Wednesday, February 27, 2008

#2 Wants a New Room

(I don't have the dress winner yet, today's the last day to enter. Come back tomorrow)

*Background: About seven years ago our neighbor was moving. His wife had a tanning bed and since my husband and I were in our mid-twenties and not giving into grown up lives just yet, we bought it, had a 220 put into the guest room downstairs and have used it off and on since then. As the years have passed I've had some moles removed--whether or not it's because of the tanning bed I can't say, but I have fair skin and I've realized it's not a good thing for me. My husband uses it less than me but he's been unwilling to get rid of it. The guest room is a nice room--about 16x16 with a big closet. #2 child moved into her own room a couple years ago, and it's quite small 13x8 with a very small closet. This girl would live at the mall if I'd let her (I won't) and she's turning 12 next week. She's been BEGGING to have the guest room for almost a year. Last night when she asked me, I finally threw my husband under the bus and told her it was 100% up to her Dad and he was the one wanting to keep the tanning bed and that I, in my glorious goodness, would love nothing more than to have her take the guest room--but her villainous father was unrelenting. I suggested she give it a try to convince him. Here's what she sent him in an e-mail (he's out of town for a few days). Oh, and I'm funny about putting my kid's names online so it makes it a bit choppy:

Hey dad!
Well, when i had just turned eight, I had the privilege to move out of the room that #1 ( your first child) shared for several years. Yes it was a big room, but sometimes, when I needed to have my own space, #1 was there and so I could only dream of the day I could finally have my OWN room. Of course I was amazed that I could AT LAST have my VERY OWN room!!!! Yes, I enjoyed every moment of it ( kinda), but about a year or so ago, I realized something. Something that brings me to why I am writing you this.

I need a new room.

Don't get me wrong, I love my room. It's just that room is quite small. And as the years (and months) go by, I have received more stuff. Which doesn't go well with my room. OK it is my fault kinda that I have so much stuff. But the stuff is very important to me. Stuff I want to keep for a long time. And believe me, it's a LOT of stuff. So. . . I was thinking about where I could maybe move my room to. . . And faster than you could say 'supercalifraga--' I GOT IT!!!!! The tanning bed room!!!!! But. . . . . .

Your stupid tanning bed had already taken over that room. My room.

I have thought of possible ways I could somehow, just somehow, get that room. I talked to you and mom about it, but you said ' what will we do with the tanning bed?' I told you to get rid of it, sell it, donate it, move it, BURN IT! Well not the last one, but I was thinking it. Oh and your wife (josi) agrees that we should get rid of it. Haha. Sucks to be you. Just joking.

That room is the PERFECT size for me! It is way spaced and it has a BIG closet!!! Oh I need that too. I think it would be sooooo kewl painting and designing the room. Because it's all up to me. Me. Plus, mom said that she could totally sell the tanning bed on! Haha. Yeah so. . . You want that tanning bed. Yes, you do. Well, if you just read on, and yes you have to, you might find out things you didn't know about EVIL tanning beds. Read on, you'll like it. . . .


Just like tanning outside, tanning indoors damages your skin. That's because indoor tanning devices emit ultraviolet rays. Tanning occurs when the skin produces additional pigment (coloring) to protect itself against burn from ultraviolet rays. Overexposure to these rays can cause eye injury, premature wrinkling of the skin, and light-induced skin rashes, and can increase your chances of developing skin cancer. So, are tanning beds bad for you?
Found on:

most common reason behind the goof up is unawareness. Inadequate knowledge of how much time you should actually spend in the tanning bed leaves many people burnt or charred. In order to gain the best results, most of the people over tan themselves through over exposure to UV or ultraviolet rays emitted by the tanning bed lights. It results in skin cancer or permanent
damage to the skin. The local tanning salons use cheap tanning beds with cheap quality acrylic sheets, which fail to protect the customer from damages.

(this goes on for quite some time--about 2000 words that I'm sparing you)

So what do you think?! I am very proud of myself for doing this. Plus, I missed American Idol to research this, now you KNOW I am serious about this. I really really really really really want a new room! ( and IKEA has really nice designers furniture but for low low low low prices!) So PLEASE email me back! Please!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free Dress Give Away!

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by Michaella Lawson, owner of Mikarose, a company that sells modest dresses. She asked if I'd be willing to do a dress giveaway on my blog, well I'm a bit a Nazi on stuff like that, I don't like promoting things I don't KNOW first hand even if it is free. But I just happened to be in need of a little black dress because my last little black dress is, well, too little.

So I went to the website and found a dress I loved (Okay, I found several that I loved, but one that I loved a little more than the others) and I ordered the Halle. It arrived last week and I wore it to church on Sunday. It's actually almost the exact same pattern of my most-favorite dress I own that I bought at Downeast Outfitters, except that DO only had it in a couple colors, all with a polka dot design. Well, I'm not a girl that needs more than one polka dot dress so while I love the one I own, I didn't buy any others of the DO dresses. So I was THRILLED when this one was so similar. Honestly, I'm surprised that she offers free give aways on such high quality stuff--call me a cynic but most free stuff is synonymous with cheap stuff. I currently have my eye on another one (the Cynthia even though it's more polkadots--it's super cute) and Now that I'm convinced it's a worthy give away, I'm ready to offer it to you guys. Here are the rules:

1) You have to live in the US or Canada for shipping purposes.

2) You have to go to the Mikarose website and pick out the dress you like. They all have names like Dawn or Ashley or Halle.

3) Come back here and leave a comment with the name of the dress you want. If you're not a blogger you'll need to leave get me your e-mail address so we can contact you if you win. You HAVE to specify a dress you like in order to have a valid entry.

Contest will be open until next Wednesday--February 27--at which time Michaella has a computer thingy that will draw the name and we'll announce it here as well as send you a note. The winner will get a $60 gift certificate they can then use on the Mikarose website to purchase their favorite dress. Dresses are sized XS-XL which covers 0-18.

All dresses are designed with modesty in mind; with high necklines, low hems, long enough sleeves and yet they are designed in a way so as to still be flattering to our girlish figures.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What I did for P-day

I'm a big believer in food storage. Growing up we had 9 kids and one income (my dad was a teacher, so 9 months of income) My mother was nothing short of brilliant when it came to factoring and figuring food for all of us. She spent weeks preserving fruits and vegetables in the summer and fall, she shopped case lot sales, and she baked bread 3 times a week. We had a huuuuuuge storage room called the fruit room, an under the stairs crawl space for veggies, and an extra freezer downstairs. Because dad got paid at the first of every month, we relied on that storage space a lot. We were not well to do, but neither were we poor and we never went underfed because of my parents diligence for food storage. At every phase of my married life I have tried to build up an 'excess' of things we use, but only in the last few years have I had the space and the focus to build up a true one year supply. We have some drypack stuff for emergencies, but I try to keep my focus on things we use and make sure I have lots on hand. The Grocery Game has improved my skills a great deal and I ran out of room, resorting to dropping cans into miscellaneous boxes in my storage room.

A few months ago I went to my mom's house. She and my dad are down to 1 teenager at home and the last few years have been all about downsizing. They don't need the 25 foot fruit room anymore. Instead she had a shelving unit that made me drool--really. I've wanted one ever since and finally, due to all the e-bay stuff I've been selling, I decided I was ready for one and we had the money. If you too are interested, here's how to do it in 36 easy steps:

Day One:

Step One: Spend 10-45 minutes pontificating about the importance of a shelving system that would help you inventory what you have, what you need, and put them in a place the kids can get them for me when you call out for "Cream of Mushroom soup!"

Step Two: Find a "Shelf Reliance" shelving unit. For some people, that means going to the website and ordering it, for me it meant going to walmart where they were on sale for $299.

Step Three: Purchase unit.

Step Four: Cause serious muscle damage trying to unload it from the car by yourself

Step Five: Bat your eyelashes and ask a big-strong-man to help take it downstairs.

Step Six: Open the box, lay out the parts, ignore the instructions because they will only slow you down.

Step Seven: Start putting the unit together on the carpet--the pegs won't fit into the rivets without a hammer but the hammer causes the paint to crack and the metal to vibrate which causes the crossbeams to bounce out of their rivets and smack against your forearms, head, and legs.

Step Eight: Surrender to the instructions which say 1) don't use a hammer because it will chip the paint and cause vibrations that will make assembly difficult. 2) Don't put unit together on carpet.

Step Nine: Go to bed grumbling about the conspiracy of do it yourself projects for which you have no chromosomal right to undertake. Give husband the silent treatment for having a meeting and not being home to help you.

Day Two

Step Ten: Continue to give husband cold shoulder because he has to work today even thought it's a holiday.

Step Eleven: Push boxes out of the way so you can put it together on the cement floor of the storage area itself which is way too small for a job of this size.

Step Twelve: Review the part about not using a hammer after a cross beam smacks into your thumb, rendering it numb.

Step Thirteen: Go to Home Depot and buy rubber mallet, not the nice one that doesn't bounce and chip, but the cheap $5 one that bounces and has pieces that break off--avoid anything that will make this job easier!

Step Fourteen: Ignore instructions again because having a rubber mallet in your possession makes you all powerful. Get to work on the cross beams and note that though the rubber mallet works better, it's not perfect and the crossbeams take a lot of pounding to make them fit in the rivets.

Step Fifteen: Swear a little.

Step Sixteen: Realize you put the crossbeams in the wrong rivets. Take them all out and reluctantly submit to the instructions again which say "Count rivets from the bottom not the top"

Step Seventeen: Attach crossbeams to the correct rivets, beware of impaling pieces of rubber mallet as they fly toward your face. Safety goggles are a wise choice--or if you happen to have sunglasses on your head despite being in the basement, use those.

Step Eighteen: Note that wearing sunglasses in the basement might lead you to miscounting the rivets you can no longer see.

Step Nineteen: Swear some more as you try and pound out the bend you inadvertently put into one of the crossbeams when you tripped over a box in the too-small room and hit your elbow in the other shelves before falling int. . . okay, in truth you have no idea how you managed to bend metal when you have to ask for your husbands help to open a jar of spaghetti sauce. But you did bend it so you now have to fix it.

Step Twenty: If you drink, now would be a good time to mix up a screwdriver. If you don't drink, take a few seconds to cry it out.

Step Twenty-one: With the cross beams finally in place begin putting in the plastic mounting bracket things--begin by trying to make the wrong size fit into the top row. Cry some more.

Step Twenty-two: Worship the instructions and sit down, take twenty minutes and review how this works.

Step Twenty-three: As per the instructions, begin putting in the can racks on the bottom row.

Step Twenty-four: Test one by using a glass jar of pickles.

Step Twenty-five: Grumble about the instructions not saying anything about not using glass items as you clean up the broken jar of pickles.

Step Twenty-six: Test with a can of oats.

Step Twenty-seven: Allow yourself to feel like the smartest freaking person in the entire world for making it work! Enjoy this moment because it won't last long.

Step Twenty-eight: Realize that all cans are not the same size after putting your racks all the same size.

Step Twenty-nine: Redo all the racks. Where is your husband!

Step Thirty: Realize it would make sense to have all the soups together, redo all the racks again.

Step Thirty-one: Realize you didn't put the shelf in the right place in the storage unit and keeping it where it is will not allow you to ever decorate for Christmas again. Cause serious muscle damage putting it where it belongs because you refuse to take all those cans off.

Step Thirty-two: Clean up storage area--it's amazing how much crap you throw into this room, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Step Thirty-three: Bring children and husband in the room to glory over your brilliance. It's so pretty!

Step thirty-four: When husband asks you how long it took, lie. God won't hold it against you, besides He's a bit embarrassed it took you 12 hours too. Three hours is an acceptable time.

Step Thirty-five: Leave door to storage unit open so you can smile every time you see what you made (at this point you're already starting to believe it only took you 3 hours so you're feeling lots better)

Step Thirty-six: Take a picture so you can blog about it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My little Valentines

I've been married for almost 15 years and though my hubby-man is my sun, moon, stars, and favorite hot cocoa, we've never made that big a deal about Valentine's Day. We have our anniversary in April, and come February we've just survived Christmas gift giving, so other than a funny-sexy card and an excuse to go out to dinner sometime that week, Valentines Day isn't a big deal for the two of us.

A few years ago, however, I started giving valentines to my kids. One year I made little heart pouch things and hung them on their doorknobs full of M&M's--big hit. Another year I wrote down 50 things I loved about them and put them in a jar titled "What I love about you" there was no candy involved so it wasn't quite as fun, but the kids still have them . . . somewhere. And for the last two years I've put little hearts all over their bedroom doors the night before, giving them a heart attack. I then used the letters of their names to come up with some of my favorite things about them.

Two years ago, in May, I had to drop something off to a friend of mine. She worked night shift and had asked that I quietly put it inside her door rather than ring the bell or risk leaving it on the porch. My four year old came with me and when we got back the car she asked me why I went in that ladie's house without knocking.

"Well, she works at night so she's sleeping right now and I don't want to wake her up."

"She works at night?" my daughter repeated, still rather confused.

"Yes, she has a job, like Daddy does, only it's at night time."

"But she's a mom," my daughter said.

I've worked off and on throughout my marriage, but both my husband and I have tried very hard to keep me at home--which is my favorite place to be. I realized that this child had never known a time when I wasn't home so I explained a bit more. "She is a mom," I said. "A very good mom, that's why she's sleeping now while her kids are at school, so she can wake up when they get home. But she works another job to earn money."

"And she works her job at night?"

"Yep," I said. "At night."

"Sometimes you go to work at night."

I figured she was talking about a writing conference I'd been to a few weeks earlier when I'd been gone for a few days. "No, I don't work at night. Sometimes I go away for a few days to, uh, school, but I don't work."

"Yes you do, like that time you put hearts on our door when we were sleeping. That was work."

For me this was ultimate validation. That is my work, my main work, and the fact that I spend hours a day pursuing my career hasn't taken away the fact that my daughter sees my 'work' as her and our family. It was one of those moments that drove me to my knees and helped me thank my Father in Heaven for the bounty he has given me in the role of mother to these amazing spirits.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Me Make Website

Ya know all those caveman jokes "Me Make Fire" well, I feel a little like that. I've had a website for five years and been at the mercy of many far-more-brilliant-than-people (who are suprisingly easy to find based on those specs) to maintain it. I would send them pages and pages of updates and then marvel that they weren't done in half an hour. Are they not at my beckon call?

For the last several months I've contemplated wanting to create and maintain my own website, but after about 15 seconds of such pondering I'd break into a cold sweat and head for my Stephen's hot cocoa. I absolutely HATE learning new things, I like knowing them--it helps with my ever popular know-it-all personality--but I HATE learning it. Part of that is because I don't pick things up very quickly and have to really concentrate--headache--and second of all because there is this weird freaky part of me that thinks it should know everything already. Its horribly offended when it realizes there is something yet unknown. So, the website idea came and went and came and went and came and went.

Until this week.

My friend Stephanie Black had been in the process of doing her own website, and I've listened with half an ear--she falls into that category of smarter-than-me and I thought if she figured it out maybe I'd bribe her into doing one for me. Well, turns out that wasn't necessary. We are both Mac worshipers and at the first of this week she unveiled her new website, made on mac software that publishes to the web at a click of a button. I was intrigued. So, as is my nature, I hounded her with questions, prospering from her pioneering spirit and generous info-givingness.

As of yesterday, my new website is live! I'm so excited to be in charge of my cyber-life. I lost the first one I made due to not backing up (back up people!) and had to start over, but the final version took way less time that I expected, was cheaper than I thought, and far easier than I'd have believed. Total cost was $216--$80 for the 08 version of iLife (of which iWeb is a part), $100 for hosting and other services through .mac, and $74 to renew two of my domain names for two years--but I got $38 refunded because I canceled my previous hosting service early. It took me about 8 hours total time, including the phone time with my previous hosting service that got all the internet stuff figured out for me. Chris at Go Daddy is the Bomb.

So here I am, quite pleased with myself, and ready to catch up on the laundry and dishes and pesky things like that. You can find the site at and if you find a typo (it is MY website after all)--I can fix it in a couple easy clicks. Power if divine!

And to make my day even more fabo--Rebecca Talley and Stephanie Humphries--both inspiring women--gave me 'You make my day awards' totally lit me up, thanks gals.