Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: NO, and that's FINAL

When the girls and I got back from our trip to San Antonio last mother casually mentioned that her cat, Todd, seemed lonely. The girls heard this innocent comment from the basement of their friend's house 5 miles away. They ran all the way home. Faster than lightning. And wanted to know when they were going to get a kitten to be a friend to Todd. Before we could blink. Or pick our jaws up from the floor. The girls had these kittens named. Knew where they might sleep at night. And figured out who would take care of them when we go on vacation next. one said we were getting a kitten. So the girls argued that:

1. We'll scoop the litter box. And I replied: Are you nuts? We are not getting kittens.

2. We'll feed the kitten every day. And I replied: No, absolutely not.

3. We'll make sure that the kitten has water. And I replied: When pigs fly.

4. We'll be responsible. And I replied: Not in a month of Sundays.

5. We'll do whatever you ask us. And I replied: When chicken have teeth.

6. We'll clean our rooms without you asking us. And I replied: When hell freezes over.

7. We really will take care of the kitten. And I replied: When the sun rises in the West.

8. We'll be sweet. And not argue. And I replied: When frogs grow hair.

9. But won't have to do anything! And I replied: When it snows in summer.

10. Really, we'll take care of it. And I replied: Not a chance.

11. You won't even know it's here. And I replied: Only if it's the end of the world - "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

12. We'll give you foot massages on demand if you let us get a kitten. And I replied: On the first of never.

13. PLEASE! And I replied: NO, and that's FINAL!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Belize Jungle

My laptop died last night. With all my pictures. Including all my beach pictures that haven't been backed up yet. Let us have a moment of silence. And a prayer that our personal computer geek can get into the brain of my dead hard drive.

In the meantime...we'll go back a few months to our journey to Belize. Because these pictures are on my other computer. And gaze at the wonders that are the jungle. And for some, you can be rather thankful that you never saw these in person.So...what about you? Do you like to travel? Have you been anywhere exotic or remote? If money was not a factor...would you travel off the beaten path? Where would you want to go?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To party...or not to party...that is the question

**Don't forget to vote for the random blog post over at the right sidebar!**

I have a love/hate relationship with the home party. I love to have them. I even like going to them. But nothing makes you feel more like a loser than no rsvps to your party.

The first home party I ever went to was Pampered Chef. It was in 1997. I was pregnant with Katie. And visiting my bff Cindy Sue who was living in Albuquerque at the time. She had a party while I was there...and it was just so much fun. I got all kinds of cool gadgets that I've never used. I don't know who I was kidding to think that I would use a crinkle slicer. So that I would have ruffle edges to my carrots. Or cucumbers. That I don't eat anyway. Or my Chillazine bowl. That is still lovingly packed away in my cabinet. In its original cardboard container. thing I got then. That I still use. Is my stoneware. I use it for anything and everything that goes into my oven. You can see some form of stoneware in every cooking post I've done. I love it. And there are so many other Pampered Chef things that I use daily. From my mini spatulas to my prep bowls to my big glass measuring bowls. I do love my Pampered Chef - crinkle cutter and chillazine aside.

Cindy was also the one that turned me onto Creative Memories. I tried to have my own show for that. But no one would come. I ended up going to the consultants house for a private lesson so that I could get started. And a year later when I started my own business - it was with much hesitation. But, I had a great 9 year run. And preached my message to the fullest.

Now that I think about it...Cindy turned me onto another home party: Usborne books. And she was even a consultant for them for a bit. On my first visit to see her in San Antonio 8 years ago...she had her first Usborne book show. And I was there to witness it. Even though I had food poisoning and spent much of the evening elsewhere. I love Usborne books, too. My kids love them. And I even bought some last week at the Homeschool Expo. I've had several successful book shows. And a couple that never happened.

In January, I had a Southern Living Party. And I had 15 people that came to my house. I was so surprised! And you should have seen all the boxes UPS delivered to me. That I then had to separate. And deliver.And hey...when I visited Cindy last month...we went to a Southern Living Party. Hmmm...why has it taken me this long to see the pattern of corruption?

So...tonight I am hosting a Pampered Chef party. Wish me luck. And hope that I am not a loser!

What about you? Do you like to host home parties? Do you like to go to them? What has been your favorite or most successful? What about least favorite - when you get the invite for a party for this company you think "yuck!" and there is no way you'd buy their stuff anyway?

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Who is going to be the Queen's Fool?

It's contest time. To see who can compete with the randomness that is casa sunshine and lemonade. And these fortuituous - purposeless bloggers submitted these posts for your consideration. So, check them out. And then vote in the poll on the sidebar for whichever one you think is the hallmark of true random drivel. Because they all want to win fabulous prizes. And you can help.

Angie from Angie's Spot

Jennifer P. from the Peterson's Go Public

Sydney from Diapers and Deadlines

Debbie from Finding Normal

Shannon from Welcome to the Nut House

Joye from My Happy Place

Bobbi from Rightmyer Rants

Rhea from Texas Word Tangle

Gina from A Handful of Life

Romi from It is what it is

Jill from One Wired Woman

Evelyn from Anything Goes

Brandy from I'm Not Your Average Soccer Mom

Mama Dawg from Two Dogs Running

Angie from John Deere Mom

Teri from Let Me Think on It

And now the fine print. To vote, please use the poll in the top right sidebar. Voting ends Friday at 6:17pm. Cause it was random. Tie breakers will be broken by random drawing. Decisions of the queen are not to be questioned.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Homeschool Expo

We are about to embark on our fifth year of homeschooling. Five years! This is never the path that I thought we would take. But here we are. And I spent this past Friday shopping at the Homeschool Expo. Now, if you don't want to read this post because you are sure it's a snoozer...feel free to move on. This post is more denim jumper than flash. More this:None of this:Normally, I am not a big fan of going to the expo. I am not exactly the target audience for many of the vendors. I am not looking for Math from a Christian perspective. And I can usually find all that I need online. And if I want to see a particular book before I buy...usually someone in my homeschool group would have it for me to look at.

But this year was different. I wanted a sales pitch. I wanted to be sold. I had it narrowed down between two choices. The one I thought I would purchase. And the one I wanted to hear more about. So...I put it in their hands. And told them to convince me which was the best writing program for us.

The program I thought I would use is called IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing). It's an expensive program that is DVD based. And I have never heard anything negative about the program. The other program is called Write At Home. It's computer based. Even more expensive. And I don't know anyone who has tried it.

This is what we need: I don't have a reluctant writer at all. I have a child who says she wants to be a writer. But where we need help is in teaching her to write formally.

At the expo...I went to each vendor. Explained that I wasn't sure which program would be best. And told them I wanted their best pitch. At the IEW booth, I was told I would have 6 DVDs to watch - a 12 hour seminar - and then I would be equipped to teach writing to Katie. The seminar comes with 15 lessons. Which I can then expand upon based on when I think she needs more help or reinforcement.

With Write at Home - Katie would log into the company's website each week, read her instructions and submit her writing. Then she would have a personalized instructor/mentor that would read her work - and send it back with an embeded PDF including corrections, critiques, suggestions, and praise. Each writing assignment would be done in three drafts before they would move on to the next lesson.

And which one did I choose? (insert your own dramatic pause) After listening to both pitches - it was a no brainer. I chose Write at Home. With all that we are doing this year, I love that this is one lesson I don't have to plan. And I love that someone other than me will be evaluating her writing. I think she needs that impartial judge to send her down the correct path.

After pluncking down my $400...I still managed to spend more money on things that will be great to supplement our plans for the year.

I had decided that we were going to stop doing formal grammar and spelling. Katie did not like doing it last year. But I think she didn't like it because it was too easy. She's about to enter her fourth year of Latin - so she has a really good grasp of grammar. And she scored 13+ on almost all of her Language Arts sections of the IOWA standardized tests. But...what I did find was Daily Grams which is published by Easy Grammar. Each lesson is six questions - covering capitalization, punctuation, sentence combining, and grammar/other concepts (like synomyms, dictionary skills, analogies, spelling, etc) - and I think we'll use these a few times a week - just to keep her fresh.

My other plan for the expo was to try and find a geography program. We have not used one before because our history curriculum has a lot of focus on mapwork. But I wanted to find something that would discuss where modern political lines are drawn - as well as have some cultural geography. Most of the books I found were solely map related. Meaning, they focused on map keys and learning how to read those. So...I decided that I would create my own plan. I found an Usborne World Geography book that has everything from political maps to topographical maps; cultures of different areas; ecosystems and more.

I thought we would use that as our base...and let Katie start with a continent. She can pick which countries we study - and we can learn the capital and flag, government, culture and some history...and then supplement all that with books from the library. I also found an Usborne book on world religions - that we'll use as we encounter different cultures. And look at my picture. I even got an art book. Shocking, I know! We'll see how we can combine all these books - plus a big wall map - so that we can put the historical contries that we've studied into the bigger - and more modern - picture.

I also got some minute mysteries to go with our logic curriculum. Both of my girls love riddles. Like: If a plane crashes on the US/Mexico border - in which country would they bury the survivors? or Mary's mother had four daughters. They are named North, East, South - and what is the name of the fourth daughter? are in a room. There is one window on each of the four walls. Each window has a Southern exposure. What color is the bear that just walked by? Does anyone know of a book with riddles like these?

What else did I find? I got Katie a nature log that she can use with our biology program.

I discovered these cool card games:

They cover lots of the topics we are going to learn about this year (and a few for next year) - but the cards are divided into levels - so I think that even Madalyn will be able to play with us.

I love Janice VanCleave books. We usually use her experiment books to supplement our science programs. And since I already have an engineer in the house - encouraging another one should be fun.

And then I found a few more books that just looked fun. How is it that I have never read Beowulf...but I know the story? Maybe this book is more for me.Hey! Wake up! The post is over. Yes. You! Cover your mouth when you yawn. Rub the sleep out of your eyes. There's a little drool on your chin. No...other side. Leave a comment on your way out.

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Contest Entries are closed

The contest is full! We have 16 entries - and yes, Teri you can play. Apparently I am susceptible to the power of the whine. I am so glad that you all decided to participate so that I didn't have to party by myself. Like I am going to do on Tuesday when I have my Pampered Chef party. And explain to the consultant that I am a loser and have no friends. Anyone want any Pampered Chef stuff?

I digress. Tomorrow I will have a list of all the entries posted along with a poll on the sidebar. Come back and vote and we'll declare a winner on Friday.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Contest, give away, and bling...oh my!

It all started with this:

It was not an award that I received. Of course not. But it was one that Rhea got. And it made me laugh. Cause my blog is so the antithesis of that. I suppose it has purpose for me. In that this keeps me sane. And gives me adult connections. But what I write about? Not so much.

So...on the post where Rhea thanks the academy for her prestigious award...I commented that I needed an award for having purposeless random drivel - and that I am the queen of that. So...what did my friend Rhea do? She made an award for me.And even had an entire post on her blog awarding me with this amazing bling. (And here we can note my procrastination genius - because she did this like a month ago...and it's taken me this long to figure out what to do about it.) celebrate my coronation as queen - we have celebrated Rhea week. AND I think that we need a contest. WITH prizes. Fantabulous prizes.

To enter...please submit your favorite "random drivel" post that you have done on your own blog. All entries (or the first 15. Do 15 people even read this blog?) must be submitted by Sunday afternoon...and then will be posted on Monday...with a poll to decide the winner.

And whad'ya win? A bunch of fantabulous prizes. Fantabulous yet random prizes.

What is in that picture? It's like Oprah's favorite things. Except that I am not connected enough to have one for each and every one of my readers.'s lots of random stuff that I have blogged about. There are some jibetts for your crocs. Bath and Body Works hand soap in my favorite grapefruit scent. Bath and Body works iced tea lotion. A Brighton bracelet.Sharpie Highlighters. Two well loved book slobbed smutty books. Including one too hot for Borders.Some glitter. From when I had a delusional moment and thought I was crafty. A cook book. A copy of Bookmarks magazine - the one subscription that I receive. Fabulous scrapbooking supplies - including an album that was never for sale, adhesive, paper, and a scalloped corner rounder. I'll also throw in other decorative stuff personalized for the winner.

What else is in that picture? Oh...there's a webkinz.Because my kids thought I should include one. And that everyone needs one. Use it for bribery for your kids. Or your students. Or your cousins. Or keep it for yourself. And that big purple box? It's a brand new Cranium game. Fun and trivial for the whole family.

And there is a gift card to Target. And another for Office Depot.

As Jeff Probst says: "Worth playing for?" Well...send in your submissions...and grab this bling (another thanks to Rhea) for you!

And while you are ruminating about which of your posts would be perfect for this contest...scroll down to play our Friday Follies game...

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Friday Follies

Here we go with our weekly session. Just let it all out.

Talker or listener?

How many miles are on your car?

Tell me about your profile picture.

Guess what? You just won the lottery. Annual payment or lump sum?

Ever been told you look like someone famous?

Lights on or off?

What color looks best on you?

What kind of pizza do you usually order?

Is there a food you despise?

If you could live anywhere in the world for a year - where would you go?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Which Smutty Book should I pick now?

As we wind down our week of tributes to Rhea of Word Tangle...let's chat about something that Rhea and I have in common. Our love of smutty books. So, here is another post dedicated to her. And today, have to share the dedication. Because today's post is also dedicated to my Aunt Elizabeth. Who sent this in an email to my mom:

A very good friend of mine here in town was looking for a good book list so I directed her to Trina's blog...and then Trina decides to share her smutty side!

Oh, do I ever have a smutty side. As I noted in this post:

It’s painfully obvious that I love to read. I read all the time. I like just about everything. But, I must admit that I am addicted to smutty books. And not your momma’s romance novels…not the Sweet Valley High of your tween years…not the bodice rippers of the 80’s…but the “modern” romance novel. The ones with an edge. The ones that you need to read with a fan and a big glass of cold water. Ice water. The ones that you read and then later your husband might be heard to say “what the hell got into you? How did you learn to do that? And when can we do it again?”

Did you know that when you list your interests on your profile…you can click on those terms and see other people with similar interests? Apparently, I am the only one on blogger that admits to liking smutty books. There are 8 of us with an affinity for trashy books. But…if you were to put sex as one of your interests…you know just for scientific research purposes… there are over 18,000 people who say that is one of their interests. Just sayin’.

And that is what this post is about. Sort of. IF you are here looking for other kinds of books - you can check out my 888 list on the left side bar. You can read this post about books that influenced me the most. Or this one about how to discuss books with your child (and please note that the author commented on my post!). There is also this one about Young Adult books.

My first romance book was "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. It was recommended by a friend at my book club. I didn't know it was a romance...and actually the book store where I purchased it, had it in the fiction section. It is a great book - historical fiction with a little time travel thrown in - over 800 pages - riveting story - and a tall red-headed Scotsman. So...when I finished it, I had to find the sequel (there are now 6 books in the story with 2 more to come). Now, I looked at a different bookstore for the sequel, and I could not find it on the shelves. When I went to ask about it...they sent me to the Romance section. What?! I dont' read romance! All I could think of was Barbara Cartland bodice rippers. Well...let me tell you, Romance has come a long way since the '80's.

So, if you'd like to dip your toes in the River Smut...may I suggest these authors:

1. The entire "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon.

2. Anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - but especially her series about the Chicago Stars Football team - the first book in that series is "It Had to be You." Through this author, I discovered that I needed a comic touch to go hand in hand with my romance.

3. Erin McCarthy. She has a Vegas Vampire series - first one is "High Stakes;" other favorites: "Heiress for Hire," "Pregnancy Test," and "Houston, We have a Problem." She also writes young adult books under the name Erin Lynn

4. Julia Quinn's books were my first foray into Regency Romance novels. She has such a fun style - and I would suggest starting with her Bridgerton series (there's 8 of them) - "The Duke and I." (I even got my mom hooked on this series - even though she swears all Romance is drivel.)

5. Julie Garwood. I'm not a fan of her contemporary stories - but her Medieval Scotland books are great: "The Bride," "The Prize," and "Saving Grace" are favorites.

6. Lisa Kleypas is probably one of the best writers in this genre. The first books of hers that I read were the Wallflower series (start with "Secrets of a Summer Night") - but a very hot one is "Dreaming of You."

7. Jacki D'alessandro is an author that is often hit or miss for me. But, you must read "Red Roses mean Love." It is a laugh out loud romp full of crazy secondary characters, a free spirited heroine and an obtuse, yet endearing hero.

8. Rachel Gibson has really fun and quirky characters - snappy dialogue - and of course great steamy romance. I really like the series she just completed about four writer friends - start with "Sex, Lies, and Online Dating."

9. Susan Donovan is another author that makes me laugh. Her books are smart, sexy, and sizzling. Suggestions: "He loves Lucy," "Take a Chance on Me," and "Knock Me off my Feet."

10. JR Ward is a more recent find. It's difficult to categorize her work. Is it urban fantasy or romance? Maybe a little of both. Her series is about vampires - but don't let that dissuade you. I *love* the mythology she has in place for her series. That vamps and humans are different species. You cannot be converted to a vampire with a bite. Vampires eat real food, not just blood. There are rich vampires. Civilian vampires. And warriors. The warriors are the heroes of her books. And delectable they are. The series starts with "Dark Lover" and Ward has just released the 6th - "Lover Enshrined." My favorite is the third in the series "Lover Awakened."

11. Suzanne Enoch is another Regency author that I love with her fast paced stories and strong wit. My favorite book of hers is the third in the "Lessons in Love" series (The Rake, London's perfect scoundrel, and England's perfect Hero.) She also has a great contemporary romantic suspense series centering around a cat burglar as the heroine - "Flirting with Danger" is the first.

12. Jennifer Cruise - I haven't liked some of her more recent titles - but you must read "Welcome to Temptation" which is hilarious - and "Bet Me" which is one of my top five romance books ever.

13. Maya Banks is the queen of the menage. And plot is overrated. Check out: "Colters' Woman" (Rhea...this one is on it's way to you), "Overheard," "Brazen," and "For her Pleasure."

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Wordless Wednesday: Mysteries Revealed

It appears that there were not too many mysteries. Rhea - finding pictures to make mystery pictures is hard work! But...from the comments...I can see playing again.

Without further ado:

1. Beach crab. Home: St. George Island. I have quite a few other pictures of this guy. Or gal? But my computer is dealing with a virus. I'm trying to find the antidote. And by "I'm" I mean Michael.

2. Yes, it's one of the infamous seagull visitors from St. George. 3. Tomato. Because I was getting desperate to figure out what might make a good mystery photo. This one was evidently not much of a mystery. 4. Sand dollar. I should have used one of my pictures of a live sand dollar from our snorkel trip. But, alas, those are on the laptop. And under quarrantine.
5. My laptop keyboard. And the crumbs? Who put those there? Obviously I am a computer slob as well as a book slob...

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