Friday, December 30, 2011

Comic Book Review: Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends Issue #11

12:12 AM 1 Comments
As some of you may remember, earlier this month, I revealed a secret to you. I, girly girl extraordinary, have a thing for comic books. I know this shocked many of you so I've given you a few weeks to mull this over and come to terms with it before posting my 2nd ever comic book review. I really do hope that you've come to terms with it because as of..well, recently, I'm an "official" reviewer for a couple of really awesome comic book publishers. I ought to ask them if they have awesome blog buttons or anything, but honestly, that's a total sidebar and not the reason y'all are still reading...right? Let's get to the review!

For my very first ever Zenescope review, I was sent a copy of Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends Issue #11.*  As you can see, they were nice enough to even include a graphic of the cover to include with this post. I find that especially handy if you read this and then have a desire to go out and buy the book for yourself once it hits store shelves/their website.

With any review, I tend to start by judging a book by its cover. In this case, the cover art was done by Romano Molenaar. While I actually appreciate the talent that went into this cover, I do have an issue with it. In fact, I bet you can guess what it is. Why in tarnation does she have boobs the size of brontosaurus eggs? Seriously. I know that sex sells and generally, I quite appreciate the body of the lovely heroine, but this cover drives me nuts.

Now, before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I need to say that this isn't a gender issue. It isn't even a "women are being exploited" issue. It's logistics, people. As someone who has huge boobs, let me assure you that they do not stay in place like the artist has depicted. Let me also assure you that they get in the way of everything! In my head, I can see our lovely heroine, in all her glory, jumping into the air..and presenting the sea witch with all her glory. Do you catch my drift here? If you're going to use svelte, big boobed heroines, that's awesome. I'd love to see more strong female figures with bigger assets. Let's just make it realistic, ok? While I can suspend reality for a good story, it's tougher when the images just don't align.

That being said, I really did enjoy this story. I was honestly disappointed that I hadn't had the opportunity to read the other books in this series. This issue picks up with the 4th and final installment of The Little Mermaid. It includes back story on the sea witch that I found really interesting. Like a lot of people, I'm mainly familiar with the Disney version of this story, so this was a nice change of pace. (FYI, Disney stories are rather changed from the Grimm Brothers versions.)

I really don't want to give away the story, so I'm just going to focus on a few of the details that I picked out while reading. Hopefully, it will pique your interest enough that you'll pick up this series for yourself.

The Art -
Throughout the book, I noticed what I consider classic symbols in literature. For me, it really raised the level of this book to more than just a fluff piece. It showed that serious thought and effort went into the telling of this story. As someone who is new to comic books (and who is hoping that I can get Raven to sit down and give me a lesson), I don't know who makes the call as to what goes into the art work. I do know that whoever put this story all together knew what they were doing. Let me give you some examples:

Page 5/6 - Use of pink implying a feminine power.
Page 7 - Panel 1: Cascading Water equals a combination of power and purity.
Throughout - Red sky foretelling troubles ahead. The red also matches the red of the blood of Venus.

The Story -

While I clearly have missed a lot of this story line, what I did find very impressive was how in just a few short pages, you actually come to not only care about the character but you can empathize with them. This is something that many authors struggle to do, but in this book, it feels almost effortless. By the time you reach the end of this book, you've got your fingers crossed and your hopes invested in the "good guys."

I won't give away the ending, but I will say to the folks who put together this comic, I'm impressed. I'm impressed that you didn't go the easy way out. You wrote an ending that is just as real as the one everyone hopes to see. Sometimes, the good guys don't win. Sometimes, they do. In the end, what matters is that they didn't give up and that they'll be back for another issue.

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*To all new comic book readers, I don't suggest that you jump into a series at issue #11. If you cannot find the first issues to purchase, ask around and see if you can borrow them from anyone. Trust me, the story lines make so much more sense if you start at the beginning.

I received a copy of this comic book for the purpose of this review. I received no monetary compensation and the fact that the author himself called me and asked me to review his book before another author's book had no bearing on my opinions. However, it did cause me to smile a lot, feel really special and for my kids to roll their eyes frequently at me. 

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gone but Not Forgotten, I Hope.

11:23 PM 3 Comments
I know I haven't been here for a while but this time I have a good reason. Right before Ben's surgery, my laptop picked up a virus while I was actually looking for information about the surgery. While I took care of that fairly easily, somewhere along the line, some important files got corrupted. In the spirit of family, I sat it aside for a week while I spent time with my boys. Then, after picking it back up (and with Peter's help), it was decided that the poor thing needed a fresh Windows install.

It took me a few days, but I got that done and most everything loaded back on my poor laptop and here I am! I'm back. Life is still busy so I make no promises how often I'll be able to post for a while. Unlike some mothers, I wish that break would go on forever. Come Tuesday, I'll be back to a crazy busy time. On top of the normal insanity, my grandma has asked me to start coming over to help her sort things so I'll be spending a lot of weekends over there. I hope y'all will forgive me for my absences and know that they can't be helped. I really do miss writing (and your comments) when I can't be here.

For tonight though, I'm going to spoil you with two posts. Keep your eyes open because in just a bit, I'll be posting my first ever Zenescope comic review! See you in a bit!

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Comic Book Review: Christmas Fire

11:13 PM 0 Comments
Little known fact. I like comic books. More known fact. I know nothing about DC comics or any other big name comic book company. Don't ask me who an artist is or who wrote what. I won't know the answer. I suppose some might consider it impressive that I'm so uneducated about these things, but it's really not. Comic books have always been a form of literature that I've appreciated but not one that I've had a lot of exposure to. My earliest memory of comic books is the box of them that my grandma always had at her house. In fact, that box is currently residing in my barn. The comic books aren't worth much but I want to board and bag them just to protect them since they're old and they're from my grandmother.

Now, I know you guys. You're wondering what the heck all of this has to do with the title to this post or the really adorable dragon up there. Well, consider it back story. No good piece of writing can stand on its own without back story being in there somewhere.

Now, for more current content. Back on my birthday..Ok, technically, it was the day after my birthday...I got to tag along with Chris and Lauren to a comic con in Detroit. Thanks to Justin and a few others, my interest in comic books had been growing for some time. While there, I met some very nice people (and some not so nice people but we're ignoring them) and got interested in a few comic books. I can almost hear you now..interested? That's not how you work... Ok, ok..I admit, I became really interested. (This is where I stick my tongue out at you, but you can't see it.) One of those comics was the Grimm Fairy Tales comic and one of the writers/editors of that comic is Raven Gregory. Through his Facebook page, I found Ross and that led me to Asbestos.

By this time, you're probably going nuts. I know I would be if I'd had to read all of that and still there was no review. So, before you pull all of your hair out (seriously, this is a bad time of year for that. It's cold outside!), that adorable little dragon up there is Asbestos and he's the star of one seriously cute comic called Christmas Fire. I confess. I fell in love with Asbestos weeks before I ever bought the comic. In fact, if they ever made a plush version, I would be first in line to sign up for usability testing. *

The summary of the story (totally stolen from the back of the comic) goes something like this:

Something's amiss in the Land of Possible, can anyone help? Join a dragon whelp named Asbestos on the journey of a lifetime as he tries to get the one person who can help him: Santa Claus. 


Between the story line, the fact Raven bought it for his daughters and the fact that I was in love with the main character, I gave in and ordered the comic. In fact, I was the very first person to order it from the Etsy shop where Ross is now selling this comic. Thank goodness Ross takes fast shipping seriously because I was practically twitching by the time this comic got here. In fact, I was on my way out to do some Small Business Saturday shopping when I found the envelope on the front porch. I made Jim actually wait while I opened it and squealed. Yes, dear readers, I know this comes as a huge shock...or not...but I squealed out loud. I squealed again when I saw that Ross had included two signed pieces of art just because I was his first Etsy customer. This is one of the pieces he included:


This was especially cool since I also happened to be his 200th fan on his Facebook page. I have to tell you that there's nothing more cool than an artist/author making an individual fan feel like she's someone special and that's just what Ross did for me by including that artwork.

Sadly, it was a few days before I found the time to sit down and read this little gem of a comic book. When I did, though, I have to tell you that I wasn't disappointed. The story was great. It was written at a level that both kids and adults could enjoy it. Honestly, I'm looking forward to having the boys check it out. If I had any complaints, it would be two really little things...

1. I would have loved to have seen the pictures done in color. Other than the front cover, all of the pictures are black and white drawings. While I can appreciate that it would most likely be more expensive to produce the book in full color, this was advertised as a comic not a coloring book and the black and white drawings made me think, "Where are my crayons?" Perhaps 2 versions could be produced..kind of a cross platform marketing campaign.

2. I'd have loved for this to be just a tad longer. I think it's mostly because I love this character so much. I'd love to know his backstory. I'd love to see where he goes next. Honestly, I'd love to write an Asbestos story. This reminded me so much of the stories I used to make up for the boys at bedtime.

In closing, because I know this has been one heck of a rambling post, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Ross for allowing me to tell people about Asbestos. I'd also like to point out to all my parental type readers that Christmas will be here before you know it and this little comic book should be under every Christmas tree. At $7, it's far less than a lot of us pay for books and your child will delight in seeing Asbestos on his journey to save the Land of Possible and to find Santa.

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* This is a sad geek joke. Usability testing isn't done on stuffed toys.

I actually bought this comic book myself. I received nothing in exchange for this review. It was all my idea and my money and clearly my rambling opinions. Have you bought the book yet? If not, go on..click the links...you know you want to and Santa is watching...


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Depression Sucks

5:10 PM 2 Comments
It's not often that I write about the darker sides of being me. That's not because I'm trying to hide them but because usually they're manageable. Usually I can find the good in nearly every situation. Usually, I'm me. Today, I'm not.

I know how weird that sounds, but on some levels it's true. I'm a hard worker. I'm focused. I'm generally a clear thinker. Today, I'm none of those things. Today, the depression is muddling my brain and it frustrates me. It makes me angry.  The only problem with that? I don't feel those emotions properly. I know they're there, but my brain can't process them.

Why? It's too busy going oooh there are the bad brain chemicals floating around in here. That leaves the rest of me to go ok, so now what? Well, what my body wants to do is nothing. It wants to sit here and not focus on anything but how those chemicals make it feel. What do I want to do? I want to finish Christmas presents. I want to do laundry. I want to clean house. I want to finish writing the review that I promised a certain comic book creator. I want to turn on Christmas music and be able to have it in the background.

What am I doing? A combination of both. I've started the review but every time I get going, something distracts me and my brain just cannot multitask today. Even writing this post is hard because my brain is trying to focus elsewhere. In fact, I'm starting to get a headache from forcing it to finish this post.

This isn't fun. Really and truly, it's having days like this that make me tell those who come to me claiming to have depression to be glad that they really don't. It can be so entirely disabling and the only thing I can do is not to give into it. I cannot give into the desires to go back to bed and curl up and sleep. Sleep is how my brain handles the crazy chemicals whirling around inside. Instead, I will force myself to focus, even if it's just on one thing at a time and I will get through today and tomorrow and as many days as it takes to get back to being me again.


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

12:00 AM 0 Comments
Wordless Wednesday, or in my case (almost) Wordless Wednesday has always been one of my favorite posts each week. It's one that I really want to get back to doing. I haven't been using my camera near enough the last few months. In fact, I somehow even forgot to take it to Thanksgiving. I was so upset! I'd have loved to have gotten some pictures of our family, our table and even some of our Black Friday adventures. Sadly, I didn't though. What I did do was to wander outside tonight to put down some ice melt and decided to share with all of you the wonder that met my eyes...


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Negativity

7:33 PM
Tonight, I had someone dm me on Twitter to ask me why I was part of a group if I felt so negatively about it. Who it was doesn't matter. It's the message that they carried to me that shocked me. Not just that, but the way they approached me. I guess I should be thankful that they came to me at all.

The truth is...I'm not thankful. I'm hurt as hell. So, consider this post all about me. It's all about me defending myself and saying you know what, try to understand where I'm at right now.

Let's start with my life...

1. My family - My parents are being insane. That's the only way to put it. And for the record, yes, my family reads this. No, I don't care. For those that are behind the times, here's the scenario:  We're taking Thanksgiving dinner to my grandmother who is dying of stage iv colo- rectal cancer. This means I've spent god knows how much money getting food and god knows how much time figuring out how to move 1/2 my kitchen 90 minutes away. My parents, in a fit of total disrespect, are coming, not coming, coming, god knows...add to that my brother and his nasty attitude.

2. My grandmother is dying. I think one sentence sums that up.

3. The holidays. - Let's see..there was the stress involved in working out a "new" who has who with the kids. There's the knowledge that yet again, I won't be spending the holidays with Justin. There's the stressors to do with money.

4. My kitchen sink. - For over the past week now, I've spent 20+ minutes a day plunging it. The plumber now says it sounds like basement pipes need to be replaced. This means I can't catch up on dishes. My plan for fixing up our kitchen is crawling at a snail's pace. Did I mention I have company arriving in less than 4 hours?

So, to sum it up. I'm stressed...I am stressed to the point where I want to say fuck it all. Yes, I said a bad word. Deal with it. I'm stressed and when I get to this level of stressed, my brain chemicals go nuts and depression comes knocking at my door. I am doing everything I can to hold it together. It's not a huge shock to me and it shouldn't be to anyone else that I might be a bit negative right now.

Do I love Mamavation? Yes. I cannot begin to fathom why anyone would think I don't. Do I see flaws in it? Of course, I do. Nothing is perfect. I have ideas on how to improve certain areas. Have I been publicly negative about the group? Hell no. I don't know who the hell is going around saying I have but they can stop right now.  I work hard every week to support the women in that group. That group is one of the primary reasons that I've lost the weight that I have. The support in that group can be an amazing thing. The women in that group are wonderful people. I wouldn't and don't hesitate to recommend it to people who want to lose weight.

As for this nonsense regarding Anytime Fitness, I wish it would just stop. This kind of drama doesn't help anyone. I've publicly stated that watching the two groups throw their crap back and forth is depressing. It is. You have two groups that ought to be working in partnership. Instead, they're mud slinging. Grow the hell up. Yep, the title of the chapter was outrageous. Yes, I think Leah over-reacted. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, read the rest. I think the authors over-reacted too. I think the title was a bit of sensationalism and it worked. Do I approve? Not especially but it worked.

Do I think Leah is evil incarnate or any other horrible thing? God, no. I think Leah is great. I think what she's done is great. I think what she's doing for other women is great. Got that, I said Great. I didn't say evil. I didn't say bitch. I didn't say reactionary or any other bad word. Contrary to some beliefs, I have not and will not Leah bash. I know some have taken my comment on a blog post as just that, but it's not.

Do I think Anytime Fitness is a horrible monster? No, I don't. I think they're a company that has the potential to and maybe already does provide a great service. I don't know the CEO or the company well enough to made a judgment.

Got all that? I hope so because is the one and only time I will blog about this. I'm over it. Everyone should be by now. If you want to change the fitness world, don't just talk about it, get off your ass and do something. If you're not doing something, don't bitch and whine to me.

So to all of you out there who feel I'm too negative these days, step outside your own little world and take a peek into mine right now. It's not the most pleasant place to be living. The honest to God's truth is I know it could be worse. It could be so much worse and that's what I try to focus on right now. I focus on the good as much as I can. I focus on my two amazing boys. I focus on the man that loves me. I focus on the few really great friends I have. I try hard to take things one day and sometimes one step at a time.

I guess that just leaves me with one favor to ask of all of you...if you have some sort of negativity that you feel you need to add to my life, please don't. I don't have the strength right now to fight off your attacks. I don't have the energy. I'm down to my last grip as I fight my way through. Yes, life is a battle right now but it's a battle that I'm not giving up on. If you can't help me with this battle, please do me a favor and just go away...

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Stand Up For Family

7:00 AM 1 Comments

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Family Insurance. All opinions are 100% mine.

Oh my gosh, I just spent time on the Stand Up For Family website and I can't stop giggling. The site is full of stand up comedy videos that are family safe. They're produced by AmFam and seriously, I wouldn't hesitate to let my own boys watch these. Granted, they might not get the humor, but I think it's fantastic that they could watch these right along side me. I love that American Family Insurance gets that stand up doesn't have to be dirty.

For example, take the Mark Viera video called Old School Grandmother. I couldn't stop laughing. As I watched it, I realized that I have this conversation with my boys all the time. Then, I got to thinking and realized that I probably inherited that speech from my own grandmother. 

Just watching these videos got me to thinking about my own childhood and how important my grandparents were to me when I was growing up. I hope that when my own boys grow up, they can look back at their childhoods with such fond memories. Who knows, maybe they'll somehow understand how I survived the graphics of the first Super Mario Bros when their own kids say something similar to them. 

Seriously, if you want a good laugh, go and check out these videos. They're short but they'll have you laughing and thinking about your own families.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What a Week

11:43 PM 0 Comments
Wow, what a week! Based on my clock, it's nearly Friday and this week has felt like it's flown by and yet lasted forever. On Monday, I decided I was going to do a serious cleaning in my kitchen. I was going to catch up on all my dishes, wipe down the counters, clear the surfaces..everything. I got one counter cleared and discovered my kitchen sink was plugged. I didn't worry too much about it because I had to go into town.

The rest of Monday went as most Monday's do. I was busy with the kids, waiting for Peter to get home and Mamavation business. Tuesday was an entirely different story. When my home remedies for the sink didn't work, I decided to go buy some Draino. Since I had to go into Charlotte to pick up baby food jars, no biggie, I thought. Of course, I didn't take into account the lines at the store, the traffic or anything else. I ended up being 15 minutes late picking up both boys. Yick!

On Wednesday, I had to go into Lansing. On the way to the Salvation Army, I bought my very own pipe wrench. You see, the Draino didn't work. From there, I went to Salvation Army and signed up for their Christmas program. I had to sign the boys up this year. Then, the gps took me down every back country road you can imagine but I did make it on time to get the boys.

That night, I took the pipe wrench and attempted to remove the trap on the sink. That didn't work. It's stuck tight. Instead, a connecting pipe popped out instead. Luckily, it didn't break, just wiggled loose. It did allow me to drain the sink but oy! Not what I wanted.

Today, I tackled a different part of my kitchen, called a plumber and got a surprise from Misty. Her boss offered her 2 tickets to the MSU game this weekend. She thought I might like to take Ben. She did ask her boss to try to get a third ticket so fingers crossed she did because both boys badly want to go and I'd love a fun outing with the both of them. I won't know until tomorrow.

Add to all that? I have to be up way early tomorrow for the plumber. I'm planning the entire Thanksgiving dinner. Ben has a school dance tomorrow and we'll find out who gets to go to the football game on Saturday.

I love my life but I love it a bit slower than this!


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DigDropDone.com/CurbsideChaos.com

8:00 PM 0 Comments

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have y'all ever been to DigDropDone.com? It's this fantastic site where you can learn all about bulbs. There are sections on when to plant and even what to plant. If your yard is like mine, it needs a serious makeover and this site could be invaluable in that process. In fact, one of my goals next autumn is to plant some tulip bulbs. Who knows, maybe I'll even plant some indoor over the winter!

I loved the part of the site that talked about the 3 women behind the site. I loved Marcy, the supermom. Who knows, maybe she could be my new best friend. She's got kids, she works part time and she gardens in her free time. Do moms have free time?  visit www.digdropdone.com to learn more

Now, right alongside DigDropDone.com is Curbside Chaos. In fact, DigDropDone.com in their desire to educate and excite women about the simple beauty of flower bulbs, is hosting a contest there! To enter, you only have to submit a photo of your yard on CurbsideChaos.com.

The winner will receive a $5000 yard makeover as well as a visit from Taniya Nayak. She'll go through your yard with you and give you tips and suggestions for your makeover. 

While you're there, make sure you check out the Garden Guru feature. It's really easy to use and so handy!

Don't believe me? Check out these steps:

1. Pick your country

2. Pick your location in that country.

3. Choose when you want your flowers to bloom.

4. Check which type of flower you'd like.

5. Check out your planting guide!

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This was actually pretty fun and I learned things I didn't know! One last thing, did I tell y'all that for every share on Twitter, "Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done." will donate $1.00 to Rebuilding Together. How awesome is that? Check them out today!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Earth Brand Footwear

11:41 AM 1 Comments
Shoe lovers out there, pay close attention to this post! I have some very exciting news to share with all of you. The company that has brought us Kalso Earth Shoes and Earthies is bringing us a whole new line of shoes called Earth!

Some of you may remember not to long ago when Earth Footwear revamped itself with it's original logo -- Kalso Earth Shoes. Those are the fabulous ones with the negative heel technology. Along side that is the Earthies line. This is the line of super sexy dress shoes and boots. (Note to Santa: I don't have any of those yet.)

Now, there's a whole new line that is being branded under the Earth logo. What makes these different? Well, guess what! It's my job to tell you. The new line will include flats and low heels with soft leather uppers and reinforced arch support. They'll also include multi-density latex cushioned footbeds with overpadded heels. Did I mention that this shoe line focuses on rich suedes and delicious leathers? What does all that mean? Cute, sexy shoes that are comfortable too!

Want to hear the best part? They're affordable! I know that we all lust after gorgeous shoes and too often it becomes an item on our bucket list. Not this time. These shoes are going to retail for $79-$99 when they're released! In fact, they're going to start shipping in December 2011 so now might be the time to nudge that honey of yours that you'd like a new pair of shoes for New Years. After all, there's nothing like partying all night long in sexy shoes that won't break your bank or an ankle. Not going out? Well, there's something to be said for a private party too.

If you want to keep up on what's happening, what shoes there will be and all the yummy shoe goodness, keep your eye on the new Earth website . Want a sneak peek at one of the new pairs? Let me show you!

I wanted to show you how cute they look on, but would you believe that my camera died right after snapping this picture?!? Technology hates me but I love these shoes!

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This is a paid editorial regarding some awesome new shoes. All comments, thoughts, opinions and ramblings are 100% mine. 
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Revenge of the Muse

10:40 AM 0 Comments
You shouldn't tease a muse. I talked about mine hiding and pouting and it got its revenge. It decided to whisper in my ear at about 2 am.  I was mostly asleep and refused to get up and this is what it gave me instead.

The Dream-

I was on a cruise with Peter and the boys. We were on some island and Peter had hired a guide to take Ben around. Except, he couldn't get his card to work at any of the atms on the island. It was a shared card with Lindsaye (someone I am pretty sure he hasn't spoken to in years). I tried explaining to him that debit cards don't always work outside of the US but he didn't want to hear it. So, while he want from machine to machine, I pulled out cash and paid the guide.

Then, as dreams do, the dream shifted and I was laying in my backyard with Justin. It was the middle of the night and we were laying there, looking up at the stars. I was asking him if he thought anyone would notice the 3 elephants, 3 giraffes and 3 zebras that were lined up about 3 feet from us. Then, I looked over and the zebras were bowing while the elephants were raised up on their hind legs. Everything was silent but they were posed like this. I looked down the line to the balloon carriers. There were 3 of them as well, each holding a giant bundle of balloons. We must have dozed off because I woke up to the animals being gone and the balloon carriers slipping away in the dark. Justin and I decided we should go into the house because it might be weird if the neighbors caught us sleeping outside. So, we went inside and there were candles lit everywhere. I was a bit worried about this. After all, what if the house had burned down when we were outside. Justin just smile and shrugged and went to the kitchen to make something to eat while I stood in the living room, trying to figure this out.

Then, I was at a pool. I was assisting in teaching 4th graders. The odd part? Raven Gregory was the instructor. We worked together with some parents and pretty soon it was time for the kids to change and go back to school. I went into the locker room area and spoke to both the boys and girls (they were fully dressed!) about thanking Raven for his time (he was some sort of expert) and the kids all gave us hugs and filed out onto the bus.

There was more...and something good must have been about to happen because when the phone woke me up, I punched the bed in annoyance at being woken up...

See what happens when you ignore a muse? Your head gets filled with weird dreams and you don't get the restful sleep that you chose to begin with.

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Random Writings

12:26 AM 0 Comments
It's been a long time since I just sat and wrote. The urge to write has been smothered somewhat by life and the things that have been happening here. I miss the times where I would have to pull over to the side of the road because the urge was so strong that I couldn't resist jotting down a line or two. The reality is that muses are fickle creatures and if you ignore their call too often, they will go off and sulk and you'll be left dry. That's where I've been lately. I've been dry. I've been living in the desert, longing for a sip of water, for a single line of poetry to reassure me that I can still do this.

Can I still do this? Can I sit down with nothing more than a blank screen or a blank canvas and draw pictures with my words? Can I paint such a picture that you lose yourself in the colors? I used to be able to. I would write things that would come alive in the mind of my readers. I don't know if that makes me talented but I know that I was blessed. I love to write. I've done it since I was a child. At one point, I thought perhaps I would be a writer. I would tell my stories to the world.

Now, I keep them locked inside. The reality that so few took an interest added the first lock. The fear that perhaps they weren't as good as I thought added another. Before I knew it, my words were locked in a vault that not even I knew the combination to. Will they break free? Is there someone out there who holds the combination of love, support and encouragement that will open the door? Will my muse stop pouting and visit me again? I don't know. Only time will tell and time, as we know it, can be as fickle as the muses.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

8:40 PM 0 Comments

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of DollarGeneral. All opinions are 100% mine.

Veteran's Day is a day that most people overlook on the calendar. We don't stop to think about all the men and women who have gone before us, fighting for themselves and for us.  I know that I'm just as guilty of this as anyone else. I wake up each morning, taking for granted that I can throw on a pair of jeans and go about my business. I rarely stop to think that there are places in the world where that wouldn't be allowed. I rarely stop to think that in another time, this might have been impossible. I am very blessed to live where I do and I know that, at least in part, this is due to our veterans who have fought to give me those freedoms. 

So, today, I say thank you. Thank you to those who have fought for me. I would also like to pass on something special that Dollar General is doing. If you are a veteran, active military or family, stop into Dollar General on 11/11 and receive a 10% discount, no coupon needed. If you prefer to shop online, just enter VETERANSDAY at checkout to receive that same 10% discount. If you shop online, that discount is available to everyone! If you're on Facebook stop over and watch the support/thank you videos for our troops. Did you know that Dollar General also has care packages for the troops that are available with free shipping? So, head on over to Dollar General and take advantage of the Dollar General's Veteran's Day discount and support our troops!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Puppies vs Babies

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This post brought to you by Puppies vs. Babies. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you guys seen the Puppies vs. Babies online contest?  I just heard about this and giggled. I mean, how do you judge something like that? Then, I got to thinking about all of the babies I've ever seen vs all of the puppies I've ever seen. The truth is, while I've seen some ugly babies, I've never seen an ugly puppy. Every dang puppy I've ever seen has been adorable and I've wanted to take them home with me. 

Take my friend Lauren's puppy for example:

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You cannot tell me that she is not the cutest thing known to exist on this planet. I mean, she beats out a lot of the babies I've seen. Heck, I had some seriously good looking babies and she might beat them out, even.  If she were in the Puppies vs. Babies contest, I'd be voting for her! Since she's not though, I hope you'll go on over and vote for a lot of puppies! Babies are cute, but they're just not puppy cute. Go vote and then tell me who you voted for! Who do you think is cuter? Puppies or Babies?

(Note to my children..Mom loves you. I'm not trading you for an adorable pomeranian puppy, I promise!)

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tiny Prints - Holiday Cards

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I know that a lot of you are familiar with Tiny Prints. They have the nicest cards that you can get. This year, I was delighted when they asked me to write about their 2011 Holiday Card Line. Without a doubt, there is something there for everyone.

For me, I fell in love with the card you see to the left. When I saw the saying, all I could think about was my two boys doing the ToothBrush CanCan last Christmas Eve. Even though they're 10 and 11 (and growing up fast according to them), they still take such delight in the little things to do with the holidays.

Today, it snowed for the first (and absolutely not the last!) time this season. Roger was trying to catch the snow clumps (trust me, they weren't flakes!) and Ben was giggling and laughing as we "frantically" tried to get him into his new winter coat (thank goodness for sales!). Every year, they eagerly open up their pajamas that they get on Christmas Eve. I actually asked them this year if they were too old for that tradition and heck no, they most certainly are not they told me. They take as much delight in watching Christmas movies as they do in opening presents. It's all of the little things that add up into a great holiday season.

So like I said (How long ago was that? I think I've been rambling!), when I saw this card, I thought about how they take such joy in the little things that we do as a family. Without a doubt, this would be the card for my family this year. I think your cards should somehow reflect your family and this one really would. So, hip hip hooray for Christmas Day and for Tiny Prints.


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This post was written in exchange for product from Tiny Prints. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are 100% mine.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

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Some of you might recognize the kiddo below. That's Ben, my oldest. Tonight was his first ever choir concert. I snapped this picture in his dad's kitchen afterwards. Ben has cerebral palsy and as some of you know, photographing a special needs child can be difficult. In Ben's case, when he sees the camera, he grimaces (he thinks it's a smile). Tonight, I discovered the secret to getting a real smile from him. All I have to do is pretend to be my bossy gps and he starts laughing.


I love this kid. He did a fantastic job at his concert and I am so proud of him
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PS For more tips on how to photograph special needs kiddos, check out this wonderful post by Ryan over at NoMoreBacon.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Laptop Surgery

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Once upon a time there was a girl and she had a pretty shiney laptop. In fact, she even named him Shiney. Shiney and the girl were the best of friends until one day, Shiney started making a very bad noise. Worried about her friend, the girl talked to lots of people to try to see what was wrong. She loved Shiney and she was very worried that he was very sick. After a little while, it was discovered that Shiney had a bad fan. It was explained to the girl that this was like a bad lung and without a transplant, Shiney would die! Luckily, it was pretty easy to get a new fan and soon, the girl had one all ready to go into Shiney. She took Shiney to someone who knew how to do fan transplants and here's what happened next:







Once it was all done, Shiney was a much happier laptop. Who knows...maybe Shiney and the girl lived happily ever after! The End.

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Straight Talk

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

In today's economy, we're all looking for ways to save money. In the spirit of that, I want to show you one more option in cell phone useage. Let's face it. I think most of us have one of these handy little gadgets and a lot of us wince over how much that bill is every month. Most of us have shopped around and we're probably fairly happy with where we are now. That doesn't mean we've stopped looking though! 

If you're still looking, have you checked out Straight Talk? They use only the phone manufacturers that we all know and love. There are no credit checks and no contacts. On top of that, they have nationwide coverage. You can get smart phone coverage for as low as $45/month unlimited useage. It includes calling, texting, web use and picture messaging. That's nothing to sneeze at, huh?

Want to find out more? Let me share a few videos with you.

Feel Richer with Android The power of Android


The Straight Talk Image... by LittleBard95

Not looking for new service for yourself? What about one of those kids who are begging you daily for their own phones? Through Straight Talk, you can get reconditioned phones starting at just $10. After seeing how my niece and nephew go through phones, I don't think I would ever buy a new phone for them! 

If you're in the market for a new cell provider, check out Straight Talk and let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Kalso Earth Shoes!

1:19 PM 167 Comments
I have a secret. I'm not sure I should tell anyone since I have this reputation of being all Little Miss DIY, not girly girl...Oh, who am I kidding? Nobody believes that anymore. They used to. I used to have guys tell me that I was the least girly girl they knew. Now, I still love DIY but I'm also into nail polish and *gasp* shoes. I know..I know...how cliche, right?

But, have you tried out a pair of Kalso Earth Shoes? I have and man, they are awesome! Truth be told, I practically begged to be allowed to review a pair for them. Luckily, the lovely lady who handles it was probably amused by my eagerness and hooked me up with the pair of shoes you see to your left there. Those are The Link Too and yes, they really are that cute in person too! The first day I wore them out, I received compliments.

If you know me, you know I have a very hard time wearing shoes all day long. In fact, when I walk in the door at night, the first thing to happen is I kick my shoes off. Not these! I found myself wearing them all day long and I was home for a good 30 minutes before I realized I hadn't taken them off. They're just plain comfy as well as cute! I confess that for the first bit of time I kept finding myself stepping out of them when I walked. That's all on me though. I'm just not used to wearing this type of shoe.

So, what makes these so awesome other than cute and comfy? It's all about "Negative Heel Technology." What is this craziness you speak of? I heard you say it...It means that your heel is actually slightly lower in the shoe than your toes. Think about walking in sand. It's that same effect. Pretty cool, huh? If you look over to your left, there's a pretty snazzy graphic that shoes what this does for your body. I have to tell you that it was wearing a pair of shoes like this back in the spring that totally saved my knee when I sprained it.

Now, since I know you want to see these shoes "in person", I have 2 things for you. The first thing...a picture of me wearing said cute shoes:


See? Super cute and I have to say they look good against the Fall leaves. I wish we had more colorful ones in our yard but sadly, we just didn't this year. It's probably because we only have one walnut tree in the front yard.

Right. You don't care about the leaves in my yard. You want to know how you can see these shoes for yourself. After all, I did say there were two ways..Ok, nobody squeal too loud but Kalso Earth Shoes is letting me give one of you lucky readers a pair of shoes! Now, I can't promise that they'll be the same ones I received. The pair that they send you will totally be based upon your size and their stock. Want to know how to win? Here are the rules:

The giveaway will run from today (10/19) until October 31st at 11:59pm. Any entries received after that point will not be counted. On November 1st, I will draw a winner and that winner will be contacted via email. If I can't find the winner's email address, I will draw a new winner. The winner has 72 hours to email me back with their shipping information. If I don't hear back, a new winner will be chosen. Contest open to residents of the USA. Got all that? Ok, now on to how to enter:

Please leave a separate comment for each entry:
1. Publicly follow me on either Networked Blogs and/or Google Friend Connect. (1 entry - Maximum 2 entries.)
2. Post this giveaway to Facebook. (1 entry - Maximum 1 entry per day.)
3. Head on over to the Kalso Earth Shoe Facebook Page and leave a comment there telling them which of their shoes is your favorite. (1 entry.)
4. Follow me on Twitter (1 entry)
5. Follow Kalso Earth Shoes on Twitter (1 entry)
6. Tweet out this message (up to 5x a day - Maximum 5 entries per day.):

"I just entered to win a pair of @KalsoEarthShoes from @craftsbykatie ! Enter today for your chance to win: http://www.lifewithkatie.com/2011/10/review-giveaway-kalso-earth-shoes.html"

Spread the word!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

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My birthday was back on September 23rd and for the first time in more years than I can remember, I had a birthday party! One of my bestest friends ever, Lauren, got some folks together and I have to say, it was wonderful. There might not have been a huge turn out but I felt so loved by those who could come out. It was really quality over quantity. Plus, I got an awesome birthday hug from Chris. I could have one of those every day and they would never get old. Yep, I'm a hugger and that man gives quality hugs.  It was seriously, the best birthday I've had in a very long time. Lauren even made me a birthday cake! I heard her hubby had a hand in it and while that sounds a bit gross if you take it literally, it was one yummy cake!



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