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Archive for October, 2008

We have a winner….

Thoughtfully penned on October 31st, 2008 and generally concerning Blogging News, Giveaways

The random integer generator spit out number 58 which matches to the comment where Stacy says her favorite Starbucks drink is “Just a plain ‘ol vanilla latte.”  Congratulations, Stacy, you’ve won the $5 Starbucks gift card!

Thanks to all 265 people who left comments entering the giveaway.  It was fun reading everyone’s favorite drink, and I got some ideas for something new to try if I can give up the Pumpkin Spice Latte for a visit or two.  A lot of you love the Caramel Macchiato or the White Chocolate Mocha which are usually my standards when Pumpkin Spice is out of season.  I was also interested in all the comments about the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate; I’ve been intrigued by this drink since it was introduced but was scared to try it (ya know, “don’t mess with a good thing” and all).  Several of you commented that it is very good, so I’ll have to give it a try.

If you came by just for the giveaway I hope you’ll stop back by sometime.  I’ve enjoyed having all the company.

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What’s on Your Nightstand? – October

Thoughtfully penned on October 28th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading

What's On Your Nightstand

It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month which means it’s time for the October edition of “What’s on Your Nightstand?” at 5 Minutes for Books.

My nightstand stack has gotten a bit shorter this month because I’ve focused on reading what was there before moving on to the rest of my Fall Into Reading challenge books.  Once again, I planned on posting a picture, even took one and uploaded it, but for some reason WordPress isn’t let me add it to the post; maybe next month.

So, here’s what’s on my nightstand:

Currently reading – The River Why by David James Duncan

Still there from last month – Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Pact by Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Still there from August – Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

New additions:

The Englisher by Beverly Lewis.  I’ve read several of her books in the past including The Preacher’s Daughter which is the previous book in this series, Annie’s People.  The tales of Amish life and love that she tells are always enjoyable.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  This one’s been on my “want to read” list for a while, so I’m looking forward to diving into it.

I don’t feel like I read much in the last month, but I managed to finish three books.

My Beautiful Idol – this book was great!  It is a memoir telling the story of one man’s (Pete Gall) journey with and toward God.  It’s entertaining, well written, and quite convicting.  I would definitely recommend this book.

A Wind in the Door – I finished the second installment in L’Engle’s Time Quintet and really liked it.  I thought it was just as good as A Wrinkle in Time, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series sometime in the future (probably this winter).

The Center of Everything – This was a fun coming of age book without being cheesy or “chick-lit”-y (um, yeah, had to make up a word there).  It addressed a wide variety of topics facing the narrator between the ages of 10 and 15 as it explored growing up in small town USA as a less-than-privileged child.  Look into this one for a well written, engrossing read.

I think that covers it for October.  Check out “What’s on Your Nightstand?” to see what others around the blogosphere are reading this month.

Happy reading!

Coffee anyone?

Thoughtfully penned on October 26th, 2008 and generally concerning Blogging News, Coffee, Giveaways

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

If you’ve read Sidetrack’d for any length of time you probably know I have a love affair with coffee.  Not just any coffee, though; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I’m a coffee snob.  

I’m all about rich, dark, full flavor coffee, and I love me some Starbucks.  And I love this time of year because Starbucks is serving up their scrumptious Pumpkin Spice Latte (or Frappuccino depending on my mood and the weather).

In honor of the return of my favorite beverage, I will give one of you lovely people a $5 Starbucks gift card; a chance to try my fave or to get a cup of your fave.  Just leave a comment telling me your beverage of choice when you visit the beloved coffee shop.

Here’s the fine print:

This giveaway runs through noon on Friday, October 31st.  At that time I will close comments on this post and chose a winner using the random number generator at random.org.  To be eligible to win your comment must include your favorite coffee shop beverage (be it coffee, tea, chai, whatever).  Your comment must lead me back to you via a valid e-mail address or link to your blog; if I don’t have a way to find you, I will chose another winner.  The winner will be notified by e-mail or comment on your personal blog Friday afternoon.  All names and e-mail addresses collected for this giveaway will be used only for the purpose of notifying the winner of the giveaway.  This giveaway is limited to US addresses only (I apologize to any international readers).

There are tons more giveaways at the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival, be sure to check them out!  But if you’re visiting Sidetrack’d for the first time, I’d love for you to stick around for a few minutes and get to know us a little better.  Thanks!


Someone’s gotta do it

Thoughtfully penned on October 24th, 2008 and generally concerning E, Motherhood

Last night…I was sitting in the floor changing Boo’s diaper when Little came in the room.  She walked up behind me, put her arms around my neck, and said, “I wuv Mommy.”

This morning…Little was playing in the living room while I took my shower.  When she heard the water turn off she came running into the bedroom and up to the bathroom door…

Little: “You done, Mommy?”

Me: “Yep, sweetie, I’m all done.”

Little (with a huge grin): “I so glad!”

This Mommy gig?  It’s not too bad most of the time.

Bloggy Giveaways – Fall edition

Thoughtfully penned on October 23rd, 2008 and generally concerning Giveaways

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

The great giveaway carnival at Bloggy Giveaways is going on next week. I’m planning to host a giveaway (provided I remember to get something to giveaway), so check back Monday to see what’s going on. And make sure you check out the Bloggy Giveaways site for all sorts of great giveaways.

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10 things I like about Fall and 1 thing I hate

Thoughtfully penned on October 22nd, 2008 and generally concerning Fall Festivities, Of games and good things

A few weeks ago my SIL posted a list of her top ten favorite things about Fall.  I’m feeling inspired by the cooler, more Fall-like, weather that has finally settled into our neck of the woods, and thought I would do likewise.  Here are ten things I like about Fall (in no particular order):

1.  The sound of crunching acorns underfoot and the fact that it always makes Little giggle.

2.  Baking yummy things with apples; especially our favorite apple cake.

3.  The smell of wood fires on the air.

4.  Wrapping up in my favorite quilt and snuggling in on the couch to read after the kids are in bed.

5.  The feeling of crisp, cool air on my skin after months of heat and humidity.

6.  Opening the windows.

7.  A return to playing in the cove in the mornings and afternoons without fear of heatstroke.

8.  Drinking hot beverages (coffee, chai, cocoa) any time of day.

9.  Wearing jeans while maintaining a comfortable body temperature.

10. The approach and anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas, my favorite holidays.

And the one thing I hate?

Having to wear real shoes instead of sandals or flip-flops (and the disappearance of sweet baby feet into socks and shoes).

Tackle it Tuesday: Confession Time

Thoughtfully penned on October 21st, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Housework, Tackle It Tuesday
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I confess, I hate cleaning our shower.  I don’t just dislike it, I hate it.  But, you say, hate is a very strong word.  Yes, and I hate it.

Let’s just say that it had been a while since any serious cleaning had taken place in the shower in our master bathroom.  Don’t misunderstand, the bathroom itself is cleaned very regularly, just not the shower.

When I saw at 5 Minutes for Mom that CLR was offering the opportunity to try their kitchen and bathroom cleaner as part of Tackle it Tuesday I jumped at the chance and hoped that this would provide the motivation I needed to get the job done.  And it did.

I had high hopes for the CLR cleaner.  I tried not to expect too much, because, really, anything short of a product that would redo grout – or better yet, redo tile – wouldn’t live up to my expectations.  I did, however, expect the product to cut the soap scum, clean off the mineral deposits, and, hopefully, make a dent in the mildew that I’d let build up on the grout and around the bottles (shampoo, face cleaner, etc) on the shower floor.

I wasn’t disappointed.  I followed the directions – spray on, leave to work for a few minutes, wipe down, let sit for 2-3 minutes, rinse with clear water – and the soap scum and mineral deposits wiped off and washed away with very little effort.  The mildew on the tile itself cleaned off fairly easily with the scrubber side of the sponge.  The mildew in the grout was a tougher kill (as I expected), but this cleaner cleared away some of the mildew stains completely and lightened or partially cleared most of the others.  I also might have been able to get more of the mildew stains taken care of if I had put more elbow grease into it; I will probably work on them some more sometime in the coming weeks.

Overall I was pleased with the results.  I would recommend using the product in a well ventilated area (as directed) due to the fumes; I opened the bathroom window and this seemed to provide reasonable ventilation.  (I generally use non-toxic cleaners (with the exception of bleach cleaners on toilets and in the tub), so I found the chemical smell to be quite strong and offensive.)  I don’t think I would use the CLR Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner as an all-purpose cleaner for these spaces, but I will definitely use it again in the shower.

Most importantly, my shower is clean and I feel a sense of accomplishment because I finally made myself tackle it.  If you find a product that will do my tile and grout work for me, please let me know.

Happy Tackling!

There is always something you didn’t consider

Thoughtfully penned on October 20th, 2008 and generally concerning E, Vacation

We’ve spent the last few months, and especially the last few weeks, trying to prepare Little for all of the new things she would experience on vacation.  We covered the airplane – pointing out planes in the sky, talking about how we would go way up high, really talking it up.  We covered the beach – talking about the sand, the big water, all the fun things we would do.  We covered our living arrangements – talking about the condo, who all would be there, where we would sleep.  I thought we had covered everything.  I was wrong.

I failed to consider the shuttle bus.

We parked our car in an off-site covered parking lot, so we had to ride a shuttle from the lot to the airport.  The bus pulled up behind our car while we were unloading the luggage, and Little stopped dead in her tracks.

“School bus hurt.”

“No, baby, the school bus won’t hurt you.  It is just waiting to take us to the airport to ride the airplane.”

“No want to ride school bus.”

“But we have to ride the bus, sweetie.  It isn’t scary; it will be fun.”

She stood perfectly still clutching dee and asking to be held while we got the bags and carseats from the car into the shuttle.  When it was time to board the bus she flatly refused.  Matt carried her on and sat her in his lap.

We drove a little ways through the parking lot and then stopped to pick up another couple.  As soon as the doors opened Little said, “get off now.”  We explained that we couldn’t get off, that we had to stay on until we got to the airport.  We drove a little farther around the lot and stopped again.  Little said, “get off now.”  The lady from the first stop chuckled a little, and I said, “this could be an interesting day.”

We were successful in keeping her on the bus until we reached the airport at which point she gladly disembarked.

Now what does she answer when you ask her favorite part of going to the airport?  Riding the “bumpy, bumpy bus.”

Go figure.


Thoughtfully penned on October 17th, 2008 and generally concerning Meme, Sidetrack'd

Barb posted this meme earlier this week; it looked like a challenge, so I thought I’d try it.  It’s based on the Scattergories game, and, let me tell ya, some of the questions were pretty difficult.

Here are the rules:

~Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following questions.
~They have to be real places, names, things; nothing made up!
~You can’t use your name for the boy/girl name question.
~Tag 5 people to play along.

1. What is your name? Jana

2. A 4 Letter Word: jolt

3. A Boy’s Name: Jason

4. A Girl’s Name: Jennifer

5. An Occupation: janitor

6. A Color: jade

7. Something you wear: jeans (my favorite cool weather attire)

8. A Beverage: juice (apple being the preferred type around here)

9. A Food: jumbalaya

10. Something found in the bathroom: john (you think of something in the bathroom that starts with “j”!)

11. A place: Java (you know, the island)

12. A Reason for being late: just plain lazy (a stretch I know; this one was hard)

13. Something you shout: Jackpot!

14. Now tag five others: if you’d like to play along I’d love to read your answers

Six months later

Thoughtfully penned on October 16th, 2008 and generally concerning J, Motherhood

My tiny man isn’t so tiny anymore.  This week marks the end of his sixth month in this world, and he is doing his best to make his mark on it.

Today we went for his six month checkup and the doc said he looks great.  He’s in 50th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference.  He’s meeting or exceeding all of his physical and social milestones.  And we seem to have his reflux under control.

At weigh-in he tipped the scales at 17 pounds 11 ounces; up 3 pounds 9 ounces since his four month visit!  He also measured a healthy 26 inches long.  They were impressed with how well he’s sitting; he’s gotten very good at it in the last week or so.

He’s been officially cleared to eat solids.  We’ve been giving him fruits for the last few weeks, but now he can do foods twice a day and we’ll probably start adding Gerber puffs or something of that nature in the next couple of weeks.  He is also allowed to drink some water now, so we’ll see how he likes the sippy cup.

I love this stage – the constant learning and discovery and the emergence of his personality; he’s such a sweet and friendly baby.  Just wish my little people didn’t have to grow up so fast.