Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How To Be A Mean Mother

I was given this poem years ago. I just pulled it out of the drawer to share with you and wonder what your thoughts are. It doesn't have an author on the page, so I don't know who to credit.

A mean mother never allows
candy or sweets
to take the place of a well-balanced meal.
A mean mother insists on knowing where
her children are at all times.
Who their friends are and what they do.
A mean mother breaks the
Child Labor Laws by
making her children work - washing dishes,
making beds learning to cook and doing
other cruel and unpleasant chores.
A mean mother makes life miserable for
her offspring by insisting that they
always tell the truth.
A mean mother produces teenagers who
are wiser and more sensible.
A mean mother can smile with secret
delight and
pride when she hears her own
grandchildren call their parents mean.
What the world needs now are more
mean mothers and fathers.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Boost Your Buzz $1,000 Giveaway is Here!

Survey Junkie

 Enter the Boost Your Buzz $1,000 Giveaway! One lucky person is going to win $1000 USD paid via Paypal!

Gain entries in this giveaway by following Tidbits From A Mom Google Friend Connect!

The giveaway starts April 1st 12 am EST until April 15th 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. $1,000 CASH prize will be delivered via paypal as soon as the winner’s entry has been verified.

Boost Your Buzz can be entered on Survey Junkie, Simply Stacie or Little Yaya’s (you only have to enter on one of the sites as the forms will be the same on each).

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Big Event Fundraising

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I have been working within school settings for approximately fifteen years. I have observed how hard schools, including both the elementary school I work in as well as my daughter's school, must plan and participate in fundraising activities and events in order to raise money. Particularly in this economy and the fact that school budgets are constantly being cut, schools rely on fundraising to purchase materials, playground equipment, and to pay for field trips and special guest assemblies.

Each year, I watch the eyes of both my daughter and my students light up when they learn not only what they are going to be selling, but particularly about what they are going to be earning if they sell a set amount of items. After my daughter's first fundraiser assembly this Fall, she came home ecstatic that she could potentially earn a money pillow. I asked her to describe this money pillow. She relayed with such excitement that this pillow looked like money and "Wouldn't that be so cool Mommy?" She simply needed to sell magazine subscriptions to several people (which is not exactly easy to do!) I said, "Of course, honey" and helped her sell the subscriptions by hitting up family members. What did she come home with?? A cheap, little pillow that was as big as my palm! I think parents often roll their eyes when it is fundraising time at their child's school because the prizes can often be cheap.

As both a school employee and a parent, I found it so interesting to learn about Big Event Fundraising. Big Event Fundraising is a group that helps you plan your fundraiser. They have clever prize programs, including specifically the Magic Show Prize Program, where students are rewarded with a magic show after they have sold products from their brochure. Students gain free admission to the show after selling just five items. As they sell more items, they receive more perks!

I thought this was so clever and what a great way to reward students for selling! I was also impressed to learn that it is not just a magic show - there are a number of different themes that your school can choose from, including the following:

  • "Character Counts" - character education
  • "Fantastic Friends" - anti-bullying
  • "I Love to Read" - encouraging reading
  • "Internet Safety" - how to be safe on the internet
  • "Just Say No!" - drug & alcohol awareness
  • "Magic of Recycling" - recycling education
  • "State Test Magic Pep Talk" - talks about test taking skills
  • "Yes I Can" - goal-setting

Not only are the students receiving the joy of watching a magic show, but they are learning as well! As a guidance counselor, I have to say I LOVE these themes. I bend over backwards all year to teach my students about the majority of these topics and I think it is wonderful that students have the opportunity to earn this type of reward. I would love it if my daughter's school had this kind of fundraising program and I certainly believe both she and I would be much more motivated to sell products!

Big Event fundraising also has numerous other exciting prize programs that you should definitely check out for your school!

*Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time writing this post. The opinions expressed here are completely my own.

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Guest Post - Caring For Your Cat - The Best Way to Manage Your Household Predator

Cats have been an important part of human society for millennia. Until recently, most archeologists believed that cats were first domesticated by the ancient Egyptians approximately 4,000 years ago. However, some recent archeological finds indicate that cats may have been companions for humans for 10,000 years or more; cat remains have been found buried alongside human bones in Neolithic ruins at Shillourokambos that date back at least 9,500 years. This may indicate that even in the first agricultural settlements, cats served as guardians for grain and other food stores and gradually became domesticated as a result. According to this theory, small rodents were naturally attracted to the grain storage sites in farming villages. Wild cats were in turn drawn to the settlements by the abundant prey found there, and over time, they became accustomed to the presence of humans and began to share their shelters and food.

Domestic cats are thought to have descended from five different genetic lines of wildcats from various areas in Asia, Africa and Europe. Scientists believe that all cats share a common ancestor, Felis silvestris, which most likely originated in the Fertile Crescent region of Egypt and spread from that area. They then developed into the following:

  • European and Sardinian wildcats in the north
  • Central Asian and Chinese desert wildcats in the east
  • Sub-Saharan African wildcat in the south

This widely diverse ancestry accounts in part for the many different types of cats in the world today; human intervention and breeding practices have also influenced the development of the various domestic cat breeds.

Today, cats are beloved companions and pets for people throughout the world. Modern life has created some new problems for cats, however. In the wild, cats have access to a far more varied diet including small prey, native plants and other substances, some of which can prove harmful or fatal. Domesticated housecats lead longer, healthier lives on average when they are kept indoors. However, this can lead to boredom and undesirable behaviors. Cat treats can be used to reward good behavior and help keep cats engaged with the humans in the household. Additionally, some better-quality treats can help eliminate the problem of cat bad breath; products like Whiskas Temptations Treats combine a hard, crunchy outer layer with a softer inner layer, helping control tartar that can cause cat bad breath while satisfying carnivore urges. The Temptations Treats line also includes a cat hairball remedy variety that can reduce or eliminate these hazards to feline health.

Regular veterinary checkups, plenty of exercise and a healthful diet are also keys to the health and well-being of domestic cats. Owners should spend time with their cats every day; this bonding time can include sharing cat treats, snuggling, or playing with cat toys together. By rewarding desirable behavior and making healthy choices, owners can ensure that they have many happy years with their beloved cats.

Jessica writes about a wide variety of topics.  She especially enjoys writing about cats. You can learn more about Cat treats at www.temptationstreats.com
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Avery Office Products Review


I have two offices, one for my full-time position and one for my home jewelry business and my blog. With so much going on in my life, it is imperative that I remain organized. I have so many students on my caseload in my full-time position as a school counselor, which means a lot of paper and files, files, and more files.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been reviewing office products from Avery. I have been using them both at work and at home. In addition to an adorable tote bag, Avery sent me a generous array of products to try, including the following:

  • Removable Label Pads
  • Index Maker Clear Label Dividers
  • Easy Peel Clear Address Labels
  • Notetabs
  • Shipping Labels with Trueblock Technology
  • File Folder Labels with Trueblock Technology
I have been using the same file folders for years. I recycle them year after year for students. The labels that I use are somewhat see-through and you can see the name of the previous student underneath. Not very professional I admit. I replaced all of the labels with the File Folder Labels with Trueblock Technology and it is a much cleaner, more professional look. Now I do not have to hide the folder if I am in a meeting with a parent for fear of them seeing the name underneath their child's name. The Trueblock Technology is wonderful. The labels are bright white and professional, allowing you to either print or handwrite on them.

I am a huge fan of the Removable Label Pads! I need to have my office packed by April vacation because our school is being renovated. My office will be in another part of the building next year. I am packing boxes, but I have to admit I have been a little worried that my stuff is going to be misplaced. When I received the Label Pads, I wrote my last name and GUIDANCE on the labels and have placed them on every box and piece of furniture. They are bright - you can't miss them! This has put my anxiety at ease a bit because I know that they will be seen!

At home, I have been feeling the need to create a master binder that contains necessary documents and materials for both my jewelry business and my review and giveaway blog. I used the Index Maker Clear Label Dividers. I attempted to place the Easy Apply Label Strips in the printer to print the labels, but I simply could not get my school network printer to print them on correctly. I am not techno-savvy and it showed here. I did write on the labels and that worked just fine.

I was able to print addresses on the address labels from my printer at home. I used some of these for my son's birthday invitations. So nice! Easy to apply and they stuck right on with no problem.

Avery definitely has quality products and I look forward to using their products with my businesses in the future.  Thank you very much to Avery for allowing me the opportunity to review their products. 

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hatley Pajama Set Review & Giveaway!

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Hatley is a family-run business that has been providing clothing to people for over twenty years. Personally, I love their story and I love how they state that they help people get “clothes to nature” – so cute! Hatley apparel has adorable designs with really clever “play on words” sayings.  This t-shirt says, "Bearly Awake", which would be perfect for me!
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I was so impressed by the sheer amount of variety of clothing that Hatley offers, including colorful styles for the whole family! They sell sleepwear, daywear, and even items for your kitchen.  I especially loved the Hatley women’s fitted t-shirts, Hatley mugs, Hatley boys’ pajama’s.



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Hatley is environmentally friendly.  I have really been trying to do my part and purchase from businesses that are making an effort. Hatley is certainly doing their part.  As their website states:

"Our green policy is less about any one thing and more about making thoughtful decisions every day. Our practices include:
  • We use only azo-free dyes in our apparel.
  • We only use non-chlorinated bleach.
  • We have a company goal to use natural fibers as much as possible.
  • Our catalogues are printed on paper that comes from FSC managed forests.
  • When possible, our paper products are printed on FSC certified recycled paper.
  • All of our products are PVC free."
I was able to review a pair of Hatley's boys' pajama sets for my son, specifically the PJ Rex Glow in the Dark pajamas. In addition to being cute, they are just simply cool. After my son saw that he was glowing, he was mesmerized. He keeps checking his chest, even in the morning, to see if he is glowing. The pajamas are made with soft, high quality 100% cotton fabric. He was comfortable, providing the perfect fit.

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Thank you very much to Hatley for providing me the opportunity to review one of their products.

Hatley has very generously offered to give one free pair of pajamas to one of my readers! Here are the details of the giveaway!

Buy It: You may purchase any Hatley products here.

Win It: One winner will receive a free pajama set. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please follow Hatley on Facebook.  Please leave a comment with your first name and last initial.

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Hatley on Twitter (1 entry)
2. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Grab my button and let me know where you placed it (3 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)

This giveaway ends on April 17, 2011 at 12:00am EST.  *Giveaway is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada only.  The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I was provided with a free product for the purposes of reviewing. 

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nerve: Book Review & Giveaway!

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I am very open about the fact that I have struggled with anxiety all my life. I have never known a time when I wasn’t worrying about something. At times, it’s been motivating (which is obviously a good thing), while there have been other times in my life when it’s held me back a great deal from doing things I want to do.

I just finished reading Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool by Taylor Clark. Clark’s book discusses fear, anxiety, and stress, which I had always used synonymously, but learned that they are very different. Clark uses examples in our history to illustrate when people have maintained calm under the most extreme pressure as well as other times when people have choked or frozen. I have always wondered why some people are able to perform the most amazing feats or work under the most incredibly stressful conditions. Clark also wondered this, which lead him to write this book. Nerve discusses the physiological process of fear and uses the research that has been conducted to explain how our brains interpret messages and then send signals to a person’s body which initiate the feeling of fear.

As I said, I do experience anxiety constantly for different reasons. This book was wonderful for me to read. It explains fear, anxiety, and stress in understandable terms, instead of jargon. I love the fact that Clark discusses major historical events to support his points. They instantly gripped me and captivated my attention. I was drawn to keep reading because I have been trying to understand my anxiety for years and Nerve was presenting the information on a silver platter for me!

Thank you very much to the Hachette Book Group for allowing me the opportunity to read Nerve. The Hachette Book Group has also generously offered to giveaway THREE copies of Nerve to my readers!

Here are the details of the giveaway:

Win It: Three winners will each receive one copy of Nerve. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please share something that you are afraid of (it can be something silly!)

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Grab my button and let me know where you placed it (3 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)

This giveaway ends on  April 9, 2011 at 12:00 am EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.  This contest is only open to residentts in U.S. and Canada.  No P.O. Box addresses please.  Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I received a free copy of this book for the purposes of review. 
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Stanley Moves In

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Having a daughter typically involves watching movies and reading books about fairies.  My daughter is no exception to this.  It seems that most of the stories we read have female main characters.  We recently had the opportunity to read about a male fairy in “Stanley Moves In” by Jack Rosse, the pen name for Bill Kirton.  Stanley is a grumpy fairy who lives in a couple’s bathroom sink in Scotland.  The story is about how Stanley is discovered and how he comes about living in this couple’s bathroom sink. 
We loved the fact that this story is so different from the other fairy stories we have read.  Stanley is grumpy and although he has attitude and is self-centered, he is a very likeable character.  The illustrations, by Melanie Chadwick, are silly and adorable!  We especially loved the picture of Stanley hanging out and relaxing by the sink.  It’s not what you typically imagine a fairy to do and this makes Stanley more memorable!  My daughter is a beautiful reader and she was proud to be able to read this book to me.  Needless to say, she and I are waiting in anticipation for more stories about Stanley!

About the Author:



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In my opinion, Bill Kirton has quite an impressive resume.  Born in England and spending most of his life in Scotland, he has certainly been very busy.  Bill Kirton has written novels, short stories, stage plays, children’s stories, as well as books that help university students in writing their theses and dissertations. In addition, Bill has been a university lecturer, television director, actor, and television presenter. 
If you would like to read more about Bill Kirton and/or follow his blog, here are a couple main links for you:

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Tuesday Hops!

BWS tips button

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Monday, March 21, 2011

30 Children's Books That Help Teach Respect

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about my frustration with the fact that some students simply appear to lack respect - to their peers, adults, and even themselves. I know that many parents say, "What else can I do? I'm doing everything I can!" I love using books in order to prove a point, so I compiled a list of books that could be used with elementary age children when talking about respect. These are only some of the books I found, there just a ton that could be listed here. I hope you are able to find some that you can use!

Show Some Respect - Anastasia Suen
Arthur's Eyes - M. Brown
Arthur's Nose - M. Brown
Grouchy Ladybug - E. Carle
Oliver Button is a Sissy - T. dePaola
The Sneetches - Dr. Seuss
The Patchwork Quilt - Valerie Flourney
Charlie the Caterpillar - Dom DeLuise
Miss Spider's Tea Party - David Kirk
The Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma's - Stan and Jan Berenstain
Flightless Goose - Eric D. Goodman
Little Wood Duck - Brian Widsmith
Through Grandpa's Eyes - Patricia MacLachlan
Wednesday Surprise - Even Bunting
Chester's Way - Kevin Henkes
Frederick - Leo Lionni
How to Lose All Your Friends - Nancy Carlson
Loudmouth George and the New Neighbors - Nancy Carlson
Be Nice to Spiders - Margaret Graham
Big Bad Bruce - Bill Peet
Grandpa is Everything Black Bad? - Sandy Holman
Old Henry - Joan Blos
Chicken Sunday - Patricia Polacco
ABC I Like Me - Nancy Carlson
Why Am I Different - Norma Simon
I Wish I Were A Butterfly - James Howe
Respect and Take Care of Things - Cheri Meiners
Treat Me Right!: Kids Talk About Respect - Nancy Loewen
Ryan Respects (The Way I Act Books) - Virginia Kroll
I Don't Care!: Learning About Respect - Brian Moses

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Monday Hops!

The Things We Find Inside

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Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness Blog Hop Giveaway #3 - 16 Free Thank You Notes from Pear Tree Greetings

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It is approximately halfway through March already and Spring is almost here!  Before you know, high school seniors will be making their graduation plans.  Included in the preparation for graduation is the need for announcements, thank you notes, and address labels.  Pear Tree Greetings has products that are adorable, fun, classy, whatever you are searching for!  They have photo graduation announcements that are simply stunning!  Here is my favorite:





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If you are a parent that needs help with planning and ideas, check out the Pear Tree Greetings Blog for graduation ideas.

Be sure to check out Pear Tree Greetings Promo Code Page for discounts on graduation invitations as well as Baby Invitations and Kids' Cards!

Pear Tree Greetings has offered one of my readers 16 Free Thank You Notes!  I am a huge proponent of thank you notes, as I've mentioned on this blog before.  I think people still appreciate receiving a well written, meaningful thank you note. 

Now here are the details for the giveaway!

Buy It: You may purchase Pear Tree Greetings products here.

Win It: One winner will receive 16 Free Thank You Notes from Pear Tree Greetings. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please visit Pear Tree Greetings and then come back here and tell me what thank you note design you would like if you win.

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Grab my button and let me know where you placed it (3 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)

This giveaway ends on March 20, 2011 at 12:00 am EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I was provided with sample thank you notes for the purposes of reviewing. 

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March Madness Blog Hop Giveaway #2 - Swarovski Crystal Channel Necklace

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This necklace is so beautiful!  It is made completely of genuine Swarovski Crystal channel pieces.  It is approximately 36 inches in length and looks wonderful doubled up as shown in the photo.  This necklace has an approximate value of $50.00!

Here are the details for the giveaway!

Buy It: You may purchase Dearheart Designs jewelry products here.

Win It: One winner will receive a Swarovski Crystal Channel Necklace. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please visit Dearheart Designs and then come back here and tell me what other piece of jewelry you would like own.

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Grab my button and let me know where you placed it (3 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)

This giveaway ends on March 20, 2011 at 12:00 am EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own. 
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March Madness Blog Hop Giveaway #1 - Golden Glass Tile Pendant Necklace from Dearheart Designs

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This Golden Glass Tile Pendant Necklace was handmade by yours truly! It is only one of the new glass tile pendants that I will be featuring on my jewelry website, Dearheart Designs. It is a glass tile pendant with a silver plated bail and chain. As you can see, the image has beautiful shades of gold and orange. Perfect for the warmer weather approaching!

I would love to give one of these necklaces to one of my readers!

Here are the details for the giveaway!

Buy It: You may purchase this pendant and other Dearheart Designs jewelry products here.

Win It: One winner will receive a Golden Glass Tile Pendant Necklace. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please visit Dearheart Designs and then come back here and tell me what other piece of jewelry you would like own.

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Grab my button and let me know where you placed it (3 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)

This giveaway ends on March 20, 2011 at 12:00 am EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  This piece of jewelry was handmade by me.
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March Madness Giveaway Blog Hop Is Here!! March 15th - March 20th

March Madness Giveaway Hop



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Saturday, March 12, 2011

AMF $20 Off 4 People Bowling Coupon

Like bowling?  Here’s a coupon for $20 off of 4 people bowling to AMF Bowling Centers!


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Review: Psychic Reading with Cynthia Ann

I posted a while back about my experience with psychics in the past.  I’m not sure whether you are a believer of psychics but I have always tried to keep an open mind.  I recently had a reading with psychic Cynthia Ann.  I have to admit – I was a little nervous about what Cynthia Ann was going to say to me.  I’m not sure why.  I wasn’t sure whether I was going to hear something that was going to upset me, even though I know they don’t tend to pass on scary information. 
Cynthia Ann was so easy to talk to.  She was sweet and had a very calming nature.  She spoke to me about the cards she was reading.  Some of the things she shared made sense to me and others did not.  This may have been because I just haven’t made the connection to them yet.  She did share that the new activity that I’ve started recently will be very successful, which I could only attribute to my new jewelry for my jewelry business.  This was exciting news! 
I had never done a reading over the phone before.  I wish that I could have done one face-to-face.  I wanted to see the cards and experience it in person.  I also struggled with the fact that my kids were home and I was trying to keep them entertained and listen at the same time.  They were home because it was a snow day.  Overall, they were very well behaved while I was trying to talk to Cynthia Ann.
Thank you very much to Cynthia Ann for taking the time to provide me with a reading.  I enjoyed speaking to her. 

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Friday, March 11, 2011

My husband was supposed to be in Tokyo today....

I can't tell you how deep of a breath I took this morning when I heard the news.  Looking at the pictures made my heart pound.  I stopped breathing, imagining my husband there on business.  He was supposed to hop on a plane two days ago because his work was having an emergency.  Someone else offered to go in his place because my daughter's first gymnastics competition is this weekend.  I've always worried about him traveling, but I've been concerned about the air travel.  I'd never considered earthquakes and tsunamis.  Now I have new anxiety....He is supposed to leave for Taiwan on Monday.  I'm not sure yet he's going to be going because he is supposed to connect through the Tokyo airport.  In addition, my in-laws are in Hawaii.  Thankfully, they were sent to higher ground pretty early.   I know these events don't happen often, but I'm still going to worry.  Those poor people and their families...
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