NaNoWriMo, anyone?

This year is my first year doing NaNoWriMo--that's National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write an entire 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

It's 6PM here, so I have six hours before I can start writing my novel. I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish 50K words in a month between school and babysitting and a social life, but I absolutely refuse to fail. Wish me luck, guys. Lots and lots of luck.

Anyone else doing NaNo?
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Happy Halloween

     The girls were able to wear their costumes to work today but not anything that could scare children.

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Halloween 2009 with the Loon-a-tics

Easy Halloween Breakfast Bento pumpkin and slow cooker apple butter recipes

Mini Caskets pumpkin bread recipe included

Halloween Dinner roasted butternut squash soup and panini recipes

Halloween Quotes

Tex-Mex jack-o-lanterns recipe

Alternatives to trick-or-treating

Creepy Eyes stuffed mushrooms recipe included

Halloween Humor

Devilishly Good Halloween Cupcakes

Spooky Rice Krispies Treats

Worms in Dirt Graveyard

Free Halloween Recipes

Free Halloween Ecards

Free Halloween Coloring Pages

Homemade Caramel Corn

Candy Corn & Jack-O-Lanterns for dinner!?!

Super-easy Bloody Eyeballs

Easy Halloween Trail Mix
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Worms on a bun: gross

This is so easy and really fun.  I ran across the idea while doing my galavanting through cyberville and basically you take a pack of hot dogs and cut each in eighths lengthwise then fry in a little butter or oil and serve them on a hamburger bun.  We added a half cup of BBQ sauce and it made all the difference in the grossness factor.  
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Halls Refresh Review and Giveaway 3 winners!

We recently had the opportunity to try out the newest Halls product, Halls Refresh.

Halls Refresh comes in 3 flavors, Juicy Strawberry, Tropical Wave and Refreshing Mint. I received the Strawberry and Tropical Wave to sample.

They are not a cough drop but a mouth watering hard candy formulated to moisten your mouth, specifically Advanced Moisture Action™ formula.

I have mixed thoughts -

I like that they are sugar free and have only 6 calories with 3 grams of carbs and 0 grams of sugar per drop, making them suitable for diabetics (although as always consult your physician with your specific concerns).

They come in two sizes, the familiar 9 piece stick and a 20 count bag. (I'm not thrilled that the ones in the 20 count bag come two to a packet since I would only use one at a time, but I do like that the bag itself is resealable.)

The strawberry especially had a mediciney taste- not as strong as traditional cough drops but definitely not something you usually find in candy, either. It was very faint in the Tropical, but it was there.

So the verdict- they lasted quite a while until we got tired of sucking and chewed them and did live up to the claim that they moisten your mouth.

I have been having a wicked bad time with my sinuses lately (ugh, heaters on and no fresh air flowing) and the Halls Refresh did keep my mouth moist which it NEVER is and it soothed the tickle in the back of my throat that leads to that pathetic little half-cough thing.

I would not say "ooh, candy" and reach for them, but I would definitely consider them during bad sinus season when my throat is slightly scratchy and I can't get rid of the tickle or when I feel I might be coming down with something but it is not bad enough to medicate.

The little divas feel the same- not candy but for when you need something but don't want to go to a full blown medicine, these work.

Halls Refresh is a sugar free product. For more information visit or call 1-800-524-2854. You can also check them out on Facebook.
Halls products are intended for adults and children over 5 years of age. For children under 5, consult your pediatrician or family physician.

***Bonus*** Check out the Halls Website, you can sign up for news and coupons as well as enter the Every Drop Makes A Difference Sweepstakes- not only do you have a chance to win one of 4 fabulous trips to Hawaii, Greece or Austrailia (and gotta love this- each trip win includes some cash so you can afford it), every entry (up to 100,000) is a $1 donation to the Conservation Fund. WOOT!

On to the good news- I am able to offer 3 of you a prize pack which includes samples of the new Halls Refresh as well as a T-shirt. Gotta love those freebies, huh?

Enter daily until 11/12 ends 11:59 cst
Open to US residents 18+

The rules:

Main entry- tell me which Halls Refresh you think you'd like OR another Halls product you use OR your favorite hard candy. If this entry isn't followed all others will be discarded. (Additional daily entries can be as simple as Today's entry or entry for 10/29.)

Optional entries- see sidebar for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.

Follow my blog - 1 entry

Follow me on twitter dddiva - 1 entry

Tweet this giveaway. Can be done once daily. Leave link in comments.
Optional tweet: Win a Halls Refresh Prize Pack from My Loonyverse @dddiva #giveaway

Become a Facebook Fan.

Follow me on Networked Blogs (FB)

Subscribe via rss feed.

Subscribe via email - must be verified

Add our button- 3 entries- leave link where we can find it- (leave a separate comment for each)

*New*  Add our holiday button for 5 extra entries- leave a link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each) 

Add our link to your blog roll - 3 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Fave me on Technorati or really any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, etc and leave your user name. (See the share button at the end of this post.)

Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each

Comment on any other post- including active giveaways- and leave a comment letting us know where- 1 entry each


As a contributor for Pink Lemonade I received samples of the product to review and an opportunity to offer my readers a chance to win. I did not receive financial compensation nor was the fact that I received the product in exchange for this review taken into consideration when I posted my honest feedback.
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I have a rubber butt!

So Ian and I were jumping on Gigi's (mommy's) bed like we're not supposed to, and Ian fell off the bed and onto the floor. For a second he looked like he was about to start crying.

Just as I was asking if he was okay, Dawn (gamer girlie) interjected, "He's fine. Babies have rubber for butts so they won't get hurt."

Ian giggled insanely and for the rest of the night went around shouting "I HAVE A RUBBER BUTT!"

Just thought I'd share. ;)
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Super Easy Bloody Eyeballs

For a quick, ghoulish treat, it doesn't get much simpler than this.

For each pair of eyeballs you need 2 marshmallows, 2 dried cranberries and a red food marker or red food coloring and a toothpick to draw veins.

Let dry before serving.

Great for parties- a great, eerie effect if there is only candlelight.

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Easy Halloween Trail Mix

Kids (especially teens and tweens) getting together for a party= the need for munchies, lots and lots of munchies.

Here's a quick, easy Halloween trail mix that is addictive.
Easy Halloween Trail Mix

Ingredients - as much or little of each as you like:
  • Cheerios
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Fall colored Reeses Pieces or M&Ms
  • Candy Corn
Mix together and enjoy.
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Winner chosen for 100 custom postcards.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-10-29 19:45:05 UTC

Congrats to :

FDP 4 Life said...


I will be emailing you shortly for your contact info.
Thank you to everyone who entered, we really appreciate all of our visitors.
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Free Halloween coloring pages

Here are some free printable coloring pages for the kids (and older folks!) to enjoy.
Lots of fun Halloween-themed coloring pages.
Links to a handful of coloring pages.
40 different Halloween coloring pages AND a link to color online.
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Free Halloween Ecards

One of the things we love to do to stay in touch is send ecards for any and every occasion or no occasion at all. They're free, they're fun and there is something for everyone. Here are just a few sites that offer free cards you can send to anyone with an email address. Enjoy.

101 huge selection, loads fast, some animated over 250 cards to choose from including a witch you can paste your own pic in- FUN!
GotFreeCards cute, print for free
Fun & Silly Greetings these are pretty cute, def need a sense of humor
123greetings cute animated cards not a huge selection but a good one
egreetings several good ones, flash animation, if you are on dial-up skip this one
Animated CyberKisses small, fun selection
123 Giggle! decent selection including Pooh and Peanuts small but nice animated selection including Halloween Birthday lots to choose from another site with a large selection
halloween ecards lots of different categories to choose from
Trick or Treat Ecards another giant site with tons of options
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Free Halloween Recipes from RecipeLion- free ebook

Looking for the perfect Halloween recipes? Look no further. RecipeLion has tons of fun, spooky, gross and festive recipes to delight your family, friends and guests including an ebook you can download for free.

From devilishly good deviled eggs to drinks that look like internal organs you can find it all here.

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Homemade Caramel Corn

1 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 baking soda
4 quarts (16 cups) popped corn

In heavy saucepan on medium to medium-high heat melt butter then add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly.

Once mixture boils stop stirring and boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda (be careful, it foams up).

Pour mixture over popped corn. Gently stir to coat popcorn.

Put onto baking sheets and bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Cool before putting into tightly covered containers or zip-top bags.

To make festive for Halloween, add about a half bag of candy corn.

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Potions- witches brew, swamp water and more

Ghastly brews are easy to mix up into yummy but disgusting beverages for your Halloween party or just to amuse the kids. Something as simple as poison aka lemon-lime soda mixed with blue food coloring and a glow stick (5/$1 at the Dollar Tree) makes a tasty treat that even the pickiest little goblins will enjoy.

There are so many different punches you can make and really it just depends on your tastes what you like so here's a nifty little formula- 1 part juice, kool-aid or other non-fizzy beverage, 1 part lemon-lime soda and sherbet. You can add fruit if you like, or here are a few ideas for Halloween- radishes mostly peeled and stuffed with a pimento stuffed green olive made to look like bloodshot eyeballs then frozen in ice cubes, plastic (well washed of course) spiders or other creepy critters again frozen in ice cubes, plastic (again well washed) bady body parts or a severed bloody hand- use a food grade plastic glove and fill with red kool-aid or juice then freeze solid. Unmold and have it either floating in or reaching up out of your punch bowl.

Here are a couple of sites featuring fun adult libations- enjoy!
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Candy Corn and Jack-O-Lantern's for dinner?

Sure, if you make the super fun, super easy cheesy quesadillas.

Jack-O-Lantern Cheesy Quesadillas

  • 2 per Jack-o-lantern Tomato-basil tortillas
  • Shredded cheddar, mexican blend or colby-jack cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Lay one tortilla on baking sheet.
  2. Top with thin layer of cheese to about 1/4 inch from edge all the way around
  3. Top with remaining tortilla that you cut a Jack-0-Lantern face out of.
  4. Bake 375 degrees 8 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted
Candy Corn Cheesy Quesadillas

  • Flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for orange)
  • Shredded mexican blend cheese (for yellow)
  • Shredded montery jack, white cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Lay flour tortilla on baking sheet
  2. Add a thin layer of your favorite cheese to about 1/4 inch from edge all the way around
  3. Top with remaining tortilla
  4. Top with 3 rings of cheese starting with white in center, then orange, then yellow
  5. Bake 375 degrees 8 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted
  6. Use pizza cutter or kitchen shears to cut into triangle making sure white is at the tip OR cut triangles before layering and baking - both seemed to work equally well.

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Mostly and W/Wednesday Worms in Dirt Graveyard

We used a standard worms in dirt recipe and made it in a square baking dish then added a few extras to turn it into a haunted graveyard.

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Worms In Dirt Graveyard

We used a standard Worms in dirt recipe and made it in a square baking dish then added a few extras to turn it into a haunted graveyard.

Worms in Dirt

1 small pack instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk
1 small container non-dairy whipped topping
1 pkg chocolate sandwich cookies
1 pkg gummy worms
Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies
Ghost shaped Peeps

Make up pudding according to directions, let stand 5 minutes.
Fold in whipped topping.
Crush sandwich cookies in zip top bag or food processor.
Put a thin layer of crushed cookies on bottom of clear square baking dish. Top with about 1/2 of pudding mixture, some scattered worms a small layer of cookies and then top with remaining cookies.
Add Milano cookies (Dev wrote RIP, U R next, etc on them with edible marker) to resemble tombstones and some Ghost Peeps then scattered a few more worms.

Delicious, fun and easy.

We made a little mini one for her to take with her lunch using the 100 calorie pack Keebler choco covered grahams as the tombstones.

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Is it "old-timers" or my natural brilliance?

We all do things and then think d'oh! I should be smacked upside the head for that.

I happen to do them with great frequency and while it would be nice to attribute to old-timers, I've pretty much always been a genius like this.

Luckily for me, my family thinks it is adorable rather than stupidity. Although the little mini diva takes her hand puts it on my head and says brain-sucker and then pfffffffft her hand falls off because it dies from starvation. HaHa toots very funny- I love you anyways. She gets away with it because she is about as brilliant as I am about some things. (Gosh, they'll invite anyone to join mensa these days huh? Yes, I did get invited, no I am not a joiner in such things. I'm pretty sure they only asked me for the yearly fee.)

For your amusement, here are a few of my more memorable oopsie moments.

I will spend a lot of time (we're talking up to an hour here) looking for my sunglasses since I can't see at all when the sun is glaring without them to drive and poof they're on my head. (Yeah, the adorable Hello Kitty ones I paid too much for but were worth every penny.) And not remember I keep spares in my car and on my desk because I do this all the time. ALL the time!

I will need one or two things from the store and end up $300 poorer with a basket full of stuff and not get the things I really need. And this is when I do have a list with me. ;)

The girls will ask me something and I hear them and I know what they said but I'll swear they never said it. (They do the same thing to me.) Or we will KNOW we asked the other to do something and the other will KNOW we didn't. Of course geeky-mommy dreams she has done things like one example is gotten her laundry done for work so she doesn't do it and then totally freaks when she has nothing to wear but she really did do it in some parallel universe or something, she does that all the time. And she genuinely believes she did it and could pass a lie-detector test about it.

Mama and I took the little girls downtown to shop and were walking between stores and unlike y'all who I am sure never judge *rolls eyes* I sort of sum people up in passing and so we're walking along and I think to myself gee, she's pretty cute love the outfit not realizing I'm passing a reflective window and it is me. Yeah, I'm a genius. ;)

Surely I'm not the only one- tell me about some of your less than brilliant moments.
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1st Aloha Friday

I've been seeing this around the web and thought it might be fun to play along. Kailani over at An Island Life started it and here's what she says:

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My question is:

What are your plans for Halloween?

3 of the divas are working and Ian will be with his dad so not sure what we'll be doing- we don't get many trick-or-treaters here since we're in the boondocks. Dev will most likely be doing her traditional Halloween Party with her friends and we'll help with the gory snacks and whatnot- and yes we will finally get caught up on our 31 days of Halloween- things have just been crazy. Like normal.

If you're playing along, head on over to An Island Life and leave your link.

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Mostly & Wordless Wednesday - Hamming it up before Homecoming

So naturally, Dev can't do a normal pic- here she is hamming it up before homecoming. Even being a goofball she's a cutie pie.

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Mama drama, twitter wars, nasty posts, advice to sponsors and reviewers and more


I'm joining the Un Mom for Random Tuesday Thoughts for the first time since mine are all over the place lately. Looks like fun, huh?

I wasn't going to post this, but I've been rolling my eyes and biting my tongue for so long now that I just had to. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Let me start out by saying I love social networking, I love blogging, I love tweeting, etc...


Is anyone else noticing the rash of mama-drama, twitter wars, hate-filled blog posts and more?

Seriously, what's up with that. Some is jealousy, but it goes way beyond that.

I'm not singling anyone out and this isn't directed at any person or blog specifically, but sheesh grow up already!

Some of it, I am sure is to get hits to their sites- he said, she said, we did, they did, blah blah blah!

Who the heck cares? Sure, you are going to get comments because like a train-wreck a large number of people can't seem to look away. And the more popular you are the more people will side with you- not because you are "right" or somebody done you wrong, but because they haven't reached the maturity level to get over their need to fit in with the cool kids.

Why, oh why do you feel the need to air your dirty laundry? It makes everyone involved look like sophomoric middle schoolers.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term:
soph·o·mor·ic (s f -môr k, -m r -). adj. 1. Of or characteristic of a sophomore. 2. Exhibiting great immaturity and lack of judgment: sophomoric behavior.

People, life is hard. Why the heck are we treating each other like crap when there is enough to worry about with just doing the best we can for our families?

Whining because blogger a makes enough to support their family and you don't- uh, hello, some is luck, but most is hard work and time.

If you want to present yourself as an authority or expect us to value what you say, grow up already.

Review bloggers- sorry, but when the majority of your post is cut and pasted from the site you might get me to enter if it is something I want to win, but when I am purchasing something, yours is the last opinion I will trust or value.

Do you hear that, sponsors? I would much rather you had your product on a smaller blog with someone who isn't just posting to get you hits to your site and them hits to their site and a free product to sample.

I don't know if it is because they are overwhelmed or they don't care but I am seriously sick and tired of reading the same thing on 20 different blogs. Sure, it might get your site hits, but I am betting it doesn't make those of us who enter think very highly of your company or product.

This one is for both bloggers and sponsors. Sure, I'd like someone to give me appliances and furniture, trips for my family, cash and gc's to shop with and heck, while we're at it a convertible or jeep, but I won't review things that don't suit my family or blog audience like I have seen many, many bloggers do. Oh I don't have anyone this suits, but I have a neighbor of a friend of a friend. Hello, there are a gazillion other bloggers who would be delighted to give a firsthand account from their own experience not just a secondhand review of a quickie test. Sorry, something might look like a blast for an hour or so but fall apart in a week- give us the REAL scoop if you want our loyalty.

Does a higher page rank or more hits really mean more to you than satisfied consumers or your integrity? If someone only has infants or toddlers, they are not the bloggers you should be seeking out to test something for tweens or teens.

Sour grapes? Not at all. I work with a few sponsors and pick and choose those products I genuinely think we and our readers will enjoy. That is not always the case as not everything lives up to the hype (surprise, surprise). Just this morning I passed on 5 opportunities and accepted one. Why? Because I don't think the others are anything I would want or use.

I do not get the bloggers who claim they won't post negative reviews. Why the heck should I trust you when you hide the fact that if I bought x, y, or z I will be disappointed? I would rather you told me up front hey this looked wicked good, but we were bored in 20 minutes or whatever. Then, I would believe when you said something was excellent that it was worth me doing a little checking of my own to see if it was right for the people in my life.

While I am on the subject- it kind of annoys me when some sponsors give the review bloggers the cream of the crop to review- a recent example is a deluxe bedding set- and only a pillow to give away. Hello, that kind of sucks. It makes more sense to do it the other way around unless you are trying to "buy" a good review. Yeah, I am going to be super popular among sponsors, but heck I have an opinion and I know how to use it.

And I will know the sponsors who choose to work with me truly believe in their products. Which makes me want to give them a chance.
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Carolina Pad Winner Chosen

True Random Number Generator 1 362

Coming in just before the deadline, the winner is
lilyk said...

Carolina Pad products can help me organized by making it easy to sort and categorize my paperwork.

Congratulations, we are just waiting on confirmation and we'll be getting the info to our fabulous sponsor.

Thanks to everyone who entered, we appreciate you more than we can say.
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Spooky Rice Krispies Treats

There is very little you can make that is quicker and easier then Rice Krispies treats*, and they are VERY easy to dress up for any holiday.

All it takes is Kellogg's Rice Krispies, butter, marshmallows and food coloring, oh, and plenty of non-stick spray! Just make up the recipe like usual, divide for colors depending on what your going to make as soon as it is cool enough to handle (When I worked in a cafeteria we would put on three gloves and spray down with Pam so we could work it right away) Gently work in colors and either shape by hand, things like pumpkins and candy corn are easy, or use cookie cutters. If you find it is hardening too fast is helps to work under a space heater. You can also work in candies, things like Reese's pieces and candy corn are good for Halloween. Some people also ice it, but for simple treats I don't see a need for the extra icing.

 Either way, have fun!

Oh, all of our props are wonderful dollar store finds!

*Rice Krispies Treats (we used the original recipe but omitted pressing into a pan and worked in food coloring and formed into the shapes we desired).

3 Tablespoons butter
1 pkg marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies
Food coloring in desired colors

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

Separate into sections and add food coloring to create desired colors.

Add any candies or extras now.

Form into the desired shapes.

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Harry Connick Jr Your Songs review

We recently received Your Songs by Harry Connick Jr, which was released On September 22nd. I'll be honest, we mostly listen to things that are harder or more, uh... punky? Funky? Quirky? Usually the only way Sinatra-esque songs enter our household is when we are singing loudly and intentionally off-key to be silly, so my opinion may not be the best to rely on.

The music was alright, if I ever have a romantic dinner I will likely play it on low for ambiance. My friend with more.. sophisticated... tastes than my own is borrowing the CD for his wine party, so I guess thats the kind of music it is. I like to listen to music where you can hear a singers soul, something often lost in recording I'm afraid. Perhaps if he wasn't playing familiar songs I would have been able to appreciate his voice more, but Sinatra has a melt in your mouth voice and those are just big proverbial shoes to fill, Elvis, Beatles... those are harsh people to set yourself up to be compared too. And all the songs, no matter what the original was, were made to sound Sinatra-esque.

He is very easy on the eyes, though, you have to admit.

Another thing I found disapointing, one of the cover art pieces shows his hand playing piano, and another was him standing in front of a piano.

There wasn't much strong piano in the album at all, many songs had little or none. That was an unfortunate letdown.

I do hate to sound so negative, and as I said I may not be the best judge for this type of music. It is great for ambiance, and I much prefer his other work- again, it may be because we know the originals.

If your interested, the title links to his site, and here is his facebook

and here is a making of the album

Here is the song list
All The Way (Frank Sinatra)
Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel)
Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley)
And I Love Her (The Beatles)
(They Long To Be) Close To You (The Carpenters)
Besame Mucho
The Way You Look Tonight
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
(Roberta Flack)
Your Song (Elton John)
Some Enchanted Evening
And I Love You So
(Don McLean)
Who Can I Turn To? (Tony Bennett)
Smile (Charlie Chaplin)
Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole)
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Somebody's Watching Me- Creepy Eyes Stuffed Mushrooms

I always feel like... somebody's watching me. And now I have all those creepy stalker songs ie: Every Breath You Take, Hello, Follow You Home, I will follow, etc...- running through my head. Eww.

Regardless, geeky mommy has done it again with a super simple recipe that accidentally turned into a Halloween treat.

She found some larger mushrooms on clearance and picked them up and though she didn't have anything in particular in mind they needed to be used up fairly quickly.

She cleaned them and removed the stems and stuffed with some boursin cheese we had gotten a couple of weeks ago- also on clearance- I really LOVE our Kroger!

There happened to be a couple fairly close together on the pan and so *aha* ooh creepy eyes hmm now what would work and ta-da some pimento stuffed olives do the job beautifully. (As the mushrooms were large we used the whole olives rather than slices, but really it is the idea that matters, you can use any number of things.)

*Although we used boursin cheese we often season our own cream cheese for stuffed mushrooms with garlic salt or powder and Parmesan and whatever herbs or spices we are in the mood for, but I think almost any stuffing would work.

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Random Ramblings

Between being crazy busy and lazy we've been a bit remiss keeping up with the blog- thanks for hanging in there with us, we appreciate you more than we can tell you.

We have some more Halloween posts, we'll get at least a couple up today! All I will say is that caramel is involved- yum.

Devii went to homecoming, if you want to see what a gorgeous goofball looks like that will be our WW for this week.

Wins have been insane- seriously- in the best possible way. So far I can say Ian's Birthday and Christmas will be covered. Thanks to Swagbucks and how easy it is to earn Amazon GC's we will be able to get the last thing we were wanting for his birthday- the Disney Magic Cookbook.

If you haven't signed up yet for Swagbucks, it is a great time to do so- it is easier than ever to earn them. I don't even do the minimum daily and it takes me less than a month to earn $10. If your friends and family or readers sign up under you you'll be able to earn even more.

If you do have a Swagbucks account, dust it off and get busy earning them. I don't know anyone who can't use extra money right now. Dev has a lot more than I do (she didn't realize I had an account so is making someone else $. ;) ) This is a great way for kids 13 and up to get a little spending cash of their own without too much effort- she looks up school projects- and random nonsense- through them instead of Google.

We've got some reviews and giveaways coming up, so stay tuned for those.

What's been going on with y'all? I've been trying to visit everyones sites but this last batch of blood didn't give me the energy I usually have after a transfusion, so if I missed you, sorry, I'll get there when I can.

Oh and last but not least- I pop on to twitter most days so if you would like feel free to add me- I follow me unless you are xxx rated.
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Pork & Apple Cheddar Melt

For each serving toast 1 slice of  Honey Oatmeal Bread.

Spread with Sweet-Hot mustard (Dev doesn't like mustard so she just wanted hers plain)

Cover with thinly sliced cooked pork loin (we got a lemon-pepper marinated one on markdown at Kroger and it really complimented the sandwich, but I think most any seasoning would do- try one of our delicious myo marinades)

Layer with thinly sliced Fuji apple

Top with thin slices or shredded sharp cheddar

Broil until cheese is melted- for me that is 4 minutes on low on second to top row

I can't even tell you how the flavors mingled and complimented each other- this is definitely a keeper for all of us.

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Sorry I've been absent, will catch up soon

Life is a touch crazy, but I have friday and sunday off so hopefully I can catch up my 31 days of halloween then. 
For anyone interested, the insanity in my life currently consists off;

1) I have been made full time at work, woohoo! More money!

2) Navigating the world of divorce when you cant afford a lawyer and he can, boo.

3) Looking for a house. I was actually looking into owning but the bank is convinced I couldnt afford more then $400/mo, never mind the fact that the cheapest apartments I could get are $500. Because that makes all the sense in the world. Really. I saw one for $99,000 that I REALLY want, its huge and wonderful with 3 fireplaces and its 100 years old and I wantwantwant it, but don't think I can get it... not unless someone has an extra $30,000 or so laying around collecting dust =P Really, the house is awesome and worth it, and I would constantly brag about how awesome you are! I know it seems huge for just me and my boy, but the thing is... I collect strays. Many of them of the human variety, mom calls them my lame ducks. This would include my two friends and their baby who are even more crammed then I am with inlaws, a 16 year old who is in a terrible abusive situation, a good friend who just cant catch a break... really, he just moved, then broke his foot. Things should be looking up soon he has an interview to become a policeman soon, but for now, life is full of suck. These are just a few examples, but pretty much I would have a constant flow of people, some staying a while, some just, well, taking a breather. It hurts when I cant help them =(
Anyways, that was number 4 aswell, helping these various friends, babying the guy with a broken foot, saying goodbyes to someone moving to virginia, helping newlywed friends learn to shop and budget and such... yeah, pretty busy.

Anyways, back to insanity! 

Oh, and for anyone interested, this is the house I need! Really, its supposed to be mine, I wrote about it two days before I found it in a what I want for my home note! I described it to a tee!

Isnt she beautiful?

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Honey Oatmeal Bread

We saw a recipe that looked pretty good for Oatmeal Bread on All Recipes, but since we changed some of the amounts, some of the ingredients, how it is made and even the type of oatmeal used we're calling it ours. ;)

Honey Oatmeal Bread - Yield 2 loaves

1 cup Quaker Oats - not instant
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups boiling water
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup warm - not hot - water
6 cups all purpose flour (next time we will replace 2 to 3 cups with whole wheat flour)

Put oats, honey, butter, water and salt in large bowl of stand mixer (We used my KitchenAid Pro) and let sit for 1 hour.
At least 15 minutes before the hour is up mix yeast and the warm water to proof (We did this as soon as the oatmeal mixture was done as I buy my yeast in bulk at Sam's Club to save money and store it in the freezer.

Add the proofed yeast and two cups of flour to the mixer and blend well. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition. When everything is incorporated let 'er rip for 20 minutes while you get online and catch up on your blog reading and tweeting with your peeps. Maybe get a few giveaways entered while you're at it.

Tell EVERYONE you are slaving away making your family some awesome homemade yeast bread. Really play it up! since you aren't even using a bread machine this is REAL homemade bread and they will be impressed. Don't mention that your mixer is doing all the work.

After the twenty minutes are up cover with a damp towel (leave right on the stand) and let rise until double for about an hour.

Turn the mixer back on low long enough to punch the air out of the dough then pull it out and divide in half. Put each into a lightly greased loaf pan.

Cover them back up with the damp towel and let double again, another hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap on it. Remove from pans.

This is a very wet dough- you will be tempted to add more flour, but don't. This makes an excellent light bread that is not super-dense like a lot of homemade breads.

It is fabulous just like that, but even better toasted and slathered with butter or jam. We hogged the first loaf before we even had time to take a pic.

For the second loaf I threatened dire consequences to anyone who touched as I had a fabulous idea for an open-faced sandwich that I wanted to make for dinner the next night.

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Mostly & W/W My cute lil' dude (doggy) pics

I'm watching you mommy- please, please pay some attention to me and share your snack.

Are you paying attention, mommy? I'm coming closer now. Notice me yet, huh, mommy?

I'm being good, mommy, really I am but if you don't share soon I am going to start whining and kneading on you with these claws. PLEASE, MOMMY, gimme some, don't make me beg.

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Squirrels In My Pants

If you're one of my tweeps (follow me on twitter) you know the bulk of my day was spent watching the Phineas and Ferb marathon on Disney XD leading up to the Phineas and Ferb's Musical Cliptastic Countdown.

If you don't know the show Phineas and Ferb you are totally missing out. We are so very grateful Ian has chosen that as his fave rather than Wow Wow Wubzy or something equally... not adult friendly. *Visions of a hideous purple dinosaur dance through my brain making me wish I could drill a hole and empty all memories.*

Phineas and Ferb are stepbrothers who build amazing things like time machines and portals to Mars in the backyard; meanwhile, their big sister Candace tries to "bust" them and get them in trouble (to no avail). All the while, their pet platypus Perry--actually a secret agent--foils the (arguably) evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz's plots. Lots of silly recurring themes, subplots, and songs are featured in each episode.

So. Today was the countdown and we were rooting of course for The. Best. Song. Evah! Squirrels In My Pants, complete with an awesome dance. (Special extended edition for the countdown.) And it came in at number 5.

Number. 5. People. Seriously.

How on earth did that happen? Have you seen it? If not, make sure you have on your Depends, it is pee your pants funny- especially if you are doing the dance with the divas.

Behind the totally lame quasi-ballad Little Brothers, with such scintillating lyrics as:

Little Brother,
I remember when you first came home,
Then came another, little brother of our own.
Even when you break my toys,
You will always be my,
Little brothers,
Cause you're younger,
We're related, and you're boys.
Even when you're making to much noise,
You will always be my,
Little brothers,
Cause you're younger,
We're related, and you're boys
Little brothers,
Little brothers,
Little brothers.

Yeah, I knew it wasn't just us.

No freaking comparison.

So as the divas and I are discussing the merits of various songs and how they should have been ranked (and yes, this was an extremely intellectual and serious conversation) we comprised our own top 10 Phineas and Ferb songs in the order they should have been listed. Some never even made the countdown. I know, right, we were shocked too.

Without further ado, here's the Loon-atics top 10

#10 Give Me An F

#9 She's A Truck Drivin' Girl

#8 My-Goody-Two-Shoes Brother

#7 She's A Disco Minature Golfing Queen

#6 I'm Me

#5 One Good Scream

#4 Busted

#3 E.V.I.L.B.O.Y.S

#2 Gitchy Gitchy Goo (I call it Bow-Chicka-Bow-Wow)

and of course coming in at #1, where it rightfully belongs (and we believe the creators thought so as well since they used it for the ending credits) Squirrels In My Pants
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Devilishly good Halloween Cupcakes

Dev and I made some really excellent (and cute) cupcakes with boxed Devil's Food cake mix and some excellent homemade buttercream icing that she colored orange. Well, mostly Dev aka Cookie made them and I kept her company.

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Halloween Humor

You might be a redneck if the jack-o-lantern on your front porch has more teeth than your spouse.

Why did the vampire buy Nyquil? To stop his coffin.

Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? He didn't have the guts.

What do you call a witch who lives at the beach? A sand-witch

What kind of music do mummies listen to? Wrap.

Where does the ghost take his family on vacation? Mali-boo.

What do you call someone who puts poison in the Cheerios? A cereal killer.

What instrument does the skeleton play? The trom-bone.

What is the witch's favorite subject? Spelling.

Why don't mummies go on vacation? They are afraid they'll relax and unwind.

Where do ghosts get their nails done? The boo-ty parlor.

How are werewolves like computers? They both have megabytes.

What is a vampires biggest fear? Tooth decay.

How do you make a witch stew? Keep her waiting for hours.

Where do ghosts do their shopping? At boo-tiques.

How do you mend a broken jack-o-lantern? With a pumpkin patch.

What do you call a ghost's mistakes? Boo-boo's.

What do ghosts and goblins drink when they're thirsty? Ghoul-aid.

What do you get when you cross a black cat with a lemon? A sour-puss.

Why aren't there any famous skeletons? They're a bunch of nobodies.

What do you get when you divide the diameter of a jack-o-lantern by its circumference? Pumpkin pi.

Why do cemeteries have fences around them? People are dying to get in.

What do you call a ghost with a broken leg? A hobblin' goblin.

What kind of dog does the vampire have? A bloodhound.

What do you call two or more witches living together? Broom-mates.

How do you get the jack-o-lantern to stop smoking? Give him a pumpkin patch.

What do you get when you cross an vampire with the internet? A blood thirsty hacker-baby.

Where does Dracula make his withdrawals? The blood bank.

What is the zombie's favorite dessert? Ladyfingers.

What does the little monster call his parents? Mummy and deady.

Why are mummies so tense? They are all wound up.
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RapidLash winners chosen and verified

Rapidlash winners 145 out of 166 entries were valid. The winners are:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-10-08 15:16:41 UTC

Congratulations to Courtney & heaventrees

Winners have been notified and verified. We'd like to thank everyone who enters our giveaways and reads our blog! You are appreciated.
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Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating

Halloween automatically brings to mind thoughts of little ghosts and witches running door-to-door shouting "Trick or treat!"

After that come the treasured memories of trading candy with friends and siblings, then eating so much Fun Dip and chocolate that you want to puke.

But there are other options for spending your Halloween, for both kids and adults, that still involve dress-up and candy. Why do the same thing every year when you can switch it up some?

Haunted houses are on obvious option. There are less-scary child-appropriate "boo"-type houses, plus scare-your-pants-off alternatives for the older set.
Zoos often do something for Halloween--ours does "Boo at the Zoo"--as do libraries. You may be able to find things like hayrides, carnivals, and the like in your area. For adults, many bars have costume parties, so it's not just kids who can indulge in the Halloween dress-up fun.

Grocery stores sometimes have fun parties mostly geared toward younger children--our local one has a cake walk, turkey bowling, costume contest etc. where kids can win lots of candy. That's not to mention the free or cheap food and drink they have to offer.

Last but not least, don't forget this classic choice: The Halloween party. Find one to go to or hold one yourself--it's really easy to get creative and have fun decorating your house. My friends and I have one each year and go all-out, even though only a few of us attend. Half the fun is decking the house out with dollar-store decorations and decorating fun treats--check out this blog all this month for fun Halloween ideas.

Check your local newspapers and ask around to find what's going on around the spookiest day of the year. You never know what you might find to do.
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Once In A Blue Moon - book review

This post is a joint effort by dddiva & the geekazoid.

There comes a time in every reviewers life that they come across something that just isn't what they expected.

I know many reviewers say that they just send the product back or won't post but I'm not that reviewer. If I can't review with integrity what is the point?

Which is probably why my readers know they can trust what I say and companies aren't beating down my door although to be perfectly frank I have passed on more opportunities than I have accepted.

We received the book Once In a Blue Moon by Eileen Goudge and I just could not get into it. I tried, I did. So. I gave it to the littlest diva (aka Geekazoid, who has been reading beyond grad school level since 4th grade).

She is fine with deep subjects and really loves to sink her teeth into meaty novels.

In her own words, Once In a Blue Moon is a pretty light read for a very heavy topic.

Until the last few chapters the story is predictable, then it takes a few interesting turns and plot twists and ends up completely the way she expected.

The characters themselves were multidimensional and the family dynamics interesting. Also, most books don't tell a story from the point of view of a mother whose child is taken away; many portray this mother as a terrible person, but this book shows that that's not always the case.

We found the subject matter interesting but it wasn't executed in a way we found enjoyable.

Fans of Jodi Picoult may find the subject matter interesting. Certainly other reviews I have read and her status as a best-selling author means she is popular among many readers, so my advice is to give it a chance but don't let others opinions sway you.

You can find out more on Eileen's website or find her on twitter here or facebook here.

We received a copy of Once In A Blue Moon as part of the One2One Network.
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Tex Mex Casserole Jack-O-Lantern's

Even though they obviously aren't perfect, a simple thing like making a jack-o-lantern onto a favorite casserole makes the meal festive and gives it that somethin' somethin' we all try to jazz it up for the holidays.

This is one of my most requested tex-mex casserole recipes all decked out for the season.

I'm including my recipe since EVERYONE loves it and it is beyond easy, but feel free to substitute any of your own family faves- really, we just wanted to give you the idea.

Easy Tex-Mex Casserole

3 lbs ground beef or turkey, browned and drained then put back in pot.
Add in:
1 can corn, drained
1 can tomato sauce
1 jar your fave salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix up 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix according to package directions adding in 1 can cream corn and several drops orange food coloring. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Divide meat mixture between 2 round cake pans and add a layer of shredded cheese- we like colby jack, but cheddar works or a mexican blend.

Top with corn muffin mix and then decorate with black olives- Kyra and Devii did one in slices and one with chopped - it moves slightly while baking so won't be perfect, but they are perfectly charming.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until done.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*These are just as delicious the second time around and freeze beautifully, so one can go into the fridge or freezer for an easy meal.

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Quotable Sunday- Halloween

In honor of our 31 days of Halloween I thought I'd do quotes on Halloween- hope you enjoy them.

When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers,‘tis near Halloween. ~ Unknown

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~Scottish Saying

On Halloween, witches come true;
Wild ghosts escape from dreams.
Each monster dances in the park....
~Nicholas Gordon,

On Hallowe'en the thing you must do
Is pretend that nothing can frighten you
And if somethin' scares you and you want to run
Just let on like it's Hallowe'en fun.
~ Unknown

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.

~ Unknown

And of course since Halloween is just a big ol' excuse to gorge on chocolate I'll leave you with these fine quotes:

Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates. ~Fernando Pessoa

Forget love - I'd rather fall in chocolate! ~Attributed to Sandra J. Dykes

After eating chocolate you feel godlike, as though you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice lovers. ~Emily Luchetti

Thanks, Toni. Head on over to A Daily Dose of Toni for more quotable fun.

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Safe Sunday- DreamCatchers for Children - Child abuse awareness link up

Today I want to direct your attention to a fabulous blog I stumbled across by accident or fate- I like to think there are no coincidences and we end up where we are meant to.

DreamCatchers for Abused Children
From the site:
We are an official non-profit 501(c)3 child abuse organization on a mission to educate the public on child abuse prevention & awareness.

I wrote a comment on the blog and asked if they would mind if I featured them- I got a reply from one of the founders, Donna M Kshir. I have been spending time perusing the site and I have to say you will find a wealth of information that will not only open your eyes, but I believe help steer you in the right direction if you or someone you know needs help.

We started the blog for many reasons, but the most important to create awareness and educate the public on the signs, symptom and long term affects of abuse.
Too many people are uneducated about child abuse. I know, I was one of them until I meant Sandra Potter and became part of the Dreamcatchers for Abused Children organization.

I thank God every day that neither myself nor my children have ever been affected by abuse, but just because I have personally not been affected... doesn't mean I will close my eyes or pretend child abuse doesn't exist. In my opinion, there are too many people that pretend child abuse is non-existent, and these abused children deserve more.

Abuse is a taboo subject and it goes unspoken. The statistics are higher than ever before. I strongly believe abusers are educated on how to manipulate children, and the innocent and naive lack such a hardcore education.

I want children and parents to know abusers can be a parent, relative, family friend or anyone. They can be a man or woman, married or single. They can hold any religious belief, and have any sexual preference.

Education or intelligence doesn’t prevent them from molesting your child. Abusers easily convince your child they are responsible for their wrongful behavior. Abusers are good at manipulating children causing that child protect them.

Sandra and I want all this to change. We want ALL children to be safe and feel protected in their own homes, and not have to fear the people they are suppose to love and trust the most. I am proud to be President of Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, and I am extremely honored to work with Sandra. Her dedication to educating the public and helping those who have been inflicted by child abuse is an incredible and selfless act of kindness. I am proud not only to call her a business partner and co-author, but a friend!

I believe if our work helps even one child, we are well on our way of succeeding at our goals. Together I know we CAN and WILL make a difference!

Please, go read up and make yourself aware - no child deserves to suffer, no abuser deserves to get away with it.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Please post your Safe Sunday posts here and remember to link back here so we can make sure to get the word out as far and wide as we can. It does matter, it will make a difference.
As always, feel free to grab the Mr. Linky for your blog, I made it public so anyone who wants to help can!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Most recipes call for you to get fancy with creams and whatnot added at the end but everyone here in the loonyverse loves it as is best- then dip in your favorite sandwich and you have perfection in a bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash, cut in half, seeds removed (You can use a cooking sugar pumpkin for this- not the huge ones they sell for jack-o-lantern's if you want to be authentic.)
1 medium to large onion, quartered
Vegetable or chicken broth (can use water with 1 boullion cube added for each cup)
Tony's Creole or other seasoning of your choice - lots of varieties here.

Coat squash and onion in evoo - we spray lightly.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast on cookie sheet 425 degrees for about 1 hour on cookie sheet until tender and caramelized.

Put vegetables into soup pot (Use large spoon to remove squash from shell) and add enough broth to cover + 2 inches

Bring to boil, turn down and simmer 10-20 minutes.

Zhush it up with a hand blender or ladle it into a blender and zhush it up until smooth. Sprinkle liberally (or to taste) with Tony's.

Serve while hot.

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Free Sea Cuisine Frozen Entree 10/4 -Ended

Hey guys another great freebie here. Starting Sunday 10/4 you can get a coupon for a free seafood entree from Sea Cuisine at 12:01. Value up to $7.99
I didn't see anywhere on the site if there is a limited number of them but if you have one of those auto reminder things you might want to set it so you can jump on this fast- the really great deals usually go pretty fast.
ETA this one's over now, sorry guys!
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Halloween Breakfast Bento

Here is a fun little bento that Kyra made for Ian's breakfast. We bought the pumpkin and apple butters at the local farmer's market because we like to support them and they looked good when the girls went the other day, but you can easily make your own.

This super simple toddler breakfast bento includes an apple butter on toasted ghost cutout, toast pumpkin cutouts with pumpkin butter, vanilla yogurt with a drop of green food coloring and fall sprinkles and a banana slice moon. Easy, fun and Ian loved it.

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