Wednesday, October 26, 2011

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

11:33 PM 0 Comments
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

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!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Kalso Earth Shoes!

1:19 PM 166 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 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:"

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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Camping Part 6 : The End is Here

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Sadly, all good things must come to an end and with this post, so will our camping saga. I think I've procrastinated this post because spending time remembering how wonderful it was has gotten me through a few rough days. Of course, that was greedy of me and I know y'all have been waiting. So without further ado...our last day...

Morning came early at camp and like the day before, it was a misty day that promised more rain. Justin and I made an executive decision to not even try to make breakfast at camp but to pack it all up and grab something to eat on the way home. I think that's when chaos started to happen, but in some ways, it was a controlled chaos. Our biggest problem was that so much was covered in dirt and mud. Justin was fabulous about rinsing off what he could at the outside tap. I confess that I got a little frustrated as I watched him load the van.

Ok, maybe it was quite a bit frustrated. You see, in certain areas, I can be a total control freak. One of those areas is organization. It's really hard for me to step back and say ok, you handle it. Since he was clearly capable of putting things in the back of the van, I took a few deep breathes and worked on having the kids help me pack things up so that they'd be ready to go into the van. Surprisingly, I think it only took about an hour for us to get packed up, checked out and on the road....I didn't get a picture of the back of the van, but here's one of the boys riding home. You can see the back of the van when I was looking back at them.

As you can also see, a lot of "friends" came along for the trip or were picked up during the trip. The handsome guy in that right picture is Teddy. He was given to me about 5 years ago and he travels most everywhere with us.

If you remember, back on Day 2, I told you that there was no way we were going through Normandy  the wilds of Northern Michigan. Instead, we decided to take 23 South.  It's honestly a lovely drive and if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it. The road follows Lake Huron for miles and miles and the views are just beautiful.

About 10 miles from camp, while staring out over the water, I realized we had forgotten to go to the lighthouse. We had planned on stopping there on the way home since it was only about 4 miles in the wrong direction. Sadly, we forgot and instead went on to breakfast. As I mentioned in a previous post, Justin doesn't like chain restaurants. It's just as well since I don't think there are any in Rogers City. Instead, we found this great little polish restaurant and enjoyed breakfast together.

Ok, this would be Roger enjoying the tv far more than his family but as I discovered on this trip, if there's a tv, that kid (and probably me..yep, I'm guilty too) will probably be watching it. I wish I could remember the name of this restaurant. I would completely recommend it if for no other reason than you need to go in and check out their fridge. It's awesome. Trust me.

After breakfast, it was back on the road. We drove and we drove and we drove...well, you get the point. It was nice though. We all talked about the trip and about where we want to go next year. The GPS didn't take us anywhere crazy for ages. It was just nice. We even got to watch part of a parade from a distance!

I know you want to know how that happened, right? Well, we were driving along and suddenly came to a dead stop. At first, we thought it was just because there was a super awesome craft fair going on and traffic was slowed down while people crossed the road. Nope. It turns out that there was a parade happening right in front of us. I wish I'd snapped a picture out the window of the craft fair. We saw some great things from the view of the van. I think this was especially hard for Roger and myself. We both really badly wanted to get out and check out all of the booths. In fact, I think I looked back the entire time we drove through town but Justin was stronger than the both of us and on we drove.

Along the way home, we stopped at no less than 3 different state parks. Why? I have to say it's because I have the greatest man in the world. The state of Michigan had produced a passport stamp book that gave descriptions and all the information about the different state campgrounds. Our camp had run out of them and Justin kept stopping at different parks trying to get one for me. We never did get one but what I found out was that he was also asking about lighthouses so that I would get to see one. At Tawas Point, I got my wish...

We didn't go into the lighthouse because they charged a fee to tour it and none of us were really interested. Instead, Roger and I walked down towards the beach while Justin and Ben hung out on the bench and relaxed. It was lovely. The weather was perfect and I was with my 3 favorite guys. After a quick trip through the gift shop where we bought a stuffed black crape and a book of Mad Libs, we were back on the road.

The drive after that was fun as we did Mad Libs about random vacation themes. My boys can certainly come up with some crazy words that make for some fun readings. Eventually though, all good things need a break and we decided to stop at an Arby's for lunch. Arby's is Ben's favorite place and he'd asked if we could stop so we stopped there to surprise them. Getting out of the van, I had to take this picture. We figured that this poor car must have been afraid of the parking space.

After a rather delicious lunch, we jumped back on the road and it wasn't long after that when silly GPS lady took us off into weird places again. Instead of just sticking to the highway or freeway, she decided we needed to cut cross country again. Before I knew it, we were wandering up and down side streets of Saginaw. Eventually, we found our way out of there and back to the state highway where we wandered through the desert for 40 days the back roads of Michigan as we made our way to my grandma's house.

It was so good to see her. She was laying down when we got there, but she was so happy to see us. She doesn't get to see any of us near enough and now that we don't know how much time we have left with her, I want to give her every opportunity to see us and especially my boys. It's hard to find the time, but it's something I have to do.

We spent a few hours there, talking about the trip and just talking about her life. It made me so happy to hear her sharing her stories with Justin and the boys. So many of them I've heard over the years, but I never grow tired of them. I love hearing how her and grandpa built the house. I love all of it and I love her.

Time goes by so fast when I'm with her and before I knew it, it was past the kids bedtimes and we loaded up the van to finish the drive to our house. When we got in, we sent everyone up to bed and left the van emptying til morning.That's a decision I'll never was almost fun getting everything unloaded the next day before we went to run last minute school shopping errands.

It's been a month now since that amazing camping trip. I'm already looking forward to next year. I have a shopping list of the things we still need. We have a location picked out and most importantly, it's another chunk of the most precious time ever, time with my family.

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