Friday, September 27, 2013

Posting for a friend: The 3-Day is coming!!

Normally I wouldn't use my blog for "advertising" but since this is a cause I support wholeheartedly, I'm posting the following letter from a dear friend.

Dear family and friends, 

I can’t believe over 5 months have passed since I sent my original fundraising letter. I find it even more difficult to believe that it is less than 2 weeks until the 2013 Washington DC 3-Day event. I want to thank all of you that have already contributed and apologize for not keeping everyone updated on my progress.

In the message I sent earlier this year I indicated that I would be walking in San Diego in addition to DC. Due to some health concerns I decided it was best for me to withdrawl from that event. I’ll still be in San Diego to cheer on the walkers, but I have been concentrating my fundraising efforts on the DC event.

As many of you know, last year I was the top individual fundraiser in the DC event. Currently I’m holding the top position again, but I have some very aggressive fundraisers hot on my heels. Since this is the last year the event will take place in DC, I’d love to try to remain in that honored position. This year I’ve raised $17,491, but I’m only 72% of the way to my personal goal of $24,000. With no more planned fundraisers before the event, I turn to you, my family and friends, to help me reach my goal and get us closer to a CURE!!

Far too often I hear news of another mother, sister, daughter, wife, aunt, or friend that received the dreaded diagnoses of breast cancer. Please take a moment to consider how you would feel if one of those new cases was YOUR mother, sister, daughter, wife, aunt or friends. It doesn’t have to be. I believe that we will find a cure in my lifetime.

Making a donation is simple. Please visit my 3-Day page ( Once you reach my personal fundraising page, click the button on the top left hand side of the page that reads, "Click to donate to Debbi in 2013." If you don’t wish to donate online, you can download and print a donation form from that page that you can mail in with your donation.



To make a donation:

We walk because we must. We are strong because the journey demands it. Together in body and united in spirit, we lay down our footsteps for this generation and the next. This is our promise: a world without breast cancer!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TTC: It's a secret

So this is not the weight and TTC post - that's almost done.  

Instead, this is a hopeful post.  We got a positive beta test.  Now, it may not mean much if things don't continue along... I go back in a couple days for the next test... but it could mean a whole lot. 

Normally you're not supposed let people know until 12 weeks, but since there is a real possibility I won't make it that far - I am shamelessly soliciting prayers and positive thoughts.  I don't know if there are lots of readers or just 2 or 3, but I'll take them all...

This could be it!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Magazine Review: Goodcents Cooking

So, standing in the aisles for the checkout - I may peruse a magazine while I wait - but beyond the Washingtonian or a graphic design trade, I am not one to purchase one.  I found myself in the books section of Walmart and was surprised by the number of magazines and the variety on the shelves.  I rarely use recipes so while the cooking magazines are cool for a perusal, I can usually just pass them by...

Until I saw one called Goodcents Cooking and another by Better Homes and Gardens entitled Dinner on the Dollar.  Now I admit to being very... frugal when it comes to some things so this was enough to get me to pick the magazines up.

I bought them for several reasons, but for today - let's talk about Goodcents Cooking.

First, the premiere issue (yup - it's new and has a website at was only $3.49 US.  Not 5 or 8 or 10, but a reasonable amount for an item you won't likely keep but may tear some good articles from or mark for potential shopping trips.

Inside, they have a legend spelling out their main areas:

Tasty Tidbits: Food related trivia and facts.  (I did not know carrots used to come in white, purple and orange.  Orange was developed in the Netherlands during the 16th century for the House of Orange and is now considered the norm!  Fun fact and now I want to find some white and purple carrots...)

Kitchen Finds:  Must-have gadgets for the kitchen to save you time, money and stress - I was sold on the word gadget.  (The Skeleton Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter for Halloween and the Pie Crust makers (which I think would work for fondant as well) are on my "want now" list!)

Quick Class:  Teaching master culinary techniques in simple terms and pictures.  (I am inspired to find some kitchen twine to stuff and tie the pork loin I have at home.  Luckily, there are some recipes for the stuffing in this magazine as well...)

Regional Tastes: Road trip of regional varieties of the same dish.  To start with: Chili!  Yum!

Three Ways:  Surprising ways to use an everyday food item.  (I consider myself a creative cook, but Popcorn Pancakes and Popcorn Polenta are things I would NEVER have thought up.  They look yummy though.)

5 or Less: Quick things you can cook with 5 or less easy to attain ingredients in your kitchen.

In the Kitchen with:  Personal kitchen conversations with celebrity chegs and cooks!

Life on the Farm: Visit a family farm and connect through photos and a family recipe.

Food Trip:  Travel to a destination to experience a culinary adventure.  This issue features Oktoberfest around the country - looks pretty great and includes some awesome recipes!

Dinners for $10:  Meet an author of a cookbook and get the skinny on some new food possibilities.

Centsible Cook:  Expert coupon bloggers offer tips and they compare products.  In this issue, knives - from stainless to ceramic.

Last Bite: Wrapping up with a simple decadent recipe.

But that doesn't address the Halloween bash for $50 bucks article, the awesome Squash segment where you learn some really awesome ways to use those variety of squash, or the plan ahead segment where you learn some quick (and useful tips) for prepping / cooking meals early and easily.

I recommend this magazine.  I now have pork loin, chili, and spaghetti squash chocolate muffins to make!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

IMHO: Healthcare discussion

This is not a political blog, nor do I wish it to be.  I do, however, have some thoughts I'd like people to consider as they wade into the healthcare debate:

Some things to consider:

You may say you're healthy - but you can be a carrier for a number of illnesses and never once have a symptom yourself. Should you be charged for making others sick?

You may also have genetics that have disorders that are unknown (my brother was the first hemophiliac in my family to anyone living's knowledge) that may bring forth a child with medical needs for their entire life. Should that child pay more because you didn't know your entire DNA history before reproducing?

There are a number of single parents for various reasons whose children grow up to be adults without familial monies supporting them. As young adults attempting to start work or school, they may be hit by a car, slip on ice or catch a cold - is it then "natural selection" for them because they don't have the ready funds to pay for those situations?

No one wants to pay more - but we all have to pay what is necessary as a society.  I drive a hybrid car - I use less gasoline than most.  Why should I pay for the overconsumption of others making gas such a "precious commodity?  Because I use public transportation, airplanes and other things that consume gas.  Do I think the cost is ridiculous, sure, but until pressure is put to bear in that market - that industry calls the shots.  When they risk losing more customers than keeping them - things may change.   

As a society, we sometimes share certain burdens.  The prevention of the spread of illness (see: Black Plague) is worth the investment.  Much like the upkeep of the physical infrastructure to prevent people from falling to bodies of water because the bridge or roadway falls apart.  If I didn't drive, could I be annoyed for every taxpayer dollar that goes to improve roads I never use.

Also, as many markets prove - premiums can rise for a minute but when people stop using them because they are too costly and can't compete - they have to come down.  I feel like currently the housing market and the banking industries are prime examples of forcible change to prevent going out of business altogether.  It may seem very Walmart, but in every industry - there is always someone who can lowball you to keep the prices competitive and affordable.

In this situation, the federal government has created the healthcare Walmart. In my mind, this means there is no longer a private monopoly on a necessary function.  Does it mean there will be complaining and difficulty in implementation - sure.  Walmart is accused on the regular of driving small businesses out of communities, but in exchange they make things affordable for the masses.  You can still go to your specialty shops, organic stores, and hand-woven boutiques - but the regular person can also eat, clothe, and purchase for themselves - at a price that keeps the majority from overpaying. 

As for the new healthcare, I will never probably need to use it in the near-term, because my family makes too much money and have insurance through employment - but I'm sure someone I know or care about will. And that's worth it to me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Little discoveries

So this week has been about little discoveries (and trying to finish the blog posts from last week - I know, I know!) that I wanted to share:

First - grilled cheese in the toaster!  How?  Like this! Non Stick Toaster Bags

Second - make your own yogurt!  How?  Like this! Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker

Third - Um... I got distracted again, so we'll go with this for now.

See you later!

Monday, September 9, 2013

World Market

One of my favorite places to shop is World Market.  If you're unfamiliar with the store and their policies, I recommend checking them out.  The name, World Market, is a little misleading as it implies they can be found everywhere when in fact they are in select locations.  There is a large abundance of world influence on everything from the food to the furniture.

The prices range from expensive to dirt cheap and you can find a little of everything there.  Recently, I have begun collecting pieces for the new house.  Nothing big, but some of the little additions needed to bring a room together.

On Labor Day, World Market celebrated the whole weekend.  They took items already on clearance and marked them down another 50%.  There were so many good items, but here's what I came away with:

Barbeque shelf:  My husband has recently taken up grilling.  As such his oversized utensils were in the way and difficult to store.  When I saw this little shelf for $12.50 I had to have it.  Now I want to add some screen doors to it and it will be perfect!

Bar stools:  The plan is for us to have a sit at bar.  Since I have this french mod-country motif playing in my head - I wanted some solid wood stools I could weather with chalk paint and this is what I found!  I bought two for $22.50 each!  I want to stencil a fleur de lis on each of them and then weather them a bit!

Flour sack / linen pillows:  The last thing I found were these great accent pillows (for the new couches we will get) for $7.25 each.  Gorgeous and well priced!

These are just a few of the finds I grabbed.  There were some great pantry items (Hello Honey cookies we missed after France!) and odds and ends.  I suggest checking out the latest sale near you!

PS:  I have a drafting table (solid wood) from World Market that has lasted for many years and several moves with no problems at all.  We're talking quality workmanship on the furniture!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A little truth: The benefit of a relationship with your father

Recently, I was talking about my relationship with my Dad.  He wasn't perfect, but he was a great father.  People don't see what happens behind closed doors but in a family, you get to see it all.  The fights between the parents, the struggle to raise a child, issues with money, and the list goes on.

For all those things we went through - and we went through many - my father was pretty consistent with all three of his children.  Even if he was annoyed from work or mad with mom or tired, he was still our Dad.

I give my mother credit, for the most part, she managed to not tear him down to us even when things were bad between them.  Oh sure, there were times she vented about him and sometimes it was TMI - especially since I was the oldest by 8 years and more mature for my age.  But overall, she encouraged us to build a relationship with our father.  Good, bad, or otherwise - it was on us and not based on anything else.

As I grew older, I learned to appreciate some of the insights only my Dad could impart.  He and I communicated in a different way than I did with my mother.  It filled other parts of my development.  As an adult, he was one of my best friends - even when he was telling me stuff I didn't want to hear (like all good best friends do!).

Anyway, during the conversation, it was mentioned to me that a family close to mine was struggling with a divorce.  The children seem to have decided the mother was right and the father was wrong (long before the divorce the kids had made it clear they were "on their mother's side no matter what") - so now that they are divorcing, they have basically written their father off.  Partially because they feel it's what their mother expects and partially because, in their lives, that's what loyalty is...

This made me so sad.  Even when my mother and I were at our worst (ant there were many years of "If we never see one another again, I don't think either of us cares") - we still had SOME sort of relationship.  Begrudgingly even, because SHE IS MY MOTHER!  When things healed, I learned to appreciate the relationship we managed to maintain, rebuild and strengthen in a way I never would have thought possible.

These three kids are risking losing out on the chance to have whatever wisdom, laughter, and memories they can with their father by getting caught up in something that has nothing to do with them.  My Dad died unexpectedly, reminding us all that there is no promise of tomorrow.  Squandering what time we could have to love one another, despite the situation, seems like a huge waste to me.  I'd give so much to have one more chance to talk, argue, hug, or just say, "I love you" to my Dad.  

So, I've been considering what the benefits of having that relationship could be - and let me state clearly, if you're in a non-traditional family this still applies because sometimes the single mother, uncle, other mother or other dad fills the same role I'm describing here.

Your parents are two halves of a whole entity as a child.  Usually one is the emotional ground and the other is the logical process person.  One might be the disciplinarian while the other is the one who teaches flexibility and mercy.  Knowing and embracing a relationship with both halves gives us the ability to turn that around in our lives.  To embrace all parts of not only ourselves, but the people we let into our lives. 

I think it helps you love deeper, be a better friend, and a more well-rounded person in general.  All in all, I think it's worth fighting for and protecting.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: Mortal Instruments Series

There is a movie in the theaters called "City of Bones" based on book 1 of the Mortal Instruments book series by Cassandra Clare.  This series is listed as young adult.  First, I will tell you that until the latter books - it's pretty good for most young adult readers.  The subjects of love, attraction and sex between the noted teenage protagonists is handled without crossing that very fine line.  There is a strong backbone dealing with honesty, morality, and basic understanding of who actually makes up your family throughout the entire series.  If you get nothing else from this storyline, it's that your choices have consequences and those consequences affect more than just you. 

I've actually read all 5 books.  Some people groan and say, "Another 'Twilight-esque' tween book" (and by some people, I mean my husband) but to be completely honest - there's a depth of characters along with a truly different take and twist on not only the paranormal but angels and demons and good / evil in general.  Depending on your depth of knowledge of religious history, there is enough "truth" in the pudding to help draw you into the world they are exposing - not creating but rather attempting to assert a different view on the place you already live.

The main character, a teenage girl named Clarissa, is (initially) all things entitled current-day teenager.  She's easy to dislike.  Her strength of character begins to show with her personal relationships.  You can see the adult she will become - and that is a person you can like.  Strangely enough, for me, the character I find I like the most is one that initally is peripheral in nature.  He goes from being the awkward nerd with a huge crush on a girl who does NOT return his feelings to the most stable, dependable backbone in an everchanging environment. 

If you don't get wrapped up in the fledgling romances (which are the only parts, IMO, that are strictly for the teen audiences), you will be immersed in the depths of the world and character Ms. Clare builds.  I personally find the romantic piece distracting from the good parts of the storyline. 

Now, I've seen the movie - and I have to tell you.  It's lackluster compared to the books.  Enjoyable in the sense of a decent storyline (I hate when they make changes for the big screen that don't follow the book - especially in a series), acceptable acting, and lastly - great production values.  

I just find my imagination and the details the author gives you in the storyline are so much richer and exciting than what Hollywood was able to produce.

This is just my opinion of course but: Read the books!

Exciting Week to Follow

This week is going to be chock full of things:

1.  World Market finds and uses in the household - I've decided there are some unique places to shop and knowing when and how to use them is something I should share.  We're starting with a personal favorite, World Market! 

2.  TTC:  Weight Loss and Pregnancy - do they go together??  Doing some research into things and have made some very interesting discoveries.

3.  Family Finances: Teaching the teenager money management - creative processes required for the ADD kid!

So, that's just the starter.  Posts to follow - I'm super excited to have some truly new content instead of my personal melodrama.. not that there won't be any of that, but here's to some new stuff!