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The Five Fish

The Five Fish: 12/1/09 - 1/1/10

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Same Great Feed

I wanted to let you know that you can still receive my feeds I just updated the address to streamline operations. Here is the new feed address:

Thanks so much for your readership and Happy New Year. I am excited to share and read more from everyone in this coming year.


Priceless Gifts

Our family has a tradition of spending Christmas Eve with The Hudson side of my family (father's side) while Christmas Day was generally reserved for my mother's family. Especially since my parents divorced over 20 years ago Christmases continued on in this fashion, even after we grew up Christmases and the eve was spent much this way, however, with a few variations due to the fact I lived in another state and now had additional family to accommodate with being with The Chad.

This year was like any Christmas Eve, making the trek to the southern part of Arizona to spend Christmas Eve with my grandparent's. But this year was ever so bittersweet and meant so much more since the passing of my grandfather in October. I still have a hard time with the fact he is gone...probably because he is not and never will be gone from my heart and the many memories I have of him and the holidays, weekends, and in between we shared together.

So upon leaving to make the drive south on I-10 I made sure to load up on wonderful goodies to share with my family. The Hudson's have always been very near and dear to my heart, with all our trials and drama, we are nonetheless family. I bagged up my fresh black eyed peas (just need to be shucked) for my family to eat for New Year's. If you didn't know black eyed peas signify wealth (or coins actually) for a prosperous new year, I packaged up the ornaments Grant and I made, the baked goodies, the kids, a homemade DVD for my grandmother to enjoy, and this year I received a gift from the One2One Network which was a Tony Bennett holiday CD. While I love Tony Bennett I knew my grandmother would be even more appreciative, because she REALLY loves Tony Bennett and Christmas is her favorite holiday so these two were a winning combination for her. Thank you One2One for the gift I could share with my grandmother.

We loaded the kids and made the drive. Arriving with plenty of time to pour wine, snack on some goodies, share lots of laughs and hugs with family not seen except for (sometimes in our cases) funerals. Dinner was served, my grandmother's traditional ham, broccoli salad, my aunt's mustard mold (it was a beautiful mold of mustard), my other aunt's FABULOUS potato salad, plenty of food, good family, laughs, and tears for the beautiful prayer my grandmother said in honor of the holiday and the angel missing at our table, my grandfather.

After dinner we finally got to the brass tax of things and started to open gifts. My uncle made a point to share how my grandfather was not fond of Christmas (I share his I said...he and I were of the same cloth in many ways) but he always busted his arse to make sure that enough money was made to pay for the joyous holiday, that all the kids, grand-kids, and now great-grand-kids had wonderful gifts to open. While he was absent for this year, and this year also brought many financial hardships to our family and others, the holiday was still joyous and ever special with the wonderful gifts to be opened and shared.

He could not have been more true with his words. These are the beautiful gifts received by The Chad and I from my family on Christmas Eve. Gifts to last my grandparent's lifetime, my lifetime, and soon, the times of my children; gifts to never be replaced, exchanged, or packed away, but honored, cherished, and stories to be told of these gifts for a lifetime.

My grandmother's Spode
Some of these pieces are no longer available and as my grandmother shared in her card:
"Little of a little, to the girl who appreciates it all!"
My grandmother gifted me a few pieces of her Spode Christmas Tree collection to as she said "whet" my appetite for the ENTIRE collection that I will be receiving over the many years to come that she has left in this life and upon her passing I will be the recipient of the complete collection. YES. COMPLETE.
The worth is priceless in my opinion. So many Christmas holidays were spent eating and drinking with these pieces of fine china, stemware, flatware, and glassware, the wonderful memories.
All the serving pieces, china, table settings, and even pieces like the beautiful ornament that has a compartment to refill with wonderful scented potpourri.

A gift received by The Chad. My grandfather's pocket watch.
I believe this has more strong sentimental value to me than to The Chad, though the gift did bring him to tears.
My grandmother each gave a wrist watch to each of her son's and grandson's (my brother and half-brother) and finally an heirloom gift to "keep in the family" as she said in the card to The Chad.
A wonderful honor, priceless gift, and a beautiful memento of how truly special my grandfather and my family are to me, how special we are to them, and how special my husband is to my family.

A collage made by my Aunt Shawn, for me. I lost it. I could barely keep my composure and the only words I could get out were "You're an asshole Shawn!" But she knew how much this means to me. How very special and cherished my family is to me, how my grandfather was like no other man in my life. The collage contains a picture of my great-grandparents (top right), my grandparents at their 50th wedding anniversary (top middle), my grandparents and their children, my aunts, uncles, father (top left), my grandfather's memorial picture (bottom left), my grandfather's senior picture...the handsome devil he is (bottom middle) and the picture to the bottom left is all of our family. I was pregnant with Grant in this photo. All of my brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, EVERYONE is in that photo. Again, priceless. words could not and still cannot describe how wonderful a gift this was to receive.

Even more priceless was the gift received by my aunts and uncles from my grandmother. Another honor that brought me to tears and one to be cherished by my family forever.
I wrote a tribute to be shared at my grandfather's memorial service, as did my aunt Doreen and my aunt Vicia.
Each of these tributes captured what is, was, and always will be the true essence and being of my grandfather in his life and in the next. These tributes were framed beautifully all next to one another and given as gifts to my aunts and uncles on behalf of my grandmother. A gift I was so honored to be a part of and had no idea.

Here is the tribute I wrote that was the last to be shared at the memorial:

My grandfather was and still is the patriarch of the family. He is the rock, always steady and calm, weathering every storm. He was always the joker, trouble maker, story teller, shepherd of all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Watching as they all played happily, giggling, laughing, he would bask in their innocence and fun. Occasionally he would join in on the fun and games. If you ask any of his grandchildren they will tell you his was perfect, despite all of his imperfections, Grandpa could do anything. In fact many of us believed he roped and hung the moon.

I recall many holidays, family gatherings, and weekends that I would spend with Grandma and Grandpa; they are and will always be some of my fondest childhood memories. I spent a great deal of my childhood with them.

At one of their homes in Eloy, shortly after they got Brig I recall Grandpa showing us how Brig would nip at your heels. As a child this was greatly exciting and scary all the same, considering the size of Brig compared to our small childish frames. Grandpa showed us to shuffle our feet and get Brig riled up, tell us to run like hell for the stalls and jump onto the railing. He would belly laugh and cackle to watch myself and my siblings, Chris and Brittany, run as fast as we could, but his cackle grew increasingly strong as you heard the shriek of Grandma Tina yelling through the kitchen window, “Danny!!! You Stop that and tell those kids to get in this house right now!” He was so good at getting her just as riled up as the dog.

He would reach the back door after riding or being in the stall with Sonny and stamp his feet as dust came rising off his boots and jeans. You could hear her from the other room scolding him and he would giggle under his breath, as he took those boots off at the back door. Grandpa spent a lot of hours, which seemed like days to me, in those stalls. I felt like we would walk for miles with him, at the house off the highway where they lived, which was next to the stud farm. He would walk us around, talking about horses, telling us everything and how that equated to life. The man was so graceful, he was in his element around a horse, he is my cowboy and no other will ever measure up to my Grandpa. He was lean, strong, wiry, and gentle, he could be cruel and kind all at the same time, and he was like no other man I have ever met.

He could tell you all you ever wanted to know about horses. But he could also take you on his lap, sit you there for hours and tell you about horses and cars, baseball, basketball, men and women, love and life, and he always had room to talk about business, he was savvy in business. Grandpa had a story, a lesson, a passion, and an unyielding love for horses, cars, sports and life; he told me “If you don’t love what you do, then you need to do something else, love what you do, find your niche. Life is not worth living if you don’t love it, love what you do, and don’t let anyone tell you how to do it.” Grandpa had a way of always doing things his way, they made sense, they were fun, and he showed that life was to be lived for every moment, no matter how big or small, good or bad, everything had a reason.

I will always remember the way Grandpa smelled. My family has a thing with smells, I think I get that from Grandma because her house always smelled like the freshest florist or the warmest bakery, it was heaven. But I remember the rough, calloused, and gentle smell of his hands, the hint of warm, earthy, dust from his morning ride, the remnant smell of a vanilla tobacco pipe, leather from his boots, chaps, and saddle, the sweat off his Stetson, the cotton from his shirt and jeans, and the air of his cologne. Each and every time I hugged him I could smell those smells, I can still smell him to this day. I know when I recall the smell I was at home, he was home.

My relationship with my grandpa cannot be expressed, the words will not come. A dear friend of mine (who recently lost her grandfather) told me that the love and relationship between a grandfather and his eldest grandchild and granddaughter is “magical.” He truly was magical, his life, the experiences we shared, and the memories I hold dear, will always be magical.

I love you forever and always, Kare babe. 


Those are the gifts that holidays and moments are made of, not the fancy electronics, the Lexus with the big red bow, the diamond pendant, none of those matter...the simple gifts of love, the time and thought are what make gifts at the holidays priceless. 

What were and or are your priceless gifts? Gifts your children handmade at school or with your spouse? Maybe your parents still have gifts you made as a child? Maybe even the simple gift of conception, family love.

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New Years of Old

A little montage to show you how, many a New Years have been celebrated by The Chad and I...and then with the kids.


My first New Years as an a bar....still underage....and over drinking! Cantcha tell?

Looks like The Chad and his best friend have the same problem....over drinking...ha ha!

Yes the same night....same place...we were playing 3-man with some very good friends. The year we spent New Years in Temecula.

The year WE hosted New Years....and lets say that the clean up is NASTAY when you are hungover!

The year we spent New Years with my brother and sister-in-law....yes that is The Chad....kissing my sister-in-law it's a thing he does.....good times!

Now that is true family....a couple of drunks playing chess....yes....I am drunk with my brother...who was also drunk....playing chess. We rock!

The year we decided to start remodeling the New Years....with Grant....look how little he is! Probably about the twins' age...craziness

That is a fun New Years....water guns!

At least Mom and Dad made it to the ball drop!

Happy New Years, be safe everyone!
See you all next year.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Tradition

 I tweeted and updated my Facebook status on how fabulous this holiday season would be, even after a tumultuous Thanksgiving I knew Christmas would completely drown everything that happened.

For the week leading up to Christmas Big G and I were on a Betty Crocker roll. I think I was channeling her or Martha Stewart for that matter with how many crafts and baking we accomplished together. We started by making these absolutely easy and aromatic Christmas ornaments courtesy of my friend Casey over at Extraordinary Mothers. Look at these beauties, I was so proud of my baby for sticking with the project.

We used some super simple ribbon too. Just a bit of wired ribbon and decorative craft rope and we have insta- ornaments that not only look fantastic and can be dressed up but smell absolutely intoxicating!

Next we did some rolled and cut Gingerbread Man cookies that were just the most tender, sweet, soft delicious cookies you could ever have. We did THREE dozen of those cookies. Look at the boy go! I was so proud he had so much fun...and we chowed on some dough! What good are cookies without cookie dough to nibble on.

So we moved onto more fun cookies and we did some really fun sugar cookies. I decided to use my new Wilton's Cookie Press that I won from my friend Sandra over at Adventures In Mommyland (you should read...this woman has amazing strength!) and we did fabulous Christmas tree press cookies and some "star" shapes that actually looked more like flowers and we decorated as such.

Finally I made THREE, yes THREE homemade, from scratch, did not buy the shit in a pan from the store, PIES. I know I am a culinary snob...I truly enjoy the insult of being a snob, I pride myself in this delight. I have skills and I am proud to flaunt! HA HA HA. Okay, so enough of me, here is my prize winning pie...well actually it was eaten too fast before I could take a beauty shot, but I do have the original specimen, and I will be posting the recipe for Morsel Monday next week since I have failed to play along with consistent blogging this week. A-Okay by me, enjoying the relaxing time the no pressure of posting. But here is the specimen that I speak of...yes...that is a Pumpkin. An albino (white) pumpkin and what the insides look like after being cooked/mashed. Pretty right? Just imagine the taste. OH EM GEE!

The three wise pies were my infamous and prized beauties that each of my Grandmother's raved over (yes both Grandmothers asked for the recipe....the women with phenomenal, mad cooking abilities wanted MY recipe!), my aunt's who both have an insane level of gift in the culinary arts wanted the recipe, and of course my mother...who legitimized my claim of THE PERFECT child cook said my pie was better than the other pie she had that day...or any other day or holiday for that matter. Well of course...mine was made with love...not from an assembly line and stamped with the brand of "Marie Callendar's." kthxbai

I then worked on my Turkish chocolate cake. This cake was like no other though, more of a Swiss Roll with wonderful whipped cream inside...again, another recipe I will be sure to post. Super easy, super delish and very decadent. A true dessert cake and delicacy. However, one cake did not roll, so it was a layer cake of sorts, the other did roll, beautifully so I hauled that with us, along with the pecan pie, oh and the divinity. Yes, I made divinity. Which is a true feat to successfully create this confection in winter due to the weather and often cloudy days. You cannot make divinity on a cloudy day...same with fudge...the consistency just isn't right. But I hauled all these goodies to my Grandmother's house in Casa Grande for my 31st Christmas Eve celebration with her, with my Grandfather's passing which was ever so bittersweet a celebration of family nonetheless, my aunt's who had I many a laughs with, and my uncle who I joined in sarcastic witty banter as we jabbed others and one another.

Needless to say while the gifts were not overly plentiful as some may expect, the love of family, being together, having fun, and the creations of love and joy were shared abound. Those gifts are the gifts that carry no price, can never be replaced, and are felt year round and are remembered for a lifetime.

What were your holiday traditions? Family traditions? Baking fun? Any childhood memories you had that carry on with your present family? Children?

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The Joy of Family

I have been blessed with a very mellow dramatic, albeit over exaggerating, PPM (poor pity me), GOOD GAWD WTF type of family. I did not choose them. In fact, I chose my family in the eighth grade, Angela Lansbury I believe was my grandmother of depiction. I would need to search out that childhood project for excellent blog fodder. Regardless, my family is highly entertaining.

The theatrics is so thick one would have to wear a parka, rain boots, goggles and maybe a helmet to avoid the depth of shit that oozes from my family. Truly a made for TV, Lifetime mini drama.

Ttoday when I finally have begun my recuperating from the holiday I receive this email...which really doesn't set off any emotion, just highly irritating to have my precious web invaded by such a load of horse shit:

It is my humble opinion, that once a human being with even the average level in intelligence upon viewing this, does not realize how petty their resentments, attitudes, greed,pride, avarice,greivances or grudges,self importance,anger,hatred,the denying of relationships of loved ones from loved ones out of some misguided ideation of superior morality or emotional maturity, does not realize how truly unimportant , in the grand scheme of God's directives and teachings are in comparison has no soul and has not nor will not have a life worth living.

Now that "humble opinion" is that of my overly arrogant, clueless, alcoholic, overly medicated, sperm donating, excuse for a father. Sad really. I laughed and shook my head. The email was about the cosmos and relation to size, not sweating the small stuff, yadda, yadda, yadda. Whatevs. I generally read, say to myself "Cool" take the message and move on. But that first bit of hogwash had me saying "Oh please let the level of chaos and mellow drama stop....PUH LEASE!"

My "father" if you can refer to him as such, I generally call him by his first name so for the sake of privacy I will call him PITA; PITA seems to think I harbor some sort of anger, hate, grudge, whatever the eff the man believes based on his delusions of grandeur brought on by almost 40 years of substance abuse. Seriously, he thinks I must have LOADS of energy and feeling to be wasted on pointless, energy consuming, time wasting feelings of hate, anger, and grudge. Really, those feelings would require me to have a feeling or a care or want. Of which I am void.


Because why waste and let the little things like my PITA's transference get in the way of my life, why let him get to me because he carries these feelings himself about the pure fact he was an empty excuse for a parent.

He was a worthless excuse for a all of his wives. Oh wait...ah yes, I's a conspiracy, they (the former wives...including my mother) were all out to get him. To dump on him...the alcoholic, the drug addict, the PPM syndrome. I see this a lot in my family by more than just PITA, as if everyone else looks to dump on them. OY!

I guess what I am just up in arms at myself about was the fact that I even submitted any energy to the PITA on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. WHAT.A. JOKE. I made the mistake of showing gratitude, an attitude I carry with everything in life. Yes, I am quite thankful for bad happenings too...they do have a reason. Nothing in life happens by coincidence. So yes, I was thankful for the gifts The Chad and I received from PITA and the gifts received by my children, of which 2/3rds of the gifts will probably never be used because PITA has never taken the time to get to know ME as a daughter, let alone my children. Nope. PITA told me in a text (which I love writing for this fact...the statement cannot be claimed as conjecture. Seriously people if you don't want people to second guess you, never put your crap in writing.) Oh yes, the text:

Just so the kids know that they have a Grandpa "PITA" that love's them & they remember if only vaguely.

Here is my deal....this almost infuriated me...more or less was annoying at the sheer ignorance, and the fact the moron took so much time to type something that clearly states his own narcissism. My kids have no idea about their Grandpa PITA. Why? He's toxic, so I do not allow him in my life. If I do, I am ALWAYS burned, so after 31 years I finally put my foot down. Seriously, when I get an over dramatic call that I, yes ME, am to bail HIM out of jail. Uh, negative ghost rider the pattern is full....full of your shit...and you are NOT my responsibility. The call was over excited, like a teen who was just busted and wanted Mom and Dad to bail them out of the shit hole they dug themselves into. No thanks. A reason why I DO NOT associate with him. But of course I get the attitude of disdain and "I can't believe you are doing this to me" when I say...NO and I have children, you are not one of them.

I think I heard a hallelujah.

Anyway, PITA seems more interested that my children know of HIS existence than he does of theirs; and he wonder's why I have nothing to do with him. Oh, maybe because you did the same thing to me as a child resulting in adult issues that I had to seek therapy and healing for. ALRIGHTY THEN! So I am glad to say I love the power of IGNORE, BLOCK, JUNK MAIL, Remove Sender and all the electronic powers that be, so that I never have to see another annoying email, text, or even paper letter again. Thank you USPS for the "Return to Sender" option within the postal service.

All I can do is pray that one day, if that SHOULD ever happen (highly doubtful), he will see the importance in knowing OTHER people and not that they always know YOU! Especially when they are family. Do you have any family members like that? They thrive on self-loathing, pity, and transference? The misery loves company syndrome as well? How do you deal with toxic family?

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Monday, December 28, 2009

The Problem with Politics, Religion, and Vacuum Cleaners

Sounds odd right? The politics, religion, and vacuum cleaners combination. Really though have you met anyone that refuses to back down on their personal opinion of their political stance, their staunch religious beliefs, and the fact they have the best damned vacuum cleaner ever?

I thought so.

No, each of these believes that their way is the best. The sect of religion is THE sacred path to redemption, their party is the GOP (Grand O'l Party) and again THE party. Or maybe that the Dyson they own is truly THE BEST sucker out there. Moving on.

A few weeks back I attended a workshop for stampers, they are quite literally more fanatical about stamps than scrapbook creators are about widgets and paper. The workshop was rather enjoyable especially since my Grant baby was enthralled in the Holly and Hal Moose video from Build-A-Bear and he has his own crafty projects to make.

Time passed and the small group of women tediously worked on their projects, perfecting and adding the minute details of their cookie cutter, quite literally Xerox copies of each others project, cards. Niceties were exchanged, gabbing commenced, and then the ultimate blow of offenses.

"You know it is not a 'Holiday Tree' this is America, it is called a 'Christmas Tree' so let's just call it that and move on and quit trying to be friends with these crazy Muslims and what not..."

Now I am not, by any means, an easily offended person. But that comment, spewed from the mouth of an older, white, staunch conservative, no more than a high school education, WOMAN, pissed me the hell off. Why? Why was I so clearly irked by her lack of cultural sensitivity, her blissful ignorance, her sheer disregard for her new audience? Hmm, one could wonder why right?

Not I. I had no care to wonder, because this woman who was hosting me in her home had no idea whether my messiah was derived from the over translated New Testament, the Book of Moses, or if my messiah might possibly be Muhammad himself, or better yet a higher language of thought and enlightenment through Buddhism or hell maybe I was Satan reincarnate through Hinduism in the form of a hot blond. Do you see my level here? No? Here is the deal.

You can be Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, an Atheist, a Pagan, a Hindu, or Buddhist, but do NOT assume that because we live in what I feel is a large melting pot of cultural  beliefs and racial assimilates that I too am as ignorant and a staunch conservative, WHITE, pseudo-Republican, and Christ belief bearing as you. I truly do not mind that so many people have so many beliefs, I rather find the various beliefs of great interest to me, I question everything because I wish to learn more, not find the one divine path to redemption. I find redemption within my own self, not from some righteous ass who tells me I need to find redemption by giving to their authority in the form of cash and guilty sabbath visits or confessionals.

I will admit, I am Caucasian, I am a registered card bearing member of the Republican Party, I am also a gun owner, a baptized Baptist whom has been non-practicing for over 20 years, I am Pro Choice (GASP!), and I like many other morons voted for Bush...TWICE, but I also voted for Barrack Obama. I believe in Mother Earth, a higher power of sorts, reincarnation, an afterlife, I believe in free will, choices, the ultimate separation of Church and State because I believe homosexuals should be granted the same unhappiness of marriage like us heterosexual folks. Seriously, why should we be damned granted blissful marriage and divorce only? Makes sense right?

But I do not go about assuming that each and every person I come into contact with is of the same beliefs. I do not push my beliefs like a hustler. I embrace the diversity. I embrace my often mis-informed Republican kin, my zealous Democratic kin (who quite possibly are lost in translation....much like my Republican brethren), I embrace the word of the Torah, the Quran, canon (most likely Tibetan by all intents and purposes), the Book of Mormon, I embrace these as the words of good living, a form of ethics and a higher ascencion, not for redemption and "I'm better than you because I believe in Christ" or "You're going to hell"  (because I don't believe the way you do). I also do not swallow all these words, but they are chew worthy and food for thought.

Really we spend so much time convincing others of our beliefs that one has to wonder their own religion if they are too busy selling the water. So I will drink the tap and thank you kindly for the hospitality, appreciate your strong beliefs and go on with my merry sinful living to your devout singular beliefs. Because I surely did not just tell you that you HAD to vote for Barrack Obama because we needed change in this country, I did not tell you that you must pray five times a day, barefoot, facing East in order to find divinity in your life, and I surely did not just force my Kenmore Progressive Upright in your face because it IS the best vacuum....Consumer Reports even called it a best buy! Embrace diversity and show a bit of consideration to your audience.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pizza for You and Pizza for Me: zpizza :: CLOSED

Who in the world does not enjoy a good slice of pie? I for one thoroughly enjoy a good piece (or two) of a pizza pie from a great pizza joint. Especially this year! Why this year?

I have hosted THREE, yes, I said THREE major holidays this year of which two are the biggest, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For each one, I fail to cook the night before because let's face the facts; who wants to cook a dinner when the next day you spend the ENTIRE day cooking dinner for an army. Plus the baking, the cleaning, the humanity!

Pizza is a big fave in The Fish home and we also enjoy a good bout of organic goodies, I try to shop and buy as much as I possibly can because of all the benefits of going organic which you can read about here. Imagine my surprise when I heard of a pizza joint that has certified organic ingredients I was in heaven!

Seriously though even The Chad thought oxymoron, "Pizza" and "Organic" together? Not possible. Possible.

Well, until he tried zpizza with me and the kids.

Now zpizza is not just about pizza, but salads, sandwiches, and more. zpizza offers a healthy and lighter alternative to some of your favorite foods. The ingredients are some of the finest, exotic, and freshest. 100% certified organic tomato sauce and flour coupled with MSG-free pepperoni for a truly amazing dining experience.

The Fish family received certificates to enjoy a pizza (or other dining options) from zpizza in the last week and I tell you what, seriously some of the most filling, flavorful, tasty, mouth watering, no other pizza can whet your appetite like zpizza. No lie, hands down, some of the best pizza and not because we received certificates to try out the pizza on behalf of zpizza.

I have had a sampling of zpizza before but not like this night, it was HOT, fresh, and OH. SO. GOOD! We ordered locally here in Arizona at the Midtown Phoenix location of 53 W. Thomas Road. I love midtown, downtown Phoenix, lots of up and coming businesses, a very hip and modern area revived in the midtown, downtown area.

The hubs was raving, the kids were cheering, well they weren't really because they were too busy scarfing down the pizza but you catch my drift. We ordered the American, a wonderful blend of fresh veggies, meat, comparable to a "Supreme" at other pizza places but this one is FULL flavor.

The crust was more of a light bread of sorts, not doughy, not too thick, not too crunchy, the true essence of a brick oven pizza if you have ever had brick oven pizza. The cheese was mild, not salty like traditional pizzas, the sauce was light and enough to add flavor to the pizza without taking over the pie and not dripping off the slices. The toppings. OH, the toppings were out of this world! Fresh! Cooked even, and still fresh. Large helpings of toppings that were full of taste, crispness, and color. If you recall "traditional" pizza the toppings are meek, pitiful, lack in color and taste and most often are soggy from the loads of grease. These toppings literally POPPED from our pie.

Big G wasn't too hip on the toppings so The Chad and I gladly ate his veggie toppings, savoring, every. Last. Bite. Now "traditional" pizzas leave you full and dissatisfied with yourself, like a glutton, pure swine after you eat it, and even after we had our slices, we were pleasantly full. Not overstuffed like a turkey at holiday or the need to slip into sweat pants, but satisfied on more than several levels.

So does this pizza option sound tempting enough for you?
Is your mouth watering for this tasty delicacy so aptly misnamed as "pizza?"

GOOD! Here is how you can win a $20 certificate to zpizza and avoid cooking for one night!

Mandatory entry: Tell me where the nearest zpizza is to your home and which creation (pizza or otherwise) you would order in your home to chow on?

Extra entries:
  • Follow zpizza on Twitter and get all the "dish"
  • Follow my blog 
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet this giveaway (daily RT's available): Enter this giveaway for $20 GC for @zpizza with @KariewithaK Ends Jan 5
  • Blog this giveaway
  • Leave a substantial comment on a non-giveaway post (can't just say Oh Hey saying HI, share the love for Pete's sake) Worth 5 entries
  • Fan The Fish on Facebook
  • Enter one of my other giveaways and tell me you did (worth 1 entry per giveaway entry, this could be significant depending on the number of current giveaways)

Best of Luck!!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

SEED Power Winner


Congratulations to Susan Varney!

Thank you so much to the Buzz Cooperative Crew and SEED Power body care products!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Going Green Into the New Year ecostore Giveaway ::CLOSED

Finding a way to clean your home in an eco-friendly manner is tough considering the marketplace is FILLED with chemically laden and enhanced products. Ammonia based, alcohol based, harsh chemicals that linger and fumigate your home. I have two toddlers and my six year old and believe me, nothing I do not like more than to have harsh, dangerous chemicals in my home and around my children.

My cleaning is pretty unorthodox. I use cans of Coca-Cola to clean my toilet bowls (yes, just the way it eats at the porcelain at your teeth, it can acid wash your NASTY toilet too) so they are sparkling white, hot salt water and half lemons to clean my cutting boards, and cream of tartar to degrease. Need a bleaching? Lemon juice and the sun. What? You thought that combo was only for the nasty blond dye jobs? Think again.

I was asked by ecostore USA to review a few of the products in their line. I received Front Loader Laundry Powder and the Citrus Spray Cleaner to try in my home (in exchange for this review...*Hi FTC).

A bit of back information on ecostore USA:

Founded by Melanie and Malcolm Rands of New Zealand. The eco couple in their eco-village "shared a commitment to organic growing and healthy living, making this an ideal environment in which a young, environmentally conscious business could thrive. Each household in the village was responsible for their own waste water, which quickly highlighted the problems caused by using regular supermarket cleaning products that relied heavily on cheap, petroleum-based, synthetic ingredients" (, 2009).

15 years later their idea to better the world with better and eco-friendly products now have them exporting into the United Kingdom, the USA, and Australia. How are the products better? How are they more eco-friendly? Well because the products are all plant based. Citrus, coconuts, palms, essential oils for fragrance, and minerals (like salt). The ingredients are not based on the creation in a "lab" but derived from nature.

The Front Loader Laundry Powder:
I was highly skeptical of this product. The scooper was small, and when you have been accustomed to commercial laundry soap for many years the change is drastic. I was even leery of the scent, however, after my first few loads I was impressed. I was truly blown away, I know by soap? But seriously if you have a front loader you know the "funk" you can get from time to time. I actually lost an trace of "funk" in my Frigidaire front loader when using this product. I even enjoyed the clean scent where the clothes actually smelled clean and not perfumy clean.

The Citrus Spray Cleaner:
The cleaner was effective. I used it everywhere around my house; bathrooms, kitchen, dining table, high chairs, anywhere that was goopy, nasty, and needed a good thorough cleansing. However, I was not thrilled with the scent. The scent was rough, harsh, even though vegan, the scent did emit a harsh chemical smell and air to it and I had to be sure to use it in open areas with windows open. But the scent was truly citrus and possibly the scent could have been the mixture with old nasty chemicals in the rooms. All in all though the cleaner was effective.

Now here is how you can win some of these great green and eco-friendly products to use in and around your home. Choose up to $25 worth of products with a giftcard, here's how:

Mandatory entry: 

Check out the ecostore USA and tell me what two products you would like to have in your home (aside from the two mentioned above).

Extra entries:
  • Sign up for the ecostore USA newsletter (worth 5 entries)
  • Follow my blog
  • Fan The Fish
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Follow ecostoreusa on Twitter
  • Tweet this giveaway (Daily tweets available!!) : I'm going green with this giveaway from @KariewithaK and @ecostoreusa 
  • Blog this giveaway (worth 5 entries)

Best of luck!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blogs are Heartbreak Warfare

While jogging tonight I suddenly was overwhelmed by emotion. A huge sweeping wave that I have been fighting; for how long who knows. Tears came streaming and I fought them, I fought the burn. I used the excuse of the cold night air and the fact I just sprinted three-quarters of a mile, the burn in my chest, the ache, just the run. Then I smelled manure. Yes, that is it, just the manure for the rye grass seed of the prima Donna yards of the Arizona winter.

The burn faded as I began to power walk and breathe swiftly, the manure had subsided, the wave was now a tsunami. What was this feeling, why the onset of sadness, the overbearing feeling of emotion beating at my chest, weighing on my heart and mind. I felt as my head were in a tailspin, my eyes gravitated to the night sky to gaze upon the stars to ease this ache. My iPod was shuffling songs with varying beats per minute to keep me in line with my jog when finally I was floored by John Mayer.

I had listened to the song many times before, not a problem. Suddenly this song meant so much more to me today, at this moment than it ever had before. I realized the pain I was feeling was that of the last year and most recent events in my and others lives. The cost was my emotional toll of all these events. So much of my own emotion has been laid ever so bravely, albeit sometimes foolishly (to always wear my heart on my sleeve), with my blog. I have watched others do the same. Most recently a mother who experienced the most horrific tragedy fell victim to more pain because of her choice to bravely share an experience, to avoid her solitary confinement of despair, shock, and grief. Others have been victim to bad blood of failed business relations, failed friendships, even families are ever divided. In some situations the division could equate to infamous literary feuds: Montague v. Capulet and Hatfield v. McCoy.

Each story a heart, each heart a soul, and for each soul is one person sharing his or her story. Most share the story out of love, the love of writing, the love of life, the love of children, the love of their story because so many feel their pain, their joy, whatever the distinguished emotion, their situation is not exclusive, and yet so often we look at the blog, the tweet, the update as true social media, notwithstanding the true MEDIA aspect of news. Our posts are not FOX news, a breaking story from CNN, but a simple soul, an individual sharing their love for their life and the experiences they share no matter how callous, heartless, devastating, shocking, appalling, or deplorable.

Our blogs, our updates, our Tweets have become quite literally, and thank you John Mayer, Heartbreak Warfare. Jealousy fuels because of the lack of PR exclusivity, bombs of hate between former friends (and family) who cannot come to civil terms, families feuding for lack of understanding, compassion is the last to be shared by those involved or by the trippers. I am truly saddened by the many events of this year; the loss of my grandfather, the deterioration of the relationship with my sister (which if you know me and my blog, I have always shared such a special love for her), the deterioration of my friend and her sisters relationship, friends driving knives deeper and deeper, people being petty, not wanting to eat crow, swallow pride for the sake of humility, maybe even an ounce of humanity, compassion. No one has to be the best of friends, but a bit of human compassion could be called upon, only more pain is what remains.

I leave you with the lyrics to this song that resonated such powerful emotions within me, also my farewell into the New Year as I reflect on the year that was, the year to come, and my hope for this holiday is that the ugly line to fade and people start crossing the lines into humanity, compassion, empathy.

Our blogs are not news, we are people, ALL of us. We all have a heart, a soul, we all feel at some level.

Lightning strikes
Inside, my chest to keep me up at night
Dream of ways
To make you understand my pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Drop his name
Push it in and twist the knife again
Watch my face
As I pretend to feel no pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare.

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Just say so...

How come the only way to know how high you get me
is to see how far I fall
God only knows how much I'd love you if you let me
but I can't break through at all.

It's a heartbreak...

I don't care if we don't sleep at all tonight
Let's just fix this whole thing now
I swear to God we're gonna get it right
If you lay your weapon down
Red wine and Ambien
You're talking shit again, it's heartbreak warfare
Good to know it's all a game
Disappointment has a name, it's heartbreak warfare.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gifts for Everyone: Stocking Stuffer Fun :: CLOSED

Are you stumped for the last minute stocking stuffer ideas well look no further since these ideas cover you literally from head to...bum?

Do you recall your parents protecting you from the elements each year by stuffing Chapstick into your stocking? Okay, so maybe my nurse of a mom was the only woman to give Chapstick and Lifesavers. But boot the Chapstick, really, when you get the fabulous feeling and oh so chic look and feel of Softlips lip conditioner.

Why Softlips? Well why not? The packaging is super friendly and with the duo packs you cannot go wrong. They slip ever so discretely in your stocking, purse, or pocket. Above all Softlips lip conditioner keeps your lips moisturized, soft, conditioned, and has a SPF20 for really fighting the elements. Softlips has a limited edition winter flavor duo pack in the following flavors:

  • Sugar and Spice
  • Vanilla and Mint
  • Sugar Plum Berry
  • Sugar Cookie
 The Softlips packs retail for $2.99 to $3.99 for the duo pack and they are available at your local Walgreens and Target stores. Hurry though if you or your family love Softlips as these flavors are only available for a limited time.

If you are on Facebook you can fan Softlips and get all their updates on new flavors, offerings, giveaways, and more! However, since you are reading all about Softlips as a fabulous gift idea on my blog, read on to find out how to enter to win THE SET of Softlips winter flavors!

Now this part of the stocking stuffer I had a ton of fun reviewing while I know a lot of my blog friends and "The Chad" were laughing and skeptical.

In the summers of Arizona we have what you may call "swamp ass" or "swamp crotch" and the feeling is not so fresh or friendly. I mean what else do you do? The wonderful folks of Anti Monkey Butt solve this problem. HANDS DOWN! Seriously, you think I am kidding? I am not afraid to say that I hate the rubbing, sweaty feeling of my inner thighs, or ladies...the sweaty bust? You know what I mean. Laugh it up chuckles! Here is the low down:

Anti Monkey Butt Powder is a new product, invented by motocross riders, designed to treat friction and irritation that can result from excess sweat. Excessive sweat can cause irritation of the buttocks and inner thighs, also known as "monkey butt". Unlike other powders, Anti Monkey Butt has calamine and talc which gives it a cooling sensation instead of the burning that you might get from other products. Anybody who has used those other powders will know what “the burning” is we are referring to. [RobinLeedyAssoc, 2009]

Lady Anti Monkey Butt is fabulous and really silky smooth. I really was a bit embarrassed to open and try but heck, I am all about trying products, what can they hurt? So I was PLEASANTLY satisfied at the feeling, smell, and sensation of feeling dry. I am a jogger so this was fabulous for me, I truly do not like the icky feeling. The ingredients are ever so simple too, corn starch, calamine, and talc. Sweet! "Butt" hey, Anti Monkey Butt was originally for men and they have the great ladies edition in pink! So while you are still laughing, grab your composure to enter this great giveaway for these fantastic items because ONE winner will receive both Anti Monkey Butt and Lady Anti Monkey Butt.

Here are the deets for these giveaways to stuff your stockings (though these will be a bit late for Christmas, I apologize for the delay in posting):

Mandatory Entry: Let me know which product you want and why? Aside from the information I told you above.

Extra Entries: Follow my blog, enter my other giveaways, follow me on Twitter, tweet this giveaway (daily RT's available), blog this giveaway with a link back to me (worth 5 entries), Fan The Fish on Facebook, Fan Softlips if you want Softlips, Fan Monkey Butt if you want Monkey Butt

*The Five Fish did receive products in conjunction with the post,
however, my opinion was not swayed in any manner

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More Winners for Christmas

And now the winners of the Gaga for Mama baby gear & Eden Fantasy's $25 GC.

Gaga for Mama

Eden Fantasy's $25 GC


All winners have been contacted and have 48 hours to respond.
Thanks so much for your participation and helping to make these giveaways such a success!

Thank you again Shelby with Double Up Books & Eden Fantasy's!

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Unilever Beauty Products Giveaway :: CLOSED

Do you recall the beauty tip of the day? Where some wonderful tips were posted on keeping fresh looks, beauty tips, tricks, and even some fabulous new ideas? Well I am ever so thankful and grateful to bring you this post of the wonderful products that were reviewed and now presented in a giveaway! I shared with you my post on my beauty tips using these products and now I am able to share with you the ones I enjoyed using the most and I will share an assortment pack (much like the one I received) for you to receive as well.

The Unilever assortment of products ranges from Ponds cleansing cloths, Dove deodorant (in a smashingly fresh smell which is now my favorite!), Dove hair care, Vaseline and QTips to name a few. These wonderful products can be used daily as part of your beauty regiment or as needed.

I have to confess that my favorites are the deodorant in the fresh citrus, the QTips and the cleansing cloths that I use ALL the time for removing makeup in my daily and nightly routine. The Vaseline is fabulous for removing sometimes stingy eye makeup and even for moisturizing the rough areas like knees or elbows. I also like to use on the twins bums as they need a little TLC from time to time. The QTips are fabulous because they are the vanity pack with the slide box. They fit snugly and perfectly on your counter-top for easy access and use. Now win an assortment pack of Unilever products, beauty, hair, and all health!

Mandatory entry: Tell me what your beauty regimen is and what products (even Unilever products) you like to use in addition to the products mentioned above.

Extra Entries: Follow my blog, follow me on Twitter, Fan The Fish, Tweet this giveaway with @KariewithaK so I can track your tweets (to be fair, and can tweet daily, enter one of my other current giveaways, blog about this giveaway (worth 3 entries)


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wordful/Wordless Wednesday


Now I do have to share a very large secret about this monstrosity of refrigerated bliss.
You see, the fridge is actually a fridge AND a freezer.
Yes. Each are stand alone. Not a built in....but I built my kitchen and designed the ENTIRE kitchen around my "faux" built-in, but ever so freaking awesome fridge and freezer.

That is them....wide open.
Now here is each open alone so you can see how they work.

The freezer, chock full of my goodies, at the bottom is my free range chicken, the DiGiorno for the nights that I don't cook and we refuse to order take out along with the Bertoli pasta The Chad can cook when again....I am burned out on cooking or I happen to take a night off. The freezer is the size of a FULL SIZE top and bottom fridge & freezer. So now, her cool sister...the fridge.

Isn't she PURTY!?
Look at all those leftovers crammed into that shelf, below the cow that I should buy. Can you see all that milk? Yeah, that is gone in A DAY!! A DAY!! Easily 2 1/2+ gallons of milk a day. I need a freaking cow.
The fridge, stand alone. Also the size of a full size top and bottom fridge and freezer.

All in fridge and freezer yield me roughly 36 cu. feet of storage!
More so than I would have gotten out of a french door fridge AND I saved myself at least $1000 by doing this combo a few years ago. I have to say that I LOVE my Whirlpool fridge and freezer! I have yet to have a problem with them EVER and I have my very first Whirlpool french door fridge in my garage as a beverage and "storage" fridge/freezer. That old girl is going on 11 years old and still works like a freaking charm!

So now you know what kind of food we TRULY eat in our home and you get to see how stinking cool
THE FRIDGE really is!

 For more Wordful Wednesday fun, head on over to the circus that Angie runs
and for all your Wordless Wednesday wonder visit these folks:

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monday Mingle: Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone!
This is the last week for a mingle until the new year. You can still play along. Be sure to visit to link up and find all the details of doing your very own Vlog! Tons of fun. This week's questions are:

1. What three things are on the top of your holiday wish list?

2. What are you doing for the holidays? Any special plans? Going out of town?

3. What is your favorite holiday cookie?

Happy חֲנֻכָּה‎ Hannukah!
Happy Kwanza!
Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gifts for Kids: VTech Cyber Pocket

Are you on the fence about what kind of game console or portable game console to get your kids? Well I hope this post will assist you in your last minute purchases.

Our family recently received a VTech Cyber Pocket to review with the Zayzoo: An Earth Adventure smart-tridge for endless play. As a parent I worry about too much stimulation with video games, computers, etc. Although we are more of a technological society, I firmly believe children learn from good old fashioned hands on learning and computers enhance the learning.

So before I released the game on Big G to take a stab at, I went ahead and frustrated the poor boy by playing with the game. I thought it was fun and requires a lot of patience, brain power, critical thinking skills. Now we all know I am a skeptic so I compared the VTech Cyber Pocket to the Nintendo DS that Grant has and really these is no comparison. The DS is your typical personal, portable game console and the good majority of the games are and padon me for saying so, mind numbing entertainment. You have to look for the educational games where again the majority are entertainment, not educational. The VTech Cyber Pocket is entertainment for your brain by all means with math, reading, spelling, and as I said critical thinking. Plus if you cost compare the VTech to the Nintendo DS, the cost savings is tremendous for he wonderful skills and brain power your child flexes and uses.

Zayzoo has a spelling adventure and I tell you even as an adult I had to think about the words to be spelled as the letters are provided in an odd entry such as the middle letter or letters are provided and you fill in the blanks. Grant had a great time and enjoyed playing. He did say the pen was a bit of trouble for him when deciding on a level to play but he found he could use the console controls instead.

He enjoyed the VTech Cyber Pocket immensely. Grant was really into the games with the learning and I had no problems with him playing a game console like this as he was flexing his brain and not just numbing it.

So if you are on the fence for what kind of console to get your child be sure to look at what you are providing. Also be sure that you are providing your child with an age appropriate console. While the VTech Cyber Pocket suggests 4-7 years of age, I would think that the age range could be a bit higher because of the spelling and critical thinking, however, as I said, the VTech Cyber Pocket will really flex your child's brain.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Perfection Is as Perfection Does

I was asked once, "Karie, is your house, life, everything always this perfect?"

I pondered for less than a millisecond, and the answer I blurted out, "No."


I took a step back recently, I pretended I was an outsider to my own home, looking in as if a stranger or newcomer into my home and life. What I saw was pretty least for me...quite amusing because I truly carry the ultimate facade of She Can Do No Wrong.

The Facts:
  1. I Shower DAILY....sometimes twice DAILY because any stench of ick makes me want to puke.
  2. I do truly smell and shit roses because you could never tell anyone had dropped a load of feces in the porcelain god because my toilet is truly white and pristine. ALWAYS.
  3. I always have candles a flame....a lovely ambiance and the smell is relaxing.
  4. I rarely leave the house without makeup, if I do, I had better look fabulous.
  5. My hair is always done, whether I re-brush and use a straight iron to eliminate the JBF I still have fabulous hair.
  6. Even my "grungy" clothes, the ones I consider to be a t-shirt and jeans....FABULOUS. A slim fitting Calvin Klein tee and bella Dahl jeans.
  7. My bathroom NEVER, EVER looks like a truck stop restroom, nor does it look like Chewbaca visited. I cringe when I see other "normal" bathrooms like that. Seriously, I don't even have toothpaste spatters.
  8. My kitchen is as sterile as an operating room. Every inch is cleaned RELIGIOUSLY, even while cooking my counters are free of debris, spatters, dishes, etc. In fact, all of my cookware is washed immediately AFTER use to avoid the nastiness that will sit overnight.
  9. Seriously I think anyone who celebrates Passover would be happy to know my home is ALWAYS free of crumbs, dog hair, dust, like I said, RELIGIOUS about my cleanliness.
  10. My yard....pretty pristine. Now the party in the back is not so much with the doggie land mines and all. I am not a fan of picking up hot thankful for the warm Arizona sun to dry them out for easy scooping.
  11. The bed....made daily. You would think I had a housekeeping service because my sheets are taut, wrinkle free, and the bed is always made....even with useless decorative pillows and shams. That's how I roll.
  12. The playroom. The one room in the house that should always be a disaster, riddled with toys whale...they are all put away. Even the stuffed animals are arranged.
  13. My I said....color coded and arranged by genre; so my bookshelf looks like a cascading rainbow of literary spines from self-help to my corporate finance text's to science fiction and fantasy. My bookshelves are truly a masterpiece.
  14. The art work. Oh me or artwork is even arranged in such a manner. Almost alphabetical the way they run through my home. From Kadinsky to Picaso to Van Gogh, plus some private label art. I am a lover of the fine arts and their placement in my home.
  15. My towels are neatly and evenly hung in the bathroom along with hand towels, tip towels, and a beautiful bar of hand soap. My wash cloths are also neatly placed in my shower caddy tower arranged in a rainbow for easy access to a new washcloth for using.
Truly I think you get the picture of my "perfection" which is sad. I truly try to let my house go, I try HARD, really HARD to not work so hard at keeping a good house. I truly try hard to not let my compulsion take over. Some call it a disorder, but really...I find a lot of order to my "disorder," albeit a method to my madness. Take a good look:

Okay...I lied a little...I left Little Bitty's shoes on the island and my water bottle as I took these photos.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Meme

Okay I am a huge FAIL BLOG-ALE, I have memes to be posted and I need to get to it!

My gal pal Jackie over at Monkey Mayhem tagged me for a really fun Christmas meme, so here goes!

1.) Have you started your Christmas shopping?

Yes, I began a bit before Thanksgiving and then the day after,.

2.) Tell me about one of your special traditions.
Every year I load up the kids and drive to my grandparent's house in Casa Grande to spend Christmas Eve with them. This year will be even more special and meaningful and bittersweet as this is the first Christmas without my grandfather, but my grandmother always has such a beautiful spread.

3.) When do you put up your Tree?
When I get off my ass. Seriously.....I just put it up Saturday. Some years it has been just a week before Christmas because of the kids pulling on the tree, ornaments, ya know.

4.) Are you a Black Friday shopper?

Oh I am now! Last year I was devirginized in my Black Friday experience, so now....a seasoned pro. I will go every year for sure!

5.) Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?

With kids....we stay home. If we do travel, it is across town to my other grandparent's or uncles and aunt's homes for Christmas Day festivities and shots of Crown Royal. That's how the Polish roll in my family so we roll with them!

6.) What is your funniest Christmas memory?
One that is cherished by my entire family when my dad and brother were lighting luminarias and my brother and dad could not get one to light. My dad called it a weak sister, and my brother chimed in "Which one? Lynneah or Shawn?" Makes us all fall over laughing everytime we hear that story.

7.) What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
The original Miracle on 34th Street.

8.)Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
I do bake all my holiday favorite would be an angel roll and it is similar to a Little Debbie roll without the icing on top and I put coffee into the mix for a truly decadent flavor.

9.) Fake or Real Tree?
While I miss the real, I would rather keep my home and save the environment. I have a 13 year old fake....who might need to be donated for a needy family next year and we upgrade to a new one.

10.) What day (as a Mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?

Christmas none. Although my OCD kicks in right about now freaking the hell out to get it all done.

11.) Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?

Isn't everyone?!

12.) What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
The morning of Christmas, to see the kids faces are just priceless.

13.) What Christmas craft do you like the best?

Casey, over at A Couch with a View did a SAWEET craft that I need to try out this year for the kids which is applesauce and cinnamon ornaments! You can get the recipe here.

14.) Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
Christmas music gets me everytime....I'm a sap...but I am not a huge Christian belief in Christmas type, but the music always gets me and my faves are The First Noel (because I am the first Noel in my family...nah nah, boo boo), Angels We have Heard on High, and Carol of the Bells....that one is my ALL time favorite.

15.) When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
I have to have a PLAN? Um soon....very very very soon!

So Heather @ Top Ten Christmas was the original creator of this meme so be sure to link to her and here are my tagged bloggers:

Jenine @ Badger Momma
Kelly @ Childhood
Lauren @ MisAdventures in Theatre
Sandra @ Adventures in MommyLand
My witches "Winter" and "Redneck" @ Networking Witches

And heck....whomever feels in the spirit of the season to play along because really....the season is all about giving! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gifts for Kids: CenterStage by Shutterfly

The holidays are such an ordeal.
As parents and even some grandparents search for the perfect gift they often feel overwhelmed.
What is THE gift for your child?

Well look no further because this gift is truly ONE of a kind and unique to your child.

CenterStage products by Shutterfly put the spotlight on your child where they truly are center stage. You can showcase your child and their favorite photos in their very own personalized gift. They can go on adventures with their favorite characters such as Dora or Sponge Bob in an action/adventure book, they can be showcased with their favorite stars in a poster, or be featured in their very own puzzle with their favorite characters or stars as well.

Our family ordered and received a complimentary CenterStage product where we ordered a puzzle. Grant loves puzzles and we thought, what a perfect gift idea but to make HIM the gift. He would be the center of attention and given the opportunity of a truly unique gift all his own. His face was priceless, if only I had more sense to take a picture of his face as opposed to the puzzle you could have seen how ecstatic he was! We chose the Autobots and Optimus Prime as his background and the result is awesome! cool is that for a six year old boy?!

The puzzle creation was a simple process and is a 125 piece interactive gift. Choose a head shot, upload to Shutterfly using the CenterStage product option, choose the background from the cast of G.I. Joe, High School Musical, Transformers, (NEW) Star Wars and Star Wars the Clone Wars and Hannah Montana and voila! Just order and within a week your product is shipped and in your hot hands to share with your loved one.

 Prices start at $19.99 for the posters and up to $39.99 for the personalized books. An overall great personalized, unique, THE gift to give your child for under $50. But if you are a big spender Shutterfly is offering for a limited time free shipping on all orders of $50 or more. That's right, order $50 or more and receive free domestic US shipping, but you have to act soon as the offer will be expiring, be sure to use the code SHIP50 when completing your order at checkout.

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