Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Resolutions for Me


The new year is a time for reflection. For many people it's also a symbolic time to decide to quit a bad habit or form a new, good habit. But I stopped making resolutions a few years ago. While making a resolution shows good intentions for instituting a postive change, I prefer to set my goals as I go along based on my needs at a particular time.

If you decide to make resolutions, just remember that change is gradual. It doesn't happen overnight, and it involves willpower and discipline. Here's an article to help you keep your resolutions. I wish you the best in 2009!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dove Self Esteem Fund - Real Girls, Real Pressure

If you have a daughter age 10 or higher, I hope you'll take the time to read this post.

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was developed after the brand commissioned a global study that found only two percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful. A program was developed to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women worldwide to join in a discussion about beauty.

Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem was conducted nationally online among 1,029 girls 8 – 17, and is representative of the U.S. based on census indicators (region, ethnicity and parental education.) An additional 3,344 girls 8 – 17 were surveyed in a targeted study that was conducted in 20 major U.S. cities representative of each DMA based on ethnicity and parental education. As a result of this report, the Dove Self Esteem Fund was founded.

Key findings:
Seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including
their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.

A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body
weight, than how much she actually weighs.

The self-esteem tipping point happens when the transition to teenage years results in loss of trust and communication with adults.

Parents’ words and actions play a pivotal role fostering positive self-esteem in girls.

Read the full, detailed report here.

Also, you can point your girls to this website (part of the campaign) that is targeted especially for them.

Low self-esteem among young ladies has reached crisis proportions and can have critical consequences. We need to do our part to make sure our girls grow up with a healthy self-esteem and healthy, realistic expectations for themselves. Here's a start: A tee-shirt Dove sent me for my 12 year old says it all:
Please pass this post on to someone you know with an adolescent girl in the family. Thank you.


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Monday, December 29, 2008

Watch Out!




Eeeek! Augh! Watch Out!
I drive my husband crazy when I'm a passenger in the car with him. It is so hard to sit quietly in the front seat while he's driving too close to the curb or makes a lane change in heavy traffic. It's not that I don't trust him. It's the other driver you have to watch out for.


I was in a major car accident in January of 2001. I was a single mom at the time, driving my kids to pre-school before I headed to work on the first day back after the new year. The twins were in the built-in car seats of the van. I was driving down the road, minding my own business - isn't that always the case?


All of a sudden, there was a white, brand-new Nissan Exterra sitting in the middle of the road. Seriously. The driver had pulled out into traffic and couldn't decide if there was a turning lane there for her to get in, so she stopped. In the middle of the road. Perpendicular to my van.


There was nothing for me to do. Nowhere to go. It happened so fast. I swerved, but I had to hit her. The air bag blew up in my face slamming me against the door. I couldn't move my arm to open the door with my left hand. Luckily, people stopped to help, the police responded quickly, and my dad was there in minutes to take the kids. Thank God they were completely uninjured.


I, on the other hand, had to ride to the hospital in an ambulance on a hard board with my neck in a brace. That is not fun! Aside from other minor injuries, my shoulder was broken in an odd place, and I spent the next nine months in physical therapy. And the van was "totalled." Luckily, the woman driving the Exterra had good insurance, and she was very gracious in admitting her fault. But, can you see how that would make me a nervous passenger?

You really have to watch out for the other drivers on the road!

Join us for Heads or Tails where this week's topic is "watch."

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Scrappin'

I didn't have a crafty week. I set a goal to do six pages, and I did none! I changed my blog header, though. I'm not sure if I like it yet. I think it's too much blue.

On a brighter note, I received a memory mates carousel (and some other scrapbooking goodies) for Christmas, so I spent a lot of time organizing my scrap space. Now, it's time to get some scrapbooking done!
My favorite crafty "ta-da" of this season was my holiday planner. It sure wasn't fancy, but it was a lifesaver! I will definitely have one next year, and the one thing I will do differently is have a better pocket (or maybe more than one) to hold receipts. I made my own pocket at the back of the planner, but it wasn't very sturdy. I had a section for card-sending and addresses, gift ideas, gift lists, and parties & swaps. On my gift list, I highlighted the gifts as I wrapped them so I could keep track of my progress and make sure I didn't "forget" to wrap a gift. My planner was perfect for my needs.

Amy asks us to tell about crafty gifts we gave this year. Throughout the year, I made digital scrapbook pages using Smilebox. I printed them out, put them in clear sleeves, and clipped them in a cute binder. I made a title page and gave it to my mom as a gift. She loved it! I also made quite a few cards and gift tags, and I used them all. I think I will get an earlier start next year.

The Sunday Scrappin' challenge this week is to use up the last of any supply in our stash. Should be interesting! If you're a crafter, please join us next week!

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Camera Critters


My favorite photo from this Christmas!

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Pledge (for Dusting)

micaela6955 is the winner!
Scroll Down to see my Christmas Photos!


Pledge - Keep your furniture looking less dusty, longer! We've all heard of Pledge, the standard in products to clean your wood furniture. I remember using Pledge to dust the bookcases and coffee and end tables when I was a little girl. Pledge is still around, all these years later, and it's better than ever. And with Christmas just behind us, my bottle of Pledge is coming in very handy!



Pledge Natural Beauty removes up to 84% of allergens found in dust. It refreshes the wood leaving a beautiful shine with no waxy buildup. It even helps protect your wood from water stains, spills, and every day wear.


I am giving away one large bottle of Pledge Natural Beauty to one lucky reader!


Please leave a comment on this post no later than 11:59 CST, December 31, 2008. You get to be my first product winner for 2009!

Please make sure I have access to your email address so I can contact you for your snail mail address (US addresses only, please) to give to the sponsor, SC Johnson, a family company.

This post was written for Family Review Network as part of a program by SC Johnson, who also supplied the product for review and giveaway.





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Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Zenses

The winner is Sunday! Congratulations! Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? How about a new game for your Nintendo DS to top it all off! With all the holiday frenzy just barely behind us, couldn't we all use an escape?

Zenses is a newly published puzzle-type one-player game for Nintendo DS, rated E for Everyone. It has only been on the market since November. And, it's available in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.

Developer: Shin'en Multimedia
Publisher: The Game Factory

Zenses - Escape The World Around You

Zenses, active relaxation and the perfect "me time" companion, allows the player to transcend the stresses of everyday life, unplug and experience an "active escape." Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest, the first two titles in the series, have a clean, fresh, and stylish look and a soundtrack that complements the calm and relaxing atmosphere. Zenses offers the modern woman a brand new and fresh experience.

Zenses – Ocean Edition

In Zenses Ocean, players relax themselves playing puzzle games inspired by the movements of the tide, rippling water, riffs and corals, beach vegetation and sea life. An indulgent, soothing experience, Zenses Ocean includes high quality visuals and ambient sounds inspired by the natural sounds of the sea. Subliminal addictive puzzles such as Hot Spot, Shell Twirl, Turtle Turn, Pearl Diver and Wave Breaker (names are currently being reviewed and may change) were created to give players an escape from the stress of every day life.

Zenses- Rainforest Edition

Zenses Rainforest allows players to explore the Amazon while playing games infused with rain drops, exotic flowers, waterfalls and giant trees. This refreshing experience encourages players to recharge their batteries while playing puzzle games such as Sapphire Wheel, Mirror Maze, Stack Jack and Bumble Breaker (names are currently being reviewed and may change).

Key Features & Highlights

* Allows players to escape from the stress of daily life while challenging the mind, body and spirit through relaxing puzzle games, soothing ambient sounds and authentic rainforest and oceanic visuals.

* Designed for casual play – whether it's for three minutes or for a three-hour escape – and offers a collection of six easy to pick up, yet addictive puzzle/brain games that are as fun as they are challenging.

* A clean, fresh and "spa-like" interface highlights the earth's natural wonders and beauty.

* A pleasant mixture of 2D and 3D, Zenses is controlled using the stylus only. Not a single key press is necessary.

* Zenses will include a high-quality ambient soundtrack. All music from the game will be uploaded to http://www.gamefactorygames.com and will be available to download for free (players will be receive special bonuses holding codes to unlock).

You can buy one now for 29.99 online and at retailers nationwide including Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart.

Or you can win BOTH games from me! One winner will receive Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest for Nintendo DS. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post (include a way for me to reach you). Comments will close at 11:59 CST December 30, 2008. U. S. Addresses only, please.

This post was written for Family Review Network.

Wishing everyone an old-fashioned Christmas, full of cheer, family, fun, tradition, and memories!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Crunchless Abs


With all the yummies we'll be eating between now and the new year, and with New Year's Resolutions just around the corner, it's time to think about the waistline. One solution to nipping the extra bulge around the middle is Crunchless Abs, a program designed to target your entire abdominal core.

My back and neck can hardly stand the strain of crunches, and I'm not a big gym person, but this little video just might help. There are three programs, so you can start with one and graduate to the next two, or you can do one on one day, then another on the second day, and so on, to keep from getting bored doing the same routine. They're simple exercises, and you don't need fancy equipment. And, while two people demonstrate the basic exercises, they have another demonstrating a little more challenging way to perform the moves for those people that are ready for it.

You can try Crunchless Abs by ordering directly from their website for only 9.99 plus shipping and handling.

Or you can visit Family Review Network for your chance to win a copy of this DVD. Enter by December 26th!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Spirit Award

Tamy at 3 Sides of Crazy tagged me with this Christmas spirit award. She is definitely a blogger with Christmas spirit. Have you seen her decorations? What about her baking? I'm making one of her cookie recipes with the kids tonight. She even organized one of my favorite swaps, Home for the Holidays, and participated in numerous others because she is so full of Christmas spirit!

The rules are easy. List five things you love about Christmas, then tag whomever you want. Oh, and have fun!

5 Thngs I Love About Christmas

1. Decorations - I love decorating my house with a tree, garlands, poinsettias, nutcrackers, snowmen, and all the traditional colors and sights of Christmas. What you see in my header is last year's tree and some of the other decor around my home. Here's another of my favorite ornaments.

2. Lights - I'm taking my kids out to look at Christmas lights tonight. It's something we've all been looking forward to.

3. Gift-giving - I really don't care what I get for Christmas (as long as it's not a vacuum - LOL), but what I really enjoy is choosing gifts for the special people in my life (especially the gifts you really have to think about). I want to tell you so badly what I got my 12 year old twins, but they are sometimes looking over my shoulder when I blog, so I'll have to refrain. I love watching my family open the gifts I've chosen for them.

4. Making cards, tags, and gifts - This year I did some digital scrapbook pages so I could print them out and give them as gifts to the twins' grandmothers. I've worked on them all year. I put them in plastic sleeves in a binder, and I finally finished them last week. I also made cards and gift tags this year, and that's a tradition I plan to continue.

5. Christmas Eve candlelight church service - It usually makes me cry, but the service is so moving, reminding us the reason our family celebrates Christmas, and it is always beautiful.

There are so many more reasons I love Christmas. I wrote about them last Thursday if you want to click the link. It's my favorite holiday.

I'm tagging...
"J" at Musings from Left Field - This is a blogger who loves Christmas and really knows how to celebrate! It's so much fun reading about her parties and celebrations.
"D" at My Life is Based on a True Story - She really went all out to get her kids unique gifts, and she is full of Christmas joy.
Tammy at Queen-Sized Funny Bone - She never fails to make me laugh and keep me going with her Christmas funnies.
Chrissy at Chrissy's Creative Spot - This blogger, one of my dear Internet friends, has a lot of Christmas spirit and makes the cutest gifts and cards.
Bubba's Sis at Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend... Me - She is full of Christmas spirit. You should see the tree they have by their deck!
And Mommy Holly - This is a relatively new blog on my reader, and this "Mommy" is FULL of Christmas spirit!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Just My Opinion

Three years ago, my step-daughter (now age 16) begged me to read Twilight. She's been obsessed with Bella and Edward, Volvos, and vampires, since long before it was cool to be crazy about them. She even asked if we would take her to Washington. (We said no.) She met Stephenie Meyer and got an autographed copy of New Moon at a book signing two years ago at a small bookstore in Houston before Meyer became the sensation she is today. My daughter has implored me for years to read the book. I resisted. Vampires, teenagers, and romance?

Recently, my 12 year old daughter read the book. She, too, is crazy about Bella and Edward and all things Twilight. So, I finally broke down and read it. I'm going to apologize now, just once, to all you Twilight fans. I'm not impressed.

First of all, the subject matter doesn't appeal to me. I'm not a romance reader, and even less when it involves teenagers who profess their love on their first "date." All the mushy, gushy, lovey-dovey, ooey, gooey "I can't live without you" stuff just isn't my style.

Second, the vampires were created as such romantic characters, with movie-star qualities and extra-sensory abilities that I found to be over the top. Yes, vampires are unrealistic to begin with (aren't they?), but they weren't the dark, scary vampires who only come out at night, who drink human blood, who sleep in coffins and have sharp incisors - the stuff myths and legends are made of. I would have liked that better! Edward sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight? Give me a break!

*Spoiler Alert* I found the plot to be overly predictable and unbelievable. Edward's shift from disdain to undying love for Bella did not make sense, even when an attempt was made to explain it later in the story. He saves her from certain death. I saw that coming. Edward is absent during the "blood" lab. Big surprise. Bella leaves Forks, and her feeble attempt at explaining to Charlie why she was leaving was poorly done. Her arrival at the dance studio and her miraculous rescue was much-too-common. The attempt at explaining why she was back in Forks was not addressed to my expectation. And the prom? I expected some twists, turns, and surprises, but alas, there were none. Since this was Meyer's first published novel, her writing lacked substance and style as well. I just couldn't fall in love with the characters.

I didn't HATE the book, but I would only rate it mediocre, much to both my daughters' chagrin. I don't understand the Twilight madness. Fortunately for Stephenie Meyer, the general public disagrees with me. It's just my opinion!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Scrappin'


Sunday Scrappin' is a great place to share your ta-da's, your to-do's, and an optional challenge. Please join us.

Ta-da's
I made one traditional page and five digital pages. I've put them to gether in this slide show.





I found some blog candy at Shelly's Little Craft Space. You can enter to win all sorts of goodies.


To-Do's

I really want to get in my "zone." I have a lot of organizing to do because I received scrap goodies from my Home for the Holidays swap partner Chrissy and from my Secret Santa at work. I'm so far behind in my traditional scrapbooking. I'm going to set an optimistic goal for this week, even though Christmas is almost here. I want to get 6 pages completed. (Now I've gone and done it!)


Challenge

I didn't post a SS last week, but the challenge was to complete something unrelated to the holidays. I did that! Basketball pages for my my kids' grandmoms. There's no challenge for this week since it's Christmas. Good thing I set my own challenge or I'd get nothing done.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Camera Critters

Rocky and Lacy, all snuggled up.




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Friday, December 19, 2008

Company Girl Hot Chocolate

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I received some awesome Swiss Miss dark chocolate fudge hot chocolate from one of my students as well as some "snowman soup" from my Home for the Holidays swap partner and blog buddy, Chrissy, so I'm happy to share that with you. Here's a recap of my week.

What a week it has been! We're finally out of school for the next two weeks, and today, I earned every penny of my year's salary with my 7th grade students. No details, just a sigh of relief. Also, today was my son's first non-chaperoned trip to the mall with a friend. It took almost as long to get there to drop him off and get back to pick him up than the total time I let him stay. Traffic is horrible! I don't want to go near the mall again!

Let me back up a little... My daughter had her Christmas concert Tuesday, and that was such an enjoyable event. She plays clarinet, and I'm so proud of her. Tuesday was also the day that Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary challenged us to do three Christmas-related tasks. By the time I read her post at 5PM, I thought, "There is NO way I can do three things tonight." But, when you challenge yourself, you can do more than you realize, so not only did I work a full day with extra duties before and after school, cooked and served a hot meal for dinner, helped with homework as usual, but I also helped my son wrap a present for his sister, got three ornaments for exchanging at work, and attended my daughter's Christmas concert. Whew!

On Wednesday, she asked us to capture a Christmas moment. I decided to take some close-ups of our Christmas tree. Those types of photos don't always turn out well for me, so I wanted to see what I could come up with. Here's one of my favorite ornaments:



The best news I had all week came yesterday. My mom's brain scan is clear, so we can go ahead with the surgery to remove the tumor from her lung. I'm so thankful for that.

Now, off to do my Friday night ritual... a LONG, HOT soak in the bathtub with some sweet-smelling fragrance and a good book. See you tomorrow!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Declutter Friday

Marcia, the Organising Queen, always asks, "What have you decluttered this week?" I have mine ready to go!


Five Christmas ornaments that were already broken or broke before they made it to the tree.
Also, this is what happens to expensive round candles when placed in a box in the attic by your unknowing husband: They look more like rotten tomatoes or shrinking apples than candles now.They still smell good, though!

How about your decluttering projects?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

13 Things I Love about the Christmas Season

My 49th Thursday Thirteen, as far as I can tell. Thirteen things I love about the Christmas season. Thank you, Jenn, for the Header Graphic.

1. Curling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate watching White Christmas, Holiday Inn, or It's a Wonderful Life. I can use my new snowman mug and snowman soup from my Home for the Holidays swap friend Chrissy.

2. Looking at the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. It's so festive!


3. Buying presents for other people, especially trying to find something unique for someone.


4. The excitement I see in the kids' eyes when they open their presents on Christmas morning.


5. Decorating with ribbons, bows, candles, poinsettias, and garland.


6. Wrapping presents with the kids.


7. Decorating the tree.

8. Christmas breakfast, a tradition in my husband's family.

9. Singing karaoke Christmas carols last year. I hope we do that again.


10. Buying items for Angel Tree kids and Operation Christmas Child, two things that are sponsored through my church.

11. Holiday choir, band, and theater performances at school.


12. Listening to my favorite Christmas music. I will bless you with my favorite, festive song.






13. Attending Christmas Eve services at church and all the service represents.


14. I'm cheating and adding another one! Two weeks off from school! (Not for the kids... well, yes, them, too, but for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)



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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


This is breathtaking. I took my students outside Thursday of last week to witness the shuttle flying piggy-back on a 757. Our school is located by Johnson Space Center (NASA - in Houston), so it's what we call a "teachable moment." What an awesome sight, to be so close to the shuttle!


For more Wordless Wednesday, click here!

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More Blog Candy

Please visit Jill's Scrappy Daze for a chance to win some major CUTE scrap goodies! She's celebrating her 40th, so you can give her a shout out for that, too.

While you're at it, visit Kath's Blog for your chance to win an awesome prize pack from Fiskars!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Santa's Round Belly


The theme for this week's Heads or Tails is ROUND. Join in the fun here!

His belly is round,
Not lean and fit,
It jiggles, it wiggles,
And not just a bit.

Round and round,
A circumference so large,
Who’d want it different,
For this man in charge?

His round belly defines him,
And round cheeks to boot,
Who is this jolly man?
He’s the man with the loot!

Bringing good little kids
Their trinkets and toys,
His legacy forever
Bringing Christmas joys.

Round belly and all,
A loveable old elf,
Thinking of others
Instead of himself.

Red suit covering belly,
Black boots on his feet.
Santa the round fellow
Is a delight and a treat.









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