Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Take the stress out of shopping for tech gifts this holiday season

I am a gamer and lover of all things tech. I spend more time then I should drooling over the ads featuring the newest gaming equipment, iPads, or anything else under the sun. Unfortunately, that makes me hard to shop for. Because I am so in to technology and all the latest gadgets, I tend to be a bit picky if you will, when it comes to my gifts.

Shopping for the Tech lover on your list doesn't have to send you running for the nearest exit. With a few easy steps, you can easily shop for every tech lover on your list.

Compare Ads: Check your local sales ads before going into the store. A lot of tech gifts have different specs. There are 2 different Xbox 360s and multiple bundles. Write down what it is you are looking for.

Check price match policy: Call the stores you want to shop at and find out what their price match policy is. Wal-mart will match prices. Sears matches prices and then gives an additional 10%. Take a few extra minutes to see which stores offer the best prices.

Check the online vs in store price policy: Some items are cheaper online then they are in stores. Will the store match the online price? Wal-mart offers free site to store shipping. Order it at the online price and pick it up in store. Make sure you are clear on the policies before you go shopping. 

Ebay is not always the way to go: It used to be that Ebay was your one stop shop for anything you could want. When it comes to tech gifts, however, they are usually way overpriced. Stay away from Ebay and opt for a retail store.

When in doubt, buy a gift card:  Not sure which iPod to buy? Grab a gift card for the purchase amount and let your recipent chose which gadget they want. It will save you time and a headache. :)

(I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here)

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Need to make changes

Via Google Images

It isn't a secret around these parts that I have been feeling pretty frustrated with life lately. It has lead to Steve and I having some intense arguments discussions about my life, what changes I want to make, what changes he wants me to make, and what I need to change to find my "happy" again.In all honesty, I do need to make some changes. I know I do. I just don't like being told what to do. (I have a wicked stubborn streak).

The problem is I don't know how to make the changes. Or even where to start. I know that I am not happy. It isn't one particular thing either, it is a whole slew of things that really have me ready to throw up my hands and walk away. When I get to feeling like this it is a signal that I need to take stock of what I am doing with my life and what things I can change to make things better for me. I accept that there are somethings that are the way they are. And I can't change them. But, I can change how I let them affect me.

At this point, I know that I need to make some changes. I am working on those changes. Both inwardly and outwardly. :)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. My turkey is thawing in the fridge, pies are waiting to be baked, I am looking forward to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Steve has to work 3rd shift that day, so not looking forward to that, but atleast we will get most of the day together as a family  before he has to leave.

I am quick to wish away 2010. Then I realize that it was a good year as well as a trying year.  So, because I would rather focus on the the good...I have decided to post what it is I am Thankful for this Thanksgiving.

1.) My kids. They keep me motivated and grounded. I love them more than anything in the world.
2.) My family. From my in-laws to my family. There have been a few times during the year that we needed them and they were there for us. They love our kids just as much as we do.
3.)Luke. He is my personal trainer. I am thankful for his guidence and support and willingness to work with me even when I am being as stubborn as a mule.
4.)My friends. I have an amazing group of friends. I have made some friends this year that I know will last a life time
5.) I am thankful for the ability to learn and grow. I am thankful that each day is a new start and I am in control of my life.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Goals and Such

It is hard to believe that in just a few short days, it will be Thanksgiving, and then a few short weeks after that Christmas and then the New Year. 2010 feels like it went by at a breakneck speed. 2010 hasn't been the best of years towards me, but it also hasn't been the worst. It was a year that has tested my very inner strength. It is also one that opened my eyes to a weight problem and eating disorder. (You can read about that here) I grew a lot as a person this year (emotionally and spiritually).

Going into 2011, I am already setting my intentions for the year. These are things that will happen. No question of "if." I am taking all other options off the table. One of the things that I have learned is to name your goals as if they already happpened. Don't leave room for the "what ifs" Just say and then own it.

So, I am sharing my goals with you for the 2011 year!

  • Weigh 160 pounds (or less). After spending the last 4 years over 200 pounds, I am leaving the 200's behind forever
  • Run the Chicago Marathon. October 2011 will find me pounding the pavement in the city of Chicago
  • Become certified to teach Turbo Fire and Hip Hop Hustle
  • Become a Certified Personal Trainer (signing up for the classes in Jan.) and start working towards becoming a Nutritionist
  • Publish my novel
  • Publish my non-fiction book
  • Start on my children's book series
These are things that are all non-negotiable for the 2011 year. There are a few other things as well that are on that list. These are things that will happen.

2011 will be MY year!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dealing with death

This morning a furry member of our family gained their wings and flew to Doggy Heaven. Bella wasn't even a year old. We had got her in March at 8 weeks old. She was a pure-bred, blue eyed Siberian Huskie and a welcomed addition to our family. Today, she passed away.

She had been sick for a while, not really gaining weight. But, she never suffered. We tried everything thing we could for her, but nothing worked. Nothing was ever found to be wrong with her. She was a huge ball of energy. Just the other day I was playing with her. Yesterday, she was quieter than normal, I guess that should have been my sign that she was going. Today, I walked into the garage and called her name. And she didn't come running like she normally did. She had passed away. I had to explain to the kids what happened to Bella. At 3 and 4, they didn't understand. They watched at daddy dug a hole and we buried Bella in our backyard. They said goodbye to her. Aidan seemed a little sad, but I don't think he quite got it.

Me? I wish I didn't understand it. Because I am heart broken. She was my dog. I picked her out, I named her. She was mine. I know that, to some, she is just a dog. But, she was a member of our family. And it hurts.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide: Xbox 360 Kinect

google images

Recently I got a chance to try out the new Xbox 360 Kinect with Kinect Adventures. Being the gamer that I am, I had been following Microsofts development of this project back when it was called Project Natal. I was hesitant at first, after all this technology is brand new to the market, and is even leaps and bounds above Playstation 3's Move.

The Kinect system operates soley on your body movements. There is no controller needed. The set up and callibration of the Kinect system is extremely easy. And you will be ready to play in no time.

Using the Kinect system was a little tricky at first. But, once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy--and fun.

One of the best things about the Kinect is that my 3 and 4 year old can play with Daddy and I now. They always want to play games when they see daddy or their older brother playing, but they didn't quite understand the controller thing. Since the body is the controller, they have no problems playing now.

Kinect Adventures: This game comes with the Xbox 360 system and Kinect Bundle. My kids love this game because it takes your pictures and displays them on the screen. There are 5 or 6 games with a few different levels. They are all 1 or 2 player games.

Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout: I had to try this one. I had been using the one on the Wii for a while, but the controller kept getting in the way. So, I popped this game in. Holy Cow! This is a full body, intense workout. You can use free weights and an excersise ball (for your core)

If you are looking for a great gift for the video game lover on your list this Christmas, definately consider the Xbox 360 Kinect!


Xbox 360 Kinect/Console 4G~$299.99 at Wal-Mart
The Kinect ONLY~$149.99 at Wal-Mart
Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout~$49.99 at Target

(I was not compensated in any form, either monetary or through goods, to provide this review. )
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5 Easy Thanksgiving Crafts For Kids of All Ages

I live in the midwest, which means that the amount of time my kids spend outdoors is slowly becoming less and less. I am an outdoorsy kinda girl, so having to stay indoors kinda bites. Not to mention with a 4,3, and 18 month old, things get kinda hectic--fast.

I am a member of the Kraft Delicious Bytes Blogging program and recently came across 5 easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids.

· Encourage your kids to draw a picture of something they’re thankful for. Laminate the pictures and display them on your front door to welcome guests
  · Use old magazines to make a festive collage featuring classic Thanksgiving foods.

· Create custom decorated nameplates to add a personalized touch to Thanksgiving dinner.

· Make an original seasonal centerpiece using pinecones, corn and colorful leaves.

· Transform a plastic spoon into a pilgrim puppet with some felt “clothes,” wiggle eyes and a hat made of construction paper

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

It never ends....

Via Google Images

*Sigh* I am writing this post instead of cleaning the house. I am overwhelmed with it all. Now, my house is not a pigsty by any means, but it tends to get cluttered....fast.

We recently moved. We actually moved into a somewhat smaller house. I got rid of a lot of things before we moved here. But, we still have a lot.

It seems that, no matter how fast I wash the dishes, clean the floors, or fold the laundry, it piles right back up. When Steve comes home, he can't tell if anything has been done...even after I spend 1/2 the morning cleaning the house.

The kids are mini category 5 hurricanes that come ripping through here multiple times a day. Even Noah gets in on the mess-making action.

I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. Especially with the holidays coming up. The kids will undoubtly, make out like bandits. Like they do every year. We have a realitvely large family and celebrate the 24th and 25th. So it is important to me to get the house under control now. The problem is, I have no idea where to start.

It just seems like, that as fast as I clean it, is as fast as it get messed up again. It is a never ending cycle.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Randomness

 I realize that it has been ten days since I updated my blog. It seriously wasn't intentional. I sit down, fully intent on writing a post and then something happens. With four kids, there is never a dull moment.

Life has been...interesting to say the least. I have a ton on my plate currently and am always trying to figure out how to fit more on it. I think I am going to have to spend this weekend reorganinzing somethings and figuring out what, if anything, I can move to the back burner. Which probably won't happen, because I like being busy...but at the moment, I am slightly overwhelmed.

I have been blogging pretty regulary over on my other blog, Diary Of A Fat Mom. It has proven to be an essential tool in my quest to become healthier and overcome a food addiction. This journey has definately proven to be one of the most mentally challenging things I have ever done. But, I have aligned myself with an awesome personal trainer who has helped me, and continues to help me, along the way.

I am also partcipating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write 50,000 words  by the end of the month. I am 90% of the way through it. Not to shabby. I am writing a mainstream fiction novel. So far, I think it is going well.

Aidan and Morgan are...potty trained!!! YaY! They still have the occasional accident during the day,but are doing amazingly well with the whole process.

Noah is a goof ball. He has to be the center of attention. Aidan and Morgan are great siblings to him and now enjoy spending hours playing with him.

Damien is still living with his dad. He is doing well in school. We still aren't sure what the future will hold, but i make the most out of the time I have with him.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Begining To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Yes, I just said the "C" word and yes, I know it is only November 2nd. But it is never to early to think about Christmas cards. Especially if you are a procrastinator like me. I have the same box of cards sitting in my hall closet that I purchased two years ago.

This year, I am going to do something different. Shutterfly has amazing products. I have used them in the past for photo books and online photo sharing. This year I am going to use their holiday photo cards to send out cards to my friends and family. Especially since we have family that lives in another state. Holiday photo cards make it easy for me, the procrastinator, to send photos to my mother in law, so she doesn't have to resort to swiping pictures off of my Facebook page ;)

One of the things I really like about Shutterfly is the variety. Not only am I a procrastinator, I am also lazy super busy and don't want to spend time addressing each envelope. So, I am going to use some of Shutterfly's super adorable Christmas address lables on my cards this year.

If you have friends and family who celebrate Hanukkah, Shutterfly has some great Hanukkah cards as well.

So, don't wait until the last minute, like me, to get your cards done. Take advantage of Shutterfly for great cards

(disclaimer: I am being given 50 free photo cards from Shutterfly as compensation for writing this post. This compensation in no way sways my opinion of Shutterfly. All opinons stated herein are 100% mine)post signature

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

                                          Morgan and Aidan: The Witch And Optimus Prime

                                           Noah: Cutest Superman. Ever!

                                          Attempting to take a family picture. Not working to well.

                                          I don't know what Damien was. All I know is his mask scared the crap 
                                          out of Noah.

                                           The three of them. Yes, Damien was trying to be scary. 

                                           All my ghouls and goblins!

                                            We all had a great Halloween Weekend!

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