Search & Win

Swagbucks is a search engine site that lets you create an account with them. Every so often, as you search, they will give you Swagbucks, worth $1-5. Very rarely, you could win Mega Bucks, which could be up to $100. They have a bunch of gift cards and prizes that you can spend Swagbucks on. (Amazon, Target, BN, etc.) You don't have to input any credit card info, so don't worry that it's some sort of scam. You don't even have to put up your address, until you "buy" something with your swagbucks.

Sure, it's not going to get you a whole bunch of free stuff instantly. In fact, they've built in something that makes it so you don't get swagbucks just for sitting at your computer and searching for anything that comes to mind. But, if you're like me, you are already using Google all the time. (By the way, Swagbuck's search results are powered by Google and Ask.com.)

You get 3 free swagbucks for signing up, and you can get a $5 Starbucks card at 50 swagbucks. ($5 Amazon gift card at 45.) Get your family and friends to sign up, and you earn what they earn. (Full disclosure.) Obviously, you know a bunch of people who search online, so sign up, send them your referral link, and get started. It's not some sort of get rich quick scheme, but you could earn enough virtual money to get some gift cards now and then to just spend on fun things.


Stepmother Thoughts

I've been a stepmother now for a little over 2 months. Certainly it has been an adjustment. I was fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time with Josh & Caleb on our own before my marriage. I'd taken care of them for whole weekends because of Kenn's work schedule. We had a pretty solid foundation, and I was perhaps a bit too confident about the ease of the adjustment.

It was an adjustment becoming a full time stepmom. Of course it was an adjustment. Writing it out seems so silly, like duh, everyone knows this. And I did know it on one level. Experiencing the change from you are responsible to and for yourself to you are responsible for 2 children and to them is rather daunting however. The weight of knowing that I help shape who my boys will grow up to be is not as heavy as I imagined. Make no mistakes, it is heavy; it is not crushing, though, as I've often heard.

Instead, it is pervasive, always there.

When I mess up, and I feel as though I mess up all the time, the voice in my head telling me I just screwed up? It is not yelling. It speaks quietly, firmly. It is worse that way. I am not proud of some of the ways I've handled disagreements, negotiations, and discipline. I have said no too many times. Honestly, last week I felt as though I'd made a huge mistake, interferring in these boys' lives, as though they'd be better without me.

And then this week happened, and I came through the major adjustment period, finally cutting through the fog. This is natural for me. I have a cycle that I go through with any major life change. The first couple of weeks I am happy, I am dealing. Then slowly, the hard things seem more like hard things, and I struggle. It is worst right before it lifts. I don't know why I have this cycle; honestly, I'm not looking to know right now. I have been through it going to Budapest, coming home from Budapest, moving to the apartment with friends, moving back home. To a lesser extent, getting married was that way, which is another post.

But back to the point. This week happened. And I feel more natural. These children are mine, though they are not mine, and I am not surprised by that anymore. I am not surprised by how little privacy I have anymore. And I can say yes more. I want to say yes to lots of little, unimportant things so the no's I will have to say carry some importance.

I have to be now who I want them to be later. I have to be thankful. I have to be considerate of others. I have to be selfless. I have to be devoted to God. I have to be generous. I have to be a hundred other things, and it is not only for me that I have to be those things. It is for them.

It is for Josh and Caleb, who cleaned up the living room for me before I got home yesterday. Where did they learn that sort of kindness? I want them to keep it. I don't know where they learned it, but I can return it. I can return it by doing their laundry and cooking their meals with a happy heart. They are chores, yes, but they are chores that can be used as gifts.

It is time to wrap up these ramblings. Most people have nine months to prepare for being a parent. I had time as well, but no one really tells you how to prepare for suddenly being a parent of an 8 year old and a 6 year old. When babies are born, they begin inside the mother, and a piece of them always remains. Josh and Caleb, you were never inside of me, and you are not biologically mine. I am not your mother; you have one whom you love. But you are in me now, and I will never lose that. I am your stepmother, and we love each other, but I don't know how a stepmother loves differently than a mother. Because, to me, you are mine. You two, your dad, and me? Not a mistake.


Ask The Reader #3: Songs Everyone Loves

On my way to work this morning, I was listening to my regular a.m. radio show, Ace & TJ, and one of their call in bits was "Songs Everyone Loves." While no song is going to be loved by literally everyone, it's undeniable that there are songs that transcend musical styles, gender gaps, age, race, etc. I have now made it my mission to make a wicked awesome playlist of nothing but such songs. This is, of course, where I ask for your help, gentle readers. I will throw out a couple of songs that I believe "everyone" loves.

"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
"Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot

What have you got for me?


Sweet Words

Yesterday, I was doing some cleaning after the boys had finished their homework. I asked Caleb to bring me a trash bag. When he came back with the trash bag, he had this to say.

C: Wanna know why this trash bag is for you?

Me: Why?

C: 'Cause it is for the beautifulest girl in the whole world.



  1. So, over the weekend, my husband and I discover that the bottom part of our refrigerator is no longer cooling. Our freezer is still freezing perfectly, but the bottom part is not cooling at all. So, since repairing it would likely be as much as a used appliance anyway, we have opted to replace it. This sounds all fine and good until I say what comes next: this will be the 2nd replacement refrigerator we've had to get since JUNE. That's right. We come home from our honeymoon, and Kenn's fridge had gone completely out. Luckily, my parents had 2, so they let us take one. Now, we have to actually buy one. Yay?

  2. Kenn and I watched Superbad this weekend (no, the boys didn't watch it with us!). Without getting into whether we should/shouldn't watch those movies, it was quite funny in spots. Kenn seemed to appreciate it on a different level than I was able to, having never been a teenage boy myself. I thought it was funny, but I far prefer Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I need to come out on DVD.

  3. The Emmys were last night. For those who don't know, I am slightly addicted to major awards shows. So, I watched it last night, but I was mostly disappointed. I'm glad 30 Rock won so much, but I feel that Michael Emerson and particularly Neil Patrick Harris were robbed of Emmys. And the opening was painful, not funny. Most of the jokes fell flat, and it just all seemed anti-climatic. I like a feel of gravitas to my awards show, which you can feel free to make fun of me for as long as you wish.

  4. Now, I haven't researched the medical ramifications of what I'm about to request, so if I'm off base or insensitive, that's why. But people, please get your huge huge goiters removed. I know that sounds so callous, but, particularly if your job involves communication, if your goiter is visible enough that you need to cover it with bandages, maybe you should think about removing it (if it's medically possible). Kenn and I visited a church where the pastor had a HUGE goiter on his neck. That he covered with flesh-colored bandages (which I appreciated). I cannot remember what the sermon was about.

  5. Saturday morning, I have the TV tuned to the Kidz Only music channel. My sons are dancing around, my husband is getting to sleep in, and I am cleaning BECAUSE I WANT TO. I don't know how it happened, but I was not going to be happy if that floor didn't get mopped. It was blissful.

  6. Also, my friend Heather took that photo. Check out her photo blog, An Even Ten. The link's on the sidebar.


Books I've Read/ Movies I've Watched

This is mostly just a housekeeping post. I'm currently reading and watching movies quite regularly, and I like to remember what I've read/watched. This is the easiest place for me to keep it, so sorry for the boring stuff.

Since mid-August, I've read/watched:

The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johanssen
I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren W.
Stacey vs. The BSC
Stacey's Broken Heart
Weep No More, My Lady by Mary Higgins Clark

Deep Impact
National Treasure
Interview With the Vampire
Black Snake Moan
High School High
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Gone Baby Gone
Far From Heaven
American Beauty
Across The Universe
Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Rejoining The Blog World

So, I've been gone since March. Sorry about that. Been a little busy with the getting married and being married part. Also, being a stepmom takes up a lot of time. I know, news flash.

Let's see, how can I condense the last six months? Wedding prep, wedding, honeymoon, home, new cat, 2 months as newlyweds by ourselves, boys come home, Kenn works from home, school, PTA.

I am enjoying doing the household shopping-groceries and the like- and today I finally used my slow cooker. I am making some sort of stew beef concoction. If it's good, I'll share the EASY recipe with you, but it's not for food snobs, I don't suppose. I have never really had to COOK for myself or anyone, so I'm learning first to be consistent. I rarely am excited about cooking dinner, and far too often I REALLY don't want to. It must be done, so I'm trying to amass a bunch of slow cooker recipes so dinner and the clean up will be less time intensive. If you know of any good, easy ones, hit up the comment box. You know you want to.

So far, my family likes it best when I cook teriyaki chicken, with chicken and dumplings coming in a close second. I'm not a huge beef eater, so I'm never sure what to do with it. I'm working on it, though.

Also, over on the right, there's a linked banner to Paper Back Swap. You should hit that up if you love reading but don't necessarily need to keep every book you've ever read or might read. I've recently converted to the keeping only the FEW books I really love and read over and over again. As a former English major, I feel some shame in admitting that. But, honestly, most of the books sat on my shelf after I read them, and some had been on my bookcase for YEARS without my having read them. This way I can read what I want for free (well, save the cost of shipping) and send it on to someone else. Check it out, or don't. (And yes, if you use those links, and sign up, I'll get a credit. Full disclosure here. Sorry if I've sold out.) I've gotten a couple of books already, so it is legit.

And now, I leave you with a funny story. My husband took our sons (I'm not going to be using stepsons--too difficult) to the Upper SC State Fair. They all rode one of those boats that holds a lot of people and goes up and around in a circle (descriptive skills--not so good). During the middle of the ride, Kenn asks Caleb, the youngest, how he liked the ride. His answer? "IT TICKLES MY PENIS!" Said so loudly that everyone on the ride and standing down below could hear. And laugh hysterically.


A Peek at My Stuff #2 (Not Dirty!)

So, these are the invitations to my wedding. I love them -- not completely untraditional, but with enough variance to make them feel like something I would choose. I love the lettering; I've always been a fan of the all lowercase. What do you think?


A Peek at My Stuff

Inspired by Dooce's Daily Style photos and Mindy Kaling's blog (Things I've Bought That I Love), I have decided to start posting pictures of things I've bought that I love. Hopefully, this is will help me get out of the blogging valley. And for those of you going, "Who's Mindy Kaling?" she is Kelly from The Office.

Here is my first offering.

I found this silver bird salt/pepper shaker at a Goodwill in town. Originally, I purchased it for my mom's guest bathroom, but then she didn't want it anymore, so I snatched it back. I think it's charming, and I love that I got it for less than a dollar. Right now, it sits on a tray on my nightstand with a photo and some lotion. What do you think? What's one of your best Goodwill purchases?


Budapest (Why I Want to Go Back)

Been A Long Time Gone

So, I've been gone for awhile, and it is certainly time for an update, as my friend Leo helpfully reminded me. I've thought about posting several times but haven't because of one thing. I'm getting married May 31st. And planning the ceremony and reception, while not quite the HUGE ORDEAL it's stereotyped to be, does occupy a large portion of what's going on with me right now. So, I've refrained from posting because I can just picture all four or five you reading and saying, "I don't care about your hunt for a red guestbook! What is with THE FOOD?" Answer: shrimp and grits, candy buffet, appetizers, etc. Guestbook still not acquired.

In other news, I have decided to become that crazy lady who never pays full price for anything. You know, the lady who shows up to some social function or such carrying a really cute bag, and you compliment her on it, to which her response is some frenzied version of "ON SALE! A BILLION PERCENT OFF! FREE SHIPPING!" I would like to be like her, only less shouty. So, warning, I may occassionally do the blog drive-by like "khaki cloth napkins, seventy cents apiece at Kohl's." (True story.) Any other bargain hunters should check out Want Not, a blog that is all about what is on sale where. I thought that this new....all right, obsession would make me all spendy, but I've actually been resisting more impulses to buy things. I actually needed a new blanket-- I got one for $5, free shipping (GLOATING). I have a pair of black shoes, a pair of brown, and a pair of tennis shoes. I honestly don't need anything else. I have two great bags, so no spending unnecessarily because it's so pretty, and also on sale! (Though I am tempted, believe you me, at times.)

And now it's time for the random list segment of the blog!

  1. Movies seen in 2008 (at the theater): Juno, The Bucket List, The Legend of the Water Horse
  2. Days till Season 4 of Lost starts: 7!
  3. Kenn and I have to decided to host our own awards show, The Kacis. More details will be forthcoming.
  4. I procured a phone from Ebay that had not previously been dropped into a cup of Coke. My brother, in related news, inherited a cell phone that had previously been dropped into a cup of Coke. I went all fancy (five years ago) and won an old Blackberry. I bought it a new battery just in case. I love it. It is blue, so technically it is a Blueberry.
  5. Sherry has left NGU. I am quite sad