Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bloggers Give

Sometimes we all wonder what we can do through blogging. We have the chance to share our experiences, our opinions, and a little of our lives. Over at Bloggers Give, they are taking the impact of bloggers a step further.

Bloggers Give was started by Trisha, who owns the mom blog, MomDot. Kim from What's that Smell? and Jane from Mom Generations have joined Trisha in this program. Bloggers Give is a program designed to allow bloggers and companies to donate products to charities.

There are so many giveaways run across blogs each day. Bloggers Give participants ask their sponsors to offer one additional product to be given to charity. Currently, Bloggers Give is working with The Center for Courageous Kids, a charity who works with seriously ill and disabled children and their families.

Bloggers Give is an amazing way to give back to families in need. Be sure to check out the site to see how you can get involved. Also, remember to grab the button and spread the word!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 8

I'm on day 8 of quitting, and I am officially done. It feels good to say that! My fingers are crossed that both hubby and I stay on track this time. It's amazing not to go into this alone, and much easier with both of us supporting one another. And the Chantix has been a huge success for us.

However, I've found that Chantix has both is good and bad points, as with anything. It allowed me to quickly quit smoking, it took away any desire to smoke, and made them taste disgusting when I did give in to the habit.

On the other hand, it has caused a few sleep issues for me. My anxiety levels seem to be up, and it takes me an hour or more to fall asleep, and once I do, I experience some of the most vivid, and at times, disturbing, dreams I've ever had. But, even though I'm not sleeping well, I still feel more rested then when I was smoking.

The website and prescription package clearly warned about all the side effects I've gone through. But in all honesty, I would rather deal with a few weeks of dreams about humongous yellow snakes, being back in high school, and riding rollercoasters. Though thankfully, not all at once.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've Been Nominated!

Over at my favorite mom blog, MomDot, voting is going on for the Dottie Awards. I'm so excited to have been nominated for Best Supporting Blogger! I don't know that I've ever been nominated for anything before. I definitely wasn't Prom Queen in my day.

There are so many other amazing bloggers in the category though. So, even if I don't win, it's great to know that someone thought to nominate me (and hopefully one or two people will even vote for me). I'm in good, supportive company in there with Cat from 3 Kids and Us, Bloggymommy from Coming to you from the Land of Ahhhs..., Erin at the Mom Buzz, Trish at Sweet N Sassy, Jess at Nothing But Purple, Karen at A Blog of Goodies, and Michelle at Don't Lick the Walls. They are all wonderful ladies and great bloggers.

So head over to MomDot and vote for your favorite blogs! I'd be ecstatic if I was one of them!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm a Quitter

I was so excited to open up my copy of Parents magazine and find an article titled "So Long Cigarettes" this month. I usually don't admit to being a smoker. I don't want to deal with the stigma that follows being a mom who smokes. I don't want the lectures, advice, or horror stories I usually hear. I know it's bad for my health, I know it's disgusting, and I know I should quit. As much as I don't want it to define me, in a way it does.

For me, smoking is easy, it relieves stress, it gives me a much needed moment to myself (as we only smoke outside, and never around the little one), and it's routine. It truly is an addiction. And anyone who knows me will quickly realize I have a very addictive personality. When I do something, it quickly becomes a part of my life. Be it drinking coffee, saying a new phrase, blogging, or smoking. I let things consume my life far too easily.

However, I have finally decided to make a change. I am on day 4 of quitting, and it is going surprisingly well. I've tried before, going cold turkey, cutting back, getting support from my hubby (who also smokes). This time, we've decided to go all in together and were prescribed Chantix.

I have no urge to smoke. None. Nada. Zilch. The past few days I have still indulged in a few, mostly out of habit. But I've cut down to 2 or 3 a day, which is a drastic change for me. As I continue on this week, my goal is to find other ways to indulge myself. Be it a bubble bath, a good book, or a few extra minutes to hop on-line.

By the end of the week, and the last cigarette in the pack, hubby and I both plan to be done for good. We know this won't be an easy road, and there will be moments when we need some support from the other. But, it's something we both want to truly succeed at.

Wish me luck! And if you have any good advice or tips on ways I can sneak a few good minutes to myself, please leave them!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Trust Me & The Closer on TNT

I have to admit, I am a huge tv watcher. I love a good drama, where I get caught up in the characters, escaping my own life for 60 minutes or so. TNT has quite a few shows that I have to watch each week. Saving Grace was a huge hit in our house, and every Monday, you could find me glued to the tv at 10 pm.

TNT is bringing a new drama to Monday nights beginning this week. Trust Me, starring Eric McCormak and Tom Cavanagh, will premier Jan. 26 at 10 EST. Mason (McCormick) and Conner (Cavanagh) are top creative partners at an ad agency. Joined by Sarah Krajicek-Hunter (Monica Potter), the shows follows the three though emotional turmoil and a rocky road filled with office tension and clients who know just what they want, sometimes.

I can say, without a doubt, I’ll be curled up on the couch watching this drama unfold. The character’s lives easily captivated my attention, and the story line was easy to follow, but I was never sure just how things would work out.

Also starting this week, The Closer will return. Season 4 will kick off Monday, Jan. 26 at 9 PM (EST). If you watched faithfully last season, like I did, you know that the end of the season was filled with cliffhangers. We were left wondering what happened to Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) and how things would turn out between Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) and Fritz (Jon Tenney).

The Closer is a definite must-see in our house. It is much more than your typical crime show. The lives of each character draw me in, and I usually find myself anxious to see how the show will end.

Be sure to tune in Monday night at 9 to TNT to catch The Closer, followed by Trust Me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Potato Corn Chowder


Ingredients

  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 6 large potatoes peeled and diced (or canned potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups baby carrots (diced)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can cream of chicken (26 oz)
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups water

Directions

Slice and dice all the veggies

In large pot, brown bacon. You can also microwave, if you prefer. Then cook onions for 4 minutes or until soft. Drain grease. Add potatoes, celery, carrots, and water. Simmer for 15 minutes (Medium heat). Add salt and pepper. Once potatoes are soft, add milk, cream of chicken, sour cream, and corn. Stir until blended. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This makes about 10-12 servings. I always make extras because it is just as good reheated, and it freezes well, if any of it lasts that long.

What's your favorite wintertime meal?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

5 Ways to be a Better Customer

There are about half a billion articles out there on how to be a good waitress. Smile, be friendly, make eye contact, yada yada yada. But not nearly as many on how to be a good customer. And there are quite a few people out there who could really benefit from a few guidelines.

1. Don't ignore the big ol' sign reading Hostess will seat you. The hostess gets paid to take you to a table and hand you a couple of menus. Go and seat yourself, and you'll find out what it means to have to wait. You will be the last table I go to, and probably get a bit of attitude.

2. Don't bring in your own food or drinks. If the sign on the door saying "no outside food or drinks" wasn't a big enough hint, think about the fact that we make money from selling you food, not from letting you take up our table to eat the lunch you brought from home. And if we ask you to put away your Starbucks, don't pitch a fit big enough to rival Paris.

3. Remember you will actually have to speak to your waitress. This means more than grunting and pointing at your menu. If you don't want to talk to anyone, go to your local Sheetz where all you have to do is push a button to order.

4. Realize waitresses are human beings. I am not a dog, nor a servant. This means you do not whistle to get my attention, grab my arm, or snap your fingers at me. Manners will get you a long way, namely decent service.

5. Do not hit on me. Lines like, "I'll take a waitress with nothing on it," or "Are you on the menu today?" do not impress me. Whether your old enough to be my grandfather or too young to have even hit puberty, keep your overused lines for someone who may actually care.

If we could just get everyone to follow these simple guidelines, waitressing would be so much less stressful, and I wouldn't come home thinking I should have spit in someone's food (not that I ever really would). Maybe my urge to up and smack the next person who seemed to have skipped manners week in Kindergarten would even go away.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday's Amusing Moment

Who in the world felt the need to manufacture plastic cockroaches? Who in their right mind allowed it to get brought into my house? And why is the dinosaur eating it?

Ugh, creepy crawlies give me the willies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thoughts of a 4-year-old

GM plays imaginary games. A lot. He usually asks me to play along. And I always manage to give the wrong answers, or say the wrongs things. Somehow, I manage to lose at every imaginary game we play. I guess it's only fair since he's the one imagining the rules.

He also has imaginary friends. A lot of them.

GM: What's my friend's name?
Me: Alice?
GM: No, that's your friend. (Must be imaginary too)
Me: Rosey?
GM: No, that's my new friend. My friend from Africa. I met him on the internet and I send him e-mail and text messages, and he sends me rocks and sometimes pictures of animals.

Doe anyone think mommy spends too much time on the computer?

Oh, and moments later GM announces, "Imaginary fight at our house! Everyone is throwing cupcakes, pies, and kittens." Kittens?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Our day out

Playing in the sand:

The Funky Chicken:

Bunnies:

Yummy food:
Check out more WW over at MomDot.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Time To...Routine Chart

I was recently introduced to Milestone Parenting, a mom inspired company that has created It's Time To...Routine Charts. The charts provide a visual for young children to help them understand the components of their daily schedule through easily recognizable photos.

The It's Time To...chart arrived along with 21 stickers to fill the spaces on the poster. The chart itself is self adhesive, although I choose to use tape to adhere it to our school area poster. Once the poster was up, my 4 year old looked through the stickers and choose the ones applicable to his own routine. He then helped me put them in the correct order.

Once all the stickers had been placed onto the chart, I filled in the clocks on each block with the erasable marker. I was so glad it was easy to erase, since I, of course, had to fix things once or twice.I was surprised at how extensive the stickers were, including everything from waking up, getting dressed, playing, eating, reading, and many more. Although there were several that didn't apply to our own schedule, like going to school and taking medicine, the stickers are removable, so if we ever need to add them, it will be a simple task.GM was so excited to see his day all mapped out. We have the hardest time following a routine, but are finding it easier with having the chart to look at. I'm hoping this continues to make tasks, like brushing his teeth and taking baths, easier for us, since he will know when to expect each activity.

Bye Bye Clutter

This weekend, I decided to immerse myself in the cluttered hole we call a den. Since we don't use the room often, it has become a catch-all for everything in the house. Don't need it right now? Put it in the den. Doesn't have a place to be returned to? Throw it on the shelves.

There was a little bit of everything out there, from toys and books, to papers and craft supplies, plus a little of everything else. As you can see, nothing really had a proper place. I really wonder the need for the party supplies and snorkel.

Before:

I took everything down, went through bins, and categorized everything. Even within the bins, craft supplies are organized in small bags by types. Papers are sorted by importance and need. And anything that didn't belong or wasn't needed was packed away. Bye bye snorkel.

After:

The next step will be to go through other rooms and take things that truly belong out there. But that project is being saved for a day when a 4-year-old is not rooting through my boxes and trying to sneak away with old toys.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Very Sad

I should be completely embarrassed.
They were fun for Halloween.
Festive for Thanksgiving.
A little sad by Christmas.
And now? Just purely embarrassing.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Few Good Reads

I'm in such a rut today. I'm on day 8 of this cold, which feels more like day 1643. I finally caught myself up on laundry, 7 loads later, and got all the dishes done. I'm completely exhausted. The house looked as though no one had cleaned it for months, not just a week. But I give up for the day.

Since my life is completely, utterly, and nothing more than boring and monotonous today, here are a few blog post much more interesting than anything I could come up with:

The Not-So-Blog Blog has turned into a candy store. Head over to pick up some sweets.

Over at MomDot, Trisha announced the start of Bloggers Give. It's going to be an amazing way to help out charity. Be sure to check out the idea behind it and grab a banner.

You can also enter to win a Keurig Platinum Brewing System before 1/29/09.

At Sweet 'N' Sassy Girls, Trish is talking about teen pregnancy. Go tell her what you think about it.

The New Year celebration at Mom Buzz and Busy Mom is still going on, with lots of great giveaways and reviews.

Barely Domestic Mama is hosting her first giveaway with a tee from Trendy Tadpole to be won by one lucky reader. (I'm partial to the Skull and Crossbones design, you can almost see in my WW from October.)

Finally, the momma behind The Blog of Finleypotamus and His Little Kierbear talks a little about sandboxes and logic. I think we can all understand what she has to say.

Go check them out and leave a comment or two. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Think Thin Thursdays

I'm finally posting my Think Thin Thursday on time! It's been a long week in our house, with one germ or another going around. However, I have managed to do my workouts with the little one. We had a blast dancing around together, and I even got in a 45 minute workout on my own. Overall, it was a pretty successful week for us.

I'm still fighting the caffeine battle. My love for Mountain Dew is much bigger than I'd like to admit, and the caffeine headaches that plague me when I don't have it are awful. So, I've continued having it in moderation, and have gotten myself down to just one soda a day.

My goal this week is continue working out, and introduce much more water into my daily life. I hate to say that I rarely drink water, but it's the truth. I'll have to stop and buy a few bottles because our tap water leaves something to be desired.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Think Thin Thursdays

Yes, I know it's Tuesday. This cold has my brain pretty foggy, but I'm still coherent enough to know what day it is. Wait, it is Tuesday right?

Over at the Not-So-Blog Blog, sign ups for Think Thin Thursday began last week. They want to know what are goals are for the week, as well as our resolution for the new year. I've been slacking on my Think Thin posts, but I have been doing my best to keep myself moving and eating better.

My goal for the week was to workout twice, and I actually managed to squeeze in 3 workouts before this cold took over. I'm going to continue to set this as my goal for next week, but to increase the length of my exercising. I've found the best way for me to get my workouts in is to get GM involved. So, while Yoga for Kids and Bindi's Kid Fitness may not be incredibly intellectual, they hold the little one's attention and give me a chance to get moving.

I posted my resolutions earlier this week, but in regards to Think Thin Thursdays, I want to set myself a goal of working out at least 2-3 times per week. I also plan to focus on my eating habits, and phase out a few of the bad ones I've maintained (like my love of Mountain Dew). Hopefully, I'll be able to continue to cut back to the point where I indulge as a treat, rather than as an every day part of life.

My Hate for Blue Bills

I dread getting blue envelopes in the mail. They carry with them such annoyance. Wondering what arrives in the light blue carrier of doom? That would be our electric bill, or the piece of paper that will suck away half of our bank account at the moment.

I opened it this morning and about choked on my Cheerios. Okay, that's a lie. I don't eat Cheerios. But if I did, I most certainly would have keeled over from inhaling them with my gasp of shock that escaped. $300 for one month of electric. Granted, we are living in a bigger house this winter and it has electric heat versus gas, but we only have the heat on in the main rooms we use.

So for 1 upstairs bedroom (yes, all 3 of us are sharing 1 of our 4 bedrooms) and 5 downstairs rooms we doubled our electric use from 3 months ago. This is truly ridiculous. Tomorrow, I'll be on a mission to find ways to reduce our usage. I have a feeling I'll be sewing up quite a few draft blockers (those things for along the doorways) and researching ways to cut back. I'm just not sure our pockets can handle a whole winter of bills like this.

I'm really wishing we would have realized just how drafty this house was before moving in. Since we didn't, we'll just have to find some ways to deal with it. To make matters worse, we are going to be in the middle of a huge ice storm over the next few hours. Maybe I should start sewing now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday's Amusing Moment

GM and I are both feeling under the weather this week. We're on round number 4 (or is it 16?) of this cold. We can't seem to get all these germs out of the house and gone for good.

We've found lollipops, stuffed animals, and a warm blanket make us feel a little better. My little one has turned into Mr Monkey Toes:
Can someone please pass the tissues and cough drops?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bindi Kid Fitness Review

For Christmas, GM received a copy of Bindi Kid Fitness with Steve Irwin and the Crocmen. He is a huge fan of Bindi, going as far as to say she is his (imaginary) girlfriend. We watch Bindi the Jungle Girl on Discovery Kids almost every night, and he has learned so much about wildlife, adding to his obsession with animals.

Kid Fitness contains several songs to get little one's up and moving, using animal movements. When the Hippo Moves her Hips and Snake in the Grass were definitely big hits with GM. He was dancing from the moment the dvd began, and I had a lot of fun joining in with him. We both were mimicking the Crocmen's dance moves and ended up with quite the workout.
video
Throughout the dvd, there are recipes and cooking disasters featuring Bindi and the Croc Hunter. GM got a laugh watching them try to cook. As a bonus, the recipes are included in the dvd pamphlet. The Bindi Smoothie and Fair Dinkum Flapjacks are at the top of our must try list.

Overall, it was a great fitness dvd, and a wonderful workout GM and I could do together. I only wish the Crocmen moved slow enough for me to keep up! Even though we only finished a few minutes ago, he's already asking to watch it again. I'm really hoping some of the healthy eating tips will rub off on him as well.

A New Year of Clutter

This week has been full of days where I feel as though I have nothing to say. Well, that's a lie, I've thought of a million things to say, but just feel too blah to actually get them down. Maybe it's the new year. Maybe I'm feeling as though I need a change, and just haven't discovered it yet. Maybe it's the clutter from the holidays still filling my head.

I'm thankful that the holidays are over, but still need to recoup from the immense amount of toys still covering the living room floor, the socks and books piled on the dining room table, and the cookies sitting on the counter. I need to clean out some of the old, to make way for all the new things coming into our house.Maybe I can't think straight because this is what I see every time I sit down at the computer. Clutter does nothing for me. Well, nothing except irritate and distract me. I really need to tackle the toys before they take over the house.

Friday, January 2, 2009

First Kisses

As part of my New Year's resolution, I am searching out ways to reconnect with the hubby. He hasn't made it easy today, waking up as a complete grump. I had a rough night last night, sleeping horribly, waking up constantly, and feeling as though my eyes had barely closed at all when GM decided it was time to get out of bed today. I asked hubby to get up and let me sleep a few extra minutes, to which he responded with pure crankiness, blaming me for staying up too late.

But, I'm trying to get passed that, and remember back to when things were so much simpler between us. When mornings weren't a competition of who was more tired or who was crabbier. Days when we slept in late, didn't worry about bills being late, or whether work clothes were clean. Days when we'd go to the park on a whim, go for coffee at midnight, or spend an afternoon lounging in bed watching old movies.

It got me to thinking about our first kiss. First kisses bring with them a certain excitement, a sense of nervousness and passion all mixed together. It's hard to think that our first kiss, and our last first kiss, was almost six years ago.

August 30, 2003
It started out as innocent fun. Late night drinks on the neighborhood back porch, sneaking out to meet one other, going to the cottage to talk for hours. That's where we had our first kiss. "A penny for your thoughts" is how it started. My thought was to lean in and kiss him softly, sparks flying. My legs visibly trembled, I blamed it on the cold. He held me close, and for the first time in years, I felt safe and comfortable.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Brand New Year

Am I the only one completely unprepared for it to be 2009? I feel like the year has flown by, like so many years before. I still remember the excitement years ago when we were ringing in the new millennium, with so many people concerned that it would bring with it the end of things as we knew it. While that isn't quite what happened, so much has changed since then, that it's almost impossible to think of where I was in the years past.

Every year, I start with a list of New Year's resolutions. By the end of January, most of them are forgotten or ignored. It's tough to create a list of goals, without knowing exactly how I'll be able to achieve them. So this year, while I'm still setting some goals for myself, I'll also be making myself a list of how I can actually make them into reality. Blame it on the Type A personality.

1. Spend more time with my son: This means more than just being around him, but spending quality time with him. Making each moment into a memory. Today we used every moment to it's fullest. Lots of Playdough fossils were created, artwork was drawn, and games were played. The smiles and hugs that followed were the biggest reward anyone could ask for.

2. Make more time to be with the hubby: With him being at work so much this holiday season, I feel as though we've barely passed one another each day. I want to find new ways to fall in love, remember what drew us to each other, and see new things to celebrate each day. I want to find happiness in holding his hand, feel completely absorbed in his words, and lose track of time just being with him.

For 2009, those are my only two resolutions. While I have many other goals I plan to set, these are the two closest to my heart. Keeping these as a top priority will allow everything else to fall into place.