Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Opinions, Everyone Has One

In case you missed it, in an interview with Women's Health magazine, famed "Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels says, "I'm going to adopt. I can't handle doing that to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself."

Michaels is angry, however, that she's been misquoted in several media outlets as saying she "won't ruin" her body by getting pregnant. “I’m disappointed about the way that my words have been twisted by the media. ‘Heartbroken’ is actually more the word I’m looking for,” she said. “I support all women in any and every endeavor they choose and I wish that they would do the same for me.”

Oh boy. She said what she felt, expressed an opinion and the internet was all a buzz. Comments regarding her statement could be read on Twitter, Facebook and hundreds of blogs. Comments that were both negative and positive spread like wildfire. Everyone had something to say about Jillian's desire to not become pregnant.

Now you're going to hear my opinion on this matter and a few other things too.

Opinions are like, well, I think you know how that saying goes. Everyone has one. We're all entitled to one. But seriously? To start bashing someone because of their opinion is just wrong and down right mean.

I've seen this same type of behavior on a few blogs lately and it makes me sad.

One blogger wrote about the features she considered before purchasing her new home. It was a delightful post describing the different lavish upgrades included and how the selling point was actually something quite simple that probably made her heart smile a little, knowing the joy it would bring to her as a mother. A troll left a comment and I'm paraphrasing now, that basically said to the blogger that she was a shallow, insecure individual who liked to brag about her good fortune.

Another blogger made a political reference in their post and again the nasty comments were flying.


Really, why?

Why do people have to be so mean? Was what Jillian Michaels said so terrible? Did she hurt anyone by saying what she did? It's not like she said, "knowing what I know now, about my vajay jay being stretched as wide as the Grand Canyon, the miles of stretch marks, the aching, leaky bing bings that will more than likely never be perky again, the sleepless nights, the gas, and the backache, I wish I had never put my body through that." Do we even know the whole story?

Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but if you don't have something nice to say shut your pie hole and use your energy in a more positive way.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Overcoming My Disposophobia

Proceed with extreme caution, as this post contains very graphic photos of my kitchen on The Avenue.

I like THINGS!

Lots of THINGS!

But my collection of THINGS is starting to take over valuable living space.

Last week I started to weed out some THINGS in a few kitchen cabinets and part with the stuff that I really have no use for. Let me show you some before and after shots.

Disgusting! That baggie full of bottle caps was for a project in the
back of my head, it's history now.

My Pyrex and miscellaneous
(I half expected to find ElaineA back there somewhere)

Really! What do I need THREE slicers for?
I use a knife.

Much better!

On to the pots and pans. Check out the microwave bacon dish,
I don't make bacon, ever! Ta ta useless item.
There are some extra lids there too.

While I was down there, I slapped down some spare
vinyl tiles leftover from my bathroom. It'll be easier
to wipe down now.

Lids are definitely a storage problem!

I also conquered the small plastic storage container cabinet.
There was a trash bag full of mismatched lids and stained
containers that went directly into the recycling bin.

Next, I'll tackle the junk drawer!

Dont' say I didn't warn you!
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Grass is Greener in My Backyard

It was a labor of love and a job well done, even if I'm the only one to say so. I would pat myself on the back if the bursitis in my right shoulder didn't make that so painful.

I've paid my dues.

I've served my time.

I've raised two semi-well-adjusted, responsible children into adulthood and now they have flown to their own nests. The golden years have arrived, leaving just my husband and myself to throw all caution to the wind and do as we please, when we please.

Read the rest here.

I have two giveaways going on, one here and another here.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Digital Room Giveaway

I was recently contacted by Digital Room to host a fabulouso giveaway. This has to be a real quickie because Digital awards prizes at the end of the month and today is already April 23rd.




Giveaway Prize:

50 ct. 7 x 5" (folded to 3.5 x 5") Custom Thank You Cards with 4 Baronial Blank Envelopes
14 pt Cardstock Gloss coating
Full Color Outside and Blank Inside
FREE UPS Ground Shipping
Limited to US Residents only. Must be 18 years old and up.

These are going to make for some lovely end of year gifts for TOF's teachers. I think I'll have him draw a picture for the front, haven't decided yet.

To enter please leave a comment telling me how you would use your thank you cards.

This contest only runs through April 26th and you MUST contact me with your shipping info by the 27th.

Disclaimer: I was offered 50 custom thank you cards for myself
and an equal amount to offer a single winner.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Motor Oil Matters Giveaway

April sure is a busy month! April Fools' Day, Easter, Passover, Tax Day, Earth Day. April is also National Car Care Month and National Informed Women Month.

I did not just make that up!

There is no time like the present to learn how proper vehicle maintenance can save you money.

Did you know?
  • According to a recent survey from the Automotive Service Association, more than 54 percent of customers who take their vehicles for service and repair are women
  • Using a high-quality motor oil in the right grade can help maximize fuel economy
  • Low-quality oils that do not meet industry standards or the vehicle manufacturer´s requirements could cost consumers in the long run by potentially damaging the vehicle´s engine or possibly voiding the manufacturer´s warranty
  • Another reason to look to a high-quality motor oil - like Pennzoil and Quaker State - is that it is designed to meet the demands of today´s engines

The makers of Pennzoil and Quaker State have created a very informative website designed to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to motor oil and your vehicle. In addition, the site offers a fun, educational game for you to play called "M.O.M. Knows Best" where you can put your motor mind to the test with an interactive quiz.

For more than 25 years, Jiffy Lube has been an integral part of the North American driving experience. With vehicles playing an ever-more important part of our daily lives, Jiffy Lube is committed to support drivers with fast, quality preventive maintenance service to keep their vehicles running smoother for longer.

In celebration of National Car Care Month, and Shell Lubricants have provided me with a $35 Jiffy Lube gift card to offer to one of my readers.

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what you found most interesting on the Motor Oil Matters site. You MUST complete this step first or all other entries will be void.

For additional entries:

Subscribe to my feed.
Follow my blog.
Follow me on Twitter.
Tweet this giveaway.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry and make sure to leave an email so I can notify you if you win. Contest ends April 30, 2010.

Disclaimer: In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent one $35 Jiffy Lube gift card for myself and one to giveaway to a lucky reader, by and Shell Lubricants through MyBlogSpark.
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You Capture - Sweet

This week I'm sharing some sugar with the internet via Beth's You Capture.



NOT So Sweet!


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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning - Internet Style

If you spend as much time as I do reading blogs

Nah scratch that, surely NO ONE is as hypnotized by their computer as I am. NO ONE sits down to check a few emails and finds that two hours have passed, nap time is almost over, they have not thawed anything for dinner, mounds of laundry have invaded the couch and the hubby's car is rapidly approaching the driveway. But dammit, I got a high score on Farkle!

Let me try this...

In an effort to make my blogging time more productive and to get my butt off the computer and get outdoors and enjoy the sun and fresh air, I have attempted to do a little low-tech clean up. I've moved a few things around, vacuumed underneath them, dusted, and polished (very little.) Since my blog is a work of progress, I'll do a little bit at a time. The point is to make your internet experience enjoyable and efficient.

Take for example LEAVING COMMENTS, I love comments, I thrive on comments, I even love to leave comments. But not when the blogger has me jumping through hoops to accomplish this. I hate spam as much as the next person. But really? Word verification is the internet equivalent of nails on a chalkboard to me. Add to that comment moderation and sorry to sound like a snob, but if I am in a hurry, I must move on, without leaving a comment. Here on The Avenue, we have neither...on current posts. I've found that spammers like to lurk in my older posts, therefore I have enabled comment moderation on posts that are older than 7 days. If I get spammers, and all their hieroglyphic glory, I like to use that little DELETE key. Just a suggestion. Because surely I am not alone in feeling this way.

My sidebar needs a total makeover. I'm going to think like a minimalist. Less is more. I want my blog to sparkle and shine for visitors. Sure I'll put up your button for a contest, but after a reasonable amount of time has passed your button is coming down. I have one page, and until I can pay for a blog makeover that includes page tabs, I want to keep things tidy. This doesn't mean I won't ever visit you again, that's what I have Google Reader for. I'm thinking of dropping my Blogroll and relying solely on my reader to visit my buds.

Which leads me to my next task...the overflowing Google Reader.

I've tried to organize that beast of a reader. I've added folders for such things as Money Saving Blogs, Chicago-area Moms, Must Read Daily. I've cleared out blogs that I don't read anymore or that don't exist. But when all else fails, I must hit clear all and not feel bad about it.

Have I motivated you to do a little online spring cleaning? Do you have any other useful tips for me?

p.s. No-Reply Blogger is not a real person, be a dear and fix that so I can reply to your comments. Not sure how? Read this.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brands and Bloggers

Sunday, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with some inspiring mommy bloggers from ChicagoMomsBlog.

We spent two hours in a round table discussion talking about relationships between bloggers and brands and now I'm very excited about utilizing these great suggestions. I've already updated my profile to include more specific demographic information about me and I've responded to a recent request for becoming a brand ambassador. (Keeping fingers crossed) (Hard to type like this)

In addition to meeting and mingling with fellow mommy bloggers, I had the opportunity to meet representatives from the sponsoring brands at the mixer that followed.

Very generous sponsors.

Brands that I am looking forward to forming a lasting relationship with.

Brands that I want to share with my readers. Because when bloggers and brands work together it's a win-win situation.

Thank you to the sponsors:

I'd also like to thank Jill and Linsey from SVMomsGroup and MJ for putting together such a fun and insightful afternoon.

Disclaimer: I received the above pictured items when attending the Chicago Moms Blog Brand & Blogger Roundtable and Mixer. Not pictured are a cupcake, a container of yogurt and a bag of popcorn, sadly their life span on The Avenue was extremely short. I also received complimentary valet parking at the Hard Rock Hotel. I was not compensated monetarily, nor was I asked to blog about my swag or my experience.
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Friday, April 9, 2010

Hot Locks Doll Giveaway

Welcome to everyone visiting from

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Let's get this party rocking with a giveaway!

Introducing the “Hair-rageous” world of Hot Locks. Each day is guaranteed to be the “Perfect Hair Day” with these spunky, funky girls that have lots and lots of luxurious hair to style.

Hot Locks are 4" tall dolls with lots of detail and decoration. Each doll is fully poseable and has long silky hair to comb and style. They also come with barrettes and a comb. The Deluxe Dolls come with a unique styling tool and a matching hair extension for your little girl to wear.

Hot Locks Dolls are currently available in 8 styles (4 Dolls and 4 Deluxe Dolls) and are being introduced in the Phoenix, AZ and Chicago, IL markets and going national sometime this summer.

The Hot Locks doll collection is available exclusively at WalMart and Toys Us.

Not in Phoenix or Chicago, not to worry, I can hook you up right here right now, with a chance to win a Hot Locks doll of your very own.

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below telling me who you would share your Hot Locks doll with.

For additional chances:

  • Follow my blog
  • Subscribe to my feed
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet this contest
Don't forget to check out all the fabulous prizes at:

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

My top three pics are:

40- One winner will receive a 3 day 2 night stay from Holiday Inn Main Gate East in Kissimmee, FL (less than 2 miles from Disney World) a value of $250 from

6 – Hand Stamped Personalized Necklace valued at $48 The Double Stacked A Lot Of Love from Kristen's Creations.

20 – $50.00 in jewelry from Cookie Lee for 2 winners from Kelley's Family Jewels

But I wouldn't mind winning #11, 15, 18, 19, 23, 31, 32, 37, 39, 61, 71, 95, 106, 107, 113

Disclaimer: BSM Media sent me one Hot Locks doll for myself
and one to giveaway, there was no monetary compensation.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Me and My Big Mouth

When people ask me about my kids I stop for a moment and wonder. Do they mean my kids, his kids, do they mean our kids? Depending on who they are and how well I know them, my answer will differ. I have two, my husband has two, that makes four. We don’t have any together, wait, yes we do, we have FOUR children.

I met my step daughter Andrea when she was 12 and her father introduced me to her as his girlfriend. Awkward for anyone, even more difficult for a prepubescent 12 year old girl who’s world was rocked by her parents’ divorce and rocked yet again by this intruder that now had her daddy’s attention and part of his heart. I watched enough TV and read enough self help books to know that it was important not to try to be a mother to her and her 9 year old brother.

I'm hanging out over here today, come by to read the rest.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Yoplait YoPlus Yogurt Giveaway

We love yogurt here on The Avenue, so when MyBlogSpark and Yoplait sent me a coupon to try some YoPlus TOF and I were eager for the opportunity.

YoPlus now provides three important health benefits in each four-oz. cup:

  • Antioxidant vitamins A and E (now with 20% of your recommended daily value)

  • A blend of probiotic cultures & fiber (three grams of fiber per 4-ounce serving) for digestive health

  • Calcium and vitamin D for bone health

YoPlus is available in six delicious flavors including Strawberry, Vanilla, Cherry, Peach, Blackberry Pomegranate and Blueberry Acai.

We chose the Strawberry, mmm delish and very creamy. We were pleased, as were our taste bugs.

You can enter to win your very own YoPlus “better-for-you” gift pack which includes a VIP coupon* for a 4-pack of Yoplait YoPlus yogurt, on-the-go lunch container with utensils, an insulated lunch bag, and a pedometer.

Just leave me a comment telling me which flavor of YoPlus you'd like to try, for one entry.

For extra entries:
  • Subscribe to my blog.
  • Follow my blog.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Tweet about this contest.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry and also an email so that I can notify you if you've won. I'll pick a winner using on Tuesday April 6th.

*This coupon offer for a free 4-pack of Yoplait YoPlus yogurt is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Tennessee.

Get a coupon for $1.00 off your Yoplait purchase here.

Disclaimer: I was provided a YoPlus “better-for-you” gift pack and one to give away,
by MyBlogSpark and Yoplait no monies were exchanged.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stealing from the Baby

Still no offers from Eukanuba, but Bella is not easily discouraged. Remember she had parvo and lived to tell about it. Today we find our competitive canine sharing Moose Baby's binky.

Let's see you try that one Chuck. (without waking the baby)
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