Friday, December 30, 2011

Bissell Cleanview Helix Review

I bought this vacuum to replace a Eureka upright that I had for more than 10 years. I hated to let that thing go because it never lost suction. But the cost of giving it a tune up became more than it was worth. So I stiffened my upper lip and bought a new vacuum. Let me be upfront and say that I don't trust the new vacuums on the market. They are either grossly overpriced or they turn to crap in a matter of months. Most people seem to simply tolerate them not working as well until they can stomach the idea of replacing the vacuum again. In all fairness the problem is that people don't take the time to maintain their vacuums. Vacuums have to be cleaned and tuned up just like everything else in this world that has a motor. 

When I went shopping I was looking at prices more than anything else. I was pretty much convinced that the quality of the newer vacuums isn't as great as it used to be. I found the Bissell Cleanview Helix for $78 at Target. It was normally about $150. It is a "bagless system" with more filters. It has a filter at the top of the vacuum where the attachment hose is linked. It has a filter in the main canister where the waste comes in. It has another filter under the main canister above the motor and one that cannot be washed outside the machine in the side. This is both a benefit and a flaw. 

I like being able to wash the filters. If I do so regularly and properly, the filters will last 12 months. That's a benefit because of convenience and the price. The flaw of the filters is that you have to wait until they are dry before you can use them again. It takes a very long time for the filters to dry. It took my filters a full 24 hours to dry. If you know anything about children and real Christmas trees, you know that in 24 hours you may not be able to see your carpeting by the time the filters dry. 

After about one month of using the vacuum, I found it was already losing suction. I was beyond irritated with this fact. I cleaned the brushes and the filters. I lived with the poor suction because I no longer had the receipt or the box. Then, this Christmas I found the vacuum spitting out the pine needles I just picked up back onto the carpet. I did what most of us never do, I read the owners manual. There I found that There is a tube that runs from under the hose tool to under the machine. It leads to the same opening that serves the brushes. I was told to use a broom handle to push the clog through. There was such a large clog in this hose I had to pull it it out with my hands first before the broomstick could work. I had two months worth of lint, hair, and pine needles in a large pile on my floor. Lesson learned, check for clogs regularly. The suction of the vacuum returned immediately. I was pleased. 

The vacuum is smaller than the Bissell carpet cleaners so it does make it easy on me to use as a short housewife. If you are taller than 5'7" you may have a back issue. It is very lightweight. It almost propels itself. There is a very bright light on the front which would be more useful if the vacuum laid flatter to reach under the bed or the coffee table with ease. It has an edge suction feature that leaves something to be desired. You know how you run the vacuum along the edge of the wall and it sucks up the debris by the base boards? It doesn't do that too well. I was spoiled with my Eureka. The cord is positioned on the right side of the unit. This makes for a great look but not for convenient use. I am right handed so the cord is always in my way. But there is a spot on the back where the cord should have been to secure the excess cord so it won't drag on the floor. 

Despite my irritations with the cord and the edge cleaner, I would recommend this vacuum to anyone looking to use a bagless vacuum.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How To Beat Housewife Fatigue

Being a housewife is not all soap operas and bonbons. This job takes patience, concentration, and organization. It's easy to become overwhelmed or fatigued. Your family comes home and messes up what you just cleaned. Or they forget that you like to go out and take a break from time to time. Here are some tips to keep from burning out. 

One Room Rule

Only commit to cleaning one room a day. Everything else should be maintenance. So on Monday's I clean the kitchen from top to bottom. The rest of the day is the usual vaccuming, bathroom sink touch up, coffee table rangling and baby toy round up. That leaves plenty of time for me to do other things, preferably outside of the house. 


The easiest way to tackle your work load is to delegate it to others. You don't need a chore wheel. You just need people to do what you say. If I tell my husband to take the trash out when it's full, it will never be taken out. He will simply shove the trash down further and further despite the smell, and tell me there's still room. Instead, I pull a Peggy Hill from King of the Hill. I hand him the smelly bag of trash and he takes it out. With my son, I take all of the toys off of the floor in his room and put them in a trash bag. I then set that bag at his bedroom door. I tell him, "These are the toys that are going to the trash if you don't put them away withing the next hour." It's amazing how fast his room gets clean. 

Time Limits

Sometimes it's hard not to feel pressured to clean the whole house all in one swoop. If you can't fight the urge to behave like the Tazmanian Devil, set a time limit to it. Set a timer for 1 hour. Then, like a hurricane, clean as much as you can in the house. Start with the most important things like the dishes or the toilets. This will train you to clean quickly and to start with what's important. This leaves the entire day. If you find that your house is messy again by the end of the day, give yourself another 1 hour time limit and go for it. When the timer dings, stop. No exceptions.

Schedule It

I actually have my housework on a schedule. For example. Tomorrow, I have a meeting from 9:30 am to 12:30pm. So from  7:15am to 7:30am I will be in the kitchen cleaning up that morning's dishes. From 1:30pm to 2:30pm is my hurricane hour. I will be vaccuming, straightening up the living room and putting away the laundry. I keep to this schedule. I still feel busy but not overwhelmed. 

Skip It

Yes, being a housewife is a job. Especially if your spouse is out working for pay. You have a responsibility to keep the other half of your lives as worry free as your financial life is. But sometimes you just can't do it. Everyone is entitled to a vacation or sick day. My son goes on Thanksgiving vacation next week. I will be on vacation as well. That means, everyone will clean up after themselves. My husband however, will be working overtime so we made a compromise. I will take my vacation the week after Thanksgiving in exchange for working the week of Thanksgiving. This means my husband is taking over at home and giving me time to get my hair done, get some sleep, get my nails done, have some wine etc. In the end he is grateful since he benefits from my happiness. Husbands will do anything to keep you in the mood.  

Get Rid of It

Maybe you're overwhelmed with housework because you have too much to begin with. Just last week I realized I was ALWAYS doing dishes. There were always so many dishes. Then I realized something when I was reorganizing my cupboards. I had too many dishes. There are only 4 of us in the home. I have a complete set of dishes for a family of four. I didn't need the other three sets. The fact is, no one will wash out their dishes if there is another bowl in the cupboard. They will simply pile the dishes higher in the sink and keep grabbing new ones. But if there are no bowls after breakfast and lunch has come around, your family will actually have to wash out their dishes, thus making less work for you. Even if the chore falls on you, it's one set of dishes or pans to clean rather than four. The same goes for laundry. You don't need five little black dresses. You only need the one that makes your husband drool and your friends jealous. Get rid of clothes you never wear no matter how cute they are. You shouldn't have more than two complete towel sets per person in your home. You'll save time and money on laundry.

Friday, November 4, 2011

3 Reasons Why Bank Transfer Day Will Succeed and Fail


3 Reasons For Failure

1. The 99% are still paying their rent on the 3rd of the 5th of the month. That means that their rent checks will not clear until about Tuesday, November 8th.

2. The 99% are also typically overdrawn already when their social security, child support, and unemployment direct deposits come in. Bank of America does not allow you to close an overdrawn account. 

3. The 99% are frequently on Chexsystems due to non-payment of loans, financial hardship, or bad divorces. Chexsystems prevents account holders from switching banks. 

3 Reasons for Success

1. The 1% don't want to be at a bank that does not give them maximum concessions for minimal effort on their part.

2. The 1% are tired of being in line at the bank behind people complaining about their account fees. It reminds them that they have money when everyone around them is struggling to stay afloat. They want to distance themselves from the rest of us. 

3. The 1% are not emotionally attached to the major banks nor are they held hostage by Chexsystems. Part of the reason they are the 1% is they move their money regularly to the bank that pays them the most in returns. It's not an issue for them to switch banks. The 99% are tied due to direct deposit and auto pay.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dos and Don'ts of Donating

It's that time of year when people get rid of their old stuff to make room for the new stuff they probably don't need. As a frequent community volunteer nothing irritates me more than sorting through people's filthy junk to salvage something that can be sold or donated through the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. Here are some basic rules when it comes to donating. 


  • donate anything for which you wouldn't pay money
  • donate used lingerie or under garments
  • donate incomplete dish sets games or puzzles
  • donate dirty items
  • donate shoes if you have a history of athlete's foot

  • wash items before donating
  • repair minor rips or tears or missing buttons on clothing 
  • fold or bind outfits together so pieces aren't accidentally separated
  • donate new packages of undergarments
  • donate trendy clothes that are still in fashion

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What To Do With Pumpkin Guts

The Seeds

Toast 'em

Take dried seeds and roll over them with a rolling pin. Be sure that you are cracking the shells. Place them in a bowl of water. The shells will float and the seeds will sink. Let the seeds dry again for 3 to 4 hours then season as you like and toss in a frying pan with a touch of oil or toast them in the oven.

Wear 'em

Let the seeds dry for 6-8 hours. Then take a needle and thread and get creative with it. Your kids will love this one.

Bake 'em

Add the seeds to your pumpkin bread, muffin or granola recipe. You can also add them to a salad, although this requires no baking.

The Guts

First separate the seeds from the guts (the stringy part). Then puree it in a food processor until it is liquid smooth. You don't want any strings in your baking. Now you have the same stuff they sell in a can without all of the processing, cost, and preservatives. Use the puree in this recipe:

Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 Loaves

2 cups of fresh pumpkin guts
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Use your fingers or a beater to separate the pumpkin guts, making sure they’ll be able to mix well into the batter.
Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add eggs, water, oil and pumpkin. Stir until blended. Add nuts. Mix well. Pour into two 9×5″ loaf pans. Bake 1 hour. Cool slightly and take out of pans to let cool on a rack.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain: The Original Halloween

What is Samhain?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Samhain (pronounced sow-in) is a Gaelic harvest festival held on October 31–November 1. It was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and was popularized as the "Celtic New Year" from the late 19th century, following Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer. The date of Samhain was associated with the Catholic All Saints' Day (and later All Souls' Day) from at least the 8th century, and both the secular Gaelic and the Catholic liturgical festival have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween.
The medieval Goidelic festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.
Samhain is celebrated as a religious festival by some neopagans.

Samhain is one of the eight annual festivals, often referred to as 'Sabbats', observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility.

Samhain Incense Recipe

2 parts Cinnamon
1 part ground cloves
1 part Dragon’s Blood resin
1 part Hyssop
1 part Patchouli
2 parts Rosemary
1 part Sage
A dash of sea salt

If you don't have Hyssop use Mint or Thyme. Parts are whatever amount you want, oz, ml etc. Leave this mixture in almond oil and you will have the oil. If you don't have time to make the oil the long way here is another recipe. 

Samhain Oil Recipe

4 drops Pine Oil 
2 drops Frankincense oil 
2 drops Patchouli oil 
2 drops Lavendar oil 
Blend with 1 oz oilve oil or almond oil in a bottle. 

Burn it in your scented oil burner. 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

International Delight Cinnabon Creamer Review

I have never been a fan of Cinnabon. There isn't anything wrong with it. I simply am not a big sweets or pastries fan. I know, I am a very odd woman. Nevertheless, I am a fan of the smell. That cinnamon, that sugar and frosting. I can taste the smell. I love to walk into Cinnabon just to walk out with the smell pouring off of my hair and clothing. So when International Delight aired a commercial with two new flavors, Almond Joy and Cinnabon, I had to try it. The Almond Joy creamer is not one that I will review as the thought of coconut makes me wretch. 

The cost of the creamer was pretty typical of all of the International Delight creamers. Of course the size was smaller than those of the Coffeemate variety. But I enjoyed their Caramel Macchiato and White Mocha creamer a little too much. Surely this one is a pleaser. 

Unfortunately, it was not. It took a considerable amount of creamer to even taste the flavor of the creamer. Keep in mind that I am using Kirkland 100% Columbian coffee. It has the smell of Cinnabon but not the taste. So I poured more. It took twice as much creamer to taste the Cinnabon flavor. Depending on the size of your cup of coffee there are only about 4 servings of creamer in the bottle because of the weak flavor. 

I say, skip it. Buy a Cinnabon and eat it whilst drinking your coffee instead. Otherwise, you should have a weaker coffee like Folgers to pour it into. You won't need as much to taste the flavor.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nap Time Playlist

Here are a list of songs I play for my baby and kindergartener at nap time. They are guaranteed to fall asleep before the end of it. Maybe your kids will like it too.

1. Holding Back The Years - Simply Red

2. Music Box - Mariah Carey

3. Crazy For You - Madonna

4. No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley

5. Roni - Bobby Brown

6. I Will Love You Always - Bon Jovi

7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2

8. Ooh La La - Teen Marie

9. Fortunate - Maxwell

10. Oooh Baby Baby - Smokey Robinson

11. You Give Good Love - Whitney Houston

12. Sittin' Up In My Room - Brandy

13. 4 Page Letter - Aaliyah

14. To Make You Feel My Love - Adele

15. Ain't No Grave - Johnny Cash

16. In a Sentimental Mood - John Coltrane

17. The Greatest Man I Never Knew - Reba McEntire

18. Human Nature - Michael Jackson

19. Do you Love Me Still - Chaka Khan

20. Seven Seas - Babyface

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10 Reasons To Bitch Slap Your Mother-In-Law

If you're one of those peachy keen wives with a wonderful Disney relationship with your mother in law then this blog posting is not for you. This blog post is for all of my followers who have ever said to me, "I would have bitch slapped my mother in law but..." We all know you wanna do it. We all know you that you can't. But should you ever decide to cross that line, here are some justifiable reasons to do so. 

1. She has photos or memorabilia of your husband's ex posted near photos of your children in a prominent place in her home. There are no photos of you anywhere even though you have gifted her some. Bitch slap her, but use medium strength. It is her home afterall. 

2. She comes to your home for the holidays and throws out your main course to replace it with yours. Bitch slap her at full strength. She's messing with your food and your money at this point. 

3. She shows up late for your wedding improperly dressed and munching on snack. Bitch slap the shit out of her. Then turn around and say "I do."

4. She cuts your son's hair knowing full well it goes against your religion or culture. True the hair grows back but it's the principle. A full strength bitch slap is required to send the proper message.

5. She picks up your kids from school, thus abusing the emergency authorization list and causing you to file an unnecessary Amber Alert. Bitch slap her with everything you've got. 

6. She uses a key she made without your permission to enter your home (also without your permission), then criticizes your housekeeping. Or she criticizes you and your husband for being in the throws of passion when she goes "exploring" in your bedroom. Get dressed first then bitch slap her medium strength. Remember to take back your key. 

7. She looks at her new grandbaby and says, "Are you sure it's my son's?" Muster up whatever strength you have and bitch slap her until she thinks the baby is your husband's twin. 

8. When she meets your family she doesn't want anyone shaking her hand and loses the power of speech. Give her a light bitch slap. You don't want to embarrass your own mama.

9. She buys your husband and kids tickets to Disneyland but "forgets" to buy you one. Then she suggests your family take a family vacation without you. Give her a medium strength bitch slap, just enough to remind her that you're here. 

10. She has taken it upon herself to rename you because your name is too ethnic for her to learn to pronounce or spell. Bitch slap her twice, once for you, and once for your mama. 

I'd like to give a special thanks to my followers that submitted their mother in law horror stories to me. All of the situations listed are real. If they apply to you, you are justified in bitch slapping your mother in law.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Recipe: Barbeque Beef Sandwiches

Here is a quick and easy recipe that your family will love. It's something that a one year old or an adult can eat. It's better than the old classic Sloppy Joes. 

You will need:

Large hamburger buns
1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce (nothing spicy if your baby is eating)
1 large bell pepper
1 small yellow onion
1lb of stew meat or tri-tip
crock pot liner
crock pot

1. Chop the bell pepper and onion up into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller.

2. Place the liner bag into the crock pot and turn it on high for 4 hour cook time or low for 6 hours. Low and slow is always best with barbeque.

3. Add the meat and vegetables to the pot along with half of the bottle of bbq sauce. There should be enough sauce to cover and coat the meat. This is where the flavor is from. If you are feeding children, leave out the salt and pepper. It's not as healthy for them. 

4. When the meat is done it should be tender and should appear shredded already. If not, use a pasta spoon or spatula to remove the meat to a cutting board, leaving the liquid in the pot. Chop the meat up as finely as necessary and add to a large boss. Coat with the remaining sauce as desired. Spoon onto the buns and serve. 

5. Serve roasted corn, green beans, or baked beans as a side. No more Manwich for you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blockbuster vs Netflix Round 2

I was watching a television commercial from Blockbuster that boasted being better than Netflix. It stated that there were unlimited rentals through the mail. It stated that Blu-Ray and video games do not cost extra. It also stated that there were unlimited in-store exchanges. 

It was this in-store exchange that caught my ear. I don't like to wait for my mailers with Netflix. Truthfully, it only takes 1-2 days for me to receive it. But on the weekends, I don't like to wait as a movie may not arrive until Tuesday. I typically find myself in the video store anyway. Since I was trying out the Blockbuster free trial, I thought I would utilize the unlimited in-store exchange feature. 

Problem #1

I was allowed to bring in my mailers and walk out with two new selections. However, one of my selections was a video game. My son is only 5 years old. Needless to say, most of the video games out there are not for him. After 10 minutes of "Nope, not that one" and "Nope, too violent" we finally found a game he wanted. We approached the counter and immediately had a problem. They couldn't find me in the system, even though I had just returned my mailers. After fixing that error, they told me I couldn't rent the Cars 2 video game my son was clutching so tightly. The in-store exchange was valid for any movie, however, I could only rent the video games that were 99 cents. There were 4 games that were 99 cents in the entire store. Three of them were rated M for mature. I was better off waiting for that same video game to come through the mail. 

Problem #2

The ads for the in-store exchange state unlimited in-store rentals. However, this wasn't as clear as it should have been. After watching the movies we rented from the first exchange, we went back in to exchange them again. It is unlimited exchanges right? Wrong. You can only exchange a mailer for a movie or a 99 cent game. You can't exchange an in-store movie for another in-store movie or game. So how is this unlimited? Well, you can bring in your mailers an unlimited amount of times per month to exchange them for in-store movies. Perhaps they should be more clear about this in the commercials. It is still an advantage on those days when you don't feel like waiting for a mailer. But that brings me to my third problem. 

Problem #3

Normally, Netflix can have a new mailer at my home within 48 hours. If I return a mailer on Monday morning, Netflix will receive it by Monday evening. My new mailer will be shipped Tuesday morning and I will receive it Tuesday evening. If I miss the morning mail, it will be received Wednesday. With Saturday mailing, I receive a new Movie by Monday. But now that the post office is shutting down Saturday service, I suspect that will change. I returned a mailer to Blockbuster on Thursday, September 29th. My next shipment was sent on Wednesday, October 5th. A full week later is when my next movie was mailed and it was the 15th selection in my queue. I won't receive it until tonight. 

Problem #4

My local Blockbuster has a rather anorexic selection. We all know just how bad the new releases are because we aren't bothering to go to the theaters to watch them. If you aren't into the new releases then you are looking into the older movies. Of which the selection is rather tired. This really takes the excitement out of the in-store exchange. If you happen to have a Blockbuster video store that has a great selection then you won't have this problem.

Winner this round, Netflix.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blockbuster Vs Netflix Round 1

By request I have started a free trial with Blockbuster to compare with Netflix. Here are my findings as of today. 

Customer Service

Blockbuster- Answered my call within 30 seconds, Took his time explaining he services to me, offered me the 30 day free trial, pronounced my name correctly. 

Netflix-Answered my call in 7mins 20 seconds, listened to my questions, answered them in a concise matter, tried to be personal with me ("i'm excited about that too", "I can't wait"), pronounced my name incorrectly and left off part of my last name immediately after I said it for him, told me a price that conflicted with the website.

DVD only service

Blockbuster- 2 DVD's at one time, unlimited rentals, new releases before Netflix, able to exchange my movies in the store rather than wait on them in the mail, video games and Blue-Ray are included at no extra charge. 


Netflix- 2 DVD's at one time, unlimited rentals, wait on new releases, cannot exchange in the store, video games not available for another 3-6 weeks, there will be an extra charge for approximately $3.00 more per month, Blue-Ray is an extra $3.00 a month.

$17.99/month in theory with Blue-Ray and video game options

Streaming only service

Blockbuster-Currently not available, offers On Demand Pay Per View, cannot stream through video game console, On Demand only available on limited devices, movie is only available 24 hours.

$1.99 to $9.99 depending on the movie.

Netflix-Streaming is unlimited, one flat rate, streams through video game consoles and more devices than Blockbuster, no time limit on movies. 


My conclusion, as it stands, my plan is to use Blockbuster for their DVD only option and Netflix for their streaming only option. If Blockbuster offers streaming I will drop Netflix immediately. Until then this will be my proposed method. It's no different than using to websites and have two charges from Nteflix and Qwikster anyway.

Round 1-Tie

Netflix Apology

If you are a Netflix subscriber you no doubt have received or will receive a lengthy email from CEO and Co-Founder Reed Hastings. You can go to the Netflix blog to read it if you are not a subscriber. But in summation, it apologizes for the delivery method of the rate increases rather than the rate increases themselves. After some lengthy, apologetic rambling about not choosing a better way to notify us, it was announced in the very same manner that he was apologizing for, that Netflix is dividing its company. Here's the situation...

The rate increases will remain because supposedly they need more revenue to support the dvd mailers. (in reality they just don't want us to order DVD's anymore because the industry has given priority to Blockbuster).

There will now be a video game option available for those who choose the DVD only option. Of course this comes at an extra charge. I have not investigated the charge yet but I suspect it may be cheaper than having Netflix and Gamefly together. 

The name of the DVD only option is now Qwikster. 

There will be two charges to your account now if you are a streaming and DVD option subscriber. 

The Qwikster website isn't up yet but you will not be able to manage both your streaming and DVD options on one website anymore. 

In short, this letter makes everything worse!!

Why would I pay more for games with Netflix when I could just go to Redbox or Blockbuster and pay one flat rate for streaming, DVD, and games? Why should I have to go to two different websites to manage the same services? So, not only has Netflix increased their rates but they separate the services thus making everything more complicated. They don't even bother to make all DVD movies available for streaming only subscribers nor do they make an effort to make new releases available sooner. 

They can take that rambling, condescending letter and...well, you know.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Red Alchemy: The Power of Lavender

Most of us know that lavender is a calming scent and color. But there is so much more to this quaint flower than is realized. 

Stop Gossip

Add lavender to a bucket of water and mop your floors with it. Gossip will stop. 

Light a purple candle anointed with lavender oil to stop all gossip. With a purple pen (preferably with lavender ink, ingredients not color) write the name of the gossipers on a piece of paper and place it under the candle. Allow the wax to seal the paper. 

Write the names of those who gossip about you on paper and seal it in an envelope with purple wax. 

Weight Loss 

You will need the following:
  • 1 purple candle
  • 1 amazonite stone
  • 1 small dish
  • A few drops of lavender oil
  • 1 small handful of dried lavender
  • 1 pair of old nylon stockings
  • 1 piece of ribbon or an elastic band
Light the purple candle and place it directly in front of you. Purple is really a great color to use in a weight loss spell, as it signifies control, ambition, and power. Take the amazonite stone in your power hand (the hand that you write with) and hold it above your head. Inhale and exhale slowly five times, then gradually bring your hand down to your side. This particular move infuses the amazonite stone with your personal strength and power. As you hold the stone, ponder of your ideal body. Do you wish to have a taut abdomen, toned arms, or perhaps firmer thighs? Once you have envisioned the bodily attributes you want most, bring the stone up and place it to your forehead, directly in line with your nose. This spot is said to be the “third eye.” Hold it there and say your chosen attributes out loud. For example, if it is indeed a taut abdomen that you are yearning for, then say, “taut abdomen.” Next, place the stone into the small dish and drip the wax of the candle onto the stone until it is completely covered. Once the wax has hardened, pick up the stone and slowly peel off the wax. This is a significant exercise that is meant to be likened to peeling the pounds off your frame. After you have removed all of the wax, anoint the stone in lavender oil and repeat the following:
I give thee new life; I give thee new breath; I give thee a new body.
Once the stone has been well-anointed, take the old pair of stockings and cut off one foot, into which you will place the dried lavender and the amazonite stone. Tie the top with the ribbon or elastic band, making a sachet. To fully empower the weight loss spell, place the sachet under your pillow and sleep on it for seven days.

 Lavender Oil

Apply to the temples, to a scent oil warmer or add a few drops to a purple candle and it can soothe a headache, depression and anxiety.

Add to steamy water and lean over it with a towel over your head. This will help clear spots on your skin as well as balance your skin's oil production.

Lavender compresses can help in the cases of bruises, sunburn, sprains, soreheads, burns, rashes and even eczema.

A few drops of lavender oil in your bath can help soothe sunburn or dry skin. or it can even be added to your shower gel.

lavender is also useful for period pains and to help with your emotions.

Sexy Pumpkins

I was staring at a pair of ruined fishnets, wondering what I could do with them. That's when my husband came home with a the middle of September. I didn't want to carve it because it's just too early even for me. I thought of ways to prolong the life of the pumpkin to no avail. I tried to wrap it and put it in the fridge, (total blond moment) when I realized that my fishnets would look cool on the pumpkin (another blond moment). So I cut the foot off of the fishnets and made this little two second craft. I forgot to take a picture but lucky for me, someone else had a blond moment and did the same craft. They actually remembered to take pictures. Use different colors for some real fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Netflix Pix

Back by request is my weekly Netflix Pix. I stopped doing these because of the backlash of the price increase of Netflix monthly dues. But since the pricing is pretty much uniform across the board now, I might as well go back to furnishing a list of the stuff I watch. 

But I'm A Cheerleader stars Natasha Lyonne, one of my favorite actress. You may remember her from The Slums of Beverly Hills. I swore that movie was a ripoff of my diary entries when I was a teenager. This move is definitely one that will wind up in my "Don't Even Think About Borrowing This" collection. 

Megan (Lyonne) is a cheerleader who doesn't like kissing her boyfriend. She only has picture of girls inside of her school locker. Her parents conclude that she "must" be gay and therefore must be "fixed." She is sent to a gay and lesbian rehab camp to be corrected, where a very satirical comedy takes place. With the help of RuPaul, Clea DuVall, Eddie Cibrian, Kathy Moriarty, Mink Stole and Michelle Williams, this movie is a great comedy that belongs in the same league with The Slums of Beverly Hills, Saved, and Little Miss Sunshine.

Saw 3D The Final Chapter successfully redeems the downfall of arguably one of the best horror film series since Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. We all remember how the last two Saw movies left us shouting obscenities and mumbling disgruntled comments. The Final Chapter leaves the horror film fan feeling satisfied, which is not what we felt having spent an extra $14 just to see this movie in 3D. I can honestly say there was no need to see this movie in 3D at all. There were a total of 4 scenes where it was obvious that the flying intestines or weaponry was intended for 3D but I can't say I felt a loss. The mystery is still enjoyable and the traps will have you cringing, turning away and shouting, "Oh my God, I can't watch!" The ending is such a sweet release you may want to have a cigarette or a chocolate bar to help savor the moment.

I began watching Mad Men because of Joan's gorgeous style on the promos. I am a fan of the 50's housewife fashions. I get my fill watching the first two seasons of Mad Men. Netflix has all four seasons available to watch instantly. There is nothing more annoying than starting to watch a series on Netflix after it's a few seasons along  and finding that you won't be able to understand what's happening on the new episodes because the most recent season isn't available. That happened with Weeds. It took so long for Weeds to become available I was completely incapable of enjoying the most recent season available on DVD. With Mad Men you can completely catch up. As far as the show goes, I have to say that absolutely nothing happens on this show but I guarantee you won't be able to stop watching it. There is the excitement of the advertising account managements and the wonder of whether or not Don Draper will have another affair. But honestly, nothing eventful takes place. Still, I enjoyed every minute of every season and can't wait to watch season 5 on AMC.                                                                                                                                         

Chili's Margarita Chicken Copycat Recipe

Chili's Margarita Grilled Chicken Copycat Recipe

Chili's Margarita Grilled Chicken Recipe Clone - Serves 4
You will surprised at how easy and quick this Chili's recipe is to make.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup margarita mix
1/4 cup of Tequila
1 tbsp of minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Black beans
Pico de Gallo
Brown rice

Pound chicken breasts flat so that they are no more than 1 inch thick. Next, let them marinate in the margarita mix in the refrigerator. Overnight is best, but let marinate for at least two hours.

Remove chicken breasts from marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper, your preference.

For the best flavor, use a grill to cook the chicken breasts. If not, try to cook the chicken in a cast iron skillet or on a George Foreman grill. Cook on medium high heat. Lightly spray the skillet with a cooking spray before adding the chicken.

After chicken breasts are nice and brown, serve over black beans. Add Mexican brown rice and pico de gallo on the side.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lysteria and Cantelopes

What is Lysteria?

Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in soil, stream water, sewage, plants, and food. Listeriosis is a serious illness, and the disease may manifest as meningitis, or affect newborns due to its ability to penetrate the endothelial layer of the placenta. Vegetables can become contaminated from the soil, and animals can also be carriers. Listeria has been found in uncooked meats, uncooked vegetables, unpasteurized milk, foods made from unpasteurized milk, and processed foods. Pasteurization and sufficient cooking kill Listeria; however, contamination may occur after cooking and before packaging. For example, meat-processing plants producing ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs and deli meats, must follow extensive sanitation policies and procedures to prevent Listeria contamination

From the FDA Website:

Jensen Farms Recalls Cantaloupe Due to Possible Health Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 14, 2011 - Jensen Farms, of Holly, CO is voluntarily recalling their shipments of Rocky Ford whole cantaloupe because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria. The company is working with the State of Colorado and the FDA to inform consumers of this recall. L. monocytogenes is a bacterium that can contaminate foods and cause a mild non-invasive illness (called listerial gastroenteritis) or a severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness (called invasive listeriosis). Persons who have the greatest risk of experiencing listeriosis after consuming foods contaminated with L. monocytogenes are fetuses and neonates who are infected after the mother is exposed to L. monocytogenes during pregnancy, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
The whole cantaloupes in question were shipped between July 29th, 2011 and September 10th 2011, and distributed to the following states: IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA. The whole cantaloupes have a green and white sticker that reads: Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe or a gray, yellow, and green sticker that reads: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords. If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, please contact your retail store for sourcing information. Jensen Farms is requesting any consumer that many have one of these cantaloupes to please destroy the products.
The recall involves only whole cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms, and no other commodities are involved. Jensen Farms feels it is prudent to participate in the recall as the State of Colorado has stated (in their September 12th, 2011 press release) that people at a high risk for infection should not eat whole cantaloupe from the Rocky Ford growing region.
“Jensen Farms continues to stay committed to the highest levels of food safety and maintains many third party safety audits, as we have for many years. We continually look for ways to enhance our protocol,” said Ryan Jensen, partner at Jensen Farms. Jensen Farms is a 3rd generation family farm of the Holly, Colorado community.
Consumers with questions may contact Jensen Farms via email at or phone 1-800-267-4561 between the hours of 9am and 4pm MST.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

DIY Kitchen Racks

If you you're like me you may have two to three sets of pots and pans and no place to put them all. I posted some nails on the wall and hung my pots but found that there still wasn't enough room. One day I was in Anna's Linens and I saw a really nice curtain rod. I had absolutely no need for it but I really liked it. Then I noticed that there was a weight specification on the side of the package. Apparently this curtain rod was meant to hold a very heavy amount of fabric thus allowing the owner to hang long heavy drapery. I went home and weighed a set of pots and pans I just bought in the box and they were well withing the weight limit. I bought the rod and hung it in my kitchen, using metal curtain hooks, (squeezed closed) to hang the pots and pans. I felt special that I had come up with a money saving idea. Immediately I went online to share my idea with all of you and found that I was certainly not the first to come up with this idea. You can use towel racks or curtain rods to store your lids or pots in your kitchen and still have plenty of space. 

In the above picture, Martha Stewart used a regular towel rod she got from a garage sale. She painted it and used hooks to hold her utensils. 

Here's one that can be added on the inside of a cabinet door so that your wall space is not overflowing with utensils. 

If towel racks are not your thing, you can recycle and old crib and make an overhead rack like this one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fit Me Maybelline Foundation Review

I am well overdue for this review but I wanted to finish the bottle before I reviewed it. 

The Promise

This foundation does not have a new concept. It is the same as all of the other makeups that promise to blend perfectly into your skin. The only difference between this makeup and the others is the others will cover your blemishes and this one will not. It promises to make you look great without hiding your skin.

The delivery

Being a woman of color I have an issue with my skin known as hyperpigmentation. It means that when a blemish appears on my skin it leaves behind a black mark, dark brown marks on lighter skinned women of color. Fit Me does not cover these blemishes but it does make them less noticeable. It finds the balance between the highs and lows in the color of your skin. So you aren't being covered up but your skin tone is being evened out. If you have decent skin with the occasional hiccup then this foundation is for you. It makes you look naturally beautiful. My husband couldn't tell that I was wearing makeup until he noticed my eyeshadow. 

It matches my skin perfectly. I am a 320, Honey Beige and it matched my skin when I bought right before summer and it matched my skin in the dead of summer.  It's light enough to wear daily and all year.


Use a sponge to apply it not your fingers or a foundation brush. Use natural light to see if you have applied it evenly. Apply more foundation for a smoother look. Don't use heave eyeshadow colors with this look because it will look like you made up your eyes and nothing else.


It was $7.59 a bottle at RiteAid without the sale. That price was the average price of the foundation at Target and at Walgreens. I recommend looking online at Walgreens, RiteAid, and  Target at the same time to see which one has it on sale. It's usually on sale for $4.59 a bottle. If it's not on sale at one store it will be at the other. I would not buy this item when it is not on sale.

Halloween Jars

I know that it is too early for Halloween but it's one of my favorite holidays and I like to prepare early. One of my annual crafts are Halloween jars. There are many different versions and uses for this craft making it the perfect family craft. 

Halloween Ghosts

You will need mason, sauce, or condiment jars and acrylic paint with brushes. You will also need tea light candles or a line of white, green or orange lights (Christmas lights).

Carefully peel the label off of the jars making the stickiest part the back of the jar. Paint your jar completely on the outside whatever color you want. If it's a ghost paint it white. If it's Frankenstein paint it green. Make sure the layer of paint is thin enough for the light to show through. I like to light the candle first and drop into the jar before I paint so I can see if the light shines through. Leave the lid off. 

Icky Jars

You will need green jello, hard boiled eggs, gummy worms or spaghetti and vienna sausage. Paint is optional.

This is a game I played when I went to Halloween parties when I was younger. Fill the jars with jello and drop an egg in one, worms in the other, and 3 to 5 sausages in the other. If your haunted house is dark then you won't need to wrap or paint the jars. Have each kid stick their hand in the jar with their eyes closed and have them guess what's in it or tell them what you want them to believe is in it. The egg is the eyeball, the sausage is the finger etc. 

Wiccan Herbal Gift
Halloween is New Years to the Wiccans of the world. Give them the gift of the harvest or new beginnings. Halloween is a harvest holiday. You can fill the jars with harvested herbs like Mandrake for healing, chamomile for relaxation, basil for success etc. Be sure to label them. If you want to give the gift of new beginnings plant herb seeds in the jars with soil and label them. They will have their own herb garden.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Jambalaya Recipe

The base of this recipe is the jambalaya recipe from Better Homes and Garden. It's the big cookbook that looks like a picnic blanket. My book has the recipe on page 498. My husband loved the recipe but my son couldn't get passed the spicy sausage or the red pepper flakes. Now I have a 12 month old daughter who likes to eat off of my plate. Spice is a no no, at least for now. Here is the recipe with my alterations noted.


Makes: about 7 cups (6 main-dish servings)
Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 20 minutes
  • 1pound fresh or frozen peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 ounces andouille or kielbasa sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3/4cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
Alterations: My onion was the size of a small, bagged apple. I used 3 stalks of celery with the white end cut off. I used one whole green pepper the same size as the onion with the white membrane removed. I used extra virgin olive oil to cook with and freshly chopped tomatoes. I used mild links for the sausage and instant long grain rice. I completely omitted the ground red pepper. 
Directions 1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Set shrimp aside. In a 12-inch skillet cook onion, celery, sweet pepper, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, sausage, rice, thyme, basil, black pepper, red pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. Stir in shrimp. Return to boiling. Simmer, covered, about 5 minutes more or until shrimp turn opaque and rice is tender. Stir in ham; heat through. Discard bay leaf. Makes about 7 cups (6 main-dish servings).
nutrition facts
  • Servings Per Recipe about 7 cups (6 main-dish servings)
  • Calories416
  • Total Fat (g)20
  • Saturated Fat (g)6,
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g)9,
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g)4,
  • Cholesterol (mg)154,
  • Sodium (mg)1199,
  • Carbohydrate (g)27,
  • Total Sugar (g)4,
  • Fiber (g)1,
  • Protein (g)30,
  • Vitamin A (DV%)0,
  • Vitamin C (DV%)29,
  • Calcium (DV%)9,
  • Iron (DV%)22,
  • Starch (d.e.)1.5,
  • Vegetables (d.e.)1,
  • Medium-fat Meat (d.e.)3.5,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back To School Night: 10 Questions You Should Ask

Back to school night typically occurs twice in any given school year. The first is usually during the first three months of school. The point of back to school night is to brag about the amenities of the school as well as the qualifications of the teachers. The children are able to show what they have done so far and parents are able to ask any questions about their child's development that weren't addressed before. With all of the activities that go on during this school function, it's easy to lose track of what you really want or should know about your child's school and education. Here are ten questions you should ask to get you started. You will find it easy to add to it as you consider your specific situation. 

1. What are the teacher's credentials?

2. What is her teaching style?

3. What is the teacher's lesson plan for the quarter, semester, year?

4. What assignments and subjects are the most challenging / easy for your child and why?

5. What methods of discipline does the teacher use?

6. What is the best way to support her learning plan?

7. Which children does your child get along with best / worst?

8. How would the teacher describe your child's personality and behavior?

9. What ranking does your school have in the No Child Left Behind testing?

10. What is being done to effect that ranking?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back To School Behavioral Guide For Elementary School

By now your child is either back in school or on his way to school. There are a slew of new kindergartners and 1st graders that are coming from some sort of daycare or preschool. If you have always been a working mom before now you and your child will be hopelessly conformed to the ways of your daycare provider. But now that your child is in elementary school, things are definitely different. If your child is entering elementary school or switching to a new elementary school this guide is for you.

Attendance- Daycare and preschools aren't sticklers for time unless you are late picking up your child. At elementary school, it is mandatory to drop off and pick up your child on time. If you leave your child on school grounds there is no guarantee that he will be supervised until you break through traffic. If your child is late, there is no late fee. You are negatively impacting his education and disrupting the education process of the other students in class. Be on time. Rearrange your schedule if necessary.

Dress code- At preschool and daycare it was a matter of safety. No sandals, or socks must be worn at all times, or no jewelry. At elementary school there is an actual dress code. No shorts after the last Friday in October, or something else to that effect. When you register your child for school there will be information available in the front office on the dress code. Make sure you acquire this document before you go back to school shopping.

Diet- In preschool you can give specifics about what and when your child eats a meal. But this is elementary school. Your child's teacher will walk your child to the lunch room and divide the hot lunchers from the brown baggers to ensure everyone is receiving lunch. Then, they take their own lunches. Don't bother your child's teacher with anything other than a food allergy. Your teacher will not be available to monitor sugar intake or lunch box temperature. You will need to take care of this on your own. Don't stress over the nutrition of the food offered at school. If you give your child a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner and after school snack, that one unhealthy lunch won't harm them.

Homework- Your child won't be used to having homework. Make sure that when you meet your child's teacher to ask about the delivery of homework assignments. You don't want to find out after the fact that you were supposed to be reading a board on the classroom wall for the assignment instead of looking in your child's backpack. Don't count on your child to remember he has homework.

Bus stops- It's so easy to feel that your child is safe because there are other parents at the bus stop as well as other children. But consider this, if someone snatches your child, do you really expect a stranger to leave his child behind to chase down your own? Stay at the bus stop with your child until they are 13 or older. They may not like it, but most bus stop kidnappings are of elementary and middle school children. The more parents standing at a bus stop in the morning the less likely a kidnapping or assault will be.

Lefty- Make sure to tell your child's teacher that you want him to stay left handed before his first class. Most teachers will work with you. Help your teacher out by reinforcing the left hand at home with worksheets.

For more back to school tips, contact or Like me on Facebook.