Friday, December 18, 2009

Need a quick gift...and cheap? Get a Gift Certificate!

Here it is a week before Christmas and I realized I still needed a couple of gifts for some friends. Here in sunny Florida it's not exactly sunny right now--it's cloudy, it's raining, and it's a little chilly. All this lovely weather means I don't want to drag my daughter all over town looking for a couple of last minute gifts.

Here is the solution to my problem:

Right now is running a promotion good through December 25th where you can get a $25 gift certificate for only $2! How awesome is that? You have the option of getting a gift certificate for a specific restaurant or one that they can use at any of the over 13,000 restaurants nationwide. Now at you also have the option of getting a gift card instead of a gift certificate you print out yourself or email to your gift receiver. This would be good for those people that can just throw it in their wallet and not have to worry about a certificate fading or something being spilled on it.

To take advantage of this offer that is available through December 25th, click the pretty little button at the bottom of this post. Once you are at the checkout enter code SANTA to have your 80% taken off of the cost of your gift certificate or gift card. I decided to get two $25 gift cards and only paid $6!! Weekly Promo Banner 120x90   For your friends and family that enjoy dining out--or even to get for yourself--this is a great deal that you can't pass up!

Roku Digital Video Player

I only recently got into Netflix a few months ago, but I must say I absolutely love it! I love watching movies and being entertained, but I don't always get a chance to go see the movies I really want to see when they are playing at the theaters.

Netflix is perfect for me--unlimited movies every month at a low price. Now if there is a movie I didn't get a chance to see in the theater I don't have to pay $3.99 per movie on pay per view or wait until it comes out on cable. I pay $13.99 per month to get 2 movies at a time and unlimited "instant watch" movies. Instant watch movies are ones that you can watch immediately if you have a Netflix approved device, such as on your computer, certain brands of HD TVs or Blu-Ray players, and even certain gaming devices.

Now this is all fine and dandy if you have one of these devices already, but what if you don't? Sure I was thinking about getting a gaming system, but it's not something I really feel like spending my money on right now--most of them are anywhere from $199 to $299, not to mention the controllers and games and, money, money!

Roku Now look at this...

A Roku Player is a digital video player that allows you to watch movies instantly from such companies as Netflix or Amazon. Roku players start as low as $79.99 allowing you to watch movies, listen to music, or even check out some of your favorite social networking sights right from your TV. Not sure if this is something you would actually use? Try it out FREE for 30 days along with free return shipping if you change your mind. Now say you have a couple of Netflix movies at your house already, or you are waiting for you new ones to arrive. What if at that time you really want to watch a specific movie that is available as an instant movie? I know my husband and I aren't going to want to crowd around my laptop trying to watch a movie, so a Roku player would be right up our alley. We could just hook it up to one of our TVs and watch the movie right away!

My birthday is next month and I think this might be a present I get for myself...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Product Review -- Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus Travel Potty/Training Seat

Last year when I was out in the middle of nowhere and my daughter informed me that she needed to go potty, I decided that as soon as we got home I was going to order a travel potty system, provided I didn't have to clean up a mess first.

Luckily Lilly was able to hold it for 20 minutes until we got home. Later on I went on Amazon to look up different travel potty systems and read all the reviews before I made my decision. After reading up on everything, I decided upon the Kalencom 2-in-1-Potette Plus travel potty seat. You can order it in four different colors: red, pink, blue, or green. Of course I got the pink since it is Lilly's favorite color.

I have had this system for a year and it is awesome! Not only can it be used as a travel potty, but you can also take it with you into a bathroom and use it as a potty seat--very convenient when you are at a restaurant! All you have to do is fold the legs out and it sits on top of any toilet seat--no more buying liners to keep in your diaper bag when there isn't one provided. After you are done with it you can just fold it up and put it in your diaper bag, backpack, or whatever you use to carry around your child's stuff :-) When you are using it as a travel potty seat, you put these disposable liners on it and they hook onto the bottom of the legs so they don't slide off. They also have some padding attached to the inside so that your child doesn't get splashed while going potty. Once they are done you can tie it up and throw it away or put it in the drawstring bag that comes with the system so you can hold it until you get some place to dispose of it. The refills for this system are inexpensive as well, which is very nice, and can also be purchased on Amazon.

If you are looking for a travel potty system, this is the only one you'll need!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Movie Review -- The Princess and the Frog

Today after we picked up our daughter from preschool we decided we needed a little family fun time. We told her we had a surprise for her and asked her, "Wasn't there some special new movie that you wanted to see?" She very excitedly replied, "The frog prince!!" We confirmed to her that we were going to see the Princess and the Frog. For all her excitement I was also excited--excited that she would be able to see a brand new princess movie.

I'm sure many of you have seen the previews for the Princess and the Frog, but I still don't want to give anything away. From the previews you can see this is a story about a girl that grows up with the big dream of someday owning her own restaurant in New Orleans. One night she is at a party dressed up as a princess when she meets the frog. This frog isn't just any frog; he is Prince Naveen, a man turned into a frog by an evil voodoo doctor. Both the girl and the prince grew up hearing the story of the Frog Prince, and Naveen convinces the girl to kiss him so that he'll turn back into a prince and he can reward her. Only unlike the classic fairy tale, when she kisses him the reverse actually happens and she herself is also turned into a frog.

The fun begins...

The two frogs end up in the bayou where they run into the jazz-loving alligator Louis and a very Creole-sounding firefly named Ray. Naveen and Tiana become friends with these two characters on their way to see Mama Odie, a very old woman of the bayou that supposedly can help them to become human again, or so they hope. You'll just have to go see it because I'm not giving anything away!

This is a very good movie as Disney goes back to its roots (so to speak) of making animated movies with more music interwoven into the storyline. There are many interesting characters in this movie and several of them sing songs that help explain the story. And with the jazz-era songs, who wouldn't love it? It certainly had our three year-old up and dancing in front of her seat!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Disney's Give a Day Get a Day Program

The other night I was playing around on Facebook--killing people on Mafia Wars and seeing what my friends have been up to. One of my girlfriends out in California posted a link for a campaign Disney is running called the Give A Day Get A Day program. I enjoy Disney, more so now that I have a little girl, so I checked it out.

How awesome is this?! You donate one day of your time and in return you get a free ticket to a Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme park!! Not only do you get a free ticket, but you get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside knowing you did some much needed volunteer work. The program doesn't start until the first of the year, but you can go to the website now and sign for emails. Once January 1st hits you can search for something you want to volunteer your time to at one of their participating organizations.

If you like volunteering, check it out. If you like Disney, check it out. If you like the idea of a free ticket you definitely need to check it out! Who knows...volunteering this one day of your time might spur you to start volunteering more of your time to those who need the help!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Funny Job Interview Story

My daughter is getting older now and so I have decided to try and get back into the work force. I have updated my resume on and other sites and started getting daily emails pertaining to available sales positions. There have been a few jobs that have peaked my interest, but nothing I have wanted to really fight hard for.

Last week I applied for a sales position for a dating service. Let me clarify, a dating service as in "we're in the business of finding you your soul mate" and not dating service as in call-girl service...LOL. I applied and got a response back pretty quickly for me to call and schedule an interview--the next day I set one up for this week. Yesterday I drove an hour to go to this interview. I was probably more curious about the position than anything since I didn't even have that excited, butterflies in the stomach, kind of feeling.

Was that missing feeling ever justified! I get in there and start talking to the manager, who was a very poor interview if I must say, and she tells me they are looking for someone to be a one-time closer. And by a one-time closer she meant someone that upon first meeting with a potential client gets them to commit to becoming their client and paying the $8,000 fee. That's right--$8000!!

It was so hard for me to not bust out laughing at the thought that this company gets people to pay them $8000 to find them a potential husband or wife. There is no way in hell I would pay that kind of money to find a husband nor do I know anyone who would. After dropping this awesome nugget of information into my lap she asks me if this is even the kind of sales position I am interested in, to which I respond no, "I'm not interested in high pressure sales." Which is exactly what that is. I turn down offers to be a car salesman all the time because I am not interested in high pressure sales. At least when you are looking for a vehicle you know about what you are going to pay!

This short interview ended with a "Thank you, but no thank you" and I left, smiling cordially and dying to get outside and laugh out loud and call my husband and my friends and tell them about what had happened. Almost the whole ride home I was talking to either my husband, my mom, and two of my girlfriends telling them about this company and the services they offer and what they charge for it.

I think a mail-order bride might be cheaper...and if it doesn't work out you might get your money back!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Woo hoo!

Okay, so a few weeks ago I wrote about how I went to get my daughter's picture taken with Santa while I was out shopping and in the process of trying on different dresses the pictures got lost. I was so bummed and so was my daughter--which was probably the worst part, that look of disappointment on her face.

So its been a couple of weeks and I just gave up since no one called to say they were found and I left my number both at the store I lost them in, plus at the little place in the mall where the pictures were taken. Well two days ago I get a phone call from the manager of the Santa photo place asking if I had gotten my pictures back and if not to give her a call if I need to have them retaken. I thought that was so incredible sweet of her to check on us to see if we had found them or if they had been returned. So today I decided "what the hey, I'll call the store to see if someone turned them in." And you know what, someone did!!

I was so excited that I called my mom right away to tell her the good news. Later on after my daughter I woke up from her nap and I told her and she was just as excited, but on a whole different level. I called the manager of the Santa photo place in the mall to let her know how much I appreciated the call and that yes, someone had found the pictures.

So today I went to the mall to pick up my pictures and they were there in perfect condition! Everything was in the envelope--the pictures, the photo key rings, the coupon book, even the gift card for shutterfly!! This was just the thing I needed...after all, who doesn't love some good news?

Monday, November 30, 2009

My crazy hair coloring story!

I'm the kind of girl that can get bored with certain things in life--I like change. One thing that easy to change is hair color. My husband doesn't like me cutting my hair, so this is one thing I feel I can change without it bothering him too much. Anytime he starts complaining I always tell him he's lucky I don't feel the need to change husbands constantly! That usually quiets him down :-)

Before I had my daughter (and had more disposable income) I would go get my hair done--color, highlights, haircuts, whatever. Nowadays most of our money goes to the kinds of things most families spend their money on--food, bills, clothing, other necessities. Having to spend our money on these things leaves little money for frivolous things, such as getting my hair done.

So last night I decided to try out a boxed highlighting system that I bought at the store. It came with hair color and a highlighting section to match. The cost was around $13 so I figured it was worth a shot since I used to pay around $90 to get my hair colored and highlighted professionally.

Since its winter I decided to go back to a dark brown shade with some red highlights. Mom colored my hair and then started to do the highlights. After she started to do the highlights some of it got on her arm and it was then she realized it wasn't a color lifting hair color--it was bleach. We only left it on for about 10 minutes but it was too much. It made the highlights almost look stop sign red....way to freaking red for what we were going for! Mom decided to put a different color over the highlights to tone it down, but only leave it on for about 10 minutes.

So we colored, washed & dried my hair a total of three times yesterday for a process that took a total of about six hours to complete, only to get my highlights barely visible. I don't think I'll be using this system again. If I decide to try highlighting my hair again, I won't be using this system. Instead I'll just buy a lighter hair color to make the highlights; bleach is too harsh for the hair.

Live and learn I guess!

Cyber Monday is here!

Cyber Monday is upon us and there are some great deals out there for the online shopper. I have just checked my email box and have several offers that I can share with everyone!

 Bath & Body Works is offering 25% off your entire online order--just enter code CYBERMONDAY when you're ready to checkout. Another good deal is at Baby Gap where you can get 20% off plus free shipping on any purchase. is a company that has taken over the former very popular music website BMG. Today for Cyber Monday they are offering a deal of all CDs at $5.99 plus free shipping!! To take advantage of this offer, enter code 599SALE at checkout.

Are you looking for that favorite show from HBO? Now until 12 p.m. EST they are offering free shipping--but you better hurry! Go to Cyber Monday: Get FREE SHIPPING for 12 hours: 5am EST to 12pm EST to check it out.

If you want to go to one website to see a bunch of great deals from different stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Old Navy, just go to Black Friday Ads and check out all the companies they have listed and search for that great deal you are looking for.

Happy Cyber Monday Shopping Everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Black Friday has come and gone...

So over the past couple of years I've gotten crazy and decided to venture out on Black Friday--something I never used to do, but apparently having children kicks that weirdo shopping gene into high gear! And another oddity to all of this is that I have gotten up earlier every year for the past three years...did I mention I'm not a morning person?

This year my mom and I left the house at 5:30 a.m. and were pretty much done shopping before 8 a.m. I'm usually only waking up at 8 a.m.!! The only one I was really shopping for was my daughter and I've gotten her taken care of, so much so that I might end up stowing some of this stuff away in the close for her birthday in January.

Target was our first stop for the day since most of the stuff we wanted was there. We could not believe how crazy busy it was! We went there last year around the same time and it was not nearly as busy. I guess this year there were better doorbusters than there were last year. I don't think anything I got was considered a doorbuster, but a good deal nonetheless! Barbies on sale, classic children's games very cheap, and of course more clothes!

After Target we stopped by JCPenneys. My mom went there looking for one specific item and ended up leaving with about 10 extra things. I managed to make it out of the store spending under $30. For kicks and giggles we decided to stop by Wal-Mart. By this time we were pretty much done, but just checking to see if there were any "can't live without" kinds of deals. I actually did get a few more items for my daughter--stuff I knew she wanted and stuff I knew she would love.

With another crazy shopping day done, now we can all sit at home and shop on our computer for the upcoming Cyber Monday. I know I'll be taking advantage of it making our yearly calendars of Lilly through shutterfly.

Happy Shopping Everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Well here it is in the very, very early morning of one of my favorite holidays--Thanksgiving. For me this holiday is all about the 4 F's--food, family, fun and football! But for all of this fun it is still a holiday which means some degree of planning and stress. Lucky for me not too much stress since I've got my mom helping me out (as usual), plus my new sister-in-law is being inducted into the holiday festivities by us making her help cook...LOL!!

We decided a couple of years ago that Thanksgiving would be at my house and Christmas would be at my mom's house, so that not one person is responsible for setting up all of the holiday dinner plans. Besides that, we've always split what needs to be done between the two of us--one person makes the ham, the other makes the turkey, and so on and so forth. So last Sunday of all days we decided to go to Wal-Mart to get our holiday groceries. All I can say is ugh....

Upside to all of this craziness is the food and the family time. I love getting together with my family on a holiday...nothing is better. Sometimes my parents drive me nuts but my little brother is there for me so we can roll our eyes at eachother and just laugh. Now I've got a new sister-in-law that I get to induct into the family and all of this craziness, which is so much fun. She's not had much experience in cooking for large groups so this will be fun! Cooking for larger parties is all about timing--as long as you know what has to be done by when then you can plan accordingly. It may sound easy but it kills me how many people don't understand that!

The one thing that I know that will be awesome every year is the football. Being a Texas girl I very much look forward to watching the Dallas Cowboys play every Thanksgiving. They are my favorite team and it is the one day of the year every year that I always know they will be can take the girl out of Texas but you can't take away her Cowboys!!

So to all of you out there I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! Be sure to enjoy all of your food, family, fun and of course Dallas Cowboys Football!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Movie Review -- The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Now, I'm not one of these fanatic Twilight followers--I haven't chosen to side with Edward or Jacob, I haven't read the books, and I haven't joined any fan pages on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. With that being said, I did go and see the newly hyped sequel to the first Twilight movie. My sister-in-law is a fan--she's read all the books and really wanted to go see it. So last night we went and watched it. I did have to laugh at some of the younger girls walking into the theater with their "Team Jacob" or "Team Edward" shirts on and how giggly they were. I guess I can't really laugh too much since I was jonesing to see Transformers when it first came out, but come on, that was an awesome series back in the day.

I did enjoy this movie for all of its hype. The previews were very intriguing and the movie definitely delivered. I loved how the storyline of Jacob unfolded from him being just a friend to Bella to him wanting to be more, and for him to be a werewolf and a foe of the Cullen clan of vampires. I don't really want to divulge too much about the movie for those of you that have yet to see it, but you will not be disappointed. The visual effects of the werewolf clan transforming from human to wolf are pretty impressive; and when Edward goes to confront the Volturi, we learn some very interesting things as well.

Now I'm not sure if there are going to be three of these movies or four, but nonetheless, I think this franchise is going to be very enjoyable to watch. There are some franchises from the past that, in my opinion, the second movie is not really that great--The Temple of Doom, Lethal Weapon 2, Die Hard 2, The Empire Strikes Back, and Revenge of the Sith, just to name a few.

I will say this: the ending of the movie has a definite cliffhanger and will definitely leave you waiting for the third installment that is due out next year.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dogs are nature's happy pills

I thought for sure that today was going to be a bad day right from the beginning. I have an alarm set up on my phone to go off every Tuesday & Thursday morning at 7 a.m. so I can wake up my daughter to get her ready for school. I woke up at 7:33 a.m. this morning...crap I'm running later. I looked at my phone to see if something messed up or if the battery died, but no, the alarm had gone off--I just didn't hear it. I hurried up and got out of bed and got her milk ready all the while feeling a migraine coming on. Oh the morning migraine, my favorite. That usually means I'm going to have a headache all day--yay me. So after her milk is ready I go and wake her up. Luckily for me she is nice and happy when she wakes up in the morning, something she gets from her dad :-)

So she turns on the TV and I give her her milk and go to sit next to her like she asked me to. But as soon as I sit down and see what time it is, I realize I don't have any time to relax because I have to get ready so I can get her ready once she's done with her milk. If I were Jewish this is where I would say 'oy vey'. So I get myself dressed and ready, then I get her ready. Ironically enough us waking up late and rushing causes us to leave the house a little earlier than normal. Go figure!

So we get to school and I'm starting to feel a little relieved that the morning went smoother than I expected for waking up late, minus the headache I have that is progressively getting worse. Then I see it--carts outside the classrooms for us to put food on. Food that we volunteered to make for the preschool Thanksgiving get-together on Thursday. Carts for the banana bread I volunteered to make and didn't because I thought we didn't have to bring it in until Thursday, since that is when the get-together is. This is what is going on in my mind: "What the...? Are you serious? Crap..."

Talking to one of the other mothers I realize that I'm not the only that thought that the food didn't need to be brought until Thursday, but there on the bottom of the signup sheet in bold letters is "Bring food in on Tuesday, November 17th!" So after dropping Lilly off at school I realize that instead of going home and getting to work out with my sister-in-law, I have to hurry up and make 2 loaves of banana bread....again, oy vey.

I stop for breakfast on the way home, hurry up and eat, take migraine medication, and realize I have to go to the grocery store because I don't have enough eggs. Call the sister to tell her working out will have to wait, then go to the store and get eggs, extra flour (just in case) and 2 disposable loaf pans. Get home and start making banana bread. Open up the pantry to get some of the ingredients I need and leave the door open knowing I'll have to put this stuff back in a minute.

Then here comes my 8 year old black lab Allie. Even though she's technically a "senior" dog, she doesn't act like it...still hyper but not as hyper as she was as a puppy. She goes and gets her squeaky tennis ball from the bottom of the pantry and starts running around the house squeaking that ball. She comes back in and drops it on the floor next to me and then her ears perk up and she starts pawing at it trying to get it out of the corner. That did it. I instantly just felt so much better. She looked so cute playing with her ball and so freaking happy running around making it make noise that I just felt like "ahh..."

All the pressure and frustration and the worry just instantly lifted off my shoulders and went away. When she came back into the kitchen with the ball in her mouth trying to dig a second ball out of the pantry I just started dying laughing. I looked at her and said, "Allie, I love you!" That crazy dog just made my day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Restaurant Review -- Panda Express

So today I had some errands to run and my mom decided to go with me and my daughter. It was getting to be lunchtime and my mom was hungry, but Lilly and I not so much. Nonetheless we decided to get something quick to eat. We had every intention of going to Quiznos, but when we got out of the truck a very yummy smell seemed to be coming out of the Panda Express that is just a few doors down. Since neither of us had ever been there, we decided to check it out.

We walk inside and the atmosphere is very nice--food smells good, everything looks clean, and the decorations are very appropriate. As my daughter would put it, "Look mommy, they have those same things from Kung Fu Panda!" meaning the paper lanterns. We grab a menu and sit down to check it out.

To me they didn't seem to really have a whole lot to choose from in the way of actual entrees. I wasn't expecting as many choices as an actual Chinese takeout restaurant, but I was expecting more than what I saw. I did like how they had a children's deal that offered smaller portions of the regular entrees, along with a side, a drink, and a cookie. My mother and I opted to share a meal since I wasn't really that hungry. We chose to try the Beijing Beef and my daughter got the String Bean Chicken Breast. Now according to the menu out Beijing Beef was supposed to be both sweet and spicy. To me, it wasn't sweet and it wasn't at all spicy. Now, I know I can handle a lot of heat--thanks to years of taste-testing hot sauce for my dad--but I didn't even detect a hint of heat. Many times when I order spicy food one of two things happens: 1) there is heat but no flavor, or 2) there is flavor and not enough heat. In this case, I didn't get either flavor or heat. The meat just tasted kind of blah...

Now I tried some of Lilly's green beans and they had good flavor, and as in many Asian dishes, the green beans were nice and crunchy. Lilly seemed to be very happy with her meal. I on the other hand, was less than impressed. I'm the kind of person that is willing to pay a little more for a better product, especially when it comes to food. I was so unimpressed I doubt I will be going back. I think I'll just stick with going to the awesome Chinese takeout place down the street from my house :-)

How great days get ruined...

Yesterday my main goal for the day was to get a new dress for my cousin's wedding next month. Last week I had seen one at the mall that I thought would be perfect for a Christmas wedding--a cute red dress that was flowy and was tea length. I wasn't sure if I really wanted it at the time but then I got a coupon in the mail the next day so I decided yes.

So my mother, my daughter and I get to the mall and I try on the dress. Turns out it wasn't as flattering on me as it was on the hanger! But I tried on a couple of other dresses I liked then walked around the mall to make sure there wasn't anything else I liked better...or that was a better price!

On our travels we noticed that Santa was visiting the mall that day and so Lilly got to get her picture taken with Santa. They had a really good deal with several different packages to chose from, most of them including a $10 gift card to use at shutterfly, which is perfect for me since I make calendars from them every year to give away at Christmas.

So after getting pictures taken with Santa and making a few other stops along the way, we made our way back to the store where I was trying to decide between two different dresses. I grab the two dresses that I had asked the sales lady to hold for me and try them on again. Still not sure I gather up my daughter and our stuff and go back into the store to grab two more dresses just to make sure. When I get back into the dressing room and put my daughter on the chair I ask, "Where are Lilly's pictures?" My mom, my daughter and I all start frantically looking around the changing room to see if they fell on the floor. Then we look out in the hall to see if we dropped them. My mom goes to the service counter to see if someone turned them in and my daughter and I go to one of the sales ladies and ask her to open up another dressing room that had been locked just to make sure we didn't leave them in another room--no luck.

We went to every checkout counter in the store and I even booked it down to the picture place to see if perhaps someone had seen they were Santa pictures and turned them in. Again no such luck. So after being so happy all day about trying to decide between two cute dresses and having fun with my mom and my daughter, we all got bummed over these lost pictures. I don't understand why someone would take them or find them and not turn them in. So not only am I out the money I spent on the pictures, but I have to look at the disappointed look on my daughter's face. The ride home was pretty quiet and my poor daughter saying "mommy my heart is broken" sad is that?

I feel bad that I didn't pay better attention to make sure we had all of our things with us at all times and that I didn't bring a bigger bag to carry all of our stuff. I just hate seeing that look on her face due to me not paying more attention and the fact that whoever found our freshly made memories didn't do the right thing and turn them in.

Space Shuttle Atlantis has blasted off!

Here on a bright and sunny fall day in Central Florida we have seen another beautiful shuttle launch. The Shuttle Atlantis has just embarked on mission STS-129 to the International Space Station. My daughter and I were in the middle of watching a movie when I quickly remembered about the launch! "Lilly...we've got to stop the movie quick!" LOL

Just in time too! One minute before the launch we put on the local news, threw on our shoes really quick and watched it blast off on TV before running outside to watch it come up above the clouds. My sister-in-law got to go out to the Visitor's Center to watch it up close and personal--I've never even done that!! Here are some pictures I took from our front yard :-)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Movie Review -- Disney's A Christmas Carol

Last month when Toy Story & Toy Story 2 was released in 3D for a limited time, I decided to take Lilly to go see the double feature. She had never seen Toy Story 2 and she had never seen a movie in 3D--this way we could kill 2 birds with one stone. She really liked the movies and enjoyed the 3D aspect of it all. I was amazed at how much the technology has changed for 3D movies!

Since Lilly enjoyed the last 3D movie so much she said she wanted to go see A Christmas Carol when it came out. So today my mother and I decided to take her to see this new take on such a classic story. First of all let me just say the artistry was amazing! If you've seen The Polar Express you'll recognize some of the same features that Robert Zemeckis has incorporated, i.e. performance capture. In addition, Jim Carrey plays many roles as the main headliner of the movie, just as Tom Hanks did in The Polar Express. I loved how some parts of the movie look so real compared to a traditional animated movie. And of course since you can see it in 3D, parts of it really seem to come to life!

The only thing I have to warn potential viewers about is that some of the scenes may be too scary for small children, which they do advertise in the previews. Lilly is only three so a couple of parts with the ghosts of Christmas present and future were a little scary for her, so she covered her eyes for those parts :-)

Even if you decide not to see it in 3D you will still enjoy this movie immensely, but I definitely recommend seeing it in 3D to get the full effect of the movie that Disney has intended.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Movie Review -- Bedtime Stories

So I know this movie has been out for a while now, but I also know that my family wasn't the only one that hasn't seen it yet. So if you haven't seen this movie yet, this one is for you!

Many of Adam Sandler's movies aren't exactly child friendly, case in point, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and You Don't Mess With the Zohan. But I've noticed as in the case with many actors, that when they begin having children they want to make movies that their own children can actually go to the movies and see. Adam Sandler seems to have taken up on that idea and made the wonderful movie of Bedtime Stories. This past Saturday we decided to have a lazy family day. So in the afternoon we made a bowl of popcorn and piled up onto our nice new comfy reclining couch, and popped in the movie.

The premise of the movie is that Skeeter and his sister Wendy (played by Adam Sandler and Courtney Cox respectively) grew up in a small hotel owned and managed by their father whom would make up these wonderful bedtime stories when they were kids. Years later his sister has to go out of town and Skeeter must watch his niece and nephew, who inform them they need a bedtime story every night. So following in his father's footsteps he makes up his own bedtime stories, and the children add their own little tidbits as well. As can be seen from the previews, Skeeter's stories start coming to life.

The whole movie is so very family friendly and entertaining and it is really interesting to watch how everything plays out from Skeeter telling the stories and then what happens to him the next day. If you are looking for a family friendly movie that is appropriate for all ages and that everyone will love, Bedtime Stories is what you have been seeking.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why do we have sidewalks?

Last night while watching the news I discovered that Orlando, Florida is the Number 1 most dangerous city for pedestrians—and I’m not talking just in our state. It is the number 1 most dangerous city for pedestrians in the country. While it is nice to be number 1, no one wants to be bestowed an honor such as this.

According to the news report, the majority of traffic accidents involving pedestrians are the pedestrians’ fault. I can absolutely understand this. I don’t know how many times I am driving through my neighborhood and there are people walking in the street. Not only does my neighborhood have sidewalks, but many times when they are in the street they are walking the wrong way. Pedestrians are supposed to walk against traffic when they are walking in the street (Florida Department of Transportation). Furthermore, Florida law states that you are only allowed to walk in the street when no sidewalk is available.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one that paid attention in my driver’s ed class. Maybe since no one uses the sidewalks properly in my neighborhood I'll just start driving on them instead...they are always empty.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hurricane Season?

Living in Florida you become accustomed to certain weather patterns--sunny warm days that send you running to the beach and afternoon thunderstorms that send you inside in the afternoons. Of course there are more serious weather conditions that plague our peninsula state--tropical weather systems i.e. tropical storms and hurricanes. 2004 was the year that made it seem like hurricane season would never end--Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne collided with our state and caused severe damage. There were many people that were prepared for hurricane season that year, and many that weren't. It seems that people that haven't lived here for long are usually the least prepared for hurricane season. Then of course there are those that still cling to the ridiculous idea of "it will never hit over here...we won't get any damage."

This year Florida, as well as the rest of the United States, has been very fortunate with regards to hurricane season. Here it is November 9th and we are just now dealing with the first named tropical system to impact the United States--Tropical Storm Ida. Luckily it will only hit the Gulf Coast as a low-grade tropical storm, although even a tropical storm can cause severe flooding damage. While I am glad that there is not going to be a direct hit in our area, I am looking forward to the rain that we should get from some of the feeder bands of the system that will be pushed our was as the result of a cold front. Right now it is dry in our area and we are having to watch or drought index. We here in Florida do not want have to deal with any more fires due to a lack of rain.

All in all I am very glad it has been a quiet tropical season this year. While I do wish we would get some more rain in our state, I am definitely not going to wish for any hurricanes!

Yummy dinner everyone needs to try!!

Last week I was watching Food Network while my daughter was taking a nap. I love watching the Food Network or going onto their website. Not only can you get some awesome recipes, but you can also get helpful cooking tips and hints that can make your life so much easier!

Down Home with the Neelys is a show that is on the Food Network featuring Pat and Gina Neely and their down home southern cooking. Being a southern girl I love watching this show and getting different ideas for various meals. While I was watching this show last week they made a dish that was a little different from their norm. The show was titled "Easy Breezy" and the food they made just looked so awesome! The dishes that they made on this episode were: Shrimp & Melon SaladCouscous & ZucchiniMarinated Pork Chop with Pineapple Salsa, and Frozen Ginger Lemon Drops. After watching this entire episode my mouth was just watering so I decided to print out the recipes right then and there and make my grocery list.

Tonight I was finally able to make this awesome dinner courtesy of the Neelys. I didn't make the Shrimp & Melon Salad only because I wanted to try these recipes out on my husband and daughter first, before I decided to use them for entertaining. Let me just tell you one thing about these recipes.....YUMMY!! The pork chops were so moist and with the pineapple salsa it was just so delicious. The pineapple salsa calls for jalapeno peppers, but I chose instead to use habaneros since I prefer the flavor of the habanero. As such, the mildness of the couscous goes great with the spice of the pineapple salsa. This whole meal just has a tropical feel to it that the cocktail that accompanies this meal is just perfect. I didn't have regular vodka on hand, but we did have a bottle of mango flavored vodka that someone had given to my husband as a gift, so I used that instead. The drink was so freaking good I just can't tell you! It was nice and refreshing and just went perfect with everything.

My husband had a busy day at work and was a little wore out when he got home. After this awesome dinner his bad day turned into an awesome evening courtesy of these awesome recipes from the Neelys. If you're looking for something new for dinner, you must try out these recipes!!

Go to Food Network's website for the Easy Breezy episode so you can find all of these delicious recipes and try them out for yourself!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I just don't understand...

In light of recent events that have occurred in the past two days, I just feel the need to get this off my chest.

Yesterday Major Nidal Malik Hasan of the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas decided to open fire on base. According to his cousin made a statement saying that Hasan was terrified of having to deploy overseas. Today in my own backyard, a man by the name of Jason Rodriguez decided to go back to the company he had been fired from two years ago and open fire in that office building. According to as the suspect was being taken into custody, he shouted out to reporters "they left me to rot".

I don't understand why these people think that their lives are so bad the only way to make it better is to go around killing people you work with or used to work with. What is that going to solve? Your situation surely isn't going to improve; you've just made it a million times worse. If it is that bad and you don't know what do, go ask for help, runaway and go AWOL from the military, move somewhere else and start another life. Killing these people didn't improve your situation, and you didn't really "get back" at anyone. Now you just have a whole nation scratching their heads and not really caring if you walk away alive.

Falling back....why do we do it anymore?

Everyone knows the old adage "Spring forward and fall back". This of course is for daylight savings time. I understand why our country finally decided to go forward with daylight savings time with regards to World War 1. What I am trying to understand is why do we still change our clocks either forward or backwards twice a year? There are areas of our country alone that do not change their clocks during the year, Hawaii for instance.

When I first started dating my husband years and years ago he would complain every fall about how he hated the time change and he did not like when it got darker earlier during the day. Back then I would just laugh it off, I didn't really care one way or another, I guess I was just kind of used to it. Now that I am a mother, I find that my feelings toward this have changed.

A few days ago my daughter and I were in the backyard playing in the afternoon. We finally had a milder temperature for our area of Florida and it was just a nice day to be outside. Lilly was having fun swinging and playing with her dogs and I was lying on the hammock and just soaking it all in. However, we weren't able to stay outside as long as we normally would during the summer. It was 6 p.m. and it was already starting to get dark outside. Normally during the summer there would be times we would stay outside playing sometimes until 8 p.m.! Now that we have set our clocks back an hour, we aren't able to enjoy our dinner and then go play outside afterwards.

Yesterday luckily she took her nap on time and was able to go outside and play for a little while when she woke up. But still it was only a little while, maybe half an hour. When I had to take her inside and see that dissapointed look on her face, all I could think was "This freaking sucks." I wonder how many other people think about this and wonder why we still change our clocks.

How I would love for next spring when we "spring forward" for that to be the last time we adjust our clocks...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween is over, but costume season isn't...

Halloween may be over for this year, but it doesn't mean that is the only time you may need a costume. For instance, my 30th birthday is coming up in a few months and in honor of turning 30 I am having and 80's themed birthday party. All my guests are required to show up in 80's themed attire. Now some people may not require a costume per se, but others may not have the time to put together an awesome costume. So for those people--whatever their reasons may be--there is an easy solution.

Costume Express is running a special right now that is only going to last until November 9th....6 more days. They are having a sale on their clearance items--customers can get an additional 25% off. Here is what you need to do:

How to get an additional 25% off clearance:

1. Add any product marked with the red CLEARANCE icon, the orange SALE icon or the green BLOWOUT icon to your shopping cart.
2. Enter coupon code 25clear at checkout.
3. Offer expires 11/09/09 and cannot be combined with other offers.

Simple, huh? Not only is it a good time to get a costume, either for next Halloween or some other party you may have coming up, but it is also a good time to stock up on supplies for next year. There is a ton of stuff on sale so go check it out!!

Clearance Costumes from Costume Express

Movie Review -- Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure

So I don't remember if I bought the first Tinkerbell movie for my daughter at Christmas of last year or for her birthday, but she loved it. As a result she then got a bunch of Tiny Tink toys in her Easter basket and it has just grown from there.

So after months of seeing little movie clips of the new Tinkerbell movie I went out and bought it for my daughter...she's been looking forward to seeing it. It was so cute! The premise of the movie is about Tinkerbell being given a big job, working hard on it, not wanting help, and then what happens as a result of her losing her temper. I think it is good for little kids to witness the cause and effect of losing one's temper. I know I can be short-tempered at times, but I don't want my daughter to be that way, so I try to instill the lessons of keeping your temper.

I like how this movie is not only a nice Disney movie but it teaches a valuable lesson--you lose your temper and you are going to have to deal with the results, no matter how good or bad they may be. Life is all about cause and effect and this movie about cute little fairies is a good teacher of just that.

Hope you and your children enjoy it as much as we did!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Family & Firsts

There have been several firsts for our daughter and our family this year--first trip to Disney World, first day of preschool, and even first time as a flower girl. Some of these things have had a little stress associated with them, such as the trip to Disney and Lilly being a flower girl in my brother's wedding. But there have also been firsts for our family that have been just plain fun.

My husband and I used to go bowling quite frequently years ago before we had her and have wanted to take her, but you know, life happens and other things come up. So two weeks ago we finally took Lilly bowling for the first time. We all had such a good time! We hadn't been to our local bowling alley in a few years and they have made some nice improvements. They added 8 more lanes which seems to be where they put all the families, which is fine by me, they look nicer anyway! The really cool thing is that when it was Lilly's turn to bowl, the bumper rails would automatically pop up and then go down when she was done. By the time the third game came around I was wishing they would have been up for all of us....LOL. It was so much fun for all us, and it was an extended family affair--us, Lilly, my brother & sister-in-law, and a couple of close friends.

This past weekend one of my other girlfriends wanted to hang out so we decided to have a girl's day out and take Lilly to play miniature golf. First thing we did was take Lilly to her favorite place to eat--Olive Garden. After that we hit the mini links. We got her a putter just her size and then she picked out her ball, pink of course. It was cute to watch her putt on each hole, and there were a few holes that she actually knew what she was doing and made par! All in all I was just so excited to watch her have so much fun. :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Black Friday Shopping

For years and years I refused to go out on Black Friday, especially after I had my daughter. Not because I don't love shopping (because believe me I do!) but because I hate dealing with the crowds. But here in the past couple of years there have just been some awesome deals available on that most infamous of shopping days that I couldn't resist.

In order to help me prepare for my Black Friday shopping day, I prepare by getting a game plan ready--this way, I spend less time dealing with the crowds. Last year I stumbled upon a couple of websites that help you prepare for Black Friday, way before the print ads come out. They are and Both of these website are very user friendly and it's always nice to be able to get the scoop on where to go before everyone else does! If you are looking for specific items for gifts or even just because you want it on sale, going to websites such as these allow you to look for these items sooner and help you plan out where to go. This way you know what stores you need to go to first for those hot ticket items.

Last year I actually got up early early--which for me is anything before 7am. My mom and I got to Wal-Mart at 6 a.m. last year with the plan for getting specific items on sale that we figured wouldn't be flying off the shelf, but hoping that maybe, just maybe the huge 52" TV I wanted would actually still be there. Alas, it flew off the shelves before we even got there. My girlfriend had gotten there at 5 a.m. when the store opened and those TVs were already gone. I'm all about a good sale but I'm not going to camp out for a!

So if you are looking for a little help before stepping out the door on the annual kick off day of the shopping season, check out these websites. Not only can you visit them and look over all the secrets they've uncovered, but you can also sign up for email notifications of new ads that will be coming out. Check them out....they will help you get the edge on other shoppers!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lisa's Weekly Recipe -- Ono Banana Bread

Ever since I was a kid my mom would make banana bread, especially when we had a few bananas that were starting to get a little soft. "Ono" means delicious in Hawaiian and let me tell you...this is banana bread is awesome!

Ono Banana Bread


2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp. lemon juice


Sift dry ingredients together. Add shortening, eggs, and 1/2 cup bananas. Stir to combine ingredients, then beat 2 minutes on medium speed on electric mixer.

Add remaining bananas and lemon juice. Beat 2 more minutes. If desired, fold in 3/4 cup nuts. Pour into a greased & lined pan. Sprinkle remaining nuts over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Aloha and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Halloween is almost here!

Okay, so I know I've made a post on here a month or so ago about Halloween, but I just wanted to remind everyone it is coming up fast!

Tomorrow is October 1st and that means the countdown to Halloween is underway. So far Lilly has decided to be a pink fairy for Halloween, but knowing how things went last year that could change three more times before the actual holiday :-)

A great place to look for the stuff you need is Last year we had a Halloween party and I bought a ton of stuff from them--costumes, decorations, and other party supplies. Not only did I purchase a fair amount of Halloween supplies, but I also received a very good deal. The prices on everything were the best I could find from one place, plus they have a nice 110% price guarantee that I personally know they honor. When I purchased my costume from them last year I ended up finding it cheaper from another company about a week later. I emailed and I quickly received the refund--no hesitation, no problem!

For the customer service alone I would highly recommend using this company--not only for your Halloween needs, but also for any party you are going to have. definitely can fill your party supply order!

Happy Halloween!

10% off $65 or more

P.S. Right now they have $0.99 economy shipping on orders of $40 or more!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sweet Words for Strangers

How many times have you been out with your friends and you say to them (or they say to you) "Wow that is a cute outfit!" or "You look really good!" or even "I love your new hairdo!" Just the other day I was out with my girlfriends and noticed that one of them had colored her hair from blonde back to brown and I told her, "Your hair is cute! But your lucky, your hair looks cute either way!"

Most of the time when you receive a compliment it makes you feel good about yourself, sometimes even making your whole day. Here's another example: Another one of my girlfriends and I take our kids to the library every week for story time. One day she came in with her two kids in a kind of fitted 3/4 sleeve shirt. I told her "Wow! You look look so tiny in that shirt!" Her midsection was looking really fit. Sometimes its hard to tell how people really look when their normally wearing t-shirts or something that flows a little more away from the body. She got this big grin on her face and told me thank you. Later that evening when I was checking my email I had received one from her. In it she told me thank you again for noticing and how good she felt after I told her that and how it made her whole day. I was happy that I was able to make her feel so good about herself.

Now I know there are many of us that can get catty when we're out with our friends and see someone walking by and think "OMG what is she thinking wearing that?!" I know I'm guilty of it...I can be very cynical. It's probably the worst when my girlfriends and I are sitting on the beach getting some sun and watching all the people walking by. But in that same breath there are times when we're sitting there and say "Wow...I wish my body looked like that" or "that is such a cute really flatters her figure."

Thinking about things like this got me thinking, instead of just saying nice things about people to our friends, why don't we ever just go up to a perfect stranger and say "I just thought I'd let you know you look very nice in that outfit" or "Your hair looks gorgeous!" Why don't we compliment others?

How would you feel if some random person came up to you and said "I was just admiring your outfit and thought you should know how nice you look." If someone came up to me and told me they thought I looked nice I would love it! Just as a few wrong words can ruin your whole day, a few nice words can turn it right around and make it so much better.

So think about it next time you are out and about...complimenting someone might make them go from being down in the dumps to on cloud nine with just a few sweet words.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lisa's Weekly Recipe -- Betty's Red Velvet Frosting

I have been seriously slacking in my weekly recipe postings, but I'm trying to get back on track...LOL!

There have been several times when I've been out and about eating somewhere and have ordered Red Velvet Cake. It is one of my favorite cakes to eat, and since it is, there are times when I try to make it myself or for my mom. Now making the actual cake is not the hard part--it's finding the right frosting/icing recipe. The frosting is what really makes the cake for me. I've bought pre-made frosting and I've tried various recipes, but never found one that made me go "Holy cow! That is it!"

Until now....

A few years ago a lady I used to work with brought in some Red Velvet Cake and it was so freaking good that I asked her how she made it and so she gave me her recipe, and now I'm giving it to you!

Red Velvet Frosting


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbls. cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup nuts (optional)


In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar, set aside. In a small pot cook water & cornstarch until thick, let it cool. After it has cooled combine it with the sugar and butter mixture. Add vanilla. Beat frosting together until it looks and feels like whipped cream. Stir in nuts if you want them!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All food is not created equal

Okay, so yes, I know that there are some things in life that I do that can qualify me as spoiled. I've never really cared too much about brand name clothing--for me, if I like it then I'll buy it, and usually only stuff that's on sale :-) But growing up I've always been very particular concerning what brand food items I eat.

For example, I don't like Hunt's brand ketchup or any other generic, I only buy Heinz. Other things I'm picky about include but are not limited to the following: French's Mustard, Smuckers Preserves, Jif peanut butter, Captain Crunch, etc. I don't buy knock off cereals just because they're cheaper. I'm sorry, but to me, if I'm going to be eating it I want to enjoy it. I love eating good food and I'm not about to cheap out on something cheaper when the taste is sub par.

There have been some things that over my almost 30 years I've been willing to buy cheaper versions of, like for example, sugar. I know, not a huge step, but a step nonetheless. So the other day I was out of honey and was looking around at the grocery store and decided to get a generic brand of honey. I figured my grocery store has some pretty good stuff concerning their brand, so why not try it right?

How wrong was I!! One morning I was all ready to relax with a nice cup of hot chamomile tea and honey and chill on my couch. So I make my tea as usual and add my new generic honey. I sit down on the couch and take a sip of my tea and I think....yuck! That cheap honey has ruined my tea! Now it may seem trivial to some, but for someone who thoroughly enjoys food, this was highly disappointing. My husband could see by the look on my face that this bottle of honey wasn't going to get used by me any more.

For some things in life, brand doesn't matter. But in the ways of food, cheaper doesn't always equate to similar in taste or quality. Sometimes cheap is just cheap.

I think I might need help....think I'm becoming and addict

Everyday when I wake up in the morning, after I take care of my daughter of course, I'm already thinking about it and I go for it. The days she has school I'm on it. When she's taking a nap I'm on it. When she goes to bed at night both my husband and I are on it.

Do you have any idea what it is like to be addicted to a freaking game? And for some of you reading this and thinking other things you might as well move

Several of my friends had been trying to get me to join their "mafia" on the Facebook game "Mafia Wars", and for a long time I resisted. I would tell them "Look, I've got no real desire to sit here and play stupid games on here." One of my girlfriends kept hounding me to join just so she would have more people in her mafia, and so finally I just joined so she'd leave me alone.

Well a few months later I kept getting more and more requests from other people I knew that played the game and were asking me to join their mafia. So one day I decided to check it out and see what was so great about it. It started off slow for me, figuring it out and then playing for a little bit and then ignoring it for several days. I don't know what happened but one day I just started getting really into it and it's pretty much been that way since.

For those of you that don't know, Mafia Wars is a game where you are in charge of your own mafia. Just like in the movies you start by doing small jobs like mugging, robbing pimps, beating up rival gang members, stuff like that. The higher you get in levels, the more money you make and the weapons and other items get better. Of course, in order to have a strong mafia you need more people. So you take to the message boards for the game and pimping service, that's right, I said pimping services. These are basically discussion boards that you join and if you get lucky you get your name posted and a bunch of people will add you to their mafia, in turn, they become apart of your mafia--you were pimped.

I've even set up a special group in my friends list called "Mafia Wars" just so I can add all these people to my mafia. This way, these random people I add don't have access to my personal information, pictures, etc. I mean, yes I want a bigger mafia, but I don't want them knowing all about me and my family!

There is something kind of relaxing about it, especially after you've had a bad day. For example, you're driving down the road and some old lady loses her mind and yells out you for god knows what, every stupid person in town decided to be out the same time you are, your dogs ate another box of crayons, whatever the reason, you go home and get on your Mafia Wars game. You've got all this pent up energy and you let it out by killing a bunch of people on Mafia Wars and taking their money. It sounds weird but it does work! My daughter will make have a tantrum and make me upset right before her nap or something and then I get on the computer and kill a few people, go up a few levels, add more people to my mafia, and then all is good.

The days when I'm actually doing something productive and useful I'll be out and think "oh man, I've got to check on my mafia" sad I know!

Oh well, such is the life of the modern housewife! By the way, feel free to look me up and join my

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I have crossed the P90X finish line!

I have done it! I have completed 13 weeks of P90X and I am so happy about it! This was the first time I actually enjoyed working out and kept to it. I was determined to get it done finally for several reasons, one of them being I was tired of looking at leftover baby weight from my 3 year old daughter, plus, my brother was only going to be at OCS for the summer and he wanted the P90X system back when he got home :-)

My results may not be as dramatic as some, but I was going for lean muscle mass and not trying to bulk up. I can really tell the difference in my arms--I actually have muscle tone now! I've been joking around with my family like my brother used to do: "Which way is the beach? Oh it's right over there (as I flex my arm muscles and point like a guy showing off or a girl)"

It is also nice to see flatter tummy with some definition, as well as the fact that my "spare tire"--as my grandmother so affectionally called my midsection--is a lot smaller. There is still some work that I need to do in that area, but now I know what I need to do and how to do it to in order to make my spare tire look flat.

I also once again have definition in my legs. When I was in high school I thought I had nice looking legs--you could feel the muscles in my quads and you could see that I actually had calf muscles. Once again I have that definition back!

My family has slowly seen my progress for the past 13 weeks, but I was especially excited to show my brother when he got home from Quantico. The last time he saw me was right before I started P90X, and when he got home I was 10 weeks into it and there was a real noticable difference in the way I looked. I loved that "wow I'm so proud of you...and impressed that you stuck with it!"

I will keep working out to further my results, but I don't think I could have gotten this far without this workout system!