February 27, 2009

To Do

As you know, I now have a lot of well-needed and overdue free time. And this morning I got a chance to do something that I've wanted to do for almost a year - spent some time with daughter at school -- (I know you thought I got to sleep in or go to the spa or something exciting - but this was a great accomplishment for me).

Daughter's school has a web-cam so I can peak in on her at any time of the day. I love this amenity and I quite often log-in during the day...you know...just to check in. Anyway, over the past 2 months or so I found that I wasn't even able to do that so one of the first things that I decided to do was spend a little time in class with her.

Her teachers were very welcoming and comfortable with me being there but I was a distraction to daughter and her classmates - they are not accustomed having a parent in the classroom beyond 9:00 a.m. So, I watched them eat, I danced, and did circle time and learned about fruit and shapes and colors and emotions, and I sat with them as they made fruit salad. It was fun -- but quite exhaisting and I only spent a little over one hour. Yes...I said one hour!!! Their hour was jammed-packed with activities so I can only imagine what else they do during the day.

I was so happy that I was able to see her interact with her teachers and her classmates and I was even more thrilled to see how much she's learning at school. I must say that I have a greater appreciation for her teachers because I know I couldn't do what they did for even 15 minutes.

So, I can check one thing off my list. Eventually I'll get to the bottom of the list ("Find a job") but for now, I'm taking my time getting through all the things that I've wanted to do for the past few years -- okay, maybe months.

Now..on to deep cleaning my house!

Yeah, it's Friday. So What?

It's Friday. And usually I am looking forward to the weekend to catch up on life (i.e. laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, etc.), but today I just feel beat. The madness will begin today at 3:30pm when I will leave work early to go see Chatterbox and Giggles perform in the Black History Month program at their school. After that I'll need to swing by the grocery to pick up something to bring to Chatterbox's dance recital tomorrow morning (at 9am).

Saturday, after Chatterbox's recital, we'll head to Giggle's ballet class, and to return library books which are due tomorrow. If I'm we're lucky the girls will take a nap before it's time for our afternoon with Giggles' Godmother. We're going to see a children's show and then to dinner. Already as it is, I will be missing a meeting for my mother's group fundraiser tomorrow evening. But something had to give.

Sunday will be here in no time and we'll have the usual chaos that attends getting to and from church. Then we'll need to go to the party store to purchase party stuff for Giggle's school birthday party (on Thursday) and her home birthday party (on Saturday). I'll have to do that stuff this weekend since I don't have time to run errands during the week after work - especially since I drive to work anymore.

Throw in a(nother) run to the grocery to shop for the week and that'll be my weekend in a nutshell. Boy, I can't wait until Monday so that I can come to work and get some rest.

Hope your weekend is more relaxing than mine!

February 26, 2009

Taking the Plunge

Ok, I've been stalling...but since I have run out of reasons to keep stalling, it's time for me to let the world know that I've started a new blog! It's called Just Fergie, and is aptly named because, well, it's just me. I'm still very much blogging at MamaLaw so nothing's changed on that front - I just have a little corner of the web all to myself over at there. Call it my vacation home. Only without a beach or plantation shutters. So consider yourself invited! I hope you'll come and visit me every now and then.

Oh, and here's the code for my button in case you want to help me spread the word:

February 25, 2009

Love it! Thursdays: Product Review: General Mills Lucky Charms!

"I want my rainbow cereal today, Mommy!"

Nothing like having your kids excited about eating. My kids have each developed their own taste buds for this or for that. In the morning I don't always have time to make 2-3 different meals for everyone.

Some days, I don't mind making eggs for Oldest and waffles with sausage for Little B & Daughter. (Okay, I do mind, but I rather pop some waffles in the toaster instead of hearing whining and complaining about eggs).

One thing I know will make everyone happy is Lucky Charms cereal, or "rainbow cereal" as Daughter calls it. Getting to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast is like a treat for them. What the kids don't know is that Lucky Charms is a nutritious breakfast options a kid can eat! Most cereals by General Mills have about 100 – 130 calories per serving and provide at least 10 key nutrients. And,

We always try to incorporate whole grain products into our family diet (brown rice, whole grain pasta, bread, etc.). Made with whole grain, Lucky Charms is fortified with 12 vitamins and minerals, and is a good source of calcium. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics recently doubled the vitamin D recommendation for children, I need to do all that I can to incorporate more vitamin D into the kids' diets. Approximately 75% of kids today don’t get the recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D -- two key nutrients for bone growth. My kids are not big milk drinkers (gasp!) even though I try, try, try to get them to drink it. What I have to do is try to give them other sources of vitamin D and calcium and what better way than to give them some Lucky Charms? The good thing is that all General Mills Big G kid cereals (including Kix, Lucky Charms, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and more) offer a good source of BOTH calcium and vitamin D in each serving. How easy is that?

A recent report in a leading consumer magazine ranked kid cereals by nutritional content, and all nine General Mills Big G kid cereals included in the report were ranked in the top half. All Big G kid cereals have at least eight grams of whole grain per serving (at least 48 grams are recommended daily), and all have 12 grams or less of sugar per serving. Fantastic!

So for those busy mornings, or when I want to give the kids a "treat," its all about one of General Mills Big G kid cereals. Our family favorite - Lucky Charms.

February 24, 2009

I'm out!

I got my pink slip yesterday. Whew!!!!! In these troubled times I should be worried, but I am not. In fact, all I could think about was getting a chance to really clean my house and finally spend some good time with my daughter.

For the last year or so I've been so stressed out because of work and I have been really hard on myself because I feel like I don't spend enough time with my daughter - it's so ridiculous that I rush rush rush in the morning and many days I start my day off screaming at her because she's not moving as quickly as I need her to. I don't have time to talk to her teachers to see how she's doing; I definitely don't have time to stop in and visit with the folks at her school. I see her for about 2-3 hours a days (morning and evening combined) and recently I've really felt like this just isn't right. About 3 weeks ago I decided that I needed another job - even if that meant a pay cut - because the role that I was playing just wasn't working out for me. I started looking and putting my feelers out and yesterday they must have gotten hip to my game and terminated my employment first.

So, here I am and I feel FREE!!!!!! I woke up a few minutes later than I usually do and I played with my daughter this morning - played?!?!? Can you imagine????? I got her ready for school and I am now relaxing. This is a blessing - it's actually not even in disguise because I was terribly unhappy for a while. I will find another job and one that will fit - not just professionally, but personally.

Lesson here - everything happens for a reason!

February 22, 2009

Thirteen Minutes Before I'm Cut Off

I've been sitting here at Panera for several hours, catching up on emails, work, blogging, Facebook (okay, not really FB see below), and some much needed me time. My battery now has 11 minutes of juice left before my laptop dies. This means that in 11 minutes my me time will probably have to end because I have accomplished all that I wanted to and really, there's nothing pressing that I have to do.

Today the weather was really beautiful and I took the entire day for myself. It was this or else I wouldn't even want to be around me. I really enjoyed my me time. Much needed. We all need it, but we never take it, or at least not enough.

I've been sitting here people watching and working. I've seen all kinds of people. Students studying, doing group work, hanging out, whatever. Folks catching a quick bite to eat or taking a break from shopping. I also saw many couples and families come and go. I watched as a young mom worryied over her young infant that looked a few weeks old. You could tell nothing else mattered to her except for making sure her baby's milk was warm. She made me think back to my family when we were just three. As a new mom you worry about everything. You are so caught up in the moment. Life seemed so hard, but in hindsight, I can't help thinking how easy just having one child was. A family of five is really hard. Paying for tuition times three is really hard. Getting us all ready for church is really hard. Making sure the (one) baby had a good burp before I put him back in his infant carrier, not so hard. Hoping my food isn't cold when I finally could eat, not so hard.

As I saw bigger families come and go, I couldn't help but chuckle. Either things went smooth or they didn't. You know how it goes. Made me wonder about what my kids were doing at home. Whether the kids were giving Hubby a run for his money, what they ate for lunch, what he planned on doing for dinner (whether he would call me to ask me what the plan was for dinner), how today would have been a great day to go fishing. I started to feel guilty, for a moment. Shouldn't I be home, taking part in the beautiful day with my family? Probably. Maybe? Maybe not? No, I wasn't going home.

But that time is over, I'm down to my last few seconds. My battery light is flashing.....BYE!

February 18, 2009

Peer Pressure Is An Ugly Thing...

I caved. I finally joined FB. Seven weeks ago "FB" was not a part of my shorthand lingo. But now I'm in. It sucked me in. The night I caved, I was on it for hours. Finding old friends, looking at pictures of what people have done since high school, tagging people on pictures. The works. Every time I had a friend request I was so psyched. Yay, another friend! Who is it now? I had friend requests from friends that I was certain hadn't given me a second thought since the 90s. It was all exciting.

How did it happen? It's all my brother's fault. I went to visit him and my sis-in-law for the holidays and they were "kind" enough to sit me down and give me a personal demonstration of FB. They showed how to tag people, how to send personal messages, chatting, all of it. Then I saw pictures of friends and family members that I thought I kept in good contact with. Nope. I missed all the baby pictures, all the work news, relationship news, doggy pictures, new house pics. Even my 60 something year old uncle was on it! That was it for me. I wasn't going to miss any more baby first steps, dogs dressed as Florida Gators, or kids making snowmen. (The Gators are the best football team out there, BTW.)

Now I can add one more thing of "quick things to do before I go to bed" list. I take a quick look at FB. But not without feeling guilty. I know that if I log on, I'll be sitting at my computer for a good minute. Between checking email, checking in on blogs, and FB, I can stay up pretty late. If I bring the laptop to bed I can just feel Hubby rolling his eyes at me. (He hates the laptop in bed.)

So now here I am, I just finished chatting live with a cousin that I probably would have not spoken to until next Christmas and a girlfriend that I don't really stay in contact with much. My cousin broke up with his girlfriend and my friend is 13 weeks preggers. Do you see all the stuff I would have missed out on?! Madness!

February 16, 2009

Michelle Obama Frugal?

I don't know how many of you saw Inside Edition tonight, but they called Michelle Obama "frugal."

The segment focused on how the Obama's went to Chicago to spend a relaxing weekend at home for the first time since they moved to the WH. President Obama took Mrs. Obama to Table 52 Restaurant for Valentine's day during their visit. The restaurant, which by the way is owned by Oprah's personal chef, is considered one of Chicago's finest restaurants. The reporter summarized what the Obama's ordered for dinner. Then they showed Mrs. Obama walking out of the restaurant holding a small brown paper bag. The newscaster finished the segment by saying, "As they exited the restaurant, frugal Michelle appeared to be carrying what looked like a doggy bag full of leftovers."

I didn't realize that not wasting food was considered frugal. They made it sound like such a dirty word.

Home Depot DREAM Giftcard Giveaway!

Here it is ladies - the perfect justification to your husband as why you "spend so much time on the doggone computer, blogging with people you don't even know" (or is it just my hubby that gives me a hard time?) Trust me, the man in your life will surely think that all your hours on the Web are totally worth it once you tell him you've won a $50 gift card to The Home Depot! Why, it's Christmas in February.

Through February 28, The Home Depot is offering a commemorative “Dream” gift card celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When shoppers purchase the collector’s edition “Dream” gift card, The Home Depot will donate 5% of all sales to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, up to $1 million dollars. The donation will assist in the building of a permanent exhibition home for his personal writings and papers. How amazing is that?

About the King Papers: The collection of original documents by Dr. King includes more than 10,000 items, among them 7,000 handwritten notes spanning from 1946 to 1968. They include drafts of his "I Have a Dream" speech, his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," other theological writings and his Nobel Peace Prize addresses. The King Papers will be part of the exhibition offering of The Center for Civil and Human Rights. The Dream cards can be purchased at any store, or online.

I have to say that I am impressed with The Home Depot - not only with their commitment to Black History, but also with their willingness to be so generous with their donations during this time of economic crisis. For your chance to win, just leave us a comment telling us what you would do with a $50 gift card to "The Depot" (as my hubby calls it - we're there entirely too often). For extra entries you can (1) Tweet or Facebook this giveaway and/or (2) blog about it. Just make sure to come back and let us know that you've done so. Good luck!

Giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, February 23, 2009.

February 15, 2009

Michelle Obama on Finding your way

I am constantly searching for ways to achieve work-life balance and sometimes I wonder whether it’s just me or is every woman around me feeling the same way. Here’s an excerpt from a speech made by Michelle Obama at Howard University that is very comforting:

"In your struggle to figure these things out as women, as professionals, that you have to do what's right for you at any given time, and that's going to change--from week to week, from month to month, from year to year."

She said it was important for women "to be true to yourselves, not to worry too much about what other people are going to think or make of your choices, because everyone will question what you do and tell you you should've done it the other way."

She said that she had dealt with the issue her whole life, "trying to figure out how to juggle work-family balance in the process of getting an education. There isn't a day that goes by, particularly after having kids, that I don't wonder or worry about whether I'm doing the right thing for myself, for my family, for my girls."

Mrs. Obama said priorities will change, as life changes, as people grow older, as they change jobs and their families grow. "The person I was when I was in college is very different than the person that I am today. That person is very different than the person who was single.....I was different when I was married. I was different when I was married with kids. I was different when I was married with kids in certain types of jobs. And every step of the way, I wondered whether I was doing the right thing."

"Salma Hayek Breastfeeds African Baby"

Talk about a headline that grabs your attention. I first heard about this story on a radio show and then, of course, immediately googled the headline as soon as I could get my hands on a computer. The backstory is that Salma (I can call her that since we're such close and personal friends) was on a Goodwill trip to Sierra Leone and Nightline was along for the ride to document her trip. While on the trip, she met a mother whose milk had dried up and who was unable to feed her hungry newborn baby. So...Salma nursed the baby herself.

Continue reading...

February 13, 2009

Any Ideas for Valentine's Day?

As far as I know, I have no plans for V-day. You? I have been trying to come up with something that's a little different this year, rather than the usual nice dinner out. I always love a good meal, but I'm in the mood to try something a little more creative this year so I've been racking my brain trying to think of something fun and romantic to do.

One year I decorated my bedroom to look almost like a bed and breakfast. I put streamers at the door, had heart garland hanging over my bed, candles every where, chocolate kisses, roses, ordered food in, etc.

I surprised hubby, then boyfriend, by letting him think that I had planned a nice dinner out. When he arrived to pick me up, "surprise!" He was hooked ever since (he, he).

That was years ago, no kids, no job, (no money). He remembers that V-day to this day. What can I do, what can I do?? I've got 24 hours to come up with something.

The great things is that I have all of you to help me out, right?? (that's me begging for ideas). What have you guys done in years past? What are you planning this year?

February 11, 2009

Love it! Thursdays: Product Review: T-mobile Dash

This one will be easy. This phone sucks, don't waste your money buying it. I've had this phone for about five months, and I'm already on my replacement. The first one had speaker issues. A few weeks after I bought it, the speaker suddenly sounded as if it had blown. I contacted the store I bought it from and without even asking any questions, they sent me a new one, told me to keep the old one.

I bought it because I wanted to have email access in my purse and some ability to use the Internet. My email works most of the time, and the Internet is pretty reliable in working very slowly. Nice.

Did I mention the phone freezes about 2-3 times a week? Yes, it does. And my battery lasts about half a day.

What's good about this phone. Hmmmm. I can check several accounts on the phone, when it works.

All this said, I'm in the market for a new phone.

Any ideas??

February 10, 2009

Real or Reel?

Last night I got caught up in the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I believe I’ve only seen one or two episodes in the past but Bravo was running a marathon and I was roped in. I believe I watched about 5 or 6 episodes last night!!! This happened a few weeks back and I was hooked on the Real Housewives of Orange County after that one cold Saturday afternoon/night while at home with hubby and our friend from school. Anyway…so I’m watching this show and after every break for commercial I asked myself – is this real? Do people really live like this? Are folks really this conceited and self-involved? I can only answer that it isn’t real. They’re not really friends and they really don’t interact with each other the way it’s portrayed on tv. I find that the OC wives and their stories were not so crazy and I wonder whether the ATL wives were putting on a show. I was fine with watching the OC wives go to lunch almost.every.day, but the ATL wives are big pimping (does anyone even say that anymore – but you know what I mean). It was the fabulous 12 year-old’s party, then Sharee’s grand 3/40-something bash, the charity event/flop and who knows what else they were up to. Is this how people really live in ATL? Is this how the black elite (as they self-describe) lives regardless of city? Or did Bravo just paint them in a less positive light?

February 09, 2009

Pay Me a Visit

[I'm over at Alpha Mom today! Check out "How to Start a Parents' Group at Your Child's School" on the Alpha Mom Guide to Everything]

You’ve heard the parenting professionals say it time and time again: “the key to your child having a successful education is parental involvement.” And you know in your heart of hearts that it’s true – after all you are the one who channeled your old Home Economics teacher and taught your little one how to make a mean Easy-Bake Oven cake. When it comes to your little one’s school, you’ve attended each of the Parents’ Nights, been a chaperon for all the field trips (yes, including the one to the local landfill), and you’ve even written your own list of ways to improve the school library. In short, you’ve been an active school parent but you imagine the day when the school has an organized group of parents that can pool its resources and do even more. Fear not my altruistic parents – that day is here. You can take the lead in starting a parents’ group at your child’s school with these 5 simple steps. Continue reading...

February 05, 2009

It's About That Time

If you know me then you know that every 6 months or so hubby and I get the itch to move to another state. This also means, that if you know me, you are likely to get irritated and roll your eyes when one of us announces "we're moving!" Because in your heart of hearts you know that it's probably not true. But you're a good friend/family member/co-worker/guy at the grocery checkout and so you tolerate our ramblings about the reasons why we need to move and how REALLY! THIS TIME! IT'S FOR REAL! All the while whispering "Ok, whatever" underneath your breath.
You might even humor us by looking at the real estate listings that we email you to check out or remind me that "you guys won't be here, remember?" when I'm telling you where Chatterbox will be going to Kindergarten in the Fall. Some of you will even give me the phone number for your property appraiser and put us in touch with your realtor because you're good people like that. Others will connect us with contacts that might be able to hook us up with new jobs in our new state. But most of all, you guys listen. And you support our dreams no matter how much you are thinking that we're full of it. For all these reasons, I just want to say that we love you for putting up with us and also...thanks in advance! Because we're getting that itch again.

Hey, it's been about 6 months, right?

February 02, 2009

This Is No Time For An Intervention (Updated)

I saw these shoes today and had, I mean had to have them. Especially since they were 50% off thanks to a one-day sale. Forget that I have nowhere to wear them. Forget that I have nothing to wear them with. Forget that I am on a budget. Forget that I'll probably break my neck trying to walk in them. Forget all of those things. When you have an addiction, you have an addiction and that good sense your mama taught you is thrown to the wind.

So in true addict fashion, I have begun justifying my actions by making up reasons for why it was, in fact, a smart and responsible move. So far, the best I've come up with is that I was planning on buying a fabulous new outfit for my Valentine's Day date with hubby. We are going to a swank resto-lounge and I need to at least try to look like I belong there. So rose colored, sequined, platform, slingbacks pumps on V-day it is. (caution: twisted rationalization up ahead) Actually, it's the perfect shoe for a romantic date, no? Nevermind that it's February and will likely be freezing and open-toe shoes make little sense. NEVER.MIND. The shoes? They are fly. And I will feel so hot in them that I will actually be warm.

Really, the only thing left to do now is to find a cute dress to go with them. Any suggestions? Come on fashionistas. What kind of friends are you if not my enablers?

It is with heavy heart that I must report the following unfortunate news - I came home, opened up my email and saw this message: "Thank you very much for shopping at SmartBargains. We are sorry to inform you that all items in order 280308322941-315096811018 have become unavailable...blah blah blah."

Friends, it's a cruel, cruel world.

My Aplogies, In Advance

Beth has asked her readers for help tackling some Tough Topics. Always one to lend a helping hand, I have selflessly decided to channel my inner Ghandi and give her the hard answers she so desperately needs. You, my friends, have the unfortunate task benefit of reading them. Consider it a (painful) exercise in getting to know me better.
1. How do you place the cups in your dishwasher? Directly on the prongs or in between the prongs?

I'm very systematic about this. First, I load as many things as I can in between the prongs. I like how I can get everything to fit just so. Undoubtedly though, I run out of space in the dishwasher before the sink is empty, so at this point I begin placing things directly on the prongs. It ain't pretty and it tends to make me itch, but it's only dirty dinnerware after all.
2. How do you hang your toilet paper? Hanging over or hanging under?

Hanging over. No if ands or BUTTS (sorry. sorry!) about it.

3. What are you feelings on Kanye West? Love him or leave him? (I may or may not be listening to him on my iPhone right now, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Ugh. I am so over him. And he needs to get over himself too. He continues to confuse me. I never understood what the hype was about. Newsflash Kanyeezy: It's not a good thing that you dropped out of college. It's also a little sad that you continue to wear a backpack like you're still in college. It's not too late though. There are plenty of cont. ed. programs that would take you. But then you'd have to actually accept the fact that you don't know everything and aren't better than everyone. It's called humility. Or living on Planet Earth.

4. Do you refrigerate your peanut butter or is it in your pantry?

Pantry. Though I suppose right now the best place for it is in the trash.

5. Do you refrigerate your maple syrup or is it in your pantry?

Pantry. And hubby never closes it back properly so the bottle is always sticky and makes the pantry sticky and it's not like he's gonna scrub the pantry so it's up to me to do it but who wants to scrub sticky syrup out of the pantry it's not like i don't have better things to do like answer these very important questions for Beth. Ahem.

6. Do you put your bread in the refrigerator?

Nope. Which is a huge departure from my childhood during which my mother used to freeze our bread. As a matter of fact, she still freezes her bread.

7. If you found salad dressing in your refrigerator that expired 30 days prior, would you use it or dump it?

Salad dressing expires?

8. Do you say tissue or kleenex?

Kleenex. Hubby says "tissue" and it just sounds weird. Doesn't it sound weird? It totally evokes a visual of post-nasal drip. And is it "tish-shoo" or "tis-sue"? WEIRD.

9. Finally, what are your feelings on cottage cheese? Scrumptious snack or disgusting sh*t?

Disgusting sh*t. Fo' sho. I don't even understand cottage cheese. Or rice pudding. Or tapioca pudding. Or grits. Makes me want to vomit.

Kleenex, please.

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