Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013 - It's a Wrap!

We had a very quiet Christmas - just like I like it!  Here is a photo of VC with some of  his loot. Makes me smile that a teenager is content with his Dr. Who scarf and some new Rubik's cube configurations. He was actually ecstatic - even though he was the one who ordered the cubes for me ;-)

He had this to say about his gifts, "I got a lot of great presents. Dude, this scarf man, it is like my proudest possession right now."

....warms a mom's heart! Hope your holidays were just as memorable.
...and Pumpkin's gift - let's just say it was a huge hit!!  The Whack-a-Mouse has taken quite the beating. It is already in need of a nose repair....

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crying All Night? Seriously???

By now we have all heard the story of Tracey Sole who ordered an Android tablet for her daughter and the UPS Guy decided to put it "safely" in her black garbage container, at which point it was picked up by the sanitation folks.

Sad story. I can understand that she saved up for weeks for this surprise for her daughter. I can understand that the UPS guy could use a lesson in proper delivery procedures....

What I can't understand is that she was reportedly "crying all night" over the loss of the tablet.

Wouldn't it have occurred to her that she had proof the tablet was left in the garbage can, which should give her some leverage in having the tablet replaced? Wouldn't that have taken a phone call or two???

I have heard a lot of sad news lately, such as a high school classmate who suffered a major debilitating stroke this week. He is my age and still had plenty of living to do. Or the relative of a friend who's daughter has been diagnosed with cancer - at age 11.

Tragedies worth being distressed about.

The loss of a tablet which most likely would not be a loss, especially since chances are that it would be replaced....When did we get to the point that things are valued so much as to spend the night crying about them?

Glad the story had a happy ending. Not glad that I need to keep hearing about it every 20 minutes on the local news station. Life is short. Let's get to living, not buying. Or fretting over buys that are lost but likely to be replaced and do not warrant contacting news agencies...

Ahhhh, happy to see that some good has come of this after all: People offered donations to purchase a new tablet for her, but since the company was replacing it, she requested that those donations go to Toys for Tots. As they say in the South : "Good on her."

*oh, and the freaking out because the replacement Android may not arrive in time for Christmas???  why not print out a photo of it and wrap that up. I ordered a gift for MB over a month ago but it is backordered and will not arrive in time. Guess what I'm gonna do?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Loud and Proud!

A friend posted this on Facebook and it made me smile...

I'd like to say I LOL'd but I don't like to throw the term around causually, especially if I literally do not LOL ;-)

I spent 26 years in the great Garden State. And yes, there were plenty of gardens. We had one. The common stereotype of New Jersey is Newark Airport and fumes being spewed into the air from factories. That is not ALL of New Jersey. There is so much more...visit sometime....

Twenty-six years as a Jerseyian, and I was ready to leave the state. I became a Southerner.

I may have left Jersey but the Jersey never leaves. Even after 20 years, I still have some words that I pronounce distinctively "Jersey-like" - such as Dog. My son likes me to say "Dog" to his friends and he giggles. To me, I am pronouncing it just like everyone else does....

Have you also moved to a new state- yet everyone can still detect after many many years later, your state of origin? Do you appreciate your old state a lot more now that you no longer reside there?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Easy Canvas Prints: A holiday contest for you to enter!

I have had partnered with Easy Canvas Prints in the past and have been incredibly pleased with their canvases. They provide an excellent quality product at a much lower price than you would expect.

My mind is spinning with ideas for new canvases as I peruse my photo gallery. Three come to mind: my sweet Pumpkin snoozing in a pottery bowl that I made, my sun juggling in front of a colorful funnel cake stand and an owl flying through the crowd at the Renaissance Festival. So difficult to choose.
One thing that will not be difficult though, is getting the photo printed on canvas. Easy Canvas Prints makes the process just that: EASY. I like easy....

Easy Canvas Prints is hosting a contest with a $300 gift certificate up for grabs! Fans will upload any photo they would like to print on canvas to gift to someone this holiday season to enter. Here is the link to the Give the Gift of Canvas blog post where you can enter the contest. The photo with the most votes will win a grand prize of a $300 credit to Easy Canvas Prints! The 2nd and 3rd place winners will win a $100 credit to Easy Canvas Prints. Anyone who enters will be sent a 60% off Sitewide + Free Shipping coupon code as well, so everyone wins!

The contest is open to those in North America and will run from 12/15/13 to 12/20/13. The winner will be announced on our the Easy Canvas Prints blog on 12/22/13. So, head on over and enter! You can also visit on Facebook.

Full disclosure: I received a cavas for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was provided.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Looking for a Last Minute Tasty Treat to Bring to a Holiday Party?

I totally cannot take credit for this recipe, as it is floating around the internet in many forms, but when a friend was in a panic a few weeks ago as to what to make for her son's cookie exchange, I blurted out:

Oreo Truffles!!

The recipe is right up my alley since it consists of only TWO ingredients but tastes like it contains far more:

You will need 1 Package of oreo cookies (approximately 40 cookies) and one 8 oz. package of cream cheese.

Toss 9 of the oreos in a blender and set aside.

Crush the remaining oreos. Beat the cream cheese until smooth and add the crushed oreos. Beat until well mixed.

Form into 1 inch balls and then roll the balls in the crushed oreos.

Refrigerate until firm.

Warning: these are HIGHLY addictive!

I brought this to the neighborhood cookie exchange last year and the kids went nuts. Made me feel good since my cooking is in no way comparable to what the fancy ladies brought. However, I make food that kids like ;-)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cat Problem: Solved

Being the "softie" that I am, I was all set to put only soft ornaments on the tree so that Pumpkin could continue with her tree climbing adventures, but MB was insistent that we put the breakable ornaments on the tree. He is a man of tradition (aka stubborn German). He recalled seeing the Sunbeam Egg during one of our trips to Petsmart.
He installed the "egg" - and after two bursts of air (cat activity is determined by motion detector), Pumpkin decided it was not worth messing with the tree. If you have a similar cat problem that needs solving, the egg sells for $40 at Petsmart. Drawback is that you need to buy refillable cartridges ($12 each) - so it can get pricey. She still loves playing with the train, though:

VC is wondering at what point I morphed into crazy cat lady. What can I say, she has stolen my heart :-)

Please don't let this dissuade you from visiting the blog though, I promise more non-catcentric posts to come. A lot has been going on outside of cat news...

How are your holiday plans coming along?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cat Advice Wanted - STAT!

Well, the tree is up - and so is my dearest sweetest Pumpkin - up in the tree!!

I am having a little thing on Tuesday where people will be coming in part to see our already lame decorations - and now I am puzzled as to how I am going to decorate the tree other than with our soft handmade ornaments that are not very showy...

Any advice?

MB read about a machine that makes a noise to deter the cats. From what I can tell it is rather pricey. Spray bottle water is not making much difference, nor is the remote control monster truck located behind the tree... 

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Please Restrain Me the Next Time I Contemplate Participating in a 12 Hour Twitter Party

Off the bat, I know you are wondering what made me think to participate in the first place- and when was this party.

As it happened, I was perusing blogs that I haven't visited in a while on Sunday night. Not the normal handful of blogs I visit, these were blogs that I wondering whether they were still active. It had been that long. I visited a certain lifestyle blog and the most recent post happened to mention a Land's End Twitter Party on Monday from 9 to 9.

I did a double take. Surely they must have meant 8 pm to 9 pm???? I re-read it. No, the party was indeed from 9 am to 9 pm - as in 12 Freakin' Hours!!!!!!!!!!!

That should have been my first indication to run away fast from my computer.

But, oh nooooooooooooooooooos, I am never that sensible :-(

Long story short. Guess who did work while intermittantly checking the computer and tweeting from 9 am to 9 pm on Monday?

Guess what I won?

Ah, well, yeah, that would be NOTHING.

Things I could have done accomplished in that time:

(1) gone for a workout
(2) cleaned bathrooms
(3) gotten out the Swiffer
(4) written about 90 new blog posts to have at the ready for future posting
(5) experimented with new makeup to make my eyes look less old lady-like
(6) practiced my juggling
(7) nagged teenage son about not procrastinating (although come to think of it I did do that)
(8) caught up on laundry
(9) cooked a new dish instead of the 4 I have in the normal rotation
(10) pet the cat more- and be at her beck and call when something got stuck under the closet door more (did do both of those but could have done a better job of it)

Moral of the story: Please remind me of this the next time I get super-geeked to do a 12 hour twitter party. THERE WILL BE NO NEXT TIME.

Congratulations to Renee, winner of my NOVICA giveaway!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In Blog We Trust- Recommended Reading!

From time to time, I like to pass on book recommendations that I know my readers will enjoy. This latest read is especially intriguing as the heroine is one of us: A blogger...

As I explained to Mr. Infinito when I decided  to review his book In Blog We Trust, I accomplish most of my reading on days I spend substitute teaching. Some days can feel especially long, so an "energetic" read was what I was hoping to find.

Michael Infinito has woven together a fast-paced thriller that has action from the get-go. I opened the book, started reading and my excitment rose, when I realized there was already a death on page two of the book! Not that death is a good thing but it does make for a great read, especially for others who may be fans of real life (or fictional) crime dramas, such as myself.

I have written before of the high brow book club that I had the unfortunate experience of being a part-of, since the books were all dreadfully drawn out and dull. That is NOT the case with Mr. Infinito's book. I would describe it as part mystery, party mystical thriller. If you enjoy a book that has relatable characters and a plot that keeps moving, I encourage you to pick up a copy of In Blog We Trust.

Many of you may be familiar with Mr. Inifinito's writings on his popular blog, The Wizardry of Otin.  (Is it a coincidence that one of the characer's works at "Otini Brothers?") As we have come to expect from his writings, they are not the "run of the mill" but rather are a little off-beat, which is also true of the characters in his book. Among his lead characters are a rock star, a blogger and a high school student. Their lives are interwoven in a plot that has many twists and turns, deaths, ancient symbolism, as well as some vodoo in an epic battle of good vs. evil.

I spent 4 hours the Saturday following Thanksgiving completely engrossed in the book. The ending *WOW* it caught me by surprise. I don't want to give anything away - but you will not see it coming!!!!

*The book contains adult language so if you are planning on gifting this book to the blogger on your gift list, it is best for adult bloggers :-)
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