Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Here are my girls, who usually are monkeys... As a Cheetah and Eeyore. :D Click them to enlarge :)

I really love the shot of their tails!

And here is Emma inviting herself in to our neighbor's house...

She just pushed right on past Kim and made herself comfy. I was laughing and my hands were shaking so hard that I was surprised the shot even came out.mrgreen

On November 2nd Kailani at An Island Life will be having a contest to judge:
  • Best Child Costume
  • Best Adult Costume
  • Best Pet Costume
... so please head on over and check out the contestants and vote! :D

Monday, October 29, 2007

Garsh, I am feeling' the love!

One of my BBFF's (Blogging Best Friend Forever, LOL!) Maggie nominated me for the October ROFL Award for the post below: To Kill a Mocking Squirrel- OR- RIP Baby Pumpkwin.

*Does the happy booty dance* <------------ I actually have no idea what that means. ;)

Thank you so much Maggie, smoochies!

October07 ROFL award

To Kill a Mocking Squirrel- OR- RIP Baby Pumpkwin

It truly is a Manic Monday today. I don't know if you saw my last Thursday Thirteen, but it's a slide show of my family at the pumpkin patch. In this post i mentioned that Emma became enamored with a "Baby Pumpkwin", and she carried it around, hugging and kissing the baby like a good little mommy. Even though she didn't want to leave her baby outside, she relented rather easily when I explained that pumpkins grew outside and it would be just fine.

Wednesday night we left our gourd treasures on a bench in our small front doorstep area. We staggered the sizes and it looked simple but pretty. We had 2 large pumkins, 2 small ones- including Emma's Baby Pumpkwin, and 3 teeny ones. Now *sniff* in retrospect, I wish I had snapped a picture.

Saturday morning I grabbed my cuppa joe and walked over to my office armoire, while looking out of the window... and what should I see? A little squirrel looking at me, with a teeny tiny "pumpkwin" grasped in his teeth. I ran out side before he could manage to carry the pumpkin up the tree in my front yard and I must have startled the little bugger so much that he dropped it.

I picked the pumpkin up off my front walk and noticed that Little Bugger was watching me from the side of the tree. He wasn't very happy with me and looked as if he was contemplating jumping me for the goods, the little orb of golden orange deliciousness that he was planning to brunch (and munch) on. He looked at me with those cold beady eyes, his body tensed as if he were about to pounce.

I can only imagine how I looked to my neighbors, but I proceeded to tell the squirrel , "This is my pumpkin, not yours. Don't look at me like that. I'm not scared of you. My Pumpkin. MINE." I held the pumpkin out to emphasize that I meant what I said and said what I meant.

Yes... I taunted a squirrel. Get over it.

Anyway, about an hour and a half later I realized that I should probably see what the Little Bugger had been up to. I opened the front door to find that not just one baby pumpkin was missing but all 5 of the small ones were gone! Little bugger was now promoted to the rank of Little B@st@rd. Every single one of the little ones were gone without a trace. Oh, he's good- I thought.

But wait... what's that bit of orange I see peeking out from the grass? With all of the strength I could muster I walked over to the foot of the tree, and this is what I found. Warning: this picture is graphic in nature, it's not for little pumpkin loving eyes.

If you look closely you can see Baby Pumpkwin next to my front walk, and my little green pumpkin to the right of that in a smaller pile.

Not only had he torn apart my little green pumpkin, but there lie Baby Pumpkwin with his innards strewn, chunks of his flesh there for me find on my very own sidewalk. His stem was missing so I couldn't positively identify him, but I knew it was him. I could understand Little Bugger eating mine (the smaller pile), but to kill Baby Pumpkwin and to leave so much of him behind was just a flagrant display of cruelty.

"Bad squirrel, BAD SQUIRREL," I shouted up from underneath the tree.

Squirrels can be evil and vindictive. They are crafty little beasts. We have had several generations of gourd stealing critters living in the tree in our front yard, but none have ever dared to be so bold as to steal one BEFORE Halloween.

I think I may have been TRICKED by a squirrel, for stealing his TREAT. I guess the joke is on me, eh? Obviously Little Bugger comes from a long line of gourd eating deviants, but this one- this one is just dangerous.

We had to go out last night to pick up one more large pumpkin to make up for the carnage. One of the original guys was carved last night, but his expression says it all.

Let this be a lesson to all... Never taunt a squirrel.

RIP Baby Pumpkwin. *sniff*

Little Bugger, you're lucky. You're very fortunate that I have a soft spot for squirrels... otherwise you'd be sleeping with the fishes.

For More Manic Monday, please go see the wonderful and lovely Mo at It's A Blog Eat Blog World.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Opinion Meme

This My Opinion Meme was started by a gorgeous AND hilarious blogger I met on cr8buzz, her name is Avery Gray. If you haven't read her blog, you really should. She not only has a wonderful and funny writing style but she also writes poignantly about real life issues.

OK, so the idea for this meme is to strip away all pretense and REALLY give your opinion. From Avery's blog :
I have deduced that there are some views I hold that people may or may not agree with. Because I believe good, honest debate is a healthy way for individuals to come together and get to know one another, I've chosen to get the ball rolling and share 20 of my most controversial opinions.
Be creative, be funny, be controversial, but be honest. ;) Twenty? Phew! Well, actually I am very opinionated (surprise, surprise), so it shouldn't be that hard.

  1. I believe that The Glass can be both half empty AND half full. Sue me. :P
  2. God does test us at times, otherwise he wouldn't have created Brussel Sprouts or cocoa beans.
  3. Just like this blogger I truly do believe that we women are affected by lunar phases. Our bodies are made up of 65% water, and that's not counting retention! You do the math, it makes sense to me. ARRRROOOOOOOOO!
  4. Cheesecake is neither cake nor pie. Therefore it really should have it's own food category.
  5. Thousands of our soldiers have died in vain and we need to bring our troops home.
  6. The Polar Express is a beautiful book, and it's beauty was tarnished by the ridiculous movie.
  7. I believe that Marilyn Monroe was killed by the same people that assassinated The Kennedy Brothers.
  8. It is possible to overcome your past, and all the fears and doubts related to it.
  9. Though we are flawed creatures by nature and though some of us have haunted pasts, I do not believe this should give us license to be a horrible person.
  10. Potty training is one of the most difficult phases of childhood... for both the parent and child. ;)
  11. Chocolate should have it's own food group.
  12. ...and pizza is the perfect food, it has all of the food groups (except for chocolate).
  13. I believe the chicken came first.
  14. ...and if Animal X "tastes just like chicken", THEN EAT CHICKEN! What's the point?
  15. The CORRECT way to make a pb&j sandwich is to put pb on one slice of bread, then jelly on the other. Putting the pb one one piece of bread and then jelly over top of the pb is sacrilegious.
  16. Kids are little sponges, you get out what you put in- but try not to squeeze too hard.
  17. There is something to be said for modesty, and leaving a little something to the imagination. I believe all body parts should be covered at least 2 parts out of 3- excluding arms and legs, and the naughty bits should be in the 2/3's that are covered. For men this ratio should be 4 parts out of 5 concerning the "swim suit" areas.
  18. There is such a thing as personal space, and for me and my kids that would be at least a 3 foot radius. If my kids are within my personal space, the radius begins at the closest of my children near you.
  19. Success= Aspiration+ Faith+ Commitment (we'll see if I have what it takes with NanNoWriMo)
  20. Opinions are like aaaaaaaaaaaa...elbows. Everyone has at least one.
Now that you have seen into the dark corners of my psyche, don't you feel like sharing too? If you do this meme, let me know in comments. I'm sure Avery (the creator of this meme) would love to read your's too.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Aloha Friday #5

My friend Kailani is hosting another episode of Aloha Friday! Her idea is that you post a question on your blog each Friday. Each person is encouraged to join in the fun by posting your own question on your blog. Be sure to visit the Aloha Friday Headquarters and answer Kailani's question and sign up on her Linky.

My question for this week is very much related to what is happening in my world:

Have you ever had a dream that seemed unobtainable, but you accomplished this dream anyway? If so, what was that dream and what did you overcome to accomplish it?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who, me?

Mr. Dorky Dad gave this to me last week, he thinks that I hit the mark and "touch a range of emotions" . Way cool. He even believes that I deserve and exclamation mark after my screen name. Even better!

Well Dorky Dad, you couldn't have picked a better award for me. I have been known to make splotchy stains just like the one in the graphic, usually on the front of my shirt.

PS- Dude, I'm jealous of your cat's @ss award. :D

Also- I say with humility, because I know there is humiliation on the horizon- I am proud mildly amused happy to say that I have part of a plot worked out for the NaNoWriMo coming up next month. My husband enjoyed talking to me about this, which I in turn enjoyed because I got something other than a grunt over a game controller. ;)

My [attempt at a] novel will have a little something for everyone: There will guns and gritty, dirt stained testosterone for the guys, love interests and soul searching for the gals, and fluffy bunnies and rainbows for the kids.

OK, maybe not the last part, but I hope there will be some humor/sarcasm too.

Believe it or not, sometimes the toughest part- aside from actually coming up with a basic plot- is coming up with character names. I lucked out this time because a plot came to me through a pair of rhyming words that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Intrigued? Good. I hope to let you guys read snippets here and there, I'll keep you posted.

On that note, since NaNoWriMo is a month long process (starting November 1st) you can expect to see fewer posts from me. The upside? That means I will be visiting you more, during bouts of writers cramp and/or block.

Ain't you the lucky one.wink

Thursday Thirteen- Pumpkin Patch Fun

Tuesday we traveled a short while to find a pumpkin patch, over the river and into Illinois. Of course, we got lost! So we tried again yesterday. And of course, they were closed. ;) What was really nice was even though we didn't get the whole "pumpkin patch experience" with cider and hay rides, the owner of the farm had an honor system box so our travels were not in vain. The owner even came out to see if we were finding what we wanted, and offered to open the corn stalk maze for the kids! You don't find places like that very often, and it just goes to show you why it's so important to support your local farms.

Emma became enamored with one baby "pumpkwin" and decided that her baby was so cute that it deserved several kisses and a ride in her car seat. ;) Anna feel in love with the little ones as well and spent most of the time looking at the

So here are 13+ pictures of our chilly visit to the pumpkin patch yesterday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wordless Wednesday- World On Fire

***This is in no way related to the So Cal fires... "World on fire" is just the first thought that popped in my head when I took this picture in Eastern Iowa, Just outside my front door ;) Sorry for the confusion***

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told: A Book Review

Had I been given the opportunity 10 years ago to review a book chock full of history, I might have said no. In high school, try as I might, history was always the first subject that I fell asleep in- mostly related to the lack of decent sleep because of my childhood. That would be my history and we won't talk about that today.

When I saw that The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told (by Rick Beyer) was available for review, I seriously contemplated not doing it. I told my husband- a huge history buff- and his response was "Sweet! I definitely want to read that!", vs. my response which I said in a joking manner "Wow, this is really- *snort snore* ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz....". ;)

BUT, I am here to say that this definitely is NOT the case. After reading this book for just a few minutes I was enthralled and I couldn't put it down. The best part? For once I knew something of history that my dear husband did not! I realized that my inability to retain important dates and historical facts was because of my childhood, not because there was a lack of wanting to know.

The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told is full of funny and interesting tidbits of history, from our founding fathers up to recent U.S. presidents. Some of the historical facts included in this book are:

  • George Washington could have been born a Brit, had it not been for his grandfather and a custody battle involving George's father and uncle.
  • Aaron Burr, one of history's more infamous characters, was responsible for the matchmaking of (then) Congressman James Madison to his future wife, Dolley.
  • Thomas Jefferson disliked the Bible's New Testament enough that he cut and pasted the parts that suited him into what is now referred to as The Jefferson Bible.
  • Despite being known as one of the more self-disciplined presidents, John Quincy Adams was later discovered to have enjoyed bathing naked in the Potomac every morning, even after a near death experience.
  • President Lincoln had a premonition of his untimely death, just 3 short days before.
  • The Smithsonian isn't named after an American, but after a British Chemist who left all of his money to the U.S. government after his death in 1853 to "increase... knowledge among men"- to the tune of a half million, which is roughly worth $10 million today.
These are just a few of the quirky facts in this book, and I really enjoyed reading every juicy detail. The information in this book sheds light on relatively unknown facts about the important men in U.S. history, but in an engaging and sometimes humorous way. What I loved about reading this book was discovering the human in our forefathers, the men that have become like gods and mythical creatures.

They were just men after all, only better dressed. ;)

I hope you have enjoyed my review of The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told. Even if you think you don't love history, you are bound to love something about this book.

*** All the book reviews done for HarperCollins or Collins Publishing (an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishing) are done with one stipulation- I receive the book for free and read it. If I like it, I review it on my blog. These are not paid reviews per se, except for receiving the book.***

Monday, October 22, 2007

Manic Monday: Frost

This week for manic Monday, FROST is the word. For more Morgen and MM's please go to to his blog- It's A Blog Eat Blog World.

I'm a little late posting my MM, mostly because of the back ache I've had since last Friday but also because MM writer's block. I hope this is not a portent of things to come... because NaNoWriMo is going to suck big time *snort*.

Anywho, the first thing that came to mind when I thought of the word frost was a time about 5 years ago, when Anna Jon and I attended a family member's 8th birthday party. Anna was about 1 1/2 years old and sitting on my lap, and I shared small spoons full of ice cream and cake with her. After we were done having dessert, we all sat around the table and enjoyed stories of every day life sprinkled with family stories and teasing. Anna had decided that I wasn't done with dessert. As she sat on my lap, she scooped up the frosting that remained on my plate (because I was trying to spare my waistline some extra calories) and proceeded to FROST the lower half of my face with it. I gasped and everyone turned to see me laughing and thanking Anna for sharing, meanwhile little 18 month old Anna had a very satisfied smile on her face.

To this day, that story always warms my heart, even in the midst of feeling a little frosty from having to put the now 6 1/2 year old booger in time out. ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I won, I won !*does the ridiculous shake-the-booty while churning- the -butter dance*
My quest for an iPod finally paid off, due to the regularly irregular pimpage of the ASP homestead. Mr. Fabulous had a contest going a while ago for an Ipod Shuffle, an *cough* iPod accessory *cough*, or a Barnes and Nobel gift certificate. In return, all he wanted was a little pimping, link love and possibly a vote.

Why pimp myself? My daughter wants a MP3 player but I refuse to buy her one. Everyone has their price as they say and evidently mine is anything with an "i" in front of it. ;) Seriously though Anna has been wanting a MP3 player, and though I hate to sully an iPod with only Disney tween music (Hannah Montana, High School Musical 1 &2, Aly and AJ...), a mommy's gotta do what a mommy's gotta do.

This solves our MP3 player dilemma because we don't want to necessarily buy her something that costs 79$, but on the other hand you get what you pay for right? I have seen quite a few cheaper brands in the 30$ range, but most of them get bad reviews. The other thing is that we ave to consider how much to pay vs how responsible an almost 7 yr old can be.

My only hope is that the truly fab Mr. Fabulous doesn't change his mind about giving me my prize once he reads this.eek

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hooray for POOP!

What you are about to read will hopefully amuse you. If you don't have kids, not so much.

I just wanted to share that Emma went poop on her potty for the first time today. After refusing many many times, I finally managed to get her to try with a lot of sweet talking that may or may not have included upping the M&M mini allotment for a numero dos. I may have done a rousing cheer or two. And stickers... lots and lots of stickers.

Yes, I bribe my kids. Shocking but true. I basically consider bribing my child to poop as a hostage negotiation.

"Send out one of the hostages as a test of good faith, and we'll see about sending in that chocolate you have on your list of demands! If you let all of the hostages go unharmed to the designated area, we'll thrown in a trip to Dairy Queen in an unmarked vehicle!"

I'm all for negotiating, but it's better to have it end on my terms, right?

It's all good in the 'hood. Plus I get an ice cream out of the deal, too. ;)

Aloha Friday

Kailani at An Island Life started a really fun meme called Aloha Friday where each week she asks a question and bloggers answer on their own blogs. Click the link above if you would like to participate!

Kailani's question for this week (since I goofed and thought this was a themed sort of thing): Why do you blog?

My answer isn't earth shattering or ground breaking. I started blogging as a way to escape the monotony of being a stay-at-home-mom.
  • Blogging is a great source of entertainment whether it be in form of humor, sarcasm, or knowledge.
  • Blogging can lift you up and bolster you because it's all about connecting with other human beings.
  • Blogging can help you realize that you aren't the biggest _____ (fill in the blank here with whatever you choose, for me it would be DORK) out there... there are other people who are going through the same things and who can debate, relate and commiserate.
  • Blogging can be hard work at times, but you get out what you put into it.
  • Bogging is a way to express yourself in any way you choose. You can write eloquent, thoughtful posts or sarcastic and dorky. I like to dabble ;)
  • Blogging is a wonderful way to think things through and can be very cathartic.
Anywho, that's my take on blogging. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blatherings. For another post on blogging, you can look at one of my older posts, Everything I need to know, I learned from blogging.

So tell me... Why do you blog?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How many women could use this?

There is a new addiction out there in lala land... and it's name is CRACKBOX! Signs and symptoms of CRACKBOX addiction may include (but are not limited to) :

  • Sitting for hours staring at a television screen with a controller in hand- meanwhile the kids toilet paper the house, shave the cat and light each other on fire.
  • Dinner turns cold and possibly goes uneaten.
  • The CRACKBOX-head eats 1.45 bowls of cereal 6 hours after dinner was thrown into the trash.
  • Any interruptions is game play is responded to with a "Huh?", but the CRACKBOX-head's glazed eyes never leave the screen.
  • Spending hours playing online and talking to some guy in Jersey named XXX_Bonecrusher_XXX.
  • All conversations with the CRACKBOX-head during brief periods of rest (for gamer's thumb) lead back to playing the game.
The XBOX Patch comes in 2 sizes and are easy to use. Print out the appropriate size, cut out and attach double sided tape.

1. The "My wife still loves me enough to let me play, as long as I spend some time with the kids" Patch. For size #1, apply to shoulder, gluteus, or abdomen with a firm slap.
2. And The "I've forgotten my kid's names, and my wife won't sleep with me anymore" Super Patch. For size #2, apply directly to forehead, tack in pace with the heel of your husband's work shoe as needed.

The XBOX 360 Patch... it's just swell! Get yours today!

Side effects* may include: swelling and tenderness to the shoulder, buttocks or abdomen; redness and tenderness to the forehead, and brief loss of consciousness.

*Almost Somewhat Positive and it's author are not liable or responsible for any side effects should you wish to use this product.

Positive thought for the day

I love this song, and this is my wish for you today.

Heartfelt? Yes. Corny? Maybe. Listen anyway ;)

Consider yourself (((hugged))), and I hope you have a wonderful day.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Poor Iggy

I know there are more pressing issues going on in the world today but when I saw this story on Yahoo's home page I was deeply saddened. It's not often that you see Ellen Degeneres tear up, let alone cry, but when she does you know she means it.

Basically the story is that despite giving this sweet puppy lots of love and even paying to have this pup trained and acclimated to her current pets- to the tune of 3000.00- Ellen found that Iggy was just too energetic for her household. While discussing this with her hairdresser, whom she sees every single day and knows very well, the hairdresser spoke up immediately saying she would take the dog because her family loved him.

Shortly after the shelter that Ellen adopted Iggy from called and asked how he was doing. Ellen did what the honorable thing and told the truth. The shelter in question sent someone out to take the dog back immediately. To see the clip from her live show, you can watch it here.

Since I went through a similar situation about a year ago, I KNOW how heart wrenching it is to have to give away a pet who just doesn't fit in with the family, no matter how hard you try. Though I realize that she signed a paper stating that she would give the dog back if any problems should arise, I would think that this shelter would see all the good that Ellen does on her show and know that she would absolutely make sure that Iggy went to a family that was capable of loving and taking care of him.

The fact is that Ellen gave her dog to someone whom she trusts. It may sound silly to some, but a lot of us gals have very close relationships with the people we trust our do's to. I wold think that this shelter could understand that since Ellen sees her hairdresser every single day that she knows her very well, and trusts her enough to take a pet that Ellen loved but could no longer keep.

I just think that in a world where you hear about celebrities and all of their problems and horribly obvious shortcomings, that someone like Ellen Degeneres- who has raised millions for so many charities over the years, and help thousands of people- could be cut a little slack.

But no. Instead poor Iggy is back where he started probably in an overcrowded and stinking shelter, in a cage, and not getting near the love and attention he deserves. Not one but two families are distraught over a new family member being taken away. I think had they REALLY cared about how Iggy was doing? they would have shown up in person to see for themselves instead of just calling Ellen on the phone. They took Iggy back over a mere technicality, not because they really care about him.

If you think this is outrageous, go to the link below and leave a comment for Ellen and feel free to use the graphic above. If you hear of any petitions going on, I would love to hear about it so I can sign, too. The photo in the graphic I made is courtesy of The Ellen Degeneres Show website.

Pleas note that I have commented further on this topic... well, in comments! Thanks for all of your opinions, I am glad we are able to debate without flaming and trolling. :)


***Scroll down for Wordless Wednesday***Well, I'm taking the plunge :D I have an idea for a book that was inspired by writing snippets for 3 Word Wednesday. I stopped writing for the usual reasons, I chickened out. I am trying to get over my "fear of failure" (you know, the one that my mother bludgeoned me over the head with any chance she got), and so this is my way of kicking Fear Of Failure right in the junk ;)

Wish me luck!

It's only 50,000 words, no big deal right? Here is my profile page if you would like to be my writing buddy there at the NaNoWriMo headquarters.

Anybody want to talk the plunge with me?

Wordless Wednesday- He's NOT fat... He's just big boned ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My 6 year old, the degenerate

OK, not really but read on and you will get the picture.

Me last night: Anna, please come here for a minute.

Anna: OK *runs into laundry room*

Me: Want to tell me why there is a game die in the washing machine?

Anna:Oh, I was thinking about taking it to school.


Anna: So me and some other kids can play a game on the playground! *she smiles with satisfaction because obviously this is the best idea evah!*

Me: *My Overactive Imagination gets the best of me as I picture my child yelling out bets while the other kids take their turns with the dice, then getting busted and being carted off to juvie in cuffs* Oh-ho-ho-ho, no. I don't think so.

Anna: OK. Why?

Me: *MOI kicks in once again as I picture myself explaining the misinterpretations and consequences of taking dice to school... then Anna asking me to pause for a minute while she grabs a notebook and pen* Don't worry about it, kid. Just... no, OK?

I tell John the story this morning, and he nods his head. "Sweet. Daddy needs a new pair of shoes."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Frisky Business

***Scroll down for manic Monday***
This week is National Feel Your Boobies Week,from October 12-19. And today is...

For tips on how to do breast exams properly, you can click here, here and here.

Ready.... set... FRISK! ;)

Manic Monday- Bat, and an Anna-ism

This week's Manic Monday is brought to you by the word bat and it's wonderful host, Mo of course!

Anna developed a sore throat on Friday and by Saturday she was sporting a lovely fever of 102.8. Saturday Anna saw the doctor and was given a prescription for Strep throat. Friday, Saturday AND Sunday were filled with throat-swollen whining, sleepy complaints and prickly attitudes given over maliciously batted eyelashes.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with attempts by me to bat away frustration at said whining, complaints, attitudes, and several time outs. By yesterday evening I was a little batty and took my frustrations out on several loads of laundry and the answer sheet to my 30 hour course for my LVN/LPN continuing education.

Last night as I put Anna to bed, she said her nightly prayers.

"Jesus, I'm sorry for complaining about... EVERYTHING. Amen."

Amen indeed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The book meme

My GF Virginia tagged me for this meme :D

Total number of books?
My hubs and I used to be addicted to the clearance sections of Barnes and Noble, but now we have kids. You know how that goes. ;) We do have a lot of children's book though, at least 175-200! As far as John and I , I would say about 40. We don't have a lot of room and unless I love a book I try to give it away... so, we don't buy many books anymore.

Last Book read?
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. I love her , her writing is very funny and never boring.

Last Book Bought?
Parenting With Love & Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay (recommended by Kelly), Smart Discipline by Larry J. Koenig (recommended by slackermommy), and Agnes and The Hitman by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Mayer. I know, what an odd set of choices, right? I have started to read the first so far.

Five meaningful Books?
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver is quite the emotional roller coaster ride and is a story about a woman who rescues a sexually abused toddler at the spur of the moment when a stranger asks her to take the child to save her.

Charming Billy by Alice McDermot is a novel about love, lies and alcoholism. It's actually a poignant story about a man and how he affected the lives of everyone around him, mostly for good despite his disease.

And some of my childhood favorites:
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt is a story about 4 children who are abandoned by their mother after she leaves them in a car at a mall. Soon they realize they are going to have to fend for themselves. This book really struck a chord with me as a child, and sometimes I had wished that this had been me. I think my younger brother felt the same... our home life was so bad that we often daydreamed about what life would be like without our mother.

Enemy Mine by Barry B. Longyear is a novel that was made into a movie later... I really enjoyed this book because the underlying theme was that despite color and creed that we are obligated to love each other as God's creatures, even on the most basic levels.

The first book that Anne McCaffery wrote about Pern, I can't remember the name now. I can remember being completely absorbed is this book because I was able to go places in my mind and escape the hell around me. I can honestly say that this book got me through some tough spots just because I was able to be there.

Tag five people:
Anyone who wants to do this meme, join in the fun! leave me a comment if yo decide to do it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wordless Wednesday- My favorite season is on it's way!

Deceptively Delicious: A Book Review

A few years back I found a web site that had simple substitutions for eggs and oil in baking recipes, things like apple sauce and zucchini purees. Though I thought that this was a great idea, I soon realized the irony of trying to feed my family healthy foods this way, but only being able to find recipes on that site for the very things that are supposed to be eaten in moderation. Man cannot live by zucchini bread alone.

Then I found another site that proclaimed the many virtues of baby food. Good idea in theory, until you actually taste the stuff. Sure, I managed to hide Emma's unwanted green beans and squash in a few batches of spaghetti and chili, but using baby food for cooking just isn't cost effective. Baby food is quite expensive.

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to request another book to review for HarperCollins, and right away I went for this book: Deceptively Delicious- Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld. I had already toyed with the idea of secretly stashing veggies in our meals, and had even pulled it off a handful of times... so why not give this cookbook a whirl?

From the moment that I received this book, I was interested. For starters I LOVE the style and illustrations, it's very 50's. I'm diggin' it! The book also has lots of yummy photos of the prepared food, footnotes and reviews from Jessica's family (including her famous hubby, Jerry), AND tidbits of information from nutritionist Joy Bauer. Another thing that I loved about this book is that both the author and the nutritionist support not only sneaking in fruits and veggies when you can, but they both are aware that kids need to see actual fruits and veggies on their plate. Sneaking produce into your child's diet isn't a substitute for good eating habits but they do recommend it for kids who are reluctant to do so.

If you are like me, the thought of pureeing food may seem a little intimidating at first. What I loved about this cookbook is that the author tells you everything you will need to prepare the fruits and vegetables, and gives you tips on how to prepare them by various methods ( steaming on the stove, by steamer or rice cooker, or in the microwave, or baking/roasting in the oven).

The beauty of all of this is that you don't HAVE to do all the prep work of washing and chopping if you don't have the time or simply don't want to. If you are short on time, are willing to spend just a little more money, or just don't want the hassle of the first few stages of prep work- buy frozen fruits and veggies. These products are always picked at the height of ripeness and are flash frozen so that none of the nutritional values are lost, AND you don't have to worry about a drawer full of produce going bad because you didn't get around to it.

Jessica recommends that you put aside about an hour a week to get all of your pureeing done, that way you aren't swamped with the prep work when actually making meals. She then recommends separating the purees out into 1/2 cup portions into freezer bags so that you can pull out a bag at a time as needed.

I was able to steam broccoli and cauliflower in my microwave in 2 batches, and I pureed while the other batch was steaming. In the meantime I roasted fresh sweet potatoes in my oven. It was all pretty easy since I used frozen veggies, just cooking them in the microwave allowed them to steam themselves without any added water.

The true test? My household of picky eaters. Monday I made chicken nuggets that were battered in a coating of egg and broccoli puree, then bread crumbs and *flax seed meal*. Both of the girls enjoyed it, and Anna even said. "DELICIOUS mom!" Emma picked at it once it cooled off, but she had a healthy portion. They also loved the pan fried (more like sautéed, really) mozzarella sticks with cauliflower puree. For dessert they had non-fat frozen yogurt popsicles with pureed strawberries, cherries and raspberries. Both kids absolutely love these and want them all the time. Anna was happy to have all of this for dinner again Tuesday night!

I have to admit that I really enjoyed all of these recipes myself, but my favorite is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Dip (with non-fat cream cheese) for fruit, we all had that as a snack Tuesday. Oh dear Lord... scrumptious!

This cookbook isn't one of those books where it's full of fancy dishes you've never even heard of, it is full of American favorites, cover to cover. I'm looking forward to trying out her mac and cheese, meat loaf and brownies. Yes, that's right. I said BROWNIES.

I couldn't have gotten this book at a better time. Recently Anna has had BMI changes, and not for the good. Since John and I are both overweight, and since Anna is at the age now where eating habits are bad but changeable I am taking this very seriously. Anna is in the "at risk for being obese" BMI numbers, and that scares me. I'm not going to rely on the whole "she'll have a growth spurt and lose the chunk" school of thought. I don't want my child to struggle with weight issues her whole life because I didn't stress the importance of eating healthy. I'm man'ing up, so to speak and it feels good!

So, I'm also looking forward to feeling better about the choices our family makes at meal time. Getting joy out of sneaking in a few veggies doesn't hurt either. I get that victorious "muahahaha!" mom feeling, but in a good way. If you have issues with eating healthy in your family and are struggling to get the good stuff in, or just want to continue to give your family high quality food and need new recipes I highly recommend this book.

*Caution for first time flax seed/meal users- use smaller amounts than what the recipe requires at first. Since it is mostly fiber, it will have a laxative effect. I recommend using smaller quantities then building up to the recommended amount per recipe. *

*** All the book reviews done for HarperCollins or Collins Publishing (an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishing) are done with one stipulation- I receive the book for free and read it. If I like it, I review it on my blog. These are not paid reviews per se, except for receiving the book.***

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Susan G. Komen rings

I want to thank everyone who signed up for the giveaway! The winners are....
Shelley Elder-Sutton

and they will receive a set of these rings ASAP, I just received them in the mail today.

Fall Photo Contest!

My friend Maggie is having a fall contest over at her blog! There are prizes of course! Quoted from her site all you have to do is:

1. Take a Photo that best describes Fall to you. Is it Halloween, is it leaves, is it pumpkins.. whatever it may be. Be creative it’s totally up to you.

2. Post your photo on flickr in her photo contest group. Located here

3. Leave a comment and a link to your blog here telling everyone that you’ve entered the contest and who you are.

4. Mention the contest at your site.

Here is a picture of my first entry, Anna actually helped me gather the leaves for this shot since our trees haven't started turning yet in our yard. :D

I know there are much better photographers out there than me, so head on over and join in the fun!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Get Your Pink On

Scroll down for more recent posts, please :D

***Sticky post/ Giveaway!***
I'm sure you are seeing lots of sites and blogs across the 'sphere going pink. What's all the fuss, you wonder? If you don't know already, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It doesn't matter what part of the world you are in, breast awareness is so important.

There are many sites you can check out and support, I happened to sign up for Blogger Talk and they sent me an email about Pink for October. Friday I told you about Feel Your Boobies, another site that I had found last week promoting breast awareness and self exams, AND National Feel Your Boobies Week is October 12-19. Also as you guys know I started Frisk the 15th a few months ago.

There is the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is one of the most informative sites out there- not to mention the fact that they are the leading foundation for research, survivors and activists.

To encourage participation across the net I have decided to hold a little giveaway. Please leave your link below if you are participating in Pink for October. My birthday was on the 4th and I decided that for my birthday I would like to donate to The Komen foundation, so ... the first 5 bloggers that went Pink and left their link in the linky below, were:

Mama Lee
Comedy Plus

And they are getting a set of the
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Exclusive Promise Rings! Thanks for participating everyone. :)

Even if you aren't one of the first 5, please leave a link. I'd still love to see your blogs. So get going, and go PINK! :D

ALSO, I just found out about another giveaway at Slackermommy's Pink for October post. To enter her giveaway all you have to do is to join in on the Pink for October project, then leave you your link in her Mr. Linky. The prize? A pink digital picture key chain. I want it!

Friday, October 05, 2007

I scored!

I got some good stuff for my birthday yesterday! I ordered the chocolate earrings I wanted from Molecule Muse. Let me just say that receiving a product from this lovely lady has been a pleasure!

Wrapped in a beautiful aqua ribbon... and inside? A little piece of chocolate with my gorgeous earrings AND a little description of the earrings. Also I got a little transfer tattoo of of the theobromine molecule. :D Very cool! I tried to get a photo of them on but the pictures didn't do them justice. If you were thinking about ordering, the product is beautiful and very substantial. They have the weight to sway and dangle without being very heavy. The wires are very sturdy and don't bend like most silver jewelry. My pic of them on the burgundy pillow... again do not do them justice.

I'm not a real country fan but I find myself buying more and more... so I think I am turning into one. ;) I asked for one or the other, but I got both!

I love these songs, I've always been a sucker for a long song no matter what genre.

And last but not least, I received these beautiful and unexpected flowers from my sweet sister. This year is the the first year in a long time that I have felt truly happy without any sadness at all. I think I have finally reached the age where I am comfortable in my skin. I have come to terms with the things that I need to change, my dorkiness and I realized how very blessed I am.
I can honestly say that having my sister back in my life has a lot to do with that. I feel whole.

Now if I can just stop messing around and start doing those things I have always wanted to do. My next project for this coming birth year? To stop fearing that I will be the failure that she always told me I would be. To just live and be happy without that fear, and to jump in with both feet. For someone who is a planner, it will be quite the feat. But I'm willing. XD I'm so happy right now that it's almost a little disgusting.

To round my day off, I got what I can only explain as the ultimate gift. Anna told our server at the Olive Garden that is was my birthday, so after dinner of this:

she gave me this...

FOR FREE! Good Lawd almighty, y'all! Anna began to drool immediately, but I explained we were getting it to go, she asked if she could have some and I said yes, tomorrow. Then as we went to the mall I said, " I hate to break it to you kid, though I would love to save you some, I have to be honest. There probably won't be any left by the morning."

John nodded in agreement, knowing that I am a chawk-lit eater, as Anna once called me, as Anna groaned in disappointment. As a chawk-lit eater, I thought it was only fair to let Mini Me know that her day dream of having a chocolate cream mustache will be unrealized.

'Tis better to know the truth, I think- rather than dare to hope for a bite of Cocoa Nirvana... to dream of that which is unattainable is torture to the soul.

Especially when chawk-lit is involved. ;)

My thanks goes to Karmyn, too. She let me know that chocolate has no calories on your birthday, which made my birthday dessert even more delicious!