Wednesday, August 31, 2011

General Mills Cereal Treats Bars Prize Pack Giveaway

It's back to school time and if you're anything like Augie Dawgs, you're scratching your head wondering what else to pack in your kids' lunch besides the juice box and ham sandwich.  Not to worry because General Mills and I can help.

Your kids can get “back to cool” with a fun snack they are sure to love and won’t trade during lunch.

  • Flavor varieties include the ever popular Golden Grahams® (130 calories) and new Lucky Charms® Treats (100 calories), loaded with popular favorites like chocolate and marshmallows.
  • Cereal Treats Bars contain less than 140 calories per bar and are made with wholesome cereal, making them a snack option that you can feel good about giving your kids.
  • TWO Box Tops for Education seals on each box of Cereal Treat Bars, making earning cash for your school doubly cool!

These flavor-packed Cereal Treats Bars are sure to meet the ‘cool factor’ that kids demand. Check out Cereal Treats Bars online for great information and coupons for new products. Also, be sure to visit the Betty Crocker Facebook page and get involved in the conversation.

Now, who wants to win an awesome prize pack?

Your prize pack will contain:
  • One box of Lucky Charms® Cereal Treats Bars
  • One box of Golden Grahams® Cereal Treats Bars
  • Lunch bag
  • Locker whiteboard
  • Colored pencil set
To enter, please leave me a comment sharing what you pack in your kids' lunches.  Yup it's that easy and you'll be helping Augie Dawgs out tremendously, because this is her first rodeo.

Contest ends September 9, 2011 and winner will be notified via email, so be sure to leave one in your comment.

Disclosure: Cereal Treats Bars, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.
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Curious George Takes on the Arts

Everyone's favorite monkey is back for a new season of (mis)adventures when Curious George premieres its sixth season Labor Day, September 5 on PBS KIDS (check local listings). Follow George’s contagious enthusiasm as he encourages preschoolers to find their own creativity and get curious about the arts. The fun continues all season long as George explores arts themed activities including helping Betsy enter a photography contest, creating a wind symphony, sand painting the desert, and even dancing the box step.

It all starts Monday, September 5, 2011 with "Auctioneer George” and “Sock Monkey Opera.” In “Auctioneer George,” George has one dollar to buy anything he wants at the Annual Corn Roast and Attic Auction, and he sets his sights on a pair of red elephant mittens.

Then in “Sock Monkey Opera,” when Betsy gets the chicken pox and can’t see her favorite opera, Hansel and Gretel, she sends George in her place. George loves the opera so much, he decides to cheer up Betsy by performing for his itchy friend. But how can one little monkey sing, dance, and act for an entire cast of characters?”

“The Arts are actually a great vehicle to teach kids about science, engineering, and math,” said WGBH Executive Producer Dorothea Gillim. “With this new season, kids will be inspired to dance, sculpt and paint along with George, and they’ll also come away with knowledge of important STEM concepts.”

The fun continues on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 when George learns that clues are key to solving mysteries in the new episodes “Hamster Cam” and “The Great Monkey Detective.”  And on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, George explores sculpting and photography in “George and the Giant Thumb and “Shutter Monkey.”

“Now in our sixth season, we’re excited to present an all-new set of eight (mis)adventures that highlight the arts,” said Senior Vice President of Animation Production for Universal Studios Family Productions Ellen Cockrill. “And we hope that viewers will stay tuned later this season when we launch the “Exercise Your Creativity Dance Contest,” giving children the opportunity to show us their unique creativity through dance.”

Visit for Curious George games, printables, and more or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook .

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cantigny Park

If you've never been to Cantigny Park in Wheaton, you're missing out.  Come over to The Chicago Moms and read what I thought when we visited there recently.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

What Next!!???

Warning, the following post might make you throw up in your mouth a little OR A LOT!

First came ice cream and cheese made of breast milk.  Now I was once a nursing mom and yes, my curiosity got the best of me, so of course I tasted it.  Once.  A tiny drop on my finger.  And I gagged!  And thought, thank God this baby doesn't know any better because eckkk, bleh, OMG so not tasty!

I have since bottle fed plenty a baby their mama's pumped breast milk and honestly the thought of another woman's breast milk dripping onto my hand grosses me out sometimes just a teeny tiny bit.  Now please don't go hating on me.  I am all for breast feeding and breast milk, but if you want my honest opinion touching or eating another woman's breast milk is just a bit weird to me.

So as if human cheese wasn't bad enough, today I read this!

Put down your food and drink and go read.  I'll wait for you to barf your brains out, brush your teeth and rinse madly with the strongest mouth wash you have.  Seriously, go read this!

And maybe this too!

Back?  Don't say I didn't warn you at the start.

Now I know people have gone bat shit crazy!

What next?  Will we condone eating boogers in public or perhaps a facial mask made of fecal material?  Just because someone thought it was a good idea at the time?

I know dogs and cats do it, I don't know about other animals, I'm a city girl.  But I'm pretty sure that being at the top of the food chain and walking upright allows us the luxury of never having to eat your own or someone else's placenta!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Save Money with TracFone

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

    My 89 year old mother now has a cell phone!  It's a TracFone.

    TracFone is the least expensive way to own and use a cell phone in America.  For real TracFone customers there are no contracts, no credit checks, no activation charges or cancellation fees.  There are no surprises for real TracFone customers   It's the only wireless service that you can make international calls for the same price as any other call.  No extra cost to call over 60 international destinations directly from your TracFone!

    Even out on The Ranch she has great coverage and excellent reception.  Living on a limited income as my mother does, the TracFone pay as you go plan is perfect for her.  She only pays for what she uses and can reload simply by purchasing a card at her favorite retail store.

    When you choose a 1 year service card you get some great benefits like double minutes for the life of your TracFone, and 800 minutes, for only $119.00.  You can purchase the "Double minutes for the life of your phone” separately for only$19.99, but some phones include it!  Pick up a 200 minute monthly plans for under $30.00, or get 50 minutes for as low as $9.99.

    This might be a great option for those of you looking to get low cost phone service for the kids to stay in touch.  Don't worry that the phone won't have all the options the kids want/need.  TracFone has brand name phones from leading manufacturers like Motorola, Kyocera, LG, Nokia and Samsung. Choose from simple "Candy Bar" phones, to Bluetooth®-enabled "Smart" phones with so many features like camera/video recorder, web access, app capabilities, mp3 player, and full QWERTY keyboard, for $29.99.

    See what real TracFone customers have to say.


Visit Sponsor's Site
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Check Out

If you have kids, I'm sure you've noticed how messy they can be.  They need help when it comes to keeping their toys tidy and organized.  One solution may be to purchase a children's locker to help them maintain a neat bedroom or playroom.

KidsLockerShop offers a large selection of lockers for kids' that are perfect storage solutions for children’s rooms, preschools, daycare centers, kids' game rooms, and mud rooms. Their unique collection of kids' lockers makes it fun to help children maintain a tidier bedroom, game room, play area or school room.

You'll be happier when they're putting their own things away and everyone knows, when you're happy, everyone is happy!

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post, links were provided, but opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mema vs Etsy-A Neck Tie T-Shirt Tutorial.

I like love Etsy.  Not so much for purchasing, but for gathering cute ideas.  If I can make it for less I win.  My last copy of an Etsy creation can be found here.  I'm always on the lookout for cute boy stuff, because, face it, there isn't much you can do with jeans and t-shirts.  So when I saw the neck tie T-shirts, I knew had to make one for TC.  I'm not sure TOF would wear it, but I'll be sure to ask him.

If you can sew, you can make one just like this for under $5 if you have fabric scraps lying around and in about 45 minutes or less.  I promise!

Shirt from Tarjay for $4!
Fabric leftover from TC's I Don't Need No Stinkin Crib No More room redo, technically free.
Iron on double stick fusible web, also free because I have leftovers from other projects.
Even if you had to buy fabric, you need very little, so your project could still stay under $10.

I eyeball a lot of patterns, I'm talented that way. Bwahahaha.  I imagined a trapezoid, grabbed the scissors and cut out a template using construction paper.  Then I cut out the long part of the tie and walla!  You can cut until you get the desired effect, adjusting for length and width depending on the size of your boy.

Now grab your fabric.  You only need a piece as wide as the widest point of the tie (in my case barely 3 inches) and as long as the 2 pieces together (for me, about 12 inches)  Heat your iron and attach the fusible web.  Place the template you made above on the paper side and tape it so it doesn't slide around.  I placed the long part horizontally and the knot vertically, just for a little variety.

Iron, let it cool and peel away the paper backing.  Place it on the T-shirt and iron on.

Now you're ready to sew.  Using a zigzag stitch, start in between the 2 pieces so you don't go back over previous stitching.  It will be easier this way, I promise.

 Start here, go up to the top


 All the way down and around and back to the starting point.

 Clip the stray threads and now you're done!

You can make this on T-shirts, onesies, even bibs.  But sorry girls, this one's for the boys!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Building Our Fire Pit-Part 2

You may want to catch up to speed by reading Part 1 over here.  Go on, I'll wait.....






So after I thought the ground was really level, turns out it wasn't.  Every time I looked at the fire pit through the window it just didn't look right.  I did what any red blooded crazy Polish-American woman would do.  I tore it apart and started all over.  At my own pace, without anyone else's sweat dripping on me.  And when I was happy, I started laying down the pavers.  AGAIN.  

I added sand on the bottom.

 Leveled it out with a 2 X 4

And when I was done, it looked like this.

And this.

I ended up making the pit 4 pavers high and if you look closely at the top picture, you'll see that I left a little space between the pavers for air to circulate and keep the fire burning.

This really was an easy DIY project.  The hardest part was leveling the dirt.  If you were to build it on your concrete patio, it would be super easy peasey.  I don't recommend building this on your wood deck for obvious reasons.  You can't really tell by looking at the pictures, but that rock border is about 18 inches wide.  Hopefully any sparks will land there and not in the grass, but just in case we always have a water supply nearby.  Surprisingly, the total cost was less than a much smaller metal fire pit and IMO much nicer looking.

Next stop, building a shed (with help from Durwood)
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Addressing Another Issue

Maybe you've noticed, I've got a little theme going on here this week. It's all about beautifying The Avenue. Well the outside that is, because the inside, well let's just say I don't feel like cleaning and scrubbing when the weather is so beautiful.  I can do that when there is snow on the ground and it's too cold to venture outdoors.

Just above our garage door is a piece of white 1 X 4 that holds our address numbers.  The paint is peeling a little and last summer one of the nails holding the numbers in place fell out and so that number was upside down for a few weeks until we noticed it.

I've been thinking of replacing that 1 X 4, so of course I've been searching online for more stylish address plaques.  I had no idea that there were so many beautiful choices when it came to shopping for house plaques.

Of course they are all weather resistant, but some are acrylic, and some are made of recycled aluminum.  There are several different shapes to choose from and I can match the background color to our blue shutters.  With prices starting at $35 I have no idea why I've waited this long to replace that eyesore!

Disclaimer:  This was a paid post, links were provided, but opinions are my own.
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As I have previously mentioned, we have a large area in our backyard that used to be covered with pea gravel.  It was the former home of our swing set and one of the favorite pastimes of the kids was to throw the pea gravel at each other and down the slide.  No matter how often I said no, this activity continued.  I finally decided to ask a neighbor with a Bobcat to come and remove all the pea gravel.

We moved the swing set to the grassy area in a more shady area of the yard and planted some bushes and flowers in the area that it used to occupy.  Then I hauled bag after bag of wood mulch to cover the bare dirt.  That worked well, but recently it began to decompose and now I'm looking at other options. 

I recently heard about Rubberecycle rubber mulch.  Rubber mulch is a rubber granule made of 100% recycled scrap tires.  It is much more durable and longer lasting than traditional mulch, so it doesn't need to be replaced as often as the wood chips, thus saving you both time and money.

Rubber landscape mulch creates insulation for your soil, allowing water and nutrients in, while keeping weeds out. It's available in a wide variety of colors that retain its vibrancy no matter what the weather.  It has the same texture as traditional wood mulch, but does not attract bugs, rodents, mold or mildew and it won't decompose-ever!

Just a few weeks ago we tackled building a fire pit and I purchased a shed to go in the other corner.  There still remains a considerable area of bare dirt.  After hearing about Rubberecycle rubber mulch and reading about all the pros when compared to wood chips, I'm thinking it may be the solution I'm looking for.  It should also reduce the amount of water I use on my plants and it will keep the soil cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  In the fall, instead of raking, I can just use a leaf blower to clean up the area.  Sure the initial expense will be more, but not having to replace it every other year will save money and wear and tear on my poor back. 

Disclaimer:  This was a paid post, but all opinions are my own.  There are pros and cons of using rubber mulch and individually each homeowner should decide what is best for their landscape.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Going Back to School

After high school I decided to pursue a degree in accounting because it was the thing to do at the time.  Lots of people I knew were majoring in Business and Accounting, so naturally I followed suit.  Unfortunately, I didn't stick it out and never earned my Bachelor's Degree.  Instead I decided to get a full time job at a bank, thinking I'd go to school part time.  I put school off again when I got married and kept working at the bank, slowly moving up the ladder from teller to a desk job in what was then called The NOW Department.*

The years flew by, bringing one baby and then another and now it was even harder to think about returning to school.  Then after my divorce I was forced to return to the work force full time.  Back to a bank, where my prior experience landed me in the processing center.  One of the employee benefits was tuition reimbursement, but with two small children already in daycare full time, I had neither the funds nor the desire to leave my kids with more babysitters.

Now there are a variety of online degree programs offered. Being able to choose from many different programs allows potential students to find a program that will suit their needs. These days programs such as business management, nursing, criminal justice, marketing, communication, and human resources are just a few that are available online.

More than 5.6 million students have found that taking online classes offers convenience and flexibility.  An online degree in accounting is just as credible as one earned in a brick and mortar school because these programs must prove the same level of academic standards  in order to qualify for accreditation.  Tuition at online schools is also typically much lower than that of a traditional school and you can apply for financial aid at

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post.

*Negotiable Order of Withdrawal
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Custom Jerseys from Custom Planet

Whether you're looking for youth football jerseys or high school football jerseys, Custom Planet is your one stop online shop.  They have a large selection of custom football jerseys and team wear in a vast array of styles and colors.  Putting your team on the field in style has never been easier.  You can easily have your football jerseys customized online with just the click of the mouse.

Perhaps you have a family of budding future World Cup players instead?  Custom Planet also has quality soccer uniforms & jerseys.  For soccer players who demand style and comfort, they have a selection of soccer jerseys, including youth soccer jerseys, available in a multitude of color combinations.  Design your team soccer jerseys online and Custom Planet will make sure your order arrives in time for your first game.

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Giddy dip ‘ems Giveaway

Just in time for back to school and TOF's lunch box it's Giddy dip 'ems.

Giddy what 'ems?

dip 'ems!

Developed by two San Francisco moms looking for healthier snack alternatives, dip 'ems are tasty whole grain biscuits and yummy real fruit dips in four kid-friendly flavors: strawberry, tropical, grape and sour apple.  Real fruit!  And no high fructose corn syrup!

What we thought:

The boys liked the snacks and TOF had no trouble with dipping the crackers into the fruit dip.  However, for TC at 23 months, although he loved the taste, I thought the dip was way too runny.  It also seemed that there was too much dip for the amount of biscuits (4) in the package.

You can find dip 'ems in the Chicago area at these select Target stores:

2901 South Cicero Ave, Cicero, IL 60804
2333 63rd St, Woodridge, IL 60517
2241 Willow Rd, Glenview, IL 60025
1700 East Rand Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
8560 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60619
7000 Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018
4433 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632
1111 Brook Forest Ave, Shorewood, IL 60431
1154 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605

Or you can enter to win some right here!

To enter, go to the Giddy website and leave a comment telling me the first names of the two mom founders of Giddy.  Be sure to leave a valid email.  I'll be picking two winners on Friday August 19th and they will be notified via email.

Disclaimer:  I was sent Giddy dip 'ems for the purpose of review, I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Building Our Fire Pit-Part 1


51 Lanscaping pavers*
1 48 inch trampoline
various digging tools
a level
3 bags of river rock**
4 bags of sand
work gloves

Optional supplies:  2 strong shirtless man servants, a lawn chair and a pitcher of margaritas.***

Pick a really hot day to start your project and then find an area in your yard a good distance away from anything flammable, like the house, a fence, trees and/or bushes.  We have an eyesore of an area in the backyard that used to be home to 500 tons of pea gravel and the kids' playset that I thought was perfect.

This is where the trampoline comes in.  Now I know there are other ways to draw a circle on the ground, but necessity is the mother of invention and so we used a trampoline!  You may want to use a chalk line, just sayin.  I placed the trampoline on the ground face down and laid a layer of landscaping pavers around it.  Then with the handle of my shovel, I drew a line around the outside of the pavers.  But by all means do what you think is best.

Now do whatever you have to do to make the ground in that circle level.  I repeat, make it very level.  If you don't, you will stare at the fire pit from your window above the kitchen sink for the next two weeks and you'll be pi$$ed as $hit about the way it turned out.****

*1) The sign at the home store said 17 pavers will make a 4 foot circle, I wanted my fire pit to be 3 pavers high, so I bought 3 X 17 = 51 and I have 6 pavers leftover.  So my 4 foot circle is only 15 pavers around.  Maybe the trampoline is 44 inches and not 48 ???

*2) In the heat of the moment at the home store I thought 3 bags of river rock would be plenty.  Of course it wasn't, therefore I had to go back post sale and buy 10 more bags of rock.  You may want to purchase them all at once and save yourself about $9.

*3) These were not available to me, so Whynot and I did the work ourselves, stopping frequently to drink lots of water and wipe the sweat from our faces.

*4) Not that this really happened to me ;0  again, I'm just sayin.
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Car Shopping

When all of us go out together we either have to take two vehicles or I have the pleasure of squeezing my cheeks in the back seat of Augie Dawgs car, between the two car seats.  And such a pleasure it is!  First we have to pull the front passenger seat all the way forward and I climb in.  Then I have to ease my way in sideways and squiggle a bit to get everything in the right place, then put my feet up on the hump and pray for a quick trip.  Whynot has refused to do this ever, claiming back pain.  Sometimes he drives and Augie Dawgs and I fight for the front seat.  The boys loving me as much as they do usually ask for me to sit in back with them.  I secretly think their mother bribes them with sugary treats to do that.

My SUV is even narrower then Augie Dawg's car so it's not really a better option.  Times like this have me wishing I had bought the model of my vehicle on steroids so we'd have more seating.

A few springs ago, we all flew to Phoenix and rented a van.  There was a seat for everyone and I swear I heard angelic choirs singing whenever we got in.  It was perfect for us and ever since I've been telling Augie Dawgs that she needs to trade her vehicle for something more suited for all of us.  I think she's just about ready to become that mom, you know the one that drives the van filled with happily screaming kids and millions of dollars of sports equipment.

I've been whispering sweet nothings in her ear about going to visit Chicago Honda Dealer in nearby Oak Lawn to test drive some of their vehicles.

I think the Honda Odyssey would fit her needs perfectly.  It seats 7, with captain chairs in the second row and a split bench in the third row, and has plenty of cup holders.  It gets decent gas mileage with 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

I've read some of the articles on the Honda Dealer Blog and I like what I see.  Now I just need to convince her that it's a great idea.

Disclaimer:  This was a paid post, links were provided but opinions are my own.
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bejeweled Champ

Every week Whynot and I have a friendly competition on Bejeweled.  Oh please, who am I kidding?  Every week we play until our fingers are sore from clicking to see who makes it to the top of the leader board.

Whynot is highly competitive and will play repeatedly until his name fills the number one spot.  Me?  I'm more of a sore loser.  If his name is in the top spot and I know he has a score that's difficult to beat, well, I'll just stop playing until the next tournament begins.  And then I'll pout about it.

But when my name is up there...with an awesome score of say, oh 409,650, I'll just keep reminding him that I'm number one.  And keep my fingers crossed until Tuesday when the board is reset.

So fess up, which online game are you addicted to?  I know I'm not alone.

Disclaimer:  This was a paid post.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Farmer's Market Excursion #HomeHer11 J-town

Every Friday through September 30th, nestled in the heart of downtown J-town, is a bountiful fresh-air farmer's market featuring a huge selection of locally-grown produce, homemade jams and jellies, and tempting baked goods.  You can also buy specialty craft merchandise, fresh cut flowers, bedding and hanging plants, candles and merchandise from Pampered Chef and Tupperware.

This being HomeHer11 weekend, the boys and I headed downtown to check it out.


These guys looked a little nervous when I took their picture.

We ended our excursion with a sweet ice cream treat!

Be sure to check out this informative post that Blog Conference Newbie has coordinated to bring you some fabulous conference sessions right from home!
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Lazy Summer

I don't know where Phineas and Ferb go to school, but here on The Avenue we only get 90 days of summer vacation and school is creeping up very quickly to end it.

TOF starts back in 17 days!

I'd like to say it's been a productive summer.

I'd like to say I've accomplished all the goals I've wanted to.

But I can't!

Because I have been a lazy slug.

I drag myself out of bed at 5:55, kiss Whynot goodbye.  Pour my coffee, pop some pills and then I head to the computer to do some blogging before the boys get here.  I quickly usher them back to bed, do a little more computer stuff and then around 7 ish I hit the sheets again myself.  Where I snatch an extra hour or so of shut eye.

It's not like I don't have anything to do.  I could easily empty and refill the dishwasher.  Because, yes, I have been going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.  Fly Lady, get a grip, it won't kill you!  Every time I've done it, I've lived to see another day.

I could fold clean laundry and wash more of it.  It's amazing how much dirty laundry two people have. 

But I choose to sleep.  Because these two boys are exhausting!  They. Never. Stop.  And they are always heading in opposite directions, often leaving a path of destruction behind.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining.  I love every minute I get to spend with TOF and TC. 

By the condition of the inside of the house, it's plain to see my priorities are elsewhere.   

Warning, deep, dark and startling confessions ahead.

I've only been vacuuming and sweeping when the dirt on the floor has actually started to make me nauseous.  And fuh ged about dusting!  I have occasionally grabbed one of the dirty t-shirts on their way to the washing machine and ran them along the stair railings or swatted them at some cobwebs.

I hang most of my clothes up to dry and instead of folding, I just go into the utility room and grab an outfit off the clothes line.  Whynot's stuff gets folded and sits in a laundry basket.  I've stopped folding his socks and just tossed them in a basket in his bathroom, he grabs what he needs every morning.

Sheets get washed and dried and immediately get put back on the bed before bedtime.

And now it's going to get gruesome.

Personal hygiene, eh not so much.  I'd rather sleep in than shower every morning, so if I can squeeze in a shower at TC's nap time, great.  If not some extra Secret and a splash of body spray are going to have to do.  Fortunately I have light hair, because shaving my legs, yeah too much trouble.  Bad hair days, I fix them with a ponytail holder and a baseball cap.

On the other hand, my flower beds are awesome!  We've even started building a new fire pit in the backyard.  The boys have been playing on the fort and swings, the kiddy pool they have here and a slip and slide. We have a sand table and water table and plenty of toys to go with each.  They both have a nice healthy glow to them and the sun has lightened their hair. 

We've gone to the library every week, where they earned prizes for turning in their reading logs.  We played at the nearby splash park, where we also enjoyed a picnic lunch with friends.  We've even gone to the Farmer's Market where I bought a new purse.

It's been a really great summer for all of us and so far no one has even mentioned that I smell bad ;)
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Living It Up on the Avenue

While some of my bloggy friends are whooping it up in sunny San Diego this weekend, I'm staying home.  It just wasn't in the cards this year.  Sadly, no dineros, and no vacation time.  Augie Dawgs can't take any time off of work this week, due to a huge concert in Grant Park that her company supplies all the staging and scaffolding for.  Right now she's probably pulling out her newly formed grey hairs making sure all the materials get delivered on time. Heh, better her than me.

I have other plans.  They include something like this:

Somebody peel me a grape or pour me some ice cold lemonade.  That's me with the boys and it's the closest thing to a picture of me in my bathing suit that you'll probably see posted online.  I had to take that picture with my camera phone because I forgot to charge my digital camera batteries.

Disclaimer:  Boys images altered for their protection as this was a sponsored post.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Investing With Firstrade

Firstrade is  is a little known discount brokerage that started in 1985 as a company looking to bring affordable stock trades to regular investors. They have been offering online trading since 1997 making them one of the oldest online broker firms.  Firstrade continues to grow and put an emphasis on customer service.

Firstrade offers a wide range of financial products and investment options. They have everything from Roth-IRAs, to traditional IRA accounts, to individual stock trading accounts.

If you're a person who is always on the go, now your portfolio can go with you.  With mobile trading, you can monitor your portfolio, watch the market and place trades wherever you go, so you don't miss potential money making opportunities.

As with any financial investing, please read all the terms and conditions before investing.

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post, links were provided.
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They Need an Impact Sign

There's a little strip mall at the entrance to our subdivision.  There's a Dr's office in it, a Chinese restaurant, a college text book store, a super fast sub place, a hair salon, a tanning place, a gross pizza place, and a physical therapy place are there too.  There used to be this cute little coffee shop/ice cream store that GlitterGurl worked at when she had her first real job.  It was a mom and pop place that had a custom sign hanging in the window as well as inside.  Sadly the shop succumbed in this economy.

Just recently, in it's a place, a little convenience store opened up.  I was a bit excited at first, because it would be nice to drop in for something I ran out of, instead of driving to the big box store.  I also saw some ice cream coolers inside and thought it would be a nice treat for the boys occasionally.  Then I saw the signage going up and it was anything but a custom sign!

They tied a big orange sign around a tree to let everyone know they're open for business.  The signs in the window are a hodge podge mess and the pièce de résistance...a disco strobe light!  Someone really should have told these people about

Disclaimer:  The links were provided, opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Steam Team

Do you find that no matter how much you vacuum, your carpet still doesn't look like it used to?  It may be time for a deep cleaning.  If you're adventuresome, there's always the do-it-yourself method.   But perhaps hiring a professional like, might be the fastest and easiest option.

If you are in the Ausitn area, Carpet Cleaning Mustang Ridge uses the most advanced cleaning methods on the market today.  They insist on the best products and so should you.  They will strive to make things right until you are completely satisfied.

To keep your carpet at peak performance and help maintain your carpet's life and beauty, it's recommended to have your carpet cleaned every 12 to 18 months. But be sure to check your carpet warranty for particular requirements.
Disclaimer:  This was a paid post.
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Put a Little Spice (Rack) in Your Life

 My kitchen here on The Avenue is tiny.  I only have four hanging cabinets, plus one above the stove to store crayons, markers, paper, phone books, and fast food menus and the one useless one over the fridge.  God only knows what's in that one if anything at all.  I don't even own any kitchen spice racks.

I did receive a wall spice rack as a shower gift many years ago and I don't even remember what happened to it after the spices were gone.  Without a spice rack, I keep my spices on the shelf of one of the above mentioned cabinets.  Problem being that when I need a spice, I have to move all the jars until I find the one I need.  I was thinking of purchasing something to help me organize my spices a little better.

I came across this spice rack that looks like it would work really well in the space I have.

It's one of the few spice racks I've seen that I can use the original spice jars in.

How do you store spices in your kitchen?

Disclaimer:  This was a paid post.  Links were provided, opinions are my own.
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Person or Pig

It's hot.

Like 100 º F

That's F for flippin HOT!

TC is napping, TOF and I are watching Super Why.

They're playing a game on Super Why, it's called Person or Pig.

Naturally we're playing along.

Hey TOF, am I a person or a pig?

You're a person, Mema.

How about you TOF?

I'm a person too!

Hmmm, ok, Gracy and Bella.  Are they a person or a pig?

Gracy and Bella are persons, because dogs are people.

And Mema, Pa's a pig!

Can't argue with you there TOF!

God I love that boy!

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