Saturday, November 29, 2008

Giving Thanks

This long holiday weekend was spent eating, visiting with family & celebrating! My sister played gracious hostess and her house was "Party Central". My boys were excited to get to see their cousins and to play video games and sports on the Wii.

I tried to capture some moments in pictures.........


A toast to good times & being allowed to drink beer (root beer) with dinner!
And yes that roll is all Alex ate for dinner before dessert!

Shhhh! Don't tell where I'm hiding!

The kids had a fun time playing Hide & Seek. My youngest son let his cousin put gel in his hair so they could have matching hairstyles.




Colin channeling Baretta with "Lily" his bird cousin.

Blue Lip Group

On Friday night we had a giant cake to celebrate November birthdays.
The lovely young lady in the middle just went from "tween" to "teen"! Fun times for her mom!

"Fierce!"


We tried to all the kids to pose for a group shot.




Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Re-Run Thursday - Tis The Season to Be Careful

My sister is hosting my side of the family this year at her house for Thanksgiving. Members of my family started coming in last night. I am posting a re-run so that I can take the rest of the blogging week off! ( still have to work today & Friday, though.) Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday weekend!


With the economy in the dumps, crime is on the rise. Now more than ever, it is important to take safety precautions when out shopping. Don't make yourself an easy "mark"! The following post is a re-run from last year.




Tomorrow is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the first official shopping day of the Holiday Season. Most people have the day off, unless you work retail or if you are a thief. Criminals never get a holiday and this is their busy season. I have a few tips to help you avoid being an easy mark for thieves.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your packages and belongings with you at all times. Before you get in or out of your car, scan the parking lot to check to see if you are being watched or followed. Walk to your destination quickly and confidently. Avoid looking like a "mark"
  2. If you carry a purse, use one that zips shut and with a strap that can be worn across your body. Try to minimize the amount of plastic and currency that you carry.
  3. Use a credit card and avoid debit cards where you need to key in your code. Make sure the person behind you is not close enough to read your card numbers.
  4. Keep your receipts in a safe place, separate from your purchases, in case your shopping bags are stolen.
  5. Keep track of your bank account activities by frequently checking online for any unaccounted activity.
  6. Have a list of credit cards and phone numbers to call and cancel cards if your purse or wallet is stolen.
I know first hand how easy it is to become a victim. This happened to me four years ago in early November. My car was broken into during prime-time for drop-off at a child care center. I was dropping off my youngest child and left my other two children who were 5 and 7 years old at the time in a locked car to save time. I was parked in the front row, parents were coming and going. I was only gone for a few minutes.

As I was racing back to my car, I saw a car full of people speeding away and one of my children waving frantically to me. As I ran to my car, I saw my other child crying and shattered glass everywhere!

I knew that there had been some car break-ins during odd times in the afternoon but never dreamed that this could be done during such a busy time. I had felt that if I was leaving my kids in a car, I could leave my purse. (and no, I did not leave the keys in the ignition! The keys were with me. I was asked that a lot. ) There was a parking lot full of people and no one saw anything. No one, except my poor kids!

The window was popped with a screw driver that was expertly jammed into the corner of the driver's side window. The window quietly shattered into a million tiny pieces. The parents coming and going did not notice the man leaning over the car window and the man with the screwdriver did not care about the children in the car. He only cared about my purse stuck under the passenger seat which he quickly grabbed.

Thankfully no one was hurt and I learned a big, painful lesson that day. In addition to the broken car window, I was left with an identity theft mess that took quite awhile to clear up.
It is amazing how much damage can be done with stolen checkbooks and credit cards! Even though my husband was still at home and was able to start calling my banks immediately, it took a few hours to get the credit cards shut down. The checking accounts took longer.

While I was getting my window fixed, I spent my time on the phone tracking activity. First the thieves went to a few gas stations and bought gas and cigarettes. Then onto the cellphone store for pre-paid cellphones. Then trips to several branches of my bank to cash other people's stolen checks, against my account.

Then onto several grocery stores and department stores. I was able to locate security camera footage at several of these places for the police and found that at least three different "crack whores" were using my ID.

An officer that I was in frequent contact with, ID'd the first thief from the gas station footage by her street name. Her last known address was a street corner.

It was at that point I decided I also needed a "street name". I became "Bad Momma"!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Filler-Up Friday

Corner of Morse & Stelzer in Columbus, Ohio
on Friday, November 21, 2008


Getting Tanked! ( For under $40, Woo Hoo!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Re-Run Thursdays - Holiday Hell




With the Thanksgiving Holiday next week, I thought I'd share a post I made last year to help a fellow blogger with MIL drama. With out further ado, I give you........

Recipe for Disaster

1 bunch of relatives
1 pinch of unresolved issues
a cooler of "adult" beverages
sharp utensils such as carving knives
1 small dining room
seating chart ( optional )


As your guests arrive, take their coats and casually toss them on a couch or bed in your designated "coat room". Hand each adult guest a beer, glass of wine or alcoholic beverage of their choice.Carefully seat your guests near the person most likely to irritate them. Throw in more "adult beverages".Wait until guests are sufficiently marinated and bring up an unresolved issue or touchy subject. Make sure the table is full of sharp objects such as carving knives and hot dishes.

Have a phone nearby and be ready to dial 911!

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times for Emergency Rooms across the U.S.

Something about putting a bunch of people that are related, together in close quarters with a bunch of cutlery and bottles (or cans ) of "truth serum". Unresolved issues seem to surface and before you know it - hand to hand combat breaks out. It's always fun until someone gets hurt!

I have a few helpful tips to avert disaster. Remember, just like fire needs oxygen to keep burning, drama needs fuel to keep it going! Observe from a distance, avoid getting drawn in. Be prepared with some distractions. Distraction is the best weapon when tempers start to flare-up at family get-togethers. A little preperation can save much aggrevation!

Antidote for Holiday Hell

1 bunch of Celebrity Gossip Magazines
A television tuned to the latest football game
Several plates of appetizers
Everybody's favorite desserts
1 handful of shiny objects
A back-up dinner, in case of a cooking mishap

Family gossip usually starts the drama machine. As soon as the haughty whispering starts, direct the attention to the latest issue of People, US Weekly or the Star that is conveniently nearby. It is better to gossip about someone you don't know than those in the same house.

"Did you hear the latest about__________? ( fill in the blank with your favorite celeb )"

When the men-folk start to misbehave, turn your t.v. to a football game.

"Oh look! The game's on!"

The hypnotic lure of the idiot tube usually keeps 'em in line. Just make sure there are plenty of "cold ones" and snacks for commercial time.

Food is a great silencer. When mouths are full, it is hard to argue. Strategically placed plates of pre-dinner snack foods are a necessity at family gatherings.

Shiny objects are also a useful distraction for both men and children.

Make sure you have a back-up dinner in case of a kitchen mishap. Food disasters are a great source of tension.

Dessert is the crown jewel of a good meal. The threat of not serving it due to ill-mannered guests helps keep everyone in line.

A good sense of humor is also really helpful. Look on the bright side, if there is drama, it gives you something to talk about. Perhaps start a contest with your friends to see who can have the most disastrous holiday. This is one contest where everyone wins!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Would You Do?

Los Angeles Times

An Airstream trailer is dwarfed last Sunday by approaching flames in Carbon Canyon in Malibu. Several structures were burned that day by the fast-moving blaze, dubbed the Canyon fire. View more photos

I watched the Evening News coverage of the California wildfires. So many people had to quickly evacuate their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs, only to return to rubble of their homes and charred remains of their possessions.

I thought about what I would do under similar circumstances.

Possessions can be replaced and my utmost concern would be that our family was safe. Then I would make sure I had some clothes, toiletries, my wedding & engagement rings, laptop, cell phone & purse. I also would want to make sure we had a copy of our insurance policy.

I asked my oldest son. He would grab his swim medals and coin collection.

What would you take if you only had a few minutes to grab some items to save?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

That Was One Heck Of a Spam Filter!

Recently my husband changed servers for my work email. Within a week I saw my spam cut by more than half. I attributed less junk emails and phishing to this upgrade.

Then I saw this article about a temporary decrease in spam.

Turns out McColo, a company that provides servers for major spammers and scammers was shut down, cutting off as much as 60% of unwanted and deceptive emails.

It has been predicted that spam activity will return to its previous level by Christmas, once the "computer cockroaches" set up shop somewhere else.

So, if you have noticed a substantial decrease in your spam, enjoy it while you can!

Gas Prices - How Low Can You Go?


This is a photo my friend David sent me on Friday. We are having a competition to see who can find the lowest gas price. He wins!

Sadly, David has pointed out that gas can fall to 50 cents a gallon and it won't help much. What good is cheap gas when so many people either don't have jobs to drive to or money to shop with?

OPEC has been calling for cuts in production to get prices back up. Good luck with that! I hope we have finally "woken up" and are staying on the path of finding alternative fuels and manufacturing more energy efficient vehicles.

The U.S. auto industry is in deep trouble and looking for a bailout from Congress. If they fail, there will be massive job losses. If we bail them out, will they make the necessary changes that they should have made years ago? Will the unions and labor make concessions that they currently are refusing? Where do we draw the line? Who's next in the ever growing line at the Treasury bailout window? What happened to the "Free Market Economy"?

Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fragments - School Daze

Friday Fragments?
Friday FragmentsCan DO Attitude!

Last night I came home to this scene on the front porch. My oldest son carried these bags of cans home from school, in addition to his HUGE backpack! The pop cans were left over from a class project and he asked his teacher if he could have them. Told her that we recycle cans for money. (this pile might be worth $1). Dad made him leave them outside as the pile was leaking.

In an effort to get my boys excited about recycling, I started a "Can Collection Activity Fund". When I take my cardboard from work to the nearby recycling center, I have one of the boys bring our stash of cans to trade in for money. So far our biggest payout was $3.50!

It didn't occur to me that they would be dragging home cans from school. This is my 2nd boy to do this. I wonder what the teachers must think!

A- O.K.


This past week report cards came home and my husband attended Parent-Teacher Conferences. I am proud to report that all 3 boys are doing well and my middle-schooler made honor-roll for his 1st quarter out! The interesting tidbit that concerned my husband was that there is a possibility my 5th grader could end up in 7th grade math next year. My husband is worried that he could be in the same class as his older brother (who would not be very happy).
Some reason this made me chuckle. A little competition never hurts, right?
O.K. I guess I am a Bad Sadistic Momma!

Respect

A few nights ago, my husband reminded my youngest son that he had a math test the next day.
He thought he knew the material but we "suggested" that he study a bit after dinner. As I was getting Colin set up at his study table, my middle son cut in.

" I've got this Mom, I'm going to help Colin. I know what Mrs. N looks for on her tests."


I must say I was a bit relieved. Not sure I would have been much help. I dragged my oldest son upstairs as he was starting to mock his brother for sounding just like a teacher. As we were leaving the room, we heard Alex scolding his "student".

"Colin, you need to show me some respect! You wouldn't talk to Mrs. N like that, would you???"


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Extra Credit

This is my 6th grader's Home Ec extra credit home project. I love this class!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Fragments - The Power of People / Week in Review

Friday Fragments?
Friday Fragments


On Monday we sent Flat Weaselmomma back home to regroup before her journey to visit
The Microblogologist.

She was a great guest, a lot of fun and we have been "introduced" to some of her blog friends. (Sill waiting to hear what happened at Busy Dad's. She wouldn't tell us!)

We miss her already! Good times.... *sigh*

Elections Are Finally Over!
Elections remind me a bit of Christmas. There's a lot of hype that builds to a crescendo on the "big night". I couldn't stay awake and went to bed not knowing what "gifts" I would find the next morning.

While we may not have gotten everything we asked for, there is a no-returns or exchanges policy. Just suck it up, be grateful for what you have and get over any disappointments. Time to reach across the aisle and make peace and spread goodwill. For those of you worried about a new president being "tested" early on, the real test was for the American people. The whole world was watching to see how we would handle ourselves during this election. I think we passed this round. I am proud to say I'm an American!

Friends of our Friends


In the blog world I have discovered that "Friends of our Friends are our Friends, too". Tara from If Mom Says OK first brought the matter of Sheila Kathleen McBroom aka Beany aka So Grateful to Be Mormon, who disappeared without a trace, to my attention both on her blog and at Cre8Buzz.

Several of Beany's other blog friends have also been actively involved in shining a light on her missing person investigation (or lack thereof). The outpouring of support for Kathleen and her family has been incredible. Not only from those who know her, but from those of us who are friends of her friends. This is what I love about the blog-world, it is full of caring, compassionate individuals.

I "borrowed" the info below from Tara's blog.

Have you seen this woman?

beany_sm

Missing since 10/27/08

Please call Det.Cynthia Bradley with any information regarding the disappearance of Shelia Kathleen McBroom phone (907) 786-8817 or e-mail

cbradley@ci.anchorage.ak.us

The Power of People


When I first started my blog, I had some fear of the unknown. There is so much talk of "stranger danger" and "predators" associated with the Internet, I had a healthy respect of the risks involved with posting online for all to see.

Instead, I have discovered the upside to the Blog World. I have "met" some very wonderful, caring people, with some very strange names. Most of us sound like gang members. Although we cloak ourselves in a layer of anonymity, our blog friends sometimes know things about us that our friends and family may not. A funny thing happens when we bare our souls to strangers; they become friends.

It is hard to explain my "Blog Friends" and the joys of blogging to "non-believers". I have seen the power of the Blog World and want to make sure you all know how much you mean to me.

Thank you for being a friend!



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

FWM Visit Highlights & Recap


All good things must come to an end and it is time for Flat WeaselMomma
to move on. We had such a great time!

After Trick or Treating, we pigged out on candy, had a few glasses of wine and ... well the rest is a sugar and alcohol induced fog. Needless to say, I felt like this guy.



Flat Weaselmomma only came with the clothes on her back. We made sure she got a hot shower. Thank goodness we had a flat guest towel just her size!

We also made sure she had a clean night gown. My oldest son made a nifty pillow in Home Ec which was just her size.My middle son kept the lattes coming.
My younger two sons gave a special piano concert. They have been taking lessons for 10 months now. We spared her my eldest son's trumpet solo as he is just starting out.

Alex plays "Silent Movie" for our Silent Guest


Colin performs "The River" for Flat Weaselmomma

I hope I can come visit the World of Weasels ( Flat Bad Momma). Perhaps in Spring. I wish we had more time to show her around and hope she will come back to see us after her national tour. I can't wait to see what happened in LA with Busy Dad and look forward to the rest of her adventures!

Good Bye Flat Weaselmomma. Thanks for coming to visit! This was fun!