On July 30, 1975, Former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit. He is presumed dead, though his remains have never been found.

Woohoo! Another Giveaway

Oh, I am sooooo excited! Remember me telling you about The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters? Well, the author--Mr. Frank Cole--has generously offered, as a giveaway, not one--but two! of his books to my readers. That is one to keep, and one to give away to that special someone who is just dying for a good book! And, both copies are signed by the author!

How about that for an awesome giveaway???

Ok, so here's the blurb about the book:

What sort of trouble can a fifth-grader possibly get into? Well, if you attend an unusual school called Pordunce Elementary and you happen to be a student by the name of Hashbrown Winters, there truly is no limit. At this school, almost everyone has earned a strange nickname and half of the fun of the story is finding out why.

When Hashbrown crosses paths with the school’s number one bully, Hambone Oxcart, it sets the stage for a hilarious showdown. Hashbrown’s in some serious trouble. It is going to take the help of his closest friends, Whiz Peterson and Snow Cone Jones, some advice from the all-seeing Oracle and an appointment with Cordovo Figanewty, leader of the sixth-grade mafia to save his neck.

And the author:
Frank Cole was born in a quiet town in Kentucky where he spent most of his childhood sharing exaggerated stories for show and tell. He now lives in Utah with his wife and three children. One of Frank’s greatest claims to fame was when he was rushed to the emergency room as a third-grader after falling out of Hashbrown Winter’s tree house. If he had a nickname it would be Frankie the “Phantom”. The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters is Frank’s debut novel.
Now--here are the details to enter this fine giveaway--any one (or more, each constitutes and entry):
  1. Facebook or Twitter about the book. Include a link to HashbrownWinters.com. Leave a note in the comments stating which one (or two different comments if you did both). Bonus--extra entry if you "friend" me on Twitter--leave a comment for each thing you've done.
  2. Facebook or Twitter about the giveaway, linking to this post. Note that this is different than the previous entry option--which is solely about the book.
  3. Go to HashbrownWinters.com and ask the writer a question. Leave some comment love so I know you did it.
  4. Blog about the book on your blog along with a link to HashbrownWinters.com and leave me a link in the comments.
  5. Blog about the giveaway on your blog along with a link to this post. Please do not combine posts if you opt to do both #4 and #5. They should be separate posts. Leave me a note (or notes) in the comments.
And of course, if you just can't wait to get the book, you can always buy it here:


I just want to clarify that believing in a woman's Right to Choose does not necessarily mean that a person is pro-abortion. Just Pro-Choice.

Just as someone who is anti-abortion is probably not anti-choice.

It's all in the use of the words.

But, having said that, don't for a minute expect me to believe on the one hand that government power should be limited, but government should tell me what to do with my body. You can't have it both ways.

On Feeding Boys...

Food is one of my passions. In fact, when I was a child I would cook in the kitchen, all the while pretending to be on a cooking show (รก la Julia Child). I used to be a professional baker. I just love to cook. Mmmmmm...

Anyway, my love of food has been passed on to my children (although I am not so sure about my love of cooking, although both of my children do just fine in the kitchen). Anyway, we have a houseful of boys this next weekend (ummmm...starting today, actually) and I am trying to get healthy yummy food into the ones who live on chicken nuggets and corn dogs. Hmmmm...

I've been searching the internet for quick, easy recipes and stumbled across The Pioneer Woman Cooks (by way of 365 Days of Crockpotting).

Oh. my.

I think I've died and gone to heaven.

For dinner tonight, we are making (yes, ALL of us--ummm, that is, me and the boys):

Cinnamon Ice Cream, doubled of course

My philosophy is (and I hope it works with the more picky among the crew) is that if you help make it, you are more likely to eat it. And they all love shrimp (so they all tell me!). The tomatoes might be a bit iffy with the one who likes ketchup, but hates tomatoes...and loves pizza, but hates tomatoes. Ummm...we'll see.

And after dinner, I'm hoping everyone will be full enough to just chill and watch the first four episodes of Torchwood: Children of the Earth. Except I've just been reminded that softball is tonight. So, Torchwood will have to be tomorrow.


But, the boys will be gainfully employed (volunteering, that is) at the concession stand during softball. Which will keep them off the computer and various game systems. And out in the fresh air. So, it's all good.

We Have a Winner!

You may remember that I won $40 in Fandango Movie Money from Laurie at Tales from a Clueless Mom during her first giveaway, and oddly enough--Laurie is the winner in my first giveaway as well! I am extremely surprised by the randomness of the world, but I am also quite pleased!
Congratulations to Laurie!

Current Temperature

120°. I think my house sits directly above Hell.

Bit of a Handicap, really

Part Time Workers

You know how much I love the NY Times. I read it every day. It is probably a good indication that I am a liberal.

With liberal ideas.

Which is why it frustrates me when conservatives (many of them my friends and neighbors) complain about our new President and how he is turning America into a Socialist country. It really makes me angry when you (the ubiquitous you) tell me that no one needs a helping hand and everyone who does is just abusing the system.

I think you need to read my piece on the Dutch.

Which brings me to today. Great article in the NY Times suggesting that the "Great Recession" is so much worse than is being reported. If you take into account all the people that are working part time because full time work is unavailable, it brings the unemployment rate up quite a bit. As much as 23.5% in Oregon, 21.5% in Michigan and Rhode Island, and just under 20% in Tennessee and Nevada (oh, where I live!). And to be honest--my husband's hours were reduced to 24 hours a week in December. He has looked for another job, but they just aren't out there. My daughter was laid off from her government job and is collecting unemployment. I am still working (at home, as a writer), but I am not even close to being the breadwinner in the family.

Guess what, we need a helping hand. And I am pissed every time someone suggests that our family problem is our own fault. And that by looking for help, we are abusing the system.

Crazy thing, all you naysayers who look to history to prove your point: The government and the economy seem to do better when the democrats are in office. The deficit isn't as high, if it is existent at all (remember, during the Clinton years we were running with a surplus--which went away very quickly when W. came into office).

That's my vent today. Thanks for listening.

KT Tunstall

My current favorite song:

Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
On July 14, 1965, the American space probe Mariner 4 flew by Mars, sending back photographs of the planet.

It's Time Out Tuesday again!

Remember how I told you last week about Best Children's Movies' Time Out Tuesday? Well, guess what? It's Tuesday again. This week the featured film is "The Snow Walker". Head on over and check it out!

The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters

Oh, I am so excited! My friend Heidi--her husband has been working hard on his first children's book: The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters. And now it's done. And it's awesome. And I wanted to help spread the word! Go pick up a copy. Isn't it time for some family bonding over a book? I think so!

Affordable Baby Organics - It's a Giveaway!

Hi all! I just wanted to let you know how lucky I am! I have the pleasure of working with Amanda over at "Baby Organics at Affordable Prices!" She is generously offering some of her awesome organic cotton baby clothes for me to give away on my blog. Woohoo! Let's take a look at what I am giving away:
Papaya Orange Organic Onesie

Natural Organic Cotton BabyLegs

If you click on the images, it will take you right to Baby Organics to get all the specs for each product! These are my favorites. I love the Organic Cotton Onesie in papaya--mostly because I love bright colors. I chose the Natural BabyLegs because I really think they make the papaya stand out.

Ok, now for the nitty gritty. To enter, you must do at least one of the following:
  • Link to Baby Organics (as a hyperlink) in a blog post with your favorite product from the selection at Baby Organics. Tell your blog readers why it's your favorite. Leave me a link to your post in the comments.

  • Let me know (in the comments, of course), who you hope to win this for. Is it for your own child? A grandchild? As you may know--my daughter is almost 20, and while there is no grandchild in my near future--many, many, many of her friends are getting married. I suspect babies are still in my near future--but since my daughter isn't even engaged--hopefully it is just all her friends. Actually, at least 4 of her friends are new parents or are pregnant. So, as long as you have someone in mind for these awesome organic baby clothes--I am ok with that!

  • Link to Baby Organics in a tweet and let me know in the comments.
  • Ok--for the last way to win--let me know what you think is better--cloth diapers or disposable diapers--and why. I've used both. When my daughter was born, I used a great diaper service in Vegas. It was way better than trying to wash my own (which I did for a short while--and let me tell you, those diapers are the best dust rags I have now!). With my son, we'd already moved to rural Nevada, and disposable diapers worked better for me because I did not have access to a service. I was concerned about how hot I could clean the diapers at, and the use of water in the desert, and so on... Anyway, I want to know what you think!
I am running this giveway until Monday, July 20th. You have until midnight PDT to enter. Let the giveaway begin!

Oh! And I wanted to let you know that in the next 2-3 weeks, Baby Organics is adding Organic Baby Slings and Organic Baby Bedding to the site. See? It's not as hard to be green as you might expect!

Oooohhhhh...and lucky you! For all my readers, Baby Organics is offering a 10% discount. Just enter coupon code "Mreow10" when you check out.

Perky Blogger!

Thanks to Yonca over at Yonca's Kitchen for the Perky Blogger Award she graced me with:

I am passing on the award to some of my favorite bloggers:

JoAnna at The Adventures of Saia and Chago
The Audacity of an Optimistic Pessimist
Laurie at Guessing All the Way (Tales from a Clueless Mom)
Daisy at Dusty Barks

After grabbing please make a post of this award on your blog then link the person who gave the award to you. Also, please pass this award on to bloggers you choose.

Have a healthy and happy weekend!

Bento, Anyone?

For the last couple of days, I've been thinking about lunches. School starts again next month, and I am trying to figure out how to make lunches interesting for both my husband and my son. And help keep us within our grocery budget. To that end, I have been researching bento lunches. Last year I was looking at the laptop lunch system for my son, but he just wasn't interested. This year, though, we've been looking at stainless steel bentos (and tiffins) and he is much more interested. Especially since he now realizes that this is what kids his age in other countries do for lunch. He's all for being different!

My husband will take whatever I pack, but it makes more sense to make complementary lunches rather than two different things--which is why I needed my son to decide he was up for trying it. We are spending time this summer testing recipes--Just Bento has a ton of them. We are also trying to narrow down which box we are going to start with, although I am sure we will end up with a couple just because of the different ways you can use them.

Here are some of the options we are looking at:

We are still looking, but my son is leaning towards the tiffin box (2-tier stainless steel). I am excited about not having to pack ziploc bags (NOT an option in our previous lunch incarnations), and also about the variety (this is my own fault--it is just way easy to make a pb&j, stick in some fruit and a drink and be good to go).

Some fun bento sites:
Adventures in Bentomaking
Just Bento
Cooking Cute
JB Bentos
Lunch Bucket Bento
My Bento Diet
Obento Baby
Be My Bento

I hope I've inspired you to be more creative with your lunches!

Parents Time Out Tuesday (yeah, I know it's Wednesday!)

BestChildrensMovies.com has started a new Tuesday release of movies for parents. That is, a movie for you to watch online while your TV is taken over by kidlets. I am loving this idea, although my kids mostly watch movies that I want to watch these days (that's the beauty of having older children--mine are 13 and 20!).

But anyway...

This week's movie is The Karate Kid II. Head on over and watch!

How to Give a Dachshund Physical Therapy

So you may remember how my dog pinched his vertebrae, oh--3 weeks ago. He has mostly been confined to a box for the last several weeks, only going outside to go to the bathroom. This has been achieved by an ingenious contraption my mom made him which uses a towel on a strap to hold up his hind legs.

This weekend we set up our large inflatable pool in the backyard. While it was filling, we took him out into the pool (with the strap) and let him walk around in the water. Then we took the strap out and he was still able to walk around. The water holds up his back end enough that he can move his feet. Of course, we were filling the pool for us--not for him.

So, we filled up a kiddie pool and put it in the front yard. He now goes out 3 times a day and "plays" in the pool. It is amazing--each time we stick him in the pool, he gets more control of his legs. He's been able to put weight on them, but with the strap, his front legs are usually moving much more than his back legs are capable of.

Recap: to give your dachshund physical therapy--put him in a pool with water up to his chest (about 3/4 of the way up his body). Let him walk around. Help him move his legs, if needed. Rinse, repeat--3 times a day.

I sure am glad that this happened during the summer.

Gail Collins on Sarah Palin

Basically, the point was that Palin is quitting as governor because she’s not a quitter. Or a deceased salmon.

Woohoo! Oh, and sigh...

Woohoo! I won Laurie's $40 Fandango Giveaway!! I would like to thank all my fans. My parents, without whom, well, I wouldn't be here. My family for all their support. I'd like to thank Mom Bloggers Club, who introduced me to Laurie. I'd like to thank Twitter for allowing me to post about Laurie's giveaway. And Blogger for this crazy writing venue. And I'd like to thank the Academy...

This almost makes up for Jeff Goldblum's untimely demise...

"When Jeff Goldblum passed away, a little bit of all of us died. I will be missed."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jeff Goldblum Will Be Missed
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum

Karl Malden spent 21 years reminding us on TV commercials "Don't leave home without them." Without what?

Why, your American Express Traveler's Checks, of course...

Karl Malden

Sigh. Yet another celebrity has moved out of this world an on to the next.

I loved Karl Malden. He was the veteran cop assigned to the Homicide Division and tasked with the job of teaching Michael Douglas all the tips and tricks of being an effective detective. Michael Douglas was the pretty one...but I loved Karl Malden.

He was the Reverend Paul Ford in Pollyanna--a childhood favorite.

He reminds me of family.

Karl Malden died today. He was 97. He had a long life, married to the same woman for 70 years. A great career, great offspring. He won an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor) for his role as Harold "Mitch" Mitchell in A Streetcar Named Desire.

I will miss him.