Monday, November 30, 2009

The Shopping Begins

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laptop Securitiy

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Loves

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Popular Kids Equals Popular Mommy

While watching The New Adventures of Old Christine (that show cracks me up) last week I was thinking what I would do in similar situations. Her son, Ritchie, is invited to a dance by the most popular girl in school. Christine takes this as affirmation that "they" are now popular. She would go to any lengths to be in the popular crowd. Even the Mommies have different clicks.

Honestly, I can't imagine my kids not being liked. I don't necessarily envision them in the most popular groups, but can't imagine them being outcasts, or constantly picked on. I see them as well liked within all different groups and kind to everyone. That is my hope. It's not something I worry about. I guess it's just what I expect. Not an expectation I put on them (except the being kind to everyone part) but just an expectation of what I know. Does that make sense? I guess I just envision them loving school and their friends as much as I did. I'm not sure what I'll do if this isn't the case. I'm pretty sure I won't meddle. I won't call other parents to find out why their kid doesn't like mine...I don't think. I would like to believe that I could help my children adjust to any situation, helping them rather than trying to change other's opinions.

As far as the popular mommies group...I could care less...if there even is a thing. There was a time (in my younger days) where I desired being a "hot" mommy. You know, the one all the High School boys talked about. The one who did whatever possible to look good. Went to the tanner, used a thermogenic fat burner and worked out. Never left the house without looking great . I thought I could pull it all off naturally...without all that work. Then I had 35. Not only did I realize it wouldn't be a possibility, it wasn't what was important.

The kids are growing up. I have my life and they will soon have theirs. I do not need to be in the "Best Mommies at School" group. I have my own friends. I've always had a problem with "friends by association". I like to find my own friends. I don't have to be your best friend because our kids are friends. We can be friendly and we might become good friends, if we have stuff in common. I'm just not one to fake friendships because others think I should be friends with you. That's just not who I am.

*I have been hired by Warner Bros WB Word division to raise awareness for New Adventures of Old Christine on CBS

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What Will They Be When They Grow Up?

Do you ever look at your kids and try to envision what they will be when they grow up? Will they be doctors? Lawyers? Will they excel musically? Will they have various IT jobs resulting in creating the latest "must have" technology? Will they be teachers? Politicians? Starving Artists? I want my children to succeed in whatever they choose to do. I want them to be happy with their achievements and want to be able to see their visions and not impose my own visions on them. There are millions of people who work to provide shelter and food for their families. There are far too few people who actually LOVE what they do and do it solely for that reason.

I want to expose my children to as many things as possible and let them find what excites them. I will not try to steer them one way or the other. I will support their decisions and do what I can to help them further their talents. I will not push. I will listen. We think that Boog would really enjoy playing on a baseball team. He thinks otherwise. He's 6. Does this fall under "exposing him to new things" or pushing him to do something we want him to try?

Tell me what you think.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Going Back to School

I've often dreamed of going back to school. I attended college for 2 years and then pursued a career in Restaurant Management. I researched my options and knew that another 2 years of college would result in still needing about the same in experience. I had a restaurant offering me a management position on the spot and decided that that was a better alternative. It's a good thing that I really enjoyed my work. It kept me employed for 17 years in a challenging and rewarding career. I still wish I had the piece of paper.

I'm the type of person that like to finish what I started (unless it's a craft project, which sometimes never gets finished). I started college and I want to finish. I want to finish for myself. I want to finish to set an example for my kids. Years ago I looked into taking a few courses and was amazed at how steep the prices have gotten. I was even more shocked to see the prices of universities offering programs online. Recently, in the news, I've seen reports on an online university, Western Governors University, that costs about half of what the others charge. They are strictly and online university with no building or maintenance costs to inflate pricing. They charge per term versus per credit. This is definitely something I will be looking into more over the next couple months. I think once Puddin Pop starts school full time It would be great to set the example and good studying habits by working towards and online mba.

It's funny. While dreaming of taking online courses I was thinking of several years from now when the kids are ready to attend college. Is college strictly for higher education or an experience one should receive? I think online is right for me, but think being part of a university and all the college experiences is something I would like for my children. Is that strange?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Necco Wafers

Remember these? When I first heard that Necco was looking for people to review their all-natural candies I was excited to be able to share one of my childhood favorites with my kids. These simple crunchy and suckable candies remind me of my trick-or-treating days and I thought it would be fun to share these with trick-or-treaters coming to our door.

We received a bag of the traditional wafers and a couple junior sized packages of the chocolate ones. We all tried the chocolate ones and agreed they were "different" and tasty. When the 4 chocolate rolls were gone, the kids asked for more. They wanted to open the bag. I should have paid attention to the flavors. The original flavors of cinnamon, wintergreen and licorice are quite strong and the kids spit them out saying they were too "spicy." With disappointment on their faces. they set down the rolls and walked away. I don't remember them being this flavorful. Or maybe we just stuck to other flavors as a kid. I, on the other hand, am delighted to have the bag to myself. It's like having a variety pack of mints in my purse. It could possibly be my best weight loss product this holiday season. When desiring something sweet, I can enjoy a (junior) roll of these instead of grabbing a candy bar from the Halloween stash. They last for quite some time offering full flavor all along.
Here's some fun Necco Facts
*1947~A young English Immigrant by the name of Oliver Chase invents the first candy machine, a lozenge maker, and Necco Wafers were born
*Necco Wafers have regained popularity in recent years with consumers seeking non-fat treats.
*Necco produces approximately 4 billion wafers each year. If the wafers were placed side by side, they would wrap around the world...twice.
*Fans of Necco wafers have used them for additional purposes such as poker chips, practice for first communions, and bulls-eyes for target practice.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Health Insurance For Kids~ A Moral Issue

We are fortunate that my husband has a job that provides insurance for the whole family. I would be willing to give up insurance for myself, if I had to, to insure the kids were covered. Not everyone is this lucky.

I wouldn't know where to begin in researching insurance for my children. With companies as easy to find as typing, how does one know which companies provide the most for their money? How much time is needed to research and qualify for the right one?

A study recently released by John Hopkins Hospital and found reported by Science Daily, states:
"Thousands of children die needlessly each year because we lack a health system that provides them health insurance. This should not be," says co-investigator Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., director of Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins and medical director of the Center for Innovations in Quality Patient Care.

They also stated that uninsured children are presented more often to the emergency rooms with advanced stages of disease due to lack of insurance and ability to get early treatment from pediatricians.

I could not imagine watching my child suffer because I could not afford to take them to a doctor. It happens all around us. As a child, my father left his job that provided the family with insurance to become self employed. We didn't have insurance. I remember slipping on a rug in our foyer and slamming into our front door. Luckily I had put my hand up to protect my head. I sliced my middle finger on the metal piece at the bottom of the door. The cut went to the bone. My mom wrapped it in paper towel, several times, until the bleeding stopped. Bending it would cause it to split open and start bleeding again since it was directly on the knuckle. It took forever to completely heal and I am fortunate it never got infected. It breaks my heart to think of this happening to another child, without insurance, who could end up losing a digit or a hand due to infection and lack of treatment.

Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., director of Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins and medical director of the Center for Innovations in Quality Patient Care says it best. "In a country as wealthy as ours, the need to provide health insurance to the millions of children who lack it is a moral, not an economic issue."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Giving the Kids a Space All Their Own

I love looking at decor magazines. Especially the ones that create really cool places for kids. Now that they are getting older I would love to be able to create a quiet place they they could hang out either individually or together. No Parents Allowed. Somewhere they can share their secrets, read a book, or just think. One of the most creative spaces I've seen used is under a stairwell, of course I can't find one to add to this post to save my life...use your imaginations. A hole is cut the size if a small door and then the "room" is decorated. The end result is a cute little cubby perfect for kids (and a little too small for adults). Unfortunately, we have one of our air intakes
right in the middle of the wall. I wonder if that can be moved? I wonder how hard it would be? This would totally be a do-it-yourself project, but one I think would be worth the time and investment. One the kids would remember.

What spaces have you created or thought about creating?


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