Friday, August 26, 2011

My featherbaby, Squeaks :)

I'm glad that Stress Free Infertility is doing a Furry Friday Friend Link Up. I need some cuteness to brighten my day. I don't have a furbaby, I have a featherbaby. His name is Squeaks, and he's a Green Cheeked Conure (GCC). He's smart as a whip, with a smart-ass attitude to boot :) He won't curl up in your lap like a cat, but he'll sit on your shoulder and snuggle up under your hair. He wears bells as hats, plays dead when he doesn't think he's getting enough attention, and attacks dots of light from laser pens. He cries 'Mama' in his gravelly, almost undecernable voice when I'm not in the house. He gets mad at Daddy if he doesn't get a belly rub every morning. He wakes up on the wrong side of the bed if he doesn't get 12 hours of sleep. He believes he should never have a clean water bowl, and the water faucet is evil - he expresses his opinion quite vocally :)


In June 2009, we decided we wanted to get a GCC. With our infertility issues, birds were/are much cheaper than kids. We had fallen in love with Houdini, a GCC at a local pet store. Houdini crawled up on my shoulder and fell asleep on multiple occasions, and he didn't do that with any other customers. When we finally had the money, we went to the pet store. We were 2 hours late. Someone had purchased Houdini. I was heartbroken. Then we were told we could special order a GCC baby from the breeder, and the store would wean it for us. They said it would be a great bonding experience, because we could come in and see him, play with him and hold him all we wanted. So we did. When we first saw him, he was a pitiful little bird with gray fluffy feathers. And it was love at first sight. All the noise he could muster was this high-pitched squeak. It was the perfect name for him, and he seemed to like it. Those gray feathers were soon replaced with every color in the rainbow. He's a little over 2 years old now, still a baby really, since parrots live 20-45 years. There have been times when I wish he had a mute button, would keep his water bowl clean for just a few hours, or didn't have a secret desire to be a vampire. But even when he drives me crazy, I love him. He really is my child, and I'm glad Houdini wasn't available.

   


Want to show off your furbaby or featherbaby? Head over to the Stress Free Infertility blog and link up!

Changing Scents

In my circle of friends, cigarettes are a hot button issue. Zim smokes, as does Hubs. Jayxe, however, has no interest in them whatsoever, and I just quit. I have been contemplating introducing the 'Smoke Outside' rule, but until the weather cools down, that would just be mean of me. Zim bought an e-cigarette recently, and it inspired me to do some research into them for Hubs.

The electronic cigarette, A.K.A. e-cig, is a small, cigarette-shaped electronic device that emits a nicotine-laced vapor when inhaled. There is no tobacco, tar or carbon monoxide. There is no second-hand smoke. There's no odor! The money that it could potentially save us would be fantastic, also.

I spent some time at http://www.safecig.com, a company which claims to have the Best Electronic Cigarette. I do not back up this claim, simply because I have not tried the product. The website itself is fairly simple to navigate, although the main page may seem cluttered by the 'As Seen on' logos. The font is clear, and the colors are easy on the eyes.

If I decide to purchase this, I'm most interested in the Starter Kit Pro. For $89.95, you get 2 e-cigarette batteries, 2 chargers, and a 5 pack of refill cartridges. We bought an e-cigarette for my mother-in-law last year, and spent over $100 for comparable product, so the price already seems better. I only have one concern so far - I cannot seem to find anywhere on the website that discusses how long a refill cartridge lasts. At $12.50 for a set of 5 cartridges, this is still cheaper than buying real cigarettes, but I'm curious as to how often I would be buying them. I've seen comments in the reviews about how long the cartridges last, but I would like to know what is (or isn't) advertised.

It sure would be nice to have a cleaner-smelling home, without having to force the hubby outside in the heat :) If you'd like to check this product out for yourself, visit the Safe Cig website, http://www.safecig.com.

Disclaimer: I have been paid for this review. All opinions are completely my own, based on my review of the website/product.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday Link Up!

This week is a little happier than last week :) My sister is finally in town to help us work on our latest venture, making ugly things pretty. Still don't have a company name, but we'll figure it out sooner or later. This is the ringtone I have for my mom and my sister! Here's Sister Sledge with We Are Family.



Join the link-up at Amber's blog and check out her giveaway!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GLUTEN FREE chocolate heaven in a cup

Sometimes you just have to have chocolate, right? Last weekend a couple of friends of ours came over to hang out for their birthday. As the end of the day was nearing, I realized that they didn't get any birthday cake. *I'll pause for you to gasp like I did :)* I made sure they liked chocolate, then proceeded to make them a birthday cake! The best part - besides the cake itself - it only takes a couple of minutes to cook, in the MICROWAVE!!! Enjoy drooling over the picture, then make one for yourself! You won't regret it!



(I topped this one with chocolate dipped strawberries to make it pretty)

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake in A Mug:

Ingredients:
4 tbsp almond flour
4 tbsp honey powder (or sugar/powdered sugar substitute)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (the darker the better)
1 egg
3 tbsp milk (I use chocolate hemp milk. almond milk is also really good)
3 tbsp flax oil (various oils can be substituted)
1/2 tsp GF vanilla extract
3 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
In small bowl, mix all dry ingredients well. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Mix in wet ingredients until smooth. Add 3 tbsp chocolate chips if you really like chocolate! Pour batter into a greased oversized coffee mug and microwave for 2:40-3:00 minutes. It will be done when the cake pulls away from the side of the mug and is spongy to the touch. Allow to cool for 1-2 min, remove from cup and enjoy! Makes enough for 2, if you want to share :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday - Aug 18, 2011

Stressed out this week. Busy and exhausted. I've been singing Annie to keep myself happy. I like this video, because it's so interesting to see how Annie was cast over the years in various countries. Enjoy!



Join the link-up at Amber's blog and checl out her giveaway!

Running on empty

Who knew that taking time off from work could be so exhausting? This week I have been working with my mom to get some stuff made so we can finally start selling. After 3 trips to Joann fabrics and hours in the sewing room, we still have nothing. I often listen to my mom complain about what it's like to live with my grandparents, who are slowly going senile. It's one thing to listen, but to actually be there all day every day and actually watch everything she complains about makes me want to go home and hide in bed. I love my family, but sometimes they can over-react, especially my mom. I've played mediator this week, and I'm not sure I'm doing anything except stressing myself out.

But I still have some hope. We received the anti-static bags we've been waiting for, so Hubs and I can tear down the servers taking up so much of my dining room and get them to a friend to sell this weekend. Besides another trip to the fabric store to get ribbon, I don't think we have any more shopping to do before we actually get all of our pouf ottomans and t-shirt shrugs ready for sale this weekend as well. We had some major setbacks with both the ottomans and the shrugs, but I think we have overcome them and tomorrow will go much better. Here's to hoping.

Thankfully I've been able to enjoy parts of this week - there are two hummingbirds fighting for the feeder in my grandmother's backyard. They've been pretty entertaining. I've also enjoyed getting addicted to tennis on Wii Sports. Hubs and I can kick some computer butt :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trying to deal with my kids growing up

Guest post written by Ben Hughes

I'm really attached to my kids. They're not even that old yet though and it feels like they're growing up so fast on me! Our oldest one is starting kindergarten this year and I think that she's really going to love it. But it's going to be hard one me, my wife and the younger kids when she's not at the house all the time now.

I really went online to find some resources for myself about how to deal with it personally, but then I thought that it might be good to also find some tips on how the kids could deal with it. While I was looking online for that, I ran across the site CLEAR-INTERNET.com. I showed it to my wife and after that we decided to change over our home internet service to it.

I did find a bit of parenting advice. I think the best advice that I found was to relax because there are still lots of other firsts to worry about along the way. I thought that was pretty good, so I'm taking it to heart.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sabbatical - Week 2 Checkin

I've been a pretty crappy blogger this past week. I figured that I would blog more since I had more time, but that obviously wasn't the case. I started my sabbatical a week ago. I worked out M-Th last week, then did a lot of walking around garage sales with my mom on Friday. The weekend, though, was useless. I didn't do anything. I ate fairly well, if you don't count the pizza we ordered last night, and the nachos at Movie Tavern. I've been pretty mad at myself, because even though I've done a lot of working out, the scale has gone up even more. I've really got to get back on track with my diet and get rid of the Veggie Stix (veggie flavored potato sticks.) Of course I say this as I wait for my GF cinnamon raisin bread to rise so I can stick it in the oven.

I didn't do Fat Ass Friday this week because the scale said 243. It just made me want to cry. I decided to wax my chin this week (Excess hair is a major problem with PCOS), and now I have a golf-ball sized patch of flaky, red skin on my chin, along with hair that didn't get ripped out. I tried a mask from Central Market to soothe the skin, but to no avail.

But we have been doing some good things around the house. We bought two cute black bar stools to go with the table I bought a few months ago. The table attaches to the wall, and can be folded down when not in use. We're going to stain it with a dark cherry. I'm going to re-upholster the seats of the chairs to a darker color so they don't look dirty all t he time. We've also started picking up the mess in the dining room so we can start using it again. As soon as the dining room is clean, my mom and I will start doing some of our refurbishing projects to make some extra money. We have serving trays to decorate, poof ottomans to sew together, an adorable rocking horse to stain and other little craft projects. I'll post pictures as we proceed :)

So this week I want to ramp up the exercise, focus more on the diet, and get some projects done!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sabbatical - The Plan

Monday was officially the first day of my 2-3 month sabbatical. I decided that I needed to take a break for my health after my employment contract ended. I want to focus on getting more exercise, losing weight, and starting to feel better as a whole. I also decided that I needed to quit smoking. Although I had drastically cut back in the past few months, smoking no more than 3-4 a day, down from 10. I stopped Friday.

Here's the plan:
  • Breakfast - Fruity Hemp Protein Smoothie, Supplements
  • Exercise - Up to one hour of exercise, at least 20 minutes.
  • After workout snack - 5 min quinoa flake bake. Flavor depends on the fruit in the house, and the matching recipe from one of my favorite blogs: Healthful Pursuit. These are absolutely fantastic, and so versatile!
  • Lunch - Yummy salad, ingredients dependent on the produce in the house, topped with a gluten-free dressing, Supplements
  • Exercise - Up to one hour of exercise, at least 20 minutes.
  • After workout snack - Nut and granola bar
  • Dinner - A delicious dinner, gluten free and low carb.

So far things have been going fairly well. I found a great new game called ExerBeat. I really like it because it has a ton of different exercises. Even better, though, it has a story line. I was in shock. A workout game with a story? How unusual is that? In this game, you accrue miles for the time you have worked out. Those miles are used in the story line to move your character around the world.

I've worked out for an hour each day, and haven't eaten anything too terribly bad for me. I've cleaned the kitchen, done a few loads of laundry, and overall felt relaxed. The ability to relax is really important to me right now, as I feel that I haven't been able to do that since I started working. The hubby and I have been putting puzzles together every night :) It's been fun getting to enjoy something like that with him - when I was working we'd just watch tv together.

The only problem I am now encountering has to do with my teeth. The far back right side of my mouth hurts really bad. It only happens at night, when I'm trying to sleep. I'm in so much pain that I can't sleep (Hence the reason I'm finishing this post at 3 am...) I'm currently waiting for tylenol to kick in so I can get some rest. So far, from the research I have done, it could be one of several things - Nicotine withdrawal, a new side effect of my anti-depressants, TMJ, or wisdom teeth. I've ruled out wisdom teeth because it doesn't hurt all the time, and I don't grind my teeth, so it's not likely TMJ. I've been on this anti-depressant now for almost 2 months, and this just started 2 days ago, so it's likely nicotine withdrawal. I guess since it's the only withdrawal symptom I'm having I should be happy, but it's hard when it hurts so much.

Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep now. I have a 10% off coupon for my local farmer's market tomorrow, but I have to use it between 9 am and 1 pm. I need some sleep so I can be productive! Tomorrow's tasks - farmer's market, more laundry and hopefully some more house cleaning!