31st Dec2009

I Want to be a Mamavation Mom!

by Daenel

Mamavation is a social experiment that was created for moms as a way to encourage them to lose weight and guide their families towards a healthier lifestyle. It is also an opportunity for two moms (Mamavation Moms) to enter a 7 week healthy living boot camp. The selected moms will receive the following:

~ Nutritional plan created by Dr. Renna, a nutritionist
~ Fitness program created by Tracey Mallett
~ Treadmill from Smooth Fitness
~ Earth Footwear
~ EA Sports Active
~ Tracey Mallett and Tae Bo DVDs

In exchange, the Mamavation Moms have to keep a daily food/exercise journal, appear on MomTV, post on their personal blogs about their weight loss journey, tweet their experiences and upload a weekly vlog. And provide lots of encouragement and support for other moms out there who are moving towards a healthier lifestyle.

Mamavation moms are selected via Twitter. I really want to be a Mamavation Mom. So, please, help me to make this move towards a healthier and, ultimately, a happier lifestyle. To vote for me go to twitter and tweet the following: “Hey @bookieboo! I want @curiouschild to be the next #Mamavation Mom. She has my support!

Thank you,

31st Dec2009

Hey, I Think My Butt’s Getting Big…

by Daenel

Actually, I don’t think, I know. I saw the proof when I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office yesterday. I also could have done without the loud pronouncement too, Miss Skinny Nurse Who Looks Like a Model, I can read really big numbers!

When I was in the Army, it was easy to keep my weight down ~ running 3 to 5 miles every day and doing PT will do that for you. But after I got out of the Army, well, I got lazy. For one, I was pregnant with baby #4 while trying to take care of one~year~old twins and their incredibly active three~year~old sister. I know, how do you get lazy with that much activity, you do. Trust me. Jump ahead, twelve years and I still haven’t been able to lose that “baby fat” but I was no where near where I am now.

I used to say As long as I keep it below 130 lbs, I’m golden. Then it became Hmmm, my minimum will be 145. Now I’m at oh~my~friggin~gosh~did~the~scale~just…I~mean~really~should~it~spin~that~many~times stage.

I’m thinking I really need to get this weight thing under control. Not just for the obvious reasons. Vanity, anyone? But for health reasons too. Both sides of my family have histories of high blood pressure, sugar diabetes, heart ailments and obesity (why couldn’t I get that genetic predisposition towards skinniness that seems to plague my mother who has never weighed more than 95 lbs soaking wet?)

One thing I know for sure, I need accountability, not just to myself but to someone else. Therefore, I’m hoping that by putting it “out there” I will be more faithful to my program. TwitterMoms and EA Sports Active asked bloggers to share their top ten tips for getting in shape after the holidays. So here are mine:

1. Eliminate fast food from my diet ~ I cook a lot but I also buy a lot of fast food (sometimes I really don’t feel like cooking) but no more. It’ll be baby steps…my kids are going to protest! Um, yeah, this mom’s world, if I can’t eat it, neither can they!

2. Increase my steps ~ I bought a pedometer to keep track of how many steps I take per day. My goal is 70,000 steps per week. We’ll see how that goes…

3. Exercise ~ I have a Wii Active. I think I need to use it in order for it to work. That thing is so much fun, I just need to get my exercise mojo back that’s all.

4. Drink water ~ I have an intense love for Crystal Light but I ran out a while ago and need to buy some more. If you haven’t tried it, please do!

5. Eat more fruits and vegetables ~ I should qualify that with eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. My husband only likes the canned stuff, but I’ll figure out a way to get the fresh stuff in there.

6. Deal with stress ~ I’m a stress eater and my weakness is trailmix. Yeah, I dunno what that’s all about but when I’m feeling the pressure I will down a bag of trailmix in 2 seconds flat.

7. Keep a food diary ~ My thing is that I don’t eat a lot. I just eat the wrong stuff. So maybe if I keep track of what I’m eating, I can find healthy alternatives.

8. Find a support group ~ Even if it’s online, it helps to have someone cheering you on and offering words of encouragement.

9. Eliminate coffee. Cut back on coffee. Continue drinking coffee and give up sodas.

10. Take it one day at a time!

This post is in response to a sweepstakes that is being sponsored by TwitterMoms and EA Sports Active. For more information click the logo. I did not receive any compensation for this post. But winning the EA Sports Active Personal Trainer would be pretty sweet!

28th Dec2009

Crochet Basics

by Daenel

One of my big projects for this year has been my blankets for Project Linus. I’ve written about the various blankets that I’ve made and I’ve posted many pictures of the blankets in their different stages of completion. So I was pretty excited to find out that people are actually paying attention and enjoying my little rambles (shout out to Melissa and Patty!).

Some of my friends have expressed an interest in making their own blankets for Project Linus. Yay! But, like me, they don’t have a lot of knowledge about how to crochet stitches other than the basic chain stitch. I’ve been using YouTube a lot! The tutorials are easy to follow and it’s almost like having an instructor on hand. And so much easier than trying to read a book (I’ve done that and it’s an exercise in frustration).
I promised I’d put together some of my favorite tutorials. So here they are:
1. How to Crochet – tutorial created by eHow; demonstrates the basic steps for getting started with a chain stitch which is the base for all projects
2. Crochet Popcorn Stitch – shows how to crochet a popcorn stitch; there’s a bit of a lag but if you can get past that, this is pretty easy to follow
3. Ripple Crochet – probably one of the easier tutorials to follow for how to create this stitch
4. Changing to a Different Color – ok, I admit, I like this one because the English accent is just so classy

If you know of some helpful tutorials, please post the link. I’m always looking to learn new stitches

27th Dec2009

Project Linus: Fourth and Final Blanket

by Daenel

Today I started my fourth and final blanket of the year for Project Linus. I’m using a ripple stitch pattern that I found on Hooked on Needles… I think it’ll be nice and fluffy, very cozy for the wee one. I’m using the same icy yellow color that I used on the previous blankets and I plan to add in the icy mint just for some variation.

I realized as I was writing this post that I didn’t mention the third blanket that I made. I crocheted it using a granny square pattern ~ rustic and quaint, just like a real grandma. I’m including pictures of the blanket because, well, I’m just as proud of it as I am of the others that I’ve made. The center is yellow and the border is green, like the other blankets in this group.

This has been a fun and time consuming project. I’ve had to learn some new stitches and I’ve had to start blankets over several times (nothing like losing count on those single stitches). Still I wouldn’t trade this for anything. If it hadn’t been for National Blog Posting Month and the mitzvah challenge, I probably wouldn’t have started this.

I do plan to continue crocheting blankets for Project Linus but I’d like to branch out and work on other projects too. I will be checking out Crochet ~n~ More for charity ideas.
One of the changes I plan to make is to maybe do some theme based crocheting. Perhaps use some seasonal colors or something along those lines. I’d even like to create something a little funky but I don’t know what yet. But once I figure it out, you will be the first to know! *wink*
If you participate in a charity, I’d like to know about it, so don’t forget to drop me a line and leave a link if you can.

25th Dec2009

Holiday Hair

by Daenel

Curly Nikki asked her readers to share their holiday hair plans with her, so here are my plans:

1. I did my first co-wash yesterday. Co-washing is basically washing your hair with conditioner. It enhances moisture and eliminates the use of shampoos that strip hair of natural oils.
2. I parted my hair and used Profective Root Health on my scalp and then combed through.
3. Next I parted it on the side and cornrowed it so that it’d be nice and wavy today. It was braided from mid-afternoon yesterday until mid-morning today.
4. Today I took out the braids, put a little Proclaim 7 in my hands and ran it through my hair to keep it from looking too dry.
5. I’ll wear it like this for the rest of the week; rebraiding every other night.

This post is not endorsed by any of the makers of the products discussed above

21st Dec2009

What Does It Look Like?

by Daenel

I’ve been dying to find out what my natural hair looks like but I’m not ready to commit to the Big Chop yet. So I took some inspiration from Uniquelise3 and clipped some off the top in an inconspicuous place….

For a video of my braid out, go here

20th Dec2009

Best Blog Posts of 2009

by Daenel

Can you believe 2009 is almost over? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were all preparing ourselves for Y2K? *sigh* So much has happened this year…some stuff I’m proud of, some stuff makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry ~ either way, it’s my life and it’s these events that have shaped me and made me the person that I am today.

My friend Sara recently posted her Best Blog Posts of 2009 and I thought I’d join in the fun. Since this is a relatively new blog, I’m going to incorporate some posts from my other blog when I worked as a histolibrarianivist.

January: Library Day in the Life 5: TGIF! ~ The last day in a week of posts about my life as a librarian for a meme

February: No! You Can’t Have That Back ~ People were coming to the archives to reclaim items they had donated and it was driving me insane

March: I’m a Shover and Maker for Being Queen of the Histolibrarianivists ~ My friends at Library Society of the World gave librarians the opportunity to pat themselves on the back, something librarians rarely do

April: I’ve Done It Now ~ One of my proudest accomplishments was being able to move the archives forward and introduce new technologies to the library staff

May: NEPA Library Camp 2009 ~ This was the first time I’d ever been asked to be a presenter at a library event, I was both honored and nervous

June: Alumni Weekend 2009 ~ My second Alumni Weekend was incredibly successful and I was so very happy

July: Library Day in the Life: Day 2 ~ Walking Away ~ This was my last post as a librarian…

August: I Blame the Internet ~ My son and I discussed how the Internet has changed the way people interact with each other

September: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not ~ Job seeking can be as difficult as dating

October: PSA: Be Your Own Advocate ~ Women need to learn to question their doctors and get the best medical advice they can because it’s their lives that are at risk

November: My Four-Legged Shadow ~ Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I’ve developed an anomaly: a four-legged shadow

December: Project Linus: My Second Blanket ~ I’m crocheting blankets for Project Linus which provides homemade blankets for children in need

I’m looking forward to bigger and better things next year and I hope to do a better job of sharing my experiences.

May God bless you with health and happiness in 2010…

If you decide to do a Best of 2009 post, go here and leave a link

18th Dec2009

Project Linus: My Second Blanket

by Daenel

Originally, this project started as my mitzvah for National Blog Posting Month, but I fell out of that race a long time ago. But I’m still determined to go through with the project because I am really enjoying it. Go here for more pictures of my blankets for Project Linus…Or go to Project Linus to donate your own handmade blankets…

17th Dec2009

To Love and Support in Times of Need

by Daenel

Lately there has been a lot of back and forth (and downright nastiness) on Twitter among mom bloggers about people who tweet during times of distress. To the best of my knowledge this bruhaha began with Penelope Trunk tweeting about her miscarriage during a business meeting and reached fever pitch with Shellie Ross tweeting about her son’s accident and subsequent death roughly half an hour after he fell into the family pool (the tweets have since been removed).

Some have criticized Ross for not being available to her son or being so infatuated with Twitter that she neglected her responsibilities, while others have defended Ross’s actions as a mother who was simply reaching out to a familar community for support.

I think what some are failing to see is that Twitter and other forms of social media offer an opportunity for support that would not otherwise exist. Many of these women have developed very real and substantial connections with their online friends, so tweeting about a tragedy is no different than picking up the phone and calling on a friend in a time of need. I know that if something tragic was to happen to me, I would reach out to everyone I know for support ~ especially if that tragedy was the loss of one of my children.

Questions have been raised about the timeline of Ross’s tweeting in proximity to the drowning and death of her son. Some felt she was tweeting when she should have been watching her son, others felt she was tweeting too soon after her son’s death….Really? While I can see how developing online relationships can absorb way too much time (we are all guilty of letting a ten minute peek morph into a two hour stint), I think we all need to step back and realize that each of us handles things differently.

We are supposed to be a community of mothers who support and love each other. While I’m not saying that neglect (if it really is neglect) deserves a hug and a pass, I am saying that we need to hit the pause button and remember that this is a mother who is grieving the loss of her son and, ultimately, that is all that matters.

I think the reason people were so upset about Penelope’s tweet is the lack of sentimentality attached to the tweet. The loss was stated so matter of factly ~ like she was announcing that she was drinking a cup of coffee during a board meeting. I wonder if her tweet would have been more acceptable had she displayed what people consider the appropriate amount of grief?

16th Dec2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ For Bryson Ross

by Daenel
In Memory of Bryson Ross
Today’s Wordless Wednesday is dedicated to the memory of Bryson Ross who tragically lost his life on 14 December 2009. Please remember his family in your prayers.

15th Dec2009

Book Review: Green: The Beginning and the End by Ted Dekker

by Daenel

I’ve had a difficult time writing the review for this book… Green: The Beginning and the End by Ted Dekker is probably one of my least favorite books. I’m not sure if I dislike it because I’m not a big fantasy fan or if it’s because I had a hard time getting into the story, but this book simply did not appeal to me at all. Which is a shame because I’ve heard so many positive things about Ted Dekker.

This is the story of Thomas Hunter and the followers of Elyon and their battle against the evil Teeleh. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a classic good vs. evil story that crosses between our reality and a fantasy world where two armies are gathered to fight the final battle in the valley of Migdon. Green is both the first and final book in the Circle Series. It is the starting point of the series for new readers and the final book for those who have read the other books, Black: The Birth of Evil, Red: The Heroic Rescue and White: The Circle.

According to the product description, Green can be read as a stand alone book but I found it hard to follow the story and understand the characters, mostly because I felt like I walked in on the middle of a conversation that had been taking place for an hour. Maybe if I had read the other books, I might have understood the story and developed some sort of connection to the characters.

I can’t recommend this particular book but I’m not willing to give up on Ted Dekker just yet. Perhaps he has better books out there.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me courtesy of Thomas Nelson free of charge in exchange for a review.

07th Dec2009

All You Need Is Love: Fighting AIDs in Africa One Song at a Time

by Daenel

This is an update to my post about Starbucks and (Red) and their Starbucks Love Project, a global sing-along to raise money for the Global Fund to fight AIDs in Africa.

Hope you enjoy!

If you’re brave, you can view my contribution to the Starbucks Love Project here.

*This post is not endorsed by Starbucks, (Red) or any of its afiliates

06th Dec2009

Project Linus: My First Blanket

by Daenel

My twins were born on 20 September 1995, weighing in at just 4 lbs 3 oz and 4 lbs 1 oz. We had nine days notice. Yes, I’m serious. Nine days earlier I was stretched out on the exam table staring at what I hoped was a broken ultrasound, while the doctor casually pointed to “Twin A” and “Twin B.” “And, um, by the way, you’ll have to drive to Brooke Army Medical Center to have them because we don’t deliver twins here. Furthermore, we’re not sure what condition the babies will be in since we’re just finding out about them.” Deep intake of breath…spinning room…I live in Louisiana, that means we have to drive my daughter to Mississippi to my parents’ house and then drive to Texas to have these babies? Are they crazy? And what if they’re siamese twins? What if something’s wrong with them? I cannot believe I’m having two babies. In nine days. How in the heck does a doctor miss TWO babies?

Fortunately, my babies were born healthy and spent only a week in the NICU. However, that week has left an indelible mark on my heart. I remember watching the other parents lean over the incubators, stroking the tiny fingers of their babies as they waited for some sign that everything would work out and their little one would join them at home. I remember how panicked I felt when Brandon stopped breathing and turned blue while Tony was back in Louisiana taking care of some business. I remember the two of us encouraging the babies to drink and hold down an ounce of milk so we could take them home with us.

I’ve always known that at some point I wanted to figure out away to bring a bit of comfort to the babies and their parents who find themselves in the same situation. That’s why I was happy to find out about Project Linus. Their mission is “to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.'”

I started my first blanket four days ago and finished it up this evening. I used one of the patterns from the Project Linus website. To find chapters in your area, go here. If you like to crochet, knit or sew, you can become a volunteer blanketeer. Just remember blankets must be:

~ homemade

~ washable

~ free of pins

~ and come from a smoke free environment (due to allergies)

Blankets of any size are welcome and will be used for children from newborn to 18 years of age.

If you’re not a crafter, Project Linus also welcomes monetary donations they also in need people to make hospital deliveries.

*This post is not endorsed by Project Linus

06th Dec2009

Caught Between Dryness and a Grease Spot

by Daenel

Well it’s been about 3 weeks since my last update on my hair transition and I’m still going strong. Barely. I’ve gotten to that point where I’m becoming increasingly frustrated for a variety of reasons:

1. I honestly don’t know what to do with my hair anymore. I’m so used to being able to run a curling iron or flat iron through it and go. Now I’m trying to go heat free and let’s just say it ain’t easy…
2. My hair is incredibly dry where the relaxer remains, so it’s starting to break and frizz up a lot. I’ve tried moisturizing but then it just looks greasy. Look at the picture, would you wanna touch that?
3. I haven’t been able to find a product that works well with my hair ~ detangling, moisturizing, softening, etc. I think that’s mostly because I don’t live in an ethnically diverse area so I’m kind of at the mercy of local retailers and whatever I can locate online through research.
I will continue the process because I have noticed a few pluses:
~ no worrying about getting caught in the rain
~ decreased prep time for getting out the door, ok, not really but it sounded good (what has really happened is that I now have more time to fret over what I’m wearing)
~hair maintenance costs have gone down significantly (touch ups every six weeks can add up, ya know?)
~ acceptance of my natural beauty

05th Dec2009

All You Need is Starbucks

by Daenel

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a cup of coffee can make a difference in a person’s life and to prove my point, Starbucks and (Red) have joined together for the Starbucks Love Project. They are bringing together musicians from all over the world to sing “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. On Monday, 7 December at 8:30 AM EST, everyone is asked to join Starbucks and (Red) in this global event to raise money to fight AIDs in Africa.

The performance will be live streamed to the Starbucks Love Project website for everyone to view. After the live sing along, anyone will be able to upload their own version of “All You Need is Love” to the website. For each upload, Starbucks will donate money to the Global Fund.

This project is the culmination of a year long partnership between (Red) and Starbucks. In that time, over seven million daily doses of anti-retroviral AIDs medicine has been distributed through the sale of (Red) products at Starbucks stores.

Starbucks will also be promoting the “All You Need is Love” campaign on Facebook. So if you see the promotion inviting you to join the campaign, please accept. This is your opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.

You can also purchase the “Love” cd for $15 at any Starbucks with $1 of the purchase price going to the Global Fund to fight AIDs in Africa. While you’re visiting the Starbucks Love Project website, don’t forget to create a Love Drawing to be added to the gallery (that’s mine in the corner). For each drawing added ~ up to one million ~ Starbucks will donate a nickel to the Global Fund.

*This post is not endorsed by Starbucks, (Red) or any of the other charities mentioned in this post
04th Dec2009

Small Talk Six Disney Characters I’d Like to Meet for Coffee

by Daenel

Today’s Small Talk Six topic is to list six Disney characters we find interesting. Hmmmm…so many possibilities… Ok, let’s just say that through some wrinkle in the reality/fantasy continuum I was allowed to meet six Disney characters for coffee, I’d choose the following:

6. Fairy Godmother ~ She gives the impression of being a cross between Edith Bunker and Marie Barone. Granting wishes, adding ditz and a little bit of snark ~ oh so fun!

5. Maleficent ~ She’s the self-proclaimed “Mistress of All Evil” who cops a serious attitude for not being invited to a baby’s christening. Oh, really? Well, you’re being included now, doll, let’s move on shall we?

4. Mary Poppins ~ She’s the reason there are so many spoiled kids walking around today, “a spoon full of sugar” indeed! But I’d really like to find out where she bought that carpet bag, because a girl could really use a bag like that.

3. Bambi ~ I just really want to stress how important it is that his family members not run out in front of moving vehicles because it causes drivers to panic and swerve. Oh, wait, that could be pay back for deer season. Never mind, as you were….

2. Grumpy ~ I’d like to play shrink and help him work out some of his issues. I understand people have bad days, but dude was like always angry. Then again, I guess if I were 4 foot nothing and lived in a cave with 6 other guys I’d have an attitude too.

1. Cruella DeVille ~ Ok, girlfriend wears some pretty nice furs (sorry PETA but, dang, they make even me take a second look at a Dalmation). However, I would sit her down in front of my computer, and introduce her to faux furriers like Dennis Basso, Adrienne Landau, et al.

If you’d like to play along, go to Momdot.com for the list of topics. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave a link in the comments section so everyone can check out your post.

*This post is not endorsed by Disney, Dennis Basso or Adrienne Landau

04th Dec2009

Write for Rights with Amnesty International

by Daenel

This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century — solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair.” ~ Elie Wiesel

Tomorrow kick’s off Amnesty International’s Global Write-a-thon, the world’s largest letter writing event. The Write-a-thon is a global event leading up to International Human Right’s Day ~ 10 December. From 5-13 December, everyone is encouraged to write letters and send postcards supporting human rights. You have the option of writing as an individual or writing as a group. I chose to write as an individual and will be sending my letters off this week.
The idea is to use the letters to pressure authorities into releasing individuals who have been unjustly imprisoned or who are being tortured and abused by governments. Last year, more than 7000 letters were written to great success. Go here to read those stories.
You can also sign the petition to free Aung San Suu Kyi and other prisoners of conscience in Myanmar. To read Aung San Suu Kyi’s story, go here. You can read other cases here.
Remember as long as one person is oppressed because of their beliefs, we are all oppressed.

*This post is not endorsed by Amnesty International
03rd Dec2009

Women Helping Women to Build Sustainable Communities

by Daenel

My daughter has inherited my love for funky jewelry so I was thrilled when I found out about Global Goods Partners, a company dedicated to empowering women through fair trade. Not only do they sell handcrafted jewelry (and other accessories) but each purchase enables women in developing countries to support their families. Furthermore, each item is created with an eye towards sustainability ~ a win for the women and for the environment. I purchased three bracelets, which I know my daughter will absolutely love and I know she’ll be happy to know that the purchase will help women in India to care for their families.

GGP and their partner companies live up to the following Fair Trade Standards:

*fair living wages paid
*handcrafted products
*eco-conscious production
*open dialogue
*engagement in community development
*creation of sustainable livelihood

If you’re looking for some fun stocking stuffers or interesting wares for your home, check out GGP. For more information about GGP, go here.

*This post is in no way endorsed by Global Goods Partners.

02nd Dec2009

Sing for Charity (and Maybe You Can Buy Me Something Too)

by Daenel


For more information about YouTube Caroling, go here. If you decide to upload a video of you singing, let me know, I’d love to favorite it. Thanks!


The video is now live. Go here to view it. Never let it be said that I won’t embarrass myself for a good cause.

*This post is in no way endorsed by YouTube.

01st Dec2009

A Cup of Coffee for the Cause

by Daenel

It’s that time of year…the bells are ringing in front of the grocery stores, the big box shops, even the craft stores. Usually, I just bypass the bell ringers ~ they’re everywhere and I rarely carry cash anyway soooo…. And don’t look all shocked, you know you do the same thing. However, today I did something a little different. I put money in the little red kettle.

I didn’t put in a lot (that cash thing again) but what I did do was give up a cup of coffee. Yes, I gave up coffee for the cause. Anyone who knows me, knows this is big. To me, $4.50 isn’t a lot but imagine if everyone gave up a cup of coffee for one day to help someone in need. That’s some crazy change that could make someone’s day a little brighter.

This morning I was listening to the radio and they were talking about charities and how donations are down this year, especially for organizations like the Salvation Army. The economy has hit everyone hard, but I have to be honest, I never thought about how much charities suffer during times like these. But they do….So I’m extending this challenge to my fellow coffee drinkers, donate your cup of coffee to a cause. You’ll feel better knowing that you helped someone out and your body will survive one day without caffeine (trust me, I survived).

*This post is in no way endorsed by the Salvation Army or any other charitable organization.*

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