Thursday, March 4, 2010


Y'all, I'm here to tell you that you need to join Swagbucks. :) In the next couple days I'm going to earn my 11th Amazon gift card. Once you get up to 450 Swagbucks, which isn't at all hard to do, you can cash them in for a $5 Amazon card. So I've got over $50 sitting in my Amazon account, just waiting for me to use it. All I did to get that money was use Swagbucks for searches, and use the codes they give out from time to time.

I'm saving up to "buy" a Nikon D40. I say "buy" because I probably won't spend a penny of money out of pocket. If things keep going well, I could buy that sucker by the end of this year.

Check out this video of something fun a family got with their Swagbucks...

Maybe I'll go for one of those next. :)

Click here to sign up under my name. If you do that, I'll benefit from your searches, too. And then if you refer friends who sign up under you, you'll earn money for their searches. Check it out? :)

I promise you it's 100% legit. The money sitting in my Amazon account is proof of that. I never get spam email from them, either. If you join, be sure to download the toolbar and become a fan on Facebook, because they often post codes or hints to codes there. If you're on Twitter, follow them there, too, for codes. And there's stuff on their blog!

Let me know if you join, or if you have any questions!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Mama's Had It, Too.

(WARNING: This post contains a photo not suitable for little eyes.)

I was greatly inspired by BooMama's post Mama's Had It the other day, where she gives a large national bookstore chain a good old what-for over their placement of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition right where children can see it. Click over there and read the post for sure.

I'll often make a call to a store's manager when customer service goes spectacularly wrong (or right), but now that I have a son, I know I'm going to have to make more calls of a more, um, sensitive nature. I just didn't expect to have to do it so soon after reading BooMama's post.

We went to a birthday party for Elmo today at a large chain bookstore. (I don't know why I'm being nice and not using their name, but if you knew about the Elmo party or if you follow me on Twitter, it's not hard to figure out.) As soon as you enter the store at its one and only entrance, there's a little foyer-type area with bookcases that always display budget books. They always have something for everybody from kids to adults to hobbyists to home cooks. Imagine my surprise to see, without really even looking at all the books, a book called Smut with a photo of a barely-concealed naked woman on it. Hey, whaddya know, I took a photo:

Seriously? Really? Are you kidding me?

I turned the book's cover around and we went on in to the party. I sent BooMama a direct message through Twitter and she was equally grossed out. When I got home, I sent the bookstore a message through Twitter, left them feedback on their web site, and called the store's manager. After explaining politely that while my son who's two wouldn't be bothered by it, there are teenaged boys in that store all the time for whom it could be a problem. There are grown men who struggle with pornography for whom it could be a problem. I asked if she'd consider moving the book and she sighed and sounded bored and put-out when she said, "Alright, I'll go up there and see about it." That wasn't the response I was looking for, but I didn't want to be rude so I didn't press it further. I might swing by Sunday afternoon to see if it's been moved yet. Speaking to someone in person might pack a greater punch.

Mamas and Daddies, we need to be vigilant about this sort of thing. The world is out to snatch your little ones (and your husbands, girls!) from you, and we're the front line of defense. If we don't make the phone calls or talk to the managers, who else will? Start a trend. Speak up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

Stephen Mansfield gave himself a big job in The Search for God and Guinness: write a history of one of the world's most famous beer companies and focus as much attention as possible on the company's founder, Arthur Guinness, about whom very little information exists. His attempt works, for the most part.

The early part of the book, containing fascinating information about the history of beer leading up to the founding of the Guinness company, is sure to be thrilling for any history buff. Mansfield also write about the early days of the company with an obvious affection. There was a need for something safe to drink in Ireland, due to poor water conditions, and Guinness filled the need. The company was also at the forefront of caring for its employees and their families in ways most of us can hardly imagine today.

But the book falters a bit when the real meat and potatoes about Arthur's life has already been explained. What follows isn't exactly filler, but it doesn't make for riveting reading, either. Business owners and business students will find the latter half of the book helpful in their own careers.

(Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in return for an honest review on my blog for Booksneeze.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Things: January

I didn't tell anyone I was doing this, not even John! A blogger I read posts a Good Things wrap-up of each month, and I decided to try it this year. So, one good thing that happened on each day of January...

1. I started Couch to 5k.

2. The Ole Miss Rebels won the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State 21-7.

3. I finished a good book and made a yummy chicken pot pie.

4. It snowed! It came down in beautiful flakes for about five hours, and even though there was no accumulation, it made me happy.

5. The boy had a bad diaper rash from getting his two-year molars, and I was able to take him to the doctor right away and get medicine that helped him feel better.

6. Rush Limbaugh returned to the radio after his chest pains (which turned out to be nothing serious). Yay Rush!

7. I weighed myself and found that I had lost 2.6 pounds after a week of sort-of doing Weight Watchers on my own.

8. It was a dangerously cold day (the high was 20), but I got to stay in my warm house all day with the boy. That night, John and I had Bop’s hot chocolate.

9. I went to the newer Kroger by myself and mapped out the store for an organized shopping list. Little things make me happy!

10. I had a sore throat and was able to stay home from church by myself and indulge in my fascination with the English royal family by watching episode three of Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work.

11. The boy and I stayed in our jammies and spent much of the day playing in his room, building towers out of Mega Bloks.

12.I watched The Bachelor and was so incredibly grateful that I’m not husband-hunting. Well, mostly I’m grateful I was never as desperate as those women are! And my single girlfriends are not like those girls, thank the Lord!

13. Due to the continued water outages in Jackson, Wednesday night church stuff was canceled, and we had breakfast for dinner at home instead!

14. The weather was very nice and we stayed out on the playground for a long time.

15. It was hard to find something happy on this day, because I had a really bad sinus infection. I guess the best thing was that the boy and I stayed in our jammies all day and I had a great nap in the middle of the day while he napped.

16. We slept late and had a good breakfast, and I got to read a lot!

17. Stayed home from church again due to the sinus infection that wouldn’t die. But! Most of the day was spent on the couch reading! That’s what Sunday afternoons are for.

18. I did the weekly grocery shop and saved almost $30 by using coupons and store deals.

19. At work, we spent the WHOLE morning outside. It was beautiful out there! Also, I took John to work because his car was in the shop, and I got coffee at Seattle Drip on the way home.

20. More time on the playground at work, and I had a good chat with my friend Kathryn over supper at church.

21. John cooked supper! He grilled turkey burgers and tater tots and they were yummy.

22. We had supper at Jason’s Deli and had really sweet family time. We also discovered that the boy will happily drink milk again, as long as it’s chocolate!

23. During the boy’s nap in the afternoon (and while Daddy was home, of course), I took a little time for myself and went to the library, Borders, Target, and a couple stores looking for spring/summer clothes for the boy. It did me a world of good!

24. After church, I took myself to the movies to see Leap Year. I enjoyed it!

25. Instead of running errands like I usually do on Mondays, the boy and I stayed home and in our jammies all day. I think we both needed it. I got some needed housework done, too, and that night I was finally able to go walking in the neighborhood again. That sinus infection hung around forever!

26. It was GORGEOUS outside, and we spent all the time we could on the playground. Everybody’s spirits are better on those days! (The boy is also 26 months old today!)

27. At choir practice, our director handed out photocopied first pages of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” with the words changed to a made-up happy birthday song. We stood to sing and our sweet organist started playing and slowly turned beet red as she realized we were singing to her. It was awesome.

28. My sweet boy spent the morning on the playground gathering up rocks and bringing them to me. I think I should save them all and buy a tumbler that makes rocks all shiny, and keep them forever.

29. The boy and I drove to Hattiesburg today in a torrential downpour. We made it there safely, though, and spent the night with my parents!

30. The boy and I had fun in Hattiesburg and got him some cute spring clothes. The drive back was rain-free, thankfully!

31. The month ended with a quiet Sunday at home with my fellas after church. John and I watched most of the Grammys together, too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We had a horrible cold snap over the past couple weeks and I spent nearly all my free time on my couch under an electric blanket and a fleece blanket while wearing sweatpants, socks, (fake) Uggs, a long-sleeved shirt, a jacket, and sometimes a scarf. I love winter, but man. I'd had enough of that mess.

So now that we've got some positively spring-like temperatures here at the end of January, I'm in the mood to shop. I'm like most girls and I don't really love shopping for clothes for myself, but thankfully I've got a cute little boy living in my house, and shopping for him is a breeze!

I'm not the kind of mama who likes to put her little man in t-shirts covered with skulls and crossbones, angry dinosaurs, guitars with lightning bolts or semi-rude slogans, so I was happy to find a few offerings in the preppier section of The Children's Place.

There's a little bit of this...

And some of this...

And then at Target, there were cute swim trunks and rash guards. Last year I made the mistake of waiting too late to look for trunks, so the poor bear had to wear the previous year's trunks, which were way too small! He's prepared now!

When it's July and August and I'm complaining of the heat and waiting for winter, maybe I'll look back at this post and try to remember how excited I was for warmer weather!

Well, I'll be!

Who Dat indeed!! The Saints are in the Superbowl!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party - April 15, 2009

I’ve only been an activist one other time in my life.

When I was a kid, my mom homeschooled me in 5th and 6th grades, and we once took a field trip to Jackson from our hometown of Clarksdale for a pro-life rally. I vaguely remember standing inside the state Capitol, surrounded by other pro-life folks, listening to elected officials talk about their support of the movement. This was in early 1987, when the pro-life movement was largely still in its nascent days.

On April 15, 2009, I returned to the Mississippi Capitol more than 20 years older but not a whole lot different otherwise. I was a child on that cold January day, but even then I knew in my heart that what I was doing was important. I knew that what I believed was right. I heard family and other pro-lifers around me talk about the battle being long and hard, but I knew, even then, that it was worth it.

That battle still rages, and will become even tougher in the coming months and years, but yesterday, I stood with my fellow Americans on the cusp of a different battle, and my changed season of life brought it so much more into focus.

This time, I’m an adult. This time, I pay taxes. This time, I have a mortgage. This time, I have a husband. But most important of all, this time, I have a son.

I went to the state house on Wednesday for my child. I went for his future. I went for his children and his grandchildren. I went for your children, too.

I stood side-by-side with other Mississippians ready to begin the process of taking this country back. No, we’re not the rightwing extremists the Department of Homeland Security would have you believe. There will be no riots. There will be no violence. There will be no burning effigies or flags. There will be no acts of treason against our government. Anything even appearing violent or treasonous will not be accepted by us, because we love our country, we respect our leaders, and we wish no physical harm ever to come to any of them.

What there will be is prayer. There will be groups of people joining together to stand before the Lord and beg His forgiveness and intercession. They will ask Him to go before us into the fight, because they know there will be no lasting success without Him.

What there will be is knowledge. There will be reading, and discussion, and study of our history and our form of government. There will be careful, serious thought and scholarship.

What there will be is action. There will be more people joining whichever party most closely lines up with their beliefs. There will be campaigning, and questioning, and letter-writing, and phone-calling. There will be running for office. There will be change.

I couldn’t wait to get to the Capitol yesterday. My aunt graciously came from out of town and kept my sweet son at our house so we could be totally focused on the event. I arrived at the Capitol before 1:30, ready to work. I helped sell t-shirts. I carried a walkie-talkie for the first time ever. My bright green STAFF shirt and credentials garnered lots of requests for assistance and information. I was in my element, apparently!

The crowd started to gather, and I noticed especially the groups gathered around our Pledge of Allegiance and Declaration of Independence tables. We asked fellow patriots to sign the Declaration as a symbolic gesture, a reaffirmation that our allegiance as Americans, after God, is to the republic. The scroll was 100 feet long, and by the end of the event, the paper’s end had been reached. Every inch was filled with signatures.

About five minutes before the start, I ascended the Capitol steps with my husband and looked at the crowd. I got tears in my eyes and said to him, “We did it.” My expectations were exceeded. On February 27, at our first tea party, there were 12 of us there. I didn’t yet know how many we had this time, but I knew the number was far greater.

The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance and our national anthem and my tears fell again. We heard from a variety of speakers, from elected officials, to businessmen, to a conservative radio show host, to a minister. We heard from a microcosm of the real Mississippi, both black and white.

Each speaker drove home the point that this is not Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. This is not about black or white. This is about freedom and fiscal responsibility. This is about elected officials doing what their constituents send them to Washington to do: Keep us safe, adhere to the Constitution, and vote fairly. No more, no less.

This will not be the end of the Mississippi Tea Party, or the greater movement nationwide. This week, the silent majority has been awakened from its slumber. This is only the beginning. We went from 12 people in Jackson on February 27 to upwards of 3,500 people on April 15. That’s less than seven weeks of time. Imagine how this will continue to grow in the coming months. Imagine the change we will bring in 2010 and 2012.

My growing involvement in the political process probably gets my name written in the DHS book of rightwing extremists. So be it. I’m doing this for my son, and there is nothing in the world that will stop me. This is my county. I’m taking it back.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Most Amazing Soup Ever

This soup has some sort of name like "Super Foods Soup", but that's kind of lame. Plus, I've changed the recipe so much that it barely resembles the original. Whatever you want to call it, it's awesome. It couldn't be any simpler to make, cooks as fast as it takes to come to a boil, and is even better a day or two later as leftovers. This is the kind of thing to take to a friend who's sick. You'll score major points with it. My son and I are currently mucho sick with bronchitis (both of us) and double ear infections (him) and I know it helped us both feel better when we had it tonight for supper.


1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced
32 oz. frozen chopped spinach
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
32 oz. chicken broth (can substitute water)
1 pkg. (8 slices) pre-cooked sausage (can substitute turkey sausage), roughly chopped
1 pkg. (refrigerated or dried) tortellini, any flavor
salt and pepper

  1. Open and drain canned vegetables
  2. In a large stock pot, saute garlic and onions in a small amount of olive oil
  3. As soon as the garlic and onions are done, add spinach, corn, black beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, sausage, salt and pepper to the stock pot. Stir well
  4. Cover and bring to a boil; add tortellini and stir well
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer approximately 20 minutes

This makes A LOT of soup. You'll easily be eating the leftovers for days, but it gets better the longer the flavors boogie together. We love spinach around here, so I use 32 ounces. You could easily halve that and still have plenty of bulk. You could leave out the meat, or do a different pasta, or throw in a bag of shredded cole slaw mix instead of spinach. It's so easy and so quick that there's no trouble making it your own. Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mississippi Tea Party

Bear and I met up with my husband today at noon on at the Mississippi capitol building. We took part in the nationwide tea party to protest Obama's stimulus package. We had a merry little band turn out. Below are some of the pictures I took today.

Thanks to Rick Santelli for getting angry and speaking up, and to Smart Girl Politics, Top Conservatives on Twitter and Michelle Malkin for organizing the events and spreading the news.

Bear's first political rally!! He was the only baby there and really got into it, hollering out a few chants of his own.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Praise Baby

I'm happy to be able to take part in a bit of blogging for Praise Baby, the CDs and DVDs that have saved a parent's sanity more than once! We love the sweet music in our house! Go check out the fun new blog! Here's my entry: