Monday, April 27, 2009

Big Pepsi Giveaway

Do you love Pepsi and/or Mountain Dew? Do you miss the days when they were made with real sugar instead of corn syrup?

Pepsi is running a Pepsi Throwback event for the next 8 weeks or so when some of their Pepsi-Cola products will be made with natural sugar again in retro-looking packaging! You have to check out their groovy website for fun, retro videos and pictures!

To kick off this short-term change, Pepsi & their PR people have put together a fun gift package for one of my readers! You could win:

  • Pepsi Throwback Trucker Cap
  • Retro Pepsi Tin Lunch Box
  • Retro Clock Radio/CD Player
  • USB Lava Lamp
  • Pepsi Throwback & Mountain Dew Throwback
The gift pack is worth $150, and can be shipped to any U.S. address.

This is a QUICK giveaway, so don't delay in leaving a comment!! If you want to win this package, leave a comment below by midnight, April 30, 2009! Winners will be selected on May 1, and I'll send the winning address to the PR firm right away for shipping.

Good Luck!!

**Comments are now closed. Winner has been chosen & notified! Thanks to all who entered!!**

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Last 2 Lines Especially Spoke To Me . . .

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down,
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

~ Mary Oliver ~

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earrings Giveaway

Over at Moms Love Shopping, I'm hosting a giveaway for a pair of these sweet earrings. The shop owner is a dear homeschooling mom whose daughter helps her in the business.

Please head on over and leave a comment there to be entered into the drawing! If you win, your earrings will be mailed out Monday in an organza bag (perfect for gift giving!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

KaBOOM! Blog Tour & Starbucks Giveaway

I firmly believe in letting my kids enjoy fresh air and outside play on a regular basis. One of the reasons we homeschool is to allow them plenty of free time to play, exercise, and use their imaginations. We are lucky that we have a number of nice play areas near us, and when Mom Central asked if I would help spread the word about KaBOOM! I was happy to join.

KaBOOM! is a national, non-profit organization that helps communities build playgrounds. They are currently trying to list 100,000 play spaces in 100 days in order to raise $100,000! The best part? You can help!

Visit KaBOOM!'s site and join the Mom Central team (that link will take you to Mom Central's page.) For every playspace you enter, $1 will be donated to a fund to build more playspaces. As I'm typing this, 7,435 playspaces have been entered and there are 72 days left in this campaign.

I know you have a favorite park or 2 where your kids love to play! Won't you visit and enter your favorite playspace? Check out the playspaces already entered and you may find a new favorite spot!

As extra encouragement, I have a $10 Starbucks Gift Card to send one of my readers that joins Mom Central's team! After you've joined, and entered at least one playspace, come back here and leave a comment. Let me know what ZIP your favorite playspace is located in, and I'll draw a random comment to receive the gift card. Contest will end May 1, 2009 at midnight.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


My sweet husband has been gone almost a week. He accepted a job in Boston - which is 2500 miles away from our home. This wasn't an easy decision, but the economy has battered us and we felt the opportunity may be just what we need to keep us from financial disaster.

The truth is that we love Arizona. We love the wide, open spaces, the mountains, the desert, and even the heat. We've been here a decade and had no plans to leave. I also had no plans to leave Wisconsin 11 years ago, but things happened and opportunities arose and we found ourselves moving.

It will be nearly impossible to sell our home for what we owe. Phoenix has been hit hard by the mortgage fiasco and housing values have plummeted. Because of this, we talked long and hard about the reality of this job and what it meant to us as a family. We decided that he would go out there while the kids and I stayed here. We have a good support system here, I have great friends, and I have a part-time job that I couldn't easily replace.

This is hard, though. While we aren't a couple that has never spent time apart, we haven't spent more than 2 weeks apart during our marriage. Chances are that he will be able to come home every 4 - 6 weeks for a few days. We hope that after 6 - 9 months things will change and he'll either return to AZ or we'll all move to MA.

It's definitely different around here without him. On a purely selfish note, he always got the kids ready and off to the sitter on the days I taught. I only taught one day last week, but we had to all be ready and out of the house by 6:15. We made it, and the kids were great, but I missed him especially that morning.

I don't know what this experience will teach us, but I'm sure we'll find plenty of lessons along the way. My dear husband is especially homesick this week, and I hope that next week is easier for him. Some sales would help, so I'd appreciate any positive thoughts / prayers you could send his way. This new position is still 100% commission, so it's a risk.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Year Ago

A year ago we were in North Carolina, so my dying MIL could meet our children. She died just hours after we left.

I remember that her death affected me, in no small part because I feared my own death and leaving my children without a mother. My MIL didn't have much time between her diagnosis and her death, and I remember her saying that she wanted to share the stories before she died. Unfortunately, she quickly became wracked with pain and needed to take heavy doses of medication and was unable to share those stories that meant so much to her.

I resolved that week to write to my children -- sharing stories, my hopes for them, reflections on life. I'm embarrassed to admit that a year has gone by and I have not even begun to record our lives.

I could list a number of reasons -- but they're just excuses. My MIL didn't have anything at the end of her life, but she did have boxes of pictures. We were unable to bring them to Arizona at the time, and while DH has tried to get them here, I'm beginning to think we haven't tried hard enough. Once again, there are reasons -- but they're not worth much more than excuses.

I don't want another year to pass and have nothing to show for it but excuses. While my life is about to become that much more complicated, priorities have to be set.

I write -- and so a written history is something that I must leave my children. My MIL cherished her photos, and I must ensure that they continue to be cherished.

No more excuses.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Disney on Ice Review

We went to Disney on Ice tonight in Phoenix and had a fantastic time!! We were fortunate enough to be invited by Mom Central and Feld Entertainment, who showed us a wonderful time! Before the event, we had the opportunity to meet other local families who got the word out about the show this year (Geri? You reading? I must have written your blog address down wrong and I have the picture of your boys! Please email me!) and enjoyed a light meal. Two of the characters from the Incredibles came by for pictures, and then we headed to the show (with gift bags for the kids! L is on the floor right now with the program pointing out all the characters to the stuffed Mickey she received.)

The show was incredible!! It was very well done, completely enjoyable and very fun. All 3 of my kids had a great time. L was absolutely enthralled with the music and skating. I wasn't sure how long she would last (she'll be 2 at the end of this month) but she was fascinated the length of the show. C (8yo) and N (almost 7yo) laughed and clapped and had a great time.

The show followed a story of the Incredibles family heading to Disney. I loved how they incorporated rides from the parks into the show, and of course, a villian showed up that they had to conquer. L is always playing light sabers with her brothers, so she was up for the fight when the bad guys were on stage. She kept punching her arms out in order to knock them down (reminiscent of a game she plays with her brothers.) The cast involved the audience throughout the show, which made it even more fun for the kids.

I was impressed by the skills of the skaters, and their obvious athleticism. They put on a top notch performance that was almost non-stop skating.

I had never been to a Disney on Ice show before, but after tonight's experience, I can't wait to go again! It was truly a family-friendly, fun event that everyone enjoyed. I had a great time!

If you're in Phoenix, and want to attend, the show is in town until April 12, 2009. Visit and enter the code "MOM" in the MC Promotion box to purchase 4 tickets for $44. After the first 4, you can also buy additional tickets for $11 each. I know you won't be disappointed!!

Feld Entertainment
is the company that puts on the Disney On Ice, Disney Live, and Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey circus shows around the country. They have been a family-owned business for three generations, bringing wholesome entertainment to families since the late 1960's. I was interested to learn that in each community they perform, they donate tickets to nonprofit youth organizations -- more than $5.5 million in tickets have been given away since 2001.

Many Many thanks to Mom Central and Feld Entertainment for a wonderful evening with my family! I couldn't have asked for more fun!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

You Are Beautiful

I stopped at the bank this afternoon after teaching, on the way to pick up my youngest from the sitter. I like to pay our sitter with cash so that she doesn't have to worry about getting to the bank with a check. As I was folding the bills over while driving over to her house, I noticed that someone had written on the back of one of the $20's. In blue ink, it said "You Are Beautiful!" with a smiley face.

Now, I know it is silly, but it made me smile. The simple message on the back of that $20 bill lifted my spirits and gave me a grin. What a delight . . . and what a simple gesture! It reminded me of the movement I saw a few months ago of stickers with the same phrase being placed all over the place. I remember thinking it was a neat idea, but didn't think about it beyond that day.

It's like taking the time to smile at a stranger, or hold the door for someone. Small, simple acts of kindness do make a difference. I vow to remember that and do my best to carry it forward.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Busy, But Fun

I taught yesterday, and we got a feel of the new routine since DH had an early morning meeting so I had to drop the kids at the sitter (usually he takes care of the morning routines, as he usually didn't have to leave home until 9 / 9:30. I'll have to leave home at 6:45, so it's definitely a change for us all. In the past, the kids didn't even wake up until I was gone.)

Today I didn't teach, but we spent time with lessons and cleaning. I caught up on a few things, and did some final prep work for a class tomorrow. My laundry is completely behind, and I'm realizing I need a new schedule -- one that will probably have me doing multiple loads 1-2 days / week instead of daily loads. I did get a few loads done today, though, and should be caught back up again by Easter.

Tomorrow I teach a 1/2 day, while the boys attend their enrichment program. I'll drive home from class, pick up L, spend an hour at home before heading out to pick up the boys. That's probably my day . . . well, except for a few other things (of course!)

Thursday I'm home again, but we have the exciting Disney on Ice show that night. (stay tuned for pictures!) We've been invited to a "behind the scenes" party and I can't wait to see L as she meets a full-size princess (she's princess-crazed.)

Friday . . . Friday . . . Friday? Oh! We'll decorate Easter eggs! And hopefully do some other fun Easter crafty thing.

Saturday we'll attend the annual Easter Egg Hunt at a local city park. We've been going since 2003? maybe 2002? The boys love it, and I imagine L will have a hoot this year, too. They have a pancake breakfast, egg hunts in the field, lots of simple, carnival-type games and sometimes a pony to ride. It's small-town fun.

And, then Sunday is Easter. The Easter Bunny always hides eggs in our yard (and I have to figure out what to do with this dog overnight . . . she devours everything she finds . . . including 2 pairs of L's shoes this week alone!) And then baskets in the house. We'll attend mass, and enjoy a nice dinner (which I still need to shop for. Oh, and I still need to shop for basket goodies as well.)

There will be more lessons in there, more laundry, more class preparation (another new class next week -- one I'm developing from scratch!). It seems that time is just flying by and I worry that we're not enjoying, or noticing, or appreciating enough these days. I haven't taken many photographs lately . . . and the ones I have taken are held hostage on a hard drive. I feel that I need to carve out more time for more things . . . but I'm not sure what needs to be cut or reduced. More thoughts for another day!

Settling In

We seem to be settling into our new routine pretty well these days. I've been working out of the house 2 - 3 days per week and the kids have done well with a sitter who is also a homeschooler. They've both been wonderful about keeping up with their assignments, and we spend time on the days I don't teach on specific areas and learning more. C is amazing me as he blazes through material and recently chose a pretty difficult 5th grade Reading Comprehension workbook. It's definitely a challenge for him, but one that he's meeting head on. N is also doing well and is finishing the school year's books well ahead of schedule. While C has me ordering the next year's books as soon as he finishes, N looks forward to less work and enjoying the summer. I'm letting each boy take the lead, as both are learning well and at their individual pace.

L is still a delight and absorbs everything around her. She is extremely verbal and very smart. She's stringing 2 - 4 words together regularly. She called both boys "C" for a long time, and they are both "N" at the moment. I imagine her next big leap will be when they each have their own name. She cracks me up when she goes looking for someone and hollers out "Honnnneeeyyyyy!" as she toddles through the house.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time in front of a classroom again, and am spending quite a bit of time preparing for new classes. It's so much fun, but teaching classes for the first time is always a little nerve-wracking!

I'm also happy with the writing gigs I have and enjoy keeping up with different blogs and a few other assignments. This summer, I'd like to branch out a bit more and add more clients, and maybe a few different industries.

And, the funny thing is, that just as we're all settling into our new routine -- things are about to change yet again. DH is headed off to Boston next week for a new job. The housing market means that the kids and I will stay here. It'll be challenging, and difficult, but like always -- we're up for it! We don't know how long this commuting will last, but have committed to giving it a try for at least 6 months to a year. In this economy, we need to do whatever we can to stay afloat, and while none of us are happy that it means we'll be separated by 2500 miles -- we'll do what it takes.

And, that's my update for now!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Disney on Ice Winner

I just wanted to let everyone know that a Disney on Ice winner was drawn last week and has been contacted. They are looking forward to the performance on Thursday!

Thanks again to everyone who entered!

If you would still like to go, there are tickets available and you can use the "MOM" promotion code at Enter the code in the "MC Promotion" box to purchase 4 tickets for $44. (Additional tickets can be purchased for $11 each, but at least 4 must be purchased.)

Enjoy your Holy Week!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sometimes you have to give in

I fought a cold, that lingered for a couple weeks. I taught twice this week, and fought a headache since Monday, but kept going and going. Yesterday, my head was even worse and I was trying to ignore it and hope that the pain would just go away. Today, I could barely move without shooting pains throughout my head and so finally went in to Urgent Care.

The PA diagnosed a sinus infection, gave me a shot right in the office for the pain (which was such a blessed relief after about 30 minutes -- I didn't quite realize HOW much pain I was in until it started to lessen) and provided me with prescriptions to counter the inflammation and get rid of the infection.

Last weekend, I said to DH that I thought I had an infection, but I just ignored it and kept hoping it would resolve on its own. I didn't want to spend the money on the co-pay and prescriptions; I didn't want to take the time out; I just wanted to be healthy.

I wish I would have gone in on Tuesday -- I wouldn't have lost the few days to pain that I did. I fell behind on a couple projects and lost hours of potential productive work time.

There's no point in beating myself up over it now, though -- I'll just have to remember the lesson next time I feel the tell-tale symptoms!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Disney on Ice Giveaway!

Looking for my Disney on Ice Ticket Giveaway in Phoenix post? Click HERE to drop to that post!

Good Luck!

Review: Kellogg's Bake Shop Twists

On days that I teach, I have to get out of the house pretty early in the morning and I like to eat a breakfast that I can grab and go. Mom Central and Kellogg's sent me coupons to try the new Eggo Bake Shop Twists recently, and I tried both the strawberry and apple versions.

They pop in the microwave and are warm and yummy in only a few seconds. They smell delicious, and taste great, too! Each twist has only 180 calories, and includes real fruit in the filling.

They also made a great snack in the afternoon as a little pick me up with my tea. They retailed for $3.79 for a box of 4 at my local Safeway, which seemed a bit pricey. I'll definitely buy them again with a coupon, or when offered on sale.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Review: Making Life Better Website

When Mom Central asked if I was interested in learning about Unilever's new website "Making Life Better", I immediately clicked over to the site to check it out. 30 minutes later, I remembered that I needed to let Mom Central know that I would love the chance to share with my readers about this website! There is great information -- including recipes, time saving tricks, and money saving ideas that I have visited regularly over the last month.

One of the first areas of the website I checked out were the recipes. Easter and Passover recipe ideas are featured right now, and I'm planning to make the White Tea Mimosas for Easter brunch this year. Many of the recipes are simple, which is great for getting dinner on the table quickly.

Bob Green wrote an interesting article about eating healthy on a budget in the Health & Vitality section. He wrote about choosing quality over quantity as well as making lunches at home vs. eating out. I know we have recently made more of an effort to make lunches at home to cut our budget and have noticed that we're making healthier choices and saving money.

Visit Making Life Better yourself and browse the sections and articles. I know you'll find something interesting!
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Design by Linda of Berries and Cream Blog Design