Friday, February 27, 2009

Jenna Turns Six!!! Part One

Six years ago today, in Xianning City, Hubei Province, People's Republic of China, my precious Jenna Meilin was born. We have a family party planned tonight but Trace wanted to go eat lunch with her today. He went to McDonalds and got her favorite Mickey D's lunch, Chicken Nuggets. And bless his heart, he stopped at the grocery store and bought her a cupcake.

Jenna's teacher makes them a crown to wear on their birthday.

Jenna with her big brother Trace. We asked her if she wanted me to come too but she ultimately decided it was a sibling date.

Jenna and her class at lunch. Trace said Jenna's classmates were quite confused as to who he might be. About five thought he was her daddy (he hears this alot, actually) and about six thought he was her uncle.

Jenna's birthday school fun has only begun, because in about an hour Mommy goes to be the Mystery Reader. More birthday fun later!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Review

Hey, I'm not proud, so not too long ago I went around with this sign:

Okay, not really but wouldn't you know it, Mom Bloggers Club emailed me and asked me if I would be willing to review a box of General Mills Cereal. Will I review a box of cereal? Hello! See the sign above!

So I anxiously awaited my box of cereal, hanging out at the mail box at the street corner with a hungry look in my eyes, and sure enough, it showed up a few days later-- via FedEx. Obviously, I should have been stalking my doorstep instead.

I admit, I was slightly worried what kind of cereal we would get. What if it was some high fiber/roughage cereal? My kids would never eat that. Well, on second thought, maybe Emma would, I caught her chewing on a rock outside this afternoon. But much to my relief, it was a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. New and improved Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Calcium and Vitamin D added.

My kids hate milk, so I am always looking for other sources of calcium other then ice cream, yogurt, and cheese. Finally, something not so messy. And recently the American Academy of Pediatrics recently doubled the vitamin D recommendation for children. While my children like their gummy vitamins, they like Cinnamon Toast Crunch much better, and they can eat more than two.

Whew, this job would be a piece of cake. With my rabid children, all I had to do was open the box, throw cereal up into the air and let them having a Parana feeding frenzy on the kitchen floor. However, we are much too civilized for that AND its not as fun to film. Even my dogs could video kids fighting over food. Wait, the dogs would be in the middle of it. Oh well, you get the point.

So I decided to make my very own commercial. And after creating this masterpiece, I see a definite future career in advertising here. Those high paid ad guys are quaking in their boots right now, as well they should. So without further ado, the Swank family presents:

The Breakfast Fairy

Note: You know in The Wizard of Oz when they say "Ignore the man behind the curtain?" In this case, ignore the screaming, fighting children. Child actors can be so temperamental.

Don't be jealous of my obvious cinematography skills. Really.

Note #2: I was not paid to review this cereal. I only received a box of cereal. You know the saying: Give a woman money and she might buy a pair of shoes. Give her a box of cereal and she gets out of making pancakes. Never heard that one? Hmm... well, just remember, you heard it here first.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Unreal Housewives of Kansas City.

No, I'm not talking about me, although I am pretty unreal as a housewife. Have you seen my house??? Oh wait, you have, so you totally understand.

I'm talking about a funny new web series by my friend and neighbor, Jennifer Plas, who is an awesome actress. She is also one of the hosts for the upcoming The Power of KC, which did my makeover last August. ANYWAY, while she's waiting for The Power of KC to kick into gear, she created a new internet series The Unreal Housewives of Kansas City, a spoof of the Bravo series. I just watched it and thought it was hysterical and just had to share.

You're awesome Jennifer!

If you like it be sure to share with your friends! Maybe if I get them enough viewers they'll give me a guest role!!! What do you think my character should be?

Monday, February 23, 2009


Is this some secret language I don't know?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Bloggy Awards

On the night of the Oscars (which I really don't watch) I'm attending my own awards show, The Bloggy Awards. When I received my invite I was pretty worried. Come on, I must of eaten about 10,000 calories the last couple of days eating Crack Bars. Seriously. Just when I thought I was over them, Candace at Life with Ana Kate suggested I try them with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Seriously? People--- stay away from these Devil Bars! Candace, I've got my eye on you, trying to sabotage me right before my big awards show.

I was pretty worried about what I would wear and if it would fit, but I dug around in my closet and finally came up with this old thing:

I know! I don't even look like me! But that's the way it is at these fancy, schmancy awards shows. I've done my red carpet stroll looking like a diva then I go in and find my seat. The paparazzi is so annoying. Take a picture, it lasts longer people! Oh, I guess that's what you're doing. My bad!

My first award that I'm up for is The Lovey Award.

The competition is steep, and its being given out by Tyler Florence! I'd do anything to accept an award from Tyler. He's opening the envelope -- I won! I walk up to the stage and accept my award, and get to hug Tyler!!! I delicately dab my eyes with a handkerchief and I make my acceptance speech. The night is young and I'm up for more awards. Can't be messing up my makeup, can I?


This award is from Kristin at A Family is Forever and Jill at Life at Killeny Glen, and Regina at No Greater Joys

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award."

Wow! The person who wrote that paragraph was quite pleased with themselves, huh? Well the following 8 people should be pleased with themselves! But be sure to include that cleverly written text or they might hunt you down and get you!

1. Erica at My Life and How I Live It
2. Tricia at The Joys of Mommy
3. Janelle at At Home With My Monkeys
4. Heidi at The Johnson Family Tales
5. Cary at Life in the Carpool Lane
6. Kristin at These Little Girls of Mine
7. Kristy at Franceskas Journey Home
8. Kathy at Our Life with Lindsey

Okay back to the Bloggy Awards show!

There's some other awards, Tech blogs, Sports blogs, blah, blah, blah. Finally the next award I'm up for, the Life is Grand award is next.

I don't think I'll win this one, the competition is really tough, so I'm trying to keep a poker face as my face is show split screen with Brandy, Kristin, and Teresa and Margaret. Plus, the award is given my Josh Holloway, aka Sawyer!!! OMG!!! Josh opens the envelope and reads:

Denise from There's Always Room For One More!

Sorry girls! Only I don't feel too sorry 'cause now Josh is hugging me as I accept my award. I think I've died and gone to heaven! I'll never take a shower again. Oh wait, when was the last time I took a shower???

What? Josh is whispering something in my ear-- oh that tickles! What did you say? We all won! Okay, I'm honored to share my award with these wonderful friends: Brandy, Kristin, Teresa and Margaret.

This award is from Carey at Life in the Carpool Lane. According to the rules, I'm to list 5 reasons that I think life is grand and pass this award on to 5 friends.

1. Because I'm at the Bloggy Awards!
2. I've been hugged by Tyler Florence, oh yeah, and I won the Lovey Award.
3. I've been hugged by Josh Holloway, oh yeah, and I won this award.
4. I get to go to some awesome after parties.
5. I've got some pretty fantastic bloggy friends!

I'm back in my seat and I lean over to Meggie, who's sitting next to me, and say, "Can you believe I just touched Josh Holloway?" Meggie just rolls her eyes at me, she is a teenager you know. I'm lucky she even agreed to sit by me!

The awards show is really dragging on but there's one last award I didn't even know I was up for! The Sisterhood Award. As my name is announced with the other nominees I'm slightly worried because I don't have an acceptance speech. But I won anyway!!!

The audience applause is starting to be less enthusiastic over all my wins. So when I accept my award, my acceptance speech is:

Don't be such haters people!

Kristin from These Little Girls of Mine gave me this award. I can't even remember how I found Kristin. I'm pretty sure I found her though, because she posted a beautiful tribute to her mother and I remember that I left a rambling, gushy comment (I know several of you have become the beneficiary of those) and a bloggy friendship was born.

I'm supposed to give this award to 10 blogs that show great attitude and gratitude.

1. Meggie at The World According to Meggie (because she agreed to sit with me!)
2. Candace at Life with Ana Kate (because even though she tried to sabatoge my dress, I still like her!)
3. Jill at Life at Killeny Glen (because she gave me an award see above)
4. Heather at Dragons and Elephants (because everyone she knows knows me now-- happy to entertain! That's my motto, Entertaining People, One At a Time)
5. April at Party of Seven ( because bless her heart, she's been sick as can be so she needs an award!)
6. Kim at Hannah's Family Fun (because she went to Disney World so I'm living vicariously through her)
7. Regina at No Greater Joys (because she gave me an award too-- see above)
8. Lorie at The Princess and The Ladybug (because she promises to take me to Starbucks if I go to Florida. Sounds like a good reason to go to Florida!)
9. Denise at Love Keeps Growing More Love (because she's in the middle of a kitchen renovation and she deserves an award!)
10. Donna at Lena and Macey (because she's had sick kids too!)

Okay, the awards show is over and it's time for the after parties. Woo Hoo!!! Bring 'em on, Mommy needs a night out! But on my way out Brandy from Not Your Average Soccer Mom stops me and shoves a camera in my face to ask me a few questions.

Brandy: If you had to choose one of the 4 remaining senses (since you can't smell) to do without for the rest of your life which one would you choose? And why?

Me: What? (Shaking my head in confusion.) Umm, okay, I guess my sense of taste because I really like seeing, hearing and touching and maybe I'd stop eating Crack Bars if they didn't taste so good.

Brandy: Have you ever copied a rock icon's look? For example, beat it with one glove like Michael, shuffled in "Hammer" pants like MC Hammer or crawled on the floor a net shirt and fishnets like Madonna.

Me: Look at me! Do I look like I need to copy someone else's look? Uhm, okay, maybe I should, but I'm my own person. And for the record, I never really copied anyone else's look because to even think about it would mean that I was aware of how I looked (some day I'll make you all spit your beverage of choice out your noses by showing you pictures of me from the '80's) I guess the closest I came to trying to look like someone else was when I got a Dorthy Hamill haircut back in 7th grade. Not a good look for me. Trust me on this.

Brandy: Would you rather have a 3 legged dog or a hairless cat?

Me: I just won 3 Bloggy Awards and you're asking me about dogs and cats??? Am I being Punked? Where's Ashton? If Ashton is here, then Demi is too and I want to ask her if she ate Crack Bars before she filmed her bikini scene in Charlie's Angels 2. No? Okay, well then I guess a 3 legged dog because I don't really care for cats. Sorry, Cynthia!

Brandy: What family member has inspired you most and why?

Me: My almost 6 year old daughter Jenna. Jenna has been through so much loss in her short life. She was abandoned at one day old, lived with a foster family until the day we adopted her when she was 17 months and then her daddy died a week after she turned 3. She's been through so much yet she is such a sweet and happy girl. She's incredibly brave and resilient. I'm in awe of her. Brandy, now you're making me tear up and mess up my makeup!

Brandy: Okay, one last question. If you were inaugurated as President today, what would be your first order of business? Be specific.

Me: Hmm, that's really a tough one. I would like to rule the world but I don't think and executive order will take care of that one. I'll have a committee look into it.

Brandy: I'd head off to Lula's After Party, you know she's done it up just right; southern style with a little punk influence. Where are you headed?

Me: Technically, that's another question, but I'll let it slide. I'm going to Lula's too. Can I ride in your limo?

Brandy: Sure, and we can watch Lost in the limo on the way and compare notes with Lula.

Sounds like the perfect end to a perfect evening!

Brandy posted a list of questions that another blogger had sent to her. Then she sent me a list of questions to answer. This was actually a couple of weeks ago and I bet Brandy thought I forgot about her. I was just saving it for something special-- Like the Bloggy Awards! If you would like me to ask you five questions to answer on your blog, let me know in the comments

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Little Help From A Friend

Or in this case, a baby. As I was packing up the mugs and tea bags to send off this morning, I got a little unexpected help.

Kim and April, if your tea bags are a little mangled, I apologize. (Not really, I gave you new ones.)

And for those of you who might be alarmed that Emma is playing with a large pair of scissors-- for one thing they aren't sharp at all and for another, I was watching her the entire time. Oh and yes, she's turning out to be a leftie, my only one out of six. (Why do I think that's so cool?)

Have no fears, she is now safely coloring with crayons all over my coffee table. What???

Gotta go...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winners and Crack Recipes

Who knew that Rice Krispy treats were so popular? For inquiring minds like JD, I make mine on the stove top. I've never tried the microwave, although I am intrigued. For those of you who have never made them, they are incredibly easy. In fact, I have been known to make them in the morning at 7:00 while I was packing Ross' lunch when I realized that I needed something for his lunch.

Here's my TOP SECRET recipe, or not so secret. I got it off the side of a Rice Krispy box. This is how pathetic my recipe organization is: I literally tore it off the box and used to pull out the box piece when I made them. Now I have it memorized.

Crack Bars
1/4 cup of butter
4 cups of miniature marshmallows
5 cups of Rice Krispies or Cocoa Crispies

Melt butter, add marshmallows until melted. Add crispies-- stir. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and pat with spoon. I also take a piece of wax paper and pat it down to make it more even. You can either leave at room temperature to cool or place in the freezer or fridge for a fast cool down. Cut into squares (you pick the size, sometimes mine get kind of large: see below) and enjoy! Before I discovered the Cocoa Crispy idea, I sometimes would add chocolate chips or M&M's after I added the cereal.

Those of you who told me that you had never made these before, make a batch and report back to me. Let me know how easy it actually was!

On to a winner. But wait, I'm feeling really generous so how about TWO winners?

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-02-20 04:16:05 UTC
Commenter #16 :
Kim from Hannah's Family Fun
Kim says she'll use her new mug to drink a cup of tea.

And Commenter #35 :
April at Party of Seven*
April has been sick with a nasty case of bronchitis so a cup of tea will come in handy.

Congrats!!! I have more mugs and honestly I was kind of surprised I had that many people want one, so I'll definitely be doing this again!

*For those who might go back and count, April is commenter #36 however, Brandy commented twice so I threw her second comment out of the counting. Clear as mud?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Everything In Moderation, Including Giveaways

My Chocolate Rice Krispy treats are quite the hit but for The Purists in the family I made plain Rice Krispy treats.

This is the pan.

After lunch today, this was the chocolate pan. That won't do! What about my poor little children's lunches? So I made a whole new pan. And of course, I had to try some out. To make sure they tasted all right for my poor little children.

By this time, it was the babies nap time and all most time for Ross to come home from school. Practically the minute he walks in, I have the DVR queued up so we can watch an episode of House together. We often drink tea together while we watch. Perfect beverage to go with a Chocolate Rice Krispy treat.

I could use this cup but I save it strictly for my homemade non-fat, no whip mochas.

Ah, there we go. A cup of Tazo Passion tea. But wait... what is on the side of that mug?

Well, how did that get there??? Yes, I had some mugs made with my blog logo.

So Ross is home and I have my tea. I also have my Chocolate Rice Krispy treat. I've decided that all I really need is a little moderation, to set some limits so I don't go crazy eating those crack bars.

So I decided I could only have one this afternoon while I watched House.

I said I could only have one, but I never told myself how big it could be.

Okay, now that I'm all sugared up and bloated, I've decided to share with my readers. Not my Chocolate Rice Krispy treats! Go make your own! No, I'm going to give away one of my new mugs along with several tea bags of my favorite teas. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me that you need a door stop, spare coin holder, or any other use you can come up with for one of my mugs. I'll take comments until 10:00 Thursday night CST.


Check out my review of Skin MD Natural shielding lotion at my review blog Denise's Reviews.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A funny thing happened writing my blog-- I've discovered that it's like therapy, but even better, it's free. As one would hope with any good therapy session, I've learned a few things about myself. One of these discoveries is that I have an addictive personality. The bad news is that as I've discovered these truths about myself, so has everyone else.

The big question is: what do I do with this new found knowledge? (Knowledge is power, yada, yada, yada.) I'd ask my therapist but apparently it's Blogger Dashboard, and I don't think it's answering. That's what you get for free. Of course, if it is answering, it's time to get a new therapist.

My children take their lunch to school and while I don't like to send a lot of sweets in their lunch, one thing I will send is Rice Krispie treats. If you know nothing else about me know that I love Starbucks, am addicted to Diet Coke, have to watch Lost within 12 hours of its airing, love cheesecake am a Chocoholic. So to me plain Rice Krispie treats are a total waste of calories. There's no chocolate. To remedy this, I often throw in chocolate chips. This divides my children into two camps. The Purists feel that adding chocolate chips to Rice Krispie treats is like defacing the Statue of Liberty. The Chocolatays (sorry, my inner Dora the Explorer is bustin' out) think that a chocolate accessory is just what Lady Liberty needs.

Okay, I can hear you! You're saying What is your point? Obviously, reading my blog is your therapy and you have just learned you are impatient. Congratulations! Too bad Blogger Dashboard can't help you either. In case you haven't heard, it doesn't have a real therapy degree.

After our Winter Break Weekend, it was back to school for Ross and I had nothing to put in his lunch for dessert. This morning the babies, Jenna and I went to the store to get groceries and Rice Krispies were on my list. As we got to the cereal aisle, I checked out the mega size bags of generic cereal because I'm trying to be more frugal. That's okay, I'll wait until you stop laughing. Better now? Let's continue. They didn't have generic Rice Krispies but they did have generic Cocoa Crispies.

It was then that the heavens parted and the angels sang "Ahhhhhhh....." They haven't done that since I got my Starbucks Gold Card. That had to mean something.

So the rusty wheels began turning and churning in my head and I thought "Hmm... I could use Cocoa Crispies instead of Rice Krispies...." And so began the birth of my newest addiction, right there at the Super Target cereal aisle. Is no place sacred anymore?

We checked out and paid for our purchases, all while wrestling Emma. Ever wonder who's taking Steve Erwin's place as the Crocodile Hunter? Yeah, I could do it. I've got plenty of practice now. I don't want to, but I could. Just sayin'.

Every so often it's good to assess one's life skills.

Emma was a nightmare at the end of our shopping excursion. Between the chasing her down aisles, the listening to her scream when she couldn't get out of the cart and the previously mentioned wrestling at the checkout lane, I was a bit battle scarred when we got home. As I unpacked the groceries with Emma crying at my feet and Ryan whining over some unknown atrocity, I pulled out the mega size bag of generic Cocoa Crispies.

The heaven's parted and the angels sang. Again. That is so cool when they do that.

So it was while I was pondering about how early was too early to start drinking, that the generic Cocoa Crispies made their grand reappearance and my mind was made up. I was making a batch of generic Cocoa Crispy marshmallow treats right NOW!

{Yes, it is important to include the word generic before the words Cocoa Crispies. I can not stress my frugalness enough.}

As the butter melted into liquid gold, I continued to unpack the groceries. I was putting grocery items away as I added the marshmallows and watched as they melted into a white, fluffy goo. Then finally, the chocolate rice puffs were added, stirred and then gently, lovingly patted into a 9x13" glass pan.

Chocolate Rice Krispie treats, as I prefer to call them, are exactly like heroin. One bite and your as good as gone. Of course, I have no previous experience with heroin, that's just what I've heard on the street. But I can confirm that Chocolate Rice Krispie treats are extremely addictive. Trust me on this.

Now, it's obvious that I'm not the only person in this house. So the fact that the pan is 2/3rds empty, a mere 9 hours after the Chocolate Rice Krispie treats birth, cannot be completely attributed to me. However, as honest as I usually am here, I am pleading the fifth as to how much I have eaten.

But before you leave me, let me give you a stock tip, a legal one, in this time of economic woe. Now would be a really good time to buy stock in Lane Bryant.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Hole In The Head, (Or In This Case Two) ReDux

Last May I posted A Hole In the Head, (Or In This Case Two) which chronicled Julia and her BFF in Tennessee, Anna, getting their ears pierced. However, since then Julia has had some issues with sensitivity and her holes closed up. We planned on having them re pierced but we decided to let Jenna get her ears pierced too.

The original plan was to wait until Jenna's birthday in a week and a half, but the opportunity of a day out of school was too good to pass up. So while the babies were napping under Ross' watchful eyes, the girls and I headed to the mall.

Is there anywhere else to go for ear piercing?

Julia went first to show Jenna that it wasn't very painful. Julia was slightly worried that the piercing would hurt more since it was over her old holes, but her worry was for naught.

Next up was Jenna.

Jenna had the good sense to bring Bailey, her tried and true companion and source of comfort. A side note about Bailey-- this is "Clean Bailey." There is another Bailey called "Dirty Bailey." Dirty Bailey was the original Bailey that Jenna acquired a couple of months after Darrell died. The girls and I went to Build-a-Bear and they both got animals with a record your own message button. We scavenged old home movies and found places where Darrell was talking to them and recorded them. Bailey's recording is "Oh Jenna, that is sooo cute." However, to wash Dirty Bailey, surgery must be performed both before and after the washing. In the end, we got another Bailey, without the sound, so that she could be washed more easily. By the way, don't you dare call Bailey a he or Jenna will let loose a tongue lashing.

Jenna was a very brave girl. Only her left ear is pierced at this point and it hurt a little more then she thought it would. But she was determined to get the other one pierced anyway. Thank goodness!

And now both ears are pierced. It doesn't show up here, but she has tears on her cheeks. When it was all over, she shed a few silent tears but was happy that she went through with it.

The tears are gone now and she's happy. Two sisters showing off their identical earrings. Now Mommy wants to cry. Her babies are growing up before her eyes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Amazing Race

Tonight I watched the premiere of Season 14 of The Amazing Race. I've watched other reality tv shows over the years-- the original Big Brother, Survivor, The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, but The Amazing Race is the only one I've ever wanted to actually do myself.

Sure I've toyed with the idea of Survivor, if only for the weight loss program. If you can manage to stay on that show a few weeks, you're guaranteed at least a 20 pound weight loss. But I confess that I'm not into eating bugs, and I'm not really much of schemer so I think I can cross that one off the list. I don't think I'd make it on the show anyway. They probably want to know why you want to be on Survivor and I'm pretty sure losing weight isn't what they are looking for in possible contestants. And unfortunately, I'm not quite obese enough for The Biggest Loser.

The Bachelor is out too. I am single now, but there's something about dating a guy who's dating 20 other women at the same time that just turns me off. No thank you. I have this thing called pride and either you want me or you don't. I don't share. And I'm sure not kissing some guy who's kissed half of LA in the last 24 hours. Ever heard of herpes?

But The Amazing Race, now that's a contest I can sink my teeth into. For one thing, international travel isn't a new concept for me. I've been to Asia 3 times and Europe once. And let's not forget that I was alone in Vietnam with a 4 year old and 3 month old for 3 weeks, so being in another country finding my way around doesn't intimate me. Doesn't schlepping around the Hanoi silk market in the rain with a crappy stroller qualify me for something? But as ready as I think I am, what it really boils down to is your partner.

On The Amazing Race, your partner can make or break your chances of winning, or more importantly, not finishing last.

{Is this not the show for not quite over achievers? The only time you have to be in first it the very last show!}

You're stuck with this person, hopefully for the entire 22 days of the race and you're faced with many irritation producing events. Not only can this person make you look like an idiot by default, this person can also bring out the worst in you. If raging hormones are an issue, the partner's life might hang in the balance. Unfortunately, you can't finish the race without your partner, so dead or alive, they're going with you. It might prove a bit challenging to drag around someone Weekend At Bernie's style but it would be an easy choice as to who was doing the bungie jump off Europe's tallest dam. I've been dragging children's limp bodies around for years-- I've totally got an advantage there. However, I think the key is to pick someone you're less likely to kill.

I've given a lot of thought into who my partner would be since the beginning of the show. Several years ago, I told Darrell that he was out. He was short on patience and quick on getting irritated. "I love you but... no way. I'm not having the entire country watch you get mad at me." Brutal honesty. All my younger children are out. Oh my word, the whining would drive even the sanest person over the edge. Ross would be a nightmare on The Race. Picture impatient, picky eater, whiner who doesn't like to travel. Out.

In the end, I think I'd chose my oldest son Trace. While I'm basically a nice, open person, Trace is nice but can be quite scheming. He's also pretty patient, as am I, and more importantly, he's willing to be the bungee jumper. I think I could carry a 50 pound cheese wheel down a steep hill without a problem, shoot I carry 50 pounds around every day-- 25 pounds on each hip with the names of Ryan and Emma. But bungee jumping? That's what my partner is for.

It's nice to have a back up though. There's always the chance that Trace might bail on me, so I've decided to take applications for potential partners just in case.

Wanted: Patient, physically strong person-- slow to anger but quick witted. Must be willing to go days with little sleep, willing to eat exotic cuisine, and not afraid of heights. Knowledge of multiple foreign languages a plus.

Only qualified applicants need apply.

I am required to state that my brother Rick called to remind me that The Amazing Race was on tonight. I believe his exact words were "You're going to mention me in your blog, aren't you?" My duty has now been fulfilled. Lucky for him, my post was about the show. It might have been pretty weird to give him a shout out if my post was about poopy diapers. Or
would it???

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Adoption Fundraiser

It's no secret that my heart lies with children who need a family to love them. So take that a step further and I have a heart for families wanting to give those children a home. Tricia is fairly new to blogging. Her blog is The Joys of Mommy. Tricia and her husband Eric are in the process of adopting a daughter from China to add to their family that currently consists of 2 little girls. Like many of us, funds are tight, so Tricia and her husband are fund raising and I told her that I would pass her fund raising information on here.


How: by purchasing Mia Bella’s candles & products

-the family will receive a portion of your purchases as a monetary donation from the local distributor, Holly Boze, a good friend of Tricia Stringer’s.

When?.... February 5th thru March 5th

Whats so Special about these candles?

-these candles are made from all natural vegetable wax, making them virtually soot-free, they are triple scented, come in over 100 different gourmet scents, plus you can even place the order your self online and have them shipped straight to you. what do I do?

· Visit to place your order and they will arrive at your door in about 10 days. Please remember to use the code: Stringer Adoption to make sure that the Stringer family receives your donations.

To view the products visit:

Thanks for your help and may God bless You !

You may contact the distributor regarding any questions:

Holly Boze

e-mail: bellascents$

Distributor’s favorite scents:

Sweet Orange & Chili Pepper

Fresh Apple

Fresh Laundry

Chili Vanilli

Keylime Pie

Mediterranean Spa

Lemon Verbena

Tahitian Spiced Vanilla

Victorian Rose


Frolicking Fun February Giveaway #2 WINNER

Sorry that it took me a few hours to pick the winner of this contest. Emma and I had a fun filled late morning/early afternoon at the pediatrician's office.

Let's just say that Emma doesn't really care for the pediatrician's office now and she wasn't shy about letting everyone within a half mile know it. Let's also say that wearing a black shirt with a snotty nosed child isn't the brightest of ideas, and for the record I did have my camera but decided to spare you the visual. Somethings are just better left to the imagination. You can show me your thanks in comment love.

Of course, the morning was messed up. I had to stop making my heart shaped pink pancakes to rush to get Emma and I ready and to her appointment. The girls, of course, were begging for Valentine gifts, which had to wait. Ryan, of course, was clueless that today is any type of holiday. So once we got home I had to get lunch, give gifts, clean up dried up pancake batter and get a crabby, feverish baby to bed.

Oh, yeah diagnosis? Unsure. Office strep test was negative but she had a very red throat and they couldn't see her ears because of ear wax and were worried about pulling her ear tubes out getting the wax out. Thankfully, they gave her a prescription anyway because they couldn't rule out a sinus infection either since she seems to have lost her sense of balance when she walks. So the antibiotic will cover all three possible illnesses.

But that's not why you are all here. You can listen to me whine any other day of the week. You want to know who the winner is. Winner, winner, chicken dinner-- which you could actually buy with a $20 Target gift card at a Super Target.


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-02-14 20:39:39 UTC


And Commenter #4 is:

Blogger koopermom said... (Author of Just a Little Something)

I do love Target!!! My favorite pasttime!


If you lost, don't despair because we have 2 more weeks left in February, which means 2 more giveaways. Now I just have to figure out what they are...

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Frolicking February Fun Friday Giveaway #2

Wow! Is it Friday already? How did the week get away from me? (Maybe it was because I was obsessing over LOST...) I promised you all one giveaway a week and this one almost got away from me.

(Is it too obvious that I don't really have a plan?)

This week's giveaway is a $20 gift card to Target! Who doesn't love shopping excursion to Target?

See, even Ryan and Emma like shopping at Target, especially if they can sit in this seat cart. Target is one of my favorite shopping destinations, especially the Super Target by me with a Starbucks inside. Its one stop shopping, my kind of store. Now if they could just make the carts bigger...

So how can YOU get your very own $20 Target gift card so you can fill up your own shopping cart? That is if you spend it on a mega pack of paper towels, otherwise you could probably put your purchase in a hand held basket. But that's the beauty if a gift card-- you can get what ever you want!

To win, just leave a comment so I know that you want your own prepaid Target excursion. No other rules this time. I'm feeling lazy. The contest will be from Friday when I post this until noon on Saturday, CST.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lost Episode 5.05: This Place is Death

I know only about 5 of you will care about this post, and I'm really sorry about that. I read other sites and blogs and try to give my input there but it's just not cutting it for me. I need to spill my thoughts and its my blog so I'm going to do it here. So there! {Said with hand on hip and pouty look} Those of you who could care less about LOST, I have another post planned in my head that I'll write up latter tonight or tomorrow.

Note to Kevin, Brandy and Tommi or anyone else who is trying to catch up to the current episode:
Stop Reading NOW!!!

After last week's much needed breath catching episode, this week's was everyone on deck-- warp speed. And everyone was on deck, with the exception of Hurley, who is currently in a bright orange jumpsuit in county lock up. No worries though, our intriguing lawyer, Dan Norton, will be springing Hurley in the morning.

The episode began with Sun talking on the phone to the illusive Ji Yeon. There was much speculation over the last week as to the whereabouts Sun and Jin's daughter, some of which centered on the suspicion that she might be dead. They sited the fact that Sun showed Kate a baby picture of her now 3 year old daughter. What mother carries around baby pictures of her 3 year old daughter? Uh, me. I rarely carry recent pictures of my children. But sweet little Ji Yeon's face proved the theory wrong and also offered Sun and I vindication. We don't need to carry recent pictures of our children to prove our love of them, we carry their images in our hearts.

Let me pause to grab a tissue.

But this is where our similarities end. Unlike Sun, I don't have a gun stashed inside a box of chocolate, although a box of chocolate does sound good right now. But I digress. Sun got off the phone and went straight for Bad Boy Ben to make him pay for Jin's death. Ben, however, told Sun that Jin is alive and he has proof.

Now right there, the whole world is thinking, does he have some communication with people on the island? How does he know? But Ben being Ben, doesn't produce the evidence and says he has to take Sun to see his person. And another question, how does Sun know that Ben is responsible? Only 3 people know that Ben killed Keamy with his cool bomb bracelet, and 2 of them are dead.

Sayid, being his new bad self, told Ben and Jack that if he met them again "it would be unpleasant for all of us." Coming from a guy who can break necks with his legs and take 3 tranquilizer darts and live, I'd steer clear boys. Of course it does pose a problem getting Sayid back to the island. Oh yeah, Kate also took off with Aaron. Bye. Bye.

And then there were two.
Back at the island, Jin is realizing that he is with a pregnant Danielle Rousseau and that it is currently 1988. He seems to go with the flow though and soon they are on their way to the radio tower, which is currently broadcasting the numbers.

As the Merry Band of Frenchmen plus Jin make their way through the forest, Nadine who is bringing up the rear, goes missing. That's always a bad sign. Sure enough, deja vu Oceanic Airline copilot style (but I guess it can't be deja vu if it actually happened before the plane crash), Nadine's crushed body is thrown down in the forest by none other then Smokey, himself. A short run later, Montand is face to face with the smoke monster. And then he's being drug by the smoke monster. Sure he lost his arm, but he got to see the underbelly of the temple!

Now I have to say, Montand was a butt head back in 1988 too, so safe to say a tug-of-war with his arm between Smokey and his friends didn't give him an attitude. But what I found interesting is that after the entire gang decided to go down into the hole to save Montand, Danielle was going to go too, only Jin stopped her. Danielle doesn't seem to recognize Jin in the future but obviously if Jin hadn't stopped her she would have gone down and got the "sickness" too, so something or someone must have stopped her before. Something to ponder that I haven't seen anyone address yet.

Another flash and Jin is gone and left only with a decaying arm. He heads back to the beach and sees black smoke in the distance, which is never a good sign in this show.

After he arrives, he finds an empty camp. As he looks around he finds this: Danielle's music box that Sayid fixed in season one. It's obviously the French crew's camp. He also finds something else. Two dead bodies with bullet holes.

Action happens fast on the island and immediately after Jin finds the bodies, Robert and Danielle burst onto the beach, both carrying guns aimed at each other. Too bad Jin didn't understand French because he would have discovered that Smokey is a defense system for the temple. Danielle accused Robert of not being himself after going into the temple. But Robert won her heart, declaring his love for her and the baby. When she lowered her gun, he raised his and shot, only the gun didn't go off.

But Danielle's did. She was obviously an excellent shot before she even spent 18 years alone and paranoid on the island-- she nails him right in the forehead. Jin, who cried out in warning, was now Danielle's target. He disappeared right in front of her at the temple before, so she presumes he has "the sickness." (Or would it actually be assume since she was wrong? You know the "ASS out of U and ME? Oh, well, never mind.) Jin takes off into the forest and I knew he'd be fine because, Hello! He was being chased by a 7 month pregnant woman! At seven months, I had a hard enough time walking let alone running. He started to fall down a hill and FLASH!

When he stood up and heard the gun cocking sound, I thought "Now what?" And then I heard Sawyer's voice. Reunited and it feels so good! Sawyer was pretty excited to see Jin. Sawyer is definitely a changed man. A few months earlier he would have played it cool, but he's actually becoming a human being. Who's wearing a shirt. Oh well, you can't win them all.

As Sawyer struggled to tell Jin that they were time traveling, Jin in frustration asked Charlotte to translate into Korean. Sawyer thinking Jin was talking to Miles told him to translate. Miles answers in his deadpan way "He's Korean. I'm from Encino." I really like Miles. He's a Sawyer contender.

They all start making their way to the Orchid so John Locke can do his thang and the flashes become more frequent. This proves very bad for Charlotte, who collapses and begins to relive her childhood right before every one's eyes as well as bleeding from another orifice. Only now Sawyer has a bloody nose too. Oh no! Not Sawyer!!!!! (I admit to audibly crying that out while watching the episode. Oh, and I also can't call him James. Just doesn't feel right.)

Locke insists that they have to keep moving so Daniel stays behind with Charlotte as the others move on. Charlotte tells Daniel that she grew up on the island and moved away with her mother, leaving her father behind. She said her mother told her the island didn't exist and she spent her entire life trying to get back to prove her mother wrong. Now we know why she got so excited when she found the polar bear's collar with the Dharma Initiative emblem on it's collar. But she told Daniel something else: A scary man told her to never come back to the island or she would die and she thinks it was Daniel! From the look on Daniel's face, I think it's safe to assume he hasn't warned her yet. And if he had that tie on, which I suspect he did, I can see why she thought he was scary.

Charlotte is then tempted by chocolate and dies. That will surely keep you on a diet! Daniel, even in his grief, was still wearing his tie.

Locke, Sawyer, Juliet and Miles find the Orchid and Juliet expresses her amazement that they are there when it is. FLASH! And its gone. But Charlotte had told them to go to the well, and there it is, inside a mini Stonehedge. Locke starts to climb his way down, none of that sissy being lowered down as Sawyer suggested, but before he does, Jin makes him promise to not bring Sun back. He gives Locke his wedding ring as "proof" of his death.

As Locke is making his way down the well, a light starts coming up from the bottom. It makes sense that the source of the flashes would come from the donkey wheel, but was still kind of surprising to see. Locke falls and suffers a compound fracture to his leg. Hey, he's suffered one already as well as being shot in the gut by Ben, so it's all in a day's work on the island. But after the flash, Sawyer who is holding the rope, is shocked to see there is no longer a well there and starts dig. Miles and Juliet convince him that there's no point. Poor Sawyer, just when he starts to make attachments to people, they disappear. Literally.

Locke, who is in considerable pain, is greeted by Christian. The afterlife has really ruined Christian's fashion sense-- plaid shirt, buttoned to the top. Really??? There's no dimension that that ensemble looks good. But instead of being ashamed of his attire, Christian chastises Locke for not turning wheel himself. Ben said he knew how to do it, was Locke's answer.

"Since when has listening to him get you anywhere worth a damn?" Christian responded.

Touche. Which begs the question: Why did Ben do it? If Locke had left, he would still be leader.

Locke gets up without assistance from Christian and he rounds the corner.

Holy jumping frozen donkey wheel! Ben turned it but he screwed it up. Did he do that on purpose too? All it needs is a little push, there's a flash and as the flash starts Christian says "Say hello to my son."

Locke asks "Who's your son?" but then he's gone. Christian's timing sucks.

Back in L.A. Ben's driving Sun and Jack to see "his person" and they become a couple of haters. Finally, Ben jerks the van to the side of the road and gives them his own version of "if I have to pull this car over" speech. He told them that if they only knew what he did to keep them all safe, which begs the question: What exactly did he do to keep them safe? Could it have involved our favorite bad ass Iraqi, Sayid???

They arrive at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope and Ben hands over the ring to Sun. Jin's proof that he is dead has become Ben's proof that he's alive. And Locke still kept his word. He didn't tell Sun that Jin was alive. But Ben's still talking out of the side of his mouth. "I thought you said John didn't come to you." Jack tells Ben.

"He didn't. I went to him." replies Ben. Same old Ben. Only even he seems surprised at who comes walking up to them. Desmond. Brotha! I would presume by the look on Ben's face that even he didn't know that Mrs. Eloise Hawking is Daniel Faraday's mother. How unBen like.

They go into the church and there she is, Ice Queen Eloise Hawking, who now doesn't seemed concerned by the low turnout by the Oceanic 6. They can go later. Say what?

Will Desmond go too? What about Ji Yeon, doesn't she have to go? How will Sayid change his mind, or is that the whole purpose of the men with the tranquilizer guns?

But one more thing before I wrap this up: The time traveling seems to mostly take the Losties to significant periods of time. 1954- The nuclear weapon. 1988- Danielle's crew arrives Date??? When the drug smuggler's plane crashes. 2004-- When Locke beats on the hatch and the light comes on/Aaron is born. Are they purposely moving to these significant island events or is it just coincidence?

But when was the last time you saw a coincidence on LOST?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When Mom's Away...

Hurricane force winds will sweep through the house.

Leaving a path of havoc and chaos.

Strewing bits of Kleenex and the foam from a changing pad all over the floor.

Ripping cushions off of chairs during the 2 hours that Mom is gone. And where is Mom? Enjoying a girls night out? On a spring wardrobe shopping spree?

Proudly watching her daughter Julia get an academic award for a 4.0 GPA for first semester. Way to go Julia!

Anybody know where I can rent a front end loader to clean out this mess?

Party On

Saturday night we hosted Ryan's belated and postponed birthday party. Ryan, of course, had no idea what was going on. Our party served a dinner of Italian Beef sandwiches, roasted garlic potatoes and fruit salad. Italian for a Chinese boy. Sounds American to me.

After dinner it was time for dessert.

Julia and I decorated a cupcakes and a layer cake. Jenna and Ryan were fascinated with the cupcakes. (My dad is wiping Ryan's nose here.)

Silly me didn't think to take a picture of the cupcakes and cake before we ate most of them. Since Ryan couldn't tell us what he wanted, Julia and I decided to make monster cupcakes. The kids, of course, couldn't wait to get their hands on cup cakes loaded with candy.

Ryan wasn't sure what to think about all of us singing Happy Birthday. He seemed more entranced with the burning candle in front of him. My nephews and niece are around him-- Zach, Dillon and Caitlin. When we finished singing I told him to blow out the candle, which he did like a champ.

That's my boy! My boy likes cake and ice cream, but mostly ice cream.

Dillon hamming it up for the camera. You should see the other poses he made for me. Janne', you should be quite proud. (My SIL Janne' was on a girls weekend with her friends.)

Jenna eating ice cream. I think she ate the candies off the cup cake and that was it.

Next it was time for presents. Since Christmas wasn't that long ago, Ryan figured out pretty quickly what to do with a stack of presents. Oh yeah, and at this point Ryan isn't wearing any pants. It was a pretty wild party after all. He had a pretty messy diaper after his ice cream and I was so busy being the hostess with the mostest that I completely forgot to get him another pair of pants. One day he'll hate me for it, but I have some time to make up for it.

He and Emma love the Little People bus Emma got for Christmas so I asked my parents to get him a Little People airplane. It was a huge hit.

Kevin and his crew got Ryan this Cars fire truck. Another huge hit.

Julia got Ryan a Hi Ho Cheerio game. It was a huge hit with Julia, Jenna and the cousins. But what was Ryan doing?

Lovin' on his new Mr. Potato Head. Who can resist a personified spud?