To All My Bitches- Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A special holiday wish for The Bitches: Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Festivus!

And thank you so much to everyone who reads this blog. Becoming part of this amazing community has meant so much to me. I really appreciate all the support. I value and treasure all the relationships I've made online and in real life. I wish you all continued health and happiness for you and your families and the nothing but the best for the coming year. I'll be taking a bit of a break until after the holidays. Enjoy the time with your families!

Much Love,

Photo stolen from here

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday #24: C Is For Cookies

I baked eight things this year (forgot to include the oatmeal chocolate chip on this plate. Oops!). I'm drowning in cookies! Next year someone please talk me down from the cookie madness!

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

Damn, These Guys Are Good

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From their Holiday Spirits CD. (FYI cheaper on Amazon than iTunes)

Kids and "Hidden" Sugars

Monday, December 22, 2008

I just sent this letter to the makers of Emergen C:

Hello- I wanted to express my disappointment that fructose is the first ingredient in a children's supplement. It seems that with all the knowledge of how harmful white sugars are your company could have come up with a better alternative like agave or rice syrups .

As an adult, I can make my own decisions about how much sugar I take in daily (though it would be nice to have fructose replaced in all your products). My son depends on me to make those decisions for him. If I did my research correctly, the amount of sugar in one Emergen C Kids is a little over a teaspoon. Adding an extra teaspoon of sugar per day in a little body does not seem like such a wise choice.

As a mom, I'm doing my best to make sure he gets the best, healthiest start possible. He has a cold right now and I was going to start giving him your new supplement to see if it would help shorten the cold's duration but changed my mind after reading the ingredients. I like Emergen C and am using it myself to try and ward off my son's chest cold but again, children and adults process sugar differently.

What's the point of trying to get our children healthy just to give them sugars? Fortunately my son is not overweight and has no dietary issues. But not everyone checks labels carefully. It's a shame that parents who are trying to do the right thing for their kids might be harming them unknowingly. I hope this is an issue the company will be working on in the future. Thank you.

What do you think? Not too harsh, right? I know it's hard to avoid all sugars but am I wrong to feel that it shouldn't be the first ingredient in a supplement? I'll admit I didn't check the label before I started using it. My mom takes it whenever she feels a cold coming on or people at her office are sick and says it works well for her.

I've been following suit and was excited to see that Emergen C had a new line for kids. I went on the website to request a free sample (oh yes I did!) but then read the nutritional information and changed my mind. He's not "sick enough" to be dosed up on cough medicine.

At this point I'm trying to keep the cold from getting worse and hopefully make it shorter. I've been giving Drama Kid Hyland's instead of the emergen C but would love to know if you've found a good supplement or cold shortener for your kids.
(photo from Google Images)

1980 Called and Wants Its Boombox Back

Friday, December 19, 2008

Drama Kid is being a bit of a brat lately and it's totally killing my holiday spirit buzz. I've been a cookie baking fool this week and have two more batches left today. I thought some Christmas music would help restore my inner peace and harmony but even at the highest volume, I couldn't hear iTunes on our PC all the way upstairs let alone over the mixer.

Not having any speakers for my iPod, I came up with a totally ghetto solution and dragged out the boombox my uncle gave me when I was 14.

The picture does not do this justice. This thing is big and heavy! But, even after 21 years it still rocks the bells (Holy shit! Now I feel old).

My Husband Got Shit For His Birthday

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For the past several years, we seem to have been under a "when it rains, it pours" cloud that only seems to dump on us in November and December. The day before Drama Kid's first birthday the nanny we had at the time quit with no notice. A few days after that the owner of our apartment put it on the market giving us one month to move out or buy. Then Drama Dad totaled his truck. In the years since, Drama Dad has been laid off of two jobs, cars have needed major repairs and I lost my job. Happy Holidays!

This year, we thought we'd escaped the downpour and spoke too soon. Last Saturday we were deciding where to go for hubs' birthday dinner when the shit hit the fan. Literally. One of the downstairs toilets has been stopping up fairly often the past few weeks. I was on the computer and Drama Kid used the loo next door. I could tell by the sound that it was in danger of overflowing. I'm now an expert at overflow stoppage and was able to avoid any spills.

Drama Dad hauled out the plunger again and went to work. And then he said "we're going to need a plumber," and I could swear I heard our credit card commit suicide and plumbers all over the city mark up their "weekend emergency service" prices.

I went into the bathroom and saw this:

You can thank me later for not getting a closer shot. Know what's worse than a bathtub full of shit? Two bathtubs full of shit! Where is Mike Rowe when you need him?

And those baskets on the floor? The ones full of toiletries that used to fit in the master bathroom cabinets at our last apartment but not our house? Yep, they were in the tub. Hubs went to get the phonebook and I tried to stifle my gag reflex and breathe through my mouth.

Roto Rooter arrived, opened up the clean out drains and sent down a snake ($125). The snake made it far enough to relieve the pressure and allow the tubs to drain, but there was still a blockage. We agreed to the extra charge to have a camera sent in (condo colonoscopy) and fully expected them to remove broken toy parts or evidence of some of Drama Kid's mischief. But the diagnosis was worse: tree roots had broken through the pipe. The new estimate? $650. Happy Birthday honey!

After I regained consciousness I was all prepared to start returning the few Christmas presents I've bought and find a way to hock some jewelry when our neighbor came over and asked if we were having plumbing problems.
We got him up to speed on what Roto Rooter had said and done so far then went door to door to ask if anyone else was having problems too but everyone was out. We asked the Rooter man to hold off on anymore work until we called the HOA since the blockage was more than 50 feet from our house. Birthday dinner and Christmas are saved!

To make a long, shitty story short, the HOA is responsible for the repairs and they will reimburse us the $325 we spent. It took much scrubbing before I would even think about taking a shower. My hands smelled like bleach until yesterday which is totally preferable to the alternative!

What about you? Do crises seem to happen to you all at once? Have you ever had a bathtub full of poo?

My Son's Favorite Christmas Song Yo

Online Privacy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It sometimes seems like a contradiction in terms that, as bloggers, we want to maintain some semblance of privacy. Many of us use our names, have our pictures and our families' on our blogs and a give a general idea of where we live.

We talk about the details of our lives, often very intimate details.
Some bloggers put it all out there, which is their choice. I've tried to keep some identifying personal details off the blog mostly for the sake of my son. But, what to do when an interesting opportunity comes along that crosses over the boundaries you've set up?
The Drama family was recently interviewed for a newspaper article about the economy and its impact on a couple's decision to have or have more children. It was published in print and online yesterday. Having worked for a newspaper I knew our last names would be in the article but since the paper is not in San Diego I wasn't too concerned.

But, this morning a producer for a local TV station called out of the blue asking if we'd like to be part of a similar story with a more localized focus. I agreed and asked how they found me since I hadn't provided any contact information, let alone my home phone number.

She found me through ZabaSearch. I've heard of the site before but I guess I was in a state of "ignorance is bliss" because since no one has ever contacted me using it before now that must mean no one is looking for me, right? [ETA: My ZabaSearch results gave my name, address (fortunately not our current), home phone and year of birth. The site had our last address under my name and hubby's, and our last three addresses under hubby's name.]

There is so much information online that is easily available to the public it would scare me shitless if I thought it about all the time. It seems no on is immune to having their lives exposed with a few simple mouse clicks. If you haven't taken the time to ZabaSearch or Google yourself or your family members do it now. You may be surprised at what comes up.

Many of the sites that compile personal information have a legal right to do so which is frustrating to say the least. We as citizens also have the right to ask that the information be hidden which is what I'm doing with ZabaSearch. It seems that the age of technology means anyone can be found at any time. But I'm not going to let it be so easy anymore

Wordless Wednesday: He Was Brave, But Not THAT Brave

Free Christmas Music!

I was so bummed I missed the free songs Oprah had on her site last week but this makes it all better. Go to Amazon every day through December 25th to download free Christmas music! There will be one free song every day (it started Dec. 1st).

There are artists and songs I've never heard of but am totally digging. I didn't know the Barenaked Ladies had a Christmas CD let alone they did a duet with Michael Buble!

Remember Jars of Clay? Yeah I didn't either until I came across this song. Free stuff rocks! Happy downloading! (Thanks Penny Pinching Diva!)

Help Spread The True Meaning of Christmas

Monday, December 8, 2008

I have read that perhaps this current economic crisis will be a much needed wake up call of sorts. We, as consumers (and I raise my hand here because I totally like my stuff) should take this opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate our shopping and spending habits.

We should make more of an effort to buy American, buy local and buy sustainable. We should become a better example to our kids of what "people over possessions" really means, particularly over the holidays.

Helping the military and their families is a cause that's really important to me. I'll never forget the generosity of the small business my
husband was working for when he was activated after 9/11. They gave him a small salary while he was gone which was so helpful to me since I was managing the household alone.

Not every military family can say the same. Despite the housing allowance and commissary, many families still really struggle to make ends meet, and it can leave parents feeling frustrated and depressed.

Here are a few organizations I've come across who have cheap, easy or free ways to send some holiday love to our men and
women in uniform. because morale is so important.

*I found Wish Upon a Hero through an affiliate program I belong to.

Anyone can post a wish for something they want or need. I've used it to ask for help with the postcards and DVD player for my soldier and have gotten a nice response. I've also granted wishes by sending cards and postcards. There are many people looking for "small" but meaningful wishes that won't cost you much, if anything (free to join the site).

*Xerox has set up a
site where you choose a postcard and they will mail it to a military member FREE (thanks Thrifty Mommy!).

*I saw eMail Our Military on Mommy Pie's site and had to look into it.


They have so many projects to contribute to (more than listed here):
  • Postcards
  • Care Packages
  • Soup for the Troops
  • Voice mail messages
  • Artwork from kids (great for a Scouts, class or church project)
I did see they require a $2 processing fee but couldn't tell if it's needed for all the activities.

Red Cross is also sending cards to soldiers (postmark deadline 12/10).

*At the Starbucks near me and the Albertson's, shoppers can buy bags of coffee and leave them to be sent to the troops.

*And there is always the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

If you know of any other groups supporting the military for the holidays (or any other good causes) please leave it in the comments.

And, with the money pinch so many of us are feeling, will you be taking a more grassroots approach to the holidays?
(*None of theses companies know I've written about them)

Easy Weekend Recipe #5: Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Toss

Friday, December 5, 2008

I found this one on one of my favorite food blogs, Dine and Dish. I add some broccoli to make it even more of a meal. Kristen posted her recipe on Recipe Zaar. If you'd like to try it print it out here.


5 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil orvegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 tablespoons lemon juice*
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon seasoning salt**
1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 7 ounce package thin spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute onions& garlic in butter& oil until tender.

Stir in the chicken, lemon juice, parsley, seasoned salt& lemon-pepper.

Saute for 15-20 min or until chicken juices run clear.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.

Add to chicken mixture and toss.

*I like lemon. Actually I love lemon. The lemoney-er (more lemony?) the better. I usually have at least 5 TBS and add a little to the pasta water and a little more when adding the cooked spaghetti to the chicken mixture.

**I use garlic salt

(photo from Kristen's Flickr page)

Fashion Advice Needed - Can I Wear This?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

At Costco to day I saw a Kenneth Cole down parka vest in a chocolate brown. I've been wanting a down parka vest in chocolate brown (though the plum one in the picture? Could totally make me change my mind.

This particular parka vest is only $19.99. My hesitation? How do I wear it? Like in the picture with a tight shirt and jeans? Can I mix it with cords?

I'm not 25 anymore and I don't want to look like I'm trying to look 25. So, please help me put an outfit together so I can go back and buy it today before the Costco phenomenon takes effect (eg buy it when you see it or it's gone!)

(photo from Google images)

Be My Guest

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy Football Fan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

For more Wordless Wednesday visit What's That Smell, MomDot and 5 Minutes For Mom.

My Extravagantly Indulgent Christmas Wishlist

Monday, December 1, 2008

**Update It's the wee hours of the morning and Mr. Linky seems to be crashing. Comment below and email your link and I'll include it in the post body**

The uncertainty of the current economy (are we in a recession or aren't we?) has many people scaling back for the holidays . In the blog world I'm seeing a call to
support local retailers and mom owned businesses. To buy handmade.

And that's as it should be. Local merchants and products made in our country keep the economy moving and strong, create jobs and helps our environment. I'm all for helping the little guy. I plan to do my part and spend hours on browse Etsy for affordable Christmas gifts.

But, (and there had to be one, right?) I don't see anything wrong with a little bit of daydreaming. A little fantasizing about things we'd like to have just for the pleasure of having them. Wishing, if you will.

While it might seem a bit selfish and self indulgent to some, I see nothing wrong in letting the imagination wild if it brings a smile to your face.

“Wishing is good for us. Daydreams, fantasies, castles in the air, and aspirations all drive us forward, impel us to make things happen. They also tell us a lot about ourselves. Our wishes come straight from our core, and they are loaded with vital info." - Anonymous

If someone were to ask me what things I'd want Oprah's elves to bring out to me while I tried not to faint dead away from happiness (how pissed were the people in the audience last week!) I could rattle off a list a mile long. But that would get boring. So I've narrowed it down to five.

I've had this item on my list for some time. I've put it out in the universe that I will own these before I turn 40. They are so beautiful, timeless and classic.

Why I want them needs no explanation.
Take a moment and just drink them in. Gorgeous, right?

This second item can actually be classified as a need and a want. I need to go back to school so I can find a job and I want to be able to use my own laptop. See how I did that?

Seriously though, if I want to learn InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Flash I need a system with some serious brawn. And this computer juggling we're doing now with our desktop and hubby's work laptop is getting a little old. Plus, Drama Dad can play his WoW and check Fantasy Football to his hearts content without me breathing down his neck because I have to get my post done. A want, need and marital aid! Can't put a price on that!

The third thing is something hubby can use too. We've been wanting a grown up camera for some time. I dropped the one I use now the last time I went out with The Bitches. Since then there's been an ominous rattling noise from somewhere inside and the lens jiggles.

One thing I've really enjoyed about blogging is participating in Wordless Wednesday. I notice things more because I'm trying to frame them in my mind and I take a lot more pictures than I used to. I'd like to see what I could come up with armed with better tools.

Santa brought Drama Kid a bike last Christmas and the training wheels came off not too long ago. I have a bike, but the rust is so bad I'm afraid it's going to disintegrate at the slightest touch leaving only the tires and seat. It's not pretty. But this bike is!

This Schwinn is the Rolls Royce of beach cruisers. I bet the ride is so comfortable and smooth. Like business class on a transatlantic flight. Sigh.

And because I'm not totally selfish the last item is a family vacation. We've never been on one and Drama Kid keeps asking to go to the places he's heard his friends talk about. He keeps mentioning Hawaii but I say French Polynesia all the way!

A hut over the water with glass floors to see the tropical fish? Hunky Polynesian men rowing out to bring me drinks with umbrellas? Yeah, I think I could go for that.

If I were to do this again next week there might be a different pair of Louboutin's or I might want to go to Greece or Spain, but basically it would remain the same. Although I could be swayed by a great handbag.

Now it's your turn. Post the five things you'd put on your list on your blog and leave it in the Mr. Linky below. It will be fun to see how different everyone's lists are.

Fa La La La LONG- My Christmas CD Collection

I absolutely LOVE Christmas music. The music fills me and reminds me of the real meaning behind the season. I have been known to listen to a song or two outside of the holidays.

My mom started the tradition of putting on her Christmas CD's after the Thanksgiving dishes were all washed and put away. I used to think she was crazy, but now it seems the holidays go by so quickly I need to squeeze every minute out of them so I break mine out then too.

This is the time of year I really miss living in the midwest. As I type this I'm copying all my music to a playlist on my iPod (Hello Apple? You people are freaking geniuses!). Walking on the beach listening to White Christmas is kind of a cruel joke. Shorts and flip flops in December is unnatural. Yeah, I know, boo hoo. I'm sharing my collection and a few songs here then asking for your help.

Who doesn't love Harry? This CD has all his signature style: jazzy, upbeat and mellow.

I listened to some of this CD at Borders last year and instantly fell in love with it. I'd never heard any of Diana's music before. She has an amazing voice.

I grew up on Motown. This CD was one my mom had as a record.

She had my dad take all her Christmas records and record them on tape. Not a small cassette tape, the big giant spools of tape on a deck.
My dad was so proud of his "media center!" There was no "shuffle" setting so the tape would play over and over and I would complain because I'd memorized the order of the songs.

I bought this CD at Kohl's as part of their Kohl's Cares. It's so good! Christmas Time makes me cry almost every time I hear it (tearing now). I wish it was in the Seeqpod library but this song is good too.

No Christmas library is complete without the King. This CD has played on repeat for hours and I've never gotten tired of it. What a voice!

More Motown. This one has a lot of Supremes and Temptations.

And this does too, along with the Jackson 5 (when they were normal).

This was a Costco find. I love this woman. She's beautiful and talented and her voice is perfect for Christmas music.

This was the first Christmas CD I bought. Stevie Nicks' version of Silent Night is my absolute favorite.

A Cheryl Crow and Mary J. Blige duet? Yes please! This compilation is great.

Sensing a pattern? I really love the idea that these CD's support a cause. And ya gotta love Run DMC.

I try to add a new CD every year and would love your input. What CD do I need to add to my collection? What are your favorites?
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