Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Magic

So among wandering around different giveaway sites (loving the ease & efficiency of Rafflecopter btw!) and getting things done for the Christmas season, I've noticed that while it's true that Christmas has become more and more commercialized, there is still something magical about this time of year. I know it sounds trite, but there are still so many people who celebrate Christmas by remembering the spirit of the season. Not great prices and door-busters, or making sure you have a gift for everyone you've ever met and their next door neighbor, but giving service, making sure someone else has something you can selflessly give to them to make their holiday. Doing unto others and so forth. I love when I notice my kids taking it upon themselves to put the neighbors trash can back beside their garage - just because they were putting ours away. My daughter will never sit beside her friends at any kind of gathering, if she can help it, she'll go out of her way to spot that person sitting off by themselves and will go and plop herself down and talk their ear off, making them feel included, welcome - and wanted. So this season, when you have a million things to do, you're tired of singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" 20 consecutive times and you can't believe what stores are asking for a no frills, basic barbie doll - remember what this is all about. Even if you're not inclined to be actively religious the rest of the year - it's universal (at least, in most places I've ever been) that Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, to go out of your way to do as much as you can for others, and to give until you have nothing left - and then go give some more.
"Be It Unto Me" by liz lemon swindle
There is nothing that will make you feel better about everything in your life, than by doing a selfless act, showing kindness to someone who needs it (and those that don't) and making this that magical time of year for your kids so when they're all grown-up , have kids of their own, and are blogging away in the 5 minutes they have between rushing to pick kids up, clean, grocery shop and prepare; they can look back and remember how wonderfully fulfilling and magical Christmas time is supposed to be. Cliche - but, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Man".

Oh, and as a "p.s" I was sent a fantastic link to a great site that will personalize a video of Santa for your child for free. It takes about 10 minutes to enter in the needed information and upload a couple of pics - and you're ready to make your little girls day! I can't WAIT to see A's face - Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Been a While ...

Due to the demanding emails I received from several of you (you know who you are lol) I cleared some time to keep my blogging contributions to the net going. I'm not quite ready to jump back into giveaways just yet - but I will definitely be posting about awesome freebies and other sites with amazing giveaways going!

So as a quick recap, to those who are interested & unaware of what's been going on in the house of Degen, I'll give the cliff notes version for you. Due to my illness (we think) I developed complications in the form of seizures. My worst experience so far has been me talking on the phone, having a seizure strike, falling backwards (absolutely straight & stiff, like a board) & cracking my head on the tile - 75% of our house is tile - and all this in front of all 5 of my kids.

All I remember from it, was responding to paramedics asking me if I knew who the president was. (To which I promptly replied, "No ... but I know I don't like him ..." *blush*)

So after numerous tests, trips to the doctors & the emptying of our wallets, we're still no closer to understanding what causes the seizures or how to stop them etc. etc. Although I'm allowed to drive again (I was in the no-drive zone for 8 months or so), which has made a huge difference to my husbands schedule, since he was coming home from work, dropping the kids of at George Washington Academy before rushing to Dixie College for his own classes, coming home - changing - back to work, then home, grabbing kids, back to school for another class, then home for 4 to 5 hours of homework!
 He's been an absolute CHAMP!

So, needless to say, I was offline for a while, am now back, although I do need to limit my time in front of the screen (another little 'perk' of having seizures).

SO! On with the show, I'll post a few of the goodies I know of to do with freebies ... but until I get my bearings online again, please forgive my rushed sounding posts, and possible format changes. Eventually I'll get back to my usual, efficiently awesome self.

Jaime at Coupons and Freebies Mom has some giveaways perfect for the holiday season, and her "bonus" entries (the usual FB, Twitter followers etc.) are easy & simple to enter (basically it's clicking a box, hitting submit & you're taken right back to the beginning with minimal upload time!) Nothing is more frustrating than trying to enter a giveaway multiple times & having it be a complicated process. Giveaway fiends, such as myself, will understand exactly where I'm coming from!
So go check out what she has going on.

Here's a list of a few freebies you might be interested in:

As the days go on & Christmas draws near, I'll post any other interesting finds. I want to add a 'shout-out' to this great non-profit organization I heard about, via email, from Jenny who was anxious to get the word out. Canines for Disabled Kids basically supply assistance dogs for disabled kids who strive to gain more independence for themselves. They work with a variety of different disabilities, but have a look at their website, they do such fantastic work and there are many ways you can help. One of these is what I heard about from Jenny at My Own Pet Balloons.
This is a fantastic website that makes these amazing balloon animals, visionary artist, Treb Heining, is the pioneer behind the company. They have the coolest selection of pets to choose from - frogs, ponies, cows, cats ... the list goes on!

So what My Own Pet Balloons wants to do to help is, for every balloon pet you buy, they will donate $5.00 to Canine for Disabled Kids!

"Canines for Disabled Kids, a non-profit organization, is helping children with disabilities gain independence and participate more fully in society. This helped inspire the MyOwnPet balloon line, allowing children to simulate that experience with any animal. I thought you would be interested in sharing the news with the readers of 20 to Life that right now, for every MyOwnPet balloon purchased, $5 will go directly to help Canines for Disabled Kids"

So not only are you getting a great gift for someone, you're helping a worthy, non-profit organization help kids nationwide! What more could you want for Christmas? Fabulous idea, thanks Jenny for letting me know, and here's more information from My Own Balloon PetsCanine for Disabled Kids.

That's me, wrapping it up for today, please stop the onslaught of emails, lol! I'm here. I'm back. And I love you too! Also, please pray for those less fortunate this season, and try and do all you can to lend support, in any way you can, to those having a hard time this year. We've all been there, we all deserve to know someone out there cares & is willing to help. And if there's any way I can help, let me know, I'm more than willing to do my part, however small, to brighten someones day. Speaking of! Our family is doing a "12 Days of Christmas" for someone in our neighborhood which I'll document here, because it's always fun to doorbell ditch someone and leave them a surprise. (A good surprise. Burning dog-poop bags don't count. Ew.) So I can't wait for that. Til we meet again ...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If all else fails - blog it

To those of you reading this, I'm posting tonight because I need a new computer. My son had a school project in which he had to create a video biography on anyone of his choice. He chose Jamal Lewis. (I didn't know who he was either. Apparently an awesome running back in the NFL. Retired.)

Anyway, after spending hours making his masterpiece, we couldn't publish the dang file! I tried converting it, tricking my computer & sending it, copying it, anything & everything - I gave it a shot, all to no avail. Our last resort was to video tape his file as it was  playing on the computer, & try to load that .avi file onto the flash drive. And guess what? It still didn't work! So now we're down to the bare bones, & I'm pasting a copy of the video of the file he made with windows movie maker.


Now, if anyone reading this is thinking to themselves - 'all they had to do was this very simple process & it would've been fine' .... well, save it. I'm so beyond done with this project it isn't funny, so I'm posting it here in the hopes that at the very least, he can show his teacher that he really did do the required work (& as a straight 'A' student, it's definitely imperative) & hopefully the trauma of this whole situation will influence the powers that be into providing me with a new computer.

On with the show ....

Jamal Lewis

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guilty Pleasure TV

So, I'm not sure if anyone else ever does this, but do you ever find yourself watching some random channel & becoming completely immersed in whatever show happens to be on? It's something you don't admit to anyone that you've seen, let alone waited for the commercials to be over to see if he leaves her for that skankish girl who's no good for him, or if those teenage mothers actually make it to the end of the show still with the stellar guy who knocked her up.

Me? Well I'm guilty of doing this. Sadly, more than once, with multiple low-brow shows.
Even worse is the fact that the producers of said shows have a target audience & more than likely, they aim for people far younger than myself ...who still attend high school ...and who don't really get the mockery & subtle jokes that leave me rolling around in stitches (case in point : Family Guy)

Of course if I was ever asked what TV I do waste my time watching, I wouldn't be able to help having the titles, "Teen Mom", or "Mob Wives" jump into my mind. (And I just noticed, both these shows air on MTV. I am so pathetic....)

And then, there are the shows that will guarantee I end up crying. Any ICU or emergency hospital show involving kids or a hard luck case - I'm bawling.
A baby show, watching the poor mother go through all those hours of labor, (secretly thanking your lucky stars that  you're not splayed all over the TV & hoping that you never looked like that - cussing & grunting - to get your 'oh-so-precious-just-get-the-damn-thing-OUT-of-me' bundle of joy here.)

You can lay money down that I will be sniffling as soon as that first high pitched squawk is heard. This has also, on occasion, embarrassed my children when friends happen to be hanging out & they have the unfortunate timing to need me for something during Mom's "TV slash alone time"

(And no, they STILL haven't figured out the 'alone' part of this. It's also happened whenever I'm on the phone, trying to make an important point or just any general, another-time-would-be-better moment)

Well, that's my (I guess 'vent'??) post for the day. I figured I should get in another one because every time I entered a giveaway I would see my old post attached to the end of my entry & it was a great way to make me feel like the 'Blogger who Lacked'. So voila! Here I am, amending that sitch. Also, there are some fabulous giveaways rocking the blog world. Check out my buttons, to the right, pick any of those & you'll come across some excellent sites with fantastic pointers, tips, freebies, codes or giveaways.

Until next time!

P.S I do have to add really quickly that despite my horrendous taste in TV, I have NEVER lowered myself to Maury or Jerry Springer. Or MSNBC for that matter ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Giveaways & Freebies, Oh My!

So today, I have Mom Bloggers that are having fantastic giveaways, so I'm bringing you word, and also some great free stuff.
But first things first! Has anyone else felt like this year seems to be flying by? I mean, not just "Wow, it's already such and such month?" but absolute warp speed? I can't get over that we're already toward the end of April! Soon it will be summer (swimming, ice-creams and tubing on the lake. Heaven!) then before I know it, my 15 year old has turned 16, won his freedom in the form of 4 wheels, soon leaves on his mission ... then he's married and I'm suddenly a Grandmother! I'll have to endure losing 4 other kids after that! I have to say, the thought both terrifies & excites me. I can't wait to meet more of my posterity! But I can't imagine not having my children at home, not helping with homework, making sure teeth are brushed and listening to endless tattles. I'm by no means ready.
But then - are we ever really ready for all the big stuff? *sigh* Well, on to the giveaways etc ....


First off, head over to Jennifers blog at Mom Spotted. She always has fabulous giveaways, but this time shes hosting one from Step 2. (Which for those of you who don't know is an amazing toy company with outdoor playgrounds and inside artists easels and so much more! Well, Jen's giveaway is a
$400.00 Gather & Grille Playhouse!

Amazing! She also has a Pro Flowers giveaway, Toddler bed (from Stork Craft), a Car seat from Brittax & a Jeep Cherokee Stroller! You can't beat that, and I've definitely submitted my entries.

Free Stuff:

I'm not sure how many of you rent movies from Blockbuster, but here's a great freebie:
* On April 22 or 23 you can get a free Blockbuster Express DVD rental when you use coupon code THANKYOU.

Here's another, enter to win a months worth of FREE Electricity from (up to $250).
* All you need to do is head over and “Like” on Facebook and then register. You can also refer your friends to earn extra entries. Through April 30, 2011 they will be selecting one winner each Monday.

I got these thanks to Free Snatcher, a fantastic site.
* And here's one more, from Lifescript Advantage. Head over, sign up then recieve free spring samples!

Thanks to FreeFlys.

Well, that's about it from me for another day. If you hear of any freebies, I'm always up to hearing about them ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My 8 Month Break

For those of you who have ever heard of the saying "When you fall off a bike...", for me, the comparison to writing on your blog is similar. For those of you who noticed, I was M.I.A for quite a few months. Among straightening up demanding giveaway companies (some miscommunication on my part, and some loony tune views on theirs), trying to get sponsors to actually send their promised product (yanno. So I don't look like an ass) & dealing with an internet you-know-waaay-too-much-about-me "admirerer" - it's been a while.

Luckily for me, my daily blog reads are still here, some upgraded, some no longer doing giveaways - but the wonderful women behind the public blog face are still doing what we bloggers love best. Throwing our opinion out there with a dash of salt, or helping someone else to not make our mistakes. Or just socializing. For me it's definitely an escape. For those who remember, I have Systemic Lupus, a not nice illness that has progressively gotten worse BUT! Blogging is always something I can do to give myself a deep breath & a pause in my day.

                                                20 to Life

Everything here still goes around as normal, except for a few changes. My husband lost his job (as is the norm these days huh?) so he's been hitting the application trail, but is also considering making a leap to finish getting his degree (I'm his biggest cheerleader. No pun intended, I'm actually quite big ....)
Our kids are doing fine, could be doing better, in school and our baby doll has developed quite a personality! She's gotten it down to a fine art, when to flutter her eyelashes, exactly how far is too far for a lip pout, and when to run because her appeal has dried up, which isn't often lol.

So life goes on. I'm going to be revamping my blog, I know that much, I'm just not sure in what direction...? There have been some amazing Twitter parties, giveaways & sweepstakes going on of late, so of course I'll still bring word of these awesome wins & freebies. My buttons on the side need an overhaul, so some changes will occur around here when I can get to it, but rest assured, nothing major.

In the meantime, I'll continue making my random comments, mostly for my benefit, but feel free to snag some good times should it suit. Also - I'm always on the lookout for fresh, new, something different blogs, so if you know of any - leave me the link so I can mosey on by & have a look see.

When I get back on my feet (ie: a nice way of saying, When I can be bothered...) I'll be adding some more giveaways, but I'll be thoroughly checking the creds. of said companies & checking references as not all companies held up their end of the deal. And speaking of - I think I got everyone who won a giveaway, but if I missed you - please please contact me so I can make it right.

Well ladies (& gents) that's about it for me. My first post in about 8 months, how monumental! It's lovely to be back, still smells the same, if a little musty, but I'll air that out. Until next time, Ka Kite Ano!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Greetings to all. It's been a while, I know. My computer decided to comp[letely go on the fritz (with my help) and now I have no way to access the internet which has turned out to be almost like losing my left arm. It's weird. Unfortunately though, my last post was a giveaway - which was awesome, but I wasn't going to post it until I heard back from Philopolis. So I had listed that date for the (at the time) future, and then promptly forgot all about it. So now I'm left with the job of leaving an apology to you all, but with the promise that I will be back, when I can get a GEEK over, but for now - the giveaway iosn't legit or active. MY APOLOGIES!! It's completely tacky and professional, but that seems to be my murphys law of late. So until I can get back on and vent all about how I can't wait for school to start (taking care of the cabin fever, my-kids-are-bored-and-wanting-to-kill-each-other) then I'm stuck borrowing someone elses computer and leaving quick How's-your-father's.

But I'll be back. Count on it. :)
Strosgirl's Designs
blogger counter