30th Nov2009

NaBloPoMo Fail

by Daenel

When I first found out about National Blog Posting Month, I was like oh, yeah, I can do thisI have a lot to say. I was so wrong. Somewhere along the way, I ran out of things to write about. I cannot believe I just said that. But it’s true. I didn’t want to write something just so I could say that I finished challenge, however, I hate failing even more. So you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna try it again. And this time I will succeed.

For the month of December, the theme is Mitzvah. There is also a challenge to go along with the blogging ~ give something to someone every day of the month and blog about it. Gifts can be in the form of donations, volunteer work, gifts, etc. Keep it clean, the idea is to be nice and charitable, the NaBloPoMo sponsors do not want to be responsible for any acts of violence.

To participate, you must be a blogger. Don’t forget to sign up, add your name to the blogroll and grab a badge. If you decide to join in the fun, leave a link to your blog in my comments section so I can check it out.

Have fun and good luck.

29th Nov2009

Blog with Integrity or the FTC Will Make You Pay

by Daenel

This is just a little reminder to all you bloggers out there who run contests, write product reviews or engage any sort of interactions with companies ~ beginning 1 December you must post a disclosure stating the relationship between yourself and any advertisers on your blog.

Although it may seem to be an inconvenience, this disclosure is for your protection as well as the protection of your readers. To keep it simple, the easiest thing to do is write a little note at the end of contest or product review posts, letting your readers know whether the products were given to you for free or in exchange for a review. You also need to let readers know if you are compensated in any way for products that appear on your blog.

I took the Blog with Integrity Pledge and posted my disclosure here. If you’re not sure about the wording, you can generate a disclosure policy by going to DisclosurePolicy.org. MomTV has also posted a information to help guide you through this process.

For the official stuff, check out the FTC’s website.

PS
You can read my original post on the new FTC guidelines here.
28th Nov2009

Small Talk Six Things On My Christmas Wish List

by Daenel

Today’s Small Talk Six topic is to list 6 things on your wish list this year. You can answer this question with sentences, video, pictures, etc. If you’d like to participate, go here. Check here for the weekly Small Talk Six topics.

1. A full time job (a girl has shopping habits she has to support)
2. A better web cam (I would really like to do more vlogging)
3. Crawfish with potatoes and corn (I used to buy this stuff on the daily when I lived in Ft Polk, LA ~ delicious)
4. Popeyes Spicy Chicken with Red Beans and Rice (yes, I realize there’s two food based wishes, but if you’ve ever had either, you’d understand)
5. A pair of jeans that fit (I have a really hard time finding jeans that fit ~ long legs, belly and flat butt)
6. Sketchers Shape Ups (maybe if I got my butt in shape, I’d be able to find a pair of jeans that fit)
Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave a link to your post and comment on the posts of others.

21st Nov2009

And a Dress Becomes Wall Art

by Daenel

I guess it’s obvious by now that I love to decorate. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on the entry way (I’ve been told that it is actually amud room“) from the garage into my house ~ the room is basically a pass through that no one really uses but it still needed “something.”

So I started thinking and thinking and thinking… Then it came to me, the room needed wall art. By the time this lightning bolt hit me, I was already in my pajamas so running to the store just wasn’t an option. Anyway, I didn’t want to spend anymore money in this room because it’s really just a walk through to get to the rest of the house.

So what to use? My dress!

I have this beautifully funky bohemian dress that I absolutely adore but can’t wear. I love that dress but upon further reflection I have accepted that it is not the most flattering shape for my figure. So rather than toss the dress, I decided to hang it on my wall!

It was very simple to do and took about 30 minutes to make all three panels.

Needed supplies:

Fabric (it’s best to use something that has a little weight to it, like a stiff cotton ~ I used a thin stretchy material that was a little difficult to manipulate)

Scissors

Spray Adhesive

Cardboard

Picture Frame

Simply stretch the material over a piece of cardboard (use spray adhesive to keep the material in place), cut off excess material and frame. I used clear acrylic frames so the material is visible from all sides. This is a quick and easy project that makes good use of fabric that you already have.

19th Nov2009

Creative Self Discovery

by Daenel

Growing up, I was an artsy kid. My dad was a talented artist and I like to think that I inherited my creativity from him. I used to decorate envelopes with elaborate drawings ~ some were abstract, a few were of every day scenes. My mother loved receiving letters from me, she would decorate her day care center with them, pointing out each new one to parents as they came to drop off or pick up their children. For me, the thrill came from figuring out how to integrate the addresses and the stamps into the drawings.

After I had kids, I started to focus my creativity less on my artistic pursuits and more on how to get four kids under the age of five to walk in the same direction. As they grew older, I became more and more focused on them and their lives…the things they needed to grow and develop. Slowly I lost myself and all the things that used to make me happy. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact that is the truth of any mother’s life.
A few months ago when I became unemployed, one of my biggest fears was that I’d go nuts from boredom or, worse, get shlumpy. Part of me is going a little stir crazy and I have been known to stay in sweats and a tee all day, but the other part of me is enjoying the opportunity I’ve had to rediscover my creative side. I’ve been doing all sorts of fun stuff like staining wood, redecorating rooms, sculpting food and hand sewing pillows. I’m hoping that some day soon I’ll get the nerve to pick up the pencils again but even if I don’t, it’s been fun and exciting to find that I haven’t been totally lost, just temporarily misplaced.

16th Nov2009

Your Blog is a Verbal Portrait…

by Daenel

And it will hang on the walls of the internet forever. For that reason, you need to make sure that the picture you are hanging up for public view is of you looking your best. No spinach between the teeth, uncontrollable cow licks or other weird things that can mar a picture…

Yes, this is a rant about misspelled words and bad grammar on blogs. It drives me insane. I understand that some people blog for fun while others blog as way to share their thoughts or feelings and a few others blog for profit. Whatever the reason, understand this, people are reading your words and they are forming opinions about you based on those words. You want that impression to be a good one, right? Think about it, you wouldn’t post a picture of yourself with crusties, would you? It’s the same thing. Trust me.

When I was a librarian, I used to read blogs written by some of my colleagues and wonder what were they thinking? How do they expect to be viewed as professionals when they can’t even be bothered to use spell check? If I saw too many obvious misspellings or grammatical errors, I’d just delete them from my reader. It’s pointless to read the blog if I’m just mentally swiping with my red pen. I have now taken this attitude towards mom bloggers.

Maybe it doesn’t bother you that I’m removing your blog from my reader (especially when you’re getting over a hundred hits a day) but if I’m taking this attitude, how do you think potential advertisers might feel? I pay attention to the discussions on Twitter and I know that there are mom bloggers out there who are trying to figure out how to get paid for blogging. In order to draw companies, your writing has to be clear and easy to read.

Here are a few tips that may help you out:

1. Read your post out loud to make sure that it makes sense
2. Use spell check – If you’re unsure of the spelling of a word, there are plenty of online dictionaries (or go old school and use a book)
3. Don’t be afraid to rewrite something (even after you’ve posted it – I’m constantly editing)
4. Check your grammar
5. Have fun

Remember your blog is a work of art, so make sure your masterpiece is finished before you hang it on the wall.

15th Nov2009

Transitioning Thank Yous

by Daenel

When I decided to transition from relaxed to natural hair, I knew I’d have bad hair days. I had them when my hair was chemically treated so why not now? When I had bad hair days with my relaxed hair, I’d just pull it into a pony tail and go. Now I’m dealing with wavy hair at the crown and near the scalp with bushy hair at the ends, not so easy to pull into a pony tail. So I had to come up with something quick and easy that would minimize damage, temper frustration and still leave me looking simply mah-velous.

I decided to start wearing a braid out with a headband. I also decided to go online and seek out support from other sistas who are in the process of transitioning or who have already transitioned. This is a long, hard process and each day I’m faced with the “do I just break down and buy a relaxer” or “do I suck it up and press on” dilemmas. I’m grateful that there are resources for African American women who want to make that change because if they weren’t available, I don’t know what I’d do.

I’m learning how to take care of my natural hair through the use of natural hair care products. They’re also talking about natural and protective hairstyles….things I wouldn’t know about without the assistance of the interwebs. So to you ladies out there who are rocking the natural looks and telling the tales – Thank you!

14th Nov2009

Three Thanksgiving Traditions I’m Sharing with My Children

by Daenel

TwitterMoms and Target wants to know what three Thanksgiving traditions I’ll be passing on to my children. If you’d like to participate in the contest for the chance to win a $50 Target gift card, just go here.

Thanksgiving is a big deal around our house, it’s the one time the family gathers together and puts aside the craziness of the past year to enjoy some good food, great conversation and fun family traditions. My family loves to eat so naturally our biggest family traditions center around food.

We usually start the celebrations a week early with me baking loaves of Orange Cranberry Tea Loaf and Banana Nut Bread. This fills the air with warm, comfy smells that usher in the autumn season. Every year, the kids settle in around the kitchen table and regale me with stories of their school day, while eagerly awaiting the spoons. Ok, I know they shouldn’t lick the spoons with the raw dough but, omg, it’s soooo delish… Now my children are old enough to join in the fun and they’ve already started asking me when we’re going to get started baking. Soon, babies, I promise!

The baking continues until the day before Thanksgiving (this way all the dessert is finished ahead of time, afterall, that is the most importan part of the meal, right?), that’s when we get down to some serious cooking. Every year, my family likes to add something new to the Thanksgiving meal. One year, we had an orange glazed turkey; this year, it’s going to be fried turkey. The fun part is that we never know how things are going to turn out and no matter how they do turn out, we have fun experimenting. Are y’all ready for the turkey frying?

On Thanksgiving day, the family gathers around the table, clasps hands and thanks Our Heavenly Father for all that He has given to us. Then, while still holding hands, everyone takes turns telling what they are most thankful for. The gratitude list covers everything from the silly – “I’m thankful for my braces” – to the sentimental – “I’m thankful for my family.” Hmmm, I wonder what will top the lists this year?

So I guess it’s fair to say that the three Thanksgiving traditions that I have passed on to my children are:

1. A love for good food and the fun that can come from experimentation
2. The excitement that comes from family gatherings
3. An appreciation for the many gifts from Heaven, be they big or small

What traditions do you plan to hand down to your children? Are they culinary? Does your family veg in front of the tv? How about boys vs girls touch football? Don’t be shy, share with me…

14th Nov2009

Small Talk Six Places I’m Registered, So Buy Me Something!

by Daenel

Today’s topic is to list six places we’d like to register for Christmas. Well, I decided to go a step further and list the items I’d like too (because I’m helpful like that).

1. Disney 3-Night Bahamian CruiseMy kids are old enough where they’d not only remember this but they’d have so much fun
2. Manolo BlahnikSize 8.5, ’cause those SITC ladies aren’t the only ones who can rock a stiletto
3. Louis Vuitton Luggage – A sista needs some classy luggage to take on her trip
4. Novelty Cashmere SweaterI love cashmere ~ so warm and cozy ~ and this one’s so funky cool
5. Starbucks FranchiseEvery since they closed the one near my house, I have to drive about 15 or 20 minutes for an Espresso Truffle, so not cool
6. Brahmin HandbagLouise Rose in the Pecan color because, well, it’s leatha and it’s soooo pretty
Thank you in advance for the gifts…
If you’d like to join in the fun, go here and leave a link to your post (don’t forget to grab the badge and check out the blogs of your fellow participants). You can find the list of topics right here.
13th Nov2009

My Four-Legged Shadow

by Daenel

When I first became a stay-at-home-mom, the dog really didn’t pay me that much attention and I returned the favor. As far as I was concerned, he belonged to my kids. Isn’t it enough that I feed and water them? Do I have to take care of their furry little beast too? That was the deal when we bought him five years ago, the kids would take care of him ~ not me and not my husband. Sometime over the last few weeks that has changed…

For the most part, Squeekerz (yeah, really. Did I mention that he belongs to my kids?) doesn’t like people. He doesn’t like kids (seriously) and he most certainly doesn’t like strangers invading his territory (even if they’re “strangers” he sees on a regular basis). He’d sell out the family for a slice of bread and he’d toss in the house for a box of Girl Scout cookies (we keep Shortbreads in the house just in case we need him on our side in an emergency).
Lately, though, Squeekerz has taken to following me around the house. Everywhere. If I go to the bathroom, he sits outside the door. If I go into the laundry room, he’s click clacking right behind me. If I sigh deeply, his ears perk up. I haven’t had this much shadowing since the kids were toddlers. When I leave him to run errands, his whimpers serenade me as I walk down the stairs. And when I return home, his tail wags and he runs from one end of the house to the other.
I’m not sure what has brought on this sudden obsession (really, it can’t be considered anything less ~ he goes nuts whenever someone touches me) but I’m pretty happy about it because when the zombie apocalypse happens, I know I’ll be safe….
….Unless they have Girl Scout cookies.

13th Nov2009

My Hair Has Multiple Personality Disorder

by Daenel

It’s been two weeks since my last post about transitioning from relaxed to natural hair and let me just say, my hair is seriously suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. I have about an inch or so of new growth that is incredibly soft and wavy (I love just running my fingers across my scalp). I also have about 6 inches of chemically relaxed hair on my head. That part of my hair is incredibly dry and brittle now.

I thought I was going to have to do the BC (Big Chop) sooner rather than later to combat the issue. However, I made a run to the hair supply store and picked up some natural oils to see if that would help. Currently, I’m using Proclaim Natural 7 Oil (love that stuff) as a hot oil/deep conditioning treatment. The ends are still a little dry but at least I can keep my hair a little while longer. I also clipped off about an inch of hair (I can tell regular trims are going to be incredibly important to this process).

Like I said before the new growth is soft and wavy and I’m loving it. I think the thing that surprises me most is that it’s coming in so dark. I’m also shocked by the amount of gray up there (who knows how long that’s been there – goodness knows, I don’t). But overall, I’m happy with the process and I will keep clipping, deep conditioning and braiding until my natural and chemically processed hair become one.

I did not receive any compensation for mentioning any of the products in the post.

12th Nov2009

I’m So Shy

by Daenel

Believe it or not, I can be incredibly shy. My co-workers always found this amusing because I would talk up a storm to them and I had no problem with doing what I called “kamikazee photography” during Freshmen Orientation. I’d walk up to students and ask them if I could take their pictures and, sometimes, if the situation warranted it, I’d crawl around on the ground to get a good shot. I also taught history, which meant standing in front of a group of 30 or so students and talking to them for roughly 45 minutes. But that was my job…no pressure, I knew what I was doing and, to an extent, it’s like putting on a show. But this is real life!

In social situations, however, I rely heavily on my husband. Parties make me nervous and nine times out of ten, I will bail at the last minute. If it’s something I have to attend, I do what I call “four corners” – I start at the entrance and then I cross through the middle of the floor to the opposite corner, follow the wall to the third corner, cross the middle of the floor to the fourth corner, stop at the food table and then make my exit. I know, I’m insane, but it works for me

So why am I telling this long story? Because I had to go to an impromptu high school reunion for my husband’s class tonight and I was incredibly nervous and uncomfortable. All these people were my husband’s friends, they had all of these memories that I didn’t share, this history. I was fine as long as my husband was sitting next to me but then he wandered off to talk to a couple of friends and there I sat, at the table. Alone. I went to my go to distractor – my BlackBerry and I tweeted that my husband would pay. I ended up leaving for about 10 minutes (went to my mother-in-law’s and figured that wasn’t much better).

When I returned my husband introduced me to two ladies I had never met before and reintroduced me to a third that I had met at an earlier reunion. These ladies were so incredibly funny. They had me laughing so hard I could barely hold any liquids. By the end of the evening, I had made three new friends and not once did I feel awkward or uncomfortable. Nor did I feel the need to escape.

I want to thank my new friends for making me feel welcome and including me in their jokes (even when they had to go back and explain the histories behind the jokes). You guys rawk and I can’t wait until the next get together.

11th Nov2009

Thank You for Your Service

by Daenel

To all the veterans and their families – thank you for all you did to protect the values that we hold dear.

To all who are currently serving and their families – thank you for the sacrifices that you continue to make on a daily basis.

We may never know your struggles, we may never feel your pain, but we do understand your pride.

God bless you and God bless America.

10th Nov2009

Small Things are Really Big Things

by Daenel

I have failed at writing a gratitude post every day. I didn’t write anything yesterday because I didn’t have anything “big” to write about – there were no fabulous sales, no successful culinary experiments, no children making me laugh…. The only thing that happened is that I woke up and went about the daily chores of any work-at-home-mom.

And there it is…

In my desire to be grateful for the big things in life, I’ve forgotten to be grateful for the small things in life. I woke up happy and healthy. My family got on with the daily routines of going to school and work, my granddaughter celebrated her third birthday and her brother reminded of her of the days when she was happily an only child. My husband has a successful career and provides all of our needs and most of our wants.

This week has been devastating for our nation. In fact, the last decade has been emotionally trying – we’ve suffered through terrorist attacks, our soldiers are fighting on two war fronts, the country has seen an economic decline… But in all of that, we still have to remember to be grateful for the small things like waking up each morning and seeing the sun rise. Tomorrow is not promised, so right now I’m grateful for yesterday and if tomorrow never comes, I’m glad I had today.

08th Nov2009

Cranberry Twist with a Bit of Peppermint

by Daenel

I’m not much of a drinker but I do love fizzy drinks so a couple of years ago I came up with this tart and tangy drink to serve during the holidays….

4 oz Ginger Ale
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Crushed Peppermints (for garnish)
Crushed Ice

Put crushed ice into a clear glass, pour in the ginger ale, add the cranberry juice and top with crushed peppermints. I don’t stir because I like to watch the colors blend (I am easily amused).

Not only is this drink pretty, it has just the right amount of fizz….

PS
This post was written as an entry for the Lenox Drinks of the Season Blogging Contest that is being hosted by TwitterMoms. I’ll post pics tomorrow (I am not a good night time photographer).

08th Nov2009

Gratitude for Plantitude

by Daenel

So those who follow me on twitter know that I decided to take advantage of the warm weather we had today and stain the wooden trunk I’ve been working on. What was with today’s weather? It was like 65 degrees, not that I’m complaining or anything, but wow! I have never stained wood before today, so I was pretty nervous and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I have watched a lot of Trading Spaces over the years, so I figured I could handle it.

While the stain was still drying, I decided that I liked the trunk better shiny. I love shiny and am often distracted by anything shiny (or anything that resembles a monkey, but that’s another story). So that meant a trip to Lowe’s (originally I had planned to go to another store but I decided I wasn’t up for the drive) for some polyurethane. Yeah, you’d think I would have had that since I was staining the trunk, but did I mention I’ve never done this before? I picked up a can of spray poly and decided to wander around to the garden section and look around. I found two beautiful flowering cabbage plants that I just had to have (they’re purple, how could I resist?). While I was in line to pay for them the cashier told me that I could purchase an entire rack of flowers for $5.

What?! I asked her several times if she was kidding me because wow…. Now let me explain, this wasn’t just a shelf of flowers or anything… This was $52.45 worth of plants for five bucks!

I had been planning to work on the landscape next year but now that I have all these plants, I’m going to get an early start. I have the most beautiful mums, pansies, flowering grasses and other assorted perennials. So today I’m grateful for Lowe’s and their amazing sale. And, of course, my love of all things shiny.

07th Nov2009

Small Talk Six Reasons Why I’d Die…

by Daenel

…if I were stranded on a deserted island all by myself.

To participate in today’s Small Talk Six, just go here and leave a link to your blog post so others can check it out.

Have a good weekend.

06th Nov2009

I’ll Be Back Tomorrow

by Daenel

Tonight’s National Blogging Post is being preempted by illness….

05th Nov2009

Dancing with Thanks

by Daenel

Tonight was my daughter’s Homecoming Dance – I don’t know who was more excited, me or her. There’s something about watching your baby get all dolled up for her first big dance that makes the heart melt. And, I have to say, she looked absolutely beautiful.

At the end of the night, she gave me a run down of all the events and then came the clincher….there was a girl at the dance who was wearing the same dress. I waited for the complaints, the-mom-why-didn’t-you-special-order-my-dress-even-though-it’s-not-the-prom-but-we-had-on-the-same-dress meltdown. All she said was “We have good taste.”

So tonight I’m grateful for a teenager who understands that things happen and, yes, sometimes you will end up at a party wearing the same dress as someone else but it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a sign that you both have good taste.

04th Nov2009

Feeling Crafty

by Daenel

I’ve always been the crafty sort – I made my own paper dolls when I was kid, had a book full of poetry, crocheted blankets and scarves for friends. I even carried a sketch pad with me everywhere I went. My dad was the same way, his sketch pad and pencils were never too far from his side. Then life got in the way and the pads and pencils were put aside for children’s books and permission slips. My dad never found his way back to his first true love but I have.

So today I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to let my imagination soar. Though the project is small (taking a small wooden trunk and turning it into a padded ottoman), I’m having fun and it feels good to flex my crafting muscle.

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