Review


It is almost the end of 2011.  I thought I would do a quick review of our life this year.

Decorated Christmas Tree

Happy Holidays!

Rogan started working this year for the State Library.  He was named a Mover and Shaker by the Library Journal.  He has published several articles and even cowrote an RPG book.  He has presented at several conferences, and has been asked to speak at more in the next year.  He is working too many hours and has too much stress, but I am proud of all of his accomplishments.  Rogan was in the parking lot of Walmart one day this fall and saw a man with a box of puppies.  He brought two of them home.  We are now up to five dogs in the house and I am officially sick of house training dogs.

 

Rhiannon finished 12th grade this fall.  She has changed hairstyles at least four times.  She is not sure what she wants to do with her life, so is in the process of “finding herself.”  Currently she watches the girls for me four hours per day during the week, so I can get some work done that requires concentration.  We also let Rhiannon pick out a cat from the humane society, where she volunteers on Saturdays, as an early Christmas present this year.  We are now up to two cats and my allergies are not amused.

 

Rowan started kindergarten this fall.  She is smart as a tack, picking up her ABCs, learning to write, learning about new animals in the documentaries and learning programs on the iPad.  She isn’t reading yet, but that is only a matter of time.  I cut Rowan’s hair this summer, so it is shoulder length and much easier to brush now.  Unfortunately, when I cut it most of her curls went away 😦

 

River thinks Rowan doing school is interesting at times, but she never wants to join in.  Maybe next year she will garner some interest in learning herself.  We may need an extra iPad or two!  River didn’t want me to cut her hair when I cut Rowan’s, so I am still struggling with hair brushing with River and her tangle of curls.  Would help if she would let me brush it more often.

 

Me?  I’ve been working more hours, picked up extra work from one client and in the last month gained a new client.  Things are looking up in the work at home front.  I also started testing recipes for a website for a cookbook author.  (I haven’t been keeping up with the recipe testing very well the last six months, I hope they don’t kick me from the program.)  The last few months have also seen a significant improvement in how I feel with the PPD/A.  I am on an upward curve and hope this means the end of the evilness that is my hormones.

 

I am sure I have missed a lot of what has gone on in our lives, but that is a broad overview.  I hope you and yours are all happy and healthy and that this continues on into the New Year!

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Note:  I was given a copy of this book by F+W Media for review purposes.  But, as always, I never agree on a positive review and my opinions are not compromised because I love Heather to death!

I grew up in a Southern family.  I remember I could not watch General Hospital after school if I hadn’t made my bed before leaving for school that morning (I missed a lot of episodes of General Hospital).  I remember watching my Mawmaw clean and dust.  Dusting was odd to me.  But then, because she did it regularly, I never saw it so thought it silly to dust when we never had dust.  As a grown up, with kids and a husband of my own, I do the laundry.  The dishes eventually get washed.  The floor is swept at least once a week.  I cook at least one meal a day.  I swipe at cobwebs in the corners of rooms when I notice them.  I do not own a vacuum cleaner (we have tile or hardwood floors).  Let’s just say, I am not my Mawmaw.  There is noticeable dust.  My bed still isn’t made in the mornings – but that’s ok, since I haven’t watched General Hospital since high school.

Reading Heather’s book made me feel guilty.  Heather’s book made me feel EXTREMELY guilty.  I now have a schedule laid out on the white board in my office.  To clean my house.  On a regular basis.  Yes, dusting is on the list.  Making my bed is not (I’m a rebel, ya know).

There are parts in the book where I had to put it down and go into a room and look.  I felt a little nauseated.  And thankful no one has ever refused food or drink while in my house (no worries, I am not destined to be on any reality shows where they show how bad a housecleaner I am, but I also am not going to win any great housekeeping awards, either  I just suck at getting off my bum and cleaning the house thoroughly).  Did you know if you have jets in your bath tub you are supposed to clean them out a few times a year?  Or they get groddy inside and will leave floating mold and germs in your bath tub????  Did you know the pink rings around your tub and toilet was actually a mold which contributes to urinary tract infections and you can only get rid of it with a weak solution of bleach???  Better yet, did you know there was a lint trap in the hose of your washing machine?? I didn’t until I called a repairman because the washer wasn’t draining (“Did you turn off and then back on again?” is the DUH of the tech world, the lint hose must be the DUH of the washer repair world).

Heather also tells us about the mixing of cleaning chemicals.  Which ones to use on what kinds of surfaces, which ones NOT to use on a certain kinds of surfaces.  Did you know if there were any splashes of urine on the sides of the bowl in your toilet, you will release toxic gases if you put bleach inside to clean it??  Yeah…um…I knew that….yeah.

This book doesn’t just talk about cleaning your house, though, it also helps you with laundry (stains are the bane of everyone’s existence), minor repairs (ever spill fingernail polish remover on good furniture or had a toilet you have to jiggle the handle on?) around the house (Did your ring, or anything else, drop down the sink?  There’s a section for that!) and cooking (do you burn water?  Heather gives you hope and encouragement, and help with menu planning and weekly shopping/pantry stocking).

I think I may turn into a hybrid of Heather and my Mawmaw now.  My mom cleaned, but she also worked full time and had three kids.  I don’t remember ever seeing her dust, either, but that could just be selective memory or memory amnesia.  I am now looking around my home with a whole new outlook – and wondering if I can afford to take a few weeks off, ship the kids out somewhere during this time, and do some deep, deep cleaning…..yeah, that’s not gonna happen.  But Heather let’s us know, if you only have 15 minutes, you can still get a lot accomplished.  Now, who wants to hold the ladder so I can dust the ceiling fans???

F+W Media have given me a wonderful opportunity to give away a copy of Heather’s book to my readers!!!

Required for entering:  Go to Heather’s blog, Home-Ec 101, look around.  Tell me what you best love about her site (don’t forget to browse the forums!).

Optional additional entries:
Follow me on Twitter – tell me your Twitter handle below so I can follow you back, and so your entry will be counted!

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Tweet this giveaway:  “Enter to win a copy of  @HeatherSolos new book Home-Ec 101 at Behind The Stall Door http://wp.me/pULfZ-ay” and enter your tweet url in the comments section.

This giveaway ends Sunday, April 10th, at midnight.  Winner will be announced Monday at noon.  The book will be sent to the winner via F+W Media.

Valentine’s Day is coming up quick. What are you going to get your honey? Flowers die, novelty stuffed animals will eventually take up space in the land fill and those boxed chocolates? They are full of chemicals and preservatives. Want something your snuggle bear is sure to love? Does she love coffee? Does she really love good chocolates? Is a “greenie” who will call you on what you get her?

I have the solution. And, it’s a good solution. Why? Because one thing I love slightly more than chocolate is….coffee! Those who know me even slightly know I am a coffee addict. When Annie at Mambo Sprouts approached me about a coffee and chocolate pairing opportunity from Equal Exchange, I jumped at the chance. ‘Cause…um…chocolate….and….coffee!!! Not only that, but it is all organic and fair trade certified!

Anyone who knows our family well knows we try to eat organic or local as much as possible. Organic is just so much better for your body. We stay away almost completely from processed foods – well, Doritos sometimes cross our lips, I am ashamed to say.


When my package arrived, I was SO excited. I almost didn’t even wait to break into the coffee before it was photographed. I managed to wait, but barely.

I received two pairings: The Milk Chocolate with a hint of hazelnut (38% Cacoa) to pair with Mind Body and Soul, a medium and Vienna roast, and Extra Dark Chocolate Panama (80% cacao) to pair with Love Buzz, a french and full city roast.

I have only tried the milk chocolate pairing so far, but I am completely in love with this stuff! The difference between really, really good coffee and the stuff you get in the grocery store is like day and night. Yes, I am a coffee snob (though I will drink the stuff from the store, because its…you know…coffee lol). Hey, I have three kids, work part time, do volunteer stuff in the community, homeschool, raise chickens, have dogs, cats and parrots to care for and am currently in planning stages of my spring/summer garden. I LIVE on caffeine.

So, let’s recap, shall we? If I say a coffee is good, you can pretty much take it to the bank. If I say a chocolate is awesomeness? Yeah, that is subjective, but I know good chocolate, too. This? This ranks up there with Dagoba in my books. It’s that good. (I’m not More Hip than Hippie, but you can trust my taste lol)

I was slightly disappointed in the packaging, and maybe we can get them to work on this. The chocolate bar was wrapped in plastic instead of recyclable tinfoil and then packaged in a shiny paper that you also cannot recycle. The coffees also came in non-recycle friendly packaging. I do not hold this against them, though. The products are good, but they won’t know what needs to be changed unless someone tells them.

If you are interested in purchasing this package for your honey bun, they are very affordable at $34.95 + shipping. Also, extra chocolate bars are only $5.49 each, or you can purchase solo gift bag (and they are on sale until February 14th).

Just because they love us so much, I have a treat for you: FREE SHIPPING! Just use the code “chocolatelove” before February 14th for UPS ground shipping (Continental US only, sorry my Canadian friends).

Disclosure: These products were sent to me at no charge to test and write a blog post for you to read. I, however, never promise to write a positive review, only an honest one for my readers. If I do not like something, I will let you know I do not like the product.