Wordless Wednesday: One of These Days My Poor Husband Will Have His Very Own Closet

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For more Wordless Wednesday visit: 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell

Unintentional Double Entendre

Monday, September 28, 2009

Me: "That's great, nice and thick, just the way I like it. It's perfect when you have to suck so hard your cheeks cave in."

Breast Cancer 3 Day: Packing List and Things to Buy

Friday, September 25, 2009

Affiliate links used

My mom is an expert at packing for the 3 Day. After nine walks, she's pretty much got it down to a science. I had her make a list of all the gear she's purchased over the years and what she packs for the weekend. I thought other newbies would like to see what a veteran has found to be most useful.

6-8 pairs of socks** (2 pair for each day, plus extra in case of rain)
2 pairs of tennis shoes
Shower sandals
3 changes of clothing
Hoodie or jacket for the evening
Knit cap for the evening
Gloves for the morning and evening
Personal toiletries
Fold up rain cape
Vaseline, Aquaphor or Body Glide*
Foot powder (to keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters)
Epsom salt in baggies large enough to soak your feet (or a blow up foot spa like this one from Sally Hansen)
Padded Bandages*
Fold-up scissors (to cut the moleskin)*
Lip balm with sunscreen
Hand sanitizer
Sun visor or cap
Fanny pack that holds 2 water bottles
Water bottles (not too small, you should be refilling at every pit stop)
Cell Phone (but no talking and walking, move to the side if you have to take a call)
Small amount of cash and/or debit card
Any prescription medicine
2 tarps: one for underneath the tent one for the top
Clothes pins or clamps to hold plastic in place on top of the tent
Eddie Bauer air mattress (self inflatable, twin – purchased at Target and extra batteries)
Camping pillow
Sleeping bag
Blanket to go on top of sleeping bag (ours is cashmere)
Camping light (banded for the head) This frees your hands for night trips to the porta potty
Large plastic bag to put everything you need to carry to the portable showers (2 gallon zipper bag with a handle)
Large plastic bag to hold your suitcase in during the night to keep from getting wet (30 gallon lawn and leaf trash bag) 

*These items go in your fanny pack as a blister care kit

**I wear one pair of toe socks as my first layer, then a pair or walking socks as my second layer

Pictures from my mom's 2008 San Diego walk are here: Day 1, Day 2, Day3.

**CLOSED**Please help me meet my fund raising goal. I've got a long way to go and not a lot of time before my walk. Click the banner above or follow this link. Thank you!

I Frickin' Love Twitter!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One of the stations I listen to has been playing a song that I really like. It's catchy and upbeat. I sing and dance to it in the car. Of course, since it's a song I like, I hardly ever hear it. When do hear it, I always miss the name of the artist. Since I have an iPod Touch and not an iPhone, I can't use the Shazaam app.

I've Googled and gone to the station website hoping it will be on their playlist. I've gone to lyric sites and browsed iTunes, hoping I'd come across it. I listened to the station almost all day on Labor Day. Nothing. It was driving me crazy and I was about to give up. Then I saw this Tweet from@DowntownRob

And I immediately downloaded the song and watched the video on You Tube. To the people who don't "get" Twitter, give it a chance before you label it as stupid or useless. I felt the same way at first. I stuck it out, got the hang of it and now I'm totally addicted!

Are you on the Twandwagon? If we're not Twitter pals yet leave your @ name in the comments.

Wordless Wednesday: Eeeewww!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

(And I thought my cat was bad! Blech!)

Breast Cancer 3Day: Training Update

Monday, September 21, 2009

The San Diego walk is nine weeks away and I'm starting to freak out. I won't say I'm behind per se, but I'm definitely not on pace with the virtual training schedule I get in my email. I think that's why I pushed myself too hard today. That and the craving for a smoothie.

I decided to get an early start since our heat wave is supposed to be coming back. I was hoping for an overcast day at the beach but no such luck. I started walking about 10 minutes to 9:00. I set my Nike+ for an 8 mile walk thinking I'd go slightly past where I normally turn around.

About halfway to that point, I started getting hungry and naturally I'd left my granola bar in the car. I remembered that there's a 7-11 not too far past my turnaround spot so I thought, "I'll get a banana and ice for my water. Excellent idea."

Then, I remembered there's a Jamba Juice only a little bit farther than the 7-11. "Ooh, even better, I can get a smoothie for lunch. Excellent idea." After that I couldn't get Jamba Juice out of my head and I passed by my usual turnaround spot not really thinking how much distance it would add to my walk. I got my smoothie, they put ice in my water bottle, all is good and I'm heading back to the car.

About 20 minutes later my knees and my hips started to protest a little. Then they started hurling obscenities at me. When they began to curse the day I was born I knew I was in trouble. Fortunately, they didn't go on strike and leave me in a crumpled heap on the side of the road.

I called my mom for some motivation but she must have been screening her calls working or at lunch. I think around mile 9 I wondered if I actually had the guts to hitchhike back to my car. I was hurtin' y'all. Then I remembered the Tweet Ilina sent out last week about her good friend just being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.

Which got me thinking about my godmother, Margie, who passed away 2 weeks before my mom's fifth walk in 2003. And
Deb's mom. And all the other moms, wives, sisters, aunts and cousins who have been or know someone who has been diagnosed. I quit bitching and kept walking. For a total of 12.57 miles. That's the farthest I've walked at one time so far*.

I'm in a lot of pain right now. A lot. But it's not chemo. It's not radiation. It's not a mastectomy. I'll be fine in a few days. Those with breast cancer are effected for life. Thank you to Margie and all the other angels for giving me strength today. Here's to putting one foot in front of the other.

Help me reach my goal for the San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day!

*The last time I walked I did 7 miles. I DO NOT recommend adding that much distance at one time. By the time I'm recovered enough to go walking again I'll be even further behind. Totally not worth it. Please consider helping me meet my fundraising goal. I've got a long way to go and not a lot of time. Click the banner above or follow this link. Thank you!

Guess Who's A Green Belt?!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And he got his second Respect award!

Vacation's All He Ever Wanted

Friday, September 18, 2009

I took Tyler to get his haircut for picture day. They stylist took him back to the shampoo bowl to get all grass and leaves out of his hair (do people with girls have to deal with that?). She asked him about his summer and what types of things he did.

The little stinker said we didn't do anything fun over the summer! WTH? We went to the beach EVERY day for week when the relatives were in town. We went to Sea World. We spent a ton of time at our neighborhood pool and had Deb and her family over twice. I'm sure there's more, I've just blocked it out already. I was a bit miffed.

Then, she asked if we'd gone on vacation and all the anger fell away and I reached for my Worst Mommy Ever hat. This is something Phil and I feel really badly about. We've never been on a family vacation. Phil has gone to visit friends. I took Tyler to visit my grandparents. I've gone on trips.

But, we've never gone anywhere as a family.
We have the best intentions every year. We think about where we can go and come up with a budget. We were supposed to drive to Utah and go camping with friends but we would have been driving back three days before BlogHer and I just couldn't do it. Tyler's face when we told him we weren't going after all made me feel like shit.

I know it's not about WHERE you go, but what you do together. I get all that feel good stuff, and it's true. But. I can't help feeling like we're not making any memories. And to be perfectly candid, I want him to have an answer to this question. I want him to be able to tell his friends about the places we've gone. I want him to see other cities and states.

I shouldn't care about Keeping up with Jones' but I'm big enough to admit that I do, at least a little (who the hell are the Jones' and exactly how did they become a standard to look up to?).

Living in southern California is like being on vacation and I do feel lucky and appreciative when I get glimpses of the ocean as I run errands. But there's nothing like the anticipation of going somewhere new, eating different foods and sleeping in a hotel. Hopefully we'll be able to give that feeling to Tyler someday.

(National Lampoon poster from Google Images)

Happy New School Year: Nestle Family Prize Package {Giveaway}

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

***Contest closed. Thank you all for entering!***

We're so happy with the way Tyler has adjusted to being back at school. He was worried he wouldn't like his teacher and that the work would be too hard. But, he loves his teacher and so far he's doing fine. I told myself that this year I will be more involved with with his class. I volunteered when he was in kindergarten but didn't end up helping much last year.

There was an issue with one of the moms who helped test the kids on their spelling words and I wasn't aware of it until mid way through the school year. I don't want something like that to happen again so I want to make my presence known. Plus, it can't hurt to make friends with his teacher (squeaky wheel and all that).

I've told Tyler many times that when it comes to school and his education, he'll get out of it what he puts into it. I think that's true for us parents too, at least while our kids are "new" students. I can see a difference in the kids who seem to have support and involvement at home and those who don't.

This year seems to have a lot riding on it. The kids have to learn twice as much as they did last year. Phil and I are Tyler's best advocates. It's up to us to create an environment where he can not only thrive, but excel and hopefully develop a lifelong love of learning. And for that, we need to be right there with him, every step of the way.

Win It!

What about you? Have you resolved to do anything new or different this school year? Have your kids? Leave the answer in the comments.

One winner will receive a Nestle Happy New School Year prize package with coupons and recipes for Nestle products*.
Nestle Family is supporting parents and Kids' resolutions to make this school year great with a sweepstakes that could win you $5,000 and your school a $2,000 literacy grant.

To enter (please read all the rules):

1. Leave a comment on this post answering the question above. This is required.

2. I MUST have a way to get in touch with you! I will have to delete comments with no contact info.

3. This contest will be open until Friday, September 25th. Comments will close on at 11:59pm CA time.

4. I will use random.org to draw the winner and post the results/notify winner via email. (US only, I'm sorry!)

5. For two extra entries: (not required) Tweet, and/or blog about this contest and leave each of your links in a separate comment (three contest entry opportunities total). You will need a free Twitter account.

6. You do not have to follow me on Twitter, follow this blog or subscribe to this blog as a method of entry. Tweet as often as you like, but only one Tweet will count as an extra entry. Leave one comment for each entry method. Here is the URL to this post: http://bit.ly/NestleFam

7. *Nestle is sponsoring this giveaway. The prize package is awarded in the form of free product coupons that the PR company will mail to the winner. To enter the $5,000 Ready, Set, School giveaway, go to the Nestle Family site. My contest is not affiliated with their sweepstakes.

Wordless Wednesday: Go Padres!

(Tyler was so cute, he kept saying it was the best. day. ever!)

PSA: Lose A Palooza End Hunger Campaign

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weight Watchers, Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger have partnered together today in a huge social media campaign. Through Twitter, MySpace and Facebook spread the word about Lose A Palooza and Lose for Good and Weight Watchers will make a donation up to $25,000.

Send a Tweet, become a fan or write a post. Every qualified mention counts! Go to LoseAPalooza.com to find out how you can help spread the word! Follow the #LoseForGood thread on Twitter.

Lose For Good - Lose-a-Palooza

General Mills: Company Environment

Friday, September 11, 2009

(Quite the ego boost!)

The trip to General Mills was great. One of the reasons I was excited to go is because our cabinets are full of items from their product lines. I'm pretty nerdy when it comes to 'behind the scenes' type of events and going to the corporate office and Betty Crocker test kitchen is right up my alley. I was really impressed with the company, on several levels.

(Boogie of Mommy Daddy Blog)

*They took excellent care of the moms who had their babies with them. There were portable cribs and swings available and diapers and wipes. They hired another van and equipped it with car seats. To me, that was thoughtful and I'm sure it was appreciated.

*The hallways were full of art by local artists and displays with the history of many of the General Mills brands. The office building is surrounded by green hills and a small lake. There are tons of outdoor spaces with tables and chairs for the employees to enjoy. Many of the walkways have floor to ceiling windows. They've created a great space for people to work in. No sterile halls and fluorescent lighting there!

(Cheerios rock garden, I love it!)

*The corporate culture is amazing. They have on-site childcare, a credit union, hair salon, mini mart and gift store, full service cafe and a place where employees can order full meals to go. And those are just the things I noticed.

Last week, I was reading the latest issue of Business Week magazine, and they named General Mills one of the 50 best places to start a career. They're ranked #12 (up from #24). Last year, 68% of their entry level new hires were female. That's impressive. I'd be curious to see a further breakdown and know how many of those 68% were women of color, and then to know how many women of color the company has at the executive level. They've created an environment that is perfect for working families, which unfortunately seems like a rarity these days. General Mills is the type of company I'd happily dust off my briefcase for.

*Diversity isn't just a phrase in the recruitment brochures. Walking through the building and seeing so many different types of people was so refreshing! We were introduced to Kim Nelson, Senior Vice President of the Snacks Unlimited division.

She's been with General Mills for 21 years (which means she started working when she 9, obviously). Kim has an impressive bio and is involved with several organizations for women in business. I also met another Kim, Kim BowSundy. She works in the marketing and diversity departments and pointed me toward Feeding Dreams, a charitable project that recognizes everyday citizens and their impact within their communities. I didn't get to meet Shirley Dollard, the director of the Betty Crocker kitchens, but I wish I had. To have more time to spend talking to these women would have been amazing!

Even though we're already a General Mills household, knowing that this is a company that really does walk the walk makes me feel even better about putting their products in my shopping cart.

More about the test kitchens and photo studio coming soon
(Some photos are from the official event photos on Flickr and some are mine)

Geek References Are Above His Head (For Now)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scene: It's early evening, just after dinner. Tyler comes in from playing outside. He sits down on the couch next to Phil.

Tyler: "Daddy, can I ask you a question?"

Phil: "42."

T: "What?"

P: "The answer to your question. It's 42."

T: (confused) "My question wasn't about how old you are."

[Mommy, sitting at the kitchen table, can barely contain herself and has to work hard to stifle her laughter]

P: (to Mommy) "You can wipe that smirk off your face."

I love my kid!

11 Years Equals

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

132 months
573 weeks
4015 days
96, 423 hours
5,785,436 minutes

Thank you for spending all this time with me. Happy Anniversary. I love you.

Blogalicious 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blogalicious Site Badge

I'm going! Kim from Mom in the City hosted a conference pass contest and I won!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Not too long ago I approached the corporate office for Dream Dinners looking into a possible partnership for the Breast Cancer 3Day. I met with the owner of the local franchise and we got to talking about blogging and social media in general.
A few days ago, I stopped in to meet the team who'll be managing her sites, just to introduce my self. I ended up staying for over an hour, offering answering questions, offering advice and sharing my opinion.

It was fun. It was stimulating. It felt good to feel smart and knowledgeable. It felt good to have something to contribute, something of value to offer. If felt good to be needed.

Sometimes I wonder if the time and energy I spend on this space is really worth it. In the long run, it doesn't make a difference, or help anyone. It's not a catalyst for change. Should I be be putting the effort somewhere else?

If I found something that offered the same type of connection and sense of satisfaction I get from this space, can I commit to both? Will I have the time? Can I have both? Could I walk away from all this?

Gettin' My Frugal On: Coupons Are Awesome!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

*Update: I've added a few more blogs to my reader and I've included them below.

I've been reading more frugal blogs lately hoping to pick up tips on ways to cut our food costs. Since our mortgage went up we're really feeling the pinch. All the sites I read advocate coupons. I use coupons whenever I can, but have never tried all the price matching scenarios because it seemed like so much work.

I figured it wasn't worth the hassle to save a dollar or two. Why burn the gas? Why buy things we don't eat? Man, how I wish someone had smacked me upside the head! Or that I'd met Erin, Erin and Alyssa sooner (met them at General Mills, more on that later). Done right, the savings can be way more than a few dollars, especially if the items go toward building a stockpile (that's frugalista lingo for a huge stash of non perishable foods, toiletries and household items).

Since it's been so. damn. hot. here, this past Saturday I decided to put some of what I've read recently about the Kroger Mega Event into practice and take advantage of the air conditioning (here in So Cal we go to Ralph's). I printed all the coupons I needed, loaded others onto my Ralph's Club card and left the boys here to swelter.

And I returned home with all of this:

Before coupon total: $117

You'll never guess how much I paid for it. Go on, guess.

Nope, try again.

Ooooh, that's close!

You're getting warmer!

Give up? (just tell me the damn total already!)

I only paid $43.95!!!

I know! I was impressed with me too. I think I could have done a little better though. I didn't make a list and I'm pretty sure there was something I forgot. Part of the Mega Event is an in-store promotion where purchasing 10 eligible items automatically took $5 off. Looking at my receipt on the way to the car I had 27 items. If I had counted before checkout adding another three items may have paid off even more.

(Our Armageddon Stash stockpile)

Between my anal compulsive-ness and my competitive-ness, it's totally grocery game on! I even put a note on our mailboxes asking all my neighbors to give me their coupons if they're not going to use them. Tomorrow is trash night and I'm not above doing a little digging in the paper recycling bins.

I will admit that this took a long time. I was on the PC (for printing) and had my new! laptop next to me and I was cycling back and forth between blog posts and the coupon printing sites. But, I have a feeling it will get easier as I get used to when the coupons reload, which sites I like best, what stores I like, a better system for organizing my coupons and which blogs I find most helpful. Hmm... that still sounds like a lot of work...

If you're new to all this too, here's a list of what I've found most helpful so far:

Print coupons from*:
P&G eSaver (Proctor and Gamble)
Simple and Delicious (ConAgra Foods)
A Full Cup (you can print Target coupons here)

Smart phone options:
Cellfire.com (I loaded coupons straight to my club card but I'm also going to try the free app for my iPod Touch)

Blogs to read:
$5 Dinners (Erin, I totally stalk her, but she's cool with it)
Jane 4 Girls, $800 Annual Budget (Erin, and no, that's not a typo!)

Newly added:

Couponing 101

Save At Home Mommy
Stretching A Buck

Buy extra coupons from:
The Coupon Carryout (for when you know of a great sale price and coupon match, affiliate link)

Clip coupons from:
Sunday paper (Smart Source and P&G)
Red Plum mailer (I've been tossing this in the recycle since the coupons are bundled with other junk, sob!)
All You magazine (sold at Wal Mart, but I'm going to subscribe)

If there's something you know that I don't please share! Does anyone match coupons for Albertson's? And if you've picked up any good tips spill those too, this is all so fascinating to me!

*I did have to register at many of the sites but so far no Spam (photo credit from here)
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