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Stuttering Shell: May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Best All Around

I'm such a proud mama!

My sweet girl, Malia, won an award today! We spent a few hours at a local high school where 104 youth (grades Kindergarten through 12th grade) and 20 adults were honored for being "the best all around." The awards program & ceremony was sponsored by our city's Parks & Recreation department and the Youth Opportunities Office and it was such an amazing production! They had a carnival and all sorts of fun, food & games for the kids to enjoy.

Best of all, the Mayor and many special people took time out of their day to honor the children & adults who make a difference in our communities and my daughter was one of special! Malia was tickled pink that she got to "meet" the Mayor and shake his hand!

From the nomination form:
The criteria for Virginia Beach’s Best All Around awards are based on the 40 Developmental Assets®, which are positive experiences and personal qualities that help young people grow up to be healthy, principled and caring adults. A list of the Assets can be found on the nominations form and a more detailed description at:

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The hubs went fishing (again) this weekend - not much of a surprise, huh?

He & a few friends went out into the Chesapeake Bay (14 miles off coast) by the Chesapeake Light Tower...they had a blast reeling in some Spadefish!

Adam said they were a lot of fun to catch because they take the bait and then swim like crazy! Adam spent a bit of time this morning scaling and filleting the fish and we ate Spadefish (for the first time) tonight with our friends, Marc & Mary.

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BRACE FACE - Dances and Boys and Braces, Oh My!

I'm sure you heard me say it before...I had braces in junior high school. Me and just about every other adolescent girl in my school. Not only did I have braces, but I had a perm, too. But, that's fodder for a completely different blog post. If I had my junior high school yearbooks, I would gladly post - for all to see - me in my 7th grade glory. But, thank goodness, my junior high school yearbooks are 2.5 hours away in my parents house...whew!

Anyways, this is part four of the "Brace Face" discussion series and I'm featuring another post by Catherine Manabat. She so elegantly & humorously captures to awkwardness of being a preteen in braces. Let me know your thoughts - share your stories with me - and you could be entered to win The Braces Cookbook & The Braces Cookbook 2!

Dances and Boys and Braces, Oh My!

Catherine Manabat is a guest blogger, writing on behalf of the American Association of Orthodontists. The American Association of Orthodontists is a resource for parents to learn more about orthodontic treatments and provides general tips on how to achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, get braces-friendly recipes, and find an orthodontist near you by using the Find an Orthodontist Locator service. Why should you choose an orthodontist? Orthodontists receive an additional two-to-three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.

Catherine is also a proud former “braceface” and smiles every day to prove it!
When I look back on my junior high days, I won’t lie and say I have only fond memories. Let’s face it—junior high, with all the issues that come with transitioning into adulthood, is and always will be a tricky time in a person’s life.

The 8th grade was quite possibly the most life-altering time for me—at least, that’s what I thought back then. I had to deal with three major differences from my pre-middle school days. First, I had to find a date to the end-of-the-year dance. Secondly, one of my best guy friends had inexplicably turned on me and became a crush. (The nerve of that boy!) And finally, that was the year I was going to get my braces. Naturally, it seemed like all three of these situations were tied together somehow.

My parents and I had known for a long time that I needed my tremendous overbite corrected, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about getting them at that exact moment. At the time, most people got their braces in high school (The American Association of Orthodontists actually recommends your child come in for a check-up no later than the age of seven), so you can imagine my mixed feelings about getting braces. I tried to get them postponed—but my dentist and my orthodontist insisted it was the right time. So I complied, and the braces came. I got the day off from school, so that was a nice treat.

That first week got some getting used to, with the list of things not to eat, or to eat in a special way… a special type of floss along with a special way to brush. The aforementioned boy noticed there was something new about me— so, of course, I agonized whether or not this was entirely positive. But at least he noticed, right?

Along with the new oral hygiene routine, I had to get used to how I looked. I had one of those friends who touted a disposable camera all the time. At first, I didn’t want to show my teeth as much when smiling for pictures. I had this irrational fear that the metal was too bright for the flash. But when I saw my ho-hum smile compared to my wide, bright, brace-wearing smile, I quickly got over that complex and got used to smiling normally.

In any case, I had bigger issues looming. I had to figure out a way to turn my friend-turned-crush into a crush-turned-date. Imagine my surprise when, just a couple months after I got my braces, he showed up to school donning his own! It gave us a new subject to talk about—I liked getting navy blue rubber bands and he enjoyed black ones. Basically, it was a sign we were soul mates.

It made me wonder if we went to the dance together, whether that would be the night of my first kiss. And it made me wonder if having braces was going to be a problem. (A popular myth about braces is that they can lock together during kissing—not true, so kiss away!) In any case, the end-of-the-year dance was fast approaching and he still hadn’t asked me. A different kid asked if I would go with him as a friend… but I was holding out hope for my special crush.
One day, a week before junior high graduation, I found out my crush had a new girlfriend. The news was devastating. And because of my idealism, I was probably going to the dance date-less.
So how did it all turn out? There isn’t an ideal ending here (it’s real life junior high, after all). I got a cute outfit and went to the dance on my own. And I didn’t get my first kiss that night.
But in the end, I had a great night and lots of memories to look back on. I had a lot more fun dancing with my girlfriends rather than worrying over what to say to my date. And I even got the chance to dance with him. And what about the braces? As planned, I got them off a couple years later in high school, and couldn’t believe how beautiful my teeth turned out—just in time for formal and prom photos, too! I guess you could say out of dances, boys and braces, my braces turned out to be the only thing that didn’t let me down. I have the smile to prove it!

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cat Calls... the grocery store.

Yeah, a man whistled at me as I walked out of the grocery store this evening. Granted, it was the "ethnic" grocery store, but still...while I'm flattered that you found me attractive (or was it the ribs I had in the bag?), I was a bit nervous. After all, I was alone, walking briskly towards my car at dusk and my arms were loaded with grocery bags.

OK, so it was only two bags, but I could have totally taken someone out with my Korean short ribs and Asian pears.

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Don't Say CHEESE!

This is the dumbest shit I've ever heard of. Well, I can kind of see the point of the "smile ban, " but seriously?! I guess someone finally realized that there really ISN'T anything to smile about at the DMV after all.

I guess this means I should try and hold onto my driver's license photo for as long as I can...I wonder if my picture will be 'grandfathered'??

Virginia Bans Smiles in Driver's License Photos

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BRACE FACE - Let's Get Cookin'!

Where were these cookbooks when I had braces? (Remember, you can WIN these cookbooks by participating in the "Brace Face" discussion series...all comments will be entered to comment, comment, comment!)

I'm sure there was some sort of brace-friendly menu plan out there, but (of course) I had braces in the late 1980s - early 1990s so my fate succumbed to chicken noodle soup (a la Campbell's, no doubt) and any other mushy substance I could sink my sore jaws into on the days that my wires/bands were tightened. I get lockjaw just reminiscing about it all.

Anyways, wearing braces isn't so nerdy anymore and neither is the cuisine when it comes to wearing braces thanks to Pamela Waterman and Chef Amee Hoge. The pair teamed up to put together not just one, but TWO, cookbooks showcasing different (dare I say, gourmet?) recipes that can be fixed easily and LOVED by those in braces and even those who are not in braces. Ms. Waterman was not only inspired by her own daughter who was in braces, but she spent some time as an adult in braces, too.

I don't know about you, but I am a cookbook junkie so these two books are on my "wanted" list - all of the recipes look so yummy & tasty! And, as a parent who will quite possibly have two children in braces one day in the near future, I think that having these two resources on my kitchen bookshelf will be a lifesaver!

Here are some tidbits recipes from the books:

CORNBREAD PIZZA (from the Braces Cookbook 2)

This braces-friendly pizza is delicious, distinctive and oh-so satisfying. Try it tonight! Made with cornbread mix and a dash of Parmesan, it’s just the thing when you’re craving something different. You can even get your kids in on the fun by asking them to help with the toppings.

2 (8½-ounce) boxes dry cornbread mix
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar or can (about 26 ounces) spaghetti sauce, any flavor
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Toppings of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-to-35 minutes total.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 boxes of dry cornbread mix, 2 eggs, milk and Parmesan cheese. Grease a 9” x 13” pan, and also grease 6 muffin-pan cups (or line them with cupcake papers). Spoon batter into the 6 muffin cups, about halfway, as this is extra batter. (You’ll have muffins for another meal – they’re great with chili.) Then spread the remaining batter into the 9” x 13” pan and spread the spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with oregano.

Bake the pizza and the muffins at 375 degrees for 15 minutes and remove both from oven. Sprinkle the pizza with the mozzarella cheese and any other toppings, then bake it at an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into squares.

Chef Amee’s Gourmet Touch:
To make two specialty “soft” pizzas, bake them in two round cake pans and top with your favorite toppings. Add 1 tablespoon of dried Italian herbs to the pizza crust along with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for added flavor.

CHERRY-CHICKEN SALAD BITES (from the Braces Cookbook 2)

1 (12.5-ounce) can (or 1¼ cups) cooked chicken
½ cup (about 3 ounces) dried cherries, presoaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained
½ cup (4 ounces) black-cherry yogurt
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise

Drain the chicken and break it up into a medium-sized bowl. Add cherries, yogurt and mayonnaise. Stir together well. If you have time, let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for an hour to absorb the moisture and flavors.
This serves up nicely in tiny scoopfuls on ruffled red-leaf lettuce and is also excellent as a filling inside sliced miniature croissant rolls.

What’s so cool about this dish? Dried cherries are now as easy to find in the grocery store as raisins, a trend that makes this variation on the regular chicken salad a simple yet delicious change of pace. Plus, when it’s time for those braces to come off, you can add ¼ cup of slivered almonds to give the dish some extra pizazz. Need a gourmet touch? Chef Amee likes to add ¼ cup ground almonds and 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried mint leaves to add more color and texture to this scrumptious meal.

MOROCCAN SWEET-PEPPER CHICKEN (from the Braces Cookbook)
3 boneless chicken breast halves, boiled
3 cups (fresh or frozen, unthawed) sweet peppers, diced (any color)

For the sauce:
1/3 cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
(Optional: ¼ cup sliced almonds)

In a large pot, boil the chicken breasts until very tender, about 1 hour. (This is a great task to do ahead of time while getting other things done in your life.) Shred the chicken on a cutting board and set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large covered frying pan, simmer the peppers in ½ cup water for 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken and keep on low heat.In a small bowl, use a whisk to stir together all the sauce ingredients except the almonds. Pour the sauce over the chicken and pepper mixture and simmer the combination, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve over rice and, if desired, add the almonds on top for non-braces eaters. This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

For a quick, soothing breakfast or afternoon snack, put together the ingredients ahead of time. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator ready to whip together in a blender.

2 bananas1 cup of milk1 cup of other fruit (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges – fresh or thawed from frozen)2 tablespoons of protein powder (optional)

Cut bananas into 1-inch slices. Add all ingredients to a blender, and mix for 10 seconds on a low setting. Makes two servings.

These twisty soft pretzels are tasty with a dash of salt – or sweet with a shake of sugar and cinnamon. Plus, they’re easy to make. Pop a batch in the oven today!

¾ cup warm water
½ envelope yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
Pinches of salt or cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 425°. In a small bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, mix salt and flour with a large spoon. After 5 minutes, stir yeast mix into flour mix.

With well-floured hands, shape dough into 6-inch rods, initials, animals or traditional twisted pretzel shapes. Brush with the beaten egg and place on a greased cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with extra salt or cinnamon-sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes at 425°.

Now you tell you really need braces to enjoy these recipes? NO! But, if you ARE in braces, I bet these recipes (as well as the many others featured in the cookbooks) are a welcome change to what you thought you were limited to, right?

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A giveaway is coming!

A giveaway is coming!

A giveaway is coming!

A giveaway is coming!

Yes, FOUR giveaways...completely UNRELATED to my blog's birthday bash. So, if any of you are parents or have a niece or nephew or just really want to win something cool, then stay tuned. I will be giving away some really neat TOYS by Hasbro (those ladies at Litzky have done it again!) fit for any boy or girl!

Stay tuned...

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

BRACE FACE - Welcoming Braces

This is the 2nd discussion in my "Brace Face" series and I'd love to hear from you all - whether you are a parent or not!

For many parents (myself included), the thought of putting a child in braces can seem quite daunting...socially (for the child), physically (for the child), emotionally (for both) and financially ( & dad's poor bank account!). If you wore braces, what do you remember about your first experiences with them? How did you feel at first? I remember when I first got my braces it was pretty strange and I most definitely remember how sore my mouth was, too! I didn't feel too awkward because, luckily, most all of my friends were in braces, too. Besides, all of the cool rubber bands in different colors (fortunately) made wearing braces seem almost fun.

For those of you who aren't parents, but do have experience with braces, what kind of advice would you pass along to parents & children about braces? Do you have any fun memories to share or any words of wisdom?

Below is a post that I am using with permission from Rachel at American Pop (remember, their company is working with the AAO)...enjoy!

Tips to Help Your Child Welcome Braces

Catherine Manabat is a guest blogger, writing on behalf of the American Association of Orthodontists.

The American Association of Orthodontists is a resource for parents to learn more about orthodontic treatments and provides general tips on how to achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, get braces-friendly recipes, and find an orthodontist near you by using the Find an Orthodontist Locator service. Why should you choose an orthodontist? Orthodontists receive an additional two-to-three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.

Catherine is also a proud former “braceface” and smiles every day to prove it!

Each year, a considerable number of children are fitted for braces to straighten and guide wayward teeth to their proper places. The result is a healthy, beautiful smile. When gaps and crowing are eliminated, teeth are sure to last longer and fight cavities more effectively.
Each child can have a different reaction to the process of getting braces and having a new look for 18 to 24 months (the actual length of treatment for your child depends on his/her individual case). If you have been informed that your child will need braces, it’s good to get him/her used to the idea even before they get their brackets placed.

Ask family members who might be able to offer their own tips or positive experiences for you and your child. To find an orthodontist near you, visit the Find an Orthodontist Locator service or ask your dentist for a referral.

Be open to the questions and concerns your child may bring up. Being sympathetic is a great approach. Also, keep a positive outlook, and focus on the results—a healthy, attractive smile! Point out celebrities, especially kid or teen stars, and classmates of your child who wear braces to show them that they are not the only one with braces.

Take some time to familiarize your child with each step of getting braces. From taking impressions and x-rays to getting the actual braces, knowing how each step works and why it’s important will better prepare your child for what’s to come.

It’s a good idea to celebrate the day your child receives braces by taking them out for a treat or write in a journal about the experience. Pledge to do the same on the day the braces are removed to look back on a great childhood memory!

Once your child has his/her braces on, be sure to remind them about brushing and flossing correctly and the additional rinsing that will help keep their teeth clean. Soon enough, they’ll get used to the new routine.

Braces can be integrated into your lives quite easily with a little preparation. It can be a great experience for your child, and soon enough they’ll be enjoying the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

SMALL TALK SIX - Shell sells seashells by the seashore...

How's Small Talk Six topic is about the ocean. I am to name six things that I love or hate about the ocean. Seeing as how my family lives near the beach and is always at the beach (I'm actually in Hatteras, NC right now!) this is a pretty fun topic for me...
  1. I love how crystal clear the water is in the Caribbean - visions of the beaches in Playa del Carmen, Mexico are running through my head and the water is just as clear as a swimming pool. Seriously.
  2. I love the mystery that surrounds the ocean - there are so many different creatures living in our's pretty darn fascinating!
  3. I love how the ocean commands respect - underestimate it's power and the consequences could be devastating.
  4. I hate how polluted our oceans have become.
  5. I love hearing the ocean's waves crashing on the shore.
  6. I love how the ocean provides my family with food - I mean, I can't complain when the hubs has a successful fishing trip!

For more Small Talk Six responses, be sure to head over to MomDot!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Southbound on Route 12

I'm headed south on this road:

I'm headed for the seashore. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The weather is supposed to be perfect and the section of beach we are headed to is open to off-road vehicle use. I'm looking forward to a weekend of this:

We will be spending the weekend with good friends, enjoying the good weather, drinking good drinks, having a good time and making good memories. I cannot wait. This weekend is long overdue and the much needed time away will be greatly appreciated.

Try not to miss me too much while I'm gone - and whatever you do, be safe & enjoy your holiday weekend. Also, take time out to say thank you to the service men and service women - retired & active duty - who have fought & continue to fight for our freedom.

Psst...thanks, Catrina...I "stole" the pics from your Facebook page...I couldn't find my pictures from our trip last Labor Day weekend.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Go Shorty, It's Yo Birthday...

Stuttering Shell is turning TWO on June 11th!

In honor of my blog’s big day, I am going to be giving away a few of MY favorite things all month long. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the brands I will be featuring:

Exactly WHAT from each brand will I be giving away?? You will have to wait & see!! Stayed tuned for details on when the fun will begin, how to enter and when winners will be chosen!

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MomDot Blog-A-Thon

Recently, I participated in MomDot's Blog-A-Thon...this was a great opportunity for us "Mom Bloggers" to get our name out and connect with other bloggers.

The result of the Blog-A-Thon? A massive list of bloggers that you must check out (just scroll through the list):

1. Lori@Not Always Charming
2. Fairy Blog Mother
3. Crazy Adventures in Parenting
4. Engineer a Debt Free Life
5. Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Girls
6. Good Golly Miss Blondie
7. SavvySuzie
8. For The Love of Baby!
9. Tammy@lovemy2dogs
10. Blessings Abound
11. Coupons, Deals and More
12. Hairstyles For Girls
13. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy
14. A latte in the morning
15. KiddiesCorner Deals
16. 3 Kids and Us Mom Blog
17. The Ohana Mama
18. Coupon Queens of Laurel Run
19. Today’s Journey
20. Eve @ Confessions of a Housewife
21. My Charmed Life
22. Laurie@DoubleBugs
23. Lisa @ Final Score boys3 girls2
24. New Sue Review
25. Suzanne Calling
26. Just For Me…and You
27. Time Slides By
28. Babes and Kids
29. Declutter a Little Each Day
30. Grocery Savings for Real Families
31. Life Starring Ellie and Eve
32. So Cute Crafts
33. Brea’s Mommy
34. Are Muffins Just Ugly Cupcakes
35. It’s A Beauty Filled Life
36. The crazy suburban mom
37. Donna’s World
38. Momma’s Gone Over the Wall
39. Mommy’s Quiet Time
40. Joyce (Saving My Cents)
41. My Trendy Tykes
42. The Not-So-Blog
43. Confessions From HouseholdSix
44. SiPPyCuPSand FiNGerPriNTS
45. Jennifer@CouponMommie
46. Shasta @ Crackers&Chaos
47. Giftfully Simple
48. Just For Fun
49. Digital Mommy
50. Me And Craig
51. Parenting Princesses
52. Shan@Last Shreds Of Sanity
53. Inside My Head
54. Petit
55. My Love Lucy
56. FreckleBox personalized gift
57. Baby Lulu Dress
58. Blog 4 Mom
59. 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
60. Jolly Mom
61. My Life My Journey
62. Maman And Gourmand
63. Jess - Life @ 30
64. The POSHpreneur
65. A Blog of Goodies
66. Christy aka The Write Gal
67. LookWhatMomFound
68. Peanut Butter & Smelly’s Dad
69. Lucy
70. Angry Julie Monday
71. The Mogul Mom Blog
72. Angela
73. Deal-ectible Mommies
74. Christy’s Creations
75. Lisa
76. Courtney@Booksnboys
77. Wannabe Supermom
78. Thre Craft Momma
79. Internet Toddler
80. Jennifer@Life is a Sandcastle
81. Kristen of La Dolce Vita
82. Cranberry Fries
83. Toni @ The Mud Bug
84. The Mom Buzz
85. Tricia @Nightowl Mama
86. Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls
87. Mommy Cracked
88. EclecticBird
89. Mama Mentor
90. Moomettesgram’s Musings
91. Moomette’s Magnificents Reviews
92. Moomettesgram’s Favorite Recipes
93. Diaries of a Domestic Goddess
94. Go Graham Go!
95. NerdFamily Things
96. NerdFamily Blog
97. Making Money Keeping Money
98. NerdFamily Food
99. Flying Giggles & Lollipops
100. Gena @ Morris Bunch
101. Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy
102. A Kindred Spirit’s Thoughts
103. Two Of A Kind, Working On A Full House
104. D-Lo’s Lounge
105. Free Sample Freak
106. What Mommies Need
107. Mom of 2 Boys, Wife of 1
108. icefairy’s Treasure Chest
109. Cheaper Than Therapy
110. Therapeutic Reviews & Giveaways
111. Lily Bean Designs
112. Dirty Diaper Laundry
113. Dance Momma
114. JamericanSpice
115. Mombalance
116. A Pocket Full Of Buttons
117. Ordinary and Awesome
118. Reviews and Giveaways
119. Subjective Beauty
120. Tales From A Shopaholic Mommy
121. Mommiemayhem
122. IE Mommy
123. Nikki @ Blasian Baby Notes
124. Amber Woodward
125. Grammy Janet’s Place
126. Outnumbered 3 to 1
127. ShimmerMeBlue
128. Dev’s Favorite Giveaways
129. Joyful Money Saving
130. 1stopmom
131. A Modern Mama
132. PourSomeSugarOnMe
133. Fancast
134. Lollipop Baby
135. Lola & Ben
136. idoby2celebrants
137. Sue Jackson
138. Cackleberry Kids
139. Gifts By The Stars
140. Jemma
141. Handmade Kids
142. Ollie Rose
143. Babasfarmlife
144. Banquet Manager
145. Monkey’s Momma
146. This Mom Can Shop
147. EcoLabel Fundraising
148. Divine Chaos
149. baby kakes ink alphabet onesie
150. tee from recycle me
151. Elizabeth @ Suzy Q Homemaker
152. marla mandell bread (5/17)
153. ozone socks 5/15
154. Belly Bumps to Baby Hugs
155. Hip T
156. ThenComes Baby
157. Homemade Gourmet
158. Fresh Pure and Simple
159. MomDot Mom Blogs
160. MomDot Mom Reviews
161. Bloggers Give Charity
162. Organic Baby Resource
163. Potamus Prefers
164. The Army Wife
165. Through Hazel Eyes
166. Frugal Rhode Island Mama
167. Just Jingle
168. And Twins make 5!
169. Frugal Plus
170. Christie
171. What Happened To My House?
172. Miracles on Mama Street
173. Heck Of A Bunch
174. Blog Designs by Susan
175. mommy23monkeys
176. Hanna
177. Got Kids Need Valium
178. Womb At The INNSANE
179. Katie & Kimble Blog
180. Kim @ Adventures SAHM
181. The Frugalicious Mommy
182. Penny Pinching Diva
183. Another day. Another thought or two
184. Beauty4Moms
185. Nikki
186. Little Miss Julia
187. Mrs Zeee
188. Cheryl
189. Frazzle Dazzle SuperMom
190. Florida Mealtime Savers
191. Inspiration Station
192. Mommy’s Kitchen
193. Saving with MamaNordy
194. Saving SAHM Sanity
195. A Little Piece Of Perfect
196. Nodin’s Nest
197. Lil Miss Eco
198. Laryn Strickland
199. HeatherMama
200. The Gerber Babies Blog
201. WhateverSuccess
202. Women Who Win
203. Kat @ The Burb Blog
204. Happy Healthy Families
205. Sweeps4Bloggers
206. dramaqueensmum
207. The Mom Trap
208. Multitasking Mama
209. Mama Michies Musings
210. Little People Wealth
211. Belly Beyond
212. Kim Kihega
213. Mom Fuse
214. Juanita
215. Adopt a Do
216. On the Refriderator Door
217. Christine
218. Little Diva
219. My Household Junk
220. I’m Here….Really
221. Brittany@The Greer 5
222. mary
223. Nicole @ Nicole’s Nickels
224. Lori Newman
225. Kris @ NSQSA
226. Debb
227. Shawn Ann’s World
228. Peke Moe -NZ made baby sleep sacks
229. A Simple Kinda LIfe
230. Sweet Serendipity
231. Bouncing Off The Walls
232. Jane Loedding
233. Msbuildingupdabenjamins
234. Msbuildingupdabenjamins
235. Msbuildingupdabenjamins
236. Musings from Me
237. Veronnica
238. The Adventures of Miss V
239. Mudd Kids
240. Mom Most Traveled family travel
241. Relishing the Dirt
242. Good, True and Beautiful
243. Deb @ Frugal Living and Having Fun
244. The Last Blog on Earth
245. A Wrestling Addicted Mommy
246. Rae
247. kimert@diaries of a coach’s wife
248. Dore’s Diaries
249. Blog by Donna
250. Lisette
251. Pillaging With Buffie
252. Mom of Faith
254. flutterbyechronicles
255. shelley
256. Life In A House Of Blue
257. kristen
258. Alex the Fey Thriller Series
259. MamaCheaps!
260. Donalacasa
261. A Jewish Journey
262. Anissa @ Our Chaotic Life
263. BethinNC
264. Stuttering Shell
265. Don’t Blink
266. Life is Sweet
267. Lisa
268. Sue@Stay At Home Mom
269. m.e (cathie)
270. Run DMT
271. Princess Ratbag
272. Michelle G
273. CF Mama @ Nathan’s Fight
274. Moody Mama Says
275. Laurie Ann
276. Cooking During Stolen Moments
277. A Simple Walk
278. Vanessa
279. middleagedmom
280. Ramblings Of A Wannabe Writer
281. Oh My Baby
282. Fordcast Sunny
283. Lisa Miller
284. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy
285. Bibs & Cribs {very cute stuff}
286. My Lil’ Budget Book
287. Misadventures in Baby Raising
288. My Mommy Said
289. Milk & Honey Mommy
290. Milk and Honey Mommy
291. Amy O’Neal
292. Parenting Children
293. A Girl And Her Life
294. MarieLynn Boutique Blog
295. Born Fabulous Boutique Blog
296. The Pitter Patter Boutique
297. Stephanie Deese
298. Brea’s Baby Boutique Blog
299. - Heather Manning
300. Kids Activities Blog
301. Two Little Whales Cloth Diapers & More
302. 3 boys & a dog
303. Karen ~Georgia Angel
304. JenniferB @ my not so hurried life
305. Shannon Blogs Here
306. A Virtuous Woman
307. Secrets of a Southern Kitchen
308. Dreamer
309. Lollipop Book Club
310. Mommie Daze Virtual Baby Shower
311. Heck Of A Bunch
312. MomSaves4U
313. Barely Domestic Mama
314. Emilie @ Baby Loving Mama
315. Professional Family Manager
316. Kathleen
317. Coaching The Family
318. Frugal Creativity
319. Easy Being Green
320. Dandelion Bubbles
321. Shelly aka The Attic Girl
322. Foxtoybox-Discovery Toys
323. Ashley @ Beauty4Moms
324. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins
325. Playground for Parents
326. World of Discovery
327. Kati @ Country Girl City Life
329. A Little Bit Nutty
330. Mahayla’s Mommy
331. Mommy Goggles
332. The Shopping Mama
333. If I Could Escape . . .

Enjoy & happy blogging!

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Gonna Make You Sweat

Aidan: Mom, why do people sweat?

Me: It's our body's way of cooling us down. If we didn't sweat, we would overheat and get sick.

Aidan: And die?

Me: Yes, you could.

Aidan: Mom, do Chinese people sweat?

Me: Yes, Aidan, everyone sweats whether you're Chinese or not. It doesn't matter who you are going to sweat.

Aidan: Gung Gung sweats real bad. (Gung Gung is my father - who is Caucasian, by the way - but we call him Gung Gung which is Cantonese for 'grandfather'...seeing as how my mother IS Chinese, this sort of fits, but anyways...)

Me: Really?

Aidan: Yeah, he sweats all down his face. It gets all watery & shiny. He sweats a lot.

Me: Wow. OK.

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BRACE FACE - The Introduction

I think it’s safe to assume that all of us have had some sort of experience with braces. Did you wear them? Did your siblings or friends wear them? Did you wish you wore them? Do you have kids in braces currently? Will your child(ren) need braces? No matter what you answered to any of those questions, I think you will enjoy the series of discussions I have lined up for the next few days. I’ve teamed up with Rachel at American Pop – her company is working with the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) – and we are going to talk about any and all things braces (and oral care)!

Did you know?
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth may indicate a child’s need for braces.

  • The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontist by no later than age 7.

  • Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align & straighten teeth.

  • Mouth guard use is very low – 67% of parents surveyed said that their child does not wear a mouth guard – yet, 70% said that their biggest fear when their child plays organized sports is that they will get hurt.

I would love to hear about your thoughts on braces. After all, this is a discussion and part of the fun is sharing our stories & experiences with one another. As a parent, I know I am dreading that inevitable day when I have to put my own children in braces – trust me, I know it’s coming because our family dentist has already said so and a consult with an orthodontist will happen this year (at some point) for both of my children. I remember my days in braces – I think just about every other girl in junior high school wore them – some days were better than others, but what a feeling of joy & relief when I finally got them taken off!

As an incentive, I have decided to jazz things up a bit -- all comments made during the “Brace Face” discussion series will be entered to win a pretty sweet gift. I love cookbooks (and I am really thinking about adding these to my collection) and what a better gift to give away than a set of cookbooks specifically for those in braces, The Braces Cookbook & The Braces Cookbook 2. In a later discussion, I will be featuring some recipes from these books...and you don't need braces to enjoy them! In the meantime, participate…and you just might be the lucky winner of these two books!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blog Fart

Silly Blogger & it's IE issues...surely I'm not the only one who gets the "gong noise" and the "operation aborted" pop-up window no matter whose blog I'm trying to view, right??

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Smoke Free?

The hubs has decided that it's finally time to bite the bullet and kick his nicotine habit to the curb. He's tried quitting cold turkey before. He's used the Nicotrol smokeless wanna-be cigarette things before. I don't think he's used the patch nor has he chewed the gum, but this time he's bound & determined to quite...with some help.

I picked up his prescription for Chantix yesterday and today is Day 1. He said the pill makes him feel kinda funny. But, I suppose it's no different than any other drug you introduce to your body -- it makes you feel kinda kooky just because it's not something you're used to. He set his quit date for Wednesday, May is by that day that he is supposed to stop smoking completely. He'll still be taking Chantix, but hopefully we won't have to refill the prescription because it's a nice chunk of change. Of course, the cost of the prescription every month is certainly cheaper than cartons of cigarettes each week, but he's hoping that he will have great success.

This is new territory for us. He's always been a smoker for as long as I've known him. And, trust me, I've known him for a LONG time.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let's NOT Get It On

After my experience at the gyno yesterday, I really, really wish that men could experience what it's like to have a uterus for one day. Just.One.Day. That's all. No more. No less.

And, during that time, I would like for them to spend the day at the gyno having anything and everything that could possibly happen to said uterus happen. You know. The poking. The prodding. The examining. The measuring. Yes, they measure it. From the inside.

Ladies, I don't know about you & how you are after a less than stellar gyno visit, but after my day yesterday, I am very happy to say that my va-jay-jay is on strike and she's taking a mini vacay. A much deserved vacay. She carried two children. She birthed two children. She had an intruder live within her for nearly five years...only to have the intruder evicted and get replaced by another one. She's got a friend until the year 2014. And, hopefully by that time I can convince my dear, sweet husband that, yes, it IS okay to take matters into his own hands...because if he doesn't, I will!

I'm trying to skirt around the TMI bush (bush....ha ha ha...pun intended?) because after the day I had yesterday my humor level has sunk to an all-time low and I really have not one single ounce of modesty left in me. Funny how that happens...after seeing your gyno for so long you can actually carry on casual - even funny - conversations while she's totally violating you in the worst way.

So, for just one day - ONE day - it would be nice for a man to finally experience just a wee bit of what us ladies have to put up with at the doctor's office. And, if they still don't get it, then they need to experience a Brazilian wax, too.

If you're still confused, go back and read "Tick, tick, tick..."

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Big things are just gotta wait for them.

No, it's not another blog makeover, but I can promise you that it WILL be fun...for me and you!

Got Fish?

I have been eating fish since Saturday. Seriously. No lie.

The hubs went fishing again last weekend on the Tuna Fever & he had a blast. It's always nice when you can get your friends & family together for an impromptu fishing's even better when the catch is as magnificent as the one shown above! They caught five yellowfin tuna and the rest is all mahi mahi (aka dolphin or dorado). I think they caught nearly 500 pounds of fish in all.

Sorry for the semi-crummy quality of the photo...the hubs took the picture on his cell phone and I received it while I was sitting at Doughboy's having a few drinks with my girlfriends. ;-)

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She Loves Me...She Really Does!

It's been a "hot minute" since I last blogged...and while I was gone, my friend, Becca, from One Day at a Time gave me not one, not two, but THREE bloggy-blog awards! Yay...go me!

The "One Lovely Blog" award is for blogs you have recently discovered and fell in love with. Technically, you're supposed to give this to 15 new blogs you've discovered, but I'm going to break the rules a bit. In all honesty, all of the blogs I come across are all so lovely that every single one of you deserves this award! So, don't be shy...copy & paste this bad boy on your blog and do some bragging! You're worth it!

The "Sushi Grade Blog" award is award to a blog that is "fresh, lively and of superior quality. It is rare, has character and is of good taste." You're supposed to nominate five other blogs to receive this award, but - because I'm feeling saucy today - I'm going to just put this one up for grabs by any and all of my fabulous readers because each & every one of you has a fresh & lively blog! I'm craving sushi...spicy tuna roll, anyone?

The "You're A Superstar Blogger" award is given to any blogger that is a super star! In true blog award fashion, you are supposed to bless any number of bloggers with this award - it can be 5 bloggers to 50 bloggers. Doesn't matter. But, guess what? Yep...I'm not choosing anyone in particular to receive this award because you are all super stars in my book! So, go ahead and put this one on your blog,'s just way too difficult to choose just a handful of blog friends to receive awards, especially when there are so many of you out there who are so good at what you do!

And, many, many, MANY thanks to my friend, Becca, for giving me these fun awards!

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Friday, May 15, 2009

SMALL TALK SIX - Frankly {insert name here}, I don't give a damn!

Welcome to today's edition of Small Talk Six hosted by the lovely ladies at MomDot. Today's topic focuses on six pieces of advice that you think are obvious, but some people just need to hear. Keep an open mind, don't hate and just let me have my say, will ya?
  1. I don't care what Jamie Lee Curtis said in "My Girl," but, yes, you really CAN wear too much blue eyeshadow.
  2. Just say NO to drugs - didn't you listen to Nancy Reagan back in the day? What? What do you mean you don't know who Nancy Reagan is?!
  3. It pays to look in a mirror before leaving the house...that way you can see how ridiculous you look when you go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart on Sunday afternoon dressed like a hooker.
  4. Buckle up for it or ticket...just wear your damn seat belt!
  5. It is NOT okay to fart at the dinner table and then laugh about it.
  6. Cough & sneeze in your elbow, please - because I don't want to be showered with your nasty germs.

What are YOUR six things? Go to MomDot and share!

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Mother's Day - Take Two

It's just after 11pm and, as usual, I am up at the computer. The house is quiet. All I hear is the hum of the computer and a commercial on the television. Other than that, nothing else is going on. Nothing at all.

Because I am alone and I just don't feel like doing anything else.

The hubs has headed to North Carolina for, hopefully, a successful fishing trip. I am going to dream tonight of Yellowfin Tuna and dolphin (no, not Flipper, but Mahi Mahi or Dorado). The kids are with family - visiting with their great-grandparents who are in town from Florida - and they are spending the weekend with their aunt, er, great aunt.

Why am I here? That's because I have plans for tomorrow. Plans that were made LONG before this impromptu fishing trip came up. For once I didn't have to worry about making arrangements for the kids or worry about having to back out (yet again) on another commitment. The hubs actually took the initiative and got things all worked out. Granted, there were tears shed on my part mainly due to frustration, but I'm happy it's all worked out. Everyone is happy.

I know I am happy. Because I really do enjoy a quiet house.

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I Always Knew I Could Rock Out A Tiara!

What a fun surprise! My friend, Becca, of One Day at a Time has selected me as the Queen of ALLL Things Awe-summm! I think that's pretty darned cool...thanks, Becca!!

So, in order for me to fulfill my queenly duties, there are a few things I must do:
1. List 7 things that make me awe-summm.
2. Pass the award onto 7 bloggers that I love.
3. Tag those bloggers to let them know they are now Queens too (and link back to the Queen who tagged you).

This is going to be hard...and not because I really am AWESOME, but because I find it kind of hard to be shameless when it comes to bragging about myself (I don't know about you, but I'm a bit more modest than I am conceited).

So, here are my SEVEN reasons why I am the Queen of ALLL Things Awe-Summm:
1. I have really cute dimples...on my cheeks...the cheeks on my face, people (we won't go there about the other dimples).
2. I am a girly-girl, but I'm not afraid to get dirty.
3. I give great butterfly kisses thanks to my l-o-n-g eyelashes (just ask my kids!).
4. I am honest (sometimes to a fault) but this is what makes me a good, loyal friend.
5. I bake a damn good carrot cake. What's that you say? You don't like carrot cake? No chocolate cake is just as delish! (And they are both made from scratch - frosting, too - thankyouverymuch!)
6. I am NOT afraid to cry.
7. I truly am loved.

Now, I would like to nominate the following fellow bloggers:

Congrats to all of my nominees and have fun with this...even if you weren't listed here you know damn well that you're still AWESOME, so play along and lemme know what your SEVEN awesome things are.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's The LITTLE Things That Matter The Most

My good friend (in the real world and in the blogosphere), Becca, from One Day At A Time has tagged me with a fun little "challenge" -- name SIX unimportant things that make me happy. How hard could that be, right? All I have to do is mention who tagged me, list my six things and tag six more bloggers.

So, without any hesitation, here is my list of SIX unimportant things that make me oh, so happy...
  • The crisp smell of autumn in the air - you know, the cool air mixed with a touch of smoke from someone's chimney...yeah, that's the smell.
  • Sandy toes - especially if they are my children's sandy toes.
  • Being lazy on a hot summer day - I really need to buy a hammock.
  • Beachcombing - it doesn't matter if I'm at the beach here, in North Carolina or in Mexico...I will walk the beach for hours picking up shells & other fun things from the sea.
  • Putting on a pair of jeans fresh from the dryer - oh, so warm!
  • Seeing a rainbow after a rain shower - now where's that pot of gold?!

Now, I know I'm supposed to tag six people, but it's always so hard to choose just six people! So, I tag all of you reading...if you choose to participate, please leave me a comment and let me know so I can check out your six things! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They Were Mistaken...

I love it when people make mistakes - and they own up to their mistake. I love it even more when someone makes a mistake, accepts responsibility for the mistake and the mistake happens to benefit me in some way. Yeah, I know, it's a pretty selfish way of looking at things, but, hey...we're all like that sometimes whether you care to admit it or not.

Today, a mistake was brought to my attention and it has benefitted our bank account our family BIG TIME.

Last week, the gas company called and left a voice mail message. I sort of brushed it was around 6pm on a Friday when I finally got the message and I didn't recognize the company on the Caller ID (it was different from who our gas company is). I mentioned this to Adam and he sort of brushed it off, too. My parents were in town and they told me to just call the customer service number on my bill rather than the number that was left if I was skeptical about returning the phone call.

The weekend came and went. Monday came around and I never called the gas company back. I guess it all sort of slipped my mind. But, then again, they never called back...

So, today, I decided to call to see just what was going on. I didn't owe them any money. There weren't any discrepancies on our bill (as far as I could tell). I didn't understand why they would be calling.

I'm glad I called. They made a mistake. A huge mistake. A BILLING mistake. Apparently, there was something wrong with our meter and they had to fix it. Consequently, we were incorrectly charged. I got a bit nervous when the woman told me this. I was thinking to myself, "OK, how much do we owe you?"

As it turned out, we didn't owe them a dime. They owed US money. A lot of it. (Like just over $1400!) All I said to the woman was, "Holy cow!"

I am pretty sure there is a bruise on my chin from when it hit my desk. She asked if I wanted it credited to our gas account. Hell no! Are you kidding me?! Cut me a check right now...momma needs a new water heater! (And, even better, our gas company gives out rebates for new water heaters, too!)

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Wordless/Wordful Wednesday - TUNA FEVER

How does the saying go...a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work? Well, this was a PHENOMENAL day of fishing for us! We caught our limit of tuna (Big Eye and Yellowfin) BEFORE noon and were back at the dock by lunchtime to show off our catch! Nearly 900 pounds of tuna was caught and, yes, I still have packages of vacuum-sealed tuna in my deep freeze.

We went fishing out of Oregon Inlet, NC on the Tuna Fever last August. It was MY first time ever deep sea fishing and let's just say I'm hooked. I was the lone female on boat full of testosterone and, wouldn't you know, out of the two tuna I reeled in one was a 76 pound citation yellowfin tuna! And, I was in good company catching citation-size tuna because four other guys on the boat (my husband was one) caught citation sized tuna as well!

For more Wordless Wednesday, be sure to check out 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday...and for some Wordful Wednesday fun check out 7 Clown Circus!

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