapped up in his story. The judges didn't like the fact that he picked a song no one knew. I think this was his smartest move. I don't think he could have pulled off anything else.
Danny ~ Rocked the house! I love this guy. He looks so comfortable and you can tell he LOVES performing. It's a good thing. I would buy his album today. I disagree with Simon, I enjoyed his overzealous dance moves. He felt the music.
Michael ~ Hmm. Something was weired on this one. The voice was crystal clear and his tone was different than past performances. He was good, but almost too good. It was as though he was lip syncing, just odd for me. Very likable guy. I hope he continues to improve.
Jasmine ~ This girl is adorable and I think she should have her own show on Nick. I personally think this was her best performance yet. I don't believe she's a strong contender though. We're more likely to see her on the cover of Seventeen.
Kris ~ He really had fun with his song. I like that he used his guitar though it seemed like he could've just thrown it down and busted out a some moves. He was into it. Comment about his wife was inconsiderate.
Allison ~ Strong voice. Seems to know who she is (for 16) but I'm just not into her. I don't like the fake red hair or the rocker look on her. I think she has some stuff to show us that will blow us away but I'm not buying the Rocker Chick persona.
Anoop ~ Not a strong performance for him. I hope he stays around to show us his true talents.
Jorge ~ This poor guy. I think he sounded great, but then you look at him and wonder why he sings so clearly. The judges told him to get rid of his accent... and he did. I think it takes away from his appeal. Now he just sounds like all the other decent "white boys". The Judges screwed this one up.
Megan ~ I don't get this one at all. Cute girl, and that's about it. I don't like the tattooed arm (I'm not opposed to tats I just don't get the whole arm thing). It worked on Carly last year, but Megan doesn't pull it off for me. The hip twisting drives me crazy and I don't care for her singing. I would've much rather listened to Ricky Brady.
Adam ~ Wow, this guy has it all. Great stage presence, phenomenal voice. I sort of wonder what he looks like without all the makeup though, and I do NOT like the black nail polish. He'll be in the finals with Danny and deserves to be. I just wouldn't buy his music as his style doesn't appeal to ME. He is also my vote for "Least likely to use his stylist."
Matt ~ I like Matt. Definitely more comfortable behind the piano, which concerns me, but I would buy his music. I would also love to see him in action at the dueling piano bar he formerly worked at.
Alexis ~ Best Female in the group. She sure is getting in touch with her nasty side and it works for me. She's adorable and I can't wait to see what she does next.
The judges have a surprise for us tonight and I have all ideas that they are going to have some sort say in who gets voted off this season. I'll withhold judgement until I know the details.
Who do I think should go home tonight? Megan and Scott

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Someone Hacked my E-mail

OMG! How does this happen. I came home yesterday from running some errands and getting a couple insurance quotes and noticed a bunch of "undeliverable" replies in my email box. I took a look and noticed that, thankfully, about 90% of my contacts were NOT able to receive an e-mail THAT I NEVER SENT. I also received the e-mails and it appeared I had sent them to myself.
The e-mail was poorly written and advertising a great site "I" had found offering great savings on electronics. I immediately deleted the e-mails. One of my friends called to find out why I had sent that to her. I explained that I had been hacked but had no idea how to research and fix the problem.

Today I noticed that my "vacation auto response" was turned on. That's what they did. They somehow created an auto response and sent it to everyone in my contacts list. I took the auto response off but they turned it back on today and resent the emails???

I have now changed my passwords and deleted the auto response message, what else can I do? Please, someone who knows about this stuff, let me know how this happens and how to safeguard against it.

...And if you got the suspicious e-mail, wasn't me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Darling Boy

I happened to be at Boog's school on Tuesday dropping off treats in honor of his teacher's birthday. The teacher pulled me aside to let me know of an incident that had happened earlier that day. Apparently my darling 5 year old was busted kissing a little girl in his class. First of all, he did this last year too, so I'm not sure if this is going to be an issue or not. Secondly, he told me over a month ago that they (the class) had already been told that kissing was not appropriate school behavior, so he knew better. Anyway, the teacher said she didn't want to make a big deal of it so she had pulled him aside and explained that not only was it not appropriate for school, but that he should really save his kisses for Mommy and Daddy and other relatives and not just give them away. She said he looked straight at her, as serious as could be and said, "I know Ms. H. My mind was telling me no...but my body was telling me yes." She said she had to turn away to keep from laughing. Not sure where he heard that one, we're not listening to R.Kelly around the house. When I asked why he kissed this little girl he said "Because she kept asking me too."
We'll be keeping a close eye on him.

In other news, I just found out there's a watch brand called Jaeger Master. In my opinion this sounds way to much like Jager Meister and when I over heard (part of) 2 guys conversation the other night at the bar, I said "I"ll take one too." Now I know why everyone looked at me like I was crazy...apparently, I am.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

I'm not very passionate about keeping a meticulous house.
I really have no interest in having everything spotless.
I can not tell you the last time I dusted our bedroom.

Why am I this way while others are the complete opposite and insist it is what makes a good Mother, woman, human being?

This is what I have been pondering today. Why today? No clue other than it gave me something to do while I wasn't cleaning my house.

I used to believe (until my pondering of today) that the reason I did not find joy in cleaning was due to an early child hood ritual of Saturday morning 9am wake ups by my parents insisting that my brothers and I clean (dust ,vacuum, put everything away) our bedrooms and playroom (full basement) as well as scrub every surface of the bathroom the 3 of us shared. We did this every Saturday for as long as I can remember. Ironically, the rest of the house was cleaned every Wednesday by a housekeeper.

Today I thought beyond that time to when, at 15, I moved in with my Dad and lived in new surroundings and had no cleaning schedule. There was dust, clutter, disorganization, and yet the next 3 years were the best of my young life. I had friends over all the time. While rarely allowed to have friends over to the house we kept so clean (to impress who?) I was now in a place less sanitary and way more open and accepting of anyone who wanted to just drop by.

I also realized that no one cares. Sure there are those who would rather be in a spotless home and look down their noses (even if subtly) as those with lesser standards, but kids aren't usually in that group. I had a friend who's Father was always renovating without completing previous projects. For months when I went to her house (every day) we would climb a ladder to get upstairs and walk across planks to get to her bedroom because her dad had decided to move the staircase. I didn't care. It was a spot all the kids liked to hang out at. Her parents were not uptight, invited everyone in and treated them like family. When I did end up at friends houses' that were spotless i just thought "Wow". Not "wow, I wish I lived like this", just "wow". It didn't matter.

Both My MIL and my Step Mom spend hours cleaning. Part of it is a pride and appearance thing, part of it, I believe, is that they both really enjoy cleaning. That's great for them, but they are also 2 people who think every one's house should be like that. I'm sure they love coming to my house (serious sarcasm).

When I visit my parents (as I just did) I don't revel in the cleanliness of my surroundings, I'm more impressed with the super cool theater room they have. Fully equipped with surround sound, home theatre seating , a 54 in Wide screen, and they even put floor lighting on the steps to the 2 rows of seats. I'm also impressed by the wine cellar they have created and fully stocked.

I want to feel relaxed when visiting people and something about a spotless house just puts me on edge knowing that I will inevitably spill something.

Moral of the story: If you're a super clean freak, just politely decline any invite I send you.

Dogs for the Cause

I've mentioned Paws in previous posts but after my visit home and seeing first hand what a help My Step-Mom's dog Colonel is to her, I felt an urgent need to revisit this very worth while foundation.
Paws is celebrating 30 years of training and placing assist dogs with individuals of varying disabilities and each dog is trained specifically for their owners own needs. I had been told how helpful Colonel is, but it took seeing him in action to fully realize what a magnificent job Paws has done in their training of this dog.
My Step Mom has Multiple Sclerosis, and has pretty much lost all feeling in her legs, but she refuses to give in and is determined to walk for as long as she is able. Due to the lack of feeling and her unwavering stubbornness, she frequently loses her balance and falls. Colonel places himself staunchly in front of her and allows her to use him as a brace to lift her off the floor. I personally witnessed this on 2 occasions and it was amazing.
Colonel is also trained to retrieve fallen or out of reach objects, which proved to be a challenge...for me. Anything at eye level or below is to be picked up and taken to his owner. Upon our arrival, I set my purse on the floor and went to retrieve the rest of our luggage from the car. I came back into the house only to realize that my purse was gone. Colonel had dutifully picked it up and had taken it to "mommy". This went on all weekend. While changing Puddin Pop, I would have to wedge her PJ's between my legs so they would not instantaneously be picked up and taken to grammy. I finally caught on. While cooking, if a utensil is dropped, Colonel is right there to pick it up. He also retrieves a ringing (or not) phone, opens and holds doors and on top of all that, is one of the sweetest, most loving dogs I have ever met. I should have pictures, but neglected to take my camera. I will post picks as soon as I receive the ones others took during our visit.
Thank You Paws for a Wonderful Assist Dog and allowing My Step-Mom her independence.
Thank You Colonel for being a loving and very helpful addition to the family.

For more information on Paws with a Cause or to make a donation to this very worthy cause click the logo above.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Gift that Became an Addiction

Last year when I went home for a visit, and some added birthday celebrations with my best girls, my Parents decided to treat me to a large basket filled with a variety of chocolates. Everything consisted of dark chocolate, as they know my husband is NOT a fan, thus leaving the delights to me (and an occasional kid who finds the hidden stash).
I love chocolate, but do not think I have a problem with least I didn't until last year. I emptied my stash into one of my deep jewelry bureau drawers and would snack occasionally on a piece or two when the mood struck. But after 4 months or so, I noticed the drawer was getting low and panicked, seriously. It was like a need to keep the drawer full, or at least not be able to see the bottom. I've bought 3 bags of assorted chocolates in the past 8 months, just to keep the drawer adequately stocked.
On this last trip home, I was again awarded with all the chocolate you see above. It fills the previous mentioned drawer and another on half the depth. Partly because of the boxes. The red box contains 12 hand dipped chocolate covered oreos, there's a bag/box of specialty minty dark chocolate m &m's, a dozen mini cadbury eggs. I should be in business until next year when I go back. I received this stash a week ago and can honestly say I've only had 4 pieces. It's almost too hard to chose and so I don't, probably a good thing.
I also received another spectacular gift:

Every Wine enthusiast should have one of these. I've tried all the fancy schmancy wine openers and always go back to a traditional, no frills cork screw...Never Again. This bad boy goes right over the top, you hold the bottle and push a button, in 5 seconds the cork is removed and you push another button to release it from the opener. It's unique, very functional, and sits in it's own rechargeable base. Definitely a must have for the wine lover in your life, don't believe me? Get one and I bet you'll be impressed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Winter Wonderland with No Snow Toys

So I drove to Michigan, land of snow, to visit friends and show Puddin Pop what snow looks like. The joke was on me. Michigan evacuated all snow in honor of our visit and we didn't see and until we arrived home, in Virginia, 5 days later. I give up trying to figure out weather. I figure if the meteorologists are wrong most the time what makes me think I can figure it out.

So we get home and the yard is covered in about 4 inches of snow and we are unprepared. We have no snow toys, it hasn't snowed since Boog was born (2003). The kids were using pool supplies as their snow toys. The skimmer made a great launcher and it was easy to scoop up the snow and wing it across the yard and the cleaning brush was good for sweeping snow off the toys that were left outside.

I even had a friend bring her sled to Michigan (from Chicago) because I was sure I would be able to pull PP around in it...guess I should have brought it home.

On another note, the visit was great, the drinks and friends were many, and I look forward to our next girls weekend next year.