Sunday, September 27, 2009

I've Been Tagged and Awarded - Kreativ Blogger

I've been nominated by Lezlee at Bandana Mom for the Kreativ Blogger award. Great. Now I have all this pressure to blog something hilarious or weirdly whacked out. No regular post tonight. Now I gotta do something spectacular!

Just KIDDING! Thanks for thinking of me, Bandana Mom! I love reading your extremely creative blog too, I get lots of ideas from you!

So, I guess part of this award states that I must share 7 things about myself that people might not know. This could be difficult, as most of you know that I tend to be pretty open about who I am and how I deal with life. Anyway...I'll give it a shot.

1) I once auditioned for the Jack Daniels Comedy Search. It was one of the most fun days of my life. My friends at work kept encouraging me to do it, so I did. My friend was gonna go with me and try out too, only he called and cancelled at the last minute but I still went. It was scary until I got there, and found myself surrounded by a really hilarious group of guys who totally took me under their wings and helped me with my timing, etc. My "set" included a monologue about getting hit on by a cop who pulled me over and gave me a ticket and then ended with some thoughts about the Women's German Luge Team and flatulence. The 3 judges actually laughed, which was good, 'cause they were pretty tough judges who did not even break a smile at the person who went up before me. All I remember was that the spotlight was freaking blinding and that a 2 minute set seems a lot longer on stage than it does at home when you're practicing in front of the mirror. I didn't make it to the top 5, but I had a blast and am so glad I did it. Johhny Biscuit was one of the top 5, I think he had a comedy club in Utah. He was one of the guys I hung out with all day. He told me I wasn't neurotic enough to be a comedian and that most comedians weren't confident enough to laugh at another comic's performance, which I did all day long. I say everybody's got something funny to share and you can't have enough laughter in your life. can I take advice from a guy name Johnny Biscuit seriously? There ya deep thought for the day.

This is gonna be a long post if I continue to be so verbose. Brevity is a struggle for me, I write like I talk. ALOT!

2. I traveled the country grooming thoroughbred race horses. I saw the Kentucky Derby from the backside (barn area) twice. I groomed a few race horses who made more money in 2 0r 3 years than I will make in my entire life.

3. My first kiss was in second grade from a really cute kid named Greg. He kissed me on the cheek. Then he gave me a GIANT valentine that made all the girls in class jealous. I was secretly flattered, but kind of embarrassed over the attention. I guess even at that age I had issues with feeling worthy of receiving someone's affection. My first grown up kiss was when I was 16. His name was Jeff and I really, really liked him alot and it was an awesome kiss. That's all I have to say about that.

4. Despite what people think, I was not pregnant when I married my husband. He decided he wanted to get married and after waiting for years, when he said he was ready I said okay and we went to the Justice of the Peace that afternoon. I was NOT gonna give him time to change his mind.

5. I was afraid to have kids. I didn't think I would have that motherly instinct that makes moms automatically bond to their kids. Thank goodness I didn't give into my fear, my kids are one of the greatest parts of my life and I can't imagine not having them around.

6. I know how to rebuild a Volkswagen Bug carburetor. I had to do it once in high school on my own car. I also know how to change my own tire, drive a stick and replace a broken power window apperatus on a Sentra.

7. I eat peanut butter with syrup on my pancakes and waffles. I love that taste combination. But I can't eat it often. The sugar in the syrup gives me gut issues. Should I quit talking now?

So there you have it...7 things people may not know about me. And may not care to know.

Now I get to choose 7 people to pass the award onto! Make sure you include the Kreativ Blogger button on your post and make sure you notify the people you choose!

7 Bloggers I Love:

Stefany at Pike's Pickles
Sports Mama at You Don't Have to Like Me
Hope at Hope From the Edge
Birdie at Scenes From the Crooked Maple
Kristi at Kuntz Family
Melanie at My Little Patch of Sunshine
Randa at Randa Joy

Can't wait to find out more about these wonderful blog friends that keep me laughing, crying, hoping and loving and I find myself wishing I lived right next door to each and every one of them (I actually did live next to Randa for awhile and I miss having her for a neighbor).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There's a Musician In My Mailbox!

Are you a music person? I used to be. I used to listen to some kind of music all day, every day. I don't know what changed, but I haven't really been engrossed in listening to tunes for a few years now. Which is weird, because there is nothing more soothing or moving than a really great song. I think between the constant noise of the TV, the kids, the street, the classroom and the thoughts in my head, lately I've just craved peace and quiet!

As luck would have it, I received a CD in the mail last week. The CD is by an artist that I happen to really like, 'cuz not only can the man sing? He's also really easy on the eyes! Harry Connick's Jr.'s new release, called Your Songs, is a collection of some of my old favorites by other artists, so it was nice to hear them redone HC style, with his big band orchestra as backup. And bonus, I know the words to alot of the songs, so I didn't have to do the Oprah thing, where she kind of just mouths something close to what she thinks the words should be until she gets to a phrase she knows and then really belts that part out. (Have you seen her do this? It's true, she does it. Watch her sometime when she has a singer on the show.)

Anyway, it was nice to have some beautifully sung music playing in my car and my home the last few days. I forgot how much music soothes the savage beast...or in this case the freaked out, harried mom.

If you wanna know more about Harry's new CD? You can read my full review on my review blog. While yer doin' that, I'm gonna go chill with my new tunes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Idaho Trip - Part 2

So where did we leave off on the Idaho thing? Oh yeah! Grandpa and Darlene (still waiting for a pic of Darlene form SOMEONE!). Cool elderly people.

Really there is nothing else to talk about that is really exciting, because we didn't do anything really exciting in Idaho. Okay...unless you call stealing some plums off a wayward tree exciting. Yeah...we did. The Big Plum Caper. Before you question my integrity, let me 'splain. First, I didn't take them, my mom did (how's that for shifting accountability?!). Second, the tree was so overgrown with plums that it had broken and the branch we snagged the plums from was hanging over the guys fence into the street. Kind of. It was very, very close to the street. If you kind of pulled over to the edge of the street, onto the gravel. Third...there were about 3000 plums on that tree going to waste because no one, and I mean NO ONE, was tending to the tree or the plums! And you know what? They were

And I guess you could call our trip to the Golden Corral ( their rolls!) somewhat exciting. Actually not so much exciting as educational, because we had a rockin' tour guide who drove us through Nampa to get to the restaurant. His name is Chad. He's Darlene's grandson. He's 26. He's a good kid who works with Fish and Game and knows ALOT about farming and nature and stuff. I asked him tons of questions, mostly because I didn't want him to be bored driving around a van full of ladies that were 20-40 years older than him. I figured if I kept him talking he wouldn't think about how he could bail and leave us stranded on some backroad in rural Nampa. But Chad would never do that. Like I said...he's a really nice guy. Chad's the one who told me about silage (google it)and farming and how they grow seed corn. To grow hyrbrid seed corn, only one row out of five is allowed to keep its tassels. That one row, called the bull row, provides pollen to the heifer rows to produce the hybrid seed. I found it all fascinating. Maybe you don't, so I'll move on. But I'm all about layin' down some knowledge now and again, when I can. So now you have a topic of conversation next time there's a lull..."Hey, do you know how seed corn is grown?" People will be amazed that you know about seed corn. Unless you're in Idaho. Or Iowa. Or Nebraska. So only talk seed corn in the big city, at like an art exhibit. Yeah - your welcome.

Chad and his Entourage

So...back to Idaho. It was not exciting because we did not want exciting. We wanted relaxed. Which is exactly what we did. We went there to see Grandpa. We went to visit him everyday. We looked at pictures and listended to stories about him and his life.

And we puttered around Darlene's garden and we went to Walmart a few times. I know, sounds extremely boring. But it was really just what the doctor ordered. It was sooooo nice to just slow down and enjoy what was around me.

Me and Uncle Max puttering in Darlene's Garden

This particular part of Idaho is farming country, so almost everywhere we went there were farms and the most spectacular old barns, of which I got no pictures. Why? Because my camera sucks. I think I've said that before and NO I have not remedied the situation yet because there is no disposable income for a camera. There is no disposable income for anything!

So I borrowed this picture from Jane Loughney @

Old Wooden Barn And Shed North Of Moscow, Idaho

Lots and lots of barns like thise everywhere. Beautiful and sad to see them disappearing.

So back to the farms and such. Everywhere we went someone was growing something! Corn fields were present in abundance, as were melons, tomatoes, squash, sugar beets, pumkins, grapes and onions. It seems like everyone there has a garden as part of their landscaping. They just all grow stuff! Then when we listened to them talk? It was like a live lesson in commodities and futures trading! "So and so down the street bought this field of corn and he's gonna harvest it next week, then sell the silage to the dairy over at Emmett. Then we got 3 contracts of feed corn that we gotta get in and get shipped over to so and so, they're gonna process it sell it to the feedlots in Kansas." It was amazing to see the wheeling and dealing going on and that was just with the corn!

I sounds RIDONKULOUS that I am this enthralled with farming and produce. I just think it's cool. I guess maybe I really am a small town girl at heart. I would be absolutely at peace in a town where there is a Walmart or a Super Target and nothing but acres and acres of farms and fruit trees. As long as I have an internet connection. Hey...a girl's gotta stay connected, right?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Are Your Kids Covered?

In the middle of what could perhaps be the most controversial discussion our country has ever had regarding healthcare, I find myself and my family uninsured.

I have been in an uninsured position before. When Little Man was 3 he fell and landed on the glass jar in which he was carrying recently caught lizards. The jar broke and sliced his finger open and blood spurted EVERYWHERE! While he bemoaned the fact that the lizards got cut and died, I was wrapping a towel around his hand and hollering for my husnband to go pull the car around so we could get to the hospital. 4 hours, 4 stitches, one rude ER doctor and one bill for $678 later, we returned home and realized this would probably not be the last time we found ourselves seeking medical help for our kids. That realization has proven correct many times since.

So it is a bit ironic that at a time when my kids are most vulnerable to complications from illness or injury, I was approached to share information about United Healthcare's Student Resources, an insurance program designed specifically for K-12 students and offered only through participating schools.

The student healthplan they offer "helps protect kids while they are being kids," which mine do often. The plan's key benefits include the following:
  • The health plan offers protection/coverage for injury AND sickness, 24/7/365.
  • UHCSR's program is only available through many participating school districts and participating private schools. Nationally available through schools that belong to the Association of Christian Schools International.
  • The Health Plan is available to K12 students from ages 5 - 18 (ages 4-18 in Texas
  • While the K12 Health Plan can provide a level of protection for uninsured children, it is also being purchased by families who have a high deductible on their employer coverage. The K12 Health Plan can reimburse them for their children’s eligible medical expenses while they are working toward meeting their deductible on their employer's plan.
  • Designed to be affordable at $588 per policy year or $98 every two months. Parents can enroll their student at any point in the school year.
There's a lot of other information that you should check out to see if this coverage is right for you and your family. You can do that by visiting their website - You'll find lots of details and answers to your questions and you can even enroll right there on the site by follwing these steps:
  1. Click on Plans & Pricing tab and enter school or district name and select the child’s school when it appears.
  2. Click View Plan Materials which will allow you to review the plan brochure and Student Health Plan Coverage page regarding Benefits.
  3. To enroll, click the Enroll Now button on the Plans & Pricing tab (or from the Home page).
  4. Enter required information about your child, select the plan you want, create an account, and make a payment.
  5. Breathe easier knowing your kid will be covered when he/she is out being a kid.
While we struggle financially, we also struggle emotionally with how to best care for our boys and provide for their needs. United Healthcare Student Resources offers a very affordable plan that will allow us to address some of those needs and worry just a little bit less. And we can all use less worry in our lives, yes?

**This is a sponsored post for which I was compensated, but it is an honest review of United Healthcare's K12 plan, which I believe to be an affordable coverage option for school age kids.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Few Days in Idaho - Part 1

I took a quick trip to Idaho last week to see my step-grandfather, who just turned 93 years old. He is an amazing man. He fought in WWII and was among the first troops to land on Omaha Beach. The stories he tells about that day are heartbreaking. But he survived uninjured and went to work for the VA when he got home. He spent 28 years there. He wanted to take us to see where he used to work, so we drove up to his old office, which is in a beautiful old brick building at the edge of a huge, green park. He decided to go in and talk to the people who work there now. We were a little unsure about how he would be received. He went in alone and came out 5 minutes later. When he walked out the door and headed twoard the van, a guy stuck his head out at us and waved. He was shaking his head and laughing. Which made us wonder what my gandpa said to them. We asked him how the office looked. "Oh hell, that place is a damn mess." he said. That was it. End of the conversation.

I have to say, that is about as negative a comment as you will ever hear come out of his mouth. He's not a negative guy. Which is good for us. We tend to see the glass half empty. He's been a good example and he's a very uplifting person to be around. He is pretty much a happy guy, with good things to say about his life, his family and his country. He had a lot of reasons to be negative if he had wanted to be. He grew up very poor, had to quit school to take care of his family and lived through very hard times during the depression and then the war. But he chose to look at the good and focus on what was right in his life and he and my grandmother had a grand retirement and enjoyed life to the fullest. She was his 2nd wife. They met at the VA. She was a nurse, he was in supplies. It was a great love story and it's hard for him that she's gone. She took good care of him.

He lives with his sister-in-law now, who also takes good care of him. She is also an amazing woman. She is 73. She gets up every morning at 5:30 to cook breakfast for her son and sometimes her grandson. Yeah, you read right. She cooks them breakfast before they go to work. Like eggs and bacon. Or homemade biscuits with sausage gravy. I gripe about making toast some mornings! Then she goes outside to work in her garden. Where she grows these:
and these

and these, among other things.

Then she picks them and cans them.

After she's done in the garden she goes back in to cook breakfast for my grandpa. About 9:00 a.m. Then sometimes she goes back out to the garden, or she finishes her canning or cleans house or runs errands. After lunch she starts dinner for her son and maybe her grandson and my grandpa and whoever else stops by. This 73 year old woman does more in one day than I do in a week! I asked her how she does it all. Know what she said? "You just do it! I just get out of bed and get to it. I don't think about why. I just do it. I've worked hard all my life and don't know any different." Know what she used to do? She used to work at the family dairy farm, getting up at 2 a.m. to milk cows. She also worked at the local sugar plant bagging and packing brown sugar. In between all that she managed to decorate cakes for people's weddings. While raising kids. oh yeah! She also took care of her brother with Down's Syndrome until he passed away at age 57!! She says she's slowed down since her husband and brother passed and she retired. Really?

After leaving Idaho, which by the way was nice and cool and green and I loved every minute of it, I came home with a greater resolve to be happier, work harder, give more and to cook better meals. It lasted about 1 day. I caught a cold on the plane, my little guy keeps messing with a fever that won't make up its mind about whether to stay or go away and the homework and chores didn't seem to get done while I was gone. Is it written somewhere that husbands lose their brains when wives go out of town? Mine had to call me because he couldn't find the butter. I should have known that anything beyond that, like homework and chores, would just be too hard.

Despite all the catch up and feeling cruddy? I resolve to try to stay more positive and follow the example of two people who are 30-50 years older than me. I want to work harder, to appreciate what I have and to see the things that are right in my life instead of focusing on all the things that I think are wrong. Excuse free living? Is HARD, people!

Oh yeah...remind me to tell you about getting the tomatoes from Darlene's garden home on the plane. Funny story.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Going to the Type-A Mom Conference!!

Visit Type-A Mom Conference

Woot Woot! I won I won I won!! Thanks to MomSelect I am going to attend the Type-A Mom Conference this year! I won an event ticket and so now I am working on how to get the travel and lodging portion of the trip taken care of!! I have been blogging for over a year now and circumstances have kept me from attending various other conferences that I have wanted to attend, so the gloves are off now and I am fighting for this one!!

I'm still working out the whole "getting a sponsor" stragtegy, but thought I might start with just ASKING! Up until a few months ago I might have been too proud to do this, but I am desperate now, SO...I am looking for sponsors. I will tell you up front that I am not good at asking for help. I am good at whining and complaining sometimes and am really good at letting my issues get the better of me, but am working really, really hard to get out of those habits. One of the things that I have realized is that when I tell the people around me that I am trying to bring good changes to my life, most people are willing to offer assistance if they are in a position to do so. So I am trying to overcome my aversion to asking for help. And it seems like this is as good a time as any to start.

So if you own a business or have a product that you would like to showcase at the Type-A Mom Conference and you would like to sponsor me, this is what I will do to help get your name out there in front of all the professional and part-time bloggers who will be attending:

I will wear a t-shirt or carry a canvas bag with your logo on it (or both), and I could even wear a hat. I will familiarize myself with your product or business so I can answer questions about it and hand out swag at the conference. I will blog about you, your company and your product on both my personal and product review blogs, as well as include a sidebar button and a sponsor ad on my blog. I will use Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter and whatever other social networking sites I can to promote your company/product and I will take pictures galore of me at the conference with your product.

If you read my blog, you can see I am pretty forthcoming about my life, my kids, my issues. One thing I can honestly say is that blogging has really changed my life. It brought me from kind of a dark, stuck place back into the world. Now I have a desire to better my life. Blogging helped me recognize where some of my talents and skills lie, but I feel like there is so much more I could do to improve my family's circumstances, both financially and emotionally, if I can take some time to work with some professional internets and social media mavens to learn the skills I am lacking. I know with some guidance I can bring some really positive growth to our lives.

So I am pretty motivated to make this whole confernece thing work. Which means that the person or company who decides to sponsor me will benefit my drive and desire to overcome any challenge that would keep me from being at Type-A Mom Conference.

They would also benefit from my gratitude, as I would make sure I pound into my family's heads the fact that we were able to become the successful family we desire to be because (insert your company's name here) sponsored me and sent me to the conference that changed our lives. Imagine watching Oprah 20 years from now, while she interviews 2 wildly successful young men. She asks them how they became so successful and their response? (Insert your company's name here) sponsored my mom at this blog conference and when she came back she was filled with all of this wonderful knowledge and skills and motivation and it really changed the dynamic in our home. We (Insert your company name here) really was instrumental in bringing about the success of our family and Big Brother and I are really grateful that (insert your company name here) offered my mom the opportunity to become the person she wanted to be so she could help us become who we wanted to be!" Can you even comprehend the magnitude of lifetime promotion? I KNOW!!! I am excited just thinking about it!

I know, I'm babbling. Hope you'll consider me as a worthy candidate to help promote your product in return for a sponsorship to the Type-A Mom Conference on September 24th. I'll stop now. After I say thanks for considering a sponsorship. It truly would mean the world to me.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Kid May Be Part Cling-on

Little Man's home sick this weekend, which is not fun. Because truth be told, he's REALLY needy and clingy when he's sick. He doesn't just lay on the couch and sleep it off. He talks about how sick he is constantly and asks for a fresh cup of water every 5 minutes. He wants to try to eat all day, even when he just threw up 10 minutes ago. He's just...needy. I love that he loves his Mom. And I love that he's a cuddlebug that still needs lots of hugs. And I don't mind giving him some extra love and attention when he is sick. I don't even mind rocking him in my lap for awhile. We're a huggy family.

But when Little Man gets sick he goes into cuddle overdrive. He's like that icky black stuff that turned into the evil SpiderMan suit that killed Topher Grace in SpiderMan 3. (That sounded bad. Keep reading so you don't think I'm saying Little Man is evil!) He attaches himself to you and won't let go!! You literally have to PEEL him off of you and the whole time you're peeling his feverish, sweaty little body from yours, he's reattaching every free limb and holding on for dear life like he's about to be tossed out into the ocean or something! DUDE! I just wanna go answer the phone, I'll be right back! Just sit here on the couch for a minute! Yeah...he can be that bad when he's not feeling good.

So it was a HUGE blessing that we received a product to review last week, because it has helped to keep Little Man somewhat occupied while he is sick this weekend. Thank you Fisher Price and MomSelect! You SAVED me from having a sick kid permanently molded to me and you gave my Little Man something to focus on besides his illness. (Pics were before he got sick...he does NOT look that happy right now!)

Check out What Would Boymom Buy for a TRIO Building Set review and giveaway. There's a link there for a $5 off coupon too! Make sure you leave a comment to try to win a set for your kids!!

While you do that, I'm gonna try to extricate myself from my son and go get lunch started for the rest of us.

Have a good Labor Day Weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We've Been Invaded

For a while now we've been inundated with Star Wars. Everywhere you go in our home there is something Star Wars related that has been left behind in an epic galactic battle fought by my kids and the neighborhood boys.

One day, about 6 months ago, something else showed up in our house. It was just one little, round, ball-looking thing that seemed harmless - so I paid no attention to it. I should have paid attention though. Because the little round ball thing has morphed into about 50 more with no end in sight.

Books are being checked out of the library to identify the various kinds of balls. Allowances are being spent at a rapid-fire pace. Trades are being made in the car on the way to school, at lunch recess and in the parking lot after school. All the neighborhood kids fight over whose little round thing is best and they can't wait to knock on other kids' doors to show off new purchases.

They even made their way to church on Sunday, hidden in pockets.

I think George Lucas has met his match. At least until another Star Wars movie comes out.