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Monday, December 24, 2012

And that is how it's done...

Remember my Not-Christmas Cookies?
http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-not-christmas-cookies.html

It turns out that this project wasn't new to Zoe. At her daycare last week....they were doing the exact SAME projects! But with much better results...

The woman who takes care of Zoe and two other children during the day has many more years experience than I do when it comes to caring for children and doing all of these crafts. And she had a really good tip for me.

Model Magic Molding Compound! (Click the link below to see on Amazon)

Crayola 57-4415 Model Magic Modeling Compound, 2-lb. Bucket, Asstd Colors, Four 8-oz. Pouches
And here is the link on Crayola's page:
http://www.crayola.com/things-to-do/how-to-landing/model-magic.aspx

It's light weight and molds easily. Needless to say...after looking at the ones she made, mine went in the trash. And next year I can do this project a LOT better. :)

Check it out:


She also added glitter to her cinnamon ornaments and I really like how she looped her ribbon to hang on the tree.  Better ideas for next year....because I am definitely trying this again for next year. :)

Need any last minute tech advice?  
Head over to Ask the Motherboard today for some last minute holiday tips and gift ideas.


Need a last minute gift idea for me?  Please take a moment to subscribe, like, follow or tweet about Ask the Motherboard.  I would really love some more email subscribers.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Not-Christmas Cookies

On Tuesday this week I made plans with a friend to join her and her children in making some Christmas tree ornaments. Our plans were to make salt-dough hand print ornaments and cinnamon ornaments.

These were craft ideas we had found online, through other moms on facebook and pinterest and all those other good, crafty ideas sites. Now, for me, these ideas always sound really great.

But like most of these ideas...they look better on paper than when actually done. :)

You have to picture the scenario...

Two eager moms...three hungry and slightly excited children.
Let's not forget the Labrador who was also hungry and excited.

We decided to start with the cinnamon ornaments. We were hoping we could make hand print ornaments with the cinnamon dough and be done with our project. That didn't work. It takes a LOT of cinnamon and some apple sauce to make these ornaments and we had a mini cloud of cinnamon in the kitchen while mixing the dough.

Of course the house smelled delicious! And even though the ingredients were apple sauce and cinnamon...these are not edible ornaments. Only, they smell like cookies. And they kinda look like cookie dough...and the kids were hungry.

Lucky for us, my friend's husband came home and got some mac and cheese started for the kids because at this point, they were all chanting they were hungry. (Eat! Cracker! More! Cookies!)

The cinnamon dough wasn't the right consistency to make hand print ornaments, so we moved on to the salt dough recipe. Now this recipe worked much better for making hand prints...but they still smelled good..and they still looked like cookies...and the house still smelled like cinnamon. A LOT.

Has anyone tried making these and successfully convinced their toddlers that these are NOT cookies?
Take a look:


Here you go hungry kids...touch these, make a nice neat hand print....and don't eat! haha. :)
Once we tortured them with making hand prints in the sticky dough...that they were not allowed to touch or eat otherwise...we moved on to the cinnamon ornaments.

For these we decided we would just cut with a cookie cutter. And of course through out this ...the kids were right on our tails. And they probably asked us about three times a piece (3 x 3) if they could eat these cookies:
They do look like cookies don't they?
But not edible. (too much cinnamon)

We realized about 3/4 of the way through our progress that if we do this again we should also make real cookies...and maybe make the real cookies first and then move on to these non-edible ornaments.

Of course, we probably could have tried eating them, they just wouldn't have tasted very good. :)

Want the recipes for yourself?
Salt Dough Ornaments:
http://heart-2-home.com/2012/11/20/salt-dough-santa-handprint-ornaments-12-cup-salt-12-cup-flour-14-water-give-or-take-knead-until-dough-forms-make-impression-and-cut-out-hand-shape-with-a-knife-leaving-a-border-poke-a-hole/

Cinnamon Ornaments:
http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Other/Cinnamon-Ornaments.aspx

I'll be honest...I'm looking at my hand print ornaments...I won't be painting them. (not enough time) And I'm probably not going to seal them. (too lazy and scared of the hobby store this time of year)

But I think the MOST fun part....was hanging out with my friend and having our children play together, can't wait to do it again soon!  (or, um..maybe next year...we can hang out soon, let's just try the ornaments that are not Christmas cookies next year.) :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Who's Your Daddy? Part two.

Remember when I wrote about Oscar's DNA tests?

No? You can go read about it here:
http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/10/whos-your-daddy.html
and here:
http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/10/oscar-dna-update.html

I realized the other day that it had been WAY over 21 days and I hadn't heard back from the lab. So I wrote them an email and they got back to me the very next day. It turns out they had my phone number incorrect...and someone else with a very similar phone number as mine got the "results" phone call. They must have been so confused! :)

But last night my phone rang, and it was the geneticist from Mars Laboratories, and she was very excited to finally talk to me! You see, she had a very interesting time with Oscar's DNA. Because from the pictures I sent, he was clearly not an American Eskimo.

She also asked me if he was in my wedding, because one of the pictures I sent was from our wedding. And he was, he was the Best Dog. :)

Anyway, back to my story. The geneticist told me all about how they ran the tests and how they come up with the results. The computer came up with 11 potential family trees for Oscar and they all concluded with 100% American Eskimo.  Huh? How?

Well, did you know that the American Eskimo was originally the German Spitz? Yep, back in the 1940's the name was changed to American Eskimo when no one wanted dogs (or anything) called German-something.  But the breed is exactly the same...with the "new" American variety favoring white colors. German Spitz come in all different sizes and colors which is our best guess as to why Oscar looks the way he does. Somewhere in his history is the genetic makeup that made him black and white. But according to the DNA tests, he is still 100% American Eskimo or German Spitz on both sides going back three generations.  The geneticist said that if they were going to really try and pull another breed out of his DNA, they might be able to say Mini Schnauzer or Pomeranian. (which again, are both German dogs) But the problem with that is that she said she couldn't really count those findings. Every dog from the Great Dane to the Chihuahua came from the same original DNA, which is why even amongst "purebreeds" you will see some differences. She said something like 945 markers for American Eskimo and 9 for Pomeranian and 4 for Mini Schnauzer.

The geneticist said she feels confident, even with his black and white markings, to call him a purebreed American Eskimo dog. How cool is that? :)

Now when all of this got started, I did contact a breeder to ask if it was possible that he could be a purebreed and she said no way. She actually had a lot of pretty smart things to say about DNA testing and how it just wasn't possible.  However...when I contacted the place where I got Oscar, they told me that his mom was a purebreed and the dad was a mixed breed American Eskimo. SO...I'm guessing that Dad was a German Spitz with color...and Mom was American Eskimo...so genetically speaking and with DNA testing..that would make them the same breed.  I bet the owner of Oscar's dad doesn't actually know what he is. :)

And no offense to the breeder (she had a PhD after her name, but no idea for what...) I think I am going to go with the scientist on this one. I had a second breeder say no way he was American Eskimo and that he must be part Border Collie.  I think they were both wrong.

And I am surprised that neither one mentioned the German Spitz after seeing his pictures.

You can read more about the German Spitz here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Spitz
And more about American Eskimo dogs here:
http://www.americaneskimodogs.org/about_the_breed.htm

So long story short...Oscar is a purebreed American Eskimo, otherwise known as a German Spitz!
How crazy is that? He isn't a mixed breed after all!  Now you might wonder...how come no one has ever suggested that he might be German Spitz? Because you don't really see them here in the USA. I'm sure if we had traveled to Europe with him, that no one would bat an eye at his unusual color and size and shape. :)  Because he isn't that unique...keep reading. :)

Want a reminder of what he looks like?


I decided to do a little research on the German Spitz myself...and look what I found:

http://www.germanspitzworld.co.uk/dogpage.php?dog_ID=1032

http://www.germanspitzworld.co.uk/dogpage.php?dog_ID=743
Don't these two look like they could be cousins? I found them on this website:
http://www.germanspitzworld.co.uk/colourlist.php?colour=Black%20and%20White%20Particolour

And this one here...this could be his mom...really, the resemblance is amazing:
http://www.germanspitzworld.co.uk/dogpage.php?dog_ID=314

What I do know...is that Oscar is one of the best dogs I have ever met in my entire life. He has brought me so much happiness. I never really cared what kind of dog he was, I was simply curious, and now I know!

I think I might say American Eskimo, with a touch of German Spitz.  Maybe. It might be more fun to say he's purebreed and then get the funny looks. :)

So if you got a mixed breed American Eskimo dog in Massachusetts, specifically near Ware, MA or Palmer, MA sometime in 2006...your mixed breed might be pure...and a sibling of mine. I would love to find his siblings or his parents. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supermom alert!

I felt like Supermom last week. We had three holiday parties last weekend and I had cooked and cleaned and prepped and shopped and wrapped presents for it all.  And on top of that, when the parties got started and I got compliments on all of it...I felt great.  I felt like "Yes! I can DO this! I can work and cook and clean and be a mom! Wooo!!"

I even read a book.  From start to finish.  A few minutes squeezed in here and there.

And then I realized I gained a couple of pounds and I didn't get that extra workout I wanted to get in. And about two days later you couldn't tell that I vacuumed.  

And I felt ....defeated.  And then I started thinking about all the things I need to worry about. Which I haven't been writing about...because I can't talk about it yet. (don't worry, I will when I can, I just don't want to jinx anything)

And then I read this article, I had read it before and forgotten about it. But I came across it again this morning and it reminded me....breathe, you are fine...and for goodness sake...KEEP IT SIMPLE!

I need to read this blog post about once  a week to remind myself that I don't need to do it all:

http://www.pregnantchicken.com/pregnant-chicken-blog/2012/11/9/why-youre-never-failing-as-a-mother

Anthony and I had a nice dinner out with Zoe last night and on the way home we were discussing the cleaning articles I shared the other day, the one that explained how women are judged by the home they keep. And he said that couldn't be true because he wouldn't judge a woman by how clean her house was...and then he said:

"When I go to someone's house and it's spotless, yep, I judge them. I think wow, you must have no life because you spend all your time cleaning." 

He was joking, I think.

I don't know if I should be happy that he doesn't judge people....or more concerned he doesn't care about how clean the house is....hmmm.

When I'm 120 years old (I'm staying optimistic) and I'm at the end and I'm looking back on my life, I want to remember time spent with my family and experiences and places I visited. Not that I spent every minute worried about everything all the time or that the house wasn't clean.

I have a sign in my kitchen that I should probably look at more often..it's there as a reminder.
"My house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy."

And one in the living room:
"RELAX"

That one helps me relax my shoulders once in a while.

I can't do it all and I shouldn't try to do it all. I should just do what my family needs me to do, and then a little extra for myself. That is all.  And be happy. And relax.

Maybe lose a few pounds. :) (sorry...had to sneak that in)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Favorite Disney Movies

Favorite Disney Movies...almost everyone has them.

Mine fall under different categories.

I have my favorite princess movie. (First it was Sleeping Beauty...but now I love Tangled)

I have my favorite of all time. (The Lion King)

And my favorite non-cartoon. (The first Pirates of the Caribbean)

But really, I enjoy them all. I can't think of a single one that I wouldn't want to watch.  Anyone out there have one that they don't like to watch?

As my daughter gets older, I imagine she will have her favorites as well. And maybe once she picks a favorite and watches it for 100th time, I may finally have one that I don't want to watch. :)

But I think she has her first favorite.

Remember the story at Sam's Club?  Where she stopped and stared at the giant tv?
http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/10/lost-it.html

I had picked up the movie Bolt after she showed an interest in the movie (or an interest in the doggy on the tv). The first night we had the movie, I put it on for her and she didn't seem to be too into it.

But about a week or so ago, she came out carrying the movie and pointed at the case and said "dog!".
I had put her Baby Signing Time dvd's on and normally she is very happy watching those. (And so am I, it teaches her sign language!). But today she wanted me to turn Baby Signing Time off.

She brought me Bolt and said "On! on! on!" and then pointed at the tv (at Baby Signing Time) and said "Off! off! off!".  So I guessed that she wanted to watch Bolt instead.

And she sat in her chair and watched it...sort of. She walked around the house and would come back to it, but she definitely liked it.

Fast forward to last night after dinner. She grabs a couple of DVD cases (I should probably move those...) and brings me Bolt again. She points at the case and says "dog, on!"  I asked her if she would like to watch Bolt and she said yes.  (which is really cute because she says yes very clearly but in a high-pitched voice)

So I put it on. And she watched it. (Most of it this time) And when Bolt was on the screen, she would say "dog!" and when Mittens was on the screen she would say "Kitty." and when the pigeons were on the screen..."BIRDS!".  So it's teaching her animals?

By the end of the movie, she started to know that the dog's name was Bolt. Not a bad first choice for favorite movie. It has action, adventure and family. But most of all...it has a dog.  Which is her favorite animal.

Even Oscar will watch it. :)

More on Oscar tomorrow...I heard back from the lab about his dna tests. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Women vs Men: Cleaning Style!

I read a great article this morning. It put a lot about my life into perspective.

To be honest, it actually made me relax my shoulders a little bit. I felt a little bit better about myself.

It's an article about Housekeeping.

Huh?

This article was discussing the differences between men and women when it came to housework. And I realized that I wasn't alone in how I felt about the housework. And it even explained some of my "craziness" about keeping a neat and tidy house. It was like a giant light bulb going off above my head!

And it also made me understand a little bit better how my hubby's brain might be working on the same subject matter.

But the best part? I don't always articulate my point of view very well. In fact, I tend to lose a lot of arguments because I'm not very good at representing my opinions logically or with fact when having a "discussion" with my hubby.

So when I run across an article that just says it so much better than me....I get a little excited.

Here you go, here's the article:
 http://finance.yahoo.com/news/truce-chore-wars-233900135.html

(I'm amused at the term "chore wars".)

Now if I can just get Anthony to read this article...my house might get cleaner.  And I might learn to relax and not try to make it perfect. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Too Many Devices.

You know you have too many personal internet/tablet/pc type of devices when you can't walk into a Best Buy without setting off the theft alarms. Twice.

I walked in to return something and I was convinced it was the box I was returning.

But then I set them off again as I was leaving. I'm going to assume it was one of the computer like devices in my purse. I should probably carry less stuff, but right now I need to carry all of them.  I should have less by the time Christmas rolls around. I'm setting up and reviewing a tablet right now for my niece which will also turn into an Ask the Motherboard post.

I really wanted to get one of those cute little wristlets that holds your smart phone and an ID and some cash (like this one from Kate Spade: iPhone 4 wristlet) but I can't because now I have to carry an EpiPen.

Have I written about that yet?

My new allergist wants me to carry an EpiPen in case I have a problem with my food allergies. Normally I would roll my eyes at this because my "food" allergies are just Oral Allergy Syndrome. Which is just a localized reaction, nothing to really worry about, especially if you can cook your fruits and veggies before eating.

Or process them so much they hardly resemble food anymore.
We can blame my tree and pollen allergies for this.

BUT...we did some blood work and it turns out that I have reactions to apples, bananas and some tree nuts. Which means that it isn't just Oral Allergy Syndrome. It's an actual real allergy.

What. A. Pain. In. The.....neck. :)

So now I carry an EpiPen which means I will never have a cute little wristlet, because did you know that they are HUGE and that they make you carry two. Just in case the first one doesn't work.

Sigh.

PS...who said I'm bad at telling people what I want for Christmas...I suggested two items this week!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Feeling naughty!

 
It's that time of year when parents let their children know....Santa's watching so you better be nice!

Don't want to end up on the naughty list now do we?

I was thinking this morning that I was feeling a bit naughty. You see, I'm on a diet and I had a piece of dark chocolate. And when you get a really high quality dark chocolate...it's SO good.

Yummmmmmmm.

But it feels like cheating on my diet...like I'm doing something I shouldn't when I indulge in one of those amazing pieces of chocolate.  So that is why I was feeling naughty.

I'm not usually a chocolate person. My favorite candies are usually the fruity sour kind. I'm a big fan of Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, and Sour Strawberry Straws.

But every once in a while, I have a small piece of dark chocolate.

Did you know that it actually helps you to maintain your weight balance to indulge in a small piece of chocolate once a week?  Just make sure it's a good one...if you only get one piece, you might as well make it the best you can get. :)

Mmmmm, chocolate!

This one is my favorite.  Just in case you were considering sending me some chocolate. ;)
It even includes a love letter in every wrapper.  So if you were thinking of sending me a love letter...you can cheat and just get me this. :)  (Ummm...is my hubby reading this?)

Chocolove Xoxo Strong Dark Chocolate Bar ( 12x3.2 OZ)

And if those don't work...there is always chocolate covered strawberries.  Just sayin'. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Four down...many more to go!

Have I told everyone that I entered a Biggest Loser Weight Loss contest at work?

I can't remember...

In any case, I'm down 4 pounds! woo hoo!

I still have quite a ways to go before I reach my goal weight, but I am thoroughly enjoying being a part of the contest. It's keeping me strong and honest. (a weekly weigh in with a stranger is always on my mind when I'm eye-balling that cookie I want to eat...)

And speaking of honest...I really forgot what it felt like to be hungry. And I mean truly and really hungry. Not, "I want to eat something", but actual HUNGER.

Is it bad if you drive by a Wendy's at 9am and you wonder what time they open? ;)

I am trying the usual tricks of drinking water to make sure I'm not just thirsty. But it's just a fact of life that when you eat less than you burn...your body is going to send hunger signals to maintain your weight.

I need to get back into my old habits that I had when I lost all the weight before. Frequent small meals. Mostly protein and veggies...and lots of fiber. Healthy fats like yogurt and avocado.

Is it bad if I'm thinking about making chili this weekend....?

With the holidays upon us...let's stay strong. Make realistic goals, and stick with them.

Are you walking on a treadmill? I am! At least four nights a week. Last night I walked 7 miles (according to my treadmill). But that's indoors. On a treadmill. Not exactly the same or as hard as doing it outside. But I read an article this morning that said if you put your treadmill at a 3% incline (what does that mean? my incline is 1-10?) that it would be the same as walking outside...so guess what I'm doing tonight?

Walking at an incline.  Happy Friday everyone! See you next week!

And if you haven't checked out my other blog in a while, I'm blogging about techie gadgets. You might want to check it out if you are considering any of them for the holidays this year.

www.askthemotherboard.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Remember that book I was crazy about? It was called Born Wicked and it was the first in the Cahill Witch Chronicles? I blogged about it here:
http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/09/book-reviews.html
and
http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/10/born-wicked-new-cover-and-contest.html

I still keep thinking about that book, it was really that good. I actually don't own this book so I need to consider picking up a copy or buying it for my e-reader. (Barnes and Noble gift cards are always appreciated....just letting any potential gift givers know! ;))

So I started following the author's blog and the facebook pages etc, and today I got to read the first chapter of Star Cursed, the second book in the series.

NOW I'M HOOKED.  It's very well-written, I can't wait to see how it's all played out.
I get so ANGRY with the Brotherhood (you would too..go read it..).

Check out the cover:
And here is a link to that chapter, but really you should read the first book before you read this:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/114747303/Star-Cursed-Chapter-1

If it isn't already obvious....I highly recommend this series. You can start with the first book at Amazon (this is an affiliated link):
Born Wicked: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book One

Or at Barnes and Noble and all of those other great book places. :)

And I finally posted a review on Amazon, though I couldn't on Barnes and Noble, not sure why. :(

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Food and Drug Interactions

I read the most fascinating article this morning. Instead of one of my stories, please read this today:

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/grapefruit-and-medications-may-be-deadly-mix


I know many people who take some of these medications, please read carefully and stay safe!

Back to my usual stories tomorrow!

Monday, November 26, 2012

It didn't count.

So...did I cave and go Black Friday Shopping?

I did.  But it shouldn't count. :)

Remember that Brave Blu-Ray/DVD combo I wanted? Well it turns out Amazon.com decided to have the same deal...in limited quantity...in a couple of four-hour windows. Turns out that first four hour window was on Thanksgiving...and I missed out. The second one is today (starting at 12:20pm PST).  (That's 3:20pm for us east-coasters)

So I went to bed Thanksgiving night (I didn't skip out on my family and I didn't start at 8pm or 10pm, I watched the Patriots thank you) and I turned to Anthony and I said "If I wake up in the middle of the night, I might try and see if they have that movie at Walmart".

Turns out I did wake up (not surprising, I have chronic insomnia these days...anyone want to buy a cheap condo?) at around 4am. I decided to try and go back to sleep. I woke up again at 5am. This time I decided to get up and go to the store.

While driving down the street I told myself that if the parking lot was too full, I was going home and going back to bed. I pulled in....and it was almost empty!
I made my way to the back of the electronics section and I asked about my movie. I was pointed in the direction of three shopping carts filled with DVDs. Two extremely nice employees (really, they had been working since the night before and they were still in great moods!) helped me start sorting through them to find Brave.

While we were searching, a man came in looking for the same movie. He saw what we were doing...and moved on. About ten minutes later, he tapped me on the shoulder and handed me the movie. He had found an entire box of them!

I grabbed a few more really good priced DVD's and made my way home. Where I crawled back into bed and got to sleep some more.

When I got up in the morning, I went out with Zoe, we went back to grab one last movie I had missed and we went out for breakfast. We went to a few more stores but didn't buy anything, just looked around.  And then that evening we went to a museum and out to dinner with Anthony's mom and his sister.

All in all....a GREAT day.

On Saturday we made a few purchases from some local retailers to support Small Business Saturday (and we got Oscar's Christmas present). And on Wednesday...before all the craziness began...I got the black friday price I wanted on a tablet present for a niece...they had the black friday prices early on line but had sold out...so I asked the store manager to match the price in store...and voila! Black Friday deal on WEDNESDAY.

So I got my Black Friday bargains....without participating in the craziness. So I say it doesn't count. :)
...and I did grab one Cyber Monday deal today, only available for a few more hours:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001UV4XIS/ref=ox_ya_os_product

I already have the DVD, I just wanted the digital copy. :) So I'll be selling the DVD and making some money back....which is what I did with some other DVD's this weekend as well.
Good deals all around!

Only 1 or 2 gifts left and my shopping is done!  Then it's on to wrapping, decorating and donations. :)

Askthemotherboard.com will have reviews of techie stuff this week...be sure to check it out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sooo tempting!

Remember how I wanted to boycott Black Friday ...especially with it starting to invade Thanksgiving?  No? Read about it here: http://danidoit.blogspot.com/2012/11/black-thursday.html

Well now I'm tempted to cave in and head to Walmart for one special deal.

Someone talk me out of it! aaaaahhhhh!!!!

(It's Brave on Blu-Ray/DVD for only $8.96!!!)

And I didn't forget about telling you about my favorite skin care products...I just decided maybe you weren't interested.  Are you interested?  Let me know.

And I saw Breaking Dawn Part 2 this weekend. I won't discuss it because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. But I am extremely happy with how it turned out. :)

Movie Marathon slumber party possibly coming soon. :)  Hmmm...when is the DVD coming out? Maybe in time for my birthday....that could be fun.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Twilight! I'm a little excited...

More "light" topics for you!

The last Twilight movie comes out this week, I'm going to throw a party. I'm very excited...and I think that is because they might have changed the ending...maybe.  Which was the only part of the entire book series that I didn't like...the very end. :)

And just in case you needed a reminder why we all love it so much:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devra-maza/a-emtwilightem-seduction_b_650292.html

For the men who don't want to read it...just skip to the end and read the bullet points. :)

And because I have to ask...

Team Edward or Team Jacob?  Or can't decide like me? :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rainy Day....

After all of my seriousness of the past few weeks....I introduce a "light" topic.

Today is a rainy day...which means my hair will do whatever it wants and it's easier for me if I don't fight with it and just let it be curly. So today is a jungle-woman crazy hair day.

What I really wanted to talk about before this rainy day (and the unseasonably warm weather we had this weekend) was that the cold dry air had arrived....which means gorgeous non-frizzy straight hair for me! :)

It also means incredibly dry skin. :(

NOTE:  I sell NYR Organic Skincare....just putting it out there, yes I am going to recommend products I sell.

I'll do that tomorrow. :)  Don't worry, I'll also tell you about other stuff I like.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Black Thursday?

According to the radio dj's and my sister-in-law (who is my source for all info Black Friday shopping related) some retail stores are actually going to open as early as 7pm or 8pm on Thanksgiving to begin the shopping craziness.

Seriously?

What happened to people getting ONE day off? I feel the worst for the employees of that store who are being told that working that day is MANDATORY. That stinks big time.

Seriously?!

This is just awful. Black Friday shopping has become out of control.

Want to know the worst part? You aren't even getting the best prices that day anymore.
Check your flyers for this coming weekend. Loads of Veteran's Day sales are happening. (and what does shopping have to do with Veterans exactly?!)

The prices you get now might be better than what you get on Black Friday. And then the prices just start going up from there until January. Yup, with the exception of holiday themed items, most prices stay high just after Christmas.

I did most of my shopping this year throughout the year. The nice thing about buying for kids (or nieces and a nephew in my case) is that you can buy ahead of time for them, when there is a good price. I would give you examples...but I don't want to ruin the surprise for their parents in case they are reading this.

I think we need to start an anti-black friday shopping movement. It's out of control.

I think the best thing we can do is to refuse to go shopping on Thanksgiving, don't give in to the fake deals on Friday (unless you are first in line, you aren't getting that great deal anyway...and most of the time you can find a better deal throughout the year!) and go shopping on Saturday at local businesses only.

Small business Saturday!

But what I would really like to see is people buying less "stuff".  Get one nice gift per person. Or maybe nothing at all. Honestly, I would prefer nothing or a box of my favorite cookies or candy versus something that someone bought "just to buy me something".

People need to do things together, spend time together.  Experiences and memories versus material things. Donate money to charity instead, or do something nice for people. I would rather spend time with you than receive a gift.

Can I start an anti-Black Friday movement?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

My Last Politics Post (for now)

Even though all of this happened back in October...I waited to tell the story.

I wanted you to know where I was coming from politically before I told a really cool story.

It's the story of how Zoe got to meet the President. I didn't want you to think that this story influenced my voting decisions. I knew who I was voting for prior to this story.

President Obama was coming to our city to do some campaigning. It just so happened that he was going to one of the middle schools that I help support (I work in the IT department).

I was lucky enough to score some VIP tickets which put us right up front for all the action. It was a very long day, but well worth the wait, we had a great view, listened to some great speakers and we got a nice concert from James Taylor too!

After the President finished speaking, he came down to shake hands with the crowd and everyone who was behind us started pushing forward. We had started out maybe 3-4 people back from the front but then we were pushed to almost the front.

And this is when Zoe decided she had had enough. She didn't want to be there, she wanted to be put down and she was letting us all know it. She started crying...and started getting hysterical when I wouldn't put her down. (I couldn't, she would have been trampled).

At this point it was too late to try and leave, we were packed in and no one would move so I could get Zoe out of there. I couldn't go backwards, forwards or sideways. I asked everyone around me so I could try and get out of there, only one or two gentleman helped me out. (yes ladies...you didn't move. I'll remember your bleach blonde hair and how rude you were to me when I asked you to move so I could get my screaming baby out of there.) Anthony was behind me trying to keep the crowds off of me...he was literally holding people back from shoving.  Everyone wanted a chance to shake the President's hand.

So when we were stuck, we just stayed there and I tried to soothe Zoe. Then the President reached our area and he saw Zoe crying, and he asked "What's the baby's name? Is she okay?" and I responded that her name was Zoe and she was upset that we were being squished.

And the President asked everyone to back off because he didn't want Zoe to get squished.

Immediately the crowd behind me backed off and we had breathing room, he then asked if we were okay and thanked us for coming out.

I'm just happy that when the President asked them to do something, the crowd did it. It probably didn't hurt that there were two Secret Service guys on either side of him also asking them to back off.

When all was said and done, we were walking back to the car and Anthony said to me, "So, did you shake his hand?" and I said "You know what? I have no idea."

I was so worried about Zoe and I was freaking out because she was freaking out, that the whole thing was just a blur.

Lucky for me, Anthony had my phone...and he was trying to take pictures, but instead was taking videos by accident.  So check it out...Zoe (and me I guess...haha) got to meet the President. Listen carefully and you will hear him say her name. :)

video

No matter how this election turns out tonight...thank you for reading my blog. I hope that I helped you in coming to some decisions about who you ultimately voted for or that I helped you find some much needed information.

And with that...have a good night. I'll find something "lighter" to write about later this week.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Politics - Who I Am Voting For

I previously wrote about who I am NOT voting for and I have many more reasons than what I wrote about last week but I am also not the most eloquent of writers...in fact, I'm not a writer, so I found a few more articles that say it better than me. They are long, but worthy of a read if you can take the time.

The Case Against Romney - http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/10/case-against-romney.html

The Romney-Ryan Media Blackout - http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/11/04/the-romney-ryan-media-blackout/  (What are they so afraid of? Why aren't they giving interviews?)

His flip-flopping:

And one last blog. I found this blogger says it much better than me...
http://4quarters10dimes.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-i-will-not-be-voting-republican-for.html

And this is why I want a third party (or fourth or fifth) when choosing our President. I am so disenchanted with our current two party system. My number one choice for President is Gary Johnson.

I would like nothing more than to see the Libertarian Party get the votes they need to have a real opportunity (and a fair and equal opportunity) for the Presidential bid in 2016.

BUT.  I live in a swing state. While I don't think any state is guaranteed to go one way or another, I know my vote can't be "wasted". I don't think a vote for any candidate you believe in is wasted, so I don't believe I would be wasting my vote for Gary Johnson. But I do think he can't win, so I am voting for my second choice.

I am voting for Barack Obama.
The Case for Obama - http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/10/barack-obama-is-a-great-president-yes-great.html

This sign is in my front yard...yes, we are proud to have an annoyingly large sign in our yard.
And speaking of annoying...you guys sick of all the advertisements (tv, radio, in your mailbox, phone calls, people coming to your door) yet?

I'm so happy that I have websites like factcheck.org to help me sort through all the lies and bull-crap.
I heard an ad on the radio this morning about Obama racking up trillions in debt. So I fact checked it. This link also includes an Obama ad that was misleading as well.
 http://factcheck.org/2012/09/romney-obama-court-moms-distort-facts/

These ads were specifically targeted at me, so I felt the need to research it for myself.
Please remember to educate yourself before going to the polls tomorrow.

And one last thing for you....
That's the back of Zoe's head and my hair....I'll tell the story to anyone who wants to listen (or read).
Leave a comment (did you know that you can leave anonymous comments?) asking me to tell the story and I will!

Until tomorrow...I promise tomorrow will be the end of my political postings for a long time.
I'll then move on to more everyday life topics and silly things.

Yes, I'll post something silly later this week. I think we could all use a little silly once in a while.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Politics - Who I Won't Vote For

Growing up, I never knew who my parents were voting for. To this day, I still don't know who they vote for. I have a feeling it's because they have opposing views. My parents would talk about work and debate different work issues...but I never heard them discuss politics or debate social issues.

Instead, my parents focused on teaching us right from wrong. They taught us not to judge or discriminate. They taught us to be fair and open-minded. They also taught us to work hard and do the right thing. I think they did a decent job raising two smart, independent, tolerant and hard-working women. I'm really proud of how I was raised and I hope to do the same with my daughter. I realize that with this election I have not exactly been doing what my parents did before me.
After this week, I will try harder. I never want my daughter to feel that she has to vote the same as me. If I raise her right, she will vote for who she thinks is best, based upon the moral center that we will have raised her with.

So this is where my social and political views come from. I do have "opposing" Democrat and Republican view points. But that is because I wasn't raised to be one side or the other. I was raised to know right from wrong.  (And I know...there are lots of gray areas...another thing my parents worked on.)

So where do I stand with our choices for President?

I will start by explaining my bottom two choices. Don't you wish we could just put in a number in order of who we would prefer? Instead of picking one, how about here is my first choice, second choice etc?  And I think that the "2nd place" person should be VP instead of a running mate, that would make for some interesting politics hmmm?

First up...Virgil H. Goode, Jr. Who? That's right...you don't know who he is.
Please see my post from earlier this week.
I started with his website to find out who he was and I read his "Issues" page. I do like some of his ideas but he lost me at a few points. Plus no one knows who he is, he has no chance. No vote.

Next up...Mitt Romney. Oh, you know this guy? Or maybe you think you do...it's hard to tell. He does tend to change his mind on where he stands on "the issues".  But I'm not going to discuss every single reason why I won't vote for him. Instead I will pick two. If you want to discuss more, feel free to chime in in the comments section.
First up (here is a snapshot from his website):
Now in theory, this looks pretty good. I agree, the federal government has no business dealing with this. I like that Mitt Romney wants to send most of these decisions down to the state level. (Don't like your state's laws, pick a new one! Sweet...it's like moving to Canada like everyone keeps threatening to do whenever a President gets elected that they don't like! ha!)
But my problem with them picking on Planned Parenthood is that this group does so much more than provide abortions. They help with cancer screenings, birth control, mammograms and actual family planning...you know, like planning to become a parent. :) Pulling funding from this group because you don't like one thing that they do is applying your personal belief on something that is none of your business.

Next: (another snapshot from his website)


I definitely take issue with this. If he had stopped and said "the states should decide", then I could maybe tolerate his non-tolerant view points. But to me this level of discrimination is just as wrong as saying a black person and a white person can't get married.

If it's not okay to discriminate against someone getting a job based upon their sexual orientation or preference...then why is it okay to discriminate against them from wanting to get married?

This to me says that he is discriminatory (where does he stop...just with women not being allowed to make their own decisions about their bodies? or gay people not getting to have the same rights to marry (and divorce!) who they want?) and that he cannot make fair or unbiased decisions.
Nevermind the fact that he has completely flip-flopped on these issues, most particularly when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts.

I just can't trust him. I voted for him you know...when he ran for MA. Back when he supported gay rights. I agreed that we needed more business-like minded individuals (maybe an accountant..can an accountant run for President please?) and less politicians.

Mitt Romney - You do not get my vote.  I cannot trust you, I cannot believe you.

And I cannot look at my daughter and vote for someone who discriminates. What if my daughter runs into trouble someday and needs to make a difficult choice. What if my daughter grows up to be gay?
I think voting for Mitt Romney sends him a message that it's okay to discriminate...and that's not right.

I want to bring attention to one last thing. The last sentence in my first snapshot from Mitt Romney's website:
And he will nominate judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the law.
This sentence sits six paragraphs above the second snapshot from his website. I don't think Mitt Romney knows the difference between personal opinion and the law, since he wants to put his constantly changing personal opinion into our Constitution.

I cannot vote for Mitt Romney or Virgil H. Goode, Jr. It just sends the wrong message.
Discrimination is NOT okay.

Politics - We Need a Break

It's Friday...we need a break.

Anyone else annoyed by all the campaign donation requests this week?
If we have any extra cash, I say you donate it to the hurricane victims.
Here's a link for you:
https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod10002

And because you need a break....remember when I blogged about this politician?
I like this guy for multiple reasons and this campaign ad makes me like him even more:


Don't worry, I'll be back to posting this weekend...and Monday and Tuesday. 
Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Politics - Who do I want for President?


I have had a few comments and grumblings about this week's blog posts. I'll go back to non-political talk soon, I promise. A few people even told me they aren't bothering to read them.  :(

Well, that's kind of my point. We blindly vote without reading and educating ourselves about what is going on....probably because we are sick of talking about it, arguing about it and feel like our votes don't make a difference and all politicians lie.

Well, that's depressing. And possibly true.

But that's why we need to take a more active role.

My sister also pointed out that most people don't have or won't take the time to go read the candidates websites. Good point I thought. She suggested that instead I give you links to some political quizzes to help you learn about which candidate might be closest to your way of thinking.

I also thought that was a good idea because I'm not trying to convince you to vote for a particular candidate. I know that I can't change your mind. If you know who you want to vote for, nothing I say or do can convince you otherwise.
Here are the quizzes: 
 
These quizzes are two of the three that my family was debating about a while back. (We have a family website where we keep in touch...yes, I come from family of computer nerds. Quite proud of that thank you very much! :)) The third test I felt was too leading and thought that the goal was to try and convince you that you were a Libertarian. So I didn't put that one here. If you know of any good ones, please feel free to share in the comments.

And one last website for you to do your fact checking:

So after reading the candidates websites, doing my own fact checking and using all the resources I have given you:

Who do I want to vote for?

The candidate who most closely resembles what I want and what I believe in is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. I have known for a long time that my views were mostly Libertarian. I have been disenchanted with our two-party system ever since I was old enough to vote and realized I didn't "love" either choice. I had always thought I was a Democrat and I had a former boss tell me I was probably Republican and didn't know it. When I did my research, I discovered I was Libertarian and more often than not, these candidates fit my same political beliefs.

But take a moment and notice the phrase "Who do I want to vote for?".  There is an emphasis here on who I WANT to vote for. But who WILL I vote for?  Come back tomorrow to read who I will vote for and why I will or won't vote for a candidate.

Remember, I don't want to change your vote, I just want you to know who you are voting for. But I welcome debate and discussion in the comments. (And suggestions to more places to get more information!)