Monday, August 31, 2009

Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Helps Us Get Ready For A New School Year

Thanks to Mom Central, I heard about a new website called Mom's Homeroom.

My son begins full day Kindergarten in 11 days and I am beyond nervous about it. Beside things being different than originally told at orientation (saving for another post), it is just such a long day 8:50 - 3:20. My poor baby's life is about to change and he has no idea.

Getting our kids ready for hopefully, another successful year at school means doing our homework. As mom's we want our children to succeed, learn, be healthy, have fun, (go ahead and add to this list if you like) and more. Kellogg's knows how hard our job is and have created MSM's Mom's Homeroom.

They have taken four Moms from diverse backgrounds: a teacher, a psychiatrist, a former marketing coordinator, and an obstetrician/gynecologist. The Moms participate in online discussions and post unscripted videos of their views on helping kids succeed academically.

Personally, I love videos. It is like watching the View but on topics that matter to ME! The women sit and discuss everything from food, schedules, friends, communication, shopping for school supplies and more. Beside the moms, there are therapists, teachers, nutritionists and others giving us the motivation and knowledge we need to do the best for our children.

As a helicopter, hands on, referee mom, I learned that letting my child handle situations on their own (as much as it might break my heart), that I am doing them a disservice to step in.

This is a great site and I just added it to my favorites and daily stops.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

The Simple Women's Daybook - Aug 31, 2009

For today…August 31, 2009
Outside my window…it is gray and dark. Where is the sun? School starts in 2 days and I want to do outdoor things with the kids.

I am hearing…My kids argue and fight over a blanket.

I am remembering…How much I love them and how they are just loud. There is really nothing going on but all that noise makes me want to scream. It sounds worse than what is happening. We are in the same room so I can see them. Thankfully I know that the bloody screaming is just for effect.

I am thankful for…My husband, my friends and my family. My girlfriend came back from Florida and My niece from California and they both got me stones for my jewelry making. Got to love it when people think of you just because.

Around the house…I have laundry and more laundry

I am reading…Light up Your Child's Mind by Renzulli, Reis, and Thompson

I am hoping…To take the kids to the zoo tomorrow. I took them last year before school and hope to make this our yearly tradition. Pray the weather holds up.

From the learning rooms…sometimes we have to let our children make mistakes. Letting go is the hardest part about my child starting Kindergarten.

From the kitchen…I make some fantastic, semi-homemade pizza.
One of my favorite things…Having a meaningful conversation with my husband when we both feel we were heard. Watching True Blood and sitting on the edge of my seat. Ummm..can I get a witness???

A few plans for the rest of the week…Getting both kids and myself acclimated to a school schedule and finally making time for myself with the 15 hours of alone time a week I am going to get this year.

A picture to share…I love when my two get along. It warms my heart to see them working together to achieve a goal. I also love when she asks him for help or vice versa.

Blue Monday - The Park Is Full Of Fun Shapes

Join Smiling Sally for a Blue Monday here.

At the park on Friday, I searched out specific colors for this weeks colorful memes. The weeping willows, the green of the grass and trees, the blue of the spiral are so cheerful.

Monochrome Monday - The Weeping Willow

Isn't there something magical about a weeping willow. In the color photos I took of the willow tree, it looks almost like a watercolor. The softness is tranquil. Love it! Join Aileni's meme over at the Monochrome Weekly Theme.

Self Portrait Sunday on Monday

I really used to look forward to posting my Self Portrait Sunday but after over 2 months of it and no hangers on, wasn't as fanatical about getting my post up. I guess I just lost steam.

Until, Lorie from The Shewbridges of Celebration, Fl started playing along. She brought new life into my very lonely meme. Thanks Lorie.

I got to speak to Lorie the other day on the phone and she is as nice as she comes across in her posts and her smiling pictures. Isn't it weird how women who have never actually spoken can talk about almost anything? I love the wonderful qualities of female relationships. Men have no idea the uniqueness that surrounds women. We are open hearted and let others in. We care deeply about people we have never met or sometimes have never even talked to.

Thanks to Lorie, I am putting up a picture of me and one of my bestest friends. She is caring, friendly, funny, crazy, sensitive, warm, loving, and silly. Please meet my friend Clarissa. She is always excited for me when something good happens and always listens when I need an ear. I have a lot of female friends who fall into the same category but there is something with Clarissa and I that is more than just friendship. We are like family and that is a rare find.

This is one of my favorite friend photos. I have a lot of photos with my girlfriends but they are all so staged. I think it shows how close and silly we are.

Let's discuss the reason I started Self Portrait Sunday. You look through your photo albums or computer folders and see very few photos of yourself. Maybe it is because, like me, you are usually behind the camera. Or maybe, it's because you never feel you look good in photos so you tell everyone, "don't take any of me."

Join me, putting up your self portrait shots every Sunday. There is only one rule. Link back to me so I can come visit you. I would really love seeing some participants so come and play.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

Headed out to the park early in the morning for some alone time with the kids. We have the park to ourselves if we go before 10:00 a.m. I guess there are a bunch of late sleepers in my area.

I grabbed these specifically for Mellow Yellow Monday.

Street Angel - Earring Giveaway #3

This should have been up last Thursday, but the whole school starting in a few days has thrown me off my game.

This week Street Angel is giving away a pair of earrings called Rose Bud.

These earrings are so feminine and pretty. I love this accent pink bead in the middle. This was also the first pair that I tried my hand at twisting the wire. I love these and especially love how they look with the pastel colors on my angel.

So, how do you enter?

How to Enter: Fill out the form below. Head over to Street Angel and look around, let me know what you would love to find there that isn't there now. (If this rule is not followed you will be disqualified). US Only!

Deadline: September 11, 2009 by Midnight

Do You Want More Entries? Please put each extra entry in a separate comment. You will get more entries that way.

* Blog about this contest and link back to me (provide the link in the comment) for
two extra entries - Leave each in a separate comment (that would be two comments).

*Favorite Street Angel on Etsy

*Make a purchase from Street Angel and get Five extra entries - each entry should be separate.

*Add my URL to your blogroll and provide the link

*Follow me on Twitter , Tweet this:

RT- Earring Giveaway at Maria's Space for Street Angel on Etsy-

* Email 2 friends, CC'ing me (

*Become a fan of Maria's Space on Facebook

*Subscribe to Chotskies my other blog

* Post my button on your sidebar


A winner will be chosen by and notified within 2 days. You will have 3 days to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

Zhu Zhu Pets Rocked The House

Thanks to Mom Select, I had an opportunity to review a new toy called Zhu Zhu Pets.
Zhu Zhu Pets are fun, interactive hamsters that talk, move and even navigate their way around their own habitat. There are dozens of add-on sets so your child can create a custom world for their new friend. We're sure you'll be as amazed as we were at the sheer cuteness of Zhu Zhu Pets! Watch this adorable video to see for yourself.

My kids and I had never heard of them, however some of my friends where talking about the commercials and were excited when I signed up for this campaign.

Within a day of getting the pets, I made phone calls and invited 9 kids over for the very next day. I had no idea how easy it would be to get that many kids in a few hours notice but if you say toys, they will come. Oh and add pizza and mom's are ready to make the trip. I love my friends.

What did everyone think about these easy to take care of, hamsters?

Lets ask Katie, age 9

Rookie, age 5.5 says

Handsome, my son age 6 was a bit distracted but talked about how we got him in the mail.

After the kids played we had pizza on the deck. While the kids stayed on the deck playing on the bikes, I headed inside to see a bunch of moms playing.

The day before the guests came, my kids were allowed to pick their pets. They choose the same color even though we had several to choose from. I hot glued a little bow from my craft box to each and decided that I would let everyone at the party open theirs and pick a bow. This way while the pets ran around the habitrail, everyone would know whose was whose. You could write on the bottom but then you would have to remove them from the habitrail to check. Good idea huh?

My daughter Goddess was in love from the moment she opened her box and walked around all day saying, "Handsome, we have a pet now." Cuuuteee.

In a Nutshell: The Zhu Zhu Pets Rocked! They are the best pet ever. Cute, lovable, easy to take care of, no smelly cage, or tons of pink babies. No squeaky wheel in the middle of the night and no reason to buy food. Love it! They are quite smart! They run around the habitrail making noises when they enter certain areas. Each pet is equipped with something that interacts with the tracks of the habitrail. They turn, scamper, react to their environment and make sweet sounds.

The only problem I had with the entire habitrail set up is that it took me, 1.5 hours to put together. That could be because I had two kids, using and taking pieces as I tried to put them together. The other negative factor that the moms and I had, was that the garage top comes off every time a kid touched it and that this piece in particular
needs another pole at the highest part of the slide because if it isn't locked 100% into place the hamster has a hard time getting up to the top. We also wish that once he gets to the bottom of the loopy slide, he headed back into the habitrail instead of nowhere. We had to search for a few runaway hamsters who headed down the slide only to run under a table like a real hamster would.

At the party a few moms went to the website to find out where the hamsters are being sold and found out that they were currently sold out. I spoke to a mom today who was heading to Walmart to see if she could find some Zhu Zhu Pet pieces. Every mom at the party wants to build on the habitrail and felt that this would make a great Christmas gift. I am thinking of eventually donating my habitat to my daughter's preschool. This is a great idea for a classroom pet. We hope to get some more hamsters, a carrying case and some clothes. Some of the older girls 9-11 were talking about starting a Zhu Zhu pet collection and their moms were on board to help them.

It is my belief that the makers of Zhu Zhu pets have a great toy on their hands and hopefully will continue to grow the line as more and more consumers become aware of it.

BTW..The hamster you are trying to win is light brown and is named Mr. Squiggles.

So, how do you enter?

How to Enter: Fill out the form below. Answer this question, what pet does your child beg for? No children, what pet did you beg your family for when you were growing up. (If this rule is not followed you will be disqualified). US Only!
Deadline: September 10, 2009 by Midnight
Do You Want More Entries? Please put each extra entry in a separate comment. You will get more entries that way.
* Blog about this contest and link back to me (provide the link in the comment) for
two extra entries - Leave each in a separate comment (that would be two comments).

Add my URL to your blogroll and provide the link

*Follow me on Twitter , Tweet this:
RT @ reesspace - Enter To Win A Zhu Zhu Pet at Maria's Space and leave the link.

* Email 2 friends,
CC'ing me (

*Become a fan of Maria's Space on Facebook

*Subscribe to Chotskies my other blog

* Post my button on your sidebar


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Winner of My First Street Angel Giveaway

True Random Number Service

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-08-29 19:40:15 UTC

Congratulations to Tricia. You are the recipient of the Gila Earrings on my Etsy shop, Street Angel. Thanks to the 107 people who entered the contest, there should have been another one up on Thursday but of course I am a bit behind. It will hopefully go up before the weekend ends.

Tricia, I am emailing you now.

Mails Here - The Life of A Review Blogger

Can you even imagine?

All this stuff came in between Tuesday and Today. Thankfully I am pretty organized because it all needs to be reviewed, discussed and written up.

Wish me luck.

Delight Your Day Gift Pack Giveaway

Wrap Yourself In A Guilty Pleasure With Help From Yoplait

Monday I headed out to the Supermarket with my kids and started our school lunch preparation shopping. We were in the yogurt aisle because my kids are yogurtaholics (not really, they are very specific in their brand and their flavor which is the one that is always sold out thanks to us. We go through about (6) 4 packs a week. They won't eat anything but). Oh yeah, where was I?

Anywhooo, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this...and this...

Ummm...Yoplait Delights! Does that say 100 calories per serving? Does that look delish or what? It says 100 calories and heck yeah it looks delish. I picture me, with my little demitasse spoon, enjoying each yummy spoonful.

So, I buy the two 6 packs and head out. The first flavor to call me was while I was watching General Hospital was the raspberry. I grabbed my tiny demi spoon and headed inside to watch GH with my treat.

From the first bite I had to keep reminding myself that just because it said 100 calories per wasn't an OK to eat a second one.

Did you know?
  • Nearly nine out of 10 women experience a mid-day craving and have the urge to snack
  • Eighty-three percent of women admit they sometimes feel guilty when cravings take over and they reach for sweets
Well, three days later and I have 4 yoplaits left. They are good and I am unwilling to share them with the kids even though I wish they would expand their palate.

Anyway, today I received a box from a campaign I joined from MyBlogSpark.

This box has a coupon for a free pack of Yoplait Delights and came with a bunch of treasure to contribute to the indulgent.Cute right? Slippers, a robe, eye mask and Yoplait Delights.

Yoplait Delights come in four tempting flavor combinations Chocolate Raspberry, Triple Berry Creme, Lemon Torte and Creme Caramel - creamy Yoplait Delight is the perfect everyday treat. Right now you can also download a $1.25 off coupon for Yoplait Delights Parfait at:

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark has given me a Delight Your Day Gift Pack to give away to one of my readers.

So, how do you enter?
How to Enter: Fill out the form below. Answer this question, What are some of your favorite enjoyable treats? (If this rule is not followed you will be disqualified). US Only!

Deadline: September 9, 2009 by Midnight

Do You Want More Entries? Please put each extra entry in a separate comment. You will get more entries that way.
* Blog about this contest and link back to me (provide the link in the comment) for two extra entries - Leave each in a separate comment (that would be two comments).

*Add my URL to your blogroll and provide the link

*Follow me on Twitter , Tweet this and leave the link.

* Email 2 friends, CC'ing me (

*Become a fan of Maria's Space on Facebook

*Subscribe to Chotskies my other blog

* Post my button on your sidebar


A winner will be chosen by and notified within 2 days. You will have 3 days to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

I received no payment to write this review. I was given the product for free to conduct my review. The words are all mine and I was not forced or asked to write anything you read here. In my opinion, a blogger review is the equivalent of me talking to my friends and family in my daily life, about a product I either love or don’t. All the opinions throughout my posts are strictly my own.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Color Carnival - Colorful Tubes

On a gray, rainy day, head over to Color Carnival for a pick me up.
While at the beach this week I noticed this stack my kids had set up while they played in the sand. I had to catch this for Color Carnival.

Veggie Tales - A Lesson in Confidence

"This post was written for Family Review Network as part of a program for Big Idea, who supplied the DVD for review."

We received a copy of this DVD and I am so glad we were given the opportunity to review this. I have always liked Veggie Tales and the lessons the provide for kids on each episode.

This one was about confidence.

Larry the Cucumber is Minnesota Cuke, a children's museum curator and part-time detective hired to find the famous Noah's Ark. But his search gets complicated when he learns of Noah's mysterious and powerful umbrella ... and a clever villain who wants it for his own selfish gain! Will Minnesota find the confidence to continue the search, face the villain and protect the umbrella -- or will all hope of finding the Ark be washed away for good?
My daughter loved it! We watched it with her newest stuffed animal buddy. In fact as soon as I am done typing this, we are going to watch it again.

To see the movie trailer head over here

For more on Veggie Tales head over here.

Music for the Whole Family

As part of a One2One Compaign, I received a copy of Kenny Loggins newest family CD on Walt Disney Records. I had some friends over yesterday and everyone picked it up to comment on Kenny.

"Kenny Loggins, Danger Zone, right? Kenny is still recording? Didn't he sing Footloose?"

Yes, yes, and yes, that is all Kenny Loggins. Who can listen to either of those songs and not want to get up and dance.

We gave the new CD a listen and everyone enjoyed it. Kenny Loggins has dedicated himself to recording music for children. Did you guys know he has had the best selling children's album for the last 20 years with "Return to Pooh Corner?

On this particular CD, Kenny is singing songs that children will enjoy and adults will be able to sing along with. He does the Beatles, "All Together Now and Two of Us." BTW...I love All Together Now especially with kids singing it. He also does You've got a Friend In Me". Who doesn't love this song. It really is a sweet, fun, great song for kids and adults.

Check out
Kenny Loggins - Underneath The Same Sky (Music Video)

Saving Ben, A Father's Story of Autism

I have removed my Amateur Book Review title in response to two awesome commenter's. Thank you ladies!

The beginning of the month I received a book called Saving Ben, A Father's Story of Autism by Dan E. Burns.

Right after I post, I will email Dan to thank him for having UNT send the book to me.

Ben, was born in August 1987 and is now 21 years old as of this book release.

Saving Ben was mostly written from entries of a diary his father, Dan Burns kept while trying to understand, then work through the eventual limitations and teachings of his son.

As a mother whose son has been in various services from age 2, it was a harrowing reminder as to just how lucky I was to have a child born into a world, who believes in early detection and intervention.

Dan has spent the past 21 year making sure that Ben is the best Ben he can be. As a "work in progress" Ben has made tremendous strides thanks in part to his father's never ending research, teachings and love.

What I appreciated most about this book beside the fact that I will always wonder how Ben and Dan are doing, is that Dan is brutally real in this book. Writing about his own short comings, set backs and failures is very brave. What parent doesn't lose their cool, or want to just run from it all? Dan is an amazing father. He is the kind of father we would all want for our children. I am of the belief that there is a reason for everything. Ben and Dan are the perfect of combination of love, respect, faith and perseverance.

Read Saving Ben, and find out how one father's love saved his son from the strait jacket of autism. With limited support and a ton of road blocks, Dan and a team of therapists that he hired, a strict diet regimen and more, Ben is living a full life.

Kudos to Dan Burns for loving as deeply as he does.

Back To School Supplies

I have been looking for a computer lately. My son is 6 and is very interested in doing things on the computer because the library has one and his preschool had one. The only problem is my laptop is old in the world of computers and it is "my baby". If he does something to my laptop, I would be crushed. Our desktop died about a year ago and we need something for him to use. I need something reasonably priced, fast, big enough to store everything he wants to play with and has all the bells and whistles needed for a tech savvy family.

This one over at B&H caught my one. The first reason is the price, $459.95. Nice! That is a doeable price. The second is that it is easy to use and looks good!

Great pick for school kids, college students or a family that needs a second computer. Click here to find out more about this laptop.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ABC Wednesday - F

This week my submission for ABC Wednesday brings you Funny Faces!

Buzz, Buzz, I have Something To Tell You

Dear Readers,

Thanks to Mom Central, I heard about a web-based program called BrainFuel – designed to maximize our children's learning potential.

Upon entering the main page of Brain Fuel you come to 4 different options: Brain Food, Brain Health, Brain Games, and Brain Forum. Brain Fuel came at just the right time. A lot of my friends and I have had discussion last week about who does and who doesn't spend time in the summer doing school work with kids. Personally, I do. I think kids do get summer amnesia and need to keep training the brain. We play "Mommy School" in my house almost 3 days a week. It used to be everyday but that was before the kids started school.

Kids want to learn and they want your time. So spending time with them teaching them something isn't school to them. It is getting YOUR time which is what matters to most kids.

The first place I headed was Brain Games. The games are from Lumosity and promote:

- Quicker thinking
- Improved memory
- Increased alertness
- Elevated mood
- Better concentration

I love playing computer games and thought this was be a good place to start. I played the Word Bubble game which I think is a great game for kids above the age of 9.

Besides the game section, Brain Fuel, provides Moms with some great information about meals, exercise, brain facts, and much more. All the information is laid out in a fun and easy way to read. Have questions? Check out the forum where parents get a chance to discuss what works and what doesn't with our kids this school year.

Brain Fuel was created by California Innovations, a company that believes in producing innovative products with integrity. Check out their awesome insulated lunch bags and diaper bags.

Oh and before I leave you, when you head over to Brain Fuel's main page, enter to win $30,000 and more (it's at the corner of the page on the right side.)

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of BrainFuel and received an insulated lunch bag from California Innovations to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goddess Has Something To Say About Heaven

Today while driving, Goddess had another one of her profound moments. They happen so often that I stopped counting.

This one went something like this....

"if those motorcycle guys don't wear helmets they could fall off they bike and hurt their noggins. Then they would go to heaven with God. I think God and angels are above the clouds in a space ship, traveling in outer space."

I don't know about you guys but I saw knowing with Nicholas Cage and Ummm....

Scooby Fan Reward

If you are or have a Scooby Doo fan at home I have something to tell you about. Ever hear of Zoinks Points? Neither did I, up until a few days ago.

When a loyal Scooby fan purchases a Scooby product games, toys, DVD, or game system games (Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray and DVD release, Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Scooby-Doo! First Frights videogame on the Wii™, Nintendo DS™ and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, both of which are scheduled to release on September 22, 2009.) and more they will now receive an added bonus, a code on the product that will be redeemable for free content like games, printables, videos and more only accessible at

As you add more points you unlock more stuff. The folks over at Warner Brothers want you to experience Zoinks Points and have provided a special code for you. When you get on the main page enter code Scoobyfan.

Below are just some of the items that contain coding to get you Zoinks Points. If you are going to buy the item anyway, why not get a reward? My daughter loves Scooby and we have purchased books, DVD's and most recently the Mystery Fan, beside Scooby macaroni and cheese that would brought in quite a few ZoinksPoints.

If you have a Scooby Fan, ZoinksPoints is the perfect website for them. Beside getting free stuff by putting in your codes. You will find Scooby products that you had no idea existed. I found two things that my daughter would flip for. I am putting them on her Christmas list this year.

Are Ideas For School Lunch Giving You A Headache?

School starts in 9 days and one of my biggest concerns beside the very long day for my son is lunch. He is a very picky eater and his food likes change all the time.

There was a time when I thought this would not be a problem. There were options. He liked a variety of things. Now, he likes nothing. Bread, cheese, but not together, blue berry yogurt but only a certain kind, crackers and Milano cookies. That is pretty much it!

Sounds boring! I couldn't eat the same thing every day and neither can most people. Kids love variety and mom's have started taking short cuts to make life easier but want healthy choices. Oscar Meyer is listening and have created Lunchables. Yeah I know they have been around forever but these are different. The new Lunchables come with water, healthy snacks and less sodium.

The ham and cheese comes with ham, Kraft 2% American and bread made with whole grain. It's a great lunchtime option that comes with Sugar-Free Jell-O, Chewy Chips Ahoy! Cookies, spring water and Tropical Punch Kool-Aid Singles. Sounds good to me. Everything your kid needs in one complete package.

Lunchables (New)

· First-ever sub sandwich

· Turkey made with 100% turkey breast: a good source of protein

· Bread made with whole grain

· Kraft 2% cheddar: an excellent source of calcium

· Applesauce

· Dessert like Chewy Chips Ahoy! Cookies and Mini Nilla Wafers

The one my son liked was the Cheese Pizza. It's a Deep Dish Pizza, made with Kraft 2% Mozzarella and 2% Cheddar, deep dish crust made with whole grain, Tombstone Pizza Sauce, Tree Top® Applesauce, Mini Nilla Wafers, spring water and Tropical Punch Kool-Aid Singles.

I preferred the Turkey, Cheddar sub sandwich. It was big enough to fill you up and the Mini Nilla Wafers were just enough sweet to make me feel I had a complete lunch.

The new lunchables come in 6 varieties and with less sodium and water, this mom won't be afraid to give this easy lunch idea to her first born.

For more information, check out the website, see the nutritional value, and get some lunch ideas. Life is busy enough, why stress over what to send for lunch?

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central on behalf of Oscar Mayer Lunchables and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Christmas In August

Today was Christmas at Maria's House.

Back in the beginning of July I was offered the opportunity to review a new toy coming out in August.

Today, a huge box arrived on my doorstep and my kids freaked when I told them that I was for them and their friends.

More on this at a later time because along with the review post and a giveaway I will also be throwing a party with the toy to add to the review.

Upon opening all these yellow boxes my daughter was beside herself and totally in love with her new toy! I can't wait to show you guys the video.

The next box that arrived was from Warner Brothers and was chock full of Scooby Doo stuff. If you don't remember, here is the post, but my 4 year old daughter is the hugest Scooby Doo fan. Every movie she watches is Scooby, her dolls are all named for characters associated with Scooby and she takes her Scooby everywhere. So this box was like icing on her already Christmas cake. This box is like a box from Heaven as far as she is concerned.

More on these products, sponsors and reviews later.

Come on look at the happiness on that face! Cuuuuteee!

Amateur Book Review - A Change In Altitude

I received this book from Hachette Book Group and love the cover. My girlfriends who came over for coffee and love looking through my pile of books also were drawn to the cover. But a cover is just a cover, would the book satisfy?

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve.

In a Nutshell: This was a great book, not a good book. Patrick and Margaret are very different as are most relationships. The parallels are interesting Patrick is a doctor and humanitarian and Margaret is a photographer yet it is Margaret who ends up being the humanitarian throughout the book while Patrick is a workaholic. There is one scene that actually stopped by heart which is probably what the author was going for. The description above talks about a horrific accident that occurs on the expedition. That scene was so nerve racking that I had to read it two times because I felt as if I was seeing it and had to remind myself that this was a character in a book not a friend of mine who parishes. Anita Shreve is a fabulous author and has brought us the literature classics "Out of Africa" and "The Pilot's Wife" which were made into movies. Is there a movie in the works for this one. Only time will tell but I suggest Rachel McAdams and Ryan Phillippe as the main characters.

Teaser Tuesday - #1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read - Saving Ben by Dan E. Burns
  • Open to a random page - Pg 74 - the page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - No! No! No! No! I yell as loudly as I can. Ben's eyes widened, his mouth closed, arrested in mid-scream
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism by Dan E. Brown. (Review will be up before Monday).

Winner of the Fairy Godmother Prize Pack

This prize pack is amazing. When I received mine in the mail I was thrilled and surprised with how much fun, girly stuff there was in there.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-08-25 13:10:56 UTC

The winner is Chris from What Gives whose entry for following me on Twitter won.

I am emailing you now.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

Take Me Back Tuesday

What a fabulous idea. A Giveaway Addicted Mommy started this meme!

She says:
How do you play along?
We all have tons of photos from the days before the digital camera. I figure if I just scan a few each week, eventually I will get them all safely into my computer. But you don't need to scanner to participate - Just find a photo that takes you back to another time.

My first submission:

Circa, 1970. This is my sister and I in our yearly leaf pile jump. I am the one holding the cat who I think was named either Piewacket or Ashes. We had a ton of animals when I was growing up. We are only 11 months apart and mom always dressed us alike.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday & Ruby Tuesday, Perfect Together

My kids couldn't get out of this seat quick enough. I couldn't get them to both look at me in the 2 minutes it took me to take at least 25 photos this being the closest to them looking at me. Damn kids!

Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday and there but beauty today. It is amazing outside and I am trying to keep myself focused on the task which is making sure my kids enjoy their last days of freedom before school starts.

We are heading down to the lake today to dip a toe or hopefully more. It rained like crazy this weekend, so it is hard to say what we will find when we get down there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Amateur Book Review - Halfway to Each Other by Susan Pohlman

I received an advanced, uncorrected proof this book from an amazing publicist at Phenix & Phenix Literary.

This is a true story about Susan and her 6'5" husband Jim who were on the brink of separation. Susan has felt empty, lonely and disillusioned for years. Just as she is about to break the news to her husband on the last day of a business trip in Italy, he says that he thinks
it would be amazing to live there.

Two months later their, house is sold, their belongings are in storage and they are heading to Italy.

They lease an apartment, find the kids a school, learn to speak Italian, make friends immediately and find out that sometimes less is more.

Susan and her husband notice the changes in the children quickly. With no TV, radio, cell phones, computers and friends, the start looking for each other to talk, play cards and play together. Susan and her husband, spend their days, cooking, shopping, playing and riding a Vespa around Italy.

Susan's new friend's show them that just being, singing with abandon, dancing, sharing a glass of wine and spending time together are what matters. She starts to look at what really matters, Tim, and her two children. She finds out that living the unexpected life in Italy was like "finding the fountain of youth."

I highly recommend this book. Most marriages suffer after years. We feel unfulfilled, unloved, unmotivated, uninspired and we blame the person we are with. Susan took the opportunity to realize that she was blaming her husband Tim for this "lost part of her soul." We all feel lost at times; Husbands, wives, kids all of us. It isn't the fault of the person we are with, it is how we process what is around us or how we let our surroundings affect us.

Susan says that at the end of our lives we will be asked to answer two questions. Did we live fully? Did I love well? Can we all answer this positively? Probably not. This is something we should all aspire to.

I had to laugh over some of the arguments Susan and Tim have. He makes a joke, she tries to joke back but he takes it as a personal attack and vice versa. It is my relationship with my husband exactly. "Little moments that create canyons between us." Susan puts into words what most of us will never be able to do.

Thank goodness Susan and Tim took this year off to re-evaluate and find their way back to each other. In the long run, family is what matters.

At the end of this book, I had to ask myself, could my husband and I survive no television, no jobs, kids at school, no phone, no friends? I highly doubt it!

In A Nutshell: You will not regret buying this book. It is a fantastic book and I am so honored to have had the opportunity to read it. Amazon is temporarily out of stock. However, you can order it and will be notified when it comes in.

Sunday Stealing - Jodi's Meme

INSTRUCTIONS: Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Post as "Jodi's Meme: My Life According to (BAND/ARTIST NAME)" The great thing is that if you have already done this meme, you can do it again with a different artist! Please do!

-Are you a male or female? I am a female.

-Describe yourself - Short

-How do you feel right now? Tired and lonely.

-If you could go anywhere, where would you go? At the moment, I would go back in time about 15 years to when my husband and I were still very much in love.

-Your favorite form of transportation - Something that gets me where I need to go.

-Describe Your Morning Routine - Hear kids awake. Say good morning and give each a kiss. Go to the bathroom. Make coffee. Do you really need more???

-Your best friend is - far away

-What's the weather like - rainy and sunny, off and on.

-Pet Peeve? Lateness and people who don't say what they mean and mean what they say.

-If your life was a TV show, what would it be called - Keep on Trying

-Your relationship - In a constant state of fluctuation

-Your Fear - Something happening to my children. Everything else I could get through.

-What is the best advice you have to give? Do what you love and don't let anyone have the power of your emotions.

-If you could change your name, you would change it to - This question is always amazing to me. Do a ton of people walk around wishing they could change their name? Why? I like my name and I would never change it. There are more important things in the world.

-What do you say when you are frustrated? Damn it, Bafongool and madonn',

-Thought for the day - It can always be worse

-How you would like to die - When I am old and in a painless way.

-Your soul's present condition - It is menza menza

-Your motto - Live and Let Live

Amateur Book Review - The Palace of Strange Girls

The Palace of Strange Girls by Sallie Day
was given to me by Miriam, (one of my favorite Hachette publicists connections) to review.

I must admit, the cover drew me in, before the storyline from Hachette:

Blackpool, England, 1959. The Singleton family is on holiday. For seven-year-old Beth, just out of the hospital, this means struggling to fill in her 'I-Spy' book and avoiding her mother Ruth's eagle-eyed supervision. Her sixteen-year-old sister Helen, meanwhile, has befriended a waitress whose fun-loving ways hint at a life beyond Ruth's strict rules.

But times are changing. As foreman of the local cotton mill, Ruth's husband, Jack, is caught between unions and owners whose cost-cutting measures threaten an entire way of life. And his job isn't the only thing at risk. When a letter arrives from Crete, a secret re-emerges from the rubble of Jack's wartime past that could destroy his marriage.

As Helen is tempted outside the safe confines of her mother's stern edicts with dramatic consequences, an unexpected encounter inspires Beth to forge her own path. Over the holiday week, all four Singletons must struggle to find their place in the shifting world of promenade amusements, illicit sex, and stilted afternoon teas in this touching and evocative novel.

In A Nutshell: For me, it took a while for me to get into the story. I was waiting for The Palace of Strange Girls to finally show itself. The family dynamics were very typical of the time. It was fun to read about the cost of items in the 50's.

I was interested in Helen the older daughter and how she handled herself trying to come out from under her mother's thumb and loved the relationship of the two daughters, Helen and Beth. Helen helping her sister fill in parts of her I-Spy book was sweet. What matters to Beth is getting an acceptance letter from Chief I-Spy.

I appreciated the vision of all the deck chairs and the crowded beaches. Reminds me of photos my grandparents have of Coney Island Beach. Barely room to walk and everyone is smiling.