Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing you and your families happiness and health in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year in Review... August 2010

August marks the end of my summer. Since I teach, I go back to work mid-August. School starts the last week of August. This year was a milestone. My oldest (step)daughter is a senior, and my twins started high school. I still can hardly believe it!

It was also a sad month. Both my mother-in-law and my mother were diagnosed with breast cancer. Both had surgery and underwent chemo or radiation. Actually, my mom is still in the midst of chemo treatments. Please keep her in your prayers.

If you missed them, here are January, February, March, April, May, June, and July.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review... July 2010

July was a fun month! Since my kids were in Nebraska with their dad, I had to stay busy, and I did.

I tried some new recipes and even tried baking. (Disaster!) I went to see lots of movies. I even "guest-directed" the Monday Movie Meme.

The highlight of July was a week in Southern California. I loved it! The weather was heavenly. You could walk outside in the bright sunshine, yet it felt like the air conditioner was on. DH and I spent a day at Dana Point and another day at Disney. While he was in a seminar, I did a day tour to LA as well as a couple of days of shopping.

Stay tuned for August, and if you missed a post, here they are: January, February, March, April, May, and June.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Year in Review... June 2010

By far the most important event in our household every June is my twins' birthday. How they are already 14 years old is beyond me!

I took my son and ten of his friends for a day of PaintBall. It drizzled some, and they got so muddy and stinky! They played for hours! He said it was the best party ever, and that makes me so happy.

My daughter and five of her friends went to the Kemah Boardwalk for pizza, games and rides. She and her friends had a great day, and it wasn't too crowded.

Also in June, I started something new... Wednesday Website. I have to admit that I don't have a new website to share with readers every single Wednesday, so if you have suggestions, or if you want to participate or guest host, please let me know!

Once again, I participated in Mamarazzi's Red, White, and Blue swap. Choosing gifts for my partner is so fun!

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Tackle it Tuesday

(Hosted by 5 Mintes for Mom) There is a corner of my scrapbook room that has been bothering me for a long time. It's where I keep my paper and a TV stand. The TV stand was loaded with all kinds of things that didn't belong there, and the paper stand was so unorganized with many things just stacked on top. It took a while, and it didn't happen all at the same time, but I managed to find the correct home for the things on the TV stand. Now I have a place to store my scrap cart when I'm not using it, a place for my movies, and a place for my disks and miscelleneous computer items in the striped bin, as well as a few pretty things on top. All of my paper is organized by type and color as well as slots for pre-made layouts and completed layouts that don't yet have a scrapbook. I feel better! What are you tackling?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

Head over to 5 Minutes for Mom for the Christmas 2010 Link-up!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve at my mom's house. It's the first time I have seen her since the last of her hair came out (from chemo treatments). I wasn't prepared for that. But, she was in good spirits, and we had a wonderful time opening presents and eating a big lunch including an apple pie our daughter made from scratch.

We also went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at church. Beautiful, as always. The kids aren't bad-looking, either!
On Christmas Day, the kids were up fairly early even though they're not little anymore. I guess everyone is excited on Christmas! We opened gifts, then we went to my in-laws' house where there was a pretty big gathering. It's a tradition for my father-in-law to cook Christmas breakfast. This year, my brother-in-law did most of the cooking, though. We had a fun time eating and opening gifts.Once we got home, it was time for my Christmas nap! A few hours later, we headed over to my husband's aunt's house for a big family gathering, a wonderful dinner, and some karaoke Christmas music. It was a blessed Christmas. How was your holiday?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Year in Review... May 2010

My beautiful children are pictured above. They make life worth living, don't they?

May was a hodge-podge of posts! Like March and April, I posted every day in May for NaBloPoMo. First off, there's a picture of our cat begging for tuna. Then, I wrote about what I consider three extremely funny "party" movies.
I also taught my seventh graders how to write poetry. That was actually kind of fun, even though we were anxious for school to be out and had trouble concentrating on anything. And I had fun writing about one of my pet peeves... public restrooms!

The month came to an end with a celebration of my anniversary on Memorial Day weekend. (The picture above is from this weekend.) There was time for the family and time for just us. We weren't always so happy. The previous six months were an exercise in patience, commitment, trust, and real love. This was the start of a great summer, too. More to come!

If you missed previous posts...





Thursday, December 23, 2010

Year in Review... April 2010

Gorgeous photo, right? I couldn't believe all the snow... in April! But, I guess that's what happens in the mountains of Colorado. Certainly not in Texas! The hubz and I were flying on standby to Virginia for a conference. After nine hours in the airport, we still didn't get a flight to Virginia. We had taken a couple of days off work already, so we asked where the next flight was going that had open seats, and hopped on it. We didn't make it to our conference, but we had a great time! We toured the Coors Brewery, went up in the mountains and played in the snow, and went to a Colorado Rockies game. The only thing wrong? We weren't prepared for the cold! We had to buy jackets and hats, and we froze our rears off waiting for the hotel shuttle at the airport. But wow! I don't think I've ever done anything so spontaneous!

The movie The Gift is coming out soon, based on a book by one of my favorite authors, James Patterson. However, it's a sequel to a book I reviewed in April called Witch and Wizard, and it was NOT an enjoyable read. Needless to say, I'm not going to continue with the series, but I still love Patterson!

April was also a time for remembering the loss of my father. Actually, I always remember that loss, but I wrote about how his absence feels at Sunday dinner. And if you missed my other posts, here they are! January February March

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Year in Review...March 2010

I posted every day in March for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Yay me! I remember that I was getting spring fever, just anticipating spring break, because I wrote a post about how to make Mondays more fun. Kind of a silly post.

I also did a series on "destinations" including places to go in Texas, the U. S., outside the U. S., and places I would like to go someday. Boy was I ready for a vacation! We spent a few days in San Antonio for spring break and had a great time. I even rode Goliath at Fiesta Texas!

March was also Oscar month, and I had vowed not to watch it (again), but I got suckered into it by my kids. Obviously, I had to write about it! I also participated in another one of Mamarazzi's swaps, which was tons of fun! Great month! Stay tuned for April.

January is here.

February is here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Year in Review...Feb 2010

February was a month of good times as well as introspection. My husband and I had hit a rough spot in our marriage, but we began to get back on track. I was completely surprised that he had been reading my blog, including a list of gifts I think women enjoy receiving. This was one Valentine's Day that he wasn't at a loss as to what to give me.

The picture above is from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I took my daughter to see Gary Allen which was a much better concert than the Jonas Brothers from the previous year! Just sayin'.
There was some introspection as I decided how to respond to a bloggy buddy's "self awareness badge." It helped me to reflect on myself and my personality traits and to think about how other people may view me.

And I revealed my inner dorkness! That was fun! Stay tuned for more Year in Review posts. And if you missed January, that post is here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tri Derma Review

"Every time when I look in the mirror, all these lines in my face gettin' clearer..."
Aerosmith, "Dream On"

I have been using a new product on my face twice a day for a little over a week now. The brand name is Tri Derma, and although they make several products for a variety of skin conditions including bruising, eczema, cold sores, and acne, the one I have been using is called Spot and Wrinkle Erasing cream.

The base of the cream is genuine, organic aloe. The anti-oxidants and lightening ingredients help to erase brown spots, age spots, acne scars, and fine lines. It's so much more affordable than many creams on the market right now at only $15.99 per 1 ounce tube. It's available at a large number of retailers including Kroger, Target, CVS, Walgreens, and Babies R Us.

I can't detect any fragrance when I use the cream, which is great for me because sometimes fragrances can cause my skin to break out. I've had no redness or irritation while I've been using the product, and while I think it's too soon to see any noticeable results, I'm confident that it's going to help. My makeup goes on smoothly in the morning after I use it, and my face feels smooth when I use it in the evening.

Check out all of the many products availabe from Tri Derma. I think you'll be pleased.

This post was part of a campaign for Family Review Network and Tri Derma who supplied the complimentary product in exchange for my honest opinion.

Year in Review... Jan. 2010

Welcome to my Year In Review... 2010. Although it was a year of ups and downs, there are definitely things worth remembering!

This picture is actually from December 2009 instead of January 2010, but I'm going to begin with this post from Dec. 31, 2009. One of my favorite things to do is to read. I read 35 books during 2009, some good, some... eh. That doesn't seem like many books, but now that I have my Nook, I'm never without reading material. Can't wait to see how many I've read this year. Goodreads helps me keep up with that.

Last January, Extreme Makeover Home Edition was in my area helping a family rebuild after Hurricane Ike. There is still damage in our area, though much of it has been cleaned up in the last two years.

Do you ever contemplate all the things you need to do versus those things you NEED to do? Last January I needed to see the eye doctor, and I did. Yes, I have glasses now, in spite of having Lasik done in 2002. I now have both reading glasses and driving glasses, but I still see pretty well without them. But it's amazing how many things I still need to do! (get that new hairstyle, file papers, clean out closets, etc.)

And last, my poor kitty was a "conehead" for a while. So pitiful, yet so cute! I guess January 2010 is something she might not like to remember, but it wasn't so bad for me!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Original Pledge Review and Giveaway

pmj is the winner!
Are you getting ready for the holidays? I imagine that includes a little extra cleaning, like it does at my house. I was excited to get my bottle of Original Pledge. The smell brings back good memories for me. And I love the shine it leaves on my wood surfaces.

Did you know it can be used on more than just wood furniture? I have been using it on my stainless steel appliances and my leather furniture, and it leaves a great shine! It also gets rid of 90% of allergans. You can use it for your automobile as well, both inside and out. Check out all the ways Original Pledge can be used.

Pledge is also sponsoring the "Pledge to Love Your Kitchen Contest" in partnership with MomitForward. You have a chance to win $15,000 for a kitchen makeover. The contest offers moms the chance to win $15,000 in gift card(s) to a major home improvement retailer to help update their kitchen along with a year’s supply of Pledge® to make it shine. Visit MomitForward for official rules.

SC Johnson/Pledge has graciously allowed me to give away one can of Original Pledge to one of my readers.
First Entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me if you are going to enter the "Pledge to Love Your Kitchen" contest. A simple yes or no is fine.

Earn Extra Entries (leave a separate comment for each one, please.)
*Follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know that you do.
*Tweet this contest. Leave your link/twitter handle in the comments. You can do this once each day. Make sure you leave a comment each time.
*Link to this contest on Facebook. Leave your link/facebook name in comments.
*Contribute to any discussion in my BlogFrog Community. Leave a comment here letting me know the name under which your contribution was left.

This contest is open to US residents. Please leave a way for me to contact you via email. will help me choose a winner when the contest ends on December 27 at 11:59 PM CST.

This post was written for Family Review Network & SC Johnson/Pledge who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.

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Sunday Scrappin'

I was able to complete two pages this week! I'm so excited about that. Both pages are going to be part of my step-daughter's graduation gift, a scrapbook of her senior year. One of the pictures is pretty fuzzy, but you can probably get the general idea. It's a page for a Color Guard party they had right before school started. The second is a page showing off her two best friends. The gems don't show up well in the photo, but it's a sparkly page.

I hope I get the chance to do some more scrapbooking this week. Click over to Sunday Scrappin' to join us!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SymptomPak Review

We've had our fair share of coughs and colds around our house already this season. The cold/flu aisle at the store comfuses me! There are over 80 medications to choose from. Which medicine do I take for which symptoms? And should I take the one for headaches, stuffy noses, and coughs even though I don't have a headache?
That's where SymptomPak really comes in handy! It has all of the most commonly used cold and flu medicines, all in one box, yet each medication is packaged separately, so you only take the medicine for the symptoms that you have. You can take exactly the dose you need as soon as symptoms arise - without the unnecessary ingredients.

Each SymptomPak comes with 5 medications: Acetaminophen (pain/fever reducer), Phenylephrine (decongestant), Dextromethorphan (cough), Guaifenisen (expectorant), Chlorpheniramine (antihistamine). There is also an easy-to-follow dosing guide.

One of the handiest features available on the SymptomPak website is a comparison page. You can compare the ingredients in over a dozen of the name brand over-the-counter cold and flu medications. They also have an online symptom-treatment matcher. Just check your symptoms, click next, and receive instructions on which medicine to take.

SymptomPak makes so much more sense than buying products with medications in them that you don't necessarily need, and it's suitable for anyone in the family over the age of 6. It's available at a number of online retailers including Target, Rite Aid, and Amazon. Refills are also available. SymptomPak is affordable, convenient, and sensible.
This review was written for a campaign for the Family Review Network and Essential Home OTC who provided the product for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Camera Critters

Had to try out my new flip video and the cat was there, so she was my guinea pig! Vist more Camera Critters!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friday Fill-ins

Welcome to Friday Fill-ins. Won't you play along?

1. What in the world do I get my brother-in-law for Christmas?

2. Our cat surely is well fed.

3. Go Christmas Caroling! Brighten someone's day.

4. I have sent my Christmas cards.

5. I keep track of the gifts I've purchased by writing them in my Christmas planner, or else I'd forget!

6. Ready or not.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep, tomorrow my plans include some scrapbooking, but hopefully not shopping (too crowded on Saturdays), and Sunday, I want to finish wrapping presents and scrapbook some more!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kraft Cracker Barrell Cheese Review

My family loves cheese. My husband says, "You could put cheese on a match book and it would taste good." Cheese... on toast, crackers, casseroles, hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, pasta, or even by itself.

I received a package from Kraft/Cracker Barrel with two kinds of cheeses inside. The box was opened by my husband, and the cheese half eaten, before I even got home from work! Must be good!

Kraft has introduced Cracker Barrel Limited Edition Holiday Reserve Cheese. It's available at your local grocery store... but only until January 1, 2011 (thus, the "limited edition in the name). My son says I have to stock up!

We tried the Natural Extra Sharp White Cheddar. My husband and son like it plain. Just the cheese, please. I prefer it on crackers. It is smooth, creamy, and a little nutty. It wasn't as sharp as I expected it to be, which was good. I usually prefer milder cheeses. But this cheese gets my seal of approval. It's got the Cracker Barrel name on it; it has to be good. It will make a great appetizer at this year's holiday gatherings, but I better get it now, before it's all gone!

This post was written for Family Review Network & Kraft/Cracker Barrel who provided the yummy, complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not a New Blogger, Not a "Pro-blogger"

I've had my blog for five years now, and it seems like I have a nice amount of followers, but I only have a few truly loyal commenters. I know it's up to me to do the things that will attract more readers, so I continue to read articles about how to do that.

Most articles will tell you to write quality content. I agree. Many will tell you to find your "niche." I read an article today that was a link from Mom Bloggers Club, and finally, there is someone who disagrees with the notion of narrowing your blog down to one type of post (only reviews, only homeschooling, only issues for working moms, ie. finding your niche. Most of them have already been done and done well.)

I really love how Brit Reints put this, and I quote her:

"To be honest, I think you should ignore the experts on this one. I mean, sure, establishing yourself as the premier expert in a tiny niche is a proven path to “success”, but… you just want to start a blog. Right? I mean, isn’t this about you writing?"

"Write about something you love and will not get bored with quickly. Write about things that you read about and enjoy talking about and get excited about sharing."

She hit the nail on the head in my opinion. She had additional advice, of course, but you'll have to go read her article if you're interested. I just wanted to share this tidbit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vote for the Top Blog

One of my favorite blogs is Dandelion Wishes. If you have never visited Mamarazzi at her blog, first of all, where have you been? Just kidding. But seriously, she has an awesome blog... Happy Lists, Queen for a Day, cooking with her daughter, a dose of humor in pretty much every post.

She's been nominated for Top Blog 2010 by The Blog Guidebook. She's made it all the way to round FOUR! She's also offering prizes to those of us who vote for her, so I voted. Will you?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mean Girls

My daughter had her first experience with a "mean girl" last week. My poor baby! It breaks my heart. She's one of the sweetest girls I know, and I'm not just saying that. Oh, sure, she and I butt heads often, but I'm just so lucky to have her! She's got a smile that can light up a room, she's sensitive, kind, and she's a little shy. I'm so angry with that stupid mean girl!

High school! What a complex roller-coaster ride. Same thing with college. These were some of the best, most cherished times in my life, but the good memories will always be tainted with nightmares about mean girls (and sometimes boys) who made it their mission to make some of us miserable.

There was the remark about my rear, that hitting the diving board with my butt (like we were all doing on purpose) wouldn't hurt me because I had so much padding.

For putting me on "weight probation" my sophomore year in drill (dance) team, then letting girls much bigger than I make the drill team the following year with no restriction. Was that humiliation necessary? I wasn't even fat then! I only wish I was that size again!

For those who commented on my weight, height, choice of friends, choice of boyfriend, personal choices, character, etc. here's to you, mean kids!

To the girl who tried to smother me with my pillow as a way of making fun of me for sleeping with the pillow over my head - what is your problem? (I'm serious. She was supposed to be my "sorrority sister" too!)

For the girls who laughed at me in a variety of situations. And for the ones who ostracized me becaue I wasn't rich enough, pretty enough, good enough, whatever enough.

And to the girl I knew growing up who ended up at my university, what did you accomplish by calling me B***h in front of all of my friends? And so many, many other things that I could probably go on forever.

Yes, here's to you Shannon, Tricia, Tammy, Chanda, Stephanie, Christie, Sherrie, and all the rest. (Yep, I went there - naming names!) And don't let me forget the professor who sponsored the college dance team who told me that I was one of the worst dancers on the team. Thanks. Guess my years of dance lessons were a waste.

People don't realize how much their derogatory comments hurt and how they last. There are things I will absolutely never forget no matter how hard I try. I'm grown with kids of my own, and their remarks still bother me. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I just can't forget! And now my daughter is going to have scars, and I can't fix it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Glade Sense and Spray

Queenie is the winner!I love the new design of the Glade Sense and Spray. It's so modern and fresh-looking. Most of all, I love the fragrance! The Sense and Spray has a built-in motion sensor that automatically releases a burst of fragrance when motion is detected. Clever!

Did you know that fragrance is one of the easiest ways to update your home? Don't have the money to remodel? Fragrance can change the ambiance in any room.

Have a little money to spend? Painting is a good option. It's not too expensive, and changing even one accent wall can create an entirely different mood in a room.

Another easy way to create a warm and inviting mood in any room is by changing the lighting. This can be achieved by changing lamps or lampshades, adding track lighting to an accent wall, or even using dimmers on overhead lights.

Adding accessories in different colors and textures is another easy way to update a room. You may want to add a burst of color with throw pillows or a rug. Check out lots of tips from Erinn Valencich, interior designer and frequent HGTV guest. She has teamed up with Glade to bring you easy, affordable ways to improve any room.

Whatever you decide, fragrance is definitely the easiest way to create an inviting atmosphere in your home, and Glade Sense and Spray makes it easy with no electrical cords and no open flames. I'm loving the Vanilla Lavendar fragrance in my powder room (which is right next to the kitchen). And the design is a perfect fit for my decor.

Would you like to win one? Great! It's easy! Just leave a comment on this post.

There are things you can do for more entries, but please come back here and leave a comment for each one. Contest will end at 11:59 CST on December 16, 2010. Please make sure I have a way to contact you via email if you're the lucky winner. will help me choose the winner.
Receive an extra entry for each of the following things:
**Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post, come back here and tell me about it.
**Tweet this post. Leave a comment here with your link/user name.
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** Join a discussion in my Blog Frog Community.

This post was sponsored by Glade Sense and Spray who provided the product for review and giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions in this post are 100% mine.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Nativity

Not everyone who reads my blog is Christian, and I love that we can all have our different beliefs, religions, and holidays. But since I'm Christian, and this is my blog, I want to talk about Christmas for a minute. Do you have a Nativity set in your home? I have a darling Dreamsicle set.

I started wondering, though, why is it called the Nativity? (This is the English teacher in me.) The root word is native. That makes me think of natives as in native people. Then, I did some searching in my brain and realized that plants can be native to a certain area (belong), so maybe that meaning is why it is called a nativity.

I had to look it up to be completely certain. Technically, the word nativity means "birth or origin." (I learned something new.) In this particular meaning, it means "of or relating to the birth of Jesus Christ." So now, it makes sense to me! I'm so glad I cleared that up!

And speaking of The Nativity Story, have you ever seen the movie from 2006? It's a wonderful reenactment of Joseph and Mary's lives and their journey leading up to the birth of Jesus. My twins were ten when it came out, and I made them go with me to see it. I'm so glad I did. I believe it gave them a clear sense of why we celebrate Christmas. As the saying goes (among Christians), Jesus is the reason for the season!


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