Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flipping Your Own Switch

Sandi Krakowski is a mompreneur millionaire. Every once in a while she responds to my posts on her blog, A Real Change. This past week I had issues with being too creative, and those creative juices were getting in the way of doing anything- imagine grape juice all over your desk and making everything stick together- that was me in my creative state.

Here was her answer- She recommended a really great book, Flip The S.W.I.T.C.H. To be honest, I groaned inwardly. Oh no, not another book to buy! But no, surprisingly enough it was free, and so far a really great read.

The best part is, I'm already starting to see a difference in the way I do things. It's not an overnight change mind you, but it really is like flipping a switch in your head. It's a book about mindset- something I've written about on many occasions.

You will need some paper and a pen though. Don't roll your eyes at me and groan- I did the same thing when I read that (Bad mindset! Bad!), and though I really, really hate writing stuff down (at least journaling stuff), when I wrote stuff down, it opened my eyes to a lot of hidden garbage I've been ignoring or holding on to for years.

I'm currently on the 'C' in SWITCH, and I can't wait to get back to reading more!

This isn't some wispy little 'love yourself, love everyone' type book, like so many other positive thinking books are. This book helps you break down the reasons you stop yourself from succeeding, and teaches you how to break down those barriers to make yourself a better and stronger person- and more successful!

And it's FREE.

I don't usually 'advertise' for other people- but I will give kudos to those that impress me- and PJ McClure impressed the heck out of me. Just saying.

Click the link. Get the book. And join me in a journey to become a stronger, better person who can do anything you set your mind to!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WOOHOO! You can now get replies!

I am SO proud.

After Gooling for stuff to make my blog even awesomer (I know that's not a real word- but it's my word, so there), I found this great link to allow Blogger authors to reply to their readers- something I've been wanting to do for ages.

For the curious, here's the link to the code:

Now I can reply to your comments, and we can get some conversations going! All I ask is that you don't post as Anonymous- I'd like to know who you are- even if you disagree with me. That's what makes life interesting, after all!

There are just a few rules though:

Be respectful of me and my other readers- no flaming, or blame-gaming. 
Don't use foul language, or I won't post it.
Negative comments are fine, as long as the comment has merit. I won't approve of posts like 'This post is stupid' for instance- unless you have good reasons to back it up! So far I've never gotten comments like that, but you never know- I'm just covering my bum here.

That's basically it!

So let's hear it from you, my Dear Readers- you should be able to reply to all posts now-including past ones!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vaccination Vexes

Here in Philadelphia, they're starting to pass more restrictions on allowing kids into school who are not immunized. In fact, I heard on the news that if the kids aren't proven immunized by April 30th, they'll be sent home until they are. I'd signed an exemption form a few years back, but I'm not sure if it still covers my kids- I'm looking into it as we speak.
But that got me to thinking- when will they start passing more laws restricting the exemptions? When will I lose the right to stop the government putting Lord-Knows-What into my kids bodies? I looked at the chemicals used in those vaccinations, and it was scary- and it seems the more kids are forced to get them, the more they get sick.
I really don't like the government dictating what I can and can't do concerning my kids health. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. 
Would you put duct tape on your brand new car bumper in case it might fall off one day? No, you get it fixed when it does fall off. The funny thing is in the schools they attend, my kids get blamed for being carriers and actually spreading sicknesses.


Let me give an example:

My kids were fine the entire weekend. No one in the house was sick, and we all stayed inside due to bad weather. The kids were not exposed to anyone else but us, and go back to school healthy and happy. 
They have no other contact with anyone except school kids, and they come home within a day or two, sick- yet my kids are the carriers? I think not!
In fact, my kids were out of school due to sickness less than three days- for the entire school year. I hear the other moms talking, and the more they get their kids shots, the sicker they seem to be; yet no one seems to make the connection.

So let me ask you this- if these shots are so wonderful, why does the government have a fund to cover 'permanent damages' from reactions to these vaccines? And the side effects aren't pretty either- the more serious ones are deafness and death. Death, to prevent something my kids don't even have? No, thank you!

Even these new shots are causing all kind of havoc within our bodies. And when you look at the side effects, the cure is sometimes worse than the disease! Yet we are told over and over again that we need to have these vaccinations in order to be healthier. I beg to differ. They even have them available in places we regularly frequent, like big chain stores and supermarkets. Not the first place I would think to get proper health care! I don't want someone to shoot me with a needle at the same place I get my milk and bread- you know what I mean?

And let's take a look at our futures, shall we? Those that have been immunized as children (like us) against chicken pox, measles and the like, now have to get a booster shot because the so-called immunity wore off- and get this- we are now more susceptible to these childhood diseases! Except that now as adults, if we get the chicken pox, measles or any of the others, there's a better possibility of serious illness or death. But if we got these diseases as kids, not only would it have been a milder case (in which you would be treated medically after you got it anyway), we would be permanently immunized naturally by or own bodies!

Which sounds better to you? A little sick as a kid, or a lot sick as an adult? And if people were immunized for this stuff, why are people still getting these same diseases? I don't have all the data, but I bet you more than one person who had gotten their immunizations got afflicted anyway- it's just worse now because they're adults.

Maybe our grandmothers had the right idea after all- when one kid got the chicken pox, everyone would send their kids to that child's house to also get it- and be done with it. Get it, get it treated, get naturally immune and never have to worry about getting anymore shots for it ever again. Sounds good to me! Better a one-time event than a series of what-ifs with chemicals we don't need floating about our bloodstreams!

Simply put- if it ain't broke, stop trying to fix it! All we're doing is putting duct tape on a new car bumper- it doesn't help the bumper, and messes up the finish!

Monday, February 13, 2012

(In)Effective Time Management

Time flies..but I have yet to figure out whether I'm having fun! So I decided to write out what I do during the day and see just what's happening that sucks my hours into a time vortex. Let's see:

5:30 am - 6:00 am- wake up, wake kids up, pray and answer Mother Nature.
6:00 am - 6:15 am- wake kids up again, yell at them to be ready for breakfast in ten seconds, get dressed, fold laundry, refill empty baskets with the dirty stuff everyone tossed into the hallway, yell- er...gently remind the kids that they better have their teeth brushed, else they'll have no teeth by the time they want to get married, and toss cats off of the clean laundry they just disheveled all over the bed.
6:15 am - 7:00 am- Kiss husband goodbye, try to kiss the kids and faint from the combination of morning breath and breakfast, make them brush their teeth and do chores before school- including putting away their semi-folded clothes.
7:00 am- 7:30 am- Make lunches and have kids pack them, I go through emails and play a game on the computer while the kids finish up, then we pray before the bus comes for my son, all the while tripping over hungry cats that were supposed to be fed by my daughter at 7:00.
7:30 am- 8:00 am- Peace and serenity wafts over the house since it's just us girls- she goes to play in her room, and I finish my computer game.
8:00 am- 8:05 am- Run around like mad people because she forgot to pack her schoolbag, make her lunch and feed the cats- who made my life miserable when they practically sat on my computer mouse and meowed in my face for thirty minutes begging for food, then feeling guilty for thinking they were just being greedy furry ogres who just love me for my kitty treats. 
8:05 am- 8:30 am- walk my daughter to school, then walk back towards the house, looking forward to playing another computer game of two. Unless I'm going to the gym.
8:30 am- 10:00 am- I walk to the gym and work out, chat, then go home- if it's an off day from the gym, I usually spend it playing computer games, watching videos, or facebooking.
10:00 am- 12:00 pm- on rare occasions I get some baking, cleaning or writing done, but never all in the same day. There are just too many games to play on the computer.
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm- scarf something semi-healthy down while I play a new computer game.
1:00 pm - 2:45 pm- make calls, do errands, and other homemaker stuff- including playing computer games if I don't have anything else scheduled. I try not to schedule anything.
2:45 pm - 3:30 pm- Walk to the school to fetch my daughter, and greet my son as we make it to the door just as he is dropped off by the bus. They go relax in their own ways for a half hour, while I...well, I did see this neat looking game I wanted to try....
3:30 pm- 4:30 pm- totally engrossed in games, I forgot to remind the kids they had to start homework at 4:00. They count on this and always put on a movie, then claim it's not over yet. Wrenching myself from the computer, I have them turn the TV off, while I try to figure out what to make for dinner, because I completely forgot to defrost anything.
4:30 pm- 7:00 pm- I become a woman of miracles- not only did I manage to make something for dinner that was healthy, edible, and well-cooked, but the kids got their homework done and the house is in some semblance of order- even the cats were fed on time tonight. I go celebrate by playing a game- I needed to finish the last few levels anyway.
7:00 pm- 9:00 pm- dishes get washed (sort of), and when we aren't playing cards together we're often in our own little worlds- the kids are playing the computer (theirs), my husband is on his for me? I hadn't really played anything much all day- I think I'll play a computer game!

After having looked this schedule over, I could definitely see a pattern. I could see where most of my time went, and I made a plan to rectify the situation. 

I'll be putting the kids and the cats up on Ebay next week.

Just so people don't start sending me hate mail and telling me what a bad mom I am, I'll have you know a few things- One, this was a half serious post- yes, I do play way too much on the computer (that's what I'll really be rectifying, by the way), and Two, I would never put my kids up on Ebay. Not only is it illegal (I looked), but there would be no one here to feed the kitties or give me stuff to laugh about (and write about) a week after it happens. 
God Bless, and remember the most important thing of all is to not take yourself or others too seriously!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cake Boss I Ain't!

My son, my first born child, turned fourteen this past Friday. I was going to dazzle him with a cake that had a Star Wars theme, but I wasn't sure exactly what I could make him. And after watching way too many episodes of Cake Boss, let's just say I got a little overly eager.

Everything had to be homemade- not only is it cheaper, but a lot more tasty. I also had to make the right cake shape for my idea, and to make it look just right, I was also going to be rolling some fondant. So I broke out my cookbooks for the cake and frosting, and looked to the internet for the fondant- because that just had to be homemade too.

I chose a Paula Deen pound cake for the base, buttercream frosting for the 'dirty icing', and a marshmallow-based fondant that got good reviews for workability and taste- apparently store-bought fondant doesn't taste very good, and this was highly recommended.

It's a good thing we buy our ingredients in Lancaster in bulk, because I needed a whopping fourteen cups of powdered sugar to make both recipes. And have enough left over to dust my surfaces when I knead the fondant. Lucky for me I had about 20-25 cups of the stuff, because I was going to 'knead' it. Get it? Knead it?

Don't look at me like that.

The cake was the easy part, despite the fact I had to bake it twice. I used the cake form I'd used to make my daughter a doll cake- the form was a half-egg dome that had a dowel in the center for better baking. but when I pulled out the cake, the middle still wasn't done, so I took out the center rod, and finished baking it. It was perfect- at least until I tried moving it after it cooled- my thumb went right into the side of it. All I can say is thank God for buttercream frosting!

Fourteen was the magic number this weekend. My son was turning fourteen, my cake needed fourteen cups of powdered sugar, and it probably took me fourteen hours to make the dang thing, cake and all, because the ding-dang fondant (as tasty as it claimed to be) stuck to everything, no matter how I dusted the surface.

I used plastic wrap, I used waxed paper, I used a bed of powdered sugar- but the stuff wasn't rolling out thin enough, and kept sticking the moment I tried to do that rolling pin trick I saw on Cake Boss. My husband was out at the time, and I needed two people to do this. My daughter was baking cookies for him so she was busy, and my son wasn't allowed anywhere near the kitchen for fear of death-by-spatula.

After rolling out the stuff nine times in three hours, I gave up in a puddle of Cake Boss misery and waited for my husband to get home. Of course the moment he walked in the door, he helped me talk out my issues and helped me come to a solution. We had the cake covered within a half hour. I could have swatted that smug look off of his face, but I was too darn giddy about getting that stupid cake covered that I let him slide- this time.

It was now an hour before his party, and I still had a cake to decorate. Not having time to color the fondant like I wanted to, I took the scraps and rolled them out (and this time the little bits of fondant rolled together perfectly- ARRGH), and I cut all the pieces out and laid them across the surface of the cake. Then I colored them with concentrated food color, hoping it would turn out okay. I baked the cake Friday, and started the other stuff at 8:00 that morning. I got the cake done at 12:00- right when my son's party started. And I hadn't even started making their pizzas yet. Yes, homemade pizza with a fantastic olive oil dough I got from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day.

Here is the finished product of my herculean efforts:

Don't look at the top- I tried covering it with my cake cover, and the thing stuck to it because it was too tall. I told my son that R2-D2 was shot by Darth Vader after I had left the room- not my fault. He loved it.

No, I'm not Cake Boss, but it was a good first try. And even better, it tasted good too. It tasted so good that I gained a pound and a half this week. Not sure of the gain was from the cake and sugar, or the stress- probably both. And the pizza too- I'm not supposed to have wheat, but I ate it anyway, only because I wanted to get the cake done so bad I'd forgotten to have breakfast!

As of this morning the cake plate now bears just crumbs and some blue-colored frosting smears. And I am the best mom on the planet- according to my son. So who am I to argue? After all, teenagers are always right, aren't they?