Sunday, February 27, 2011

What To Blog About...

For as long as I can remember, this has been a blog about my family, especially my kids.  Now, my kids are my family, yet I am finding it hard blogging about them.  To do that, I would have to explain about what happened with my husband and I, and I simply can't.  Why can't I, you ask? 

That's a hard one to explain.  I don't want to intrude on my husband's privacy, for one thing.  And then there is the fact that if I try to explain, I may not come out looking all that good.  I know, you are surprised, because I am an awesomely wonderful person.  While that is true, I was not innocent in the breakup of my marriage.  I can honestly say that we are both to blame, but for different reasons.

I can say that I will always love my husband, just not in the same way.  We have been talking a lot, and there are things I am learning about him that I didn't know, and I think he feels the same way.  We have grown so far apart over the last couple of years that I don't think either one of us really knows who the other person is anymore.  A marriage can not work like that.

I am worried about my little Boo.  She is having the hardest time with this, and I think it has a lot to do with her age, and the fact that she loves her daddy so much, it is hard for her not to see him every day.  Bob calls every night to tell them all goodnight, which means so much to them.  This morning he came over to have breakfast with them, and I think they really enjoyed that.  Of course we had our own time to talk, and while it was emotionally draining for me, I think it solidifies the fact that we can actually remain close, even as we both move on with our lives.  I love that I can still talk to him about anything, and that he can do the same with me.

I can't believe it has only been a week since he left.  While part of me feels like he just left five minutes ago, another part of me feels like he has been gone for a while, and I think in a way, he has.  It's weird, but I feel like since he left, we have gotten closer than we have been in a long time.  I think the fact that we both know there is no chance of a reconciliation makes it easier for us to be honest with each other. 

Dang, I was telling you about Boo and off on a tangent I go...that seems to be my life these days.  Brandi is having a hard time accepting that we are not going to get back together.  It breaks my heart when she prays every night for her daddy to come home and stay.  I tell her every night that while God can do anything, she shouldn't get her hopes up.  I don't want to give her false hope.  I want her to learn how to accept this...I need her to.  I have been trying so hard to answer all her questions honestly (and so has he daddy) but sometimes, I don't know if my words are of any use.  Today, Bob and I both sat down with her and told her she could ask us anything, and we would answer her honestly.  Of course, her first question was wanting to know what a virgin is.  Ever since she has seen Twilight, she has been asking that question.  After refusing to answer her, she started asking serious questions, that we answered as best we could.  And I think between the two of us, we made her feel a little better.  She did cry a lot today, but I think she is learning to understand that tears are okay, and sometimes, crying does make you feel better.

I am looking forward to our therapy session with Elizabeth on Tuesday.  I am hoping she can find a way to explain things in a way that Bob and I can't.  I really do love my therapist, and I hope that we can find a way to continue to see her.  Money is going to be tight until I am working, but I know Bob will do all he can for us for now.  I really do think I will always have a place in his heart, just as he will always have a place in mine, and I know he wouldn't let the kids and I end up on the streets.  I do plan on moving in with my mom once this school year ends, and by then, I plan on working full time. Heck, I am hoping to be working as soon as possible.  I have to be. Right now, I know Bob is going to give me more money than he can afford to, and I am so thankful that he has somewhere to stay so that he can help me.  He is also happy there, and that makes my heart happy.

It really does.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sugarland


 The girls and I are going to see Sugarland on March 10th.  I can not wait!  They are my favorite, and it is the first concert for the girls, ever.  I also think they need this now, as they are having a little trouble with this whole me and their dad separating thing.  I am really hoping that they don't sing my favorite song, because I will seriously lose it.  It makes me think of Bob and all we are going through...not in a "I want you back and am sad about it" way, but in a "I wish I had been there for you when you needed me" kind of way.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you will remember when I was looking for Cheap Concert Tickets I was having such a hard time.  One day I would log in and the lowest priced ticket would be $60, and then the next day I would find some for $25.  It was driving me crazy!  Thankfully, when I was actually ready to buy the tickets, I found them for around $33 each. I know all these artists want to make as much money as possible, but I think they should always have tickets available that even us everyday people who struggle with money can afford.

My sister is also going to the concert with a few of her friends.  They bought their tickets about 2 weeks before I got mine.  When Bob left, I was worried about transportation to the concert, so I asked my sister if we could ride with her.  Turns out, we are sitting exactly one row apart.  I seriously think God had a hand in that.  I mean, what are the odds?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Besides My Kids, The Next Best Thing To Make Me Happy Are:

That's right, elephants.  I went to the zoo today with my mom, sisters, niece and nephews, and it was great.  I laughed.  A lot.  I teared up once, thinking how I would never do that again with Bob and the kids again.  But I didn't cry.  In fact, I haven't cried at all today.  
I have made so many plans, but I can't blog about it.  I can't share things here, but I have been writing.  I've been writing a lot, actually.  My sister gave me a journal for Christmas, and at the time, I didn't see the point of it because I blog.  I write everything here.  But since Monday, I have filled about 15 pages...maybe more.  I'm not sure and I'm too lazy to get up and check.  Anyway, I find it extremely therapeutic to write down all that I am feeling.  I write when Brandi is upset.  I write after I talk to Bob.  I write when my head is spinning out of control when I think about all the things I need to do in the next few weeks, months, maybe even years.  I write about my hopes for my future and the things I am afraid of.  Mostly, though, I write about hope.  I have so much hope right now.  I know Bob is safe, and on his way to being happy.  That makes me happy.  I may not be in love with him anymore, but I do love him enough to want the best for him.  

I know I need to redo the header up there.  I also have to change up my food blog...I am no longer feeding a family of five.  I am back to dropping ecards...well, I did it yesterday and today.  Not sure I'll get to it tomorrow.  My sister is visiting from NY this week (boy, does she have great timing, right!) and I want to spent time with her before she goes back this weekend.  

I am still having a hard time controlling my newly acquired ADD...I can not focus on anything for more than a few minutes.  This constant need to stay busy has lead to several walks around my neighborhood and an extremely clean house. The walking has led to some serious weight loss...about 10 pounds so far this week, and my house can pass a white glove test.  That's a good thing, right?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So, I Removed My Ring

I didn't take it off, though.  I just moved it to my other hand.  My engagement ring, that is.  I took off my wedding ring. 

It was time.

Bob came over tonight, and spent time with the kids.  They really needed that time with him.  We also found time for us to talk.  In fact, we talked for hours.  About everything.  How things got to where they are right now, and how neither one of us want a future together anymore.  I want him to be happy.  I love him, and I am pretty sure I always will on some level.  I mean, without him, I wouldn't have my kids, and as you all know, they are my world.  All I have ever wanted was to be a mom, and I am lucky enough to be the mom of three amazing kids. 

It was hard on Brandi to see us get Bob's stuff together.  I knew it would be, but it was something that needed to be done.  He found somewhere to stay relatively close, so he will be able to see the kids regularly.  In fact, he is going to come by again tomorrow.

I know eventually I will find the strength to write about what happened.  Maybe when it's not so raw.  Know what I mean?  I am in such a better frame of mind today.  I spend a good part of the day on the computer and phone job hunting.  I really want to find something I can do on weekends for now close to my mom's house, that way when I move over there I will already have a job to work full time.  I must have called two dozen or more different places, and only three of them gave me even a glimmer of hope, and none of those would commit to the weekend thing.  They said I would have to discuss hours during an interview.  I am trying hard not to get discouraged. 

I also have plans to go next Friday and get my permit.  Yes, you read that right.  Gulp.  Big gulp.  The funny thing is, I am so excited to learn to drive.  I know my fear will still be there....but I am determined to get over it.  My next biggest obstacle is going to be actually buying myself a car.  I am not sure where that money will come from.  I don't want to wait until next year, but the way things are looking, I don't think I am going to have much choice.

Don't get me wrong...I did a lot of crying today.  Not as much as yesterday, and hopefully tomorrow, I will cry even less.  I just get very emotional having to tell people what is going on.  And trust me when I tell you my phone has rung more in the past two days than it has in the past two years.  I love that everyone is checking on me.  I feel so loved.  I don't remember who it was, but the other day someone said that they can only imagine how alone I am feeling.  I don't feel alone at all, though. 

I am sad that I am losing my best friend, and of all the things I miss, I miss having someone to talk to.  My family and friends have been awesome listeners, don't get me wrong.  I just miss having someone to talk to about the boring day to day stuff. 

Okay, I guess I have rambled enough for tonight,  I am exhausted, and want to get some decent sleep.

I think I'm ready for that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Promoting Your Business

I just got a new cup.  It's one of those that the lid screws on and it has a straw.  I love it.  I have a brown one, and my new one is pink.  It was a gift from a friend.

I am a big fan of cups and mugs, and anything else you can drink out of. I know a lot of companies use mugs and drinking cups as promotional items for their businesses, and I think that is a great idea.   I would love to start a collection of promotional mugs like these:
The possibilities are endless when it comes to all the ways you can advertise and promote your business.  You can get all different ideas at AmsterdamPrinting.com.  I, personally, am a fan of tote bags, too.  There are so many varieties to choose from.  I have one that I love that says "I love my kids" with a big heart on it.  I use it all the time. 

I think I might have some printed that say My Kids Are My World.  I could use a little advertising, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thank You All For Your Kind Words

I know I normally respond to each and every comment, but it's just not in me tonight.  I am so touched by your wonderful words of encouragement and support.

Unfortunately, my marriage is over.  I have been through every imaginable emotion over the past two days.  I haven't slept or eaten...and I know I need to do both desperately.  I have cried...a lot.  I also went to see our therapist, and felt a whole lot better after doing that.

I am not sure of the why right now.  I don't know why all of a sudden he doesn't love me, or want to be with me, but I can't change that.  I can't make him love me. 

The funny thing is, I have moments where I can see my future, and I am excited by the possibilities.  Sure, I want more than anything for my family to be whole, but with that not an option, I want to be friends, and so does he.  In the 16 years we have been together, we have never been mean to each other.  I know, you probably find that hard to believe, but it's the truth.  Sure, we would fight, but it would never result in name calling and hurt feelings.  I refuse to let that happen now.

I have made a lot of decisions, too, which I will share with you all when I'm ready.

For right now, I have to be strong for my kids.  They don't understand all of this, especially my poor sweet Brandi.  She is a daddy's girl, and it's hard for her to not see him.  It breaks my heart that for the second night in a row, she has cried herself to sleep.
I have cried and cried and cried, and then cried some more.  My world has been turned upside down, and it is going to be hard getting it right side up again.

But I'll do it.  I have faith in that.  What other choice do I have?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well...

My husband left me today.

Yeah, this sucks.

I don't know what I am going to do.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Love To Squash Bugs

Okay, not really.  I have kids for that.  I hate most bugs, though.  It all goes back to one day in my childhood that I will never forget.  I was watching television at my aunts house, where I spent a lot of time as a child, and there was a spider on the ceiling.  I pointed it out to my cousin, and she told me to just ignore it.  I tried, really I did, but I couldn't help keeping an eye on it.  As soon as it got over our heads, it fell to the bed, right next to me.  I seriously felt like Little Miss Muffet.  Ever since then, I have hated anything creepy and crawly.  I make it my mission to make sure to squash bugs at every opportunity.

Last week, I received a box of EcoSMART products to try, and I have to say, I love that they are made from 100% safe, all natural ingredients.  I don't have pets in the house right now, except for Princess (the hamster), but it is still important to me that the products I use be safe for the kids.  I was sent the safe home value bundle, which included:

-- Ant and Roach Killer (14 oz can)
-- Home Pest Control (24 oz spray bottle)
-- Flying Insect Killer (14 oz can)
-- Insect Repellent (6 oz bottle)

I haven't had the opportunity to try them all out yet, because at the moment, we are bug free.  We do have a wasp problem during the warmer weather, so I am looking forward to using the flying insect killer on them.  Last year we used bug killer that smelled awful, and I am sure it was full of all kinds of chemicals.  Tomorrow we are going to spend the day at the park, and I am bringing the insect repellent with me.  I am not anticipating there being a problem, but I want to be prepared just in case. I did spray the insect repellent, and the smell isn't bad.  I have an issue with smelly things, but I don't think this product will bother me.

The lovely people at EcoSMART have generously agreed to send the same bundle I received to one of my lucky readers.  I am sure you will find many uses for these products, like figuring out how to get rid of stink bugs or killing those annoying ants that always seem to invade my kitchen.  To enter, tell me your worst bug story.

For extra entries, do any or all of the following, just leave me a separate comment telling me you did.  (if you already do these things, let me know that, too)
  • follow this blog publicly on GFC
  • like this blog on facebook
  • follow me on twitter
  • follow with networked blogs
  • blog about this contest
  • tweet this contest
  • facebook status this contest
This giveaway is open to US residents only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii...sorry =( ) and will run until 11:59pm on Friday, February 25, 2011.  Good luck!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

They're Growing Up

The weather has been beautiful here the past couple of days.  This morning it was raining as we waited at the bus stop, but that quickly passed.  I think we ended up being close to 70 degrees today.  With the weather so beautiful, Brandi wants to be playing outside, which is fine, except that she doesn't really have anything to play with besides her bike, and she refuses to ride it around the neighborhood because of the dogs.

I remember when the kids were little, and we had lots of things, like backyard swing sets, for the kids to play on.  They would spend hours sliding and swinging, working off their energy.  Come bed time, they were ready for some shut eye. Now they are too big for swing sets.  We have graduated to board games and cards.  My youngest can hold her own in rummy and chess.  In fact, she can beat me in chess.  I just don't understand that game.

I am getting ready to do another review for CSNStores, and I'm thinking about trying to find a new game for us.  They have so many choices!  I know Brandi would love this puppet theater:
 And they would all love this croquet set:
I know we would have a lot of fun with this, and it's something we could use in our own yard.  I remember playing this at my grandparents house when I was a kid.  I wonder if I'll remember all the rules?

Veripur Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer Review

I hate hand sanitizer.  I hate the way it smells and I hate the way it burns my hands, especially in the winter when they are all cracked and dry.  Despite the pain and the smell, I always use it.  I carry a bottle in my purse at all times.  It comes in handy after using a public restroom, or after a coughing fit.  And we have been having a lot of those lately, thanks to this wonderful flu the girls and I have been battling. 

I was thrilled when I discovered Veripur Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer.  This stuff if amazing.  The tube I have is unscented, and there is seriously no scent to it at all.  You know how some unscented stuff is actually pretty smelly...this is not one of those products.  There is no alcohol smell because this sanitizer is alcohol free.  This also means there is no burning (yay!).  As a bonus, it even makes you hands all smooth, thanks to the added hydrating ingredients including avacado, jojoba, and grape seed oil.  

Here are the specifics:

  • kills 99.9% of germs upon application
  • protects for 4 hours after application
  • non-drying and alcohol free
  • contains hydrating moisturizers
  • helps prevent the spread of germs
  • tested and proven effective against 20 commonly found strains of bacteria and four viruses
  • convenient size
You can buy this product exclusively at Walgreens.  The 3 ounce tube I have costs $5.99, and they also have a 13 ounce pump for $10.99.  You can also buy it online here.

My tube is living happily in my purse.  It replaced the alcohol based one I used to carry, and even the kids are grateful for that, because I have been making them use it all the time.  I not only want to protect them from germs, I also want to keep from spreading our germs.  As of right now, my son and husband have avoided catching the flu from us girls, and I want to keep it that way.

I wrote this review while participating in a Mom Central Consulting blog tour on behalf of Veripur Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer. I received a Veripur product sample and a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brilliant Review And Giveaway

We all have dirty screens.  Computers, televisions, mp3 players, phones...that's right, we all own at least one of these things, and most of us own several.  And if you are like me, most of the screens on these electronics are in need of a good cleaning.  In the past, I have tried different ways of cleaning my screens, from glass cleaner to simply wiping them with a towel.  I always thought they did the job.

A couple of days ago, I learned I was wrong.  Just last week, my house was spotless because of the photo shoot.  Everything was dusted and clean, or so I thought, until I used a Brilliant Screen Cleaning Wipe on my television.  I was shocked at how much dirt was on the wipe, especially since I had just cleaned it. First I used the wet wipe, which got off all the dust and smudges.  Then I used the dry wipe to make sure the screen was streak free. 

About the product:
Brilliant screen cleaning wipes with SR-8 provides gentle, superior  cleaning to any electronic screen and removes dust, dirt, finger prints and makeup while imparting an invisible, durable barrier that protects screens 50x more form scratching. Helps protect against re-soiling to keep your screen brilliantly clean!

Want to try them for yourself?   You can buy them here, or enter to win a five pack by doing the following:

Like them on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter

This contest will run until 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, and is open to US bloggers only.  Good luck.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.
Sponsored by Tomoson.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Valentines...Two Of Them Anyway

First, we have the big elephant:
And then we have the little elephant:
In spite of having the flu, I had a really nice Valentine's Day.  The kids gave me the big elephant as a joint gift, and then they gave me individual gifts.  Ryan gave me a beautiful jewelry box.  Kasi gave me a Carvel cake (the kid knows the way to my heart).  Brandi gave me a little elephant box of chocolate covered animal cookies, which were delicious. She also is in the process of making me a wood sign, but she didn't get it finished in time, because she also had the flu. Bob gave me the little blue elephant, which is adorable.  February is a great month for me...first it's my birthday and then it's Valentine's Day.  I am pampered and showered with love on both days, and I eat it up.  That's right...I do. 

We Save So Much Money On Car Repairs

My husband is a great mechanic.  In the 16 years we've been together, there has only been one time that he has been unable to fix our car, and it had to go to the shop.  I don't remember the exact details, but I know it ended up being something he was unfamiliar with, that he has since learned how to fix.  It amazes me that he can go get a book from the library about any specific car and be able to follow all the diagrams and instructions.  He can tear down an engine and put it back together.  It's amazing how his mind works.

Any time our vehicles break down, the biggest expense we have is buying the car parts.  It's nice not having to pay for a mechanics labor, because that can get ridiculously expensive.   I also love that my husband will help fix his friends cars for less than what they would pay at a mechanic.  I remember a few weeks ago he fixed a coworkers car in the store parking lot, while the kids and I hung out with a bunch of his friends.  It was almost like we had a party in the parking lot.  Not many mechanics would come to you and only ask that you have the auto parts  ready to be put in.  He has such a big heart, and it one of the things I love most about him.

Mice...Yuck.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Victor Pest. All opinions are 100% mine.

I can not stand mice.  I am not necessarily afraid of them, I just don't want them running around in my kitchen.  We have tried several different kinds of traps, from sticky to snap, and while they did catch some mice, I think we still have a couple running around.  I also hate having to see he poor little dead mice on the traps.  I mean, they are cute little critters, and I hate to think they suffer. 

Preview
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My goal is to not only kill the mice in my house, but to prevent more from coming in.  There are several different options when it comes to rodent control, and I want to find the most humane.  I also want to use products that are safe for kids.  I found these Victor products, and they sound like exactly what I am looking for.  For $99, I can get their Protect Your Space Combo Kit, which comes with 
(1) Victor® Sonic PestChaser® Heavy Duty Sonic, (2) Victor® Sonic Mini PestChaser® Ultrasonic Rodent Repellent, and (2) Victor® Electronic Mouse Trap.  These little sonic repellents plug into any socket and give off high frequency sound waves that repel rodents.  I believe this would keep the mice out of my kitchen.  The thing I like about these devices is the fact that the sound waves can not penetrate walls, so putting one in my kitchen will not bother Little Miss Princess (Brandi's hamster), whose cage is in the living room. 

I just hope they help me get this mouse problem under control.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working In My PJs

A couple of weeks ago, I went clothes shopping for the first time in a very long time.  It's hard, when you're a big girl, to find clothes that fit right and are comfortable.  Thankfully, I was able to find three tops that I really liked, and they were reasonably priced.  I also bought a new pair of pajamas.  For me, that's work clothes, since I spend my work day in front of the computer, in my pajamas.  I don't have to wear Scrub tops or special pants.  I can wear whatever I want, and trust me, there are days I never get dressed.  Thankfully, a lot of my pajama pants are warm enough to wear to the bus stop in the afternoons to get Brandi off the bus.

Maybe one of these days I'll stop embarrassing her, and I'll wear something more professional to the bus stop.  Maybe I'll buy a White lab coat and pretend I'm a doctor.   There are doctors who spend the day in their pajamas, right? Right?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tammy's Thirty-One Giveaway

Tammy over at Crazy Mom With 4 Boys is giving away a pretty nice thermal tote.  It's perfect for packing a lunch for work, or for me, I'd use it to carry snacks for the kids when we go to the park.  The inside is nice and roomy, too.  You can go here to enter for yourself.

It's Almost Valentine's Day

I am pretty sure I have the flu.  I haven't had the official test, but both girls were diagnosed this week, and now I have all the symptoms.  I have a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, dizziness, and general weakness.  I can't sleep, because I can't breathe when I lay down, and I am so tired.  It's a good thing I thought ahead and bought Bob his gift last week.  There is no way I am dragging myself out of the house to shop this weekend.  I am giving myself permission to just relax and get better.

I don't know if Bob has even thought about Valentines day presents for me or the kids. I know he's not looking into Hot air Balloon flights or anything like that, but there are a few things I would like for him to consider. I read online about this class you can take with your significant other where you can learn how to make chocolates.  I would love to learn how to do that.  I would also love to go out to dinner, just the two of us, and then maybe see a movie, which is something we never get to do.

I know a lot of people think Valentine's Day is an over rated holiday, but I love it.  I love letting the kids buy treats for their dad, and I love that Bob takes them to get me treats.  I mean, it's always nice to show the people you love how much they mean to you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aloe Plants Are The Enemy

I used to have the hardest time keeping plants alive inside my house.  No matter what I did, they would die.  Bob says I over water,but I don't think that's it.  Except for maybe when it comes to aloe plants.  I have tried several time to have aloe plants in the house, and I always end up shriveling them up.  Bob said he was going to ban me from buying any more plants if I couldn't figure out how to keep them alive.  As nice as Faux Flowers are, there is just something refreshing about having live plants, so I was determined to make my black thumb green.

I finally realized recently that if you read the little stake that comes in the plant, and follow those directions, your plants will thrive.  Today, I have several different plants, and they are all healthy and beautiful.  Except my dang aloe plant.  I seriously have no idea why I can not keep one of these plants alive.  It drives me crazy. I wonder if I searched online for Faux plants if I would find a fake aloe plant.  Then I could just put that one in place of my dying one, and Bob would never know the difference. Until he needed aloe for something, and then he would discover my secret.  I think maybe it would be best for me to fess up to killing yet another aloe plant.

Do any of you have any suggestions for keeping one of those plants alive?  I need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Rose

Bob gave me a rose for my birthday...isn't it beautiful?

Collections

Some people like to collect things.  I collect elephants, as if I had to tell you guys that.  Right now, I have about 300 of them, I think.  I'll have to do a count one of these days to find out for sure.  I have heard of people who collect thimbles, bells, and other types of figurines. 

One thing I think would be fun to collect are beer steins.  I went online and found this really cool castle one, and I love it.  It is unique, isn't it?  I bet there are thousands of different types and designs, too.  I bet people who travel the world can find different designs in different places.  I bet Germany has some pretty awesome ones. 

I also found beer glass steins, and they are beautiful.. The designs that they etch into the glass can be so intricate.  You know what would be really cool?  Finding a glass beer stein with an elephant etched into it.  I would definitely make that a part of my collection.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The BOA Shoot


Here I am, all prettied up.  I have to admit...I think my favorite part of the entire day was having the makeup artist do my hair and makeup.  She was so sweet!  Every time they posed me, she would pop in and fix my hair, making sure everything was perfect.  I was really nervous beforehand.  Like, seriously nervous.  I was worried they wouldn't like my house, or my clothes.  Turns out, I worried for nothing.  There were six people here, and each one was nicer than the next.  I loved Jackie, the woman from Bank Of America.  She was so outgoing.  The photographer and designer put me at ease, and they said I was a natural.  Go figure.  The girl who hates having her picture taken is a natural at it.  

They arrived around 9:30, and while I was getting all prettied up, the photographer and shoot designer (I think that was her title) staged my kitchen.  They removed a lot of things, and rearranged things, setting the scene for me to sit at the kitchen table on my laptop. I never realized how much stuff I have until they were trying to get it all out of the way! lol. Then they took tons of pictures. 

My girls were supposed to be in some of the shots, but Kasi ended up being sick (pink eye and the beginnings of the flu) so they only used Brandi.  Turns out, she ended up being just as sick as Kasi, but that was after they left.  Here's a shot of her getting all prettied up by the makeup artist:

The photographer ended up getting some awesome shots of her.  There was one, where I was sitting at my desk and she was looking out the window...she was in focus and I was just background.  I hope they end up using that one.  When they were done, the photographer took a shot of my entire family, just for me.  I thought that was really sweet. 

The whole experience was awesome.  I hope I like the pictures they decide to use.  They tried so hard to get me to smile with my teeth showing, but I hate my teeth, so the best they got was the smile in that picture up there.  I was told the report comes out some time in March, and that they will send me a copy. 

I honestly can't wait to see it.

New Stuff For My Bedroom

Guess what?  South Carolina is expecting snow.  Again.  I can not even explain how tired I am of having the kids home due to messy roads.  Though this time, two of three kids are sick, so they are home from school anyway.   But with the snow comes cold weather, and my house is constantly chilly.  I have banished the girls to my bed, and I have been thinking of ways to make sure they stay warm.

My first thought was looking for New Electric Heated Blankets.  I remember years ago when my parents had one, and it always kept us toasty warm.  I found a really pretty chocolate colored one, and I am seriously thinking about buying it.  Not only will it keep the girls warm while they are sick, it will keep me warm at night when they feel better.  My only concern is that once the girls see how nice and warm the blanket keeps them, they won't want to give it up.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I can't add one new thing to a room.  If I am going to upgrade one thing, I need to make sure everything else is updated as well.  I don't think I have ever shared this before, but right now, there are no curtains on the one window in my bedroom.  I actually have a thick, dark blue duvet cover covering the window to keep the light out during the day, because that is when I sleep.  I stay up until after midnight every night trying to get work done, and then I am up again at 2 and 5 getting the hubs to work and the kids to school.  Once everyone is out of the house, I lay down and sleep for about four hours, and if the sunlight is streaming through the windows, I can't sleep.  The duvet cover works for now, bu eventually I want to get some type of blinds or shade for that window.

I found these shades online, and they are supposed to block out the sun.  I like that they are white, and not black.  I don't know abut you, but when I think about black out shades, I just assume that they would be black.    I am debating between these and New Roman Shades .  I think roman shades would be prettier, but these black out shades not only block the sun, but they can keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.  That is a big plus for me, because that can help keep my power bills down.

Of course, if I am buying new shades, I need new bedding to go with it.  I found this New Bedding by Rose Tree, and I love the black and white. I'm not sure my husband will love it as much as I do, because there is a lot of black and white in the house already.  I think he might prefer it if I found something with a little more color.  Then again, if he doesn't find out until after I buy it, then he won't have a say at all.

I can be sneaky, right?

Credit

Do you know what happened to a lot of people last month?  The credit card bills from all the Christmas shopping they did in December started coming in.   Were you one of those people?  If so, were you shocked when you realized how much money you actually spent?

Thankfully, we don't have credit cards, so we did all our shopping with cash.  That means no credit card bills, and no surprises.  But, it also means that we have a hard time getting credit.  For instance, we tried to qualify for one of those instant refund loans for our taxes.  We were denied because we don't have current credit.  The tax lady actually recommended getting a card to buy groceries, and then paying the entire balance at the end of each month.  The question is, which card is the best for us?

I like finding websites that let you compare all the different features of several different cards so that you can make an informed decision.  For us, getting a card with 0 apr on balance transfer isn't a priority, because we don't have any balances to transfer to a new card. For people with a lot of credit card debt, this might be something that they want to look into.  Saving money is hard, and paying less each month in interest is always a good thing. I think what will work best for us would be a low interest rate, though I'm pretty sure that with our not so great credit score, we will only qualify for cards with high interest rates.  

The good thing is, we are taking steps to correct our credit standing.  I know that it's not something we can change overnight.  It's going to take a while, and we have to make sure we are diligent in our monthly payments.  The goal is to get better credit, not get buried in debt.

Clocks And Tablecloths

My house is the cleanest it's been since we moved in.  I did so much cleaning and organizing to get ready for the photo shoot yesterday, that now I don't want anyone touching anything.   I want to keep things the way they are for as long as I can.

The funny thing is, they didn't take many shots of me at my desk.  They liked my kitchen better, and did most of the shooting in there at the kitchen table.  I am so glad that I repainted the cabinets.  The are a couple of  other things I would have liked to have replaced before the shoot, and one of those things was my kitchen clock.  The one hanging on my wall is so old.  We bought it when we first got married, and it has hung in the kitchen of every house we've ever lived in. I think it might be time to buy a new Large wall clock.

I found this gorgeous Decorative Wall clock online, and I want it to replace my old kitchen clock.  Isn't it pretty?
My kitchen is black and white, so it would  match perfectly.  

I also want to get a new tablecloth for the kitchen table.  The shoot designer asked if I had anything other than the Valentine heart one I am currently using, and I don't.  I need to get an "everyday" tablecloth that will look good in every season, but I can't decide between black or white.

Which color would you use?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Two Cakes

Yes, my birthday cake does ask the question, "does size matter?".  For those of you who do not have a Carvel near you, trust me when I say that these are the best ice cream cakes in the world!  Bob knows that I love them, so he was on a mission to make sure I had one for my birthday.  The only problem is that they are pretty expensive, so he bought me one that serves two people, which led to the "does size matter".  Trust me, it doesn't, especially when you refuse to share your cake.  
For the second year in a row, my mom made me my other favorite cake, a crumb cake.  I had to share this one, though I did take a bunch home with me.  Mom also made the most delicious dinner...I will post pics of that on my food blog.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Granola Gourmet Review And Giveaway

I have been trying really hard lately to eat better.  I not only want to lose weight; I also want to get healthier.  I know that the way I eat is horrible, especially when I snack.  I have lots of fruit cups and cheese sticks in the fridge, but instead of grabbing them, I will eat a few chocolate chip cookies.  I always feel horrible and guilty after I eat them, but sometimes, I just really need that chocolate.

When I received some Gourmet Granola energy bars to review, I was excited to see they had two different chocolate varieties, and that they are good for you.  They are 100% natural, with no wheat or dairy.  They contain no refined sugar, and they are great for diabetics.  They are vegan and kosher as well.

Now, I will admit that I wasn't expecting them to taste very good, because let's face it, most things that are good for you are kind of bland.  I was pleasantly surprised that I really did enjoy them.  My daughters ate the Ultimate Berry and the Ultimate Cran-Orange ones, and I ate the Ultimate Fudge Brownie and the Ultimate Mocha Fudge ones.  The girls enjoyed the ones they ate, and I loved the ones I ate.  The bars tasted more like candy bars than energy bars. 

You can find out more about these delicious energy bars by visiting Granola Gourmet's facebook page and following them on twitter.

Want to try these Energy Bars for yourself?  One lucky reader will win all four of the flavors I mentioned above.  To enter to win, simply do one or all of the following, making sure you leave a separate comment for each thing.

  • follow this blog publicly on GFC.
  • follow this blog on networking blogs
  • like this blog on facebook

You can find the links for all those things on my sidebar.  This contest is open to U.S. residents only, and will run until 11:59pm on Friday, February 11, 2010.  Good luck!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.
Sponsored by Tomoson.com

All It Needs To Do Is Tell Time

 A few months ago, my husband was honored at work with a watch.  Unfortunately, last week the second hand fell off and the watch is useless.  I am sure we could get it fixed, but I have no idea how much that will cost.  I am thinking it might be easier, and cheaper, to just buy him a new watch.

I was looking online, and there are so many choices.  Some watches, like the one he was wearing, simply tell the time and date.  Other watches tell the time, both digitally and regularly, as well as the date.  Then there are the ones that have so many features they are hard to understand.  Take this Citizen Atomic Watch, for instance.   Check out the face of this thing:
It can tell you what time it is in 43 different cities.  It has a bunch of other features, too, but to be honest, as long as it tells time, it serves it's purpose.  I have issues with being late.  I have to arrive on time, if not a little early for everything I do.  I think it has something to do with the fact that I hate being kept waiting, so I hate keeping others waiting on me.  Wearing a watch helps me make sure I am where I am supposed to be, when I am supposed to be there.  Bob is the same way, especially with work.  He relies on his watch to make sure he is on time clocking in from breaks and such, so we really do need to replace it. 

I think I'll let him pick out his own watch, though.  We have very different taste about these things.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fiber Choice Chewables Review

A couple of weeks ago, I started taking Fiber Choice Chewables, the weight management version.  I think we all know that most of us don't get the recommended daily dose of fiber.  The average adult needs between 25 and 30 grams of dietary fiber each day.  I know I don't even come close to that most days, mostly because I do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.  I am a carb girl.  I could eat bread for every meal, every day, and be a happy girl.

So, knowing my diet is lacking, I was excited to see if these Fiber Choice Chewables would make a difference.  Each tablet has 2 grams of fiber, and the recommended dose for adults is two tablets every day.  I starting taking them last Monday, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they did have an effect on me.  I took them in the evenings, and they worked to fill me up so that I didn't snack my way through my favorite television shows, which is a bad habit of mine.  I was shocked when I got on the scale this morning and saw that I have lost 3 pounds since I started taking them.  I always heard you shouldn't eat (or snack) right before bed, and by cutting out that bad habit, I lost a little weight.

The tablets themselves are pretty good.  The ones I have taste like strawberries.  The only thing I don't like is that they are really chewy, and I always end up with some of them stuck in my teeth.  It's nothing that a toothpick can't fix, and it will not keep me from continuing to take them. 

Fiber Choice comes in four different varieties;   Fiber Choice Original formula, Fiber Choice Weight Management, Fiber Choice Plus Calcium, and Fiber Choice Plus Antioxidants.  They come in a variety of sizes, too.  I found the bottle I have for about $17.00, and it had 90 tablets in it.  That's pretty reasonable for 45 days worth of tablets. 

You can find out more information by visiting fiberchoice.com or by following them on twitter (@fiberchoice).

 “I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of FiberChoice and received a coupon to facilitate my review and a gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

It's My Birthday

How cute is my cake?  My dad's wife made it for me...she makes me some sort of elephant cake every year. 

I am 39 today.  Wow.  When did this happen?  I don't feel almost 40.  I don't think I look almost 40 either. 

Anyway, leave me some love today, kay?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We Went To The Circus

I seriously love the circus.  I know, you think it's because of the elephants, don't you?  Okay, maybe that's part of it.  I mean, I did take about one hundred pictures of just the elephants.

We went last year, and I was happy that the show was completely different this year.  There were things they didn't do this year that I would have loved to see, and there were new things this year that were pretty cool.  My favorite (after the elephants, of course) was when these two guys got into these metal rings that spun around.  They were doing flips and jumping rope, not only on the inside, but on the outside, too.  Check it out:
You can't really tell in the picture how high this guy was off the ground, but he was pretty high.

I can't wait to go again next year.