Credit Freeze Protects You From ID Theft

>> Sunday, June 29, 2008

Did you know that you can protect your credit by putting a credit freeze on your information at the credit reporting agencies? I had no idea! It's amazing the wealth of information you can find on the Internet on a Sunday afternoon when you're bored, lol.

Anyway, back to credit freezes. This prevents just anybody from checking your credit or getting credit in your name (identity theft) without your permission (generally a pin number from what I've read). There may be fees involved in doing this (or unfreezing your account) and not all states allow it yet. This may change if the federal government provide a national standard which will preempt state laws.

For more information, check out the Consumers Union or FinancialPrivacyNow.org.

*this is not a sponsored post.

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French Maid Anyone?

Can you believe half of 2008 is over in one more day? Pretty soon, it will be time to get ready for back to school and planning our fall activities, like Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays. I love to dress up as much as the kids do.

If I lose my planned weight soon, I might put myself into one of the cute little French maid costumes or perhaps a fairy costume. I've been the sea-worthy pirate wench before eons ago. I also love the belly dancer costumes. So many pretty costumes to choose from. I'm glad I have a few months to figure it out (and see how much weight I lose, lol).

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Quest to Weight Loss

I am determined to lose weight. I've missed my several times a week volleyball games this past week because of the daily rain we've received this week. So, I am not looking forward to my date with the weight scale tomorrow morning. I've been doing it naturally so far and it's coming off slowly.

Tonight I was reading the Leptovox review about the super supplement, Leptovox. A super supplement is a supplement that provides many benefits and only contains natural ingredients. Other ingredients found in Leptovox include antioxidants, Flax Seed, Lactobacillus Acidophillus, Garlic, Acai, Green Tea, Cayenne Fruit Pepper, and more.

Definitely sounds like more than just a weight loss aid. It sounds like a vitamin too.

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CFL - Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Do any of you use those CFL's? The light bulbs that last years, cost more, and comes with procedures for clean up and disposal due to mercury and the risk of releasing hazardous waste into our air - our children and pets at risk - our landfills, and our water supply (including mention of HAZMAT)? I have four children and three dogs in my house. If one of these bulbs break, do they get enough exposure to the mercury, before I can evacuate them, to make them sick? That worries me a bit.

The government says we all have to use these bulbs by 2016. Besides my obvious opinion that the government is becoming over-involved in telling me what I can or can not do in my own home, what risk is there to my kids should one break (come on, a house full of kids and dogs - - one of these bulbs will get broke at least once, likely more). Did you know it costs $2,000 for HAZMAT to clean it up for you too if it does break?

So, I've heard about the law the government wants to enforce within the next decade. Now I want it highly publicized what risk to my children and pets this law will have on my family should they break and mercury is released. Anybody know? Do the pages of procedure on clean up and disposal of these things imply they are highly toxic and risky? Seems like it. Or, is the EPA just covering their backsides?

It'd be nice if we just had an honest government. ***pick myself up off the floor from laughing my backside off***

I just want the truth.

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Our Husky's Health is Declining

Our husky is getting up there in age and needs pet supplements
to keep her from being in too much discomfort due to arthritis through her legs and spine. Otherwise, we would have to make the sad decision to let her go and I'm not ready to do that for as long as we can keep her comfortable and happy. If supplements do that, then she gets them. There was never any question of that for her.

She has been such a good family pet for all the years we have had her. We adopted Sophie from an Ann Arbor, Michigan rescue seven years ago. She'd gone through a rough time previously (abuse, abandonment while pregnant and full of heartworm left to wander around Detroit) but she's had a loving home with us ever since. This past year, she has started to lose her hearing too. We know she is on borrowed time with us. It will be a sad day (week/month/year) when we have to let her go for the entire family.

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Better late than never?

Well, my stepdaughter "remembered" her brothers birthday yesterday after I mentioned it to her (which I should not have had to do). She said she thought it was last Wednesday. Yes, it was so if you knew that then why didn't you call or email him to say Happy Birthday?!

Is it all kids today who don't know how to use proper manners and etiquette and show they care about other people, especially their family, or is it just my stepkids being raised to forget about half their family?

I wonder...

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Stepfamily Advice & Support

I've added a listing of good stepfamily and divorce tips and advice on the sidebar of my blog for quick viewing (a little support when you need it) - things to do and things not to do. With more than 13 years as a stepmom, I've learned some things along the way. Unfortunately, I have also seen a lot of things that should not be done - to the children stuck in the middle, the ex, and your own kids. I hope it helps you navigate your way through what can definitely be a minefield.


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Help When You Need It - Angel Food Ministries

>> Saturday, June 28, 2008

With the price of everything going up and mortgages becoming more and more difficult to meet every month, I thought there might be some people interested in this organization that can help you feed your family if you need it. It is called Angel Food Ministries. Currently, they help feed over 500,000 families a month by offering enough food that would fit into a medium-sized box for only $30 (average retail value of the food is $60)...enough food to feed a family of four for a week or a senior citizen for a month. An average menu may consist of meat items, vegetables, pasta, breakfast items, and dessert.

Everyone qualifies too. There are no applications to fill out!

Take a few minutes to learn more about them or see if there is an Angel Food Ministries in your area. If it helps you make ends meet and keeps food on the table for yourself and/or your children, check them out.

I married a non-custodial father so not only do we financially provide for our own children and household, we pay child support every week for my two stepchildren (on time, every week, for the last 13 years!). I know that non-custodial parents who pay support and/or stepfamilies can struggle financially so if this helps you feed you and yours, it's worth checking out.

*this is not a sponsored post.
**cross-posting on both blogs, Stepfamily Sanctuary and Syn's Life, as I think it's important and I want to reach anybody who might need a little help.

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Stepkids - Two Weeks

>> Thursday, June 26, 2008

They will be here in two weeks...well two weeks and two days. The new thing now is that my stepdaughter has decided she is a vegetarian. She had decided this a couple years ago but it didn't last. I guess she has decided again.

I have to get busy coming up with ideas on what to feed her that:

  1. Provides her with all the nutrients she needs; and
  2. Doesn't break our very tight budget.

Does anybody have any good ideas? I have a few but not enough to feed a kid any amount of variety for a week. Help!?!?

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Quick Weight Loss

You may have read that I am losing weight. It is coming off slowly...very slowly. I have been tracking it on my blogs and have recently signed up with a group of people online who are also tracking it on their blogs for incentive. It would be nice to lose a little more a little quicker. Wouldn't it be nice to have quick weight loss and be done with it? My "four kids later" hips and belly are screaming "YES" right now.

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Door Hardware Blues

Part of my front door is missing. One of the hinges broke on the heavy screen door and we couldn't shut it anymore. It was so annoying, not to mention embarrassing when neighbors would come to the door and they're trying to close it behind them.

Instead of taking a good look at the door hardware and replacing what needed to be replaced, my husband took the screen door off. It looks really bad now because our exterior door is in bad shape and now you can see it clearly without the screen to hide it. The doors will both have to be replaced sooner rather than later now too. *sigh* New doors have always been on my "to do" list but this used to be one of those "to do" things that was at the bottom. I guess it's not anymore.



Door Hardware Plus carries door hardware, knockers, pulls, hinges and switch plates from many popular brands. They are offering free shipping on orders over $75 so don't be like us and just tear things down prematurely. Find the hardware you need at Door Hardware Plus.

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Yup, Forgotten

Well, my son's birthday was forgotten by my two teenaged stepkids and my mother. I was hoping the day wouldn't go by yesterday without a birthday wish, but it did. How hard is it to say "Happy Birthday" ??? Both my youngest daughter and only son were forgotten by grandma and two of my girls and son by the stepkids.

I didn't mention it to anybody - not hubby or my son. My son was pretty happy with his birthday gift from us and he has a party this weekend with a Kung Fu Panda birthday cake, lol. So, he's not noticed the members of his family who forget, which I am very glad he wasn't hurt. I noticed though.

What is sad is that I expect it to happen. I know it will. The stepkids were raised to forget about us as much as possible so it's no big surprise there. My mother I expect because she's done it so many times in the past...not just forgetting birthdays but putting my kids at the end of the line of grandkids. Playing favorites is a sucky way to grandparent.

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Forget Your Sister, Forget Your Bro, Forget Your Grandchild

>> Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My stepkids didn't acknowledge the April birthday of one sister and May birthday of their other sister. They either totally forgot or just totally blew it off. Even if they forgot on the particular date, they DID see the pictures after the fact and still didn't mention a word. So as far as I am concerned, they blew it off.

Tomorrow is their little brother's birthday. I wonder if they'll remember (or blow off) this sibling too.

Of course, my mother forgot her youngest granddaughter's birthday as well. It was a month ago and not a phone call to say happy birthday. I'm not even going to wonder if she'll forget her grandson's birthday tomorrow too. I can pretty much bet confidently that she doesn't forget my sister's kids.

A sister forgets. A brother forgets. A grandmother forgets.

What's that saying - you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family...something like that anyway.

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Things I stumbled upon...

I am stumbling right now...looking for interesting reads. Here is what I found:

The Housewives Tarot
Mine said I was going to have time in the future to cleanse my soul. Time? Lordy I hope so!

The Great Ocean Migration
You HAVE to see these pictures! Fantastic.

Marriage Builders
My marriage is strong and happy so I didn't linger on this site, but maybe one of y'all would want to peruse it.

Divorcenet.com
*sigh* We all know the divorce rates in second families is higher than first marriages. I would guess due mainly to the stresses of an ex, blending kids, and juggling money to cover two households. I am glad my marriage made it thru the rocky period of blending and is stronger for it.

The Good Wife's Guide
I believe this was actually printed in a magazine way back when...long time ago. Thank the gods that this isn't expected today. No way could I have done this!

Now it is time to get the house in order (again). That has to be done a couple times a day with the four kids home all day long. Blog time over:)

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Teen Sues Mom for ID of Father

In 2006, a teenager sued his mother to find out the identity of his biological father when the man who was thought to be his father, really wasn't. Apparently, the second name the mother gave the child turned out not to be the teen's father either. At that point, the mom refused to give anymore names. It's just my opinion but perhaps mom should have been a little more discriminating on who she slept around with.

I haven't found the outcome of this law suit which was filed in Macomb County, Michigan two years ago. I am going to have to do some searching to find this one. Interesting.

It's becoming more apparent that there are too many kids out there who don't know who their biological father really is. I think children have the right to know who their fathers are! Besides the obvious, the medical/health background of their father and father's family could help the child in question know who died early of heart disease, strokes, prostate cancer, etc. so that they can have the proper health screenings.

Here is the article at law.com.

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Men & Divorce

>> Monday, June 23, 2008

A lot of men and their second wives will tell you that men tend to get the unfair end of the stick in family court. Heck, even a lot of the wives who they divorced will say the same thing (which is why some divorcing parents are smartly choosing not to allow the courts to dictate their custody, visitation, and support orders into any cookie cutter standard order but are co-parenting instead). Then you have the others who will use this messed up system to get what they want and stick it to their ex.

I found this article on AskMen.com about it. As the wife of a father who has two kids in the family court system via his ex-girlfriend, I have to agree. He is hostage to the family court system for another four years and 11 months. If his ex had been more receptive from the beginning to dad's relationship with the kids, everybody, but the kids mostly, would've been better off. Kids and their relationship with their parents don't fit into any "standard" some strangers create.

*not a sponsored post.

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Those Bad Feelings

Once in awhile, I get a really bad feeling that something is wrong. Last night was one of those times. I could not get to sleep for anything. It felt like something was really wrong but I didn't know what. The dogs were in. The kids were asleep (though I could still hear their TV on). I don't know what had me tossing and turning with that huge feeling of dread. Finally, my husband told me to get up and walk around the house so I could check for myself so I'd feel better. I checked on our three dogs as I passed through the hallway and then went upstairs to check on the kids. They were sound asleep. I turned the televisions off and made sure they had covers if it got cool. I checked the door locks and sticks in the sliding patio doors. All good. I looked out at the fire pit to make sure the fire we had burning earlier had stayed out and not flared up again. All good. I even checked the snake to make sure he was OK before heading back downstairs (he was fine, just looking at me from his home). I checked the water tank to make sure the pilot hadn't gone out (that's been a problem lately). That was fine. I checked the baby to make sure she was covered and sleeping OK. Everybody and everything was fine. I still couldn't shake that feeling.

I eventually fell asleep (to have a bad dream that I had been bitten by a snake...though that was better than the nightmare I'd had the night before with blood pouring out of somebody and pooling on the floor coming towards me). Then I woke, went back to sleep and had another bad dream. I was back in high school in this dream. *sigh* Needless to say, the last few nights have not been good for sleeping for me.

I guess it was the movie we'd watched before going to sleep last night that left that feeling of dread with me. (Though I did think about calling my sister to make sure everything was ok but thought I'd better not wake her up at 1:00 a.m.) We watched the Sweeney Todd movie with Johnny Depp. I am not used to seeing Johnny Depp slicing throats I guess. *blech* That was a disturbing movie on a couple of different levels for me. I didn't like that movie at all though I am a huge Johnny Depp fan usually. I guess that had to be it since everything else seemed fine.

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Toddler Abandoned

>> Thursday, June 19, 2008

This two year old toddler was abandoned in Wal-Mart in Frankfort, Indiana by it is presumed his mother. There was a note left that she couldn't care for him (no food, no place to live, and her son was starving) and that his father had left a year ago.

Was this really his mother or was this child kidnapped and then left?

The video shows a woman who was not starving by any means. The note she left with the boy said her boy was starving. Um, "mom" wasn't! She drove off in a Honda Odyssey (not an inexpensive vehicle). The video shows the little boy running after the "mom" and the woman shooing him away. So sad.

I don't let my child out of my sight in a store for fear of somebody nabbing them and hurting them. Then there is this woman who just dumps this toddler off! What if a pedophile had been in the store at the time and grabbed the boy before store security found this toddler?

It just disgusts me what some people can do to their own children; some people don't deserve to be called a parent. When I think of all the people who WANT kids and

Here's the story.

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Orange People

>> Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do people not realize when they use some of those self-tanners, that they turn ORANGE? Are they not testing it first in a hidden spot or do they really think this looks good?

I was at an appointment recently and the woman I spoke to had orange skin and I tried hard not to look too closely and make it obvious. Really, I did!!

This doesn't look good people! I'll keep my lily white skin anytime over becoming The Great Pumpkin.

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Link Exchange

>> Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I am starting a link exchange for my stepfamily site. If anybody is interested in exchanging links, please comment here.

Link Directory

Tootsies Stride Rite
Children shoes from Stride Rite, Keds, New Balance, etc., from size toddler 3 in all widths up to size older child 6. Includes sneakers, sandals, boots and seamless socks

Designer Reading Glasses
Designer Reading Glasses and Sunglasses: luxury optical frames, safety lenses: Chanel Christian Dior Dolce & Gabbana Gucci Fendi Prada Oakley.. Newest 08, most popular 2007, populold fashioned models. SMART EYEGLASSES SHOPPING-add lenses online

Link2Me Link Exchange Directory - The Best Link Exchange for SEO Professionals
Quality directory of webmasters actively seeking link exchange. Improve your search engine rankings and link popularity the easy way. Work clever not hard.

I also have a blogroll in the sidebar that covers this blog and Syn's Life so if you want to exchange links for the blogroll, that's cool too!

Sherry Rambling
Sherry Shopping

Tootsies Stride Rite
Children shoes from Stride Rite, Keds, New Balance, etc., from size toddler 3 in all widths up to size older child 6. Includes sneakers, sandals, boots and seamless socks

The Stepcard Collection

Dr. Rick's Step Forum

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Beatboxing Flute

>> Monday, June 16, 2008

My oldest wants to learn how to do this with her flute:



Cool huh? I love the way a flute sounds but beatboxing flute just makes it sound so FUN! Gives it a great beat to move to (never thought flute would get me wanting to move my behind and tapping my foot).

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Black Box Network Services


Black Box Network Services offers voice and data networking for business, government, educational institutions, home offices and more. If you are in need of furniture, converters, networking, servers, cables such as the CAT5e, etc., they have been in business for more than 30 years so you know you can depend on them. Tech support is on call 24/7. They are there when you need them. They are THE leader in their industry.

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Did video games do this too?

According to June's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, it is found that the rates of Vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and teenagers was surprisingly high - 40 infants/toddlers and 42% adolescents. Do those numbers surprise you? They do me.

You think because milk is fortified with it, that it's enough. It's not. Your body may store it but it's not activated until sunlight hits it - 15 minutes a day is enough experts say. Unfortunately, kids aren't outside enough anymore. Where are they? Playing video games probably. I wonder if my stepson's bones were x-rayed if he'd be in that 42% of adolescents with all the hours (days, weeks, months) he's logged playing video games.

Another problem? Sunblock. Yes, I said sunblock. You can't get the benefits of the sun's rays to activate the Vitamin D if you've blocked it! That doesn't mean fry skin in the sun! A few minutes in the sun before applying sunblock might be in order (talk to your dermatologist first if you are at risk). As a parent, I wouldn't give kids those "15 minutes" during the time of day when the sun is its strongest either but that's my personal opinion.

For more information: USA Today

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Does your ex give the kids things you send?

I'm just wondering if any of y'all have the same problem we have. We send the kids packages and they don't get to them in a timely manner. Mail time between the two homes is two mailing days but it'll be a week later and the stepkids are still claiming they haven't received things yet. They don't receive it until after we start asking about it. Coincidence? Not likely.

My devious little mind imagines the ex holding these packages (she checks the mail the stepkids say) and getting a secret thrill from keeping things we send from the kids. When we start asking the kids if they've received them yet and the kids claim "no" then the ex figures it's time to take it out of her hiding spot and give it to them, which she'll do a day or two later. It's how it always goes anyway.

We mailed something to my stepson well over a week ago. Probably more like 10-12 days ago. He still hadn't received it as of yesterday according to him.

It's time to start paying for confirmation tracking I think. In this way, gifts/packages we send the kids can't be kept from them by "anybody" for any length of time anymore (at least not without us knowing about it).

I guess anyway the ex can get her thrills I guess. Goddess knows she's not getting them anywhere else since she's still not dated since dh left her over 13 years ago.

No, I'm not in a sarcastic mood today. Really! Not.

Hmmm...wonder if she opens them all first and then reseals them so the stepkids don't know. She used to open them to see what came in the mail, reseal them, mark them "return to sender" and send them back to us! Always fun and games in a step situation.

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Father's Day

Hubby talked to his kids yesterday so I am assuming they wished him a Happy Father's Day. When he called them, they were celebrating their dog's birthday. Yeah for the dog. Never mind that they couldn't be bothered to put a card or a little note in the mail for their dad for Father's Day, as long as they don't forget to celebrate their dog's birthday.

Hm...I'm wondering if I was their parent, if I'd feel like I was below the dog in importance?!? Yes, that's sarcasm.

Happy Birthday, Dog.

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Happy Father's Day

>> Sunday, June 15, 2008

I wanted to wish all the fathers a Happy Father's Day! My kids have been planning for awhile what they were going to do for their dad all on their own. Besides what they made for him at school, they've been making by hand their own cards and have planned a party for him today.

I was hoping my stepkids would send a card to their dad but nothing came in the mail for him...just like last year. Nothing. I hope they at least call him sometime today. My kids are all younger than the stepkids and do things on their own to make their dad's day special. You'd think his firstborn son and firstborn daughter would know better and think more about their dad.

My husband has been planning the gift for his eldest son for the past few months. While his son can't take five minutes to drop a note in the mail to say thinking about you and love you. *sigh*

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The Damage Kids Can Do

>> Friday, June 13, 2008

I am looking around my living room at the wear and tear (ok, damage) that kids do to furniture. The upholstery on my couch and loveseat have definitely seen better days, one of the dogs chewed on the leg of the loveseat, and my toddler has dinged up the finish on the coffee table and end tables. I think this is like the third in a round of coffee tables we've gone through.

Six children have gone through a few different sets of living room furniture over the years. Is that a lot? This is my last "kid" set. Once our toddler is a little older, I am getting my last set of living room furniture for many, many years and it will stay stain-free and ding-free. Right? Somebody offer me a little hope here...

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When does dealing with the ex get better?

>> Thursday, June 12, 2008

In the ongoing saga of finding a neurologist for my stepson's ADHD, the ex sent us a list of doctors she wanted considered. First she didn't even check to see if they took her insurance first (duh). Got that rectified (for the most part...one of the docs she said did take our insurance really didn't).

Anyway, one of the doctors she sent us to consider for my stepson has caused some confusion. First, she said they told her they would develop the management plan for my stepson. Then she said their other office (I'll call it office XYZ) would be better suited for my stepson because of his age and she gave us the number to that office.

I called office XYZ. They don't accept our insurance. They didn't even know who this doctor was that the ex said referred her to them. That doc doesn't work there. They had to look her up themselves.

So, I sent an email to the ex letting her know that the original doctor didn't accept our insurance (as the ex told us it did) and that Office XYZ doesn't accept our insurance. I advised her that this office didn't know who this doctor was and I asked her which doctor at Office XYZ she was considering so we could look into it.

Her response: Original doc can't see him because of his age (so why give us the doc's number to research as a possible doc for him?) and that she didn't call Office XYZ, speak with any of their physicians, and she knows nothing about them (so why give us their phone number to call for consideration for stepson's ADHD if she had no intention of considering them at all?).

This isn't rocket science. This doesn't have to be difficult. Why does she have to make everything big fire-ringed hoops we have to jump through?

So to answer my question in the subject:

When does dealing with the ex get better?

  • 4 Years, 11 Months, and Two Weeks

That is when the youngest stepchild graduates from high school and the legal relationship with the ex ends.

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Teens Scared to Work?

>> Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A few months ago, I asked my 15 year old stepdaughter if she was going to get her first job soon (not to be mean or anything, lol, just curious as most teens do get a part-time job to pay for things they want). She's old enough to babysit and in a few months, she'll be old enough to work in restaurants and such. It turns out, she's not going to. Apparently, she won't babysit anybody but family because she's afraid the father of any child/ren she sits for may molest her. The same for working outside the house at say, McDonald's or something, other than with her mother. She's afraid. She will only work with her mother.

So, since she was a little girl, they (stepson too) have been afraid to leave their mother they said because their mother cried at home without them when they went to dad's house (therapists confirmed unhealthy behavior). Then they were being told our house had serial killer ghosts in it to scare them about going to dad's house. They've slept in their mother's bedroom (up until recently I've been told)...and I wouldn't doubt they still are. Now, my stepdaughter is saying she is afraid to work anywhere except for her mother.

See a pattern here?

Is your teen afraid to babysit outside the family? Is your teen afraid to work outside the family?

I babysat a couple dozen kids by the time I was her age. My first job outside of babysitting was at a Tubby's restaurant. Then, I worked two jobs (doctor's office after school and waitressing in a chinese restaurant after leaving the doctor's office and on weekends) while going to school and maintaining good grades. I had my own car and made my own car payments and insurance payments in high school. None of my kids are getting a free ride when it comes to cars and insurance. They want it? They work for it. I'm not sure if my stepdaughter's mother plans on buying my stepdaughter her car and paying for it for her. I know it's not something my husband or I will do for my stepchildren or our own children.

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Teen Driving Laws in Michigan

There are two pending bills in Michigan right now that will impact teen drivers if passed. What is being proposed:

One is a "no talking on the cell phone while driving" law for teens. The other is no more than one other peer in the car while driving (statistics show crash risks go up five times for each additional passenger in the car for teen drivers). This would be until age 18. They are considering exceptions to this (such as driving friends home from school and parents/family member inclusion). Both of this, of course, are being proposed to limit distractions to the new teen driver.

Michigan has a graduated drivers license program right now. Level one and two restrict them from driving with peers and only between 5:00 a.m. and midnight until level three.

Statistics: 6,000 teen drivers are killed in crashes in the U.S. annually.

I know I am going to worry when my kids reach driving age. I also remember how I was at that age and the chances teens take because they don't think anything can go wrong...nothing can hurt them. The statistics show otherwise.

My stepdaughter is turning 16 this year. All I can say is she won't be driving my vehicle whether I am in the vehicle or not, lol.

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ATM Theft

>> Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I received an email today from my brother about ATM theft. It was a slide show with a hidden camera showing how thieves will set up an ATM machine to make you think your card has been confiscated when in fact, it hasn't. It's caught in their trap! I went to Snopes to look it up and it is true. Anybody who uses ATM machines (most of us) should check this article out at Snopes. They show screen shots of the slide show so you will be able to see exactly how the criminals pull it off.

This is not a sponsored post.

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I'm Bored, Mom!

>> Monday, June 9, 2008

It's been three days since summer break started and how many times have I heard, "I'm bored" already? Several! Since school let out, they've slept in, stayed up late to goof off, karaoked, we've played volleyball, had a bonfire, roasted marshmellows, had a friend over, had a sleepover at a friend's house and went window shopping for a couple of their birthday presents. They're bored?

The last time "I'm bored" came out of one of their mouth's, I told them the next time I hear it, I was going to hand them a list of chores to keep them from boredom! Then dad threatened the offending child with summer school.

They're just "so bored" so today I had them cleaning the bathroom and removing all their clothing from their dressers and closets to sort winter from summer and small from still fits. Usually I do this each season myself but I wouldn't want my little prince and princesses "bored" anymore. *evil grin* They were praying for boredom when it came to cleaning the toilet!

Let's see if I hear that phrase again anytime soon!

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Summer Visitation

It's looking like hubby is only going to request one week out of the 5-6 he should have. I thought he would. Too many years of making the kids feel bad when they leave their other home has done their damage (leave that to you to speculate on who did that). The last week-long visitation we had a couple months ago started to get a bit harry by the end with my stepson's behavior. My husband doesn't want to risk going any longer than a week and having any problems or somebody getting hurt.

I am going to have to remind hubby to make sure he's talked to his ex about being on the same page as us on my stepson's swearing. I didn't know it soon enough during the last visitation but I know what to watch for now. If he thinks it is OK to call his little sister that "b" word again out of our hearing range, there will be problems!

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Vessel Sinks Bring Style to a Bathroom

>> Sunday, June 8, 2008

My bathroom desperately needs new fixtures and more updating. We have painted the walls and framed the mirror, but it is not enough for me. I need a new tub/shower combo, new floor and a new vanity and sink.


I love the look of vessel sinks. I think a vessel sink brings your bathroom up to date in style. You see them on a lot of the design shows on television. I would love to have one in at least one of my bathrooms.

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Scary Time Today

Today, after my three year old fell out of her dining room chair, tipping her plate over and sending the liquid garlic butter cup flying and landing on her head, she went right to the bathtub to get the butter out of her hair. After her bath, I put her in her Blues Clues towel (the kind with the hood and ears that looks adorable on her) and ran to her bedroom to get her clothes. While I was on the way up one half flight of stairs (we live in a bi-level), she had decided to come down the other half instead of putting her pull-up on. She fell. She slid down headfirst on her back and then skipped the last two steps to land on the back of her head. I saw this through the rails and I couldn't get to her in time to stop her from hitting bottom.

She immediately started crying. I didn't move her; I waited until she sat up herself to make sure she wasn't injured badly. She reached out to me and pulled herself up and then sobbed for awhile while I held her. I think the scare had her crying just as much as the knock on the noggin.

Having a child knock their head always scares me. She's ok, but we kept her up for several hours past her usual bedtime just to make sure.

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Diet Pill Reviews

A lot of people take diet pills but how do you know which ones work? Which pills don't work? Which ones may not be as safe as they claim? Seriously, how do you know?

If you are looking for diet pill reviews for pills such as Phentermine or many other diet pills, Consumerpricewatch.net has them for you. Their reviews are based on several types of criteria such as: value, safety, ingredient quality, customer feedback, company reputation, customer service, reorder rates, product sensation, long-term benefits, packaging, product convenience, and weight-loss potential.

Their reviews certainly seem to cover all the criteria. If there is a diet pill you want to know more about, you'll likely find what you are looking for at Consumerpricewatch.net.

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HOW TO BE A GOOD EX

What makes a good ex? I have a few ideas...

  1. A good ex is one who keeps the other parent up to date on the kids' school and doctors. That means sending copies of report cards, field trip notices, school newsletters for school and letting the other parent know ahead of time when doctor appointments are. Provide an update after the appointment.
  2. A good ex is one who doesn't make the children feel bad for leaving them when they go to visit the other parent.
  3. A good ex is one who allows the children telephone and Internet access with their other parent when they are with you without burdening them with your anger or resentment over it.
  4. A good ex is one who doesn't grill the kids about what went on in the other parent's home while they were there.
  5. A good ex is one who sees visitation as their child's time; not just the other parent's time...and respects that.
  6. A good ex is one who shares transportation when possible. This time is for your child and both parents share responsibility for ensuring that time and bond. It should be referred to differently than parenting time because it's not just for the parent. It's for the child.
  7. A good ex is one who is civil and polite without overstepping their boundaries.
  8. A good ex is one who doesn't use the child's parenting time with the other parent as a bargaining tool to get what they want (you can have daughter if you give me xyz.)
  9. A good ex is one who is emotionally healthy and is able to move beyond the resentments from the marriage/break-up to co-parent.
  10. A good ex is one who doesn't make any demands on the other parent like there is still a relationship (fixing a car, moving something, a shoulder to cry on or ear to bend). That relationship is over. The only relationship you have now is as parents.
  11. Don't answer the door in very little clothing. You likely will give the other parent something to laugh about later (been there, seen that, lol).

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Conversation with a three year old

>> Friday, June 6, 2008

My three year old wanted to play with her Dora bubbles. I let her have them only if she wouldn't open them (and spill them all over my floor) but just blow bubbles. She played with them...then she opened them. Huge soap spill across my newly washed kitchen floor. *sigh*

I take them from her and put them away. She starts to cry. I tell her she can't play with them because she didn't listen and can only play with them outside from now on. She's still crying. She whines with big tears rolling down her face, "Daddy." I ask her, "Do you think daddy would give them to you?" She says, "Yes."

She's probably right. I'm the mean parent.

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Thinking About Retirement

>> Thursday, June 5, 2008

Do you think about yours? My husband is starting to talk about making plans to follow over the coming years for retirement so that we can retire (which is years away) and not struggle financially. He wants to buy a small piece of land in the country, which I think would be wonderful. I don't like city life. We are actually in a very small village but it is still not rural enough for me. You can buy several acres where we live for what you'd pay for one acre somewhere else. My husband's parents did this as well and live there to enjoy their retirement now.


We can't do anything like that now. We will have to wait until his two oldest kids are grown first so we can afford it. However, that didn't stop us from driving around and daydreaming. I took this shot at one piece of property we stopped at. This is the edge of the property line at one side.

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Birthday Shopping

I took my three year old shopping yesterday so she could spend her birthday money. She picked out a pink guitar (not the little plastic ones like at Wal-Mart...an actual pink guitar from a music store). It even came with its own pink gig bag. She loves it. It's sized for kids, but even she has to grow into it still. She also insisted on her own pick "just like daddy" so I dug through all the picks to find one that was large enough that she couldn't choke on. She's so proud of her purchase, lol.

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Space Technology for Us Earth Bound People

>> Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I am researching the different air purifiers that use air filters, ionization or any other means of cleaning the air. I have to admit that I do not know which type is better, which is why I am researching right now. However, in reading about the EcoQuest space foundation research, EcoQuest's product "Fresh Air" seems to have NASA's involvement in its research and creation. They were given the Certified Space Technology seal, which is what you get when you can cross over from a product that utilizes space technology and makes it usable for us who have gravity holding our feet on the ground.

We really need to seriously think about having at least one air purifier in our home to help with the dampness of our downstairs, the three dogs, the dust, and all the germs that the kids bring home with them from school that gets left behind on door knobs, counter tops, chairs, etc. when they touch it. Improving the air quality would go a long way in managing the asthma my daughter and I have.

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Hitching A Ride

I snapped this picture in the woods of northern Michigan a couple of weeks ago. I took the picture because the color of this bug was really pretty - an iridescent blue shade. I didn't realize until I looked at the picture after downloading it onto my computer that the big bug had a passenger on his back, lol.

Does anybody know what kind of bug this bluish creepy crawlie is?

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Computer Families

Does your family have a computer? I wonder how many have more than one? We do, but only one of them is connected to the Internet (mine). My husband has an inexpensive, refurbished desktop for his music writing and recording. My son has an old desktop of mine that barely struggles along because it is ancient. The memory is overloaded with all of the programs that I used to run on it so I need to clean it up or buy more memory so he can use it for his computer games. My oldest daughter has an old work computer that used to be set up at our old house but she knocked into it, which caused the CD/DVD drive to stop working somehow. Eventually we'll get these dinosaurs up and running for the kids to use for their computer games but that's it. I think it is important that they know their way around a computer, but they will never have Internet access in their rooms. I don't think it's safe.

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ADHD Update

I forgot to post yesterday that we did hear back from the ex about what she wanted in terms of evaluations for my stepson's ADHD and our suggestion about changing his diet (less processed foods, less additives, less bad carbs/sugars, less food dyes) and ensuring he is receiving all the recommended vitamins and minerals (which he would if he ate healthy). In other words, we just want her to feed him a healthy diet! She wants a professional to give her a diet plan (in other words, she doesn't know what a healthy diet is or what vitamins and minerals a kid needs?). A mother of two children doesn't know what a healthy diet is after 15 years of parenting? Um, how about looking it up or asking his pediatraician?

*sigh*

I guess we'll pay a specialist several hundred of dollars at least so she can be told what a healthy diet is instead.

She also needs a different doctor because his current pediatrician (she picked) isn't qualified to handle his needs beyond prescribing medications she said (and the developmental pediatrician we took him to ourselves initially that specializes in this that she doesn't take him to anymore would've been or at least could've referred her to another doctor with similar qualifications but the ex did what she wanted because she knows all...that came back to bite her - and my stepson - didn't it). She also could've asked my stepson's former counselor for a referral as well (I say former because she won't take him to them anymore even though they specialize in ADHD as well because they figured out part, ok - most, of my stepson's problem was his mother's behavior). She will find a new doctor all on her own without any help from the professionals who have in depth examined the child many times over because she knows everything - - except how to feed her kids perhaps or help her son before allowing him to go through an entire school year without any help from anybody. *sigh*

We might as well just bloody our heads by banging it against a brick wall. Anybody have a brick wall for me?

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Where'd the good air go?

I have asthma. I know without any doubt in my mind that I would have died from asthma without my current asthma medication a few years ago, leaving several children behind without a mother.

I have always wanted to get air purifiers in our house. I want one specifically for my bedroom, another back by the kids' rooms (my oldest child developed asthma about three years ago) and one in the main living area. I think it would help our asthma substantially by lessening the triggers that bring on the scary attacks. For my third child and her allergies, this would be wonderful as well.

EcoQuest International offers an air purification product that reduces bacteria and fungi on surfaces with a 96.4 to 99.93% reduction on things like staph, strep, methicillin resistant staph, eColi, listeria and more. Those are some nasty sounding things that could be lurking around our home! Makes me grimace thinking about it.

I would LOVE to have one of these in my home. I think it would reduce the asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and illnesses in our home and lessen our dependence on medications.

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Summer Visitation Plans

I asked my husband yesterday if he'd thought about which days he was going to request for summer visitation. Technically, he is supposed to get 5-6 weeks but his daughter's band schedule would be a conflict and she won't miss that (besides the fact that these two teenagers wouldn't leave their mother alone for that long...long story...maybe I'll tell you about those manipulations another time). That leaves almost four weeks, according to my stepdaughter's band teacher I talked to, where there is time available that would not conflict with her band schedule. I would bet he will ask for 1-2 weeks of that time and give up the rest to his ex so the kids aren't put in a spot (and who would put them in that spot to make them feel horrible about wanting to spend time with dad and siblings? hint: it's not their dad!) that would make them feel bad about leaving their mother. Anybody want to take that bet?

He said he is going to get the dates to "her" (he rarely calls her by her name during our conversations, lol) by this weekend. I have a hard time spitting her name out too. There are so many other names that would better fit her.

The joys of stepfamily life. I think we've just gone thru the five year mark now so we have like four years, 11 months, and 28 days until it's over. We've been at this for almost 13 years now so the next few years should just fly by right?

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What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

For the last 12 years, I have wanted to be an attorney. I want to go to law school, graduate with very respectable grades, and work in family law where fathers get a raw deal all too often in the system. I would like to work in a system where both parents receive equal treatment for the sake of the children. After seeing how my husband was treated by his ex, the lawyers, and the family court system, that has been a dream of mine so more loving fathers didn't get mistreated. Lofty dream?

Law school wasn't affordable so I went to a community college for paralegal instead. Perhaps in five years when my husband is no longer a part of the family court system (when his kids turn 18) and we can possibly afford for me to go back to college for that length of time, becoming an attorney might not hold the same interest to me. I don't know. By that time, I will want to be actively planning for our retirement and probably not in school with "kids" half my age or starting a brand new career. I won't know that for five more years though.

In the interim, I still like to keep up things legally speaking. I like to see what new proposed laws are trying to get pushed through the system and what affect they would have on our family. I still visit different law web sites to see what's what in the field of law.

Law Firm Blogging is one of those places I recently came across. Some of the topics of interest are about legal business development books, Paris Hilton's attorney, online marketing for attorneys, web design for lawyers, news in the legal field, George Lindemann Jr pro blogging, and law firm blogs.

Maybe one day I will get to law school or else maybe one day, you'll find me on a ton of acreage somewhere out in the middle of nowhere with my family and horses. I haven't decided what I want to do when I grow up just yet. Never mind that I am 36! I'm still trying to grow up.

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Do we have to be a ritalin society?

>> Monday, June 2, 2008

I am still researching the possibility of Omega-3 being the answer for some children with ADHD. There is quite a bit of information on the web about this and it makes me hopeful that this is not some quacky hoax.

It could also be quite sad if true because a lot of society has switched from wholesome meals to processed and/or "on the go" drive through meals, resulting in our children not receiving the proper nutrients and having deficiencies - not only deficiencies in the known vitamins and minerals but the unknown benefits that come in natural, unprocessed foods that we haven't even found out about yet. Perhaps some children are more susceptible than others to these unhealthy additives resulting in the behavior we see that is diagnosed as ADHD. Add to that children who are stuck in the middle of two warring parents in a divorce situation and the resulting behavioral problems, parents who do not parent with some structure and consistency, or parents who give their child everything with no expectations for responsibility or accountability...it's a recipe for Ritalin because behavioral problems in children get an ADHD label quickly instead. Is any of the above contributing to or being mistaken for ADHD with the child being medicated the result?

We are a Ritalin society. We shouldn't be.

Interesting article:
WebMD - Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help With ADHD?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends eliminating preservatives and food colorings from foods for ADHD kids.

There is SO MUCH out there online. I think other factors need to be considered and remedied or eliminated before we medicate our children.

For the other articles in my blogs on this topic, and links to research data:

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Job Search

>> Sunday, June 1, 2008

The industry in some areas is hurting, leaving people searching for jobs to replace a job they lost or to leave a job to better themselves elsewhere. There is now a great place to do this.

If you are on the hunt for that great job that is going to meet your needs financially and also fulfill your ambitions, Salesjobs.net can help. SalesJobs is the first source for professionals in sales. Right now as I type this, they have close to 31,000 jobs available with over 12,000 new jobs added within the past two weeks.

If you are looking for positions such as sales manager jobs in various industries, you can post your resume, search their jobs database, and sign up for alerts to be notified when that perfect job hits the web. Go see what they have for you!

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What Honeymoon?

When my husband and I married over 12 years ago, we were broke. We were in the middle of a visitation court battle with his ex who wasn't allowing him to have visitation with their son in his home. Visitation was ordered by the court but after all those months of fighting through the attorneys and the bickering outside of the court room as well, who had the money or the time to plan a romantic honeymoon away? We didn't. We were happy together though and still are. Nobody could change that no matter what they did.

My husband and I have talked about renewing our vows and having that big party we didn't have the first time. It'd be a celebration not only of our love for each other now, but what we went through with and for each other. I am sure other stepmoms might be able to relate to that. We certainly walk through some hot coals to keep our family healthy and sane. Of course, we'd also have to have that honeymoon we never had either. After 12 years and still being in love, why shouldn't we plan a great getaway to someplace like St. Barts villa rentals where they have romantic beaches, unforgettable sunsets and wonderful restaurants nearby? The fantastic views alone would be phenomenal.

We are definitely going to plan a vow renewal and honeymoon in the future. It might not be until my stepkids turn 18 but it will happen!

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Break A Child's Heart

I took my four kids grocery shopping this morning with me (that was an adventure in itself). After that fiasco was done, I went to get them lunch. Driving through the restaurant parking lot, we see a stray dog. The dog looks to be a lab mix. Somebody is trying to give the dog some water out of a cup but the dog is afraid of the woman and stays away. So she just sets the cup down and leaves (with the dog trying to jump into their car when she opens the door). Shoot! I don't want to leave a stray dog behind but I have four kids in my car and the back full of groceries. I won't risk my kids getting bit by a stray dog by trying to pack this dog into my car with everybody. I tell the kids that I am sorry but I can't risk a dog bite by a strange dog (visualizing four kids getting rabies shots) and that somebody will probably pick the dog up real soon as it was the lunch hour and the restaurant would be filling up soon. So, we drive home.

I feel really bad but I am trying to reassure the kids. It was the quietest ride home ever with my oldest crying silently. *sigh* We get home and hubby unloads the groceries while I call the restaurant. They said the dog is gone. I'm pretty sure somebody would pick her up but my oldest (the one who cried all the way home) and I get back into the car and head back to the restaurant with a leash just in case. I told my husband before I left that if we drove back down there and the dog had been hit, it was going to be worse for our daughter than just her tears the first time. If we find the dog, I figure I can seatbelt the dog in the back and keep him or her a safe distance away from my daughter in the front now so I'm not worried (that was assuming the dog would come to me anyway). We drove all over the place but the dog really was gone. Thankfully.

We have three dogs already. We didn't need a fourth if we couldn't find its owner. I'm glad somebody picked the dog up. I felt really bad leaving the dog behind the first time but I won't risk a dog bite by a strange dog. That didn't stop me from getting choked up leaving the dog behind though. I felt really bad:(

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