Thursday, April 29, 2010

Online Privacy

Keeping your identity and personal information private is becoming harder to do especially if you belong to online social communities and such. There is an online directory, Spokeo where people can search for other people using a phone number, name, or email address.

I search for myself by my name first. When I did this it had listed the information I had listed under my profile/info on Facebook. It also graphed my credit score, our income, the average income of the people in my neighborhood, the average house value for my neighborhood, and so much more.

I searched via my email address and I saw pictures of my kids that were uploaded to Picasa and my blog. It even showed items I had purchased and items that were on wish lists for Target. If I had a paid membership of $2.95 a month I'd have access to the full report which would show all of the sites my email address was registered with.

The search via my phone number pulled up my address and the info on my neighborhood.

I don't know about you but I don't want just anyone to have access to this info. If you are like me then you need to remove yourself from this listing. Do this by searching for your name then copying the search result URL for yourself. Click on the privacy link at the bottom of the page and then follow the instructions of pasting the URL and so on. You need to do this for each way people can search for you: name, email, and phone number.

Go to to search and remove yourself from this listing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In a Cooking Rut

I'm getting tired of making the same recipes over and over. I'm on the hunt for some new ones and just know that those of you who read this blog have some great recipes. So, I'm asking you for your family's favorite recipe. I would love something easy but I'm willing to put in the work for the really good stuff.
Last year I typed up all my favorite recipes and compiled my own cookbook. I printed it out and put it in page protectors and a 3-ring binder. Now I no longer have to search through all of my cookbooks for the recipe I want to make. For everyone who shares a recipe with me, I will email you my recipe book that I use. Some of the recipes I have shared on this blog and others I haven't yet.
So, share a recipe with me and I will share a bunch with you. It's a win-win situation.
Please leave me a comment with your favorite recipe or a link to your favorite recipe and tell me why you love it.

Easy Meatballs

I came across a meatball recipe a month or so ago on a blog I was reading. I'm apologizing now because I can't find the blog again to give the blogger credit. I did however find the recipe at the Kraft foods website. My kids loved these meatballs and they are super easy to make. I served them over noodles with some brown gravy. I think next time I will serve them with marinara over spaghetti.
(before baking)


2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1-1/4 cups water
2 eggs

HEAT oven to 400ºF.
LINE 2 (15x10x1-inch) pans with foil; spray with cooking spray. Mix ingredients until blended; shape into 32 (1-1/2-inch) balls, using 1/4 cup for each.
PLACE 16 meatballs in each prepared pan. Bake 16 to 18 min. or until done (160ºF).
COMBINE half the meatballs with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce or Creamy Brown Gravy. Cool remaining meatballs; freeze for later use.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Truth.....

about why my house isn't as clean as it could be. My Dad forwarded this poem in an email to me today and then promptly called me on the webcam so he could watch me laugh as I read it. Yes, I laughed, and yes, the truth hurts.

Cleaning Poem

I asked the Lord to tell meWhy my house is such a messHe asked if I'd been 'computering',And I had to answer 'yes.'

He told me to get off my butt,And tidy up the house.And so I started cleaning up...The smudges off my mouse.

I wiped and shined the topside.That really did the trick...I was just admiring my good work.

I didn't mean to 'click.'

But click, I did, and oops - I foundA real absorbing siteThat I got SO way into it - I was into it all night.So nothing's changed except my mouse.It's as shiny as the sun..I guess my house will stay a mess.....While I sit here on my bum.

Hello Again

No, I didn't die. I've just needed a blogging break. We have had a busy month at my household. My brother came with his family for spring break. The day they left we removed the vinyl floors we had gracing our kitchen and laundry room. We spent a week with a concrete floor. It was quite lovely. Then we worked feverishly tiling our floors. Yes, we did it ourselves. I will say my husband deserves most of the credit for cutting and laying the tiles. I'll take the credit for the grout work. The day after we finished I had to hurry and get everything back in place because my in laws came into town for a few days. Then we went out of town for a few days and then my parents came into town for a week. Ahhhhhh. Everyone is gone now and my house is slowly recovering. I just needed a few days to just breath and do other things. I'm back now and ready to catch up on all the blogs I've missed reading and writing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Time Mother

I know at least 10 family members and friends that are all expecting babies right now. For some it is their first baby. It makes me look back on the births of all my babies but I especially think of the birth of Na. She was my first, she was the one that made me a mother. I had worked in childcare for 4 years before I had her and I was a Marriage, Family, and Human Development major at the time. I had taken parenting classes, infant and child development, marriage enhancement, etc so I felt I was prepared. I was prepared to be a perfect parent. I was ready to do everything by the book. I was going to breast feed until my kids were a year old, they were not going to have pacifiers or suck their thumbs. After all, I was armed with the tools to do/avoid those things that annoyed me so much with the children at the daycare.

Well, if I could redo being a first time mom I would keep the parenting books on the shelf. Sure they were great for giving me ideas but they also made me think what I read was the only way things could be done. I had such high expectations for myself and my child that it only led to guilt when I wasn't doing things "by the book."

Eight years and 4 kids later I have learned that flexibility is the key to good parenting. Some things like a pacifier, bottle feeding, and co sleeping are a necessary evil to get through the first several months, at least for me. Being a little relaxed with the less important stuff is okay.

I have also learned that no 2 children are the same. What works for one child does not work for another. I can't compare my child to the child of my best friend. It used to bother me that another child the same age as mine reached a milestone first. You know what, eventually they all hit the same milestone.

It is also not a good idea to give unsolicited advice to other moms. Since I was a "pro" at parenting I found myself telling other people what they were doing wrong. It was fine if they asked for advice but most of the time if they didn't it wasn't received well. Other parents, like me, just have to figure things out on their own via trial and error.

If I could redo being a first time mom I would do what ever I felt I needed to to make sure both my baby and I were happy and worry less about what other people think.

My advice to you if you are going to be a first time mother is, do what is best for you and your family. If that means co-sleeping then do it. If you need to give your baby a bottle instead of breast feed, then do it. Don't worry about what other people think.

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Will not be switching to Broadview Security

We have an alarm system in our house and we are close to the end of our contract. Other security companies must be aware of that because they are coming to our door. Last week we had a salesman from Broadview Security (formerly Brinks) come by. He was super nice and we like what he had to offer. He told us that if we switched to his company we would get 2 new upgraded keypad systems for free among other things and our price would be less than what we are paying now. We went ahead and agreed to the switch. Well, an hour after his supervisor, Robert, called and explained that since we had a different system then they expected they could not give us the 2 keypads they could only upgrade the one and, our rates would go up but, he would throw in an extra free month so then the rates would even out to be about the same. My husband wasn't impressed and told him that we were going to cancel. The supervisor went on to tell my husband the company we had was horrible and they have so many problems but Broadview is #1 for customer service. He explained how you never see commercials on TV for our current company but Broadview has them and they are so well known...yadayadayada. My husband told him..."I see commercials on TV all the time for McDonalds but, when I want the best burger, I'm going to Long Horn, and I've never seen a single commercial for them"
The guy went on and then eventually my husband told him we needed to talk about it again and we would get back to them.
Well, we talked about it and decided that we were going to stay with our current company. We haven't had any problems with them. I've had to call them several times about silly things and they have always been nice to me. They have done their job when the alarm has gone off. I'm happy with them and our rates will be dropping soon anyway.
We have had company in town and I lost the papers that had the phone number on it to call and cancel and frankly, I just plain forgot. I have 4 kids running around me and lately their have been more important things going on. Today the doorbell rang and I looked to see who it was and I remembered I forgot to cancel. I opened the door and the technician was very polite and friendly. I explained the situation and he said not a problem, it has happened before. He gave me the number I could call to talk to Robert.
I called Robert and told him I lost the papers, we had family in town, and I forgot to call to cancel. He explained to me that when he hung up the phone with my husband we had given the go ahead. He started getting a little rude tone to his voice but I brushed it over since I had after all wasted their time. He went on and on again about their superior service. I gently reminded him that we have not had a problem with service with our current company but we have already had problems with their service. I asked a few questions then told him I was going to give a call to my husband and if he said no he would hear back from me.
Well, I interrupted Mike during one of his cases and he agreed that we were going to stay with who we had. I apologized again to the technician for wasting his time. He assured me it was okay. He was totally nice and I really did feel bad for wasting his time. I then called Robert back and told him we were indeed going to cancel. At this point the tone in his voice became very condescending and he said "let me get this straight. You are going to stay with your sub par company because they are cheaper?" Then once again he went in on his spiel about how much better they were. I cut him off and said "no, I'm not staying with them because they are cheaper. I'm staying with them because I have not had a single problem with them. They have been nice and done what they said they were going to do. The tone of voice you are using with me is making sure that your company is a company that I do not want to do business with!" and then I hung up on him. I know totally rude for me to hang up on him but I just couldn't take anymore of him talking at me.
Well, he called right back and I sent him to voicemail. He left a message (in a condescending tone) saying they typically don't like sending technicians out to homes when the customers are going to cancel." Broadview may have a better service than the company I currently have but, my experience with this man has forever left a dark cloud when I think of this company.
Yes, I was in the wrong for not cancelling sooner but, that does not give someone the right to talk to me in such a manner.

Amazing Support

I've previously mentioned Penelope and how she is fighting for her life. There is an organization called St. Baldricks which helps raise funds for children's cancer research. This has inspired Penny's Mom's cousin, Rhea. She is going to shave her head if donations for Penny reach $5000. If you would like to see Rhea shave her head and help support Penny then visit Rhea's blog and donate. You can follow Penny's progress at her blog Pennies 4 Penny.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Homemade Calzones

So I apologize for not having a better picture but we had already finished eating when I remembered I wanted to take a picture. We have a favorite Italian restaurant that we used to go to when we lived in Ft. Worth. It was very affordable for medical students (read- broke family) and was oh so yummy. One of our favorite dishes there is the Calzone. We haven't found a replacement for this restaurant yet but whenever I make this dish, it takes us back to Milano's.


1 lb Italian Sausage, browned

28 oz Ricotta Cheese

1 Egg white whipped with 1 tsp water

Opt. Ingredients
Mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, olives, onions, any pizza ingredient you want to add.

Mix browned sausage, cheese, and whatever ingredients you want to use together. Divide dough into as many balls as you need calzones. Roll each ball till flat and then add a scoop of the filling. Seal up the edges and place on a pan. Prick with a fork and brush the egg white across the top. Bake at 400 until the crust looks done.

Serve with marinara sauce.

Last night I added mushrooms. I think the next time I make it I'm going to lessen the amount of Ricotta cheese and add some cottage cheese and mozzarella. This is a big hit at my house. All of my kids asked for seconds including my picky eater.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Family Game Night

Looking for a way to connect with your family while having a good time? Try establishing a family game night. Family game nights are perfect for any family no matter what age your children are. Playing games allows you to make memories together. Looking back on most of my childhood memories they revolve around playing games together. Every time my family gets together to play games we frequently reminisce about things that were done and said during past games. Games are great ways to learn more about each other too. If you play a game like Zobmondo: Would You Rather you can see how your family members think.Games are a fantastic way to interact with your children and teach them at the same time. For young children Candy Land can help them learn to take turns and learn colors. Chutes and Ladders helps children learn to count as well as deal with the disappointment of the slide. For kids that are a little older, Battleship can teach some strategy. Who didn't learn about money and real estate by playing Monopoly?
My new favorite game is Ticken To Ride. It's fair to say I'm addicted to playing it online even though we have the actual board game too. If you want to know more about TTR Crystal's Cozy Kitchen does a great job of describing how to play the game.
The most important thing about a family game night is making sure everyone is having fun. Although it is nice to win, teach your children how to lose graciously. Young children have a hard time losing so help them understand that just because they lost one game doesn't mean they will lose them all.

The next time you are looking for something to do, stay home and pull out the games. By doing this you will create family bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pennies 4 Penny Giveaway Winner!

I was hoping for more people to participate in this giveaway for Penny's sake but, for those of you who did participate you had a greater chance of winning. One of these days I will figure out how to post a web page instead of taking a picture but tonight I'm too tired to figure it out. So, with out further adiu, the winner of a Scentsy warmer of her choice is.........
#4 which when I count down is Jessica! Congrats. I will be contacting you so you can pick out your warmer.

Penny is home for a couple of days recouperating before her next round of chemo. Please continue to pray for her and if you can donate. Visit Pennies 4 Penny to get more info.