First of all

Monday, April 30, 2012

May Day! May Day!

S'almost May!  I love a good May, leaves on trees, warm breezes, not too many allergy days and my strawberries will soon turn red.

Yes I know, my strawberry patch clearly appears to need weeding. What I have found is that it thrives through benign neglect.  There will be a bumper crop of fresh organic strawberries this May. I am sure of it. Patrick and Bryce are already petitioning to be allowed to set up a fruit stand out front.

Maybe we could talk Pepe's Mexican Restaurant, located just steps away from our house, into sourcing their strawberry margarita strawberries from our patch?


Gratuitous Margarita Pic!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Recipe and Free Tea from Klout.com

Trying not to complain about the weather, am going to anyway. I'd like it to stop being cold and windy and go back to being 20 degrees above normal.  Like it was in June, I mean March.

Being all cold I thought it would be a good day to try out a recipe I saw recently in the Chicago Tribune . As far as I can tell it isn't available online. It was in the "How to Pair Wine" section and was a vegetable stew. One of the suggestions to go with it was Savingnon Blanc. 

Much to my dismay, now I can't find the recipe.  So for what is worth here is what I remember being in it:
Can of  Crushed Tomatoes
10oz frozen artichoke hearts
Can of small beans, I was going with Great Northern Beans
1 chopped shallot
5 cut up green onions, white and green parts
some tarragon
some chicken broth.
And a few things I don't remember.

No Vegetable Stew tonight for me. *sigh*


FREEBIE FOR TEA!  I have a link via Klout.com that you can use to get free samples of the new Lipton Honey & Tea instant drink mix.  It comes in those little packs you can use to flavor bottles of water. Click here to get your freebie!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Socialpunk, and a Contest!

Having a bit of free time, and I use that term loosely as I really should have been cleaning, I was able to read a new ebook by Monica Leonelle*. I found myself lucky enough to have this book because Monica Leonelle, a fellow Chicagoan, contacted me and other bloggers who enjoy books and more specifically, Science Fiction-ish books.  I was invited to participate in her 'Blog Book Tour' and as such I said I'd read her book and give an honest review.  I did not have to pay for Socialpunk.

Socialpunk Description:

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.



MY REVIEW:
I was very prepared to dislike the book. There is so much Ebook drivel out there and I began the prologue with cynicism. However, the book was very enjoyable. It was a fast and quick ride.  I am a big fan of books featuring a heroine with the "Can Do Spirit".  These girls have doubts about themselves, but they don't let that stop them.  They see the big picture and they move forward. Ima reminded me of a couple of my favorite protagonists of late, Sookie Stackhouse and Katniss Everdeen. The author did a nice job of catching me with the prologue and keeping me guessing as to what was real and what was virtual reality throughout the book.

My "Hey What a Cool Idea" moment occured  when the characters slide down a pole (i.e a fireman's pole) to get from one floor of a high rise to another in this very 'green' world. I also enjoyed the social commentary of a  society where it isn't money that matters, instead your worth is all about how much you can influence others.

Finally, I really liked the way the first book ended. The stage is set for the second installment and we had a character revelation that was unexpected--and a road less traveled.

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games and are looking for a good read for your ereader--this is a great choice. 

READ ON ! There's a Giveaway! 

Links to Purchase the Book:

Amazon: http://monicaleonelle.com/SocialpunkA
Barnes and Noble: http://monicaleonelle.com/SocialpunkB


Trying to figure out what is for dinner.

Ya just like everyone else, I'm pondering the great question, what's for dinner.  Wait, I think I have just figured it out.  We have a plethora of Ronzoni Smart Angel Hair pasta, it was buy 2 get one free at Jewel.  We also have jars of spaghetti sauce and cans of diced tomatoes and Tastefully Simple Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto.  So I'm thinking of making boring spaghetti and sauce for the boys and then for Anna and I something good

My plan: Make the Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto with our Roasted Garlic Infused Oil  set aside. Get the water going for the pasta and saute a sliced red bell pepper, sliced mini portobella mushrooms, chopped up a shallot and asparagus.  Then toss the veggies with the pasta and the Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto.  Maybe I'll put some shredded parm on top.  Mmmm. Yes that What's For Dinner!

And don't forget to take advantage of the last Tampax Tuesday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cure for a Case of the Mondays !

I just got an email from The Happy Money Saver's Blog  that the Hunger Games Trilogy for Kindle is only $15. Crazy Low!  So if you've been wanting to read this great series click the link above and get the set!  As anyone who has spent time on Amazon knows, they change prices on a whim so double check the price before you click!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, I'm watching The Voice with Anna and can hear the boys arguing in the background.  Good times. Good times.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  I have lots of great Tastefully Simple to share with you!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy 10th Anniversary w/Tastefully SImple Giveaway!

You heard it right! Not only is today Earth Day, it is my 10th Anniversary with Tastefully Simple. It seems as if I joined the company last week, then I think about all the great hosts I've had, the awesome team members who've joined my team, and the great trips I've been on and it does seem like 10 great years!

A little photo montage of my Tastefully Simple Life!





GoodTimes!  I'm looking forward to another 10 years!  Woot!  Soon I will have my first parties in  North Carolina and Georgia, heck I'm going to throw Tennessee in there too.

Now about you! On to my 10th Anniversary Giveaway!  Enter below and spread the word!  This giveaway is all funded and created by me, so thanks for taking time to read my blog and enter.  You are awesome.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Night Surfing Dance Moms, Gnomes, and Mocktails

So it's a rocking Saturday night here.  The man is out of town. My fav 7 year old girl is at a sleepover--and she didn't call for me to come get her!  And the boys need to turn off the Netflix and go to bed.

What am I up to? Surfing the web and watching Dance Moms Miami.  Yes I know, it's embarrassing. Why am I watching it?  It's like potato chips. Wrong but you can't stop!

The one instructor with the tall hair is so 80s in his wardrobe, I might be watching it just to see his outfits.   Comically, when I searched "Dance Moms Miami" on Swagbucks I won the most swagbucks (25) I've ever won for a search. I LOL'd.  really.


Search & Win


I also checked in on Twitter and saw that a website Garden Gnome World retweeted a tweet I wrote about wanting a garden gnome and blaming it on a glass of Riesling.  Clearly I had to go over to their website, and once there I found the funniest gnomes.  Battle Gnomes. Maybe the children can pick me up a couple for Mother's Day? 

And no I've not had more Riesling.  I had a glass of Crystal Light Appletini(it's a mocktail) which is really good. I've never had an appletini-I was always preggo or nursing during the Martini Fad--so I don't know if their drink mix tastes anything like a real appletini.  We all like the Crystal Light over here.  The boys are big fans of drinks that are green.

Yes, of course it was on sale and I had a coupon, otherwise I wouldn't have given it a try! You can't find coupons on their website. They are part of the Kraft Brands, but it looks like they do release coupons if you friend them on facebook. Mine came from a tear off pad at the store.








Friday, April 20, 2012

Im going to lose my Tree Hugging Accomadation from Al Gore.

We are on the cusp of Earth Day, and I have been a total EFG (Environmentally Friendly Girl ) Fail. Yesterday I had a one-on-one focus group downtown. Did I do the responsible thing and take public transportation? 

No. I drove down and I loved it.   I know it's wrong, but I was getting reimbursed for the parking garage fee and there isn't much traffic at 10 in the morning.  Driving into Downtown Chicago is luxury and I enjoyed every minute of avoiding running over bikers, being tailgated by cabs, and all the  red light tickets. 

About focus groups and market research, I highly recommend finding market research companies online and entering into their database. If you use google, all your online info is being tracked by advertisers anyway, why not get paid from time to time for your opinions.

Yesterday was a really great survey opportunity, because I have my own business I qualified to interview with a company looking for consumer feedback on their small business accounting software.  One hour of my time (plus commuting on a sunny spring day) and I was paid $150 plus $25 for parking. Woot!

There are focus groups and market research studies for many many things.  If you breathe  and you buy stuff, sooner or later you'll qualify for a study and get paid to share your opinion.



And back to my latest Earth Day Fail.  Today I was about to get into the shower, so the water was on, and the phone rang. I answered the phone and then I checked my email.  An indeterminate amount of time later I realized I was wasting one of our most precious resources--fresh water.  *hangs head in chagrin*

I know, the environmental police are flagging this post right now for further investigation. I will try and do better, maybe get a grass dress?  I do recycle, compost and reuse boxes that must count in my favor right?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who the Heck Am I?

Yesterday I was inspired by a contest that the Cocktail Deeva is running to put together a Media and Sponsorship Page. You can click on the tab above to read it. Let me know what you think! 

As a reader, would you like to see some giveaways?  I am working on participating in a Mother's Day giveaway.  For that I will be giving away the Chips and Cheese Please and a Sunny Strawberry Margarita Drink Bucket


So keep your eyes peeled and subscribe to my blog and plus one me on google plus and pin me on pinterest and all that good stuff so you can see how my efforts to building this blog go in 2012!


This has nothing to do with the above but I just have to share because I know you, wise reader, will appreciate this.  Upstairs waiting for me I have the first disc of Season 2 Downton Abbey ready to watch.  Fresh from my public library it is!


Wordless Wednesday My Fave Time of Day

Sunset. Love me some Sunset!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I bet you don't know what today is...

If you already know this...we'll you've got me.  It's

Tampax Tuesday! 

Yes that is right, Tuesday is dedicated to feminine protection.  You may be asking, When did this start?  Looks like it's going on all April long! I got the scoop from one of the blogs I subscribe to called Freebies for Mom .  Now it is called freebies 4 Mom, but don't let that stop you--she has freebies of all sorts no mom card required to redeem. 

Now back to Tampax Tuesday.  You can click the link here and read about how you can get a Tampax Sample Pack free. Free is good!

And speaking of money related items, I completed my first month as a contractor for a home-based calling center and made $600 working about 10-15 hours per week.  That would be about $150 per week. Not bad working in my basement!


Have you read The Hunger Games?  I have read it and the second book Cathing Fire.  By the end of The Hunger Games I had decided my favorite character is Haymitch Abernathy.  What can I say, Im a fan of flawed anti-heros. Fingers are crossed that the movie is as fun as the book was to read!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Long Time No Post

Well I've not had much Internet time over the last two weeks because we are down at our new place in North Carolina and while we called to get Internet hooked up it hasn't been hooked up as of yet. 

Me and the kids are driving back to Chicagoland tomorrow, so at least Tom will get the benefit of Internet and a home phone. 

Arriving back in the Land of Lincoln will be a bit of a shock as we have just gotten used to warm sunny days in the 70s and cooler evenings.  Now we will have to get reacquainted with rainy gloom and temps in the low 50s.  Booo. 

This pic is Patrick modeling his new robe on the deck which needs painting.  This pic was take right after we arrived as you can see the trees are pretty bare.  Today I can report that on many of the trees unfurling of leaves has taken place.  Total Nature Splendor in every direction.

My friend K would be so happy if she was here, as my SIL found 2 baby snakes--which may or may not have been copperheads--We needed a herpetologist.

Now I am dreading the drive home for a few reasons, would you like to hear them?
1. It's a long drive all to be driven by me having consumed massive doses of caffeine.

2. The afore mentioned crummy weather.

3. The kids just got accustom to the move and the area, so there will be another adjustment period as we come back to finish the school year and another one when we come back down in June.

4. I have to pack up the house.

5. The Man is going to move all the stuff in our NC house around and I won't like the way he will organized stuff.

On the bright side we had an offer on our old house! Woot!