Friday, July 30, 2010

How Awesome Is This Guy?

We were at the gas station today, and Junior spotted this praying mantis hanging onto the wall beside the pump.  Of course I had to whip out my camera and get a picture, but he was hard to photograph from below.  So, my wonderful husband picked it up so I could get a good shot, and I think I got a great one, if I do say so myself.  The way he has his arms thrown out just kills me...wait, are they arms?  Or legs?

Brandi And Hayley

I have three kids.  My son is 14, and he is obsessed with anything electronic.  My 13 year old daughter loves scary movies, and my 8 year old daughter still plays with toys.  Most of the time, she carries around her favorite baby doll, Hayley.  This doll looks like a real baby, and there have been several times when we've been in a grocery store, and people think she is real.  It's actually pretty funny when they realize she's a doll.

Ryan and Kasi got rid of a lot of their toys the last time we moved.  I think the only things they saved were the legos and lincoln logs, which I didn't have a problem with.  I love toys that encourage them to use their imaginations, and building with legos does just that.  Even though they are no longer toddlers, educational play is still important.   I remember when they were really little, their favorite things to play with were the toys that made them think.  You know the ones, where they had to push a button or move a lever to make a character would pop up.  Or putting a key in a lock to open a door.  Even the simplest things like playing with dolls or having a tea party will teach kids something. 

For Brandi, I think Hayley is teaching her how to be a good mom, which will hopefully come in handy someday.  I just hope that day is at least 15 years away.

Who Lives In A Pineapple Under The Sea?

SpongeBob SquarePants!  This yellow guy with the unique (and quite annoying, if you ask me) laugh keeps my kids entertained daily.  They love watching as he goes on adventures with Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, and Gary.  For my kids, SpongeBob is familiar and comforting.  That is why I think the Nickelodeon package available for kids who stay at a Marriott hotel is an awesome idea.  Check out what is included:

Kids get a SpongeBob pillow case, a "build your own SpongeBob", a book titled "My Trip To Atlantis by SpongeBob SquarePants", a Dora The Explorer activity book, a SpongeBob ball, a Nickelodeon bracelet and sunglasses, and a cute little SpongeBob backpack to carry it all in. 

Brandi flipped when I showed her all the SpongeBob stuff.  She immediately claimed the pillow case and backpack for herself, as well as the Nickelodeon bracelet and sunglasses.  Check her out:

She let Kasi help her put together the "build your own SpongeBob", and it took them about 30 minutes to get it done.  Check out how cute it turned out:
 Brandi then sat and read the entire SpongeBob book, which is one of those Level 2 Ready-To-Read books.  I love these books. My kids have been reading them in different levels for years. Not only are they easy to read, they are also well made.  This one is a fun addition to our collection.

 This Nickelodeon package is sure to keep kids occupied, which is nice when you are away from home.  It's also like built in souvenirs, and I know my kids love being able to bring stuff home whenever we go away. Don't yours?

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Marriott and received a Nickelodeon gift pack to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Think I Want To Get An Online Degree

I am once again thinking about getting a real job.  I keep going back and forth with it, listing the pros and cons.  One of the biggest cons is that I probably won't make much money even if I did get a job, because I would most likely have to go back to fast food or a supermarket, and neither of those jobs pays much.  In reality, Junior would probably spent my paychecks in gas getting me back and forth to work. 

What I should do is look into an Online college and see about getting an Online degree. I am pretty sure i could get a better paying job if I had a degree, but I have no idea what I would want to go to school for.  I went to college for a few semesters after high school, and I was studying early childhood development, but I am not sure if that is what I still want to do.  I think I want to look into getting an Online college degree in graphic design, but I'm not sure if I am artistic enough for that.

I guess for now I am just going to continue working from home, and considering going back to school.  I wonder if I would qualify for a grant or something to help pay for it? 

I'm Beat

For the first time all week, we were able to spend a few hours in the pool today.  We went to mom's Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday, and everyday, as soon as we got in the pool, the thunderstorms rolled in.  Finally today, the storms held off, and we were able to swim for a few hours.  The sun was hot, which means I am now exhausted.  I don't know why being in the sun drains all my energy, but it does.  We're going back tomorrow to help mom get some yard work done.  We're having a family pool party Saturday, and she wants the yard looking good, and we are more than happy to help her out.

We just have to hope that there are no storms tomorrow...

Making A Difference

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ramblers Way. All opinions are 100% mine.
I hate driving around town and seeing empty buildings.  In South Carolina, (and probably in other states as well) when a grocery store wants to expand, they build a new store instead of adding on to their existing one.  This usually means that when they move to the bigger store, they leave the other building empty.

And it stays empty.  Over time, it is vandalized, and ends up looking horrible.  The same is true for all the small businesses downtown that have closed over the years.  Right now, the town I live in is trying to "revitalize" downtown, but all the money they are putting into making downtown beautiful is wasted if the businesses can not stay open.  It's actually pretty sad watching shops that have been open for decades have to shut down.  Maybe if more people bought things that are Made in America, these mom and pop stores would stand a chance.

I was reading about how Rambler's Way is trying to help revitalize America's small towns.  One of the things they have done is buy an old building that was built in 1792 and restored it to it's original condition, while also updating it to make it the home of their companies corporate offices.  They also source, grow, and produce their fine woolen apparel using 100% domestic resources. Their fabric is amazingly soft, too.  (I know this because a couple of months ago I requested a sample from their website.  You can, too.)

Try and imagine how many less empty buildings there would be if every company bought an old building (like a supermarket) and updated it for their own use.
Visit my sponsor: Made in America

Five More Months Until Christmas

I can not believe Christmas is only five months away.

I asked the girls today what they wanted, and Santa is going to have to win the lottery to get them what they asked for.  Brandi said she wanted an underwater camera and an underwater video camera.  (it might have had something to do with us being in mom's pool at the time)  Kasi wants a DSi, but I think I might try and talk her out of it.  We have a playstation and a wii, and she doesn't really play either one, so I don't think she'd use the DSi.  But, if she really wants it, I guess I'll have to see about getting her one.

I'm scared to ask Ryan what he wants...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Same Kind Of Different As Me

"But I found out everybody's different-the same kind of different as me.  We're all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us.

The truth about it is, whether we rich or poor or somethin in between, the earth ain't no final restin place.  So in a way, we is all homeless-just workin our way toward home"  ~Denver Moore

I have to admit something.  This is not the type of book that I would normally read.  But a couple of years ago, I read about this book on someone's blog.  I can't remember whose, but that doesn't really matter.  They were talking about how wonderful and inspiring this book was.  It piked my interest, so when I was given the opportunity to read and review it, I was excited.

The book is written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, two people from completely different backgrounds who become close friends.  The book goes back and forth between Ron's point of view and Denver's point of view, and it was so interesting to read how one situation was viewed differently by each of them.  Ron is an art dealer; rich and well educated.  Denver is a modern day slave turned homeless man; poor and uneducated.  You wouldn't think that these two men would ever cross paths, let alone become close friends.  But they do, and the story of how this friendship developed is what this book is all about.

I strongly recommend this book for everyone to read.  You will be inspired to see past the outside of a person, and look within. You may just look inside yourself, too, and find the path you are meant to be on while working your way towards "home". 

***I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Modern, Yet Inviting. A Great Combination.

Junior and I have been married for 15 years.  In those 15 years, we have never bought any furniture for our home.  Everything we own is a hand me down.  Our bedroom furniture used to belong to my parents.  Our couch is from a family friend.  The kids dressers and desks came from my sister and brother.  Our kitchen table even came from someone. 

We have been wanting to buy a new living room suite for a few years now, and I think we finally decided on one we both like.  Junior wants a sectional, and I want something leather.  I wasn't looking specifically for MODERN furniture, but when I saw this brown leather sectional, I knew it was what we have been looking for. I know Junior will love the recliner end with the built in drink holder, and I love the chaise end.  I can see myself relaxing there with my crochet or Ryan's laptop.  The overall design of the couch may be a little modern, but it is still very inviting.  Or at least I think it is.

Now I just need to convince Junior to buy it.

What A View

We ate at a fish camp a couple of weeks ago, and this was the view outside the window we were sitting next to.  Pretty, right?  We haven't eaten at this particular restaurant in years, and the food has gotten a lot yummier.  I don't eat fish, so I judge these fish camps by their chicken, and this place's chicken was the best I have had in a while.  We will definitely be going back.

What's Your Ring Tone?

You can tell a lot about a person by their phone's ring tone.  My phone has the same ring that it came with, which tells others that I am just too lazy to change it.  The people who know and love me know the truth, though.  I have no idea how to change it.  Technology and I do not mix.  If I want something done with my phone, I have to ask my 14 year old son how to do it.  He would be able to make it ring with an Anna blue song, or something better than what I have now. His phone has a dozen different ring tones.  I think he even has it set where different people ring a different ring tone.  It used to just play that Pants On The Ground song, until my 84 year old Grandmother said she liked that song. 

It didn't take long for him to change it after that.

I Love Billy The Exterminator

Do you guys watch this show?  It's on at 10pm on Wednesday nights on A&E.  In fact, the kids and I are watching a new episode right now.  We have been watching a marathon of episodes all day, and I have to say, some of the things this guy does are crazy.

On one of the episodes, Billy goes into this house that is infested with roaches.  There wasn't an inch of anything in the entire house that wasn't covered in bugs.  It was disgusting.  I seriously don't know how people live like that.  There was trash everywhere, and dirty dishes, and just mess upon mess upon mess.  Do these people not realize that the way they live may have something to do with their house being infested?  And have they no shame, letting a television crew come in and tape their horrible way of living?

On another one of the episodes, Billy gets some baby raccoons out of the wall of a barn in a zoo.  They were adorable!  And the snakes that this guy finds?  Those are cool.

I also love the way this guy dresses, especially when he puts on his bee suit.  If you haven't watched this show before, make sure you check it out soon.  It is seriously one of my new favorites.

He Finally Asked The Big Question

Guest post written by my buddy Rebekah Heath

I can't believe it. He finally asked me. I had been waiting years for this to happen. I recently found out that he had the ring under his car seat for 8 months, which is incredibly stupid if you ask me, especially since we had the car valet parked a few times, but I forgive him. How could I not? I'm getting married.

Everyone tells me that I should enjoy the planning stage even though it's stressful. If things work out, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I'm sure hoping that's the case. Even though he can be a little dumb at times, I love him very much. I have even let me him help me plan the wedding. We go on to our hughes internet every night and look everything over. He pretends as though he's interested, but I can tell it's pretend. At least I'm marrying a bad liar. The truth is, whether he's pretending or not, I want him to be a part of all this.

The interesting thing is that my mother is much more interested in the planning than my fiance yet I don't want her to help. Ironic, isn't it? I guess it's because I'm afraid she will impose her will in regards to what she wants. I want the wedding to be about what I want. I am the bride; therefore, I think that's okay. I hope it will all work out. Thanks to my satellite internet service Kentucky connection, the planning has been pretty easy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

After The Storm

We were driving home yesterday right after a pretty good thunderstorm.  The sun was trying to come out from behind the clouds, and it was absolutely beautiful. Don't you agree? I asked Junior to pull over so I could get some pictures, and he was such a good sport.  By now, he is used to me pulling out my camera and taking pictures of whatever strikes my fancy.

Memphis

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Memphis Travel. All opinions are 100% mine.
A couple of months ago, my sisters and I took our mom to Tennessee to celebrate her 60th birthday.  We were there for two full days, and looking back, I wish we had been able to stay longer.  There were so many things we didn't get to do.

When we got home, I was telling Junior about our trip, and we decided that we would like to go back one day with the kids.  Not only do I want to go back to Pigeon Forge, I also want to head to Memphis.  According to a Memphis-savvy travel guide I was looking at, there are so many things to do as a family there.   I definitely want to go to the Memphis Zoo.  I mean, if there are elephants nearby, I have to go visit them.  They also have Panda bears.  I am not sure if that is "Ya Ya" or "Le Le" in that picture, but either way, it's adorable.  I would also love to go to Graceland.  I'm not an Elvis fanatic, but I think it would be pretty interesting to see where he lived.  The kids would love it if we went to The Children's Museum Of Memphis.  I hear they have a flight simulator, and Ryan would love that.

Of course, a vacation like this is a little out of our budget right now, which is why I was happy to enter to win a trip package, which includes admission to some of the places I already mentioned.   There are four different packages to choose from; family, couple, single, and single & friends.  I, of course, entered to in the family package.  You can enter too.  In fact, you can enter once every day. I know I'm going to.

I really hope I win.
Visit my sponsor: Plan a Memphis trip and enter to win a trip.

New Gain Dish Soap

When Junior and I first got married, he had a favorite detergent to wash his clothes - Gain.  This was fine at first, when it was just the two of us, but as the kids came along, and money got tight, I started buying the cheap stuff.  If I find a good enough sale, I will still buy Gain, but that doesn't happen often.

I read online last week that Gain is coming out with a new dish soap.  If it is anything like the detergent, I am sure it will work great.  I knew it was something I would try, depending on the price.  (I am a Dawn girl...the cheap stuff never works as well or lasts as long)

My mom and I were in Walmart last Saturday, and they had a woman handing out samples of the new Gain dish soap.  Not just a little sample, either.  My mom and I each got an 11 oz. bottle for free.  I haven't tried it yet, mostly because I keep forgetting I have it.

I promise I'll let you know how I like it when I finally get around to using it.

Pool Safety Tips for Children

The article written by Guy Barnes

Every summer, you hear tragic stories about children drowning in the pool. When any child is taken from us, it is a very sad event. As logic would dictate, child pool drownings are often avoidable events.

Make sure your pool is gated. This is such an important step in childproofing your pool that many townships have made it a requirement. If your pool is gated, with a lock, it is more difficult for your child to get into the pool area unattended. Note: I said it is more difficult, but as anyone with a child knows, nothing is impossible.

Make sure your children know how to swim. I started teaching my children how to swim the first summer after they learned how to walk. If your child can at least tread water, they are less likely to drown. While teaching your child to swim, you want to teach him or her best safety practices for the pool. Best pool safety practices include: never going to the pool without an adult, be sure to stay in a comfortable water height, and always use a tube or arm floaters. Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help.
 
A pool safety tip many don't think about is activating your home security alarm service when you are indoors with your children. This way, you will immediately know if they open the door to go out to the pool (or anywhere else)!

The most important thing you can do to protect your children? Know where they are at all times!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eggo Real Fruit Pizza Review

Pizza for breakfast is every child's dream.  And some adults, too, I'm sure. As the first day of school fast approaches, I am on the lookout for something quick for Ryan to eat in the mornings, that isn't loaded with sugar and empty calories.  (They all eat breakfast at school, but Ryan needs something in his stomach before he takes his ADHD medicine in the morning)  I was more than happy to try out the new Eggo Real Fruit Pizzas, because they seemed like the perfect food for our busy mornings. 

The base is a cinnamon and maple flavored crust, topped with fresh fruit and granola.  There is also a creamy cheese that holds the fruit and granola to the base.  I was given both flavors, strawberry and mixed fruit, to try, and I have to say, they were pretty good.  I microwaved each one for 90 seconds, and they were done perfectly. (the box says between 1 minute and 1 1/2 minutes)  The bottom crust was warm, but the fruit stayed cold, so it was a wonderful blend of textures.  I preferred the strawberry, and the kids did, too.  The mixed fruit had blueberries and raspberries on it, which I think is geared more towards an adults taste. 

You can find out more about these yummy pizzas, and all the other yummy Eggo products, here


"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Eggo Real Fruit Pizza and received a sample of the product and a $20 Amazon gift certificate to facilitate my review.”

Oxy Clinical Giveaway Winner

I was blown away by the amount of people who wanted to win the Oxy Clinical Acne Solutions Pack (note the sarcasm, please!).  I used random.org to pick the winner, and am happy to announce that Tammy is the big winner!  Congrats!  Shoot me an email (or message me on facebook) with your address, and I will get the pack in the mail.  I also have those $1.00 off any Oxy Clinical product coupons, and since I have eight and only four people entered the contest, I am going to send the coupons to the first eight people who send me their address.  You can find my email address above, under the "contact me" button.

Make sure you can enter my Breyers giveaway to win some yummy ice cream, too!

Play Around in Memphis

This is a sponsored guest post written by Memphis Travel on behalf of Memphis CVB. Post powered by Sponzai.

More than just the home of the blues and barbeque, Memphis gives you plenty of ways to play around, with fun things to do no matter who you are or what you like. Of course, if you’re into Elvis, rock-and-roll and mouth-watering ribs, you’ve got to check out Graceland, Sun Studios, and the Rendezvous. But Memphis has much more to offer than this holy trinity of southern culture, with enough to see, do and eat to make it the perfect location for your next long weekend getaway. 

    The families out there (or the wild at heart) should be sure to check out the Memphis Zoo, one of only four U.S. zoos with giant pandas. Recently ranked the #1 zoo in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.com, the Memphis Zoo lets you get up close and personal with the animal kingdom. And with the recent addition the Northwest Passage, home to Polar bears in a see-through underwater exhibit, and the zoo’s newest section, Teton Trek, kids and adults alike are certain to have a blast.

    Don’t let your midtown experience stop at the zoo; the Cooper-Young and Overton Square neighborhoods are just down the street. Ask a local Memphian where to find a tasty bite to eat, great local music and ice cold beer, and they will probably direct you here. Speaking of beer … the environmentally conscious visitor can enjoy a locally brewed beer by Ghost River Brewing or walk through the natural landscape and educational facilities at the Lichterman Nature Center.

    Memphis has museums for just about everything. From the Civil Rights Museum, Cotton Museum and Fire Museum in downtown to the Brooks Museum, Children’s Museum of Memphis and the Pink Palace Museum further east, the number of places to have fun while you learn are as bountiful as the barbeque restaurants. Families, friends, sports fans, history buffs, self-proclaimed food critics – Memphis has everything you need to keep everyone happy.

     So when you visit Memphis, stay a few extra days. Even the locals don’t run out of things to do. And to make it easy, memphistravel.com is launching a new travel guide to help you plan your next vacation. Simply choose from a list of interests and you’ll be given a sample itinerary with lots of great ideas. You can also register for a chance to win one of twelve trip packages that include tours, gift certificates to Memphis’ favorite restaurants, hotel stays and more. Go to itinerary.memphistravel.com to get started.

My New (FREE) Mousepad

Have you guys ever heard of ArtsCow?   I hadn't until a couple of weeks ago, when I saw a link someone posted on Facebook about free mousepads.  Now, you all know I can not pass up free stuff, so I clinked the link, and sure enough, there was a code for a free personalized mouse pad.  I uploaded the only recent picture I had of the three kids, filled out all the forms, and honestly, had no hope of seeing my mousepad. 

I was wrong, though, because I was pleasantly surprised when I found this is my mailbox the other day.
It took a couple of weeks to get here, but not as long as I thought it would, and it is really nice.  If you check out their facebook page, you can find all kinds of great deals, including the free mousepad.

***this is not a paid post...I just stumbled upon this free offer and wanted to share it with all of you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Online Dating

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of MeetLocals.com. All opinions are 100% mine.
I am a happily married woman.  Seriously.  I am.  I have shared the story of my first date with my husband several time before, so I will not bore you with it again.  Let's just say that we were a successful "blind date".

Fifteen years ago, blind dates were set up by friends with good intentions.  Nowadays, there are online dating sites where you can have virtual blind dates before ever meeting the other person.  Do I believe you can find your soul mate on one of these sites?  Absolutely.  How are they any different than a friend setting you up with someone, or meeting a guy (or girl) in the grocery store.  Or a bar.

Not only are ordinary people using dating site, but some "celebrities" are, too.  Back in June, Heidi Montag tweeted "maybe being single wasn't such a bad idea after all," followed by a link to Shop4Guys.com.  About thirty minutes later, her ex-boyfriend Spencer Pratt tweeted "HAH!! while Heidi shops, I'm meeting hotties" followed by a link to Meetlocals.com.  Apparently, these are two of the newest dating sites on the web.   I wonder if either of them made a connection on either of those sites?

How about you?  Have you ever used a dating website?  If so, what did you think of it, and did you find that special someone?
Visit my sponsor: All the single ladies (and men)...

2012

The girls and I just sat for over 2 hours and watched this movie.  The special effects were pretty awesome, but I spent a majority of the movie saying, "yeah, like that would ever happen".  I mean, the limo racing down the street as it collapses behind them.  The plane just making between the falling buildings.  I mean, I know it's a movie, but I just found the whole thing a little unbelievable.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of another movie, Deep Impact.  They too built "arcs" for those selected to survive.

The girls liked it, and I guess I did, too.  I just don't think it's one of those movies I would watch again and again.

Time To Say Goodbye To The VCR

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of iNetVideo. All opinions are 100% mine.
Yes, you read that right.  I still own a working VCR.  In fact, we have two of them, and they are both very, very old.  I also have a cabinet full of VCR tape movies.  A lot of them I now own on DVD also, but for some reason, I am having a hard time getting rid of them.

I have a feeling I am going to have the same problem when I switch from a DVD player to a blu-ray player.  I have heard that the quality of a blu-ray movie is so much better than a DVD.  The good news is, I can buy the blu-ray movies from iNetVideo.com.  They have a huge selection of movies, starting at $6.99.  That's right.  They have blu-ray movies for less than $7.  They also sell DVD's, and I found some for as little as $3.00.  (That's cheaper than Walmart) They also have a monthly contest where they give away a blu-ray player, which I would love to win.  You can also check out their blog to read up on the latest in entertainment news.
You know what else I love about this site?  They sell video games, both new and used.  I was looking at their wii games and Playstation2 games (the two systems we own) and found a couple of games the kids would love, at very reasonable prices.  I think I found somewhere to do a little Christmas shopping.
Visit my sponsor: We Sell Entertainment

Why CBS? Why?

When Survivor starts back up in September, it will air on Wednesday nights.  Apparently, they are moving The Big Bang Theory to Thursdays. 

In my opinion, this is going to be a mistake.  Most shows die a slow and painful death when they are moved from the time slot they are thriving in.  We've seen it happen so many times before.  Usually it is because of people like me.  I have specific shows I watch every night of the week, and when you move one of my shows to a night when I watch something else, well, I am going to have to pick which show to watch.  (I am one of the only people in the world who still doesn't have a DVR) Nine times out of ten I will not follow the show when it moves.

Luckily, there is nothing I watch at 8pm on Wednesdays. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Would You Watch Me Cook?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Haagen Dazs. All opinions are 100% mine.
I just heard about a new online talk show called Passion Profiles, which is hosted by ET Canada's Cheryl Hickey.  This is a "talk-show that takes a unique and rare glimpse at the authentic and demanding passions that define some of Canada's finest Chefs, Designers and Musicians. The viewer will be intrigued, inspired and entertained."  Sounds interesting, right?  The first episode will feature Food Network TV stars Anna and Michael Olson, and air on July 28, 2010. 

I would love to be featured on a show like this.  I may not be the world's best cook, but I find it fun cooking for my family, and staying on budget.  Or should I say, trying to stay on budget.  One of my favorite things to make is a London broil stir fry.  It is super easy, and feeds my family for a couple of meals.

The first thing I do is cut a London Broil into thin strips, and then into bite sized pieces.  Once that is done, I fry some mushrooms.  I love using fresh mushrooms, but I didn't have any at the time, so I used a jar of mushrooms.  Fry them in a little olive oil until they are brown and yummy looking.

While those are browning up, I put the broccoli in a microwave safe dish, and cook until they are tender.  Junior likes his broccoli a little more done than I do, so I make sure I cook it all the way before adding it to the pan.

When the mushrooms are brown, I add the London Broil to the pan, and let it brown up all around.  I usually have to cover the pan for a few minutes to get the beef cooked through.

While that is cooking, I mix the sauce.  I use Kikkoman's Broccoli-Beef stir fry mix, and it is delicious.  I usually use two packets, because I am cooking the entire London Broil.

Once the beef is done, I add the broccoli and the sauce.  I let this cook together while I get the noodles boiled. 
Once the egg noodles are done ( I like no yolks, and I use the entire package) I add them to the pan, and mix everything all together.


Now, picture me cooking this in front of a camera.  You'd watch that, wouldn't you?

Yeah, me neither.  I am going to leave the cooking to the professionals, and watch Passion Profiles.
Visit my sponsor: Our Passion is Ice Cream

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Review & Giveaway

For me, there is nothing that can cool you down faster on a hot summer day than ice cream.  And if you are like me, and I think most women (and some men, too) are, you don't want to splurge on all those calories.

What would you think if I told you that you could eat this delicious ice cream sandwich, and only take in 160 calories and 4 grams of fat?  Look at all that chocolate and caramel!!!

You'd think I was pretty awesome, right?  I am not the awesome one, though.  Breyers is.  That ice cream sandwich is their new Smooth & Dreamy Chocolate Caramel Brownie, and let me tell you, it is just as delicious as it looks. (you can find out all the nutritional information by following the link)

I was worried when I bought them, though, because I know how some "light" snacks can taste.  Let me assure you, this ice cream was smooth and delicious, and the chocolate didn't taste like cardboard, which happens sometimes, too, when companies try and make it better for you.  I bet you want to try it out for yourself, don't you?

The good news is that I can make that happen for four of you.  All you have to do is visit the Smooth & Dreamy website, and then leave a comment here telling me which flavor you would like to try.  On August 1st, I will pick the winners.  (USA and Canada only on this one...sorry)

Good luck!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Breyers and received products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Planning A Trip To NYC

Posted by Jerold Austin

Hey, look, I understand what everyone says about New York City. Everyone I ever meet from New York tells me that ever since Giuliani was mayor, the city has been cleaned up in a big way. They tell me I don't have to worry about crime or anything like that. Well, that's great and all, but considering I'm not a New Yorker and I don't know the ins and outs, like what neighborhoods and streets to stay away from, I'd rather do the research than roll the dice. This is especially the case since I'm bringing my wife and daughter with me.

I began my research last night. Right after dinner, I logged on to my hughesnet satellite internet and typed in New York City Vacations. At first, I was led to tours and hotel offers. I refined my search a few times and found out what I needed to know. I learned about the differences between 7th and 8th avenue, when to visit Central Park, why Midtown is for the action seeker and downtown is for the art lover, why shopping is best on Madison Avenue, and why I should consider 2nd avenue for dining. It's almost to the point where I feel like I'm a native New Yorker thanks to hughes net. Maybe by the time we get back, I'll even be telling people to forget about it. That would be fine, as long as we all have a good and safe time.

I Think I Might Be Sick. I Mean, Really Sick.

I woke up yesterday not being able to breathe.  Not congested, but my chest felt heavy, and it was difficult to take a deep breath.  I ended up napping for most of the morning, then we took a trip to Walmart, which completely drained me.

I should have stayed home.

I was freezing cold, and the sweating two seconds later.  My entire body hurt, and then around 1am, the fun part started.  I am a huge baby, and I hate throwing up.  I hate it.  But, I made it through the night, and am not feeling very much better.  I have been able to keep down a few sips of soda, but I am afraid to eat.  (I'm not really hungry anyway) 

I am just praying that the kids don't get whatever it is that I have.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Perfect Time To Go Back To School

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ashworth College. All opinions are 100% mine.
My friend came over the other day, and she was telling me about a conversation she had with a mentor of hers.  They were talking about how to improve her life, and it was suggested that she go back to school.  As a mom of two young kids, she didn't think this was a good option for her right now.  I can understand her point, because for years, I have wanted to go back to school myself, but as a mom, the timing was never right.  Now that my kids are all in school full time, the time might be right for me.

I was doing some research about getting an Online degree, and nowadays, it is really easy to get started. Ashworth is an accredited online school, with tuition that is about 50% less than other schools.  They offer interest free financing, and tuition includes all books and course materials.  Monthly payments are reasonable, so you can graduate without having huge student loans hanging over your head.  If you are like most of us mom's out there, at one time or another you have taken some college courses, and up to 75% of those credits can be transferred to this school.  They offer over 100 different nationally accredited career diplomas, Associate Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree and Certificate programs for today's hottest and most popular careers, so there is sure to be something I am interested in.  When I went to college after high school, I went for early childhood development.  I am not sure if that is what I want to do now.  I might be leaning towards graphic design.

The best part about taking online classes is that you can do your homework and study whenever you have the time.  This is perfect for busy moms like me and my friend.  
Visit my sponsor: While the kids are away

Check Out Boo's New Boots

I just did a post about how Kasi will no longer wear shoes from walmart, and then we go there and find these cute boots for Brandi.  They are normally about $25, but I found them for $5 on clearance. 

Not bad, right?

Now I just need to buy her sneakers, and she'll be set.  She has brown and black heels from last year that still fit, too. The kid has more pairs of shoes than I do, and she's 8!

Make Money Blogging

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of SixFigureAffiliateBlogging.com. All opinions are 100% mine.
I started blogging a little over three years ago, and at the time, it was just to keep family and friends updated on the everyday things going on in my life.  It was a couple of months before I started reading other people's blogs, and even longer before I started commenting.  I learned a lot by reading other people's blogs.  I had no idea that you could make money blogging.  After seeing other people write interesting posts with links to different products, I knew I could do it, too.   I knew I wouldn't become a millionaire, but I was hoping to make enough to become a stay at home mom., and I did.

260x260_04I know there are still things I do not know about affiliate marketing.  I have never claimed to be an expert.  I do, however, want to know the secrets behind the blogs that do make a lot of money.   You can learn the secrets, too, by downloading the ebook found at SixFigureAffiliateBlogging.com.  It is a 75 page book filled with interviews with some great bloggers, like John Chow, Joel Comm, Jeremy Schoemaker, and Yaro Starak.  The ebook is free, so you really have nothing to lose.

Maybe I'll become one of those bloggers who makes the big money.  A girl can dream, right?
Visit my sponsor: Six Figure Affiliate Blogging

We Saw It Happen


Saturday, Junior and I were standing in our front yard when we heard tires squealing, followed by the sound of a car hitting something.  We looked towards the main road just in time to see a white truck throw up a bunch of dust.  Junior hopped in the car to go see if everyone was alright while I called 911.  After giving all the information, the kids and I walked up the road to see what had happened.

By the time we got there, the fire trucks and ambulance had arrived, but the driver of the truck was long gone.  Junior said when he got up there, he caught a glimpse of a guy running, but had no idea it was the driver.  Thankfully, no one else was involved. 

The accident was a result of the white truck being chased by a guy in a black Tahoe.  The guy in the white truck had just robbed the other guys business, so the black truck was chasing the white truck.  Junior had to stay at the scene until he was interviewed, since he was the first witness. 

There is always something going on around our house.

If The Shoe Doesn't Fit

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of If The Shoe Doesn't Fit. All opinions are 100% mine.

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I love the idea of this site!  My kids are heading back to school in less than a month.  I can not believe summer vacation has gone by so quickly, but I am looking forward to getting back into the routine of bedtimes again.  Brandi has been staying up with me until Junior gets up for work at 2am, and then sleeping in past noon every day.  I probably need to start breaking her of this soon.

Going back to school also means buying school supplies, which are not cheap.  Notebooks and book bags alone cost a small fortune, and then we still have to buy clothes and shoes.  Shoes for three kids can get really expensive, and that is why I was happy to hear about Sell, swap or shop for shoes.  On this site, you can buy or sell shoes, auction style.  There are Buy Now shoes, too, where you can just flat out buy the shoes for the price set by the seller.  You can even offer up a swap with another seller, if you have something they want, and they have something you want.  I was browsing the site, and the selection is pretty awesome!  The only thing I would like to see, but I couldn't find, is the option to search by shoe size.

I will most definitely be using If The Shoe Doesn't Fit to find Kasi a pair of boots for school. She is at that age where shoes from Walmart are no longer cool, but I refuse to pay mall prices for shoes.  This site is a great option for finding cool shoes at decent prices.
Visit my sponsor: The Auction Site for Shoe Lovers

It's Been A While Since I've Been Sick. I Guess I Had It Coming.

I woke up this morning having a hard time breathing.  I haven't felt like this since before I quit smoking.  All I want to do is spend the day in bed, but I'm a mom, so that doesn't happen.  Even though the kids are old enough to be self-sufficient, there are still things only the mom can do.  So, after napping on and off from about noon until three, I am out of bed and trying to get some work done.  It's insane how on the days I feel fine, there are no paid opps to be found.  Today, I am completely overwhelmed, and most of them need to be done before tonight. 

I guess that means I'll get to sleep later...or maybe I'll take one more little nap now...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oxy Clinical Review And Giveaway

Most teen aged girls complain, at one time or another, about acne.  In my house, it is my 14 year old son who has issues with his skin.  Ever since he hit puberty, his skin has had a mind of it's own.  We've tried different soaps, and watching what he eats, but nothing seemed to help.  When I was offered the opportunity to try out Oxy Clinical, I knew it would be his face we would tried it on.

It's been a couple of weeks, and though you can not tell it in the before and after shots, I can see a difference.  Is his face perfectly clear?  No, but I wasn't expecting it to be after only two weeks.   I can, however, see that he has less "big pimples" on his face.  (in the after picture, we just got in from a day of swimming, so his face is red from the sun, not acne) 

I was sent this Acne Solutions Pack, which contained a 2oz bottle of Advanced Face Wash, a 0.7oz Clearing Treatment, and a 0.7oz tube of Hydrating Therapy.  The Advanced Face Wash leaves 25 times more acne medicine on the skin after rinsing, and is gentle enough to use every day.  The Clearing Treatment is clinically proven to eliminate 99% of acne bacteria in just 8 hours.  The Hydrating Therapy is a 3 in 1 formula that exfoliates, hydrates, and controls oil.

Ryan used the Hydrating Therapy and Advanced Face Wash in the mornings, and then again before bed.  He also used the Clearing Treatment once a day.  I asked him if his skin felt any different, and he said his face felt less oily and softer.  His only complaint was that the stuff smelled like medication.

So here's the fun part.  I received two Acne Solution Packs, so I am giving one away to one of you, my loyal readers.  I also have 8 $1.00 off any Oxy Clinical product coupons to give away, too.  All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me who you want the Pack for, and how you think it will help them.  Easy enough, right?  From the comments, I will pick 9 names, the first name gets the Acne Solution Pack, and the next 8 get the coupons.  You have until Sunday, July 25th, 2010 to enter.  (I will ship in the USA only...sorry)  Good luck!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Oxy Clinical and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Friday, July 16, 2010

Show Me The Love


We went out to eat last night, which is something we do whenever we are down a kid (Kasi was at her friends house spending the night) because it is cheaper to feed four than five.  Ryan took this picture of Brandi and I, so I thought it only fair that I snap a shot of him and hid daddy.  Right before the picture, I told them to "show me the love", and this is what I got:
Nice, right? lol!  Boys will be boys.

Pain, Pain, Go Away

For the past couple of days, my knees and left hip have been killing me.   Usually, I can sit at the computer for an hour at a time and be comfortable.  Recently, though, after about ten minutes, I have to get up and walk around because my hip starts hurting.  Junior says it is from swimming so much, and using muscles that I haven't used in years.  He could be right.  The only thing I know, though, is that I need to find a way to stop the pain.

I have tried having Junior rub my hip with lotion, and while it feels good while he's doing it, not long after he stops, the pain is back.  I went online in search of suggestions, and found this msm cream which sounds like it might help.  It has a bunch of different ingredients, like an anti-inflammatory agent, and herbs that are known for their healing and soothing properties.  All I know is that it sounds like it could help with my joint pain, so I need to give it a try. 

Otherwise, Junior says I may have to stop swimming for a little while, and we all know that that is not going to happen.  I would rather deal with the pain.

Follow Me Friday ~ Let's Be Friends Edition

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It's that time again! The lovely Lydia from Still On The Verge is our host, and I have to say, I have made some new blog friends through this blog hop thing.  And isn't that what this is all about?  Finding new blogs, and making new friends?  Yup.  It is.  :)

Is A "No-Scalpel Vasectomy" The Right Form Of Birth Control For You?

birth control Pictures, Images and Photos

I am going to be totally honest with you right now.  I have never really read up on no-scalpel vasectomies before, because I am afraid of permanent birth control methods.  Sure, it would be nice knowing there was no chance of a surprise baby, but I still want the option of having a planned baby, if I ever decide that is what I want.  My husband, however, is all for it, but like most other men, is afraid of the actual procedure.  And honestly, I can't blame him.  But, the techniques that are used these days make the procedure less painful, and from what I read, more and more men are stepping up to have it done. 

I mean, it is a better birth control method than the one used in that cartoon up there.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun With Dry Ice

Yesterday, I had a package delivered that contained a frozen product that I will be doing a review about sometime next week.  To keep the product frozen, it was packed in dry ice.  When I opened the box, it had a warning: wear protective gloves while handling dry ice.

Well, I do not keep dry ice protective gloves (what are those, anyway?) in the house, so I just used a pair or tongs and threw it in the sink.  I am talking about a pretty good sized piece of dry ice...at least 10 inches square, about two inches think.  Junior called the kids into the kitchen, and then turned the water on.  In no time flat, my kitchen looked like a scene from a scary movie.  It was pretty cool! 

The Right Way To Pack For A Move

Are you moving anytime soon?  I know with the economy the way it is, a lot of people are making the move to smaller, less expensive homes.  The key to a smooth move, and trust me because I have moved a few times in recent years, is to pack the right way.  You should use boxes that are specific to the items you are packing.  For instance, if you are packing your fine china, you don't want to put it in a box with your Tupperware.  You should use dish pack boxes that are designed to keep your dinnerware safe.  It is not fun to unpack your boxes and find broken dishes because you packed wrong.  Again, trust me.  I speak from experience.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tonight, We Finally Get To Say Goodbye

Tonight, in less than an hour, the episode will air where Captain Phil Harris dies.  I have been both looking forward to, and dreading this episode since I learned of Phil's death in February.  I have been watching Deadliest Catch since it started, and Captain Phil was always my favorite (with Sig coming in as a close second).  Though never having met any of these Captains personally, I feel like I know them. A lot of people feel that way, I'm sure.

I have been very emotional during the last few episodes, and I know I will not be dry eyed tonight.  I just watched a clip of the show that aired on Leno last night, and it was so hard to watch.  It was Josh and Phil, talking about how much they love each other.  I promise, my heart broke for them, and it still does for Josh and Jake. 

But, it's about that time.  Farewell Captain Phil.  You will be missed.