Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm back...well, sort of!

I know, I know.  It's been ages since I've published anything here on my blog.

But I stopped by real quick to let you know I'm back...sort of.

I was honored to be asked to write a guest post on "How Do You Do It?" today in honor of Prematurity Awareness Week.

In my article, I talk about learning how to trust your instincts as the parent of preemie twins!  Even if you don't have twins, the article may still be helpful to you or someone you know who has a baby in the NICU.

Stop by and read my POST and tell me about your experience in the NICU!



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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Some of my recent favorite reads....


You all know how passionate I am about reading.  If I was trapped on a deserted island, all I'd need is my Kindle and a tube of Chapstick and I'd be perfectly happy.

Oh and of course a half-naked, deeply tanned, muscular Christopher Atkins (ala Blue Lagoon) would just be icing on the cake.

So, I thought for those of you who love reading just as much as I do, I'd review a few of the books I've read recently in case you're on the hunt for a new read.

The Playdate (by Louise Millar):  I absolutely LOVED this book.  As a mother, I could easily relate to the characters.  The main character, divorced single parent Callie, has just moved in to the neighborhood and hasn't had an easy time making friends.  But then she meets her neighbor, Suzy, who has three children and they become fast friends.  All is well until a strange woman moves in near them, prompting the police to suggest that danger is lurking nearby.

This is one of those stories where you think you're aware of what's going on until a sudden twist occurs, which throws you completely for a loop!  You'll never see it coming!

Hopeless (by Colleen Hoover):  I don't normally like romance-type stories but this book was suggested by a fabulous blogger, Natalie, who has amazing taste in books so I at least wanted to give it a try.  And let me tell you, I was so happy I did.  This was a book I could not put down....seriously, stayed up until 2:00 am one night because I had to know how it ended.

The main characters, Sky and Holder, seem like two lost souls.  She's just kind of floating through life, unable to feel any strong emotions.  And he's a somewhat sad, angry guy, harboring secrets of his own....secrets that will change everything if/when they are revealed.

This book completely captivated me.  And the ending....well, you'll just have to read it.  You will not be disappointed in the least.  It's one of those books where you'll need a few days to process it before you pick up another book.

Never Look Away (by Linwood Barclay):  This book opens with David Harwood accompanying his wife, Jan, and their 4-year old son to an amusement park to an enjoy some quality family time.  Almost immediately, their son goes missing. And the story unfolds from there...

It's fast-paced and full of surprises.  You'll find yourself constantly guessing what really happened to that little boy....you'll want to know, you'll NEED to know.  It'll make you question how well you truly know your spouse.

Another fabulous story....one I couldn't put down until I knew the ending.

Before I Go To Sleep (S.J. Watson):  I actually read this book awhile ago but it's definitely one of those stories you won't soon forget.

Imagine waking up every single morning and not remembering who you are, who your spouse is....and forgetting everything you've ever known.  This is what the main character, Christine, lives with day in and day out, after a traumatic accident that leaves her with a horrible case of amnesia.

Christine's doctor urges her to keep a journal, which she reads every morning to help her remember details of her life.  All is well until she opens up her journal one morning and reads that she has written, "Don't trust Ben".  Who is Ben?  The man who says he's her husband.

You will not want to put this book down....trust me.

Then Came You (Jennifer Weiner):  This is a story that captures your heart because, without even realizing it, you'll find yourself invested in the characters.

The storyline centers around three woman who each have their own personal reasons for doing what they're doing.  One woman desperately wants a child, a young college student who decides to sell her eggs to earn some serious cash to help her drug-addicted father, and a struggling stay-at-home mom who is yearning for a sense of purpose in her life.

They are all brought together in a strange twist of events that none of them saw coming.

As a smart reader, you'll be able to figure out how the story will end.  However, I doubt you'll feel disappointed.  It's exactly the way you want this story to end....and I'll bet you'll have tears in your eyes just like I did.

So, tell me....have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Also, please share with me a favorite or two of yours!!!

*  None of the links listed above are affiliate links nor have I been asked or compensated to write these reviews.  The books reviewed here are simply stories which I have enjoyed and wanted to share with my readers. 


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Monday, January 21, 2013

DayCase Review and Giveaway! Trust me, you WANT this!

Everyone likes to stand out, am I right?  Everyone likes to be unique in their own way, true?

We get dressed every morning with the hopes of looking stylish, mostly because we want to be recognized for our individuality.

So why not take it a step further and accessorize your cell phone or iPod to suit your individual style....show off your kids....or even share your personal mantra with the world?



Yes, that is my iPhone, showing off my kids.  And how cool is it that my phone stands out from everyone else's....it's unique, it's hip, it's ultra cool.

Introducing DayCase, a clever idea brought to fruition by Erika of Under the Rainbow Media !!

What is DayCase?  It's a fun and affordable line of cases available for iPhone, iPod Touch 5th and Samsung Galaxy s3.  And it's super easy to use....simply place your predesigned or custom DIY insert into the clear, see-through, hard back case and you're ready to show off your phone!

I absolutely LOVE all my predesigned and custom inserts!  Check them out!


And, of course, there are my personal mantras, which show off my sarcasm and humor....



Not only can you have inserts that shout "I am unique" (literally!), you can also choose a specific color for your case.  I have purple and black and I switch them out, depending on which insert I'm using.

You can choose your case with or without a rubber bumper, depending on the level of protection you prefer.  And the inserts are made from polyester synthetic paper, which will never tear and is water and chemical resistant.  It also has a special two-sided coated matte finish and a paper-like appearance. 

The best part is that they are affordable!  Each insert collection comes with 3 inserts and range in price from only $4.95 to $9.95.

Lastly, Under the Rainbow Media has their own affiliate program where you can earn a 20% commission on every completed sale that you refer!

Right about now, I'm sure you're wishing you had come up with this smart little invention, aren't you?  I know I was!

Erika has generously offered to send The Bundle Collection (1 DayCase and 3 pre-designed inserts) to TWO winners!

Simply follow the instructions below to enter the giveaway!  Two winners will be chosen randomly on Monday, January 28 and notified via e-mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received complimentary cases and inserts for the purpose of this review/giveaway.  This review is based on my honest opinion of the product, as well as my personal experience.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

The best rabbit in the world, except for that one little problem

A couple months ago, I went to the pet store to pick up a new filter for our fish tank.

And I came home with this adorable little bunny rabbit.

"Why yes, I am the cutest rabbit in the world, thank you very much."
The kids were thrilled.  Tim was not.  Such is life.

"Is it a boy or a girl?" the kids inquired.

I answered, "Well, the lady at the pet store said it's a girl."

Bella shouted, "So we need to come up with a pretty name for her!"

After much debating (or in more realistic terms....hair-pulling, screaming and spitting at one another), they came to the agreement that we would call our new bunny Summer.  Even though it was the middle of winter.

Personally, I liked the name Cinammon Buns but the kids deemed that the lamest name ever.

Almost immediately, Summer adapted to our family and all our chaos.  She spent her days running and leaping around the house, as well as tormenting our three cats (who were not exactly thrilled with the idea of a new pet but they tolerated her).

This sweet little bunny actually came in handy, much to my delight.

She took the kids for walks.

"Come on, kid.  Hustle, hustle!"

She licked my windows clean of dirty, greasy kid-sized hand prints.

"Yum...tastes like chocolate pudding."
She happily ate the leftovers that nobody wanted.

"Pizza....again?  Beggars can't be choosers, I suppose"
She would even alert me if one of the kids left the fridge open (while begging for a carrot).

"Did I miss the memo that electricity is free this week?"
However, as nature would have it, Summer eventually began humping everything in sight.  When she viciously dry-humped one of the kids' favorite stuffed animals, they began to ask questions ("why is Summer doing that?" and "is her belly really itchy or something?".

I couldn't hack it anymore so we decided to get Summer spayed.  You know, nip the issue in the bud.  Or, I guess you could say I was just too damn lazy to explain the whole birds and bees story to my kids.

So Tim dropped her off at the vet and the kids wished her good luck with her surgery.

After a few hours, our phone rang.

"Hi, this is Katie at Dr. Song's office.  I just wanted to let you know that you can pick up your bunny around 3:00 today," the vet's assistant spoke into the phone.

"Okay, I'll let my husband know.  How's Summer doing?" I asked.

She answered, "Uh, well....she's a he."

"What?  Are you sure?" I was stunned.

"Yes, we're sure.  We went to shave her...I mean, him...for the procedure and there are definitely boy parts there."

After a brief discussion, in which I repeated "are you sure?" approximately 18 times, I hung up with her and turned to Tim and the kids.

"Summer's a boy," I said.

The boys whooped it up and gave each other high-5's.  But not Bella.

No, instead, she broke down into heaping sobs....the kind of cry where snot runs freely down your face and into your mouth, you know THAT type of cry.

I gently rocked her in my arms and explained that I know how disappointed she's feeling but that Summer is still the same cute, adorable, fun-loving bunny she's been all along.

Bella faced me and cried, "But she has a penis!"

I pressed on, "Yeah, well, sure she...I mean, he...does.  But nothing else about him has changed. It's not that big of a deal, really."

"Not that big of a deal?," she argued with me.  "She has a penis!  A PENIS, Mommy!  I don't want a BOY rabbit, I wanted her to be a GIRL!"

I so badly wanted to tell my daughter that this wouldn't be the last time she'd find herself disappointed, frustrated or even sad over a penis.

I mean, honestly, when would I ever be able to come up with a more awesome line than that one.  But I choked it down and figured perhaps I can save it for that little mother-daughter talk we'll probably have one day when some asshole breaks her heart.

So I continued hugging and consoling her until she finally collapsed into my lap in a ball of exhaustion.

Weeks later, Bella still has difficulty remembering that Summer is now Ninja-Buns.  And then I have to remind her..."Remember, he's a boy, not a girl."

She always answers, "Oh yeah. I keep forgetting.  He is the best rabbit in the world, except for that one little problem. His penis."

It makes me laugh every single time. 

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Canadian Savers: There’s No Party like a Twitter Party

This article was written by Florence Hayes on behalf of Canadian Savers.

Looking for free stuff?  Couponing is one thing, but receiving great products for free is another!  Everything from gift cards, shopping sprees and electronics are given away almost every day on Twitter.

So, how can you take part?  I spoke with the experts in free coupons from Canadian Savers, and they had these tips to share:

  • First off, what is a Twitter party? It’s an online, live discussion of the product, brand or group hosting the party. People participate by answering questions, playing trivia games, or simply discussing a specified topic. Participants will be eligible for any prizes or gifts being offered by the host (usually a blogger, company representative, or both). 
  • Sign up for a Twitter account and use it. Twitter is a little strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be like second nature. It does taking some ‘doing.’ Post tweets to your timeline. Follow friends, retail bloggers, party hosts and companies to learn about upcoming events and parties. It’s usually a good idea to follow party hosts to learn about changes to scheduled Twitter parties, as well.
  • So, you want to party, but not sure where to go?  Visit TweeParties.com to find them!  This is one great source for locating Twitter parties.  Not only will you find all of the details here (such as the #hashtag and rules), but if the party you're interested in is region specific.  Some parties, for example, are exclusive only to the U.S.
  • It's going to take some time to get used to the fast-paced environment of the common Twitter party.  Don't give up!  There can be over a hundred people (on some we've seen thousands) tweeting and everything can go pretty fast.  After a few parties, you should get the hang of it.  Just remember to follow the host's #hashtag, and consider downloading a Twitter aggregator.  This will condense a specified Twitter account's tweets, essentially isolating their tweets from the hundreds that will pop up on the screen.  This can be quite helpful since only the host's tweets are truly essential.  There are several free aggregators out there, but Tweet Chat and Twitter Deck are highly recommended (Tweet Chat is for novice Twitter users).
So, the next time you sit down to watch your favorite evening program, fire up the iPad or laptop and partake in a Twitter party. Answering a bit of trivia could reward you with free prize packs, gift cards and other products. All it takes is a Twitter account and an hour or two a night while you watch television!


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 In Review!

As always, at this time of year, I enjoy going through the previous year's posts.

Why,  you ask?

Mainly to prove to myself that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger....

and that maintaining your sense of humor is key to living a happy (but not so peaceful) life.

January

Unfortunately our year got off to a rough start when our beloved kitty passed away on Christmas eve morning 2011.  It prompted me to write how to talk to your kids about the death of a pet.

And the month continued to go downhill from there.

Needless to say, I went back on antidepressants and talked about it in detail.

I tried not to let it bother me that Bella had a more exciting social life than I did.

And finally, people, I actually enjoyed a day of shopping with the spawn....only because I suspect someone spiked the kool-aid.

Another "stop and smell the roses" kind of day with Garrett and Landon.

February

This month began with me mourning the death of a fictional character from a book I fell in love with.

And for you Bigfoot fans, my kids came up with a list of facts you never knew about him.

Bread Machine Fail #6....enough said.

I poured my heart out over an incident that happened between Bella and a little girl at the park, in which I was left amazed by my daughter's kind spirit.

And the month ended on yet another sour note, as we dealt with a flooded family room as we remodeled our home.

March

I wrote about some of my favorite books and made fun of myself after baking the ugliest. cake. EVER. for Garrett and Landon's 5th birthday.

I poured out more of my heart in The Haunting Inner Dialogue of Every Parent.

And then it was time to come clean about the real reason I hadn't been blogging as much.

April

This month began with me giving my sincere, heartfelt thanks to a few special people in my life.

I got all sappy in a post in which I wrote about the things I hope my kids will always remember.

Tooth Fairy Fail....every parent has a similar story to share, I assume.

May

If there's one thing you should know in life, it's to never underestimate the power of jumping cats.

June

The sound of crickets chirping in my part of the blogosphere was evident as school let out and summer break began.

July

Uh...can you still hear the crickets??

August

Summer vacation is over!  YES!!!  I survived an entire 88 days, having my kids home 24/7!

We discovered geocaching....but it wasn't as enjoyable as I thought it would be, as my kids had to suck the fun out of it.

Lastly, I wrote a list of some of the sure things in life.

September

Again, I poured my heart out on an extremely difficult topic....cutting.

I shared some funny Facebook quotes, courtesy of my kids.

October

I learned to never say never...when I fell back on my promise to never make birthday cakes for my kids...like, ever.

I wrote about why you'll only end up disappointed if you compare your husband to a soap opera character.

November

My blog's sporting a new look!!

December

Well, December appears to be an uneventful month since I barely blogged at all.  However, those of you who know me, simply know that's not true.

It was bustling full of activity, thanks to my kids, the chaos of the holidays and winter break.

So.....another year under the belt.  Whew....

Here's to 2013 being a wonderful year for all of us!!



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Monday, December 10, 2012

Money Saving Tips for Christmas

Guest post written by Laura Crimmons.   For more information on this kind of post, please read my disclosure statement.

There is so much you have to spend money on for Christmas, from the decorations, cards, presents food and new outfits for the festive parties; it’s no wonder we save all year for the event. But no matter how much we save, it always seems like a stretch and just when you think you are done shopping, you realize you have forgotten something.

Here are some great tips to help you on your way to a more frugal Christmas but not one that is without buckets of Christmas cheer!

1)      Internet Shopping – Not only can you save money on gas, parking or public transport, not to mention saving on the stress levels, you can also save a lot of money on your presents too. Everyone knows about the big online auction sites and there is no secret about the really big savings you can make if you are a savvy bidder, but there are also loads of online discount codes you can take advantage of such as the discounts at Netvouchercodes.co.uk

2)      Homemade – Loads of things can be homemade and once you realize the skills you didn’t know you had, you will never go back to buying on the high street again! The first of your crafts could be homemade decorations. You should definitely make an attempt at the Christmas wreath, as they are so easy and look so much better when they are made by hand. Once you have got the hang of that, you can start making handmade gifts too. Try your hand at anything from homemade chutneys and jams to knitting or crocheting gifts!

3)      Baking – It may take a little longer but doing your own baking and cooking in general is a real money saving idea. One great example is Christmas mince pies. From one bag of flour, some butter and water for the pastry and one jar of mincemeat, you can often make between 20 and 30 pies. Or you could get 6 for the same price in the shops. Not only have you saved money but your pies will taste so much better!


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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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