Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blog prejustices?

I've noticed that there are several types of bloggers and wondered which catergory I fall into. I've actually been told that these are the "unspoken prejustices" of blogging - a sort of online do's and don't, which if you don't know about, could cause you to commit a social faux pas. So I thought I'd post these (Malik - unfortunately you fall into the 2nd one :P)

1: Blog Snob: This type of Blogger will ignore comments from anyone with less than 2-300 followers, despite how nicely you might compliment their new layout, or how adorable the picture of some meal they cooked for dinner (yawn) looks. Approach at your own risk.

2: Blog Flirter: This type of Blogger will seek out "cute" profile pics, strike up conversations, that eventually lead to comments of how cute you are and how much they'd love to meet you. This type of blogger should be avoided at all costs - not only are they superfical, they most likely have several STD's unknown to the medical profession. BEWARE.

3: Blog Avenger: This type of Blogger will utalize their blog to make derogatory posts about other bloggers they feel have 'wronged' them in some way. They make posts directed at the object of their displeasure, causing your IQ to drop, merely by reading it. This blogger is sometimes worth a laugh - but at their expense.

4: Super Blogger: This blogger will post about everything and anything, they are constantly on top of returing their comments, doing their giveaways, and checking out any new blog that catches their eye. This type of blogger can make you feel inadaquate, unintentionally. Great for a read - don't try and keep up.

5: The Rest Of Us: This type of Blogger will make mistakes, not always get their giveaways ended on time, forget to return comments, although they have the best of intentions.
They also get on sparingly, yell at their kids & are often times late & forgetful. These blogs are worth following as they exhibit some human like traits.

I (obviously) fall into the last catergory, I forget, I digress, and I ramble. I'm a mess, I can't always finish what I set out to do - usually due to real life, I love my kids madly and am in dire need of a holiday :D

Mike - thanks to you for pointing these out to me - even though you fall into number 2 as well. HA!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Terro Ant Killer GIVEAWAY!

I saw a post from Kailani at "An Island Life" (killer blog, fyi) about this new ant killer (well - I hadn't heard of it, so new to me) called Terro. When I saw the post, I thought  "I don't have an ant problem right now, so I'll pass on this one." Literally within hours, my husband walks into the kitchen & starts swearing about 'bloody ants!' which I thought was definitely Murphys Law. I contacted the Terro people & was excited to try this product, & thought I'd give it a month or so to see how well it worked.

A. B. says...

"I love your product and I recommend it every time"

I just have to say that every summer I have ants that come inside my house and every summer I do the same thing. All I do is go out to the store, get some Terro Liquid Ant Killer, put it in their path, the ants come like mad to the bait, and within a day or two they are wiped out. I love your product and I recommend it every time I here someone say they have an ant problem. I hope you don't change whatever your doing right and that you continue to make a great product.
May 11, 2003

I could not have been more impressed! We bought our house late last year, and it had been vacant for a while, so of course every roach, ant & spider within a 40 mile radius decided to make themselves at home. We contacted our regular spray people, and they managed to take care of everything - except for the ants. They were everywhere! The kitchen, lounge (or living room, as Americans would say), the back porch, the kids' rooms - MY room - including my jetted tub. They were in my tub! Nothing seemed to work - we got rid of our terminators, since they weren't cutting it, we tried store bought brands, home remedies, everything short of calling in an exorcist.
Well - then winter hits, and they seemed to disappear - which I knew was a small reprieve, until recently. They decided to make themselves known by getting into any open container & causing us to throw it away.

Anyone with a really serious ant problem, knows how hard, annoying & stress inducing these little critters can be. The wasted money with food, covering everything, checking on a daily basis to see where they've moved too once their favored spot becomes compromised. WELL! Terro was an absolute God send!
I was skeptical at first - to be honest, I figured we'd tried so many other options, that this one may work for a time, but I didn't hold out much hope. I was happily proven wrong.

Terro is really easy to use, I was given some liquid ant baits, which is a food based product - similar to pancake syrup & a death trap for ants. They enter the small capsules of honey like stuff, (it also contains 5% of Borax - which is what kills them) feed on it and pass it back to their ant brothers. Causing a "kool aid" type of effect and killing them all. (Was that too crass a joke to make ...?)

The other product I tried was some of these little grain type granules - insecticide, if you will (in a convenient shaker bag) that you can spread around the perimeter of your home, and this one takes out not only ants - but fire ants, bill bugs, grubs, roaches (sweet!), sod webworms, earwigs, crickets, chinch bugs, army worms and any other "normal" type of foundation bug. This one I particulary liked, because it isn't a spray, it's not going to spread, & you can use this one on lawns. I noticed with the sprayers we had coming, whenever they would spray around the edges of our grass - it would start to look dry & parched, which is not attractive at all.

Naturally, with any kind of bug killer, you do need to be watchful of where you put these traps down (such as, being careful around areas of food prep. and especially around kids). Honestly though - so far since we've had these ant killers protecting our home, I have not seen ONE ant. It's fantastic!! No more feeling them crawl on me when I'm curled up on the sofa (a complete pet peeve) and I'm mostly impressed with the fact that they claim "It Works!" - and it's actually something I can vouch for. It does work, it's amazing, and with it comes a peace of mind - since I'm no longer dealing with an ant issue. Terro is.

They also stock a variety of other baits - and for other pests. Spiders, fuit flies, termites - just check out their website out for the extensive list

Win It!
Terro is offering two (2) of my readers some of this amazing ant killer product, you'll receive a box of Terro Liquid Ant Baits and a bag of the Terro Outdoor Ant Killer Granules!

Mandatory entry: You need to be a follower of "20 to Life!" to be eligible to enter this giveaway.

Extra entries:
+1 Become an email subscriber of "20 to Life!"
+1 Become a Twitter follower of Terro Ant Killer
+1 What kind of appliances are in the kitchen on the video for Terro?
+1 Grab my button & leave a link for where it is
+2 Tweet, up to twice daily

WIN some great Terro Ant Killer products! Safe, easy & EFFECTIVE! @TerroDeadAnts @Malisce

This giveaway will run from 3.26.10 until 4.9.10, please leave separate comments for each entry, winner will be selected via Random.Org & emailed. They will then 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be drawn.

**Please note, I received no form of monetary compensation for my opinion/review. I did receive a product from the company in order togive a fair & balanced review and any opinion, statement etc. expressed in said review in solely my own & was in no way influenced by a third party.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

everybody was kung fu fighting

Fair warning - this post will be a long one, although I'll try and tone it down to the bare minimum. On with the show!

First up - the awards. I was truely flattered to receive these awards from some lovely ladies, & they all have fantastic blogs. I'm listing these in no particular order, & I recommend scooping them out and leaving some comment love for each, a lot of work goes into their blogs, & they absolutely deserved the awards they were given.

Chacoy (my Utahn friend who is coming to see me & drop her darling boy off) from Ma 2 1 Cute Boy honored me by dropping 2 awards on me. The "One Lovely Blog" award, and a new one I haven't seen making the rounds - but I'm glad to accept it - the "Happy 101" award. Chacoy - you're awesome, I love you - and get better SOON!

Tree from Mother of Pearl It Is gave me the "One Lovely Blog" award AND the "Beautiful Blogger" award - thank you so much love, I appreciate it greatly.

Kati, from Lady Bug Mama of 2 graced me with "Happy 101" award, which I'm accepting gracefully & greedily. Not an easy feat.

 Christi from Living Green in a Colorful World gave me by far the coolest award I've seen yet - the "Master of -" award. (This one you have to list 6 things you're Master of, and pass it on to 6 other bloggers. And aww yeah I'm digging the picture, no matter how gay they may look. It's completely awesome - thank you!)

 Tracyo (a lovely Canook ... is that even politically correct? I just wanted to post that word. Canook) from The Daily Mom Diaries threw me the "One Lovely Blog" award AND "Beautiful Blogger" (which is one of my favorites :D

I'm humbled. Coming from such amazing bloggers themselves, I'm flattered & instead of nominating 40 or so blogs - I decided to nominate 5 blogs & they can take their pick as to which award they want. I'm going to go with the "Master" award and list 6 things that I consider myself a Master of, cos I haven't done that one before and all I can think of (Tracy - Stir Fry Awesomeness) is "...everybody was kung fu fighting. na na na na na na na na na - those cats were fast as lightning..." I'll have that song in my head ALL NIGHT now.

              The nominated blogs (all are fantastic) are as follows, in no particular order:

So take your pick, post your award with pride, and nominate someone/s worthy. As for me - here are the 6 things I consider myself a Master of ...

1: I'm Master of my Domain (Seinfeld anyone?)

2: I'm a Master at multi-tasking. I can do hair, while changing a diaper, yelling out examples for homework, giving the evil-eye to encourage someone to "finish all their breakfast" while side-stepping all the little Zhu Zhu pieces that weren't picked up from the night before.

3: I'm a Master at perfecting the "Mom" tone. I only need to utter a one syllable word & it strikes fear into the hearts of any child doing exactly what they're not supposed to be doing.

4: I'm a Master at guessing what lines come from what movie. I can hear half a quote and nail it within seconds.

5: I'm a Master at spotting dirt on a kids face from 45 feet away

6: I'm a Master at finding any and every excuse to not do any housework. I can milk any kind of pathetic reasoning for weeks at a time.

And there you have it. My Master Mind abilities. Over the years I've honed these skills to be finely tuned, and I don't recommend trying them at home without adult supervision.

Now for my "Wordless Wednesday".

I don't even think I need to say anything. One of the late greats, & a fine figure of a man at that (that was for you C ;)

So in summation, Thank you to the wonderful bloggers who honored me with awards, you like me. You really, really like me. *kisses* to you all, I have more giveaways I've been remiss in posting, so my bad, I'll get on that ASAP. In the meantime - (as I'm posting this, I'm tapping my foot and humming along to "Kung Fu Fighting" I knew it would invade my every thought!) some words of wisdom to live by ...

"If you've got them by the balls - their hearts & minds will follow"
 John Wayne                              

That would make a fabulous tattoo, doncha think?

A different sort of moon.

I know I keep saying I'll (eventually) get around to posting about my awards, which I've dubbed 'my pretties' - and I will. Tomorrow. Or any other day that isn't right this second (although I am sending love thoughts to the ladies who deemed me worthy).

So tonight, I was driving home from a friends house, it wasn't really that late - around 10:30ish & I stop at a red light. (You should know before I proceed, I have terrible road rage. I mean - I will literally sit there yelling & screaming at some poor, unsuspecting stranger, looking like a crazy lady - for something as unforgiveable as forgetting to indicate - americans call it a "blinker", I call it your "indicator".)

So anyway - I'm stopped a red light, paitently waiting for it to change, and a car full of testostrone & hormones (16 year olds) pull up beside me. They start gunning their engine and grinning at me, possibly expecting me to swoon or be so impressed I'd flash them a "I'm so very impressed" smile.
Instead - it pissed me off. I gave my best scathing "really?" look (keep in mind, this is to a car full of teenagers. Yes - I know I look pathetic, but as I said before, my road rage knows no bounds, nor age limitations) Which only encouraged them. So eventually the light turns green, and I pull out slowly, warily eyeing them up and wondering what they're going to do next. Well - they gun it - too hard, stall their car, and being the adult that I am - I couldn't resist laughing and actually giving them the 'thumbs up'. Much to their chagrin, I'm sure. So I'm driving along, blissfully unaware that the next 5 seconds are going to scar me for life, when this car full of punks (and I'm refraining right now from calling them far worse) cuts me off. NO indication, NO curtesy, nothing. So I'm (naturally) furious, and decide I am going to ride their bumper as a little petty "get back". So while I'm trying not to actually hit them, I'm  making damn sure I drive obsenely close to their rear, when I notice the driver waving his arm out the window, so I take a closer look, expecting to see something but I'm not sure what.
Three of these little bastards brats have their backsides pressed up against the back window, and ARE MOONING ME! Mooning me! I backed off hard and fast, bewildered, violated & feeling like a complete and utter pervert. They all then stick their heads out the windows and give me the same "Haha thumbs up" sign I had graced them with.

Kudos to them, they got the better of me. All the way home, all I could do was turn my music up to drown out the picture of three young kids showing me their butts. Needless to say, my road rage was banked and on hiatus for the duration of my trip home. The worst part is, I feel like some sort of molestor, as I'm sure their mothers would be less than impressed that I copped an eyeful of their buttocks. Despite the fact, I hadn't done anything other than stoop to their level. I'm well & truely warned for the next time though.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

new moon. of course.

So I caved. In fact - I didn't really cave at all, the whole thing was planned, but since I don't want to come across as excited as a 15 year old girl, "I caved".

I went and bought New Moon - for my kids, or so I tell people who ask, when secretly since devouring the entire series in a few weeks, I've been waiting on pins and needles for the movies to come out.
We had a midnight showing at a friends house with our kids - of course they loved it, and this elicited whispered conversations of "I'm on Edwards side" "Edward?? Jacobs so much cooler" "But Edward lives longer. Jacob will get old, like Mom" <--- this was actually a conversation which - up to that point, I had been quietly enjoying. That was where I cut in with an equally whispered "Shhh. You're missing the movie .... & making me feel old" was left unsaid.
All in all, it was a good time & even as I write this, my girls are huddled around the t.v , watching the movie again, giggling & making comments about who they would marry.

And today is a good friend of mine's birthday - which she shares with her son. So "K & D"

See you late on tonight xx

Friday, March 19, 2010


Morning all. I've been working far too much - in the last few weeks, my teeny baby daughter has become a virtual stranger. When she's in distress - she's taken to calling out for 'Daddy!', something none of the last 4 kids have ever done. This is new to me, and I almost die a little each time I hear it. Because in the last few weeks, she's replaced me - her rock & never-going-anywhere Mommy, with Daddy, whose been around more. It absolutely bites.
I was with her in the shower the other day - something she loathes, (she can't stand the water getting in her eye and is constantly wiping her face) well she had also just woken up, & I asked my husband to grab her so I could bathe her while I was in the shower. As soon as her feet hit the tile her wails were bouncing off the walls, her cries of "DADDY!!" reached a serious fever pitch that caused my husband to walk back with a sad "awww baby. I'm sorry". And I was right there, trying to calm her - but to no avail. She wanted, needed and had to have Daddy. Mommy has been gone too much, and hasn't been there for almost every second of her days - which I'm about to change. No more working, no more anything, and when things are back to normal, I'll be sure and let you know. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ramonna's ring of your choice - GIVEAWAY

This Giveaway is CLOSED. Congratulations to Tabathia! #27

I have a thing for all things vintage. I can't get enough of antiquities, & have an affinity for the victorian era (mixed with some modern classic) So when I found Ramonna's jewelery store, I was transfixed. I loved what she had to offer.

Primiarily she deals with making rings, but they're gorgeous. When I contacted her, she sent me a ring to review, and it was beautiful - shaped in a diamond, with an orange stone, it fit perfectly, & went with everything in my closet.

It has a "white washed" feel to it, but it's definitely something that has become my favorite piece of jewelery. Ramonna is located in Oradea - in Europe, & has an eye for making creative pieces with originality and flair.
I was really impressed with what she creates, and she has agreed to give away a ring of the winners choice - and this is about the easiest giveaway I've had on my blog ever.

To Enter: All you have to do is go to Ramonna's etsy store and "heart" it (make it a favorite). It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Extra entries:
+1 Become a blog follower
+2 Email subscribe to "20 to Life!"
+3 Tell me exactly where Oradea is located in the world (other than "Europe")

This giveaway will run from 3.19.10 until 3.27.10, please leave separate comments for each entry, winner will be selected via Random.Org & emailed. They will then 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be drawn.

**Please note, I received no form of monetary compensation for my opinion/review. I did receive a product from the company in order to give a fair & balanced review and any opinion, statement etc. expressed in said review in solely my own & was in no way influenced by a third party.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Checking in.

Have you ever had one of those days when you get some really bad news and time slows to a crawl as you try to figure out where to go from here? I had one of these days yesterday, and am still at a loss as to how to overcome it. The thing is - I can't talk to anyone about it - lest I burden them with it, so it's pretty much a 'lone wolf' thing, which makes it worse. On top of that - my kids - ever perseptive - can sense theres something amiss, and the more I shine my fake smiles and words to make them feel encouraged, the more their brows furrow and they whisper among themselves. At least eventually I'll figure it out, but until I do - I might be even more absent from blogging as I have been. I've neglected my blog, for which I feel awful, but when I list my priorities, it just doesn't seem to rate that high - although I love doing it!

Also - a friend of mine was diagnosed with anorexia, so if anyone has any suggestions on how to help her - I would be grateful. She doesn't have an "image" problem, she just doesn't want to eat and when she does, feels sick and most times throws up. So if anyone knows how to combat this, please let me know so I can map what to do for her. And since so many of you favor emailing me personally instead of leaving comments - that's fine too. And thank you,. In advance.

On a brighter note - I was working with a friend of mine yesterday and we were using her mothers car (which she is very protective of) well my friend rolls down the window and we hear this awful screech sound, and she rolls her eyes and says "I hope nothing happens while I'm using this car. Cos that would be my luck for something to break - even though it's falling apart as it is - but I'll end up paying for it"
Literally 2 seconds later we hear a huge crunch! She had backed into a one of those huge trash cans, and all I could do was laugh at the irony of it. She throws me  a furious  look  and says "Don't.EVEN.say.another.word" It was great - luckily there was absolutely no damage, but damn if it wasn't funny!

So I will get to listing more giveaways sometime in the very near future - and I was given more awards (thank you ladies!) and will be accepting them as well. Bear with me, I have too much going on. ugh.

Seen as I always feel the urge to leave something at the end of my posts - I found this hilarious picture - although, it's somewhat "raunchy" so be warned. But funny as all heck. I laughed for a good ten minutes. So enjoy - I'll be back tonight, tomorrow or when I can with all those promises I made. xx

Monday, March 15, 2010

Soda Stream (valued approx. $100.00) GIVEAWAY

This Giveaway is CLOSED. Congratulations to Bethany! #1

I was so excited to bring this to you. I've discovered not many people know what a "soda stream" is, so let me enlighten you. When I was growing up in New Zealand, we had one of these and they're FANTASTIC!
Basically what they are is a machine (worth $100.00) and you take a bottle, fill it with water, place it in the machine, push the button that carbonates the water and then you add a flavor. So then you basically have a healthy soda. When I was given the opportunity to give one away - I naturally jumped on it.
The Soda Streams come in an array of colors & flavors.
I have one myself, my favorite flavor is ginger ale, but what I love most about these machines is that they're easy to whip up for your kids - for something different to drink. It literally takes about 2 minutes from start to finish. They also have energy drinks, diet flavors, regular flavors & sparkling water. The selection is endless and well worth it.
You also can purchase the accessories from Soda Stream for a killer price. These soda streams are definitely a must have in your home - and the sleek design makes it so they fit right in with any decor. I chose the red & silver one, and it looks great in my kitchen.
This is a product you really have to taste to appreciate, and trust me - it's definitely worth it.

As you all know I have Lupus, so I have to be careful with what I eat & drink, including "sweeteners" they contain something called Aspartame which is awful for your body. Most everything that is "low sugar" has aspartame in it, and I have to avoid it like the plague! Well these items don't contain it!!

"Regular flavors contain no high-fructose corn syrup, and diet flavors are sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener, not aspartame."

If I wasn't already sold on Soda Stream - that would be the clincher. These soda streams are high quality, taste great & remind me of a summer day with a bunch of kids hanging out at your house and looking for something to quench their thirst.
They sell over 25 flavors, and the ones I've tried so far - I've fallen in love with. My kids were so excited, they not only enjoyed helping me make them (it's easy for kids to operate too - another plus) they had a blast experimenting with different tastes, mixing and matching "(that was the only thing I stayed away from!) but it's something you want to add to your kitchen. On the Soda Stream website they have all the information you need for the nutrition aspect of the Soda Streams, they're also Kosher certified, recipies you can whip up, they have it all. They're also enviromentally friendly, they don't use plastic bottles, & I personally, think it's classier, & the way to go.

Calories Carbs Sugar Sodium Caffeine

Pepsi® 100 27g 27g 25mg 25mg

Coca-Cola® 100 27g 27g 35mg 23mg

SodaStream Cola 34 9g 9g 2mg 15mg

7-UP® 100 26g 26g 50mg 0mg

Sprite® 100 26g 26g 45mg 0mg

SodaStream Lemon Lime 36 9g 9g 25mg 0mg

All SodaStream regular sodamix uses a mixture of Splenda® and sugar. Diet flavors are sugar-free, sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener. Comparison is based on 8 fl. oz. serving size (0.34 fl. oz. of SodaStream sodamix per 8 fl. oz. of water).

And today, luckily someone can win one!

Win It
Soda Stream has graciously agreed to let me give away a  Fountain Jet Soda Lover's Start-Up Kit (approx. $100 retail value.) It includes the winner's choice of black/silver, white or red/silver Fountain Jet, CO2 to make over 100 liters of soda, 2 reusable carbonating bottles, a sample pack of flavors, and 3 full-sized flavors of the winner's choice!

Mandatory entry: In order to be eligible to enter this giveaway, you need to enter my "Hooks of Hope" giveaway.

Extra entries:
+1 Twitter follow Soda Stream
+1 Subscribe to "20 to Life"
+1 Facebook follow Soda Stream
+1 Become a blog follower of "20 to Life"
+1 Facebook fan "20 to Life!"
+2 Tweet about this giveaway (up to 2x daily)

WIN a SODA STREAM!! w/ @sodastreamusa & '20 to Life' Make your OWN healthy soda/sparkling water or diet @ home!

+1 What's the fourth letter of the title for this giveaway?

This giveaway will run from 3.15.10 until 3.31.10, please leave separate comments for each entry, winner will be selected via Random.Org & emailed. They will then 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be drawn.

**Please note, I received no form of monetary compensation for my opinion/review. I did receive a product from the company in order to give a fair & balanced review and any opinion, statement etc. expressed in said review in solely my own & was in no way influenced by a third party.

Good Luck!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

vegas baby!

ok, so I had these posts set up in advance while I was doing the Sin city thing, but I COULD NOT resist posting this. This just reminds me of clubbing. While we're on the subject - the chick in this video has the EXACT shoes I have. As well as swim suit. funny eh? And to the NZers. Yes - it IS as sweet as they say. Toni - you, me, Vegas & watch the sun come up. I love you chica. :)
p.s I'm listing a killer giveaway tomorrow. tres chic.

Friday, March 12, 2010

my post yourself replies & happy FF!

Happy FF, if I don't get back to you anytime soon, forgive me - I will eventually, I just have alot of 'real life' things going on, but I'll get there.

Does anyone else hate Blogger as much as me? It took me FOUR attempts to post ONE giveaway - I was cussing up a storm, & eventually had to calm myself down, cajole the bloody thing with sweet talk & baby the hell out of it. I was less than impressed.
I also had to visit the doctor today - only to find out my doctor was out of town, & I was given his subsitute. Happy camper I was not, I then had to recount my entire medical history, (with dates. DATES!! Who remembers dates of when they last had a pap smear check!) Only to have him eventually tell me to come back on Monday when my doctor was back in town. Good freaking grief.

I also promised another fellow blogger - who weirdly asked to remain anonymous (??) that I would finish up with my end of the "Post Yourself" bargain in which you post 5 things about yourself, but the questions are given to you by someone else. I would have thought that this kind of thing was meant to be a 'link back to the blogger who gave me my questions' but he has asked to remain within his anonimity. So be it.
Here were my questions - keep in mind. I DID NOT CHOOSE THESE.

1: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go - and with whom?
2: You're on a desert island with Bill Gates, Edward Norton & Ellen Degeneras. Who do you kill, who do you send for help and who do you shack up with. (ick.)
3: If you could have one super power - what would it be?
4: Favorite item of clothing
5: If you could chose an alternate life - what would it be.

*deep breath*

Here goes ...

1: New Zealand, no question. With no arrest warrent out for me (long story) & with Katie. ;)

2: ummm. I'd send Ellen Degeneras for help - she's not much good with anything else - but I guess I wouldn't want to kill her. I'd kill Bill Gates (I spend waaay too much time on the computer, and that's partly your fault Bill. Sorry.) And of course shack up with Edward Norton.

3: I'd probably want to fly. That or be invisible ... no. I'd rather fly.

4: Distressed Sliver jeans with the holes in them. No contest.

5: I'd want to backpack and stay in hostels around the world.

And there you have it. I'm a murderer who can fly to New Zealand, wearing my silvers, while shacking up with Norton. What a life. I'm not sure if I nominate someone else now - I'll have to check, but if so - *looks at Half Crazy Mommie* you're it.

I also have to mention an award I got, but have yet to claim, from Lady Bug Mama, but I'll do that when it isn't almost 12, & I didn't have a trillion things to get done tomorrow - including working. again. BUT! I'll also be going to Vegas - so that just makes my whole week. Wait - year. Makes my whole year.

I wasn't going to but I was asked to please leave one more video before going to Vegas - so k. It's weird, in fact I wouldn't even watch it - just listen to it, it's much safer. But it's beautiful, haunting, all that Tori Amos is anyway & has Adrien Brody in it. Not too shabby. I used to listen to this at least 40 times a day. Enjoy. xx

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hooks of Hope 'chocolate covered cherries' GIVEAWAY!

This giveaway is CLOSED. Congratulations to tracyo comment number #4

Hooks of Hope is an adorable store on etsy - but this one, I found to be really different. Kati (& Lynda) own and operate the company, and what they make are what they call "Hooks", essentially wash cloths, blankets, & bags, all hand-made & all crocheted. I found them to be of a high standard & made to last. 

What Kati sent me to review was a set of cloths for either the bath or the kitchen (I opted for the kitchen) & the set was called "Chocolate Covered Cherries, mini deluxe". A mini set means there are three, instead of five. I've always had a 'thing' about dishcloths, I find them disgusting. I always wonder how many germs and bacteria are swarming my dishcloth, and therefore my counter, since that's what they're used for. With Kati's hooks, they're machine washable - definitely a plus, they come in fantastic colors - and another service that Kati offers is if you can't quite see the color that will match your kitchen or bathroom - or whatever you have in mind, she can customize some to your style & taste.

Hooks of Hope have a selection of different 'hooks', baby blankets, dish/wash cloths, bags and even scarves. They're crocheted & are to a high standard. But another reason I fell in love with Hooks of Hope was the fact that Kati & Lynda give 15% of ALL proceeds toward a charitable organization. This year it happens to be "Post Partum Depression" & as a mother, I think quite highly of their choice. What amazes me is the selflessness that comes with what they do. There's an obvious passion to their craft & just the fact that they give to various charities is humbling.

I, naturally wanted some insight into why they do what they do - and here's what Kati had to say:
How did you come up with the concept of Hooks of Hope? Around this time last year, my mom and I were busily preparing for our shops grand debut on Etsy. It all came about because mom and I had this grand idea that we could use our crocheting "habit" to do something great. Why not crochet, make a little money to cover our costs, and donate the rest to charity? And that's exactly what we've done. We chose to name our shop "Hooks of Hope" because we like to think that each of our "hooks" (aka crocheted items) give the gift of hope with every purpose to someone who benefits from the money we donate to charity.

How do you decide which charity you'll donate to? The charity we are currently donating to is Postpartum Support International. We chose this charity because it provides assistance to women going through postpartum depression...a condition that I myself struggled with after the birth of my first son. Hopefully, with even the small amount we are able to give we are able to "give hope" to at least one person struggling through this very difficult condition.

In May we will be choosing a new charity to donate to for the following year. We are hoping that our Facebook and Twitter Followers will help us decide which charity to choose this year and will begin providing them with choices to choose from next month.

Do you have any personal experience with any of the charities you've featured? Yes, I struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of my first son. Luckily, I was able to recognize the symptoms right away and get the help I needed to overcome it. Postpartum Support International is great in that it helps those who may not recognize the symptoms right away know what they are and provides resources to make getting help a much easier process.

How do you come up with the ideas for the products you make?
Coming up with product ideas is probably my favorite part of running Hooks of Hope! I love looking at different color combination's and imagining what they may look like together in a scarf, handy hook set, or blanket. I try to keep myself inspired by as many things as possible when in the "development" phase. Usually, inspiration comes from places you wouldn't typically associate with crocheting. Web page colors, clothing sets, and even booklets I use in my dietetic internship have inspired my color combinations. My boys are also big inspirations and sometimes even help my pick the colors to use.

How long does it take you to finish say - a set of dishcloths? totally depends on what else is going on in my life! TYPICALLY, a set of dishcloths takes me 2-3 days. A scarf takes about a week while a blanket takes more like a month or more. Usually I have multiple projects going on at the same time which changes the overall production time for each. I do accept custom order requests and those I work hard on to finish as fast as possible so that my customer isn't waiting around too long for their order to arrive. I know that when I order something online I want it so much faster than I typically get it. I try to be conscious of that when working on custom hooks.

I'm absolutely impressed with the generous nature of Kati & her mother, and love that they give so much back!

Win It
Hooks of Hope are offering one reader a set of the Chocolate Covered Cherries mini deluxe (the same one I received - they're beautiful) dish/wash cloths!

Mandatory entry: To be eligible to enter, leave a comment stating a worthy charity or cause you think would benefit from Hooks of Hope.

Extra entries:
+1 Take a look around Hooks of Hope & leave a comment with some items you thought were adorable!
+1 Follow this blog
+3 Tweet about this giveaway (2x daily)

Win w/ @HooksofHope & 20 to Life a set of choc. covered cherry dish or wash cloths!

This giveaway will run from 3.11.10 until 3.18.10, please leave separate comments for each entry, winner will be selected via Random.Org & emailed. They will then 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be drawn.

**Please note, I received no form of monetary compensation for my opinion/review. I did receive a product from the company in order to give a fair & balanced review and any opinion, statement etc. expressed in said review in solely my own & was in no way influenced by a third party.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday + words ...?

I might as well post my Wordless Wednesday now, while I have time - then I'm going to post about my super terrific day, sort of a two-for-one thing. First the pics - all I'm going to say is "I FIT IT!.. and it's kinda big" then start a round of applause.

the pictures are horrid, but the point was for the dress. which i fit. My mother is going to bitch & moan say something about being able to see (a bloody sliver) of my tattoo - so let me add, for her benefit,  I had no idea you could see it. No, it isn't becoming. And of course I don't want about 5 more in various spots. ;)
- also the first one was my son making me laugh (& I was trying not to wake everyone up with my hyiena-like laugh) :D

Ok, so onto my random post - Tammy. (As in Tammy from Tammy Two Cents) You completely made my night - keep reading, and do let me know.
It rained here and flooded our new grass, so my poor boys were out most the day digging a trench to deter the water, although as bad as I felt - I sure wasn't going out in that. The 2 year old is slowly becoming human again - her fever has passed, she's on the high side - but loves to all of you who sent me something like 53 emails wishing her well. Thank you.

Also - am I the only one who's dying to see Alice in Wonderland? Everyone I mention this to gives me a "look" while nodding "Oh, yes. I'd like to see it too" in that tone reserved for old people and children. Helena Bonham Carter - how could you not love her?

Ok, I'm done filling you in on random nothingness. Have a great day, let me know if you have a WW up so I can come by & snoop, & other than the grass being flooded - good thoughts that it keeps raining. I love rain. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Babycakes & Lollipop - your choice - GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is CLOSED. Congratulations to Merrie L, #15!

Finally I get enough time to get on and list another giveaway - and this one is adorable! I was lucky enough to find it as I wandered through etsy as I sometimes do, and Maria was kind enough to agree to do this with me.

Maria of Babycake & Lollipop makes wash-cloth creations that look like lollipops & cupcakes. She's also expanded to ice-cream cones, but what amazed me was how creative and authentic looking her pieces are. She kindly sent me a Lollipop to review, and it's gorgeous - it came on a stick, the "lollipop" is wrapped with tulle material, which was really effective - and it has a card on it, these are perfect for baby shower gift - or any gift for an expectant mom - or mother - I love them.

My daughter is 2, and I still use the soft baby cloths on her for her skin, so for me - it was a great review.
My 7 year old was literally drooling when she saw it - in fact she asked me if she could be the one to "try the sucker?" Naturally, I passed it to her and it wasn't until she sniffed it that she figured something was up. Maria is that skillful with her work.

Her cupcakes look delicious as well, and they come in singles, or she has packages, complete with a box that makes them look like they're being delivered from a bakery, they're adorable. Maria takes obvious pride in what she makes, and everything looks fantastic.

My favorite, personally, are the lollipops, complete with a stick they look real, cute and would be something unique to give someone. As well as the lollipops & cupcakes and ice-cream cones (oh my) she has a selection of onesies to offer.

Babycake & Lollipop has a large selection of both girls and boys as well as unisex, in the lollipops, cupcakes and she's recently come up with her newest creation of ice-cream cones, which look to be to the hugh standard the rest of her items are!

I asked Maria some questions about her pieces and Babycake & Lollipops - and heres what she had to say -

I started out by making my own diaper cake aka babycakes for my baby shower and then other family members saw how cute they were and new babies were born in the family and they asked me if I would make cakes for them. They told me how good I was and I should start selling my creations. I then found the cute washcloth lollipops to add to cakes and then it started! I was hooked. I thought of my name by what I sell babycake & lollipop. I find it enjoyable to be able to spend time with my child and have a little business. I like to fill all my orders the day I receive them and ship out the following day. The most rewarding is that I create all my items myself and I get to share it with so many other friends and new moms. Since becoming a mom I have to say I never leave home without baby bottles and my daughter we are always together!

I love how she mentions how she's able to spend time with her daughter while working. So - want one?

Babycake & Lollipops have offered one of my readers a chance to win either a Lollipop on a stick, or a washcloth Babycake (single)- your choice, of any that Maria has listed in her great store!

Mandartory entry: In order to be eligible to win, you have to first go to Marias store - Babycake & Lollipop & leave a comment with your favorite item.

Extra entries:
+1 Become an email subscriber to "20 to Life"
+1 Facebook fan Babycake & Lollipop
+1 Become a follower of "20 to Life"
+1 What color is the ribbon that ties the Ice-Cream cone? (beginning of the review) 
+3 Tweet about this giveaway (2x daily)

WIN a washcloth cupcake or lollipop from Babycake & Lollipop & '20 to Life'!

This giveaway will run from 3.09.10 until 3.19.10, please leave separate comments for each entry, winner will be selected via Random.Org  & emailed. They will then 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be drawn.

**Please note, I received no form of monetary compensation for my opinion/review. I did receive a product from the company in order to give a fair & balanced review and any opinion, statement etc. expressed in said review in solely my own & was in no way influenced by a third party.

Good Luck!

Monday, March 8, 2010

playing catch-up

I'm forever behind whenever I post. Hopelessly. Endlessly. Including with my children. The following was taken from a conversation between me and my 8 year old, this morning. Around 0900 hours.

Me: Whose mess is on the bench?
8Yrold: Not mine. Hers *points*
Me: Well "hers" is sick. So can you clean it up for me?
8Yrold: *dramatic sigh* Sure Mom.
Me: Thank you baby *kiss*
8Yrold thinking 'Me' is out of earshot: ('Me' will be played in high pitched falsetto voice too) Can you clean it up for me? "sure mom, I always have to clean everyone elses crap up. Want me to do your housework too? Cos you aren't doing it."

My 8 year old knows I'm behind in the housework too? 8 year olds are all about mess n disater, so if she's noticing. Then this place must look like a tsunami hit. So my day will consist of dealing with a sick girl thinking she's super DUPER well and running around and trying to convince her she's not, and to take it easy, having all the kids home for Spring Break (oh.JOY) C-L_E-A-N-I-N-G, and helping a friend out with paperwork (dramatic sigh myself).
back to the grind, will post a fabulous something later on when I force my kids into the exile that is their bedrooms so I don't lose my mind entirely.
ALSO!! A great tip for fevering babies that I completely forgot about - Vinegar! Preferably Apple Vinegar, from what I've heard, but this in a bowl of luke warm water, then take a facecloth and wipe your small heater down. It works marvellously, & is an easy way to break a fever or being it down. Trust me on this, I've used this for every kid, (when I remember too) & it works everytime. It's also supposed to feed the skin so they don't dehydrate - BUT that's if they have water intake as well. So I'm not sure how much that part is true, but the rest. Voodoo Magic Baby. ;)

instead of youtube today, here's my beautiful, if precocious 8 year old. :)

looking way older than she should. ugh.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

award accolades, sickness & some beautiful tunage.

You'll forgive me if I sound grouchy, ticked, tired and 'Mom-like'. I've been up for a few nights with my 2 year old who has developed a case of "death-bed sick" during the night, "runs around normal" during the day. Typical kid sickness stuff, but man - it sure is beating the crap outta me. And coupled with my mother's sticking her damn nose in "advice", it's just been one hell of a week.

I have numerous people to thank - and really am grateful for every single person who thinks to bestow any kind of award on me. I have four people who need accolades from me, links posted & general kudos-ness.
The first - in no particular order - is from "The Practical Mom Guide" who graced me with the SUNSHINE AWARD. Thank you - & a great blog site, should you feel the need to check out how to save money, live frugally - all that jazz. Then a muchos gracias goes out to Valerie, who gave me the "BOGART AWARD" - my first. :D
Jana from (love her name!!) Boobies, Babies & a Blog gave me my very own, much coveted "ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD" (yussssss... much love Jana) & finally the very suave site of Adoption Of Jane gave me something. But has hidden it - as I can't find it, lol. No surprise there, I'm always losing things.

In order for me to accept these awards I have to do a bunch of stuff - and nominate a bunch of people, and only due to time & a coughing baby is why I'm skipping this step (I will get back to it. Just not today.)
But a big thank you, lots of hugs and a smattering of kisses to the ladies who run these blogs & considered me worthy - I'm humbled :D

Um, I have some really cool giveaways coming up, which I have to start Monday as I've gotten those angry "Where the heck ARE you" emails (mike) so I'll do my thing, impress the hell out of you all and get back on here, of course I'm going to leave you with a youtube cos that's how I roll :D

Today felt very '9 Crimes', (and if anyone knows what tv show this featured when a main character was shot - she was deaf and Stanleys sister which just gave it away, I swear. I'll worship you just for being sunglasses cool.) and I recently sent this to a friend, & it's finally managed to calm me down, so enjoy. I'll see you tomorrow - I'm out.

this is my favorite version of this song, for the first time ever. Damien Rice - 9 Crimes, LIVE from ABBEY ROAD! I seriously have a thing for guys with accents .... english/irish HAS to be the very best. kills me.

Danny the Dragon "Meets Jimmy", by TINA TURBIN - REVIEW

If you haven't heard of this children's author, mother and advocate, Tina Turbin, most likely you soon will. Tina wrote her first book at 16, it wasn't published, but it showed she had an obvious passion, and that has bought her (or us) to 'Danny the Dragon, "meets Jimmy", an absolutely lovely children's book about a little boy finding a new friend, (who comes along with his very own navigator - Skipper). Danny has great manners, and this book has small points on how to "help out", for example after dinner, Danny points out to Jimmie, and his sister Sally, that they should "clear ... and help with the dishes" I loved that fact, and originally I thought my 2 year old was going to be the one who would read, and adore Danny & Jimmie, but my 7 year old, who has recently discovered a love for books, has laid claim to it! When I went to write this interview, I had to hunt G - who was reading aloud to herself :D - down to retrieve the book with a solemn promise to return it. Although the book stars a "boy" characters as the main ones, I found this story to be for a girl or boy - usually with boy orintated characters, they're directed more toward boys, & vice versa with girls.
                           Not so with this book.
What I especially liked about Danny the Dragon "meets Jimmy" was the way Tina wrote it. She has clear, efficent way of writing that makes it easy for younger children to understand, while able to entertain older kids too. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the books colorful illustrations! Aija Jasuna is the books illustrator, and she has done a beautiful job of capturing the heart and essence of Danny and Jimmy, and all the cast of this story. Bright, interesting, there's always something to look at, and combined with Tina's wonderful writing, this makes for a fantastic read (or three times at bed-time) for both Mom & child.

Tina herself is amazing! She works tirelessly on behalf  of children & their families, helping reputable organizations dedicated to children's literature, education, celiac disease, allergies & gluten-free issues (her blog had some great tips and interesting facts about living and being gluten-free) Tina is passionate about raising awareness on these issues & supports these causes fiercely. She also writes based on her own expertise to a variety of weekly publications, radio shows and web sites.
It's interesting to note she still has the time to write a fabulous children's book on top of all that!

Danny the Dragon ends with a promise of another adventure, which I hope goes in the direction of finding where Danny and Skipper came from, how they're able to fit and travel in their tiny sea shell and what they'll do next!
I asked my seven year old for her opinion on the story, and here's what she had to say :

"I want a Danny the Dragon necklace like he wears in the book. And I like, the best part is when he comes out of his shell with his big feet (laughs) I bet Skipper was smooshed to the side of the shell the whole time (laughs more)
 Are you done with my book yet?"

It has her seal of approval, so I'm so pleased I received this book. It comes out in stores on  April

On top of that Tina's new book came with a DVD, that has Carol Downing of the Montessori School for the Deaf, translating the entire story with sign language, while Janis Welch is reading aloud. It's just like reading the book, and I can't help but be incredibly impressed with Tina (& those who work with her) for their efforts in raising awareness. There are some starling facts preceding the story, & it makes me sad to think I had no idea about how little resources are available to a child (or adult) has who is born deaf.

I was also given the opportunity to review the audio book CD that came with both these (trust me - it absolutely made my day when all these arrived.) The CD is amazing, comprised of various compositions, created by talented artists. Track 1 is Janis Welch reading the story (Tina answers later why Janis is reading the story) then there are 10 other tracks featuring composed musical genuis! It's the perfect accompaniment to any bed-time routine, and I tried this out a few nights ago with my 2 year old. I had to sit in her room with her because she kept looking around trying to find who was speaking, but she only got as far as Track 3 before she was out! (Track 9, 'Touching the Sky', by Lisa Miller was my favorite)
Another versaile option with the CD (which is in stores April) is the fact that you can take it with you when you travel. We have a trip planned in March, and I'll be packing this as a way to transition that much easier to a hotel room for my kids. Especially since G has incorprated this story as her read-it-three-times. Skipping pages doesn't count. (When did she become so grown up that she noticed me doing that??)
This cd is well written, beautifully pieced together & something that my 2 year old adores, so it works for me.

Tina was nice enough to answer some questions I had sent to her personal assistant, and she has a genuine feel to her, which I liked. Here's what she had to say (as a side note, anything mentioned in this interview or review, the links can be found at the bottom of this page.)

How did you get back into writing after your first children’s story at 16? I was always very imaginative and into the Arts from as far back I can recall but I wrote my first children’s story at age 16. I had made a decision when I saw on my first-born child, that I wanted to set aside my personal goals like writing. I found being a mom so wonderful, satisfying and fun. I soon had three children, we loved to read and play games with books and ideas were rolling around in my little head. I always knew that as they got older I would someday get back into writing again. When the time came I just started creating my characters, how they looked and knew their exact personality. This really sums it up.

What was your inspiration for Danny the Dragon, & Skipper?
I am loaded with ideas and various things in life helped me from my ideas for the stories as well as the characters.

What is Skipper? Some say he is a frog, some say he is a polliwog and even some kids say he is a lizard. I allow the kids to imagine what they want him to be.

How did you become involved with Gluten-free issues, and Celia disease?
I went for many years not being able to find out what was wrong with my body and went to many doctors. I then resorted to searching for my own answers, like many undiagnosed celiacs do. I came upon this unknown subject called Celiac and gluten and the lights went ON. I presented this topic to my doctor and asked for the proper test. I FINALY had the test I had needed and there is my story in a very short version. I soon learned more such as the many adverse effects that gluten produces in many children and adult bodies- and even animals! One in every 120-130 people have this disease, which means about 2.35-2.85 Americans to this date have not yet been diagnosed. It takes an average of 4-10 years (depending on who your reference) to be properly diagnosed and in the meantime other autoimmune diseases can begin and a whole mess evolves. People find out about celiac or gluten intolerance, start researching it themselves, and bring the topic up to their doctors as I did, after many years of tests and troubles to no resolution. In addition, many kids with autism are taken off gluten for a very good reason. With all this knowledge, I feel the need to help to raise awareness.

On your audio book, "Dreams" (which has Danny the Dragon story, and then is followed by 10 classical pieces) why did you choose someone else to read your story? (It is read by Janis Welch)
She does this for as living as a voice over actor and I loved her gentle soothing voice for the audio book. I auditioned about 30 people.

What's your favorite part about meeting your fans when you do school interviews? The kid’s smiles, big eyes and love of the characters. All their very intelligent questions as well.

What has been the biggest blessing that Danny the Dragon, Skipper and Jimmy (& family) have bought into your live?
The satisfaction I set out to do my writing and I am doing it. It is a lot of work, believe me. 

Tinas book and CD will hit stores in April, & I'd grab a copy before they're gone. This book will be treasured by your kids - or someone elses' if you choose to pass it on as a gift. I have at least three people who I'll be buying a copy for, Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy is a great addition to any child's book shelf.
I want to thank Tina for her time and effort in raising awareness, advocating for so many worthy causes, and getting my daughter to sleep. And also a big thank you to those working with her, aiming for the same goal.

Here are the links to Tina's website, Danny the Dragon, and other reputable organizations that Tina aligns herself with.

Danny the Dragon:

Tina Turbin:

Tina's Gluten Free info site:




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