Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bye, Bye Birdies

It looks like our birdies have found a new home. I have been warning my little princess that if she does not take the responsibility of feeding and caring for the 4 budgies that we had they would be given away. Every day, it seems, I've had to remind her to feed and care for them properly. She was warned with plenty of time. I never did anything because I wanted her to keep them. Yesterday was the last straw. It was way past noon and she was up stairs playing with our Siamese cat so I lost it. I yelled up the stairs at her and told her the birds were gone this time. No more chances. This was it. She cried. I called up a family member who said they would take them. Since last night the birdies are gone.

Hopefully, this will teach her some responsibility. I also warned her that the cats would be next. We have a Turkish Van and a Siamese. Both very good cats. I, however, will not take the responsibility of the upkeep. They agreed when we got them that between the little princess and the teenage-type offspring the care-taking would be shared. They complain that it isn't my turn or "she hasn't cleaned it in a month" or whatever, those cats will be gone. Hasta la vista. Adios.

I already have enough to deal with without having to worry about dirty pets and lazy kids that don't want to do their chores. I mean sheesh already! Get a grip! I've been ranting on them for weeks. This time I kept my word. I will miss our cute little birdies but if I let it slide they won't ever learn. Now my Polly, that's another matter. I take care of her, feed her, make sure her cage is clean, etc. I'm cool like that.

My daughter is in mourning. I have, being the wonderfully perfect mom that I am, pointed out to her, at every opportunity, that it is nobody's fault but her own. Yes, it is painful. When we do things that we shouldn't do we must suffer the consequences. Someday, she will thank me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Homeschool curriculums

Last night I was up late thinking I need to order my little princess' homeschool curriculum for the upcoming school year. Luckily, we can start school when we like - that's the beauty of homeschooling. I know now that I am home all the time I will be able to help her thrive with her school work.

This year I've looked into Sonlight and the Alpha Omega Switched on Schoolhouse. I'm leaning towards the Switched on Schoolhouse. The Sonlight, I'm sure, is good but I think highly overpriced. Last year we did Abeka; we didn't care for that one. The teenage-type offspring will continue with the Robinson curriculum. The Robinson curriculum is really good and you can read more about it here. It is more for the self-taught, independent learner. This describes my teenage-type offspring. The good thing about it is the cost is low and can be used for grades K thru 12. Now that is awesome! I highly recommend the Robinson curriculum for those that are on a budget and who's kids are independent learners.

I'm sure that even if your child is not an independent learner, you can also use this curriculum as all the materials can be printed. If you want to do that I would suggest you take the CDs with the information you want printed to a Kinkos or Staples to get them to print them for you. Unless you want to use up all your ink at home. They can do it inexpensively and in a matter of minutes.

Every child has different learning styles and you have to do a lot of research on which would be best for your child's particular needs. There is a lot of information on the web. If you want to read some reviews on many of them you can visit this website. You would be surprised at the reviews on some. One thing that isn't included in the Robinson curriculum is the math so that is one subject you will have to purchase elsewhere. They also offer a 20% off coupon for the Saxon math. That's what we use. Remember, once your child is through with the math books, you can sell them or pass them on to another homeschooling family.

The state we live is in not very strict when it comes to homeschooling records but I always keep grades on a CD (in case my computer dies and cannot be resuscitated). When the time comes for my children to take their SAT, I will be well prepared. I believe that education and how it is done should be left up to the parents, not some ill-paid instructor that is there for a paycheck and only that. Granted not all are like that but with society being what it is today, our children are learning things they shouldn't be in public schools. That's another story for another time.

Organization is key when homeschooling. Thankfully, I only have two kids. I have separate file folders for each of their subjects where I keep their test scores and whatever "awards" they have earned. I hate to teach. I don't have the patience. This, however, is different. These are my children and I have their best interests at heart. Something that cannot be said of most public or even private school instructors. Sadly, our educational system has suffered so much in the past few years that I wonder how much longer it will last.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Half Price Books - I love books

Last Friday me and my little princess made a trip to Half Price Books. I don't know about you but I love, love, love books. I have them by the hundreds. They are everywhere. I have two bookcases in my office, a bookcase in my craft room, another in my bedroom. I even have one in my teenage-type offspring's room. It was put there so he could get his stuff organized. Of course that's a losing battle in this house. He is after all a teenager and a male. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, we got to the Half Price Books and while my little princess made a stack of the books she was going to buy with all of $10 I moseyed on over to the Religion book section. I love Half Price Books. I love books. I could read forever. I was on the lookout for a LARGE PRINT bible. I want it for my friend who cannot afford to get glasses. There were some but I also needed it to be in Spanish.

You know something? It just dawned on me, I need to pay for her to get some glasses. Why didn't I ever think of that before now? Sheesh, my mind is losing brain cells by the minute it seems. I'm going to call her tonight to schedule a time to take her. What good is being immensely blessed if you cannot share your blessings with others? Yes, that's what I will do. My teenage-type offspring needs to go anyway so I may as well take them both at the same time.

Back to Half Price Books. I didn't find one, not in Spanish. I did find some other cool books. Even bought one on collectibles and why I bought it is beyond me. I love books. I'm taking that one back. I can't find my receipt so I guess I'll just get store credit. It's not like I'm not going back again. I love books.

I walked through the aisles just looking at all kinds of books. Romance, Foreign Languages, History, Fiction, True Crime, etc. I could live at the bookstore if they would allow me. Starbucks is in the same shopping strip so I could eat there. I could work at the book store and all I really need is a small space to sleep in. No? That's fine, I can sleep in the aisles. I just love books. I like the smell, the texture, the invaluable information that lies between all those delightfully crisp pages. The dog-eared ones too.

Walked over to my daughter and announced that I was ready. She picked up her stack and we paid for our items. I then turned to her and said as we walked out, "Let's go to the big one." She was delighted. You see my little princess loves books. She loves the smell, the texture, the invaluable information....you get the picture. I wonder who she got that from? She looked at me wide-eyed and said but it's almost 2 and you hate driving in traffic. I told her I would take the freeway there and we could be there in just a few minutes. I'm a rebel, I speed.

Upon our arrival at the "big one" I immediately went into frugal mode. I have to do this in order to keep from running all over the book store like a madwoman and piling all kinds of books into my basket. Basket, that's right, the big one has shopping baskets as in carts. They know what they're doing. We are greeted by a group of lucky Half Price Books party hat-wearing employees, a cookie spread and a register to win a shopping spree for books drawing. I want to register 100 times but decide against it as they might look at me like I'm crazy. I'm not crazy. No, I'm not. I love books.

I also managed to hold back from grabbing a whole plate of cookies they were offering, especially snickerdoodles, yum! Although, they offered a plate towards me, I'm in control, I took only two. And two chocolate chip and another two of whatever was on the other plate. See I have willpower. Yes, I do. You are just jealous of my willpower. My little princess' eyes lit up when they gave her a party hat to wear. They shone when she saw the cookies. Kids and cookies, girls and cookies, girls and chocolate chip cookies. See, my instinct to go to the big one was right on.

We were there looking for that LARGE PRINT Spanish bible. We didn't find one. I did find some more cool books there. Being the avid reader that I am, I loaded up. I did manage to stay under my $100 self-imposed limit. Yes, I'm a woman with willpower. You betcha!

On the way home we had to drive past my favorite consignment shop. I'm under my spending limit for the day so I'm going in, I'm thinking. I did. I looked and I bought. One dress. All that fun for under 100 bucks. Hey, maybe I should do a show like Rachel Ray has. Shopping with Diane is the way, for $100 a day. I'm good. I know. I'm a mom on a mission.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

College THEA testing

Why do children insist on driving their parents into early senility by waiting until the last minute to tell us things that are needed to be done? When my teenage-type offspring was in grade school, he would always wait until the night before to tell me about the supplies he needed for a school project due the next day. He would wait until I dropped him off in front of the school to tell me his lunch account balance was zero; I had no checks and never carry cash.

There are too many times which I thought were in the past. Long forgotten. Times when I just wanted to smack some sense into him. If he is academically gifted why is it so difficult for him to prioritize and use his time wisely? What is it about the young mind that keeps them from speaking up in a timely manner? Argh! Well, all I can hope for is that he will be more responsible and proactive as an adult. I told my son today, you will get a swift kick in the pants by the school of hard knocks in life if you don't learn responsibility.

I dropped him off at college today to get his THEA testing. Of course he didn't tell me he needed a picture ID. I was so disgusted with his lack of responsibility and at his age! Thing is, he doesn't have a picture ID. He is taking his driver license test in the next couple weeks so I had no idea he needed this sooner or I would've taken him in for a state ID card. So he waited until last night to tell me that it was required or they might not allow him to test. Being the wonder-mom that I am and exasperated, with this teenage-type offspring, to the very core of my psyche; I was on a mission.

I was determined to go in there and tell the administrator what I thought was a well-rehearsed spiel about why my son does not have a picture ID. Could she please allow him to take the test as I've already paid for it and their rules are that there are no refunds for irresponsibility on the participant's part. Or something pretty darn close to that wording from what I later found out. I know my son and I know he will probably go in there and tell them he doesn't have an ID and wait for them to tell him to leave. Aha! I'm a mom on a mission, a bundle of ticked off nerves to no end. My hair is even frizzier from all the thinking about how to punish this offspring type for giving me the crazies like he does.

We get in the car and stop by McDonald's so the offspring type can have something in his stomach as this will be a long test...5 hours long. So I make him get off and buy his own breakfast. Yeah, I'm mean like that. It takes me 10 minutes to get to the college campus. Twice as long as it takes him to wolf down those nasty pancakes and sausage and large orange juice he had to have. Teenage types have the most wonderfully healthy diets.

All the while I'm thinking, they will take him if I have to bring a blood sample to prove that he is my offspring and that my driver license, his social security card and birth certificate should suffice. I'm prepared to do battle. We get there and there are all kinds of kids looking for their respective classrooms for the testing. A bunch of them looking cute and reminding me that I'm old and way past my prime. Oh well, you can't have everything. I have more money than they do and more insurance too.

Armed with my most friendliest of attitudes I tell the lady there what our dilemma is and she was nice enough to tell me it was fine since my son and I have the same last name but that I will need to get him a picture ID. I apologize for my son's faux pas and proceed to drop this teenage-type offspring at his classroom. He turns and tells me the calculator he brought doesn't have the square root button. I give him a dirty look and tell him to call me when he gets through testing. He can figure it out. When I was in college, yes, I still remember, we weren't allowed anything but paper and pencil for testing. Now, they cheat. How totally unfair is that?

Now, we're going to have to start on the scholarship applications. Why must I do everything for them? Motherhood--a never ending job no matter how old your children are. I tell you, they're gonna miss me when I'm gone.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some People Just like to Suffer

Do you have friends that ask you for help regarding situations in their lives and then don't take your advice? I think I must have a sign somewhere on me. Others always come ask me for ways to resolve whatever predicament they are in and then continue to wallow in misery without ever taking the measures necessary to remedy the situation. Why do they do that? I have very little patience for stupidity. Ignorance is one thing (lack of knowledge) but stupidity, to me, is intolerable.

A friend I had several years ago was physically, brutally abused by her husband. She came to me for help. I had seen the bruises that she had unsuccessfully tried to hide with makeup. Since she wasn't a close friend I didn't want to overstep any boundaries. A few weeks into our friendship she decided to tell me what was going on. Needless to say, I was livid. I gave her some information and told her my door was open to her any time of the day or night. She was a tiny little thing and her husband was a devout bodybuilder. This man had raped her in front of their 4 year old son. It got to the point one day where he threw her against the window and she fell through it. She then came to my house and stayed for a few days. She was terrified of this man. He came looking for her and I told him in no uncertain terms what would happen should he decide to do something foolish.

She went through counseling and got help only to go back to that beast of a husband. She was a beautiful woman. I found out later that she was getting abused by the 4 year old after she went back to the husband. The child would kick her and bite her if he didn't get his way. Children learn by example and the father of that child left a lot to be desired. I despised what he did to her. I had done all I could and ultimately the decision to return to that life was hers. I don't know what happened to her but I often think of her. After all the things she went through and after all the help that was given her, why did she continue to suffer like that? She had a choice. She made the wrong one.

Another friend is abused by her live-in boyfriend. They fight constantly and it gets physical at times. She has a child by a previous relationship that tells everyone and anyone that will listen about the fights. When she has asked me for help, I have given it to her. Financial, emotional and I've talked to her about her options. She chooses to stay in that relationship, I believe, because of low self-esteem. I've pointed out to her that her child is in essence being abused. She chooses to have a man in her life over hers and her own child's well-being, physical and otherwise. The help is there for her. She is another one that chooses to live like that.

Why are these women so desperate to have a man living with them that it matters not that the very person that is there to love and protect them is the one that is causing the greatest harm? They aren't ignorant, the knowledge and the way out is there, I guess they are stupid. It's a harsh word and I know I don't like to use it to label anyone. These people, the ones that I've dealt with, have earned it.

Do they enjoy suffering like that? Why do they subject their children to this type of emotional and sometimes physical abuse? Those children did not ask to be put in that position. Isn't it selfish of these women to allow this to happen to their children? I believe it is called child abuse. Should I take the first step and turn them in to child protective services? Will the children be better off or will they end up dead at the hands of their foster parents, as we often see on the news? What would you do?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Depression rears its ugly head

I've always thought, in my ignorance, that depression was a state of mind that people could easily pull out of. I've been reading a lot on it lately because my mother suffers from it as well as some friends of mine. One friend in particular gets into these worrying "binges" and worries constantly about things she cannot change. It's a vicious cycle.

Often I've wondered why this happens to some people and not others. It also seems to be more prevalent in women. Why does the outcome, in a lot of cases, result in suicide? These people are in a lot of pain; physical pain, it seems. Do you know anybody that is going through depression in their lives? How do you handle it? What can you say that will help them? Is there a natural cure for it or must these people take one of the plethora of pharmaceutical band-aids that are the mainstream nowadays?

A co-worker I used to talk to a lot at my old job suffers from severe depression. She is on Paxil and will have to take it, from what she told me, for the rest of her life. Does depression last a lifetime in some? I cannot imagine, nor do I want to, the pain that these people must be in to have no other choice but to resort to a drug-induced sense of well-being. I don't like taking any type of medication but I ask myself if I were in there shoes would I do as they do? Would somebody care enough to get me the help if I couldn't or wouldn't take the measure necessary steps to get well? From what I've read, some people don't even know that their loved ones are going through this episode in their lives. A lot of times they don't even find out until its too late.

Did people at the turn of the century get depressed, and if so, what did they do back then? Here's a LINK that has more information along with an audio clip. If anybody knows of a good natural way to alleviate this malady, would you please let me know? I'd like to be able to help those close to me battle this horrible disease.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Medical Insurance

Why is medical insurance so expensive for everyone? I'm looking for a good insurance plan that will cover my family. We are self-employed and I went looking for insurance on the internet to see what is out there. Coverage for only myself would cost me a couple hundred dollars a month; for the family about $400. Not bad I guess, considering it would cost me in the range of 300 bucks just to go get my yearly exam. More, if I need to get lab work done and all that good stuff.

In the city I live in our taxes are sky high; they are in all of Texas it seems. School taxes are astronomical and I don't even send my kids to public school. There should be some kind of credit given to those of us that home school our children.

How are we, as a nation, going to deal with our government turning a blind eye to all of those that need medical attention desperately? Our family, thank the good Lord, can afford to self-insure but what about those who cannot? I'm just a stay at home mom that doesn't work outside the home so I don't have employee benefits of any kind.

Even when I worked, there were people there that simply could not afford the coverage. There were others that worked only so their families could have some kind of health insurance coverage. What is happening to our American dreams? There are way too many people living on the streets and have no food or shelter let alone health insurance.

As our nation's population ages and the baby boomers are reaching an age where they are retiring and yet they have no money to live out what is supposed to be their golden years in a financially secure manner. What will become of those that do not have the means to retire comfortably. By comfortably, I mean in a dignified way where they don't have to feel like a burden on their children. Where their health needs will be met without having to wait in long lines as welfare recipients. Where somebody will give a rats ass.

I still have a good 20-plus years before I reach that age but am I really prepared? Is anyone? With Social Security threatening to be but a distant memory by that time, I often ask myself, do I have enough saved? Will the the government's inability to provide for its people, people that have paid their dues for decades -- a lifetime, ever be alleviated? How much savings is really enough? If a catastrophic illness should come upon our family, what then?

In my heart I know that it is God that I have to trust in, He is the only one that I can count on. It seems that for many the American dream is just that, a dream. Tonight, before going to bed, pray for those less fortunate than you. Because believe it or not - they're out there. Be blessed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Green Chile Pie Recipe

As with all my recipes. I do not measure ingredients. Sign of a true chef? More like a daring, rebel, wonder-mom that has too many things going at once to bother with trivial matters. This recipe is for a casserole-type dish that is called Green Chile Pie.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 10.75 oz. can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 16 oz container of sour cream
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 10.75 oz can Enchilada sauce
  • 1 4 oz. can of green chiles - I use mild cuz, remember, I'm a weenie
  • 2 10 oz. cans of Rotel tomatoes w/chiles
  • 1 lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of Doritos or tortilla chips
This is not for the weight conscious, if you haven't yet figured it out. If I make this for a group of my health-conscious friends, I substitute the beef with ground turkey breast, natural/organic chips, do low-fat cheese, soup and sour cream. I like it like that but my taste buds are damaged from too much healthy food; it's your call.

Put beef in skillet and I do not use oil since there is enough fat in there to brown it well enough. Right before it is thoroughly browned, drain the fat, I rinse it as well for good measure (and because I'm OCD) but you don't have to. Put it back on the stove and add the chopped onion, continue cooking until onion is clear. Now add the remaining ingredients, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Get a 13x9 pan and put a layer of chips at the bottom, layer of meat mixture and follow with a sprinkling of cheese. Continue until all is gone with the final layer being cheese.

Bake in 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. This is muy, pero muy delicioso! I warn you I have to run up and down my stairs several hundred times out of guilt after having this dish. Is it worth it...you bet your green little chiles!


The good the bad and the tired

Went on a run with Mr. Sir last night; out to East Texas. It is so very pretty out there. I didn't want to come back. Lots of green, lush trees. The temperature wasn't even 70 degrees, it was just gorgeous. So, needless to say, I have had no sleep. I'm on empty and I'm on my way to Starbucks right now. The princess spent the night at the party house last night so I, being the rebel that I am, took to the highways and byways of East Texas.

I feel refreshed, if tired, and in much better spirits. Sometimes a person just needs to get away from the city, especially with the heat and pollution here -- it's bad. It may be that I'm just tired of living in this horribly, hot state of Texas. Although, I must admit not all of Texas is as ugly as Dallas; nor as hot. Weird huh?

I'll come back later and post the recipe for the green chile pie, N. I know I said I would do it today so I will be back after my Starbucks buzz.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Party Animals of the world - Unite!

Well, just nine days after my little princess' birthday we are getting ready to attend yet another party. A family member's little princess is turning 9 today. I, being the one that is in charge of the cake, am late, as usual. Turns out that the birthday girl wishes to have a Spider Man cake. Chocolate cake, please.

I had to take Mr. Sir to get his rig's oil changed so that took a couple hours out of my valuable time. I stopped at Tom Thumb and ordered the cake. I put my most pitiful face on and managed to get the lady at the bakery counter to feel sorry for me and have the cake ready in a couple hours.

This past weekend I found out that the Easy Bake oven my little princess got for her birthday has been recalled. I pointed out to her that a little 5-yr old girl had suffered 3rd degree burns on her hand and had to have a partial amputation. Her words to me were, "Yeah, but I am not some young kid that's silly enough to put my hand in there. I'm 9 and almost a teenager." As if teenagers are all-knowing. In their minds they are, I guess.

To keep my teenage-type offspring in line I proudly stuck a poster on the back of my kitchen cabinets that reads:



Now is the time FOR ACTION!!!


I got home and bribed her into taking a bath. Kids are just dirty some times. She knows there's a party and a chocolate cake at the end of that bribe and she will do anything for that, even take a bath. I have yet to wrap the birthday gift. I'll get Mr. Sir to do that....he's good at that. Since he can't cook to save his life it's either wrap the dadgum gift or no food for you...one year!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Kid's Eating Habits

As you all know I have been blessed with two offspring that are completely opposite. They are different as night and day. The teenage-type offspring was a very healthy eater when he was little. He loved his veggies and fish and baked chicken and just about anything I would put in front of him. He trusted his mommy to feed him good, healthy, nutritious meals. Oh, how I miss those days of sheer joy at watching him eat the food I prepared without worry that he would pick it apart and make faces at it. Those were the days. Life was simple, sweet and uncomplicated.

I don't know when or how it happened but one day he just woke up and hated everything that is good for him. He won't touch green beans, gags if he smells any type of seafood being prepared let alone eat it. I don't think he drinks plain water, at least I don't see him do it. He drinks green tea or Kool Aid or soda if I make the mistake of buying it. What's funny is when he was younger he didn't want his food touching other food on his plate. Each had to be separated on the plate. Very strange, indeed, but he did eat healthy.

I've discovered and finally gave into the realization that my teenage offspring is a junk-food junkie. My heart is forever broken. Where did I go wrong? Along the path of adolescence years, what did I do to make him become this way? I tell you, I will ponder that question 'til my dying day. Will I still worry about his eating habits when he's off at college? Can somebody answer these life-altering questions for me, please?

My little princess has been good with the eating thing and yesterday I made tuna casserole, she seemed excited that I was making that. You see, my little princess loves food. She is constantly eating. Loves fruit, fish, lobster, crab, just about anything. Yesterday she didn't eat the tuna casserole. It was even her favorite at one time. The cheesy kind that for whatever reason I hadn't been able to find on store shelves since last year. She didn't eat it. Please, Lord, don't do me like this, not here not now. Let her stay normal.

A few years back we were driving, just me and her, down LBJ Freeway and saw an 18-wheeler hauling some chickens. She asked me where they were going. I, being the sensitive, loving, wonder-mom that I am, told her they were going for a ride. I know my child well and knew what would ensue if went into detail of where they were really going. She proceeded to go on a seemingly never-ending banter of how nice that the chickens got to go on an outing. Yes, I agreed. The following week we see another truck hauling the same thing only this time our wonderful teenage-type offspring happily announces where the chickens are really going. Needless to say, my daughter burst into tears because she loves all animals. My son, being the ever-loving brother that he is, told her he loves them too with a little bit of sauce on the side. It is a good thing my son doesn't really go anywhere with us any more.

My poor daughter has been lied to about the chickens and also about the bunnies on the side of the road. One day when she was still in daycare and I had to pick her up on my way home from work, we came upon a bunny on the side of the road who's lucky feet had run out of luck. I was too tired to explain and so I told her the bunny was just sleeping. Again, she goes on a never-ending banter about how the bunnies are so tired from hopping all over the place and it was just taking a nap. Yes, I reply. I know, I do have the overprotective mother of the year award. It hangs proudly in my living room above the mean mom trophy.

Last year, I had to finally tell her, sweetheart, the bunnies on the side of the road; they're not sleeping--they're dead. Now I am the proud owner of the Cruelty to Offspring Award. Soon we'll have to get a bigger house just to accommodate all my title awards. I'm good that way.

My little princess has since gotten the talk about the circle of life and the food chain. She happily continues to eat hamburgers and chicken nuggets which she now knows come from cows and chickens. This leads me to believe that I may have messed up with one of the offspring somewhere in my attempt at being a good mom but the second one wasn't damaged too bad. I guess the first one we use as practice.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quinceanera Necklace and Earrings

I couldn't wait until tomorrow to post this. So, here it is. It's a necklace and earrings set for a Quinceanera. I haven't just yet decided what to for a bracelet so I'll post that when I get to it.

It is made of Swarovski crystals, 14KGF balls, Swarovski pearls and Cloisonne. It measures approximately 16.5 inches.

The earrings are 1.25 inches long. If you click on the picture it will take you to a bigger one where you can see the detail up close.

Geeks on a shopping jaunt

Yesterday I had planned to do so many things and I got absolutely nothing done. I made my usual Friday run to the bank and then little princess wanted Arby's so we stopped there and she made sure I didn't order the kid's meal because she is now an adult at the ripe old age of 9. I'm thinking, great, no more silly kids meal toys that I have to worry about stepping on in the middle of the night. My heart sings joyfully and I hear the "Hallelujah" song in my mind. I clearly see the windows of heaven open and God is smiling down on me. I'm a happy camper.

We proceeded down the street to Frys as I needed a mouse and some ink for my printer. I love Frys. I am Queen Geek mother. We have 2 desk top computers and a laptop. Before I go to bed at night I kiss my laptop and wish it sweet dreams. I use my laptop to chat with my dearly beloved friend N almost every night. I read the bible online. If you saw my actual bible you could tell I don't read that one much. It is still brand new. I want to keep it that way. I like pretty new things.

Ok, back to before I got off on the geek spiel. So we arrive at Frys and of course little princess wants everything within eyesight; to which my answer, being the ever-loving, wonder-mom that I am, I say NO. I found the ink, got one of each in black and color for I know that even though my printer says it's low only on black, the minute I replace the black one, the color one will jump out at me and act all jealous and I will have to replace it too. That and having to drive in traffic in the Dallas area is enough to convince me to buy both--which I do.

We mosey on down to what we came here for, the mouse, but I see a set of really cool headphones that are only 15 bucks so I put them in the basket. I'm a mom, I deserve them. If I want to listen to Mary Mary's Shackles at the top of my laptop's volume at 2 in the morning, I'm allowed. This will keep the neighbors from calling the Po-Po on me for disturbing the peace in the middle of the night. Po-Po = Police, you like that huh? I got it from Madea on Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I love his movies. I must've been black in another life. Or maybe I am part black and my mom won't admit it. It would definitely put a lot of things in perspective about my life. My hair gives me away.

So, I'm at Frys and I'm admiring all the new gadgets and drool over a cool wireless keyboard that comes with matching mouse. You see, Frys is THE place for geeks and geek moms alike. If there was a New Egg store, we'd be there or at Tiger Direct. We are a family of geeks, except for my husband. He supplies us with the money to buy all these geeky things. I think we'll keep him. I love to build computers so I can put all kinds of cool hardware in there and if I had the time I would do that instead of all the dozens of other things I do now.

I couldn't decide if I should buy the wireless keyboard and mouse, which I don't need, or just buy a mouse. I decided on the latter. However, this mouse is just an average mouse. It's not wireless but it is a laser mouse. Quick on it's little mouse-feet. I like it. I also picked out two CD cases, one each for the offspring. I'm tired of seeing the teenage offspring's CDs strewn about his room and the little princess understands not what it means to pick up your CDs from my desk or they are going in the trash. It doesn't matter that I utter those threatening words in two different languages, the results remain the same.

So, all in all, I was a good girl yesterday. I stayed under the $100 spending mark I have allowed myself when I go out for the day. Not an easy feat when you are a geek mother shopping at Frys.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Website articles

Ok, today I am going to make those Quinceanera jewelry sets. I'm thinking about going to my supplier for some jewelry components. I have posted a link to the picture of the object of my immediate desires. They are called Tensha beads and they are from Japan. They are absolutely mahvelous! Let me see if I can post a pic here.

I think these would be lovely to make a Quinceanera necklace and maybe a bracelet of pearls with only one of these in the center. They come in several colors but for a Quinceanera as well as for brides, I believe this color would be appropriate. Of course, I could get the blue ones with the pretty flower designs on them and that might work really well.

The pieces I make will be posted on my website and I might put some pictures on here. Since I do not have these available right now. I'm placing my order today but I will make something else geared to the Quinceanera.

I will also be writing articles on my website that pertains to my line of business. I am thinking of adding a page just for Quinceaneras and all that they will need for their very special day. I don't like the cheap jewelry being sold on the different internet sites. I want these pieces to be heirloom-quality that can be passed down for many years to come. After all, a Quinceanera is a special event in a Latino girl's life; one that will be remembered for the rest of their lives. Why go cheap when you can have something that will be passed down for generations. This, I believe, will make it that much more special.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tex-Mex Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

This is my own recipe for chicken enchiladas. I don't really measure things as I've made this just by eyeballing the ingredients so try this at your own risk. I will say that I pile a layer on top of another in a 9x13 baking dish. You can use two if you like. Also, I must warn you, it will take you approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours from start to finish. If you make your own enchilada sauce from scratch- I made that mistake once- it will add another 30 minutes or so.

  • 2 Whole chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, gristle and all that yucky stuff
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped - I use my Pampered Chef chopper to keep from crying
  • 1 Can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup
  • 3 10-oz cans of Old El Paso Enchilada sauce mild, medium or hot depends on how spicy you want them, due to the fact that I am a weenie I use mild
  • 1 lb Kraft or Sargento grated Mexican blend cheese or you can use cheddar if you like and it doesn't have to be either of these brands either
  • 2 Tablespoons of Watkins poultry seasoning (that's the secret seasoning, Larry)
  • 2 teaspoons Lawry's seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped - smashed really
  • 32 count them, 32 corn tortillas - nah, I don't make them from scratch - I'm lazy
  • Oil for frying I use Crisco vegetable oil
Boil the chicken breasts until fully cooked while that is cooking you can chop the onion and have it ready. Remove the chicken from the pot and save the chicken stock, you will need about a cup of it. Let the chicken meat cool before shredding or you will regret it. If I am in a hurry (which I always am) I stick it in the freezer for a few minutes, just don't forget it there. Frozen chicken breasts do not happily comply with their duties while frozen. They know they are a popular part of the chicken and thus are very stubborn.

Pour some oil into the frying pan and fry the tortillas for only a few seconds on each side, just enough to make them soft...not crispy. I would estimate about 5 seconds on each side at medium heat. Flip them with tongs and stack them on a plate. Repeat 32 times. I told you this would take a while.

Take the cooled chicken and shred it...this allows time for the tortillas to cool before handling. After shredding all of the chicken and removing any disgusting blood vessels and yucky stuff add the cream of chicken soup, 1/2 of the shredded cheese, chopped onion, smashed garlic cloves, Watkins poultry seasoning, black pepper, and the Lawry's seasoned salt. Mix well to make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed. If mixture is too dry use the stock you saved to add moisture.

Open the cans of enchilada sauce and pour into a somewhat shallow dish/bowl big enough to dip the tortillas after they are lightly sautéed. Repeat 32 times.

Now comes the fun part. Take each tortilla after dipping in the enchilada sauce and put about 2 tablespoons of the chicken filling and put in the center of the tortilla...now roll that puppy and put seam side down in your olive oil sprayed baking dish...I figure I'd use one healthy ingredient in the midst of all this fattening but-oh-so-good and deliciously marvelous ingredients. By this time you will smell like a big enchilada yourself so you can tell everyone that comes over for dinner that you made enchiladas from scratch...except the tortillas and the enchilada sauce...but if you hide the empty packages deep enough down in the trash can they will never know any different. I won't tell.

Once you have repeated this 32 times; the dipping, filling and rolling (please don't lick your fingers no matter how tempted you are) you now sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top of your new creation. If there is any sauce left I just pour it on top of that.

Now, put in a 300-degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. You will have people wanting to be your best friend for miles around when they taste these. I ga-run-tee it!

N - dear, this one's for you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back to the regularly scheduled program

I'm back from Oklahoma and ready to get started on catching up with this blogging thing. We are looking to move pretty soon so I may skip a day or two here and there. I hate packing but this time I know it will be for a good cause so I will only complain this one time.

I'm slowly trying to learn all about Search Engine Optimization for my website. I've got so many things going at once I will probably soon be diagnosed with Adult ADD. I am one of those people that has to have something going all the time or I get restless.

I need to start looking for boxes to pack up the house. What's funny is that Wal-Mart boxes are recycled, they won't just give them to me or I can't just go picking them out of the trash. I've tried this and only to find them all torn down and packed tightly on a pallet, ready for the recycling truck to get them. Far away from me. So, box-hunting at the Wally World is out of the question. It seems that every time I look for boxes for this very reason they are nowhere to be found.

As soon as I find out which house we are getting I will post some pictures on here. I liked the one on 5 1/2 acres. It is in a peaceful country setting and has beautiful flower gardens, a small vegetable garden, a pond and there is a creek that runs through the property. Now, we will have to wait and see. Oh, the best part is that their electric bill is only 75 bucks a month!! Compare that to our $450 electric bill here where we currently live. Property taxes are one third of what we currently pay. Insurance will cost less as well.

Now, I just have to get my loan officer to get everything ready and see what happens. We are basically giving our house away. My hubby is asking one of his friends from work to see if they want to assume the loan. They are in desperate need of a home for their family. They don't have to give us any money, my husband says. As long as they are assuming the loan, we know our house will go to someone that really needs it. It's only money and I would be more than happy to let them have the house. They are good people.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

And the winner is.......drum roll please!

I will publish all the stories submitted but for now I am posting the winner. It brought tears to my eyes.

Story number 18 submitted by Pearls4God

Here is her story.

Hello there, just wanted to let you know that I am not doing this to win but more to let others know how good God is and all that He has done for me in the past few years. Here's my story and the title is:

When I was Down God Lifted me up
by Pearls4God

My story begins when I was 15 years old. Due to abuse in my home I went off with what I believed was my first true love. He was 19 and I was 15 and if anybody had cared about me this never would've happened. Who knows where I would be today.

Anyway, I ran off with this man and he took me to another country where as soon as I got there I found out he was married in that country! I was devastated and lost and had nowhere to go. I didn't even know what city I was in. We stayed with his brother and his brother's wife. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I was so scared and didn't know who to turn to. Only 15 years old and pregnant and far away from my family, not that anyone cared but at least they were family.

As the days went by my "true love" was turning into a monster before my eyes. He wouldn't let me out of the room. He would bring me my meals there and I was skin and bones from lack of proper nutrition. I worried about the baby and thought that I may never again see my family. How would I get there? I had no money, was in a foreign country and just a kid myself.

Everyone would ask me if Ricky had taken me to meet his parents yet and of course he hadn't. The all looked at each other because they knew he couldn't take me there, his wife lived there with his parents. I felt like a trapped animal. Five long months passed and I was getting more sick with each passing day. I finally was able to sneak a letter out to my family as all the letters my beloved Ricky was told to mail for me he had kept them stashed in the closet. When I found them I knew I had to ask his brother's wife to help me. I think she felt sorry for me and that's when I managed to get the letter mailed.

My family came to pick me up when I was 5 months pregnant with my son. Time passed and Ricky came looking for me at my home. My parents being from the old country did not want a daughter having a child out of wedlock. I was made to marry him after he divorced his wife. Here I was 15 yrs old, married and uneducated.

Ricky started drinking heavily, wouldn't hold a job down and started beating me when I asked him what we were going to do. He abused me verbally, emotionally and physically. Ricky raped me several times and I had nobody to turn to because he said I was his wife (my worst mistake) and he could do as he pleased. We moved to another state and as is usually the case in situations like these, I wound up pregnant a second time. I was so stupid. I felt so helpless and totally useless. We had a second son. This time Ricky was starting to abuse our first son. He was only a year and a half and Ricky would go off on him. He was also beating me and abusing the new baby. He would feed him and then push down hard on his stomach to watch the baby spit up all the milk he had just drank.

I would cower in the corner and cry. Ricky would pick me up and tell me I was stupid and worthless and that it was all my fault because I couldn't even keep myself from getting pregnant. As if I hadn't had any help from him.

One day when he was out looking for work, supposedly, I got up the courage to call a friend and tell her about the way Ricky was treating the baby. I was afraid he would eventually kill him. This friend called child protective services and baby #2 was removed from our home. I was so happy. I knew my baby would be so much better off with the foster parents. They would still allow me to see him but only while supervised.

The beatings and abuse continued until one night, I got tired of being a punching bag. I was only 16 years old. I should be in school at that age. Instead I was married to a lazy drunk and was responsible for raising a toddler on my own. Being that Ricky didn't want to work or anything, I figured I would kill him and the beatings would stop.

That night I took a knife and hid it under the mattress and waited for him to come home in a drunken stupor which was his usual nightly ritual. I put my baby in his bed and went to bed myself trying to stay awake so I could slit his throat. God, in His merciful power, put me in a sound sleep that I didn't even know what time Ricky came home. The next day he found the knife and beat the living daylights out of me. I was kicked and punched and thought he would surely kill me this time. My baby was screaming and crying and I was afraid for his life. I remember Ricky turning and looking at the baby as he was screaming and he yelled at him to be quiet. My heart was pounding in fear afraid that he would go after him. He told me to make the stupid brat shut up or he would get him too. I was bleeding from my face but I ran and scooped up my precious baby. I would die for him if I had to but I would protect him.

After Ricky left for his usual drinking binge that evening I decided I had enough. I prayed that if God was listening that He would take me away. I called a friend and packed what I could and left for another city. I asked God to take the pain away. I loved Ricky but hated the person he had become. I was in a vicious circle. That if God would give me a new life that I would change and go back to school and try to raise my son right.

I moved in with my mother and my youngest brother and went back to school. My mother helped me raise my son but unfortunately because of her spoiling him something awful he didn't turn out like I had wanted him to. I had to work and go to school so she was the only one that could watch him. Time went on and fast forward 12 years and I get a call from the police department that they have my son there for shoplifting. I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world. I had tried so hard. His grandmother, however, was buying him things I could not afford to give him because of my limited income and having to pay bills and rent.

I kept pleading with my mother to not spoil him like that but she wouldn't hear it. I went to college and got an education and became a Legal Secretary. I was making decent money but my son continued to give me problems. Almost on a daily basis I was getting calls from his school about my son being absent or tardy or making trouble. Little did I know until I found out years later that my dear mother had been telling him all along that he had no reason to go to school if he didn't want to. That he didn't need a job when he got older...he didn't have to work because she would buy him anything he wanted. I could never give up on my son. I was his mother and I would do whatever it took. My mother, unfortunately, had already laid the foundation for his behavior.

One day when he was 17 years old I got a call from my mother at the law office I worked at. She was crying hysterically and telling me that my son was in jail. Apparently, he had stolen a vehicle and had gotten caught. She wanted $1500.00 to bail him out. I told her to please stop calling me at work or I was going to lose my job. She called me more times than I can count and out of fear of me losing my job, like an idiot, I gave in. I took the money and gave it to her. I also told her this would be the one and only time that I would help bail him out. He needed to learn his lesson and that was that.

My son continued to do really bad things and I prayed for him constantly. Two years later he got caught with firearms and was put in a state prison. He spent his 21st birthday in there. I sent him Christian books for him to read and he would write me and from his letters it seemed like he had turned to God. My world was crushed when he got out two years later and he blatantly told me he had lied. He didn't believe God was good and he didn't care.

He moved into my house when he got out because he had no place to go and needed an address for his parole officer. I gave him 30 days to get his act together. I told him, you will not live here for free. You either go to school and get an education and then you can stay here while you are going to school or you can get a job and pay your way. One day when he got really mad at me for stepping in when he was trying to hit his girlfriend, he yelled at me. My heart broke into a million pieces when he looked at me with a horrible look on his face and threatened me as he said, "Don't f--- with me or I will kill you b----tch." That day I knew God had listened to all my prayers and for whatever reason I had to let my son go.

I was afraid of my own son. The very one that I worked so hard for and protected for the past 20 years. The one I was willing to lay down my life for was now willing to take it from me. My son is now 28 years old and still running from the law. He will forever be in this mother's heart and prayers. You say but your story doesn't end in a good way. I say to you, my story has not ended yet. I am alive and God isn't through with me yet.

God bless you and yours. He has greatly blessed me and mine in all His sovereignty. Why do I praise Him when it seems that all I've had is heartache because we are supposed to worship Him even in the bad times. My treasures are in heaven.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Birthday Party Was Today

Due to the downpour yesterday we were forced to postpone the birthday party until today. Which was good because I waited until the last minute and didn't have all the gifts wrapped in time for my little princess. Besides, today is her real birthday so it was all for the best.

We arrived at Chuck E Cheese at 1:45 and it was starting to pack up, or do I even have to mention that? Later, I will post a picture here of the birthday girl and nobody else because not everyone wants a picture of their child posted on the internet. To respect others' privacy, I am refraining from doing so.

Someone asked me where my daily blogging was and I have to tell that someone that I apologize for not posting earlier today but I was busy with my now 9 yr old daughter. I promise not to slack off so horribly ever again.

The cake was delicious. In fact we still have some and my daughter has been eying it since we got home from the party. Asked if she could have another piece and being the mean mother that I am I told her no. There is only so much sugar a child should legally be allowed to have in one day. This old mom will not and can not tolerate too much of those sugar-induced antics children go off on after consuming large quantities of candy/cake, etc.

She was lucky she got a birthday party. I hate doing parties. Especially for little kids that scream non-stop for hours because for some inexplicable reason they cannot hear themselves shouting. I truly believe it is some kind of built-in mechanism that miraculously disappears as we get older. Maybe it's a secret competition among the young to see who can drive their respective parents into an insane asylum the quickest? Who knows.

I cannot stand Chuck E Cheese. The pizza is just nasty, they are overpriced and I can never just let my kids run wild without my being right there within a couple feet from them. I'm paranoid like that. I shall remain like that for the remainder of my years I guess or at least until my own kids are adults. Then the grandkids will come and I will be right there to do it all over again; only this time, I won't care about the noise because senility will have set in and my hearing will be impaired beyond control. If by chance my hearing is still as sharp as it is now I'll just pull out my hearing aid--that should do it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Party Preparations

Today I will make this short and sweet because I have to prepare for my daughter's birthday party, which I must regretfully admit that I will have to endure at least a couple hours of screaming kids at Chuck E Cheese. Then come home and endure more hootin' and hollerin' from her from all the sugar she will have consumed after eating cake. Not that, mind you, it's any different any other day. This child must be God's joke on me.

My son is a model child. He is now better known as my teenage offspring. The quiet one. The one that won't ask for food unless he is starving. The one that is obedient. The one that doesn't party or hang out with wild friends. The one that corrects my web designing mistakes and brings my computer back to life after I manage to crash it in a matter of minutes. The only child in the world that I know of that has been reading since he was 2 and by the age of 5 was into medical encyclopedias and asking me if I knew the esophagus was for and did I know that the larynx is commonly known as the voice box and that it is in the neck....and so on and so forth...

Then along comes my precious princess to set me straight. To show me that God has faith in my feeble-minded attempts at motherhood. I love my little girl with all my heart and soul but she is very stressful to deal with at times. She has brought me to tears on more than one occasion bless her sweet little heart. It's God teaching me patience. Be careful what you pray for. God is all too willing to give it to you. I am living proof of that. :) Have a blessed day!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Work from Home - Volume 2

Yesterday I posted about the virtual assistant. Today I will post more information on that and start a different work at home opportunity tomorrow.

After getting your marketing packet ready to go, you can put them in envelopes. You can do them in the manila envelopes or the size 10 envelopes. I prefer the manila ones that are 9x12 only because they draw more attention.

Don't forget to put everything in them that you are sending out including your business card, letter of introduction and a flyer outlining your services. Do not put your fees on your flyer. They will all be different for each individual business you do work for.

This is when the phone book or www.switchboard.com will come in handy. You can use either one or both. Search under contractors and get their mailing information. If you like, you can call them and make sure the address is correct. This will save you time and money in the long run because you do not want to end up with a bunch of returned, undeliverable mail. You can also contact your local chamber of commerce, they will be happy to give you information on new business owners - these are great as they are just starting out and don't have, and probably haven't even thought of, someone that will do all their paperwork for them.

Here's an article on Virtual Assistants click here from entrepreneur.com. It's very informative. You can also go look around on their website to see if there is other information you could find useful in your personal quest for the perfect business. There are also several virtual assistant databases out there you can join for advertising your services. VANA is one of them and you can go there by clicking here. I promise you, once you get your name out there and you do your marketing and keep at it, you will be successful.

Remember, anything worth having is not going to come easy but you can do it. I know you can, I have faith in you. You are smart, you are valuable and you are a child of God's. Now, go out there and be the best Virtual Assistant you can be. I'm standing right there cheering you on. Please contact me with any questions or if you need any help whatsoever. I'm here to help.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Work from Home - Volume 1

Ok, ladies and lurkers. I told you yesterday that I would come in here and start posting ideas and information on what you can do from home to earn some money. How much you earn doing these things will depend on how bad you want to work. Where there is a will, there is a way and if you have that will, I am going to provide you the way.

Today I am going to talk about something anybody can do, yes even you, from home with their computer. I know you have one because you are on here reading about this. How to become an administrative/virtual assistant.

Things you will need are as follows:

  • A computer
  • A phone
  • A printer, nothing fancy just so it prints
  • A fax machine - they are like 50 bucks new...cheaper at garage sales
  • Business cards/flyers
  • Your desire to succeed
I should mention that the last one is the most important one. Now, once you have all those in line....and the cards by the way you can print for about 5 bucks. You get them free just pay 4.95 postage from www.vistaprint.com

If you do not want to wait for them to ship them, which by the way doesn't take long, then you can make your own. However, I must tell you theirs are on heavy card stock and are much more professional than those flimsy ones you print yourself. Besides, think of the cost for the ink as well. It isn't cheap and printing your own cards will cost you more and give a less professional look. Just because you work from home does not mean your cards do not have to be professional-looking.

You can design your own marketing flyer with any of numerous programs out there. One thing you must have, if you don't already, is Microsoft Office. All new computers come with Microsoft Works, unfortunately, this will not do. Remember, most places of business work in either Microsoft Office or WordPerfect. Legal (attornies) entities usually work in the latter. Not always but more often than not.

Just as you can design your own flyer, you can design your own letterhead. If you need help with that, contact me. I will be more than happy to help you on that. I can even design one for you if you need me to. The objective here is to get your name out there. You would be surprised how much your help is needed by contractors near and far.

Once you get the marketing packet together--I would include a flyer outlining your services, a business card and a coupon for a certain percentage off if they contact you by a certain date--look on www.switchboard.com under contractors for whatever field you decide to work with in whatever city/cities you choose. Those details are at your discretion. Do not work for free, unless this is going to be a hobby of yours. Your time is valuable and you deserve to be paid and be paid well.

Most contractors are charged by the hour or if you prefer by the job. That is again up to you. The going rate in most bigger cities is anywhere between $10 to $20 an hour or depending on the job you can offer them a monthly rate for say, proposals, payroll, bookkeeping. If you are going to do anything in payroll or bookkeeping, you will need to have accounting software like PeachTree or QuickBooks.

Now you are probably thinking, I don't have that kind of money to purchase all that software. There are women's shelters and other places in your area that will help you get those. If you need help finding those, let me know. Since there are people reading this that are in different parts of the country, I cannot post one specific one. I will, however, help you do the research if you need me.

Come back tomorrow for another episode of Work from Home. I know you can do it. Have a blessed day and don't forget to thank God for your blessings. You have many even if you don't see them all the time. Being alive is one of them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Work from Home -- an ongoing blog of information

Good morning all. The last time I posted about work from home jobs I got several emails asking more information. I have decided that I am going to put some good information with links and resources on here every week. I want to help you ladies that want to stay home to tend to your kids or those of you that have a physical handicap or even those of you that are tired of the rat race.

There is just so much information that I have from my own search that spans several years before I finally decided on doing this a couple years ago.

I will include all kinds of ideas, walk you through the steps you must take, licenses needed, if any and all sorts of goodies. Unfortunately, I can only give you the information and cheer you on. You will have to do the rest. You have to want it bad enough.

My father used to tell me when I was growing up, Diane, you must go after what you want. Nobody will hand it to you. There is no free ride. I was only 9 or 10 at the time and those words would repeat over and over in my head as I grew up and into my adult years. Every time I thought something was insurmountable, I would remember his words as if he were saying them right then and there. My father was right.

So, for those of you that want to get more information, just come in here and read all the stuff I have just poking at my little brain to come out. I will be more than happy to share what I have found that works and some that don't work so well. I'm sure on that last one, we've all had our shares of scams going around.

If at least one of you ladies can glean some information that will help you on your path to work from home then all the years of research that I have done will be worth it. Remember, though, you do have to put some effort into it. Unfortunately, the money will not rain down on you while you're sitting on the couch watching soaps and snacking all day. You can do it, I know you can, I know I did and I'm lazy.

I'm still waiting for that wonderful invention -- the remote control refrigerator-bot. One of my friends posted on her blog about this other marvelous invention that has not yet come to fruition. She's a smart one, my friend N.

In my blog there will be so much information accompanied by links taking you to where you need to go to educate yourself even more about finding real work you can do in the privacy of your own home. Imagine, working in your pajamas, don't have to brush your hair, don't have to shower, er, well, you might still want to do that; for the sanity of the people you share your humble abode with. Just a suggestion, don't get all huffy with me. Sheesh!

Yesterday I spoke to one of my friends from my old job. She's really talented too. She's an excellent greetings card designer. You can look at her stuff here
I really miss having lunch with her. In fact she's supposed to get back with me on a time when we can go have lunch together soon. She's a real genuine, down-to-earth person who loves to do crafty stuff. She's really good at it.

Well, ladies and lurkers alike, until tomorrow. Remember, if you have any questions whatsoever on any information I post just ask. I promise I won't bite. Hasta manana!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Contest starts today!

Yesterday I blogged about a contest. Today is the day, ladies, gentlemen and lurkers. I want you to think of a time when your life was in turmoil, you were at the lowest point ever and after much suffering you turned to God. Now, granted, some of you might not be Christians but that's ok. As long as you believe in a higher power, or whatever you want to call it. An occasion when you know for a fact that God came through for you. That there can't possibly be no other explanation but that there was divine intervention and you pulled through whatever the situation may have been.

This contest will run for a week. Starting today and ending on Sunday, July 15, 2007. Herein are the rules.

The story must be either emailed from an email I could not possibly recognize who sent it. Do not include your names or any information that would give away your identity. I want to make this fair for every one. You can post it on here under an assumed name. Please title your story so that it makes it easy to pick the winner. I will give each story a number and announce it here on my blog Sunday evening at 6 pm central time.

Remember, you will be anonymous and I will not find out who you are until I announce the winner. Please tell everyone you would like to participate.

Okay now, for the prize. There will be a large assortment of jewelry, candles, soaps, girly stuff that you can use for yourself or give as gifts. The total value of this prize will be approximately $500.00 All the items are brand new, of course and you will have a blast when you open up your package.

So, ladies, start up your engines and get started! I look forward to getting your stories, if by chance your name is anywhere on your email, your entry will be voided. I must be fair and that way everyone will know I will not be swayed in my decision. Email me here

ricosilver@ gmail.com

You can see some of the things that could be included in the prize here

Good luck and God Bless each and every one of you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Law of Attraction - what is your take on it?

Several months ago there was a show on Oprah about the law of attraction. At first I was raring to watch it. I wanted to see for myself what all the excitement was about. I got the video and watched it, sounded a little far out to me. After watching it, I was pumped then after all the excitement started wearing off; I realized that it does help some people. To what extent I don't know. More than anything, as a Christian friend of mine told me, if combined with the fact that God is the center of our lives and the one we need to go to, along with the positive attitude that we are to extract from this video, we could really help ourselves. How's that for a long run-in sentence?

I don't believe that a person is a god as they seem to portray in that video. I do believe that in many cases people attract to them some pretty bad stuff because of their attitude or behavior. Just think of it this way, if you smile at someone or make a friendly gesture; more often than not, you will get the same in return. The same applies if you do the opposite. Is it Karma? I don't know. What I do know is that if we put God at the center of our existence, He is our universe. Yes, we must have faith in ourselves and always try to do our best to be good people. However, if we don't put God in this equation, we are doomed to fail.

What I did learn from this video was to think more positive now. I don't let negative thoughts into my life. I have plans that are more structured and well defined. The goals are in place and I focus on them as I should. Once you focus on something, things start to fall in place because YOU take the steps necessary to fulfill those plans. There isn't some mysterious force that magically makes a mountain of money, a new house, a new car or whatever the object of your desires may be appear just by thinking about it. It is you with the help of God. Remember, God created you, He gave you free will. In a sense, you are the author of your own "destiny" if you will--no pun intended. However, God is your editor. He will correct us when we are wrong, if we will allow Him.

When a person goes through life thinking they can do whatever they want without the fear of God in them or without acknowledging that it is due to His grace that we even exist, their lives show the consequences. In all my lifetime I've seen this happen again and again. I've lived those consequences.

If you have watched that video or read the book, let me know what your thoughts are on that. In the next few days I will be having a contest. I want everyone who reads my blog to take part in it...I know you lurkers are out there. The prize will be something fantabulous that will help you out tremendously with your Christmas shopping. I want the contestants to submit a true story of a time in their lives when they hit rock bottom. When God came to your rescue, even if you didn't want to acknowledge that it was Him that pulled you out of the deep pile of dung that you got yourself into.

To be fair, since I have several friends reading this blog, please send it from a yahoo email or hotmail address so I don't know who you are. And for pete's sake...do not use your name anywhere on that email address or in the body of the email, or initials or blog or website, etc. I will then issue each one a number and post it on here who the winner is. Who knows, maybe you won't have to worry about doing any Christmas shopping if you are chosen as the winner.

Now, sharpen your typing skills and start thinking of a time when this has happened in your life. I will let you guys know when to submit your stories. I will make it worth your while. I promise.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

IBC - the silent killer of women

This morning I got up and visited a forum I hadn't visited in a while, I'm ashamed to say. I went to one of the Christian forums I enjoy visiting. There was a link there about a type of breast cancer that is killing women without a warning. The worst part about this is mammograms do not detect it. I'm posting a link here so you can see the video for yourself. That disease is Inflammatory Breast Cancer or IBC. I had never even heard of it before this.

(Give the video about a full minute to load).

There are so many things now causing illness in hundreds of thousands of women and I believe if we all would just share this information, somebody's life will be saved.

We don't have cancer in our family, thank the good Lord. My sister in law's mother died of cancer a few years back. She suffered so much. I hate to see anyone suffer at all but when it's preventable, well, that makes it much worse.

A friend of mine died of cancer 3 years ago this September. She was so sweet and endured so much pain before her short time on earth ended. Another friend died this past May. She had 2 teenage sons who look so sad all the time now. They caught the cancer too late.

I often think of those that have passed away that were close to me and wonder...what if. Thing is, it's too late for them. It's not too late for us. We must take our health seriously and do whatever it takes to get in to the proper clinics/hospitals and get ourselves examined. Be aware of all the things that could damage our bodies.

We have families that we must think of. If you don't do it for yourself because "that could never happen to me", do it for your loved ones. Care enough about them to do something for yourself. You are irreplaceable. Stay healthy, life is not a rehearsal.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Shopping Friday!!

Today I got up late. Didn't go to bed until after 2 am this morning and slept until around 9 or so. I didn't want to get up but had to make a run to the bank. That's one thing I don't like about having your own business. You have to run to the bank and make deposits on a weekly basis--if you don't want your checks to bounce, that is. I shouldn't complain. I'm grateful that we have the money to deposit. Thank you, Jesus.

Took my daughter and we went to Sams and bought what seemed like too many drinks. My teenage offspring of the male type is on a Lipton Green Tea w/citrus kick. At almost 11 bucks a case I don't complain. I prefer he drinks that than pop/soda/carbonated beverages. I also got a case of Yoohoo. Pure sugar, I know. I did get a 32-bottle case of Ozarka water because our tap water tastes gross. My daughter wanted a case of Sunny Delight so we got some of that. When it comes to drinks, I don't mind getting the huge cases at Sams. What I don't like is getting a pack of 9 toothbrushes because that's all they have...mega packs.

As is always the case when I take my daughter anywhere, she was "starving" when we left Sams and there, right next to Sams, conveniently and to my dismay, is Sonic. As if that weren't greasy enough, about 100 feet from them is Wendys followed by Whataburger and of course the king of burgers -- Burger King. All I wanted was a grilled chicken salad. A real one, not a fast food version of one. There was also a Golden Corral right next to Sonic. I don't know what possessed me to ask my daughter which place she preferred.

Why in the world I would think she would pick Golden Corral, where I could have had a decent salad, over the other grease joints was beyond me. I'm losing all kinds of brain cells as I age, I guess. So, since my little princess will be having a birthday in a few days I obliged. She had her usual kids meal. Me, the completely sane, health-conscious, chicken salad connoisseur ordered a Coney!! What blasphemy! The ironic part is that it didn't even taste that good to me. I ate only half of it. Was it my sub-conscious whispering in the deepest part of my cerebellum, 'no...don't do it, if you eat it, you won't like it. Think of all the calories. Think of your hips...think of your waistline - or lack thereof'

Quickly, I stuffed it back in the bag and my daughter said, "but there's still some left." Me, being the iron-willed person that I am and someone who never likes to waste food, told her, "that's okay, I don't want any more" I even gave her my fries. I tell you, I keep surprising myself more each day.

After our semi-unpleasant lunching experience we proceeded to go to the Bath and Bodyworks semi-annual sale. I wish I had gone last week when my female 6th sense told me to go. All but one kind of the body butters were gone. At least it was one of my favorites...the Sensual Amber. I was there to only spend maybe 20 bucks. A woman should never think that way when going to Bath and Bodyworks. As I kept putting products in my shopping bag, while silently telling myself -- more to convince myself than anything else, these are for Christmas gifts. After what I foolishly believed were about $20, max $30 bucks in goodies, I happily walked my bubble hiney (because of that half coney I ate earlier) over to the register.

I engage in small talk with another seemingly unsuspecting lady, it is my turn to pay. I'm so proud of myself for doing my Christmas shopping in July, like I promise myself every year and I never get around to it. I'm giddy. I'm beside myself. In fact, I'm so happy, I treat myself to a body spray. After all, it's a sale, right? Women love sales. I am a woman. I love sales. I don't need it, you say? Who cares? It's a sale dadgumit and by golly, I'm buying it! Try to stop me, I dare you. I double, er, no - I triple dog dare you! I'm in a scent induced reverie and was rudely awakened by Ms. Cashier Lady, "Your total, will be $157.95, please" I almost fell out. Right there. Right then. Then I realized she was talking to the lady beside me. Whew!

I knew I was cool. I'm good with numbers and all. I worked in a big financial institution so I knew what I was doing. I can add, I'm thinking. You betcha! Then my cashier lady gives me a somewhat daunting wake-up call by announcing my total of 80 some odd dollars and whatever cents. See, I didn't do too bad. Well, no, it wasn't $30 bucks like I had planned and had all figured out in my little brain but hey, who's counting. At least it wasn't almost $160 like that other lady. Sheesh, on things she doesn't even need. What's wrong with her? Besides, I got a bunch of cute gifts for Christmas.

Went home and hid them in my jewelry room closet - to pile on top of another bag full of Bath and Bodyworks 'gifts' that I purchased during a previous sale. My husband must not find out about them. I don't need them you say, so -- they were on sale. If I want, but only if I want, I can choose to use them all before Christmas and keep them all to myself, how's that? Yes, I can. Bet me!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Work from Home jobs

I went to the grocery store a couple days ago to pick up some milk. Of course, any time I go to the grocery store I don't just pick up one item. Never fails. I didn't do too bad though because thank God our freezer is full and I cannot fit anything else in there.

The price of everything is gone up again. A gallon of milk, store brand -- nothing fancy, it cost $4.18!! Good thing the kids don't drink a lot of it. I don't like milk unless it's with my cereal. I do have friends where the kids go through 4 or 5 gallons of milk a week. I don't know how they keep food on their tables. It's ridiculous really.

I think I will go back to clipping coupons. Walmart, at least, will match any price on same items that their competitors have on sale. I used to use those loss leader flyers all the time when I was working full-time, don't know where I found the time to sit down and write a list and organize before shopping. Now, I don't work outside the home and I can't seem to find the time for some reason. Laziness? Probably.

It seems every time I go to the grocery store something else has gone up in price. We only have two kids so I can't imagine how larger families can afford to eat these days. I know my neighbor is on food stamps. She isn't very honest though. I think I'll just buy my food with my own money. At least I won't have to be looking over my shoulder all the time.

These days it seems more and more families are forced to have dual incomes just to get by. One of my friends has 6 kids. SIX!! She's been married for twenty years to her husband. I know they struggle with feeding the entire family on their very limited budget. They make ends meet by going to the flea market every weekend and selling refurbished game systems. My friend has high blood pressure and I hate to see her go and sit in the heat for two days just to put food on their table.

She tried baby-sitting but she had an accident a little over a year ago and is in constant pain and has to go to rehab along with her daughter who was almost killed in that accident. We've tried helping them out but it seems that try as they may, they are always behind on everything.

I have given her all the information on my resources for working at home. There are so many things you can do from home and make a little bit of extra money. Child care is only one of them. Medical transcription, medical billing, administrative work, bookkeeper, legal transcription as well as law enforcement transcription (I did this along with transcription/translation).

You can make jewelry, like me. You can make greeting cards, write magazine articles, run an errand service, cleaning service, bake/food preparation. I had a neighbor that made cakes, really pretty character cakes for kids. Pass out business cards at day care centers and you would be surprised at how many customers you can pick up that way. Once people find out what you do, you will make a pretty penny. You must build a strong foundation at the beginning. Hit the pavement, talk to people. Get excited about what you have to offer.

If you like working with numbers, talk to local contractors, open the phone book, look, call, offer. A lot of the contractors cannot afford their own personal secretary or assistant. Offer them a flat monthly fee for doing their bookkeeping, payroll, proposals, etc. If you want it bad enough, go for it. Don't be afraid of someone telling you no. Sometimes they don't need your services right away but hand them a business card. Mail it to them. Contact them however you can. Make a good impression on them. Portray yourself as a professional individual. They will remember you. When you meet them face to face, dress appropriately. No flip flops, ragged clothing or unkempt hair/appearance. Please, no chewing gum in their presence either. You are your best advertisement. When you are at home doing the work for them, you are in your home you can be in your pajamas if you like. Not when you meet with them, however.

I sell my jewelry everywhere I go. I carry a tote, one of those brag totes where you can put pictures to show off. It's bright red. It has my business name on there in white letters. I have posted a picture for you to see. When I'm out and about running errands, I have a bunch of business cards with me. This tote goes with me. When people see the pictures, they ask if I make the jewelry. I take it from there. I offer them free jewelry if they host a show and stress the fact that the pieces are unique thus they will not see the exact same piece on anyone else, unlike the store-bought jewelry.

My point here is if you get out there and let people know what kind of service/product you offer, they will respond. A smile is always a good ice breaker. I smile all the time. To date, I've yet to encounter someone who has not returned a smile after I've smiled at them first.

Remember, the opportunities are out there. How bad do you really want to earn money from home? Like Mary Kay used to say, "If you think you can you can and if you think you can't, you're right." Mary Kay was a wise woman. Look at the legacy she left behind.

Now, go forth and conquer! I know you can do it. I can sense it in the very fiber of your being. Thanks, Oprah! ;o)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


In my last post I promised I would go more into the quinceanera parties and all they entail. A promise is a promise. Today I'm going to write about a quinceanera, what it means, the traditions and all the hoopla. Lets first start off by me saying, I did not get a quinceanera. Another story for another time.

Anyway, a quinceanera is a party that is usually very extravagant, very colorful and last but certainly not least; very, very expensive. Well, I take that back, it can be very expensive, which most are or it can be at the other end of the financial spectrum. Most are expensive though. Latinos like to spoil their daughters and nothing is too good for their little princesas. Especially if they are not paying for the items themselves.

In the Latino community, when a girl reaches her 15th birthday, there is a celebration that takes place called a quinceanera. It marks the transition from girlhood to womanhood. They are given a doll which is her last childhood doll, like the one I have pictured here.

The quinceanera is like a poor-man's version of a debutante ball. Many families save for years to pay for it all on their own or, as the majority do, they have sponsors that they call "padrinos" which mean godparents. The majority of these fantastic parties are usually sponsored by family members or close friends. Depending on what the teenager in question wants, there are padrinos for the dress, the cake, the dance hall, the tiara, the shoes, the flowers, the church, the scepter, etc.

As I stated earlier, the expenses of this gala are extravagant. The parents of the girl spare no expense, especially when they're spending others' money. That's always fun, I'm sure. They usually start years in advance with the planning. Some of these parties rival the fancy weddings and receptions that go on for days. Being of Latino ancestry, I secretly have thought that it was just another excuse for the adults, and maybe a few teens, to get drunk.

The dresses are usually very fancy and can cost hundreds and as much as several thousand dollars. The most popular colors are pastels in blue, yellow or pink. That depends on what the birthday girl prefers. They used to be tailor made but now that there are quinceanera stores in large numbers, especially in Texas, most are off the rack. The cakes are several tiers tall and are ornate and majestic-looking. Almost always, these cakes have some kind of filling. Strawberry and pineapple are very popular. They taste as good as they look too. Unlucky for those of us that tend to be on the hippy side...and I don't mean the hippie, either.

The girl then chooses "damas" and "chambelanes" which is equivalent to a bridal party. Usually, these number right at 14 couples with the quinceanera or birthday girl and her partner being the 15th couple. Thus making it a "Fifteen" party....brilliant, isn't it? These girls and their male partners are teens as well. Now, these couples each have to get their own matching gowns for the event and the boys have to wear tuxedos, usually the common black and white for the guys. Some choose the tuxedos with tails and if that is the case, they must all wear them. No droopy, over-sized jeans at this event. Sorry, homies. No shirt, no shoes, no fiesta.

We must not forget to get the padrinos for the limo service. My cousin, spoiled brat that she was, had limos for all her entourage, I think my aunt might still be paying on that. The parents then either pay or get someone else to pay for the band that will be playing the music. Nobody, but nobody wants to be the godparents for the band because it is not cheap. You also have to book months and sometimes years in advance if you are having a real popular band. Some choose a big band/group that is internationally known and well you can imagine the dollar signs that come to mind. It is about this time that I am happy that we are not full-blooded Latino.

Once everything is in place and the church paid for and the party is within a couple days or so, the entire party does the practice thing. What I don't get is, what are they practicing for? Everyone will be too drunk by the time the party starts that it won't matter if you are dancing right or making a jack-ass of yourself. Nobody will remember what you did. Nobody will remember what they did.

Even though they do send out invitations, nobody really forgets because everybody and their neighbor is involved in getting this party to come together. Since everyone is pitching in, in cases where the parents are too broke (which is all too often the case) to pay for the whole thing, they will all be there --guaranteed, with bells on.

On the day of the party the quinceanera wakes up extra early for all the hoopla of getting ready. Makeup, hair, dress, etc. If they are lucky, the entire party will be ready and there will be no mishaps. Sometimes, though, there are glitches and a couple got into a fight and don't want to go; this isn't very often though because they paid a kings ransom to get their outfits.

The quinceanera and all her family and their friends families go to the church, she is usually catholic or claims to be just to have her party. After that takes place, they all go to the reception hall, which hopefully has been all decked out now with the flowers and the party favors and the cake and all. If all goes well, the band will already be set up. The quinceanera will dance the first dance with her father, it is usually the Vals de los quince anos, which loosely translated means "the waltz of the 15 years" totally Mensa material, huh? After she does that dance the wild bunch that came to the party join in. They dance, eat and party all evening until the wee hours of the morning or until their money runs out and the band goes home.

There will be more booze than they have in all of Scotland and tons of expensive gifts for the birthday girl with a few dollar store cheapo items. The photographer will take pictures of everyone and everything because after all, the more he takes the more he makes.

Everyone will go home in their low-riders, the tuxedos will be long forgotten and the parents or godparents will have credit card bills to remind them of this fiasco for months, maybe years, to come. The birthday girl will have pictures of her party and ammunition for black-mailing for the rest of her life. It's a long standing tradition. One, I'm glad to say, is not practiced in my immediate family.

So, no, my little princesita Tiffany, you will not be getting a quinceanera party, you will, however, get a birthday cake. A chocolate one, your favorite flavor. I can even go the extra mile and make it myself...oh, double layer, okay...no problem. Betty Crocker, I'll do you proud. I promise.