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Saturday 9: What's New, Pussycat?

Best Buy: This Is Tom Jones: What's New Pussycat [DVD]

Welcome one, and welcome all, to the carnage carnival that is my life blahg. Sit right down and buckle up, because away. we. go! We've got another Tom Jones song on tap for you today, and even though it's not "It's Not Unusual," my mind is still doing The Carlton anyway.

So that's always fun.

I don't have much else to report in this particular post, so we're going to jump right into in. Be sure and link up here if you're joining us this week!

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Saturday 9: What's New, Pussycat? (1965)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
 
Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2023.

1) In this song, Tom Jones wants to know what's new in his girl's life. Here at Saturday 9, we're concentrating on the new year. What do you hope will be new and different in your life during 2023?
 
I'm hoping to be - and for my house to be - more organized and thus, more productive this year. Starting with my pantry. I've purchased online a number of organizing and storage items for it, and I'm now just waiting for everything to roll in. I'm going to take before, during, and after pictures, so I don't quite yet want to show the train wreck that it currently is!
 
2) He sings that he has flowers for his special girl. Are there fresh flowers in your home right now?
 
Floral arrangement featuring an orange pincushion with dark pink roses, orange roses and green robelina palms 1
 
Not yet, but our 22nd anniversary was on January 2nd, and I know Hubs ordered from The Bouqs for me. I looove The Bouqs! Save 20% off your first order with HELLO20! (This is NOT a referral, and I am not an affiliate - just a happy customer.)
 
3) He also wants to spend hours with her. What is something you'd like to spend more time doing in 2023?
 
2023 Honda Odyssey Trim Levels | EX vs. EX-L vs. TouringCricut Maker-Lilac+Essentials Bundle – Cricut
 
This may sound really stupid, but reading manuals and finally learning how to use shit stuff I own.
 
4) Before his music career took off, Tom Jones supported himself by selling vacuum cleaners. Could your home benefit from a once-over with a vacuum right now?
 
Most of it, yeah. My youngest kiddo just did the stairs. We also need to hit our bedroom with the rug cleaner, because our deer chihuahua, who never does this, just puked in there this morning, and we just spot-treated it. He's still pukey, so we haven't gone in there with the machine yet.
 
5) Memorabilia from Tom's 1990 world tour was available on eBay, and the bids went up to $599 for a jacket worn by the stage crew. Have you ever bought anything at an auction (online or otherwise)?
 
Listia - Wikipedia
 
Yes, I've bought quite a bit on eBay, and I used to get things (and list them) on Listia, too. I auctioned things for a long time in my own group on Facebook, too. Wildly successful.
 
6) Tom's adult grandson, Alex, represented Wales in rifle shooting in the Commonwealth Games. Is there a sport you'd like to try, or get better at, in 2023?
 
Murderball Movie Review | Common Sense Media
 
Nah, murderball really isn't my thing.
 
7) In 1965, when this song was popular, Tom Jones made a new friend, Elvis Presley. Tom had a meeting at Paramount Studios to discuss recording a song for a movie soundtrack and Elvis was finishing a film. It was the beginning of a friendship that would continue for the rest of Elvis' life. Did you make any new friends in 2022?
 
I certainly did! I believe I made a group of women friends for life!

8) Also in 1965, The Sound of Music premiered and became one of the most successful movies of all time. Have you seen it?
 
9 Best Sound of music meme ideas | sound of music, sound of music meme,  humor
 
Oh yes, at least a dozen times. I love musicals. And Julie Andrews. Especially Julie Andrews.

9) Random question: Were you like those shoppers we saw on TV, in line at a retailer after the holidays to exchange a gift that wasn't quite right?
 
What shoppers we saw on TV? Which year? This year? I haven't watched TV - at least not live TV - since I-don't-know-when and no, I wasn't returning anything except by mail. Easy peasy! I hope you all liked any gifts you were fortunate enough to receive!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Happy day to you all!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Just Because

Elvis Presley: A First-Time Listener's Guide | Billboard – Billboard

Howdy-ho, neighbors! This weekend's post focuses on this song, Just Because, by Elvis Presley.  This is significant to me because I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized the man (and, I'm sure, still does) and could do a mean impression of him as well. My dad could sing well, could do the moves, and even had some of the requisite attire to make the whole thing convincing. Of course, I've heard every Elvis song ever, 50,000 times over, backward and forward... right?

I had not ever heard this song before.

So, my friends, link up here if you want to join us this weekend. Read on for my answers. Thank you, Crazy Sam, for dusting this one off for me (okay, us)! Let's hit it:

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Saturday 9: Just Because (1956)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this week's song, Elvis complains that his girl has confused him with Santa Claus. This time of year, Santa is prominent. Did you more recently hear Santa referred to in a song, see him in a holiday decoration or ad, watch him in a film or TV show, or maybe even met him in person, ringing a bell or asking kids if they have been naughty or nice?

Christmas Carols for Children | Christmas songs for kids, Christmas carols  for kids, Xmas songs

Yes, we've been listening to a lot of Christmas carols lately as we work through the activities in our Advent calendar. Santa features prominently in these, of course.

2) Finally Elvis just can't take it anymore and breaks up with her, just because. Is there anyone in your life who has a way of pressing your buttons and getting on your nerves?

That's probably true for everyone, I'm guessing.

3) "Just Because" is one of the last songs Elvis recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis. TripAdvisor recommends a Sun Studio tour as one of the top things to do in Memphis. Have you ever been to Memphis? If yes, what did you do?

15 TOP Things To Do in Memphis | Attractions & Activities

I've only ever driven through Memphis, and also Nashville, and also half a dozen times Chattanooga. I have stayed in Gatlinburg. Memphis would be an interesting trip, though.

4) Elvis left Sun for RCA, a much bigger record label. As part of the deal, RCA negotiated for the rights to all his unreleased Sun songs. "Just Because" is one of them, and it was included on Elvis' first RCA album. Have you gotten a good deal on anything lately?

Best Buy: SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker Kit Icy Blue 1011711017

I get a good deal on just about everything. Like the SodaStream I got for Chloë for Christmas, I paid nowhere near full price, nor did I pay full price for the flavors for it, nor will I ever! And she'll be so thrilled to have it, so win-win!

5) In 1956, when "Just Because" was released, non-stick cookware was first introduced. Do you have any Teflon in your kitchen right now?

Shock Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

No way in hell!

6) Elvis thought peacocks were beautiful and commissioned stained glass peacock panels for his living room. Do you have any stained glass in your home?

The Most Beautiful Stained Glass in the World | Condé Nast Traveler

No, but I certainly do wish! It's so beautiful.

7) He tried to keep peacocks at Graceland. One of the birds saw its reflection in Elvis' gold Cadillac and started pecking, ruining the car's expensive paint job. Elvis donated the peacocks to the Memphis Zoo. Have you ever had a bird as a pet?

Well not exactly pets, but we used to keep chickens when we lived in Idaho for the eggs, and the five of us each had "our" specific chickens that we felt we belonged to and were particularly attached to. I loved those chickens. Here, we're not allowed to have any because of our HOA rules, even though the town would allow three, which makes me want to be a scofflaw and keep ducks. They don't say anything about ducks.

8) Elvis decorated the long Graceland driveway for the holidays with blue lights. His father teased that with the airport nearby, pilots might confuse their driveway with a runway. What airport is nearest your home?

I believe the nearest major airport is Baltimore International, although we have tons of regional ones between there and here.

9) When Elvis was alive, he kept the holiday lights up until January 9, the day after his birthday. That tradition continues at Graceland today. Conventional etiquette tells us Christmas decorations should go up the day after Thanksgiving and come down before January 6 (the 12th day of Christmas). Do you think it's ever too early, or too late, for Christmas decorations?

Holiday Light Displays | VisitMaryland.org

Well, for stores and other commercial enterprises, yeah, I kinda think there is a limit for too-early/too-late. But for private families and people, I think, who gives a rat's behind? Let people do what makes them happy! So what if Joe Schmoe at the end of the block likes to keep his lights up until the end of March and put them up again after Halloween? What's it to me? I don't pay his light bill and it's honestly kind of pretty. I'm of more of a laissez-faire kind of mind about that for private citizens.

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Welp, that's all folks! Back to wrapping presents with Chloë, my eldest! Seems like the job will never be done, but that's not a complaint! I'm grateful for the abundance, always grateful.

Have a wonderful week on purpose, everybody!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Lights

Ellie Goulding – Lights Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Hello again. Welcome back.

I just can't believe how fast Fridays are rolling around lately. The time from Friday to Friday seems like a blink, even though the time we've spent here in Ocean City hotels (nine weeks?) seems interminable. Weird how these things work. I guess Einstein might have something to say about it.

Link up here if you want to join in with us this week!

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Saturday 9: Lights (2011)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song was inspired by a young Ellie Goulding's fear of the dark. What scared you when you were a kid?
 
5 Ways to Know the Signs of Child Abuse
 
My family. Everything. Every G*d-d*amned thing.
 
2) She thinks back to the room where her brother and sister slept and she felt safe. Did you share a room when you were growing up?

shared-room-ideas-for-sisters-sisters-sharing-bedroom-ideas-best-sister- bedroom-ideas-on-sister-room-sisters-shared-bedrooms-and-twin-sisters- sharing-bedroom-ideas-sisters-shared-room-ideas - Kids Emporium
 
I shared a room with my sister until I was about 6½ and we moved to a new house. It was never so sweet as one like this, though!
 
3) Ellie Goulding grew up in public housing and worked her way through the University of Kent in Canterbury. Back in those days, her favorite job was theater usher because it offered her the perk of seeing plays for free. What's the most recent "freebie" you scored? (This includes a buy one/get one deal, extra points on your credit card, etc.)
 
Caramel frappe with extra chocolate &caramel - Picture of McDonald's, Ames  - Tripadvisor
 
I actually just redeemed for a free large Caramel Frappe for my son, from the McDonalds app. He's been digging those lately.
 
4) Even though today she is an international music star, Ellie still lives modestly. She describes herself as "still in university mode," and limits herself to $10/day for lunch. Where do you economize?
 
Frugal – MANITOWIKI
 
Oh, everywhere I can. I'm pretty frugal. I've been teaching the kids how to avoid waste since Day One. I use coupons whenever possible. I use every restaurant and retailer's loyalty program to stock up on their points or whatever it is they use. We've got three kids (well, one's grown now, sigh) and have always had a menagerie of pets, so in order to provide for them and the occasional "nice" whatever, being frugal has been essential.

5) Ellie has proclaimed herself "a cat lady" and often posts pictures of her cats to her Instagram account. What's the most recent photo you took?
 
 
I took a couple pictures of this pocketwatch, which I recently bought on Etsy and gave to my daughter, Sophia.

6) Ellie appeared on Sesame Street. She, Elmo and Abby thanked clouds for raindrops, lakes, and the water we drink. Would you be thankful for a little rain this weekend?
 
 
Probably not. Tomorrow (Sunday), we're looking at this house that's out in the woods a bit, and I'd rather have a sunshine-y day for that!

7) In 2011, the year "Lights" was a hit, Prince William married Kate Middleton. Ellie not only attended the wedding, she sang Elton John's "Your Song" for the couple's first dance. Tell us a song that reminds you of a romance in your life.
 

Well, it may not be super-romantic in the traditional sense, but "If I Had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies (imperative to watch/listen, if you don't know it!) brings me back to the beginning of this 20-year romance I've shared with Rob. I can't believe we're actually rounding the corner on completing two decades together and when he played this song for me the night he put a ring on it!
 
8) Also in 2011, AT&T abandoned their attempt to buy T-Mobile. Which company is your cell phone carrier? Are you happy with them?
 
Funny texts pranks, Funny texts, Message mom
 
We switched to AT&T way back when we still lived in Virginia Beach. I guess it's okay; we're still using 'em. I figure we're on the line between no signal and not so huge of a bill (which we had with T-Mobile), and a great signal and a huge bill (which I haven't wanted to bite the bullet on and join Verizon). So we have a crappy signal and a huge bill.

9) Random question: What recent experience made you feel old?
 

We're in the middle of a feeling-old hat trick, I think: We just celebrated Chloë's 19th birthday, moved her out into her own apartment, and she'll be voting in her first Presidential election soon. Doesn't take much more than that!

~*~*~*~*~

Alright, y'all. I seriously need to go grab a shower, and then hopefully I'll still have enough energy afterward to delve into Sunday Stealing. (Shower's wear me OUT.)

Fin.


Photo Shoot With The Goofiest Child

08072020 Sophia Haori a Collage

So, my 15-year-old kiddo, Sophia, is the queen of being a hilarious pain in the ass. I mean, since she was born, we have witnessed this child do the most ridiculous things that you might be inclined to get mad at, but she's so freaking funny, ya just can't. Parenting is tough, you know?

I recently picked up some clothes online on Express, with a gift card I had to use before it expires. I constantly have to be buying clothes for this growin'-like-a-weed kid of mine. Since she was asleep at the time I was buying them, it was a crap shoot as to whether they would fit, and whether she would actually like them. Not the first time.

Showing her the order, with pictures of the clothing, didn't seem too promising. She appeared to like maybe one thing.

Above, at the top, she'd styled her hair with the pretty orange scrunchie, the intricate-looking tights, and a black jumpsuit - all Express. (I had given her the haori she paired with this outfit from Kimonoshi for her birthday.) So to go along with the pop of orange, I'd asked her to snip one of the lilies her dad had given me recently and smell it. I did not expect her to put her nose right into the flower. When she pulled the flower off her face, there was pollen stuck to her nose and cheeks!

It was pretty funny, but not as hilarious as the things she said about it. This... was not fit to print.

So after Sophia got all the flower yuk off her - which took quite some effort - she was not thrilled to participate in any more clothes modeling for me:

08072020 Sophia Jumpsuit a Collage

Decided to lose the haori, too.  She's still adorable and full of spunk (no pun intended), though!

08072020 Sophia Jumpsuit b Collage

It's super cute, right? It's kind of a capri-length jumpsuit, which at almost 5'6", she didn't want, but on her it's adorable! 

08072020 Sophia Olive Shirt Collage

Look at those goofy faces! She didn't like this olive green "Slub Crew Neck Slim Tee" too much at first, because it's a bit more revealing than what she usually wears, but after I made sure to let her know how great it looks on her, I think she came around.

By the way, with that blond hair, styled that way, at that length, and as she gets older... suddenly I'm seeing my mom in her. (Mom died when I was 7; she was very young herself.) I have seen it loads of times in Jack and Chloë their entire lives, but never really Sophie as she takes after my dad and me more. It's very breathtaking when it happens. I find myself staring at her. It must be so weird to be on the kid end of things when that happens, but I almost can't help myself.

08072020 Sophia Red Shirt a Collage

Would you look at this monkey? Dramatic much? (I don't know where she gets that.)

08072020 Sophia Red Shirt b Collage

::snort::

No, not overly dramatic at all. Somehow I managed to buy her two of these red "Crew Neck Easy" t-shirts - but at least it fits, right?

08072020 Sophia White Love Shirt collage

Of course, I had to get her this "Love" tee that was on clearance. She wore it today and yesterday.

08072020 Sophia White Tank collage

And finally, I snagged her this "Slub Ruched Side Tie Easy" tank top in white. Good while there's still some Summertime left.

And then, that mad dash for the door is not just to get away from my lens (although also that). That was the moment she remembered she'd put a pot on to boil downstairs!

Ha. I love that kid, but she's a knucklehead!

6wsButton

I'm so late posting this, but at least it's still Saturday on the Pacific coast!

I participated in Six Word Saturday many years ago when it was on Show My Face, but they decided to retire the gig and now it seems to be run by Debbie over at Travel With Intent. Link up this weekend on this post of hers here, if you wish!

Lots of us break the numeric rule and share many more words, so the key rule now is to have a post title of six words, and then create around that the post that you desire - perhaps in bunches of 6 words if you’re really feeling inspired.

To join the challenge, put a link in your post to the URL of this post. Then go back and leave a comment. (If you have any problems with linking, just put your own URL into the comment.) Feel free to socialize digitally – tweet, instagram, flickr, etc. with the hashtags #SixWordSaturday and #6WS.

Fin.

p.s. I get excited about good deals. You've got to forgive me. I paid $43.03 shipped for over $224 worth of Express clothes!


Saturday 9: Moonlighting

Two Characters Yelling at Each Other': Inside Bruce Willis and Cybill  Shepherd's Feud

Moonlighting | TV fanart | fanart.tv

Welcome back, ladies and gents! What a week. What a week!

Forget about what's going on in this crazy country.  Some women (myself included) may have had an online countdown to their baby's due date. Or to their wedding date (not guilty; eloped). And so on. I'm sure I'm not the only one counting down the seconds until election day. Amirite?!

Personally, even more upheaval than I talked about last week. Last time, I said we were going to sell the "perfect house" in the country and get back to the city (aka Boise). Now, we're going to sell the house in the country, the eldest child is going to stay here and carry on with her live, the rest of us are going to move back to the East Coast, and we're going to buy another house. It's crazy town.

Meanwhile, with all of my myriad health problems going on for the last several years, my doc has run a bunch of blood tests and determined, among other swell bits of news, that the mononucleosis I had back as a freshman in college has been reactivated. Which explains why I need a nap every day just to recover from the nap I just had. And then maybe another nap.

Everyone's in a tizzy about moving and packing and house-selling and house-buying, and my sleepy-@$$ is of absolutely no use to anyone. I'm doing what I do best: I'm making a whole lot of lists.

So, let's get on with things. You didn't really come here to listen to my life. Link up here to play along!

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Saturday 9: Moonlighting (1985)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Moonlighting was an award-winning comedy-drama that ran from 1985 to 1989. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan?

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Moonlighting

I watched from time to time. I would have been 9-13 years old then. It wasn't a huge priority, but if it was on and nothing else was, I might've watched. I'm not a huge fan of Cybill Shepherd.

2) The series revolved around The Blue Moon Detective Agency in Los Angeles. There have been countless TV shows and movies about detectives and their cases, yet Crazy Sam doesn't know anyone who has ever hired a private investigator. How about you? Have you ever had anything or anyone investigated?

First day as a private investigator] *Forgets to turn off camera shutter  sound *Gets murdered | Funny Tweeter

^^^ That would be me. I haven't hired a PI, but I have called the police to file a report a few times. I can quickly think of at least three. Fortunately for me in these situations, I'm white, so I didn't get murdered.

3) The agency was named Blue Moon because one of the owners, Maddie Hayes, was a model known as The Blue Moon Girl, famous for promoting Blue Moon Shampoo. If we were to rename their detective agency based on the shampoo you most recently used, what would it be called?

SoapBox Soaps Review + Discount Code — Writings & Worship

Well, I guess it would be the Soapbox Detective Agency. I love my Soapbox shampoos and conditioners, which I get from Grove Collaborative. (If you use that link, you'll get a free gift set.) Soapbox is great for so many reasons, from being environmentally-responsible to being philanthropic: for every product purchased, they donate a bar of soap to someone in need, either state-side or internationally. Aside from all that, it works great on my thin, baby-fine hair!

4) Cybill Shepherd played Maddie Hayes. Cybill believes we can all find romance many times and said she considers the concept of one true love as "dramatic treacle." Do you agree?

True Love : funny

I do agree with her. I think any given person can have many different soulmates throughout their life. I never subscribed to the idea that a person only found ONE "the one" in their life, and that was it.

5) David Addison was played by Bruce Willis. At the beginning of his career he couldn't support himself as a actor and held down part-time jobs as a security guard, shuttle bus driver and bartender. How many different occupations have you had?

Dude. I think I've had just about every part-time job there is. When I got my first full-time job, as a legal secretary, I finally felt all grown up! Of course, my status has been "stay-home mom/homemaker" for the better part of the last 20 years, so it's almost time to shake it up again there, too.

6) The Moonlighting theme was co-written and performed by Al Jarreau. While in college, Al planned on being a career counselor. Yet once he began performing with a jazz trio, he knew that music was where his heart was. Tell us about a time you found joy from an unexpected source.

Pressed Flower Bookmark 2

Oh, I find simple pleasures all around, all the time. I have to, maybe, as a self-preservation mechanism or else I'd go insane! ...Lately, I've been making these bookmarks to include in cards I'm sending as part of a program of support for LGBT youth. A lot of the others involved in this program have raved about how beautiful they are and have asked for one/some. I never expected that and got a nice dose of warm fuzzies out of it.

7) Moonlighting was created by Glenn Gordon Caron. ABC gave him the opportunity based on his work on Remington Steele and Taxi. Of these three shows -- Moonlighting, Remington Steele and Taxi -- which would you prefer to binge watch?

REMINGTON STEELE PIERCE BROSNAN FUTURE JAMES BOND GREAT PHOTO | eBay

Need I say more? I mean, Pierce Brosnan. SEXY!
 
8) In 1985, the year Moonlighting premiered, Coca Cola introduced The New Coke. It was not successful and disappeared from store shelves quickly. What's the most recent beverage you drank?

Trial | Cirkul

I'm still loving and sucking down my Cirkul water! (That link will get you $5 off your purchase.) They have a ton of tasty flavors, many different lines/formulations, and just something for everyone! I'm so happy Cirkul has helped me kick WAY back on my Diet Coke habit.

9) Random question  -- Each day, do you put more time into improving your mind or your appearance?

Keeping Your Mind Fit: Improving Memory as you Age | Regions

Ha! When you're as sick as I've gotten, your appearance is generally an afterthought. I rarely have the energy to care about that. I do, however, experience brain fog and memory deficits, so I'm always working on improving that. I rely so heavily on this brain; can't have it crapping out on me!

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Well, I hope you all have the day ahead that you're hoping to have. When things go according to plan - or better than we imagined - that's just the best feeling, isn't it? I wish that for you today.

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Sweet Escape

Hi, you guys!! I'm going to get into Saturday 9 in a moment. But first, let me say:

Image result for Happy 18th birthday

to this young lady today:

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Can you guys believe it? My kids have practically grown up in front if y'all on Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing, and here now as of this very day, my firstborn is an adult! I swear, I'm in absolute shock. Happy birthday, Chloë Raine!

Okay. On to Saturday 9. Link up here to play along with us today!

(And I may jump in and do last week's, which I missed due to illness.)

Image result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emoji

The Sweet Escape (2006)

Image result for gwen stefani sweet escape

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
 
1) This song begins with, "First of all, let me say I must apologize ..." Who most recently apologized to you?

_DSC0608a

Actually, it was this girl. We bumped heads or something, and she immediately apologized. Chloë, like her mother, is an over-apologizer. People ask us to stop, and we just can't! It's annoying for us, too. Just so you know.

2) Gwen Stefani sings that she acted like "sour milk on the floor." Is there milk in your refrigerator right now? What about non-dairy creamer?

Image result for almond milk funny

I'm pretty sure there is cow's milk in the fridge for the kids' cereal right now. We do need to pick up some more almond milk for me, though.

3) In the video, Gwen wears several different pairs of stiletto heels. What are you wearing on your feet as you answer these questions?

Image result for amazing stiletto heels

Great for those who can and want to wear stilettos, high heels, and all that - but I can't and never really wanted to. I've worn stiletto pumps a few memorable times, but I can rarely find any, let alone a billion pairs, that make me think, "Yeah, I'd rather wear those shoes, put that dent in my wallet, and sacrifice my foot health." It just doesn't happen. So right now, I'm barefoot. I usually am.

4) Mrs. Stefani named her daughter "Gwen" after a stewardess in the book/movie Airport. Who was your favorite character in the book you just read, or movie you most recently watched?

Related image

Okay, so it's neither a book nor a movie, but I'm watching "Dear White People" on Netflix lately, and I adore the Samantha White character. She's sassy and smart - and stunning!

5) Gwen is a distant cousin of Madonna's. Are there any performers in your family?

2008-02-02 17.58.02-2

Well, Chloë started acting and modeling at 5 years old, but about 10 or 11 years later, she decided she wanted to take an extended break from it to focus on other things. (The rejection is tough!) And Sophia is now in the marching band (percussion) - her first parade is today! - and competes in equestrian events. Jack is nooottttttt the performing type!

6) In high school, she joined the swim team not because she enjoys swimming but because she wanted to lose weight. Are you doing anything (dieting, participating in an exercise regimen) in order to shed a few pounds?

WIN_20190629_09_43_46_Pro
I want to, but I'm not sure what to do. I've been all over the map weight-wise, and now that I've gained back a fair number of lbs from the medicine I take, I admit, I'm depressed. I decided to try the keto diet in July, to disastrous effects. It really messed up my blood sugar stability, and I had severe hypoglycemia every day. And I'm dealing with gastroparesis now, and all sorts of things, so I just don't know what to do, honestly.

7) Before she became successful, Gwen worked at the makeup counter in a department store. What was the last thing you purchased? Did you buy it online or at a store?

CZZPTC Leather Women's Slip-On Sneakers Cushioned Insole Casual Comfortable Loafers Fashion Classic Flat Shoes White

I bought this pair of shoes for Chloë from Amazon. I didn't really pay for them, though; I get free items as an Ambassador for a company, in exchange for my honest reviews. I hope they fit her!

8) Gwen has gotten a great deal of publicity for her romance with country star, Blake Shelton. What's your favorite Blake Shelton song?

Related image

Gah, they're so cute together, aren't they? I hope they last and stay happy. I love his song, "God's Country," ever since I saw him debut it on The Voice last Spring.

9) Random question: Which of these compliments would make you the happiest: to be called fascinating, or brilliant, or gorgeous?

Silver-engagement-rings-ravishing-upgrade-engagement-ring-before-and-after-decorative-upgrade-gallery-970x1227

Well, I think that, like this sapphire engagement ring from Lauren B Jewelry, it's possible to be all three in the same moment. Likewise, I think all three may last a lifetime or be fleeting and momentary. That being said, if I could only be one, and even if would only last a moment, I would want to be thought of as brilliant. I'd choose that option 10 times out of 10.

Image result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emojiImage result for celebration emoji

That was fun, Sam, thanks! Might come back later and do some catching up from last week but for right now, I've got some more birthday planning to do! See ya later on the blogiverse.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Swap-Bot Questionnaire

Welcome, welcome, kids of all ages!

Thanks for all the well wishes about my eardrum rupturing Friday. It definitely wasn't fun, but I've had problems with that ear since we came up from 0' above sea level in Miami to ~2500' above sea level in Boise over two years ago. That ear just did not want to make the trip! The constant Val Salvo maneuver is my life now. When I do it now, the air screams out of that hole in my eardrum so loudly that Rob and the kids can hear, too. It's weird.

Anyway!

Link up here if you want to play along with the rest of us this weekend.

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Swap-Bot asked people to post questions they would like to answer.  Bev copied them all and put together this brief selection.

What do you enjoy about summer?

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I like the carefree, mostly-unscheduled nature of it, the freedom, the warmth, everything. It seems like the most "come as you are" season of the year.

Do you like snow? Why?

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haaaaate snow. I grew up in Syracuse, New York, the lake-effect snow capitol of the world. I've done my time! If that isn't 'nuff said, then also, it means I'll be c-c-c-cold, and being cold causes me intense pain nowadays. Then there's the blackish-brown crap that gets all over everything after the street cleaners come through the place. That's three reasons, but I could go on.

What do you think about dogs?

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I am a dog lover, through and through. (But then, I love all animals!)

Have you ever gotten lost?

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Oh, I'm the genius who perpetually gets lost outside her own driveway - especially if she tries to "wing it" and turns off Google Maps to get there. I have no sense of direction!!

What are your favorite type of socks?

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This is gonna sound like I'm joking, but I promise you I'm not: Most of my socks are hospital socks. I have texture issues, and the socks from the hospital don't bug those at all. In fact, my friend Gwyn sent me a boatload of her husband's old hospital socks upon hearing this, and I love her for it! I always keep my hospital socks when I've been there.

What is your favorite style of shoes?

Crocs.

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I used to wear these Crocs Cypress heels a lot, but I can't wear heels anymore now that falling is a constant risk for me.

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Now I wear almost exclusively Crocs, but it's more like these Patricia sandals, which I have in several colors. I had to give my Navy ones (above) to Sophia, though, because they stretch out over time and were no longer snug enough on my size 5½ feet.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

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It would be the Sweet Pea. Didn't even have to think about that one.

What common misconception do you hate to hear repeated as fact?

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I worked on the concept of "novice theory" for my graduate thesis, especially as it pertains to the Theory of Evolution. Note the caps on the latter presentation of the word, versus the former. And that's the crux of it: Most people don't understand the concept of Scientific Theory vs. the theories we bandy about day-to-day, in our normal, non-scientific lives, and suppose are correct. That of Evolution is well-founded in example after example, able to be observed by the human eye in a short time period, and is well-replicated inside and outside the lab. This is true whether it agrees with our own ideas of what religion should dictate or not. Sorry if you don't like it, Joe Schmo, but that's just the way it is.

What was the last shop you went into and what did you buy?

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I've been a couponer since birth. My mother taught me. After she died, my sister Stacey would cut all the coupons, and I would sort them into their respective categories. I continued doing that as I went to college, and on into adulthood. Now, things have gone high-tech, and I could teach Mom a thing or two! Chloë is a girl after my own heart: she loves to save a buck and cringes when she sees someone needlessly paying full price. I love to give away our haul to battered women's shelters, the families at the Ronald McDonald House, etc. So we thought we'd take $150 and see what we could get from Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS. I'm not sure which one was the last one we went into, but we ended up with well over $1,000 worth of merchandise.

What's your favourite thing to do to pass the time?

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Back in the day, I easily could've said "read." Now, I don't know... waste time online? When I was pregnant with Chloë, my aim was to spend the time, having hyperemesis gravidarum, catching up on the classics. Except, I stumbled across Sidney Sheldon works in the library and read all of those books instead. Quite a different thing! Since motherhood, I haven't exactly given myself permission to sit and read. I really need to re-learn how to allow myself that.

What is a way to die that scares you the most?

I would not like to suffocate or drown. The thought terrifies me.

Travel or homebody?

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Oh, I may be trapped in my body, but my body is not one to be trapped in Idaho. Plenty of World left for me to see!!

Have you ever gone to a Bingo hall?

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I have not.

What is the longest plane trip you have taken?

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Listen, you've never flown long-haul until you've moved from Panama City, Florida, to Guam whilst pregnant with twins, with a one-year-old child. And then flown back four months later... 🙄

Do you text more or call more? Why?

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I much prefer to text over calling. I have severe phone anxiety. So do several other members of my family. It's a thing. If you don't have have it, lucky you, but please don't let that diminish your capacity to understand that others do. (I'm a "yes" to all, btw.)

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Well, on that cheerful note, I'll say buh-bye! LOL Tonight, after all, is the Matador dinner with Hubs, finally, after I felt like shit all day Saturday. Tequila!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Come And Knock On Our Door

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Hey, Saturday 9 fam.  Welcome back. I'm suffering from exhaustion right now and am trying to rally and be chipper, so we'll see. Seeing the Three's Company gang helped; that was my faaaaaaavorite show back in the original airing days! Super happy to see this feature.

Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this weekend!

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Saturday 9: "Come and Knock on Our Door" (1976)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) This week's song was the theme to Three's Company, a sitcom that ran for eight seasons. Were you a fan?

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Definitely!! Especially John Ritter and Chrissy's chemistry. This show and Dukes of Hazzard were my whole televisional existence as a kid.
 
2) The Three's Company theme was composed by Joe Raposo, who also wrote the theme to Sesame Street. Can you recall any of the lyrics to the Sesame Street song?

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Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? I even named my pet rat in fifth grade, who had similar coloration, "Barkley" after this SS doggo.

3) The lyrics to this song invite you to "come and knock on our door." What's the last door you knocked on (or the most recent doorbell your rang)?

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Gosh... Other than knocking on my kids' bedroom doors when they're shut, I can't remember the last time I rang a bell or knocked on someone's door. Huh. It's really been ages.

4) Three's Company was about three roommates who live together platonically, sharing a two bedroom apartment. Tell us about a roommate who shared your living quarters.

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Speaking of Janet, I'll tell you about my roommate Janet. When I moved to St. Pete, FL, from Miami, she was my roommate. Janet was about a decade older than I was and was a wildlife ranger who intercepted animals illegally smuggled into the United States. She had a lot of interesting stories! One time, someone smuggled in a hippo. Yes. A freaking hippo.

5) Each of the roommates has a profession: Jack is a cook, Chrissy is a secretary (aka administrative assistant) and Janet is a florist. When did you last buy flowers?

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I can't remember. Earlier this year. But these, here, are the gorgeous tulips my kids gave me for this year's Mother's Day. Trader Joe's has great flowers for great prices!

6) They often meet their neighbor, Larry, at a nearby bar called The Regal Beagle. What's the name of the establishment where you most recently enjoyed an adult beverage? 

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I don't drink very often anymore, although I have had a few wine coolers at home lately. Or at least, a sip here and a sip there. In February, my friend Becca from Becca's Backyard and I went on a fancy Galentine's date to Chandler's in downtown Boise. We had so, so, so much fun. It's so cool living near someone I met as a blogger now, and being fast friends.
 
7) Their meddling landlord was Mr. Roper. He was cheap, nosy, and very talented at fixing things around the building. How much are you like Mr. Roper? Are you frugal? Nosy? A handy do-it-yourselfer?

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I am certainly frugal; I hate paying full-price for anything and fight for every penny I spend/save. I don't like to call myself "nosy" but rather use the term "interested."  I like to study human nature. I used to be much more of a do-it-yourselfer than I am able to be now. Fortunately, Hubs still is - even after multiple surgeries to remove his brain tumor and prostate cancer! I'm so thankful for him and told him so last night, actually.
 
8) Three's Company was controversial again, more than 15 years after it ceased production. In March 2001, Nick at Nite re-edited an episode after a viewer called, alerting the network that a bit too much of John Ritter was visible in his blue boxer shorts. Have you ever called, emailed or written to, a TV station to complain?

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No. I don't believe I have.

9) Random question -- Is the screen on your cellphone cracked?

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No, not at the moment, despite the fact I drop it constantly. I appear to have a really good case and cover on it. Watch, now that I've told you that, it'll shatter tomorrow!

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Fun time. Thank you, "Sam," for all that you do. I appreciate your hard work.

Fin.


Doing Our Part To #MoveTheDate: Part The First

Hey, peeps! I've always been an avid tree-hugger, and right now is really a time in my life where I want to focus on actions that are good for me, good for my family, and good for our planet. I thought I'd tell you about some of those things.

Eco Post #1 - Amazon Straws

So for our scientific exploration this year at Sweet Pea Academy, we're focusing on Ecology and the Environment. One of our objectives for this class is to take one of the #MoveTheDate pledges from this website each month and, individually and as a family, make it a top priority to implement that pledge in our daily lives. Then we evaluate how we've done at the end of each month. The first month we pledged to #GoVeggie, and although we didn't 100% meet our goal, we definitely made some significant progress.

Also, as a mom, educator, and concerned citizen of the planet, I'm taking every additional step I can think of to contribute and set an example. Reducing packaging and waste is a big push for me. So recently, we ordered this set of 12+2 Cleaner Pieces Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws, in four colors: Gold, Silver, Rose Gold & Black - 20 oz & 30 oz Tumblers Straws (Bent). This whole plastic straw mess - as well as all the plastic garbage clogging up our waterways - is killing me! So the straw thing is going well with this set, and 12 seems to be enough for our family of five so far. I recommend them!

Multi-Colored Napkins

I have lots of other eco-friendly goodies on my family wish list, of course, including this colorful 12-pack of cloth napkins for $16.99. At 20x20", they're big enough to cover any number of messes that this team of sometimes-sloppy people can make! Of course, we already have some cloth napkins, but they're always in the laundry, it seems like, so there are never enough. And I have more toned-down neutral colors on that wish list as well, so you can be sure there are plenty of options.

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MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel

So you probably don't know, but for nearly 20 years from age 22 or so until 41, I was a die-hard Jafra skincare fanatic. I mean, Royal Jelly was where it was at, as far as I was concerned, and Jafra could do no wrong. Now, don't get me wrong; the products are great, the benefits are amazing - and they work. But after getting involved with Young Living in 2016 thanks to my great friend Shana, and becoming even more in touch with my hippie flower child Bohemian side, I started thinking long and hard about my connections with Jafra. The ingredients just aren't always the kind I want to smear all over my face and body every day, and not just that, but the business side of things was not something I wanted to be a part of anymore, either. So I unceremoniously ended my longtime relationship with Jafra, cemented it with Young Living, and opened the door for more opportunities to live more wholly wholesome.


MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel 2

Recently, I read about MyChelle Dermaceuticals on a post by Nadia over at Body Unburdened: Healthy Living Made Simple.

Personally, it has always been important to me to use a good eye cream - well, ever since I was introduced to good quality skin care at Jafra, that is. And now that I'm in my early 40s, a well-made eye-plumping product is one of the most important items in my skincare arsenal. I can always, always tell when someone is either not using an eye care product - gasp!! - or isn't using a very good one. I don't want anyone to ever think that about me! So I decided to try the Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel Nourish & Moisturize Eye Care from MyChelle Dermaceuticals first.

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel 3

I love the way the cooling gel feels on my tired ol' eyes in the morning and then again by the end of the night. This gel helps decrease the appearance of fine lines and dark circles - which is key for moi!

About MyChelle Dermaceuticals:

Founded in 2000, MyChelle was the natural industry’s first to use anti-aging peptides, plant stem cells, and clinically proven dermatological ingredients. Their 360º approach to beauty provides clean, conscious, and comprehensive products that are bioactive and ethically sourced. Sounds good to me!

MyChelle Clean Beauty VIP

What's really sweet in addition to the great products at MyChelle, you can use this code to get 30% off your first order total: MYCHELLEBEAUTY2018  - and, what's more, shipping is free, and returns are free on all orders. They have the BEST customer service. I swear.

On top of that, you can earn points toward meaningful discounts for completing simple actions. For instance, I earned 500 points (= $5 off an order!) just for subscribing to their newsletter. I earned 50 points each for sharing my eye gel purchase on both Facebook and Twitter. Subsequently, I earned 100 points each for following the brand on Twitter and liking them on Facebook, and so on and so forth. I was was delightfully surprised when I received this Clean Beauty VIP award in my email inbox, which afforded me extra benefits like bonus points and a free product:

MyChelle Sun Protection SPF 50 Stick

For achieving VIP level, which was exceedingly easy to do, I was given a free MyChelle Sun Protection Sun Shield Clear Stick SPF 50 - worth $12 - absolutely free! I didn't pay one red cent for the product or, of course, shipping. I haven't gotten it yet, but it should be here early next week.

MyChelle Lip Hints Nude

What's more, I was able to redeem $10 in those reward points for a big discount on a $12.50 MyChelle Lip Hints Conditioning Lip Balm in the Nude shade. Counting free shipping, nothing extra for tax, I only paid $2.50 out of pocket. I can't wait to try it, since I am addicted to lippies! Any member of Team Odette will happily verify that for you - I have multiple stashes of lip balms in every conceivable location I encounter in my daily life: my bathroom drawers, my purse, my desk, my car dashboard... everywhere. So I have high hopes for this one!

So maybe give natural beauty products a try and start with MyChelle Dermaceuticals. They work really hard to develop quality products that are safe for you and the environment, and they work even harder to keep your business. I'm quickly becoming a big fan!

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Grove Collaboative 001

And finally, the last new-to-me company I want to fangirl over to y'all is Grove Collaborative. Have you guys heard about them yet? If not, you need to head on over here and get yourself a totally FREE Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Kit with five full-size products!

Here's what you'll need to do:

Head on over here in order to use my referral code and receive your free gift. You'll need place at least $20 worth of items from Grove Collaborative into your cart, but that's super-easy to do with all the amazing down-to-Earth, good-for-the-Earth products they offer. You can choose from baby and kiddo products, household cleaning items, personal care, and even their own Grove brand of items to help you get even more value from your first delivery.

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As for me, we needed laundry detergent, and I'd been wanting to try Molly's Suds Laundry Powder forever and a day. So that was $13.99 right off the bat (though valued at $16.99), leaving me only $6.01 worth of goodies I still needed to add to my cart.

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I liked the Zarbee's Naturals brand already, and we were having some sore throats going around Chez Odette, so I splurged on a $6.99 package of 14 throat lozenges.

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In return for my $20.98 buy-in with nothing additional for tax or shipping, I received a 12½-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Honeysuckle hand soap valued at $5.30 for free,

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a 16-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Honeysuckle dish liquid valued at $5.30 for free,

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a 16-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner valued at $5.30 for free,

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a 12-ounce bottle of Method Sweet Water dish liquid valued at $5.40 for free,

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a lovely Grove Collaborative red-and-white 100% cotton dish towel valued at $5.95 for free, and finally, a set of two Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponge valued at 3.95 for free!

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As if this offer couldn't get any sweeter, I do have to say that I'm a sucker for nice, careful, and thoughtful packaging - and Grove Collaborative definitely did not disappoint. The dispensers were carefully taped to prevent leakage during shipment. The note inside was handwritten. And the packing job inside the box was clearly planned and not just thrown together like so many other packages we've all received, I'm sure. 

You'll love what you get - in product, in service, and in peace of mind - from Grove Collaborative, and if you don't, that's okay, too. Their 100% Happiness Guarantee means you can return anything at any time, and they'll even send you a prepaid shipping label. There's literally no risk - but plenty of risk if y'all keep using those heavy industrial-level commercial cleansers around the kids, pets, and yourselves, y'know?

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So what kind of eco-conscious changes have you and your clan made lately, or are thinking about making? I'd love to hear about 'em!

Fin.


Saturday 9: So Into You

Hey there, you! Here I am, trying to write this post for the fourth time, so give me some props for sticktoitiveness, heh? The junction where the power cord meets my laptop is worn, and I've got about eleventy pieces of medical tape holding that baby in for me. Just don't sneeze or anything, or all hope is gone.

Anyway.

Link up here if you want to play along this week!

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Saturday 9: So Into You (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here


1) The singer says that he noticed the lady in question as soon as she walked into the room. Tell us about someone who made a powerful first impression on you.

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Chris, the guy who did Chloë's Harry Potter tattoo in August wearing full makeup, was definitely an interesting fella. I'm pretty sure we saw him in fierce drag at Boise Pride Festival in June - I may even have a picture of him! On Thursday, Chloë's tattoo had to be touched up, and it seemed to be more painful this go-'round. Chris suggested I play some music through his bluetooth speaker to distract her, so I put on one of her favorites. There they were, the two of them, he frowning in concentration and she frowning in pain, when suddenly both their faces lit up and started singing songs from the Hamilton soundtrack. It was kind of epic.

2) He sings that he's so into her, he can't think about other, more mundane things. Do you find you get easily distracted from your daily tasks? Or do you enjoy seeing your everyday chores through completion?

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I mean, as with this little vest I knitted awhile back, I'm definitely a little bit of both. Okay, a lot of both. I have both startitis and finishitis. My problem isn't motivation; it's giving myself permission to rest.

3) The band took their name from Georgia's biggest city. Have you ever been to Atlanta?

I've both flown through and driven through Atlanta, but I've never really stayed in Atlanta.

4) The Atlanta Rhythm Section once played the White House. President Carter's son, Chip, was a big fan and invited them to play at his 28th birthday party. How did you celebrate your last birthday?

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Since Rob's birthday is at the very end of August, and Chloë's and mine are at the beginning of September, we're still celebrating our "birthday season" as MIL used to say. You see, there's this huge list of freebies and goodies for birthday boys and girls of all ages, and I love printing out the coupons, or screenshooting them on my phone, and making a big many-page list of all the businesses to hip up for a free piece of cheesecake, or doughnut, or whatever. Also, since some lovely individual stole my old "Co-exist" sticker off our car, Rob bought me this newer and better one for my 42nd. I love it!

5) Studio One, where the band made all their recordings, was torn down and replaced by a parking lot. Can you think of a structure that you missed, after it met with a wrecking ball?

Hm. Maybe not so much a wrecking ball as, y'know, whatever kind of equipment they use to raise all those forests for "development."

6) This song hit #7 on the US pop charts. 7 is the number most often chosen as "a lucky number." How about you? Do you have a lucky number?

I do. It's 64. I picked that when I was, like, still a toddler - I swear. Very young anyway. And I love it all these years later: It's a perfect square, made up of 16x4 - also perfect squares. Love that.

7) Today the Atlanta Rhythm Section reunites with to play at classic rock concerts. What oldies band would you love to see again?

I'm not sure about a band, but I would give my left arm to see Eric Clapton in concert!
 
8) In 1977, the star of NBC's Chico and the Man, Freddie Prinze, took his own life. Is there a celebrity death you found shocking?

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Kind of all of them. I have this weird relationship with the concepts of finite and infinite, especially as regards to life. The one death that really upset me the most, though, was that of Princess Diana in 1997. 

9) Random question: What word do you always misspell?

Independence - I always want to spell it -dance at the end.

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A fun one! Thanks, Crazy Sam! ;)

Fin.


Saturday 9: Teenage Dream

Guten Morgen Klasse! What's the haps? I woke up around 0545 and, after using the facilities and finding a blanket (I'm insulted by the 59ºF temperature despite it being STILL SUMMER!!!), the first thing I did was queue up "Have It All" by Jason Mraz (love, love, love it) and come to write this week's edition of S9.

So welcome back! I hope you've all had a great week. Link up here if you want to join in the fun!

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Saturday 9: Teenage Dream (2010)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.



1) Much of the video for this week's song takes place in a convertible and on the beach. How's the weather where you are? Would you be comfortable riding around with the top down today?
 
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This is funny. I was just talking about this with my 17- (!!!) year-old daughter, Chloë, yesterday. She's got thick, ringleted curly hair; I have straight, fine hair. Somehow we got on the topic of riding around in a convertible with the top down. Growing up, my dad always had at least six cars - one of them being a '71 Dodge Challenger convertible in mint condition. White, with red racing stripes. We drove around constantly, on the weekends, just for the sake of riding around with the top down. No seat belts, wind whipping my hair around so it stabbed me in the eyes, and I loved every minute of it. Loved it. I insisted she'd end up with dreadlocks in her hair after a ride like that, but she disagreed. I know I'm right, but there's only one way to prove it, and we don't have a convertible. Anyway, yes, unless there was snow on the ground, I'd be comfortable with it! It'll get up to 73ºF by 1400, and that's when I plan to steal a convertible - red Mazda Miata for me, please - to do just that. ;)

2) This video was filmed all around Katy Perry's hometown of Santa Barbara. Amtrak runs through Santa Barbara via The Pacific Surfliner. Tell us about a memorable train trip.
 
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When I was in my middle year of college (never know what to call it, since I graduated in three years), one of my two best friends, Shana, came down to the University of Miami from New York to see me for Spring Break. One day, we wanted to go out to South Beach, but I didn't have a car yet at that point. So we first jumped on the MetroRail to get from Coral Gables to the end of that track, in Hialeah. Then we rode the Tri-Rail from Hialeah toward South Beach. Finally, we hopped on the local bus to get down to the beach. We had a great time in the sun and surf that day, and then we did the same thing in reverse to get back to UM. The whole trip took four hours round-trip, but it was worth it, because I'll never forget that day with my girl!

3) Katy sings that her boyfriend thinks she's funny, even when she gets the punchline wrong. Do you think you're a better joke-teller or audience?
 
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Oh, I'm a much better audience. I suck at remembering jokes, much less telling them correctly the first time; I'm much better at making my own one-liners on the spot. Rob, on the other hand (seen here giving me a pedicure for my birthday the other day), is a master at telling jokes. He constantly has me in stitches. Occasionally, he'll tell me a story, to which I'm trying to listen intently, and it'll end up being a complete set-up for a joke he's heard. It'll take me a few beats to realize the whole thing was a joke, and I'll end up jabbing him in the ribs in disgust. But he amuses me nonetheless.

4) Her "teenage dream" lover is shown working out with a heavy bag. When is the last time you visited a gym?
 
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I'm not one to spend much time at the gym. I just hate it. An hour on the treadmill on the gym sounds dreadful to me; I'd much rather be going somewhere, seeing new scenery, having new interactions and encounters... anyway, technically I was at the gym Friday afternoon with my physical therapist, learning new exercises to help get my pelvis back in alignment. Does that count?

5) Katy changes her hair a lot. She's gone from long black hair to cropped blonde hair with stops at red, green and purple. Today, are you having a good hair day?
 
Target Beauty Box
Well, I just woke up, so not currently. Up there, in the top right, is the new Dry Shampoo by OGX, which I just received yesterday in the latest Target Beauty Box. I used it yesterday, not being up to taking a shower, and it smells soooo good! It also helps extend my shampoo out another day (or, ahem, two), so I can skip the shower and look halfway presentable for being seen in public. Have y'all ever used a dry shampoo? Which one do you like?

6) Katy thinks dimples are "irresistible" and can't help poking a finger when a dimpled friend smiles. Do you have dimples?

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I do have dimples. A few of the kids inherited them from me.
 
7) Two of Katy's fragrances (Meow and Purr) are sold in cat-shaped bottles. Are you wearing a scent as you answer these questions?
 
Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant Stick
 
Not really, but I am wearing Schmidt's Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Deodorant (also a new thing for me, from the Tar-jay Beauty Box) at the moment, and I find the scent of it delightful.
 
8)  Katy's favorite dessert is ice cream (specifically Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake Remix). What's the last dessert you ate?

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I had some of this free cheesecake from Chili's as part of our Birthday Freebies Tour (ongoing), Thursday night. It was delicious!
 
9) Random question: How often do you change your bedsheets?
 
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Ideally, every week, especially since our two pups, Tapioca and Paco, sleep under the covers with us each night... but we don't get to stick to that schedule very often. Our laundry is forever goingN nonstop...! If I had more opulent sheets like these, I might be more motivated to wash them on the optimal schedule. Now where can I find these...?
 
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That was a fun one! Thanks, Gal... er, I mean, Crazy Sam! ;) Always good a good cuestionario from you. Hope all of you have a great weekend!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: ID Questions

Hey, you guys! You came back! Wanna hear something crazy? I had what, in these uncertain times of my health going from bad to worse regularly, I would consider a pretty decent day Saturday. I spent a couple of hours just {yes, I know} browsing Bed, Bath & Beyond with Chloë, getting absolutely nothing, and then getting a few "deals and steals" at Walgreens after that (hey, six free toothpastes ain't a bad haul, for starters), and she and I just get along famously when we're out and about together like that. And that set the tone for the remainder of my day, with multiple laughing-'til-I-cried experiences with the rest of the family after that. Yeah, I'm not talking about my physical difficulties, but that's because regardless of those, if I have a good outward day, I can ignore that stuff for a while. So I did. :)

But anyway.

I'm happy you're here for Sunday Stealing (I almost wrote "Saturday Sunday," because they're enmeshed in my brain). Link up here if you're playing along today!

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1: Three Fears ~

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a: nightmares (last night's was about scary dancing pandas - weird!); b: dying before my children are grown; and, c: of my dogs running out into traffic


2: Three things I love ~

Chloe 12th Grade 1

a: Chloë, who will be 17 in under three weeks;

Jack 10th Grade

b: Jack, 15; and,

Sophia 8th Grade

c: Sophia, who is 13 going on 19!


3: Four turns on ~

four?!! Hmm...

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a: Rob, obviously, who (since we're giving away ages here) will be 46 on the 30th;

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b: good yarn; in this case, it's Madeline Tosh merino wool in "Light Turquoise";

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c: Singing to good music turned up loud in the car with the windows down; and,

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d: Pure happiness and joy

4: Four turns off ~

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a: Smoking;

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b: Child abuse;

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c: sloooooow drivers; and,

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d: careless people who litter - & its effects on wildlife

5: My best friend ~

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I am fortunate enough to have two, both of whom I met in 6th grade and went all through the rest of middle, junior, and high school with: Lisa Joy & Shana Marie, both of whom I love with all my heart and definitely don't feel like I deserve!

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{Photo of Lisa & me in a photo booth at CocoWalk, in Coconut Grove, Florida, during Lisa's Spring Break, circa April 1997}

6: My favorite book ~

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I haven't read nearly all of these book by Jodi Picoult, but I have read My Sister's KeeperThe Tenth CircleNineteen Minutes, and Songs of the Humpback Whale (maybe others??), and I feel like all of them plus any more of her oeuvre that I'm going to read are my favorites, so can I make it her entire body of work?!

7: My best first date ~ 

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Well, obviously I think, I would have to say that was my first date with Rob! In mid-November 2000, he came down to St. Petersburg, FL, from Panama City Beach, FL, to meet me in person after an odd first acquaintanceship (is that a word?!) online. We went to a Chinese take-out/eat-in restaurant for lunch and spent a long, long time there getting to know each other. We were the only customers who were dining in, so the staff were paying us a lot of curious attention, but I don't think either of us cared. Fast-forward to a year later, and we were already married and parents of a tiny baby, Chloë Raine - with three more to soon follow! Yup, I think there was romance in my vegetable lo mein...

8: How tall am I ~

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At 5'1½", I think I'm short enough. However, my tiny little pixie girl, Chloë Rainebow, is maxed out at 4'9½" and is super cute to boot!


9: What do I miss ~ 

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Now that Chloë nearing 17 and in her senior year of high school, Jack has a job, and Sophie towers over me at 5'4" with no end in sight, I've been missing their younger years something fierce lately!

10: What time was I born ~

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Oh, I don't know, on time I guess?? ;) Since my DOB is 9/8/76, though, I like to joke that I was also born at 5:43:21 PM!

11: Favorite color ~

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Something like this would be my idea color palette, with the middle color being my favoritest fave


12: Do I have a crush ~

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Honestly? This may sound corny but after almost 18 years together, seeing Rob persevere through prostate cancer and numerous serious complications in recent months has me crushing on him all over again. Weird circumstance, but I love him with my whole heart and entire soul, and that's that.

13: Favorite quote ~

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I'm really not good at remembering quotes and jokes and whatnot, but I've always remembered this one from Dirty Dancing!

14: Favorite place ~

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Gosh, I'm getting really cheesy again, but it's wherever my family members are. So right now, that's Idaho. (And P.S. If I had a spare $30, I'd totally be getting myself this State of Idaho cutting board. Love it!)

15: Favorite food ~

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New York-style pizzeria pizza - yummo!

16: Do I use sarcasm?

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What do you think?

17: What am I listening to right now?

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I'm watching a new-to-me rerun of Fixer Upper, a show I just starting getting into, like, yesterday.

18: First thing I notice in a new person ~

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Whether they just smile with their mouths, or if it reaches their eyes to show it's genuine

19: Eye color ~

Week 32 of 52 - JUST FOR ME

They used to be dark brown, but as I'm getting older, they're getting lighter brown with a ring of green around each iris

20: Hair color ~ 

See above; it's auburn, but I'm getting ready to dye it darker brown probably later this week.

~*~*~*~*~

That was a super fun meme! Thanks for the great thievery, Bev! And thanks to y'all for reading along with me!

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Summer Birthday Season

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Link up here with Unknown Mami to tell us about your city today:
Unknown Mami
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Chloë Raine (who has had an abundance of sties in her eyes lately, sorry) turned 14 this past Monday, and I turned 39 on Tuesday. We visited all over Miami collecting our freebies this past week, so here are photos of that! The others in Team Odette benefitted from the overflow of goodies, too. Anyway, let's carry on with things:
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Jack and Sophia got the BOGO blizzards from our local Homestead Dairy Queen on Monday. Yum!
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Chloë picked out a sandwich and 32-oz drink (Fanta Orange, if you're keeping notes) for her snackaliciousness.
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Le Hubs was thrilled to get my Honeybaked Ham sammich, since he's the only one in the family who eats ham. He said it was good as ****, too. Well, then, good! (His birthday was a week before ours.)
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A scoop of Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie was Chloë's freebs from Ben & Jerry's in Coral Gables.
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Chloë and I each scored a free dessert from California Pizza Kitchen in the Gables, so she chose a Key Lime Pie, and I gave Sophia mine. She wanted the Red Velvet Cake a la mode, but ... nobody liked it. Eh!
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Dessert deliciousness!
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Vendors selling flowers on street corners are ubiquitous and cheap around Miami, so we stopped and picked out these blue blooms for the Birthday Girl. Nothing like a bouquet to add a little "speshul" to one's day!
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We couldn't leave Sophie out, so she received a bouquet of her choice from the very next flower vendor. Purty!
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I had a free drink of any type and size coming from Dunkin Donuts, so Sophia claimed a Mango Coolata for that one. Yummo!
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I had a free $10 gift card to Sports Authority, so in South Miami, Chloë picked out a $40 dress on clearance that ended up costing me pennies out of pocket. How'd it look on her?
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Adorbs! And she was full of 'tude, to boot. Nice score!
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In Southland Mall in Cutler Bay, we received a free pretzel from Auntie Anne's. Chloë's favorite is the Cinnamon and Sugar.
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I was given a free $5 gift certificate to DSW, so Chloë picked out a six-pack of fox-themed socks to slide around the house in. And believe me, she has been doing so to my utmost annoyance!
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Sophia came with Chloë and me to score her free Denny's Grand Slam in Florida City, and would you believe that all three of us got full off that thing? Generous portions, there.
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I had free Sears Shop Your Way points to redeem, so I spent them on cute kitty t-shirts for Chloë. She's cat-crazy, so she loved them like I knew she would!
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To celebrate the birthdays of Rob (Hubs), Chloë, and me, we dined out thanks to a Groupon at the Melting Pot. Not cheap, but totes worth it.
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Chloë wanted an angel food cake for her birthday cake, so I went the lazy route and used a mix. Oh, well!
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Fourteen candles, can you stand it? I can't; next year she'll be old enough to start driving!!
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That's the way the cake crumbles! She whispered to me what her wish was, but I already forget, so I guess it still counts, right?
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My crew after birthday cake - love these guys!
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Panera gave us a free pastry for Chloë, so she chose a double chocolate fudge cookie.
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At Robek's, we were given a free Hawaiian Açai bowl. Chlo thought it was pretty freakin' great, so we'll probably get another one of those sometime...
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Lots of cards and gifts came in the mail from family for the birthday girl - and Hubs and me, too!
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Chloë's Maine Coon kitty, Pepper, turned three amongst all the other birthdays, too. He's three now; what a big boy! ;)
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Starbucks gave us a free food or beverage item, so we chose a Venti Java Chip Frappuccino for Chloë to share with Jack and Sophia. We get it with coconut milk and no whip, since Jack and I are lactose intolerant. It's delish!
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I have to laugh at this picture of Jack... he does not like having his photo taken, though he was thrilled when I chose to share my birthday pack of wings from Buffalo Wild Wings with him. He's a crazy wing-lover!! On the other hand, I got a "Mommy drink," a fireball-spiked sangria, and I did not love it. Ugh. I'll never get that thing again. Heartburn city!
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We had a coupon for a bunch of free tickets from Chuck E. Cheese in Cutler Bay, so after Sophia's second riding lesson and picking up her apparel for that, we stopped at CEC to redeem them. I coughed up another coupon for more tokens, and these three tweens and teens had the TIME of their LIVES at toddler town. It was kind of silly (to me), but hey, let them have their fun. Someday, though, I'll have to let them loose at Dave 'n' Buster's!
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We got another Starbucks Frap that night, our "ushe" as Chloë calls it. That cracks me up.
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On my birthday, the 8th, Panera gave me a free pastry, too. I chose a cheesy cherry Danish, but I gave it to Rob. It looked great and all, but I can't eat that, so he was thrilled, anyway!
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The jeggings Chloë is wearing were also free from Sears, and she and Sophia picked out a few awesome clearance finds from the Palm Outlet Center in Florida City, as well:
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Look Number One, and,
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Look Number Two. Oh, the sass!
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After that, we headed up to The Falls to get some TCBY for the girls (the boys didn't want to come for this trip) with the gift cards both Chloë and I had received. The things they put on froyo Blow. My. MIND!!!
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Chloë and I had also been given $5 rewards to Build-A-Bear Workshop at The Falls, so we went and snagged a teddy bear cookie for each of the three kiddos with that moolah, along with a small outfit for one of Sophie's favorite stuffy-wuffies:
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Jack was happy to get a little out of the goodies even though he didn't come along for the ride, so yay!
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Victoria's Secret gave me a $10 birthday gift, so as usual I let Chloë pick something out from their fragrance area. I mean, after all... uhhh... ;)
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The normally-$14 mists were on sale for $5 each, so she snagged two and didn't even have to pay tax. Sweet!
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Purina Muse sent me a coupon for a free sample, so we stopped by the Pet Supermarket up in Cutler Bay to snag a tray of fishy delights for the birthday kitty and his three pals. They devoured it later!
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IHOP gave us a free Fruity Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity, so Sophia and I again went with Chloë to enjoy that. She wanted peach pancakes, and much yummage was had. As for me... nah. Not much of a peach person.
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At The Falls, there was a kiosk where everything was $1, so I let Sophia choose a strawberry ring (my girl is crazy about them), and Chloë opted for a "C" hair bow.
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Jack came with me for another trip to Robek's, where I got a free Strawnana Smoothie for my birthday. We got a super-huge-largey one, and all five of us ended up taking turns with that!
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No one but Rob loves a good cheeseburger, so for my free one from Ruby Tuesday's here in Homestead, I let him take the honors. Of course, the four of us kids and I all nabbed a bunch of the yummy French fries!
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We had been given a free dessert from Chili's of Homestead, so that's where we ended our night. The birthday queen chose cheesecake. I may have stolen a small nibble?
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So that, pals, is my Birthday Season post. Oh, to be sure, there are still plenty of birthday freebies to redeem, but I don't know when or if we'll have a chance to do those. Sign up for yours here if you're interested in scoring, too!
Fin.

Sundays In My City: Otto von Dieter

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Link up here if you're sharing what's going on in your corner of the world today!
Jack GSD
 
These are the puppy pictures, from the breeder, of our new German Shepherd Dog, who is now 2¼ years old. He just happens to have had the same breeder as our last GSD, Tiger Lily, who passed away a few years ago.
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And this is the photo of our new GSD now - the photo we fell in love with.
When Judy, the breeder, sounded the alarm for a new owner for the pooch, because his first family was suddenly moving and couldn't take the dog formerly known as Jack with them, well... I thought for a good while before presenting the information to Hubs, who has been yearning for another GSD for quite a while. He was instantly interested, as I knew he would be.
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Since our son's name is also Jack, we decided that having two Jacks - and the training of the canine one to be a service dog for Hubs during his extensive recovery from brain tumor surgery 19 months ago - would just not work. And so, we debated during the entire trip home from Chesapeake, Virginia, where then-named Jack lived, to Miami, Florida, where we live, on a new name for this darling dog.
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We had our one-year-old Chihuahua, whom we have named Paco in deference to his heritage, with us in the car, so we decided in keeping with that new tradition, we would name the newcomer something German. Here he is - with our son Jack photobombing him - in the overly-cramped minivan during the trip to his new home.
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Rob and Paco with our new GSD, née Jack, lounging on our couch here in Homestead, FL. The relationship between tiny dog and enormous dog had an inauspicious start, but Team Odette is not put off by such a basic challenge.
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And look, it didn't take too long at all before Paco the 13-month-old Chihuahua and the re-named 28-month-old GSD were like old buddies with a careful, yet loving, common master.
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In the end, Hubs and I decided, with the kids' help, on this new name for our gorgeous German Shepherd Dog: R.A. Odette's Otto von Dieter, or "Otto" for short. He's learning his new name quickly, as such a smart breed is wont to do.
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As an aside, today is Hubs' 43rd birthday, so we're calling Otto Rob's birthday present. Here's the gorgeous "Sangria" bouquet I won from a contest sponsored by The Bouqs and sent for Rob's birthday. It's gorgeous!
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Thanks for stopping by!
Fin.

Sundays In My City: Random Snaps

Unknown Mami
Link up with the Unknown Mami here if you're going to show off bits and pieces about your hometown and surrounds today!
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I took the chillies to see the movie Inside Out at the local theater with four free movie tickets a week or so ago. The three of them loved it; me, not so much. I give it a B- and am not looking forward to when it comes out on DVD. I'll inevitably buy it for the kids, and then, ugh. You parents know what comes next!
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Jack and Sophia, the younger two kidlets, started martial arts classes last Thursday, after I purchased a killer steal of a Groupon online recently. Oh-em-gee, they love it. LOVE. Jack broke a board with a palm strike two days ago, and he has not stopped talking about it since then. (Sophie missed the class, not feeling well that evening). Now Chloë, who was adamantly against signing up, wants to join the class, too. Hopefully they do family discounts, eh?
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Last Friday, Jack and Chloë went in for five hours of growth hormone stimulation testing. They were super-tired, starving, and bored, so it wasn't long before a second bed was delivered to the room for Curls to, y'know, curl up next to Jack.  Everyone came in to admire the two of them snoozing next to each other; it was pretty darling.
As for the results, I got those on Thursday: Jack makes almost zero HGH even with artificial stimulation, and Chloë makes normal amounts despite being enormously small. Next step for Jack is an MRI of the hypothalamus before presenting his shoo-in of a case to our insurance; Chloë's idiopathic short stature case gets presented immediately to them sans MRI. Keep your fingers crossed for her, please!
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Rob's tattoo (bottom right, on his tummy) is his jokingly self-proclaimed self-portrait. Then we found this chartreuse look-alike on the Interwebs. What the heck? Art imitating life, or what?
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Rob's late kitten, Spike, has been mourned so much for so long, and Rob has missed him greatly. He finally requested, when the time was right, a new kitty-baby to love. Enter Henry. I found him and adopted him from the Humane Society as a complete surprise to Hubs, who has strongly bonded with Hank already. And if you can't tell from those paws, I think this is going to be one large feline!
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Just a wee egg shell Sophie and I discovered outside the abode a couple of days ago. The other half was nowhere to be found, prompting her to do an impression of the newly-hatched birdie walking around with its half-shell stuck to its rump and... well, you probably had to be there. (She's very amusing, that girl.)
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I found an awesome deal on Converse kicks for Rob the other day on eBay, so I snagged a pair in his hard-to-find size. The same seller had equally-rockin' prices on these TOMS shoes, and since (a) I never owned any but wanted to, (b) I needed red shoes anywho, and (c) I love their #OneForOne business model, I snagged two pair. And you know what? I lurve them so.
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Speaking of eBay, I snagged a 30-critter set of Littlest Pet Shop toys for Sophia, who does various and sundry creative things with these guys (when our Chihuahua, Paco, isn't busy chewing them up). I got the set cheaply, and she was screamy-excited when they arrived. I guess one was pretty rare, too, so double the screaminess happened. Happy to make my kiddo so overjoyed!
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Speaking of Sophia, she wanted a photo shoot with big sister Chloë on Wednesday, so I was altogether too happy to oblige. I just wish Jack would let me take more photos of him, to even things out a little bit. Alas and alack, he hates the lens being trained on him, so I need to sneak snaps whenever I can!
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Rob (Hubs) needed a new daily-wear watch desperately, so I used all my many Shop Your Way rewards points from Sears and snagged him this $$$ Pulsar digital one - after getting his thumbs-up on the model - for exactly ZERO dollars out of pocket. Free is my favorite price, y'all. And, he thinks it's pretty great, so win-win!
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Y por fín, my wireless keyboard kicked the proverbial bucket today, so I let my kids and Luis, their BFF in the neighborhood, take a mini sledgehammer to it and utterly annihilate it. Keys went flying everywhere; I probably shoulda provided safety goggles, but I didn't think of it, so nope. But they had fun, no one got hurt, and they were able to cross off something on their Summer Bucket List. Hee!
Welp, thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry for being all over the map here, but I did promise randomness in the post title, right?!
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Don't forget to visit Unknown Mami and the other participants, y'all!
Fin.

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Ernest Hemingway House

Link up here with 5 Minutes for Mom if you were any degree of wordless, uh, yesterday! ;) 

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(Oops, I didn't get a chance to finish the post yesterday. Forgive me.)

Last week, we went on a field trip overnight to Key West, so that we could visit Ernest Hemingway's house there on Friday. 

{Full Disclosure: The staff gave my family of five courtesy passes to visit the property, in exchange for this post. No other compensation was provided. As always, all opinions in this post are solely my own.}

As a lover of literature in general, and big fan of Hemingway thanks to Old Man and the Sea, I was super excited to visit the property. As cat lovers, the three kiddos were delighted about all the six-toed Hemingway kitties roaming around everywhere there. Hubs was thrilled for both reasons and for the history lesson, to boot.

Anyway, I'll try to be less wordy here, and just post some snaps of the awesome sights and scenes we witnessed at the Hemingway House:

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This guy was very photogenic, and he LOVED having his picture taken!

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The kids were enamored of all the six-toed kitty paw prints in the cement!

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My favorite photo of the day

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Hemingway's writing studio was the most wonderful vignette seen this day. Amazing!

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We all had a great time visiting the Hemingway House - even Jack, who just did not want to smile anymore for the camera - and are truly grateful to the staff for providing us with the complimentary passes to visit it.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Fin.


Friday Fragments: Episode 5.15.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time
 
 
Bits and pieces,
Pieces and bits,
so I don't have a fit.
 
(It's better than rhyming "tits," isn't? My mind is in the gutter tonight - okay, always - and that was my first inclination...)
 
 
 
 I used to own the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack CD way back in the day, even before I'd seen the movie. I loved every single song on it, and then it was stolen from me. Man! That sucked. But I found the complete album on YouTube, and now I am again obsessed with it.
 
Faith Evans' "Kissing You" is on right now, and I just love it. ::SWOON::
 
 
US
 
This guy has been inpatient in the VA Hospital for the past week, ever since I posted the last Friday Fragments episode. I miss him like crazy! He should be coming home today, God willing, and I can't wait! It's too often, too long, too damned much lately.
 
 
 
Still no Miranda. It's probably going to take some doing to get her back, but I'm hoping it will be the beginning of June. So a couple more weeks. In the meantime, my amazing friend Shontell has been letting me borrow her car to get groceries and do a few necessary errands, and I love her for it. Thanks, girly-girl!
 
 
 
The length of my to-do list is, once again and lately constantly, inversely proportional to the strength of my motivation to get things done. Sucks. I really, really need to get some energy. Maybe it's time for another iron infusion and/or Vitamin B12 injections?! :/
 
 
 
 
Pitch Perfect 2 comes out today! I'm stoked, the girls are stoked, and Jack couldn't care less. Regardless, if Rob doesn't come home, I'm dragging his butt with us to go see it. I have four free tickets to see this flick, and I intend to go! Prontissimo! I know it'll be good for a much-needed laugh.
 
 
That's it for me this week! Relatively short and sweet.
 
Thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.
 

Wordless Wednesday: YMCA Kids' Day

Link up here with 5 Minutes For Mom, and pretty much all around the blogosphere, if you're wordless today!

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On Saturday, we went to the YMCA Kids' Fair down the road from our house. The first stop was to visit the National Parks Service table, where we asked a billion questions and received tons of information. And the kids got to blow in a conch shell, which was super fun!

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To promote healthy kids, they were giving out freshly made strawberry-banana, and blueberry, smoothies. I think Sophia went back three times for more, you guys. Fortunately, the ladies at the table encouraged it!

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They were giving away free books at another table. The selection was a little junior to my kids' ability, but they didn't mind and have read all the books since then. My girls, especially, love to read!

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The local Police Department was giving away free bicycle helmets, and Sophie snagged the last one. Lucky girl was making out like a bandit that day!

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They were also giving away fresh pineapple chunks and bananas! Yum. Jack looks less than thrilled because he wanted to get on down the road to the Miami Children's Museum, but the girls had a couple servings each. Way to get our nutrition on!

Thanks for the fun day, YMCA!

Fin.


Friday Fragments: Episode 4.24.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'm back again! What is this, two weeks in a row? Can you stand it? I know!

Link up here if you're fragmenting today!

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Silly as it may seem, this might just be my favorite thing from our field trip to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum on Wednesday. If you missed it (and you know you did), you can read more about that here.

I hear it snowed all over parts north of here today. Well, yesterday. On April 23rd. Yes, I live south of Miami, Florida, but my attitude is more of dismay and sympathy than nanny-nanny-boo-boo. And seeing as I was raised in Central New York, I have experienced this phenomenon myself. It sucks. I know. So sorry, y'all.

Earth-day-2015

For Earth Day, after the railroad museum, we made a couple of stops here and there. One stop was at local Disney Store to get our free Disneynature Monkey Kingdom reusable tote bags. I love a tote bag. Save the planet, and all, you know; that's me.

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Anyway, that there is 12-year-old, itty-bitty Jack piggybacking on 10-year-old baby sister, Sophia. Nope, that's not a camera trick; he really is that small! And the Yoda hat? Totally works for him.

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Miguel, the Castmember at the Disney Store, was all about the enthusiasm for my camera, when I asked him to pose with my freebie tote bag. I loved it. (Not a bad looking young man, either, huh?) And, he let me make two small purchases and get two bags. I loved that, also.

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We also received our free milkshakes and fruitshakes from EVOS, which serves AirbakedTM food instead of deep-fried, much of it organic. I had not heard of it before Earth Day, so this was a great marketing ploy to get us in the door and come back for more. We didn't buy anything Wednesday, but we do plan to come back soon, probably on a Kids-Eat-Free Sunday. (I love a deal, y'know?) Since they're a lot closer to Homestead than our beloved Elevation Burger, we're anxious to try EVOS food and compare the two restaurants. Have you been to either one?

(Note: It's not McDonald's. You won't be paying Mickey D's prices.)

Color Me Mine - The Art Of Having Fun

 

We attempted to use our $60 Groupon for Color Me Mine, for "ceramics and sitting fees" for four people that day, but lo and behold, it doesn't actually cover all the costs, only some of the costs, and there is pretty much nothing ceramical that would have cost little enough so as not to have required me to fork out any additional money. Can you say, disappointment? We were all bummed. 

Except Jack. As Jack says, "I hate Art!"

So we'll go back sometime between payday and May 1st, when the Groupon expires... but I was pretty upset that we couldn't get our Arts and Crafts on that day. Stay tuned to see what ceramics everyone ends up picking out!

 

I had a mystery shop at a semi-local movie theater to do that night, so in honor of Earth Day yet again, we opted to go as a family to see Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom. I cannot say for sure whether I've seen any other Disneynature films before this, but maybe Oceans...? In any event, I absolutely loved Monkey Kingdom. It was fascinating to me as a Biologist, but heart-tugging to me as a mother. Definitely a show worth watching.

(And, I thought Tina Fey did an excellent job narrating it. What is she, some kind of professional?!)

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Two thumbs up, all the way around!

P.S. I adore that Disneynature films donates money to the programs and communities shown in the feature, in honor of each moviegoer who sees it opening week. Yay for Team Odette and the monkeys! Have you seen it yet?

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After watching the Toque Macaques' antics for the last hour and a half, my monkeys were all amped up and silly-goosing around when let loose outside the theater. Good reminder how influential screen time can be, yo.

Welp, that's it for me this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


It's The Thought That Counts.

At least, I hope so, because I have put a lot of thought, and not really much money*, into the kids' Christmas presents this year. '

*(And yes, I may be linking you to where you can find - and maybe even where I specifically bought - some of the presents, but I can guaran-damn-tee you I never pay full price for anything. Well, except a gallon of milk. I pay full price for the kids' milk.)

Ahem.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Advent. I started talking about our Advent season for the current year in this post from a week ago, and I have continued random gift-giving in the interim. A little catch-up is therefore due now:

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Jack started us off on Sunday, December 7th. I forget why, but I'm sure I have a very good reason for that. I have a system for everything I do, after all. Is that a woman thing, or just a woman-with-OCD thing?

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LEGO City is its name, and LEGO City is his game. The boy is obsessed with it. If I haven't mentioned it on this-here blahg yet, he wants a LEGO City-themed bedroom, a LEGO City-themed 12th birthday, and pretty much a LEGO City-themed life.

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Sophia opened her NERF Rebelle Agent Bow, so now she and Chloë both have one. Sophie's immediate move was to put a target up on the front door and start shooting. Typical. She also nearly fell asleep with one of the arrows suctioned to her forehead, which was, you know, amusing...

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We gave Chloë the Taboo Board Game, but that was kind of a fail on my part: When she read that it's for ages 13+, the other two kiddos immediately opted out of even attempting to play. And the directions said for two teams of two or more, which left us no choice but not to play that night. She was bummed, and I felt like poopy-doo.

However! Facebook friends to the rescue, as several of them gave me alternative ways to play to save the game for Chlo. We just, ah, haven't done it yet.

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I think I made up for it on the next gifting occasion, when I gave her this (created) blue and white sapphire sterling silver necklace. It was, according to the Sears site, worth $200. I paid $12.50 for it. SCORE!

(Oh and yes, she loved it. I think it needs a shorter chain for her dainty frame, but she likes it the way it is, so there we are.)

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I think I got this Littlest Pet Shop Walkables Exclusive Playset Black White Collection on Amazon, but I certainly didn't pay anywhere near as much as it shows now. Whew! Thank God for blogs like Hip2Save, because I'd be up a creek without them.

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know I got this game, King of Tokyo, on Amazon, but again, not for the price showing now.

{Yes, maybe it's crude to keep discussing prices, but I am known for being very thrifty, and I don't want anyone thinking I just go flat-out nuts for Christmas. Hip2Save is a lifesaver, folks. READ IT. Daily.}

And no, we haven't played that yet, either. I'm expecting to on the 'morrow.

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Speaking of Facebook, this is my current cover photo. You may have seen it. These awesome Minecraft shirts were purchased at ThinkGeek. The kids loved them!

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To further develop Jack's LEGO-themed room, I snagged this storage bin with building top (gotta love Shoprunner for free 2-day shipping, too!), and he insisted on putting it together himself right away:

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Pretty cool, huh?

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Chloë, who had previously seen both Sophia and Jack get headphones, was rather chagrined that she didn't have a pair of her own. What she didn't know was that I had purchased these headphones for her long ago, and that they had been sitting in my gift closet since at least October. When I found out she, too, wanted a pair, I made sure that was the next gift she opened. She was ecstatic!

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Sophia received more Littlest Pet Shop sets, which I'd gotten on sale and with Buy One, Get One coupons at Target during the summertime. She's currently on an LPS streak right now, so this kid was a happy one.

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Not to leave out Hubs, I gave him a staple gun. Yes, a staple gun. Don't hate. We He needed one. I mean, for all the projects he's tackling and, oh... fahgeddit.

Don't you like his head adornment, though?

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Sophie told me she was not "over" her Monster High obsession of last year, but Chloë was, so I jumped on a few hot Monster High deals during all the crazy Cyber Monday sales. One day in the new year, we'll have to line up the current collection all over again.

The Monster High Freaky Fusion Cleolei Doll turned out to be pretty cool, anyway.

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Another ThinkGeek buy for Jack - and if you've never read the product descriptions before, do it. You're in for a good chuckle.

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I got this for less than two bucks at Amazon. I think I have mentioned that Chloë is an enormous fan of Taylor Swift's, so I snagged it for her. I warned her that "unauthorized biography" often meant "not always kind," but she was excited just the same.

Taylor Swift: Just for You on Amazon

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That same night, Hubs gave me these totally rockin' Shark Slippers from ThinkGeek. I love the descriptions on the site. Have I mentioned that yet? Too funny!

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This morning, I told the kids to clean up the living room, and they had it done in fewer than five minutes. Why? Because I wanted to give them another present. On further examination, both here in person and in this picture, I see that the five-minute clean-up treatment totally shows. But I don't care right now.

There were LEGO Friends for the girls: the Dolphin Cruiser for Chloë, and the Sunshine Ranch for Sophia. As I type, they are still building their sets (and watching the Taylor Swift DVD), while Jack giggles. He finished his LEGO City Arctic Outpost a long, long time ago. It's kind of his thing, after all!

Welp, I suppose that's it for now. Maybe in another week, I'll be bring you more faux conspicuous consumption, but in the meantime, stay tuned for more homeschool-related posts!

Fin.


Bzz, Bzz: NESCAFÉ with Coffee-mate® Hazelnut

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Recently, I was selected by Smiley360 to try new NESCAFÉ with Coffee-Mate® in the Hazelnut flavor.

{I have coupons for trying the other two flavors (French Vanilla and Sweet & Creamy Original), but I haven't been able to locate the product in my Publix just yet. Maybe it's too new, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?}

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Shortly after receiving the package from Smiley360, I gave it a try. I liked it tons, but I added extra powder from the canister into my mug to make it even creamier, as per the directions.

When my dad was here over Thanksgiving, I shared some with him. He liked it exactly as directed, without adding any extra sweetener. In fact, he was so fond of it, I had planned to give him mine, but I forgot. Sorry, Pops!

I'm really looking forward to trying the other two flavors with my freebie coupons!

Here is a coupon for 75¢ off, if you'd like to try it, too!

Fin.


Kiwi Crate Crafts, Part Deux

(Again, this post and that last one were not compensated posts; I just want to share!)

We did the second set of Kiwi Crates today. I had planned to save all six boxes for Advent, but the kids saw them, and that plan went right out the window. Ah, well.

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Jack's second Crate was Fun With Flight, which included a rocket craft and a flying kite craft.

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I didn't help the kids at all, and perhaps I should have, because there was a bit of difficulty with this. It didn't "rocket" off the base, and he was so pissy bummed about it, he refused to even try the kites activity. Perhaps we can try it another day?

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Sophie's Crate was Wild Safari, which included My Safari Jeep and My Safari Search.

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The Jeep gave her a bit of trouble at first, but I encouraged her to put it aside and stop thinking about it, going instead to the second activity. By George, it seems to have done the trick!

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She had great fun making, arranging, and rearranging her safari animals! She created the stamps herself, and in the blink of an eye, she was finished. I think these critters will be sticking around for a while. 

(Also, she had some Webkinz cats that made an appearance and took a ride around in the Jeep. Or two. Or ten.)

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Curls' Crate, Around the World, included a flag banner and a world map game.

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The banner was really fun to make, and she did a great job, I think. She's a perfectionist like her mom, though, so she kept complaining about minor flaws in her work. :(

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The map craft included a fun game, and all three kids played a kind of geography BINGO together. When Victoria joins us next week, maybe she'll play, too.

Overall, it was a great set of Kiwi Crates - and if you'd like a free $10 toward your first order, click on over here to get it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

 


Virgo Birthday Season, Version 2014

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It started with a bouquet. 

Yellow roses, to be exact - my favorite color rose. 

We have seen lots of street vendors selling all manner of things that grow from the ground, down here in Miami. Rob has been wanting to buy me flowers from one of them for nearly a year and a half now, but I haven't let him spend the money. This time, though, for birthday season, I relented. Maybe just this once, the three or four bucks could be spared.

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Rob's 42nd birthday was on Saturday, August 30th. For his special dinner, we took a mystery shop at a popular nearby-ish tapas restaurant we've been to several times and enjoyed. 

We seriously annoyed our server that night, being seriously undecided on what to imbibe. Finally, having seen the huge girls-night-out party next to us receive a huge pitcher of delicious-looking white sangria, we opted for that. The funny thing was, we also ordered it by the pitcher. For two lightweight drinkers. Ummm... so guess who inherited more than half of our unfinished sangria? The girls next door!

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For dinner, we dined on tapas of spinach, codfish balls, various breads and cheeses, and fruit. Utterly yummo!

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Next day was Friday (before his birthday). I took another mystery shop at Rob's favorite burger joint for lunch. Hey, if you're going to spend money, it might as well be someone else's. Ha. I kid. (Kinda.)

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I had yet another shop at a candy store, so I decided to get Rob some pee and poop. Of a confectionary sort, of course. He enjoyed the joke.

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For his "real" dessert, the girls and I went to Publix and picked up some scrumptious cannoli and chocolate-dipped strawberries. We had gotten new Fiesta ware for ridiculously cheap at Kohl's, and that's my new turquoise plate on display. (We had a rather large Fiesta collection already, but with these hard tile floors and five clumsy dish washers, we've lost quit a bit of it to the dropsies. Ugh. We should probably stick with plastic!)

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Of course, an Odette birthday season would not be complete without tons of freebies. To start, I used my Dunkin' Donuts app to get Rob a free Mocha Coolatta, which took an inordinately long time for him to finish - but he did!

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Sophia gave Rob a new immersion blender, because the one we had before, which Hubs came into this marriage with, either got left behind in Virginia or was broken. Either way, he's missed it ever since. 

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Jacky was amused to give Rob a new nose hair trimmer. He needs this! I'd gotten him one before, but that also bit the dust. Jack giggled the entire time he was wrapping and Daddy was opening the present.

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Chloë gave her dad a new veggie peeler, because the current one stinks, and a new egg slicer, because the old one broke. We use a lot of eggs here at Casa de Odette!

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Rob's wardrobe is slim pickin's, so I gave him a new pair of shorts. He says they're comfy. 

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Rob loves scratch-off tickets, so I made sure to get him five $1 ones. I hope he liked the experience of rubbing off that silvery stuff, because he only won a dollar. Rats.

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Fast-forward a week to Friday, the 5th of September. My friend Veronica and her mother make authentic Mexican tamales of beef, pork, and beans. To thank me for some odd thing, she wanted to give me some and was thoughtful enough to ask if I ate meat. I don't, of course, so she came over with half a dozen bean tamales that were absolutely OUT of this world. Rob enjoyed them, too! 

Veronica also gave me Ferrero Rocher chocolates for a birthday present. I shared exactly one with Sophia, ate the rest, and then promptly declared myself on a diet for the remainder of at least this month! ;)

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Sophia had baseball practice that night, and Chloë came with us. Afterward, we stopped at another flower vendor on the side of the road where I bought her a half-dozen white roses for $3. Her 13th (!!!) birthday was not until Sunday, but as my mother-in-law opines, you get a whole season and not just one day. Especially as a freshly-minted teenager.

Next, we went to Sears, where I picked up that silver heart necklace you see around her neck. It was a $149.99 necklace that I got for exactly NOTHING out of pocket. Sweet! 

(Unfortunately, the chain was delicate, and she didn't realize my warnings to be careful were completely valid. She accidentally broke the clasp the next day when tugging it out of her hair... and spent the next hour dissolved in tears. Poor kid. We'll get that fixed.)

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That night, much later, Chloë got a free Blue Raspberry Smoothie from Dunkin' Donuts, as well as a free chocolate croissant from Starbucks. They were technically my birthday presents, but since we practically share birthdays and since I can't really eat what she can, I usually give lots of my goodies to her - and to Rob.

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Finally, around zero-dark-thirty on Saturday morning, we went to IHOP and redeemed my free rooty-tooty-fresh-and-fruity pancake meal. Chloë opted to get the peach variety. I took a bite. Okay, maybe two bites. They were so tasty!

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On the way home from IHOP, we picked up our free birthday doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Sophia ate mine, which was fine. I think she ate half of Chloë's, too, which is not unusual...

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Chloë was pretty pooped on Saturday after that, so she snoozed while I took Sophie to her baseball stuff that day. However, she was back in the game that night, and we went to Panera to get our free birthday pastries. She chose a cheese Danish, and I selected a pecan roll. I was ravenous at that point, so I actually ate about a third of it before taking the rest home to a hungry husband.

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I had tons of Kohl's Cash to redeem, having saved it up for Chloë's birthday, so on Sunday we started at that store shortly after they opened. She went through the entire store, looking at fragrances and cosmetics, candles, room décor, and more before deciding that she wanted to get a couple of nice outfits. This is the first one she picked, although we have to return the shirt because it bothers her sensitive skin.

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This is the other outfit Chloë bought with her Kohl's cash. I really had to talk her into the white leggings. She was convinced leggings made her thighs look fat. I am so mad at whoever gave her that idea, because nothing could be further from reality! Really?!!

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Chloë told me she felt like 13 was still young enough to like some kid stuff, and she didn't feel too old for another Build-A-Bear, so I used up a bunch of gift cards to that store to give her this Palace Pet one she named Pumpkin. That makes... four?

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We started on our Freebie Tour of Miami after Kohl's. The whole fam-damily came with us. Our first stop was at Sonic, where we redeemed our coupon for a free-with-purchase medium Tots. She loves those things. I gave Sophie the "with-purchase" part: a small Lemon-Berry Slush. Hey, if they had to ride along for a full day of birthday fun, they might as well have gotten to join in.

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Next up: GameStop. I didn't technically have anything birthday-related from there, but I'd gotten a free $5 gift certificate for downloading a certain app. I only did that to give Chloë yet another fun thing to do! She chose the Wii disk Just Dance for Kids (I don't know which version).

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I'd gotten a $10 birthday gift card to Victoria's Secret, so we headed to Southland Mall in Cutler Bay to redeem that. Chloë chose a pretty pink lip gloss, which you can't tell but she's wearing in this picture.

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Around the corner, still at that mall, we redeemed the coupon for our free birthday wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Chlo didn't want those, so Jack was the beneficiary this time. He gobbled those right down, too!

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Still at this mall, we went back inside the main area and redeemed coupons at Bath & Body Works and Auntie Anne's. Sophia came with us and helped Chloë pick out five mini hand-sanitizers and a sani-holder from BBW, as well as a prettily-scented lotion. We headed over for our free pretzels and a drink from Auntie Anne's. Her favorite pretzel, Cinnamon Sugar, was "out" at the moment, so they gave us a huge cup of mini pretzel bites in the same flavor. That worked.

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Leaving the mall, we headed north on US1. Our next stop was Arby's, where we had a free shake-with-purchase birthday coupon. I bought Rob a chocolate lava cake for a buck and change, and Chloë wanted a vanilla shake. She didn't care for it too much, though, so Sophia received another bonus.

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We kept going north and bumped into Boston Market next. I had a $3-off-$6 coupon, so we bought a piece of apple pie for Jack and two small sides of mac & cheese for each girl. Not bad for just over three bucks, and Rob and I each got a bite of mac, too. Good stuff, that.

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Up the road we went, to The Falls (another mall). I had gotten $50 to spend at Build-A-Bear: $5 each for my and Chloë's birthdays, and the other $40 gift card from Smiley360.com in exchange for sharing about the Workshop with my friends. Jack was supposed to go in with the girls, but he developed a major "gimme" attitude that I didn't appreciate, and he started giving Chloë and me crap about our birthdays "not being fair." Long story short, he and Rob waited it out while the girls split the fitty bucks and shopped 'til they dropped! More on that to come in another post...

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If ever there was a time for wishing, birthdays are it! We take every opportunity we get, too. The girls both were given shiny 2014 pennies for this special wish. I wonder if they'll come true?

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Still at The Falls, we walked over to the Corner Bakery Cafe to get our free birthday cookie. The girls were pooped by that point, so they sat at a table to look at their Build-a-Bear loot while I ordered a chocolate chip cookie, ostensibly to give to Jack. When I returned from there and a pit stop to the ladies' room, the girls had completely overtaken a table with their goodies. Ha! It only takes a minute... and I was so hungry, I promptly forgot about my diet and ate that whole damned cookie. And then I got sick and regretted it. Sorry, Jacky.

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We headed home from there, but not before stopping at our local Dairy Queen for our BOGO Orange Julius drinks. Chloë wanted an Original, and Sophia received the other. Deliciousness!

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Before heading home, we drove down the road to Ruby Tuesday to get my free birthday burger Tue-Go. I ordered on Rob's behalf this time, getting an avocado turkey burger with applewood smoked bacon. Not a bad deal, this birthday freebie thing, huh?

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We dropped the boys off at home after that and headed to the movies, just us girls. Chloë and I had a free birthday movie coming to us, and I had a third free ticket that I received from donating blood a few months ago. I'll do that again this weekend and get another free ticket for a future movie. Yay!

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We three girls headed next door to Chili's for a late dinner after the movie (which was If I Stay, by the way, a real tearjerker). I had gotten a $10 gift certificate to the restaurant from the Viggle app, and we used that plus a birthday freebie coupon for a dessert which we decided to take home to eat after Sophie passed out on the table, dead asleep. The server was alarmed, thinking something was wrong other than the poor child being worn clean out.

(I also got money back from the Ibotta app for eating at Chili's, so this was nearly a moneymaker meal for me. Sweet!)

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After we got home and put the Littles to bed, I sang "Happy Birthday" to Chloë. She ate the molten chocolate cake, and I sat and marveled over the fact that I am now the mother of a bleepin' teenager!!

On Monday, my 38th birthday, I only wanted some much-needed sleep and a clean kitchen. I slept until noon! And it felt great. Then I woke up with a migraine, which I still have a day later. Fancy that.

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After school, Chloë and I took Sophie to baseball practice and then ran around for a few more freebies. We redeemed for two birthday smoothies at Planet Smoothie - Mango Madness for Chlo, and Screamsicle for Sophie.

We headed to Sephora at Dadeland Mall to get our birthday gifts: mascara and lipstick minis. Since I'm purely a Jafra girl at heart, I gave mine to Sophie. They wanted to stay for free mini-makeovers, but I had a killer headache still and wanted to move out of all that smelly-good stuff.

We had gotten yet another free pretzel pop-up notification on the Auntie Anne's app, each, so we redeemed those while we were at Dadeland before driving up from Kendall to Coral Gables for more freebies.

This time, we snagged a cup of Cherry Garcia from Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, as well as a free Chocolate Soufflé from California Pizza Kitchen!

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Back at home after that, we got Sophie settled in bed, and the boys were both asleep, too. Chloë stuck a candle in my CPK chocolate soufflé and sang "Happy Birthday" to me by herself, the sweet girl that she is.

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Lastly, before she headed to bed, I let Chloë put on her Sephora make-up. She's wearing it in this, her profile picture on her also-new Facebook account. She looks dandy, no?

The funny thing is, we're only maybe halfway through our list of freebies! Maybe we will finish, and maybe we wont, but the truth is we're kind of freebie'd out at the moment. We shall see...

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Your Ticket To Click It

Yup, I'm going to do a bunch of reviews on my Smiley.com sampling projects here, and I would appreciate it if you all would please, please, please click on each link to give me credit for telling you about this stuff. Pretty please, with sugar, whipped cream and a cherry on top?

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Up first is Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D Gummy Bites. I'm not even going to lie, I love these things for the taste and texture alone. They're seriously yummy! I may or may not have popped a couple-two-three like candy on one particularly sweet-toothy day. Aside from that, they're great for strengthening bones - a must for us women - and the D increases absorption of Calcium, so that's a WIN, right?!

Click here for a $1 coupon or a $2 coupon, depending on which size you're interested in buying.

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Next up, I'm going to talk about bottoms. Specifically, hemmorhoids. Do you have them? Because I totally have them, ever since I was pregnant with Chloë 13 years ago. They SUCK! I've even gone to an anus doctor (hehe) to see about having them surgically repaired in the past, they were so bad. Enter Preparation H Medicated Wipes for Women

I've been using these for about a week now, thanks to my free samples from Smiley, and wowsa! They really help soothe my sore behind. Wanna give them a try?

Click here for a $1.50-off coupon. Trust me. Your bum will thank you (and me, right?!)

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Thirdly, we have Pepcid Complete, which I jumped at the chance to sample. I have suffered from some serious GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) for about 16 years now, and it's a real pain in the neck. Literally! Smiley sent me a coupon for a free bottle of Pepcid Complete Acid Reducer & Antacid, and I rushed right over to my nearby pharmacy to redeem that bad boy.

I had run out of my prescription acid reflux meds, so this was really just what I needed. Pepcid Complete tamed that savage beast in less than an hour, and I have been comfortable ever since. I might even use it in conjunction with my Rx, if I ever fill that again, because it works so well. If you're a fellow sufferer, you can click here to get a coupon for $2 off your purchase. You'll be glad you did.

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My next mission is about something that's very close to my heart: Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV). As a product of CDV myself, it's my goal that everyone who cares about this issue - whether from first-hand experience or not - will go out and purchase Invincible by Brian F. Martin here. Let me know if you do; it would mean a lot to me just to know you looked at the page.

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And finally, for now, a bit of fun: Build-a-Bear Workshop and Smiley gave me a gift card to go and make a Superhero, My Little Pony® or Disney® Princess Palace Pet at their workshop. Sophia recently made a sparkly kitty, and Chloë's getting a Princess Palace Pet (Ariel's kitty, which she's named Pumpkin) for her upcoming birthday in two weeks, so I think I'll use this gift card to get a Superhero for Jack. How fun!

Have you ever been to Build-a-Bear Workshop? We've done it several times now, and each time we go, it's super-fun and super-special for the kids and us parents alike. The staff really go out of their way to make sure the kids' (or your) creations are one-of-a-kind and just the way they're wanted. They even throw great parties for special occasions!

Click here for a special $5-off-$25 coupon to use on your next visit - and make sure you let me know you went!

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Thanks for stopping by, and please remember to click, click, click for me. Thanks!

Fin.

 


Celebrating Independence Day

Okay, so I'm a little late, so sue me. I'm catching up and will make several posts in the next few hours. Been busy, been sick, been busy some more - you know the drill.

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Team Odette went about six minutes down the road from our abode to the Homestead Speedway, where Homestead was putting on a pretty huge shindig. There were attractions a-plenty, from a variety of interesting food trucks, rides and jumpy blow-up thingies (what the heck are those properly called? It's escaping me), and of course, fireworks.

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I managed to get selfies with the kidoodles, but I guess not with Rob. I thought I did? Must have disappeared into the ether.

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I'd brought little money, but enough to get some food from a few of the food trucks. We got there around 1800, and none of us had eaten much during the day, so that was our first order of business. The kids each had some grub and an ice cream cone, while Rob held out for much later. I looked everywhere for the cheesy fries I adore so much, but none were to be found. Sadness. I settled for this delishamus duo of fried mozzarella from Xtreme Risotto. I can't do rice in any way, shape or form, so don't ask me what's "xtreme" about their risotto.

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Sophia loves these things! Unlike their camera-shy brother, both girls are always game for a good photo op.

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This bungee-jumpy doohickey was worth the long wait in line for the lady-babies, but Jack begged off. Both girls wore either a skirt or a dress, which must have been interesting for them and the ride operators, but um, we won't dwell on that.

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Jack, as you'll see in a moment, is not at all the adventurous sort. Sophia, as you'll also discover, is quite on the opposite end of the spectrum, whereas Chloë falls somewhere in the middle... but closer to Jack's end. She didn't go very high, but she had a great time nonetheless.

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Sophia was flipping and twisting and jumping and diving, going all over the place with her gymnastics, and generally loving life. I'm so glad I managed to get this shot, because lemme tell ya, I discarded quite a few missed opportunities before landing it!

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Jack, meanwhile, stuck to tamer things like bumper cars. What you can't tell from this photo is that I took it immediately before getting in the car to accompany him, at his insistence. Clingy little bugger! He's always been that way, since before he was born. Always nestled in my ribs like a rabbit in its den, he was. But I digress.

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Rob was hanging out with the girls on rides and in lines, while I stuck by my boy-child. He got hungry at last, so we looked at every stinkin' food truck for the second time before he settled on a piece of cheese pizza. He's picky. And he hates cheese passionately, so you know he was so thrilled when I took this picture of him.

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At long last, I convinced him to go down the blow-up Titanic, which the girls had already done a time or two. That's Jack, panicking and (okay, you can't hear it, but the entire rest of the Speedway patrons did) screaming all the way down the "deck." Hilarious, but of course, being quite the chicken myself, I empathized with him. He did not get his Aunt Stacey's thrill-seeking gene like Sophia seems to have!

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At long last, sundown was happening. We skedaddled into the arena, but we found it half-packed already. We opted to sit on the walkway at the bottom of things instead, for Rob's sake.

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It was a pretty good show, as fireworks displays go. I was satisfied. Independence Day is absolutely my favorite holiday, so this is good. I did not want to miss the culmination of the event, so when dozens of folks including many Police Explorers showed up and stood in front of us, I put on my big girl britches and hollered at them to sit down. This ballsiness is very unlike me; is this what growing up is doing for me? Maybe I'm a late bloomer. Either way, they sat, and I was pleased.

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For the second year in a row, I had unsuccessfully searched for sparklers and poppers for the kids to enjoy at home. So I was thrilled when, a coupla days later, I not only found them but found them on clearance (woot!) at the Walgreens right down the road. Boo-yah! They were absolutely delighted, and I got to relive a little bit of my favorite part of kidhood vicariously through their enjoyment. Perfect.

Thanks for visiting!

Fin.