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.