ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent

November 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety, Reviews & Giveaways

Got Mosquito’s?  ThermaCELL can help

I contacted ThermaCELL the summer of 2012, and asked if I could review their products.  Dave and the kids were going to Canada to fish and he has nasty experiences there with mosquito’s in previous years. ThermaCELL was great and sent me two products to review. .  Dave took the units to Canada with them, but never used them.  He said there was one day that the mosquitos were bad, but it was really windy and it says not to use it on really windy days. They also had several inside their cabin, but these units are not for indoor use. The summer and fall of 2012 was also not a bad year for mosquitos at our far. All that to say, I didn’t review them until this summer.

I did get them out late this summer and put them to use. This is the small portable unit.


I took this one to the farm with me to try out.  The mosquito’s were pretty bad this year. There had been some flooding of the river which is below Dave’s farm.  The mosquito’s were really terrible in the woods. I wanted so badly to just clip this on my belt to protect me while I walked, but that isn’t how it’s designed.  It says to give it about 10 minutes to really start showing the effectiveness of it.  It’s quiet and did get a little warm, but it wasn’t hot.

We were up by one of the barns while Dave was working on the four wheeler,  so I put it on the tailgate of the truck.  I wasn’t noticing any mosquito’s while we were up there.


We found this nice snake skin while we were there – no, this isn’t a snake repellent.

snake skin

I moved over to our picnic table which wasn’t near the truck.  I didn’t think about the ThermaCELL when I moved, until I starting seeing and hearing the mosquitos.  I made a b-line back to the truck and got the unit and brought it over to the picnic table. Within a few minutes, I wasn’t having a problem with the mosquitos.  I was impressed.

thermacell 3

Now if I could have only taken it with me when we drove back to the other part of the farm, through the woods.  Our windows were open and they were terrible. I was not a happy camper. I wanted to close up the windows and Dave just kept laughing at me, “Sandy, there are already enough in the truck it won’t do any good now”. ugh.. and yuck! I hate mosquitos.

These would be great for camping, outdoor gatherings and times when you have an area that you need to “clear” of mosquitos. It evidently also helps with black flies, but that isn’t usually a problem we have at the farm, so I wasn’t able to test it.

There is also a lantern version, but I haven’t used that yet.  For those of you that are in warmer areas now


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Exercise Tools – Nike FuelBand vs FitBit

Do I Like To Exercise? No – But I’m Going To Learn To Love It!

Do I Need to Exercise? Absolutely… big time!


I’ve gone through so many phases in my life, and even on this blog, where I’ve started to exercise and get in shape. I’ll do good for awhile, and then I tend to fall back into my old ways. I think there is a part of me that doesn’t think I can ever be one of those “in shape” people. I know that sounds dumb, but after watching my mom struggle off and on for years with exercise (Jack Lalanne and soup cans.. for some of you who might remember), I just have this block in my head – that I’ll never be that person out running a marathon.  Do I have a desire to run a marathon. Nope. Would I like to be able to run for a few miles? Yes!

I have a zillion excuses, I have plantar fasciitis and my Podiatrist said that walking should not be an exercise for me. The nearest club is over 1/2 hour away and my work schedule won’t allow it. My heart rate goes into the 200’s when I try to jog. Oh… there are more, believe me. But I have to break through those.

At the beginning of this year I decided I have to get 70 pounds off.  I did it in 2008, I used Jenny Craig and took off 50 pounds, but I went off their plan and slowly gained it back.. plus another 20 pounds. Menopause hasn’t helped either… along with sitting on my butt for at least 12 hours a day working.

When I lost my 50 pounds, I wasn’t exercising. This time I have to do both. Now I have the fat arm stuff happening, the big belly.. (I never knew your boobs could touch your belly when you sit certain ways! lol) As always my hips, legs and butt are huge. There are things I never have experienced before. I was always very thin growing up.. and this extra 20 pounds in the last year has thrown me over the edge. I’ve had to buy new fat clothes, the backs of my arms will bother me because things are too tight. It’s the pits and I feel gross.

Nike FuelBand

Part of my inspiration is because I feel terrible.  The other part is watching all my co-workers at Collective Bias show all their pictures of running and working out on Path and Facebook. This company is so awesome to work for that they gave us all Nike FuelBands this Christmas. How cool is that? John Andrews and Jay Thornton both got a Fuelband and liked it so much for themselves, that John decided to get them for all 50+ of us.  For a company to care so much about it’s employees, that they REALLY want to see us healthy. That is just one of the reasons I love working at CB. Not because they gave us a cool gift, but because they really care about us. They want the best for us. Love that!

nike fuelband

This is really neat. I love the look of it. It comes in a white/clear one or a black/clear one.. or this solid black. You get fuel points for your activity. If you are walking or working out, doing laundry etc. It also tells you how many steps you’ve walked, calories burned and what time it is.  You set a goal and you work to meet it each day. The little red dots at the bottom.. go across as you work towards your goal. They get green when you are into the good zone. Then you can share on Facebook or Path your progress and compare with your team. That is where Collective Bias has been really productive with this. There are several runners at CB, and many of us that aren’t, but they have had fun with sharing their fuel points with everyone. It shows the path they have run, or walked. It syncs with your computer and your phone, so you can easily track what you’ve done.

I think this is an awesome tool if you want to get in shape. If you want to track your progress for the day, have competitions to see who can get the most fuel points or just track it yourself. It is a great way to inspire exercise. You want to get more fuel points to hit your goal for the day.


Before I knew I was getting one, I had asked Dave for a FitBit for Christmas. He got me one, so now I have both tools. I also got one for Dave for Christmas. He’s been using it and is happy to show me how far he does walk at work everyday, inspecting the job site he manages.

exercise fitbit

They are both awesome tools to tracking your exercise and activity. I highly recommend them both. The FitBit is small and clips onto your clothing. Dave wears his clipped inside his pants pocket. I wear mine clipped to my bra. It tells you your steps for the day, calories burned, time of day and a growing flower for your progress. It has an automatic sync (this model of FitBit at least) to your computer and your phone. You can also share with your friends and post to FB or Twitter.  Very similar features of the Nike FuelBand.

What it does do that is different, than the Fuelband  is that you can track your food intake and it also tracks your sleep. There is a wrist band that you slip the fitbit into. It comes out of the rubber clip you see above and easily slips into this Velcro wristband. Then you just hit the timer to start it. In the morning you turn the timer off. The wristband doesn’t bother me at all to sleep, although I did see on a few people who reviewed it, that they didn’t like it.  I like being able to see my sleep patterns. I was surprised I woke up as much as I did through the night.

exercise fitbit

This also has an alarm feature on it. It will wake you up in the morning. I have yet to figure out how to set that, but I think I saw a way, and just haven’t taken the time to try that feature out yet.

This is what the dashboard looks like. You can earn badges for your accomplishments. Climbing stairs, steps, miles.  You can see where I did my short work out in the morning.. where the yellow spikes are.


The feature I like the best with this FitBit is that I can track my food intake. I picked a program of easy, medium or hard (I picked hard) in order to lose my weight. It has me losing 2 pounds a week, so that I’ll hit my goal of 70 pounds in August of this year. It then calculates your food intake (you plug in the food and there are many options that come up to pick from. If those don’t fit, you can enter your own food item with the portion and calories.) and exercise for that day.

It tells you how much more you can eat for that day… or if you’ve gone over your calories for the day. Several times when I’ve gone over, then it has inspired me to go up and do more exercise.


For me, because I am trying to lose weight along with the exercise.. the FitBit is a better exercise tool. It has been more inspiring to me due to the calorie intake feature, than the Nike FuelBand.  If your main goal is the exercise and getting in shape, then I think the Nike Fuelband would be ideal. I think the guys like the look of the FuelBand.

The FitBit One that I have is $99. I got mine for Dave at BestBuy. He got the one for me online.
The Nike Fuelband is $149.

I can highly recommend both of these exercise tools, and I’m very thankful to Collective Bias and my husband for giving them to me. Neither one expected or asked for a review – I just wanted to share part of my big inspiration for exercising and losing weight.

So far since January 1st of 2013, I’ve lost 8 1/2 pounds. What I was thrilled with, was that it also included a six day trip to Bentonville, AR for work, and I’ve always gained weight when I’ve traveled before. I’ve always had an attitude of “I can eat whatever I want when I’m traveling, because it’s too hard to try and eat healthy”.  But not this time. I exercised 3 of the 4 available mornings I was there with Debba from Girlfriendology. Of course she was far past me in her running and exercising abilities, but she was great encouragement and  inspiration while I was there.


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ZeroWater Filter Pitcher Review

January 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Health & Safety, Reviews & Giveaways

A Great Water Filtration Pitcher That Removes It All!

By Amy Trauntvein

We drink a lot of water in our house, but hate the way water our tap water tastes.  It contains a lot of chlorine and not only can you taste it, you can even smell it!  Not very appetizing even if you are really thirsty.  We do have a filter on our refrigerator water dispenser and even though is works at taking our the “swimming pool” flavor, it still tastes pretty metallic.  So when ZeroWater asked me to try out and review their 5 Stage Water Filter Pitcher, I of course accepted!  It even comes with a water “tester” that can detect any solids in your water.  A good thing to have on hand so you can know when your filter needs to be replaced.  This is the 6 cup pitcher.  It has a smartly narrow shape that helps it fit nicely in the fridge to keep cool.


The ZeroWater filtration pitcher is perfect for those who relish owning innovative tech products, and/or have a palette for great taste. Moms, dads, health & fitness fans, tech fans, and food & cooking lovers will enjoy hydrating better with ZeroWater filtration products.

All you have to do it take off the lid and fill the upper chamber with tap water.  It does take a few minutes for the pitcher to fill because of the 5 different filters the water goes through, but it is definitely worth the small wait.  The water tastes pure and clean, nothing to mar the taste or make you wonder what is in your water.


ZeroWater filtration pitchers use dual ion exchange technology to remove 99.9% of dissolved solids, leaving you with great-tasting, pure water. The pitchers are designed with space-saving convenience in mind and the one hand pull-and-pour spout makes it easy to pour into any glass or bottle.  ZeroWater pitchers deliver great bottled water taste without the waste and cost, also making it the smart choice for those striving to minimize their use of bottle water at home. In addition, Good Housekeeping has featured ZeroWater as outperforming other filter-pitcher brands.

ZeroWater’s new 6-Cup and popular 10-cup pitchers are available at, Meijer’s, ShopKo and Bed Bath & Beyond for the suggested retail prices of $29.99 and $36.99 respectively.

I love my new ZeroWater pitcher and am finding not only myself, but the rest of my family drinking more water since it tastes so clean and fresh.  My kids are actually bypassing juices and sugared drinks more often to drink a glass of water.  To me, ZeroWater is worth purchasing as it filters out more solids than any other filtration pitcher on the market.


I hope you will check these cool water pitchers out and see how they work!  *Even though I was compensated with the ZeroWater pitcher for this review, all pictures and opinions are my own.  Love to all!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Caboodles 25th Anniversary! Organizer Review

Caboodles Beauty Organizer Review

by Amy Trauntvein

Ah, the ’80s.  Best decade ever.  Pegged pants, over-sized tops, bright colors, big hair bands and of course big hair on everyone!  But one thing that totally takes me back is the Caboodle.  They first came out when I was in high school (I think I just dated myself) and they were so totally awesome dude!  My best friend had a mint green one and boy was I jealous!  She took it everywhere and in it, she carried her blue mascara, hair mousse and of course hair spray among other beauty necessities.  I wanted one so bad!

Guess what?  Caboodle must have heard my cries from yesteryear because they sent me one to try out and even better, it’s their “Original” design from 1987!          Re-Introducing (drum roll please)…

My First Love Retro Caboodle !



Isn’t it just the best ever???  Retail $25   At national retailers in time for Christmas.

I have 2 daughters with long hair which means I “do” a lot of hair every day.  So I decided to fill my amazing Caboodle with all the hair stuff and accessories I use for my girls’ hair.  Here’s mine…

The top houses brushes, combs, 2 curling irons, spray water bottle, hand mirror and a few other misc items.


The top drawer contains small hair clips, (can you tell I’m a little obsessed with Mickey clips?)  bobby pins, ponytail holders, clear silicone bands and my mini Topsy-tail.


The bottom drawer holds Bling Strings, large hair clips, larger ponytail holders and elastic head bands.  These drawers are larger to hold bigger items.


The Caboodle can really hold anything you want.  My daughter has one that holds makeup and hair accessories from when she was on a competition dance team and needed to carry everything with her to the performances.  It has been well loved and used.  :)



I adore my Caboodle!  And you can too!  Go get one for yourself and fill it with all your beauty needs.  Don’t forget the hair mousse!

I was compensated with the Caboodle for my review, but all my photos and opinions are honest and my own.

Love to all!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Hurricane and Storm Preparedness

October 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

Are You Ready?

Be prepared for an upcoming Hurricane, such as Hurricane Sandy, or any storm that could cause powere outages it is really important to do.

This past summer we had a terrible storm that caused all kinds of damage, and the widest spread power outages that Dave and I had ever experienced in Ohio. We were one of the few lucky ones, that did not loose our power. But, one thing we took for granted was being able to purchase gasoline. Because the power outages were so widespread, there were very few gas stations that has generators that were able to stay open and pump gas. The other side of that was that they didn’t have their charge card readers going… so everything was cash only. Dave and I hardly ever carry any cash, and were lucky that we had come off a vacation and did have some cash available.

hurricane sandy

I think most of us think of the obvious things we are going to need in a power outage.

*Food – Non perishable items
*Water – One gallon of water, per person for 3 days
*First Aid Kit
*Chainsaw and gas (if you live in an area with a lot of trees)

hurricane sandy

But here are some things that I didn’t really think about having on hand before:

*Extra gasoline
*Having a plan if you have to evacuate your home
*List of phone numbers of family, friends, Doctors, hospitals
*Whistle to signal for help

I know there are many other things you should have ready. I’ve never had to think about hurricanes before, since I live in Ohio. But this is a hurricane that the high winds are going to affect Ohio (at least they predict that), so we also need to be prepared.

Here is a complete list from the National Weather Hurricane Service, with links to specific lists so that you can be completely ready in case of storm emergency.

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Make Sure Your Halloween Is Safe!

Halloween Safety

Be sure to think safety when you are planning your kids Halloween costumes. Even though we want our kids to have the coolest costumes for Halloween, we want to make sure they are safe as they can be. Things like wearing their masks on top of their head while they are trick or treating (they can put them down when they’re on the porch of the house), or wearing face paint rather than masks are simple things that can reduce injuries.

There are a lot more emergency room visits on Halloween from kids getting hurt from falling or being hit by cars than there are from kids being injured by something they ate out of their trick or treat bag.


1) Make sure kids can see easily. Face paint is better than masks. Those often can impede vision.
2) Costumes should be short enough not to trip the kids
3) Warm clothing under their costume (if they won’t wear a coat over it)
4) Have a flashing light or flashlight with them, so they can be easily seen in the dark.
5) Light colored costumes and/or reflector tape helps the kids to be seen.
6) Kids should always go out with a parent if they are under the age of 10 or 11 years old.
7) Teach the kids to use the driveways and walks, and not run through yards.
8) Make sure you are familiar with the neighborhood.
9) Only go to houses that have their outdoor lights on.
10) Bring home all the candy to check over before the kids eat it. Take a few pieces of your own candy for them to eat
along the way (I mean.. who can resist a piece here or there.. right?)
11) Make sure the kids have on shoes or boots that will protect their feet. No slippers or shoes that are too big.
12) Make sure the kids follow safety rules and don’t run out into the street or between cars.


Oh.. and PLEASE have your kids say “Thank You” after they are given a piece of candy. Manners are SO nice to hear from kids.

If you are driving somewhere on Beggars night, please be really careful and go slow!


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A Mother’s Love for a Special Needs Child

August 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

A Mother’s Love Can’t Be Explained

A mother's love

We all know that Mother’s love their children, and we love them in a way we didn’t know we could, right?  But what about those children who have special needs? Some people who do not have special needs children can think that a parent might “love them less” because they aren’t perfect.  That they might “love them less” because they change the parents life style, change the life they pictured or believed they would have .  They think that they might “love them less” because they can’t leave their child with a sitter, or might not be able to go on vacations.  They think that the financial burden and loss of income because one parent might not be able to work outside the home, due to their child’s special needs… might cause them to “love them less”.  They think they might “love them less” because their child might not “fit in” with society, or cause trouble in public, or be difficult to even take in public because of all the needs they require.  They might even think that the parents would be “better off” if that child left this world early… so they can once again have a “normal life”.  Those “people” just have no idea. No way to understand the love a Mother has for her special needs child.

But guess what? … I think it somehow makes a mother’s love even stronger for a special needs child. Imagine a “child” being totally dependent on you for almost thirty years!  I have been a pediatric nurse for 30 years now. I have worked in children’s hospitals, Doctor’s offices and I’ve worked as a pediatric nurse case manager for a home health agency.  I have seen many many examples of how strong a mothers love can be, even for some children that do not respond to them… or respond in ways that others can recognize. For children that have cost them their careers, made them move into very small homes due to the financial crisis they now had to deal with, cost them their marriages because of the stress, cost them the life they wanted. I have seen so many cases… so many.

I recently had a cousin lose her daughter.  (pictured above) Her daughter, E….  was almost 30 years old.  She never spoke… ever ..except one time in church when she yelled “Amen” at the appropriate time. That was an awesome story to hear at her funeral!  They knew that E had something going on from the time she was a very small child. She was not hitting the normal milestones that other children her age were hitting. She didn’t talk, she had a strange gait to her walk, she would get angry easily (If I remember right. I did not live close to my cousin, so I didn’t know E very well… I only have a few memories with visits over the years). As she grew older, she required more and more care.  For the last several years she was unable to walk at all. She was not a small girl and she had to be lifted and completely cared for … by her parents.  My cousin and her husband did an unbelievable job taking care of her. Giving her every opportunity they could in order to help her, to make her life the best it could be for the body and the condition she endured.

a mother's love


They only discovered the actual diagnosis for what she had about two years ago. It is called   Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN). They were told at that time that there had never been a case he knew of, where a child/adult lived to 30 years old.  E was 2 weeks away from her 30th birthday when she died.  She died at home, in her parents bed with her mom and dad with her.  They had been without electricity for a week prior to her death due to the terrible storms that went through at the end of June.  They had one room air conditioner with a generator and lived in that bedroom with her, to make her as comfortable as possible.

I went to her funeral. I had no idea how difficult it would be. Gut wrenching, fits perfectly. I have been to many funerals over my life time, and I have been to several funerals for children. But I’ve never had as hard a time as this one. (Other than my own Mom’s) . Maybe it was because I myself forgot the unbelievable amount of love a mother has for her child with special needs. The first strong tears came for me when I saw my Aunt 89 years old (Mom’s sister) ask to go up to the open casket again to see her. She just stroked her arm, touched her face and talked to her. My Aunt is the closest living relative I have, linked to my Mom. I miss my Mom so much and get to see my Aunt so little…I just adore her, and seeing her pain was SO hard.

After the service was over, they went to wheel the casket out… and all of a sudden all you could hear in this very quiet church, was my cousin, crying… no, sobbing for her daughter. The kind of crying that came deep deep from within her soul. Crying, like I’m not sure I’ve heard before. The pain she was suffering was incredible, pain like she had more than likely never experienced before. The paw bearers stopped and just stood there for about three or four minutes. The crying did not let up. There could not have been a single dry eye in the room hearing my cousin’s pain, the torture she was going through, knowing she would never see her daughter’s face again, never hold her or take care of her again. There is a piece of my cousin that left right then….a piece of her heart, her soul, that stayed with her daughter; stayed with her when they closed that casket, stayed with her as they wheeled her out of the church, stayed with her as she was lowered into the ground and was buried with her. She won’t get that piece of her heart, her soul back until she is back together with her in heaven.


a mother's love

It was right then, standing there crying myself; that I knew that a mothers love for a special needs child, could not be explained.  It was something that so many people might not understand…. but something so real. So precious. So wonderful. God is so gracious to give us what we need, give us the children that he wants us to be trusted with and to love. He could not have picked better parents for E, when he picked them. He knows the love a mother has for her child. Only God, and a mother herself can possibly know.

My love to you cuz, as you and your hubby heal and learn to live a life with your angel in heaven.

a mother's love

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The MegaBus

The Megabus – What an Experience!

Riding the megabus to New York was an experience and thankfully we didn’t have any accidents, like the megabus did in Chicago!


I undertook the adventure of going with two of my best blogging friends and co-workers to ride the megabus from Pittsburgh, PA to NYC for the Blogher 12 conference.

Why in the World Did we Take the Megabus?

Because the tickets we got were only $10 each way!  Yes.. really!  My round trip bus fare from PA to NYC was $20.50.  lol!   I know I didn’t want to drive  or park in New York City, and airfare was pretty hefty.

I was very concerned about getting sick on the bus, because I suffer from that lovely affection called motion sickness. That pain in the butt thing that keeps me from trying a cruise, doesn’t let me ride in the back seat of a car, and often people try to tell me is only in my head.

Kim has ridden the megabus several times back and forth from NYC… because she LOVES NYC and she is able to sleep the whole way.  Because she was the seasoned megabus pro, I listened to her guidance (not that I didn’t grip about it… right Kim? lol)

We did get to sit in the front, on top.. both ways – so that pretty much solved that problem and I was ok.  You can see Kim @CraftyMamaof4 and Mel @MamaBzz up in the front seats we had.  We made it there at 5:30am so that we were the first in line for our 6:40am bus trip.  Kim and I got on in Pittsburgh and we picked up Mel about 3 hours into our trip in another part of PA.


I drove to Pittsburgh the day before from my home in Ohio and spent the night at a hotel, since we had such an early bus.

The ride was very bouncy…. especially on the way home. (Different bus… different bounce).  As we were coming into NYC, we hit a bump and the bottom of the bus evidently hit the ground. It was SO loud and scary… everyone on the bus screamed and you just waited for that moment that you knew the bus was going to lose control…. or pull over because we had a flat tire.  Neither of those happened and we continued on our way…. a little more frazzled than we had before.
It took 8 hours from PA to get to NYC.  I was not able to sleep at all. Even though we had a little more room in those front seats, I was not able to get comfortable enough to go to sleep.  It was a LONG ride.

It was the funniest/scariest thing.. once we hit New York City, our bus driver turned into a NYC driver! We were laughing & screeching  so hard!  We were sure that we were going to either hit a car or run down people!  Keep in mind the front of the bus is flat and we were looking straight down from the 2nd story of it. Our bus driver was beeping his horn like crazy… and was bound and determined that everyone should get out of his way!

Once we got to NYC…. you should have seen me (so pathetic) trying to lug my big suitcase and heavy backpack from the bus stop to the subway…. down all the stairs… maneuvering through the turn styles (thank you Kim for helping with that) … onto the packed, standing room subway…. then back up all the stairs (one … at…. a…. time…. lol) and to the hotel.  OMG… I was dripping wet with sweat and bright red.  I think it took me about 45 minutes to cool down once we hit the air conditioned lobby of our hotel.  Now granted… if I was in better shape… it would not have been such a sorry sight!

Mel and I were bound and determined we were going to rent a car and drive home, rather than repeat the performance.  It also didn’t help that we had just heard about a deadly megabus crash that  happened in IL on August 2, while we were at Blogher. From one report I heard, the woman who was killed, when the bus blew out a tire and hit a bridge embunkment had been sitting in the top front seats (where we sat).  But we soon learned, after multiple calls that you can not rent a car from a local company and drop it off at another local company going just one way.  I think we could have done from airport to airport, but that wasn’t workable for us. So we finally gave in to the fact that we were going to have to return on the megabus to get home. As I looked for the article on the August 2nd bus crash in IL, I found this article from the Chicago Tribune that there was another accident and a pedestrian was killed by a megabus in Chicago. omg! That is so horrible… and yet, after experiencing our driver in NYC, I can very easily see that happening!

Plus, one of our good friends Beth, @plussizemommy and her family came in the day after we did on the megabus… from Pittsburgh to NYC. They were supposed to get in at 2:30 pm like we did… only their bus kept over heating. It finally broke down 2 1/2 hours out of Pittsburgh and they had to wait inside the hot bus (no air) and did not get to NYC until 11:30 pm that night!!! We felt so terrible for her!!

One of my requirements was that we were going to take a taxi from the hotel to the bus stop (not station .. remember). I paid for it… and it was NO big deal. $9 including the tip. I wish we would have done that one the way to the hotel!

Here we are…. at 5:30 in the morning, waiting on a “not so nice” street, near the Hudson river.. for the megabus. I took this picture and Kim said… “Put that camera away Sandy… we are NOT in a good area and I don’t want someone mugging us for your camera!” oops!


We were first in line again, and rewarded with the front top seats.  We were praying we didn’t have a tire blow out! The return bus was a little newer, and somewhat nicer… but much more bouncy.  Considering in 2010  there was another megabus accident (one of several in the last couple years) on it’s way to (or from… not sure) NYC.. where the bus driver went under a bridge that was not tall enough… and 4 people were killed in that bus accident….  we were just a little leery when we went under the bridges… and there were bumps.. and the bus would bounce!

We were able to get a few pictures (most of them were blurry because we were literally bouncing that much!) since we were in the “good seats”.  It was a really cloudy, rainy day when we went home.


Going through the tunnels was a little scary, we just had to remind ourselves that the buses took this route every day…. and we would fit just fine.


We had a lot of rain on the way home…. and just like the bus driver on the bottom….. we had wind shield wipers on our window too!


I was SO excited to see the Pittsburgh skyline …. here is my tweet!


It is an experience that Kim, Mel and I will share….. laugh at and enjoy (now that it’s over)… and one that I don’t foresee ever having again!


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Mesothelioma – A Guest Blog

July 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Guest Post, Health & Safety

Heather Von St James is sharing her journey with cancer today. She found out she had Mesothelioma soon after giving birth to her daughter.  For those who know me, you know I have a great fear of cancer, after my Mom died from melanoma (skin cancer). So when Heather wrote and asked if she could share with my readers, her story… I was more than happy to have her share her story.

Mesothelioma – The Importance of Support During Cancer

by Heather Von St James


August 4, 2005 was one of the happiest days of my life. That was the date that my husband and I welcomed our little bundle of joy, Lily, into the world. My pregnancy was smooth, and I was amazed by how much love I felt for my little girl as soon as she was born. My husband and I were not the only ones who immediately fell in love with Lily. Our family members and friends rejoiced with us, and they were there to support us through the exhaustion of caring for a newborn.

I never would have guessed how much I would need to rely on the kindness of others later in that year. I returned to work when Lily was about a month old and I began to realize that I was not feeling right. I could not shake the feeling of extreme fatigue and exhaustion, and I became short of breath while performing normal tasks. When the sickness did not go away, I decided to visit my doctor. He ordered numerous tests to try to determine what was wrong.

On November 21, 2005, my world was turned upside down. On that day, my doctor informed me that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma. I did not really know anything about this disease, but it is a form of cancer normally caused by asbestos exposure. I found out that I had come into contact with asbestos when I was young, and this exposure had now come back to drastically affect my life.

When I heard the word “cancer,” all I could think about was my baby girl. She was only three and a half months old, and the doctor told me I had a life expectancy of only 15 more months without treatment. I gritted my teeth and determined to fight this cancer with everything that I had.

My husband and I decided that I should seek treatment with a mesothelioma specialist in Boston. During this time, my parents took Lily to live with them in South Dakota. Being across the country from my growing daughter is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to endure. I was forced to watch her grow through pictures instead of experiencing her milestones for myself.

On February 2, 2006, my doctor performed anextrapleural pneumonectomy. The surgery removed my entire left lung and all of the surrounding tissue, and the recovery was painful. After over two months of recovery, I also underwent radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

There were times when I was not sure if I would make it, but I am proud to say that I am now free from cancer. I cannot take all the credit for this victory because I had help from countless people along the way.

During my cancer journey, I found out that I had a wonderful support system in my life. It is comforting to know that there are people who will do anything to help you when you cannot help yourself. Now that I am on the other side of cancer, I am determined to do what I can to provide support to other mesothelioma sufferers.

Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out more of her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog


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theraderm Facial System Review (Giveaway Closed)

June 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety, Reviews & Giveaways

theraderm – Help for My Face!

I did a review on theraderm last year and really liked it.  But I ran out, and was bouncing back and forth with what to use on my face.  Being older, I’m dealing with even more wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin and acne. What’s up with that? Shouldn’t that be over by now?

I realized that my face had gotten worse since I stopped using the theraderm and starting using other products.  Why didn’t I just order more theraderm right away? I’ll be honest, it’s a little out of the normal budget I pay for facial products.  But, I also realized it had worked on my skin.

I liked how easy the program was.  Use the series of products, once in the morning, once in the evening. Done.



So I emailed Christine, who introduced me to the product and said I was interested in purchasing product and wondered what the cost was. I of course offered to review it again for her and was more than thrilled when she agreed.  This time I’m also doing a giveaway for you to win the products shown here.

This is difficult to show you my before and after pictures.  Since I was taking the pictures myself, I used my camera phone, so the quality is not so great. But I think you can get the idea.


You can easily see all my lines (yucko! I much prefer to look in the mirror with my glasses off, thus creating a “face lift” sort of look! LOL)

My eyes are bad, the area between my brows – over my nose , the lines above my lip and the fine lines drawing down on my chin.  I was having issues with really dry skin, but then when I’d use moisturizers on it… I’d break out.  Isn’t it funny how gruff I look? Just like in those “before” commercials.  I didn’t want to smile because I wanted you to see those lines over my mouth. lol


Check out the video!


I took this picture 6 weeks after the “Before” picture.  Of course my face is far from perfect, but there is improvement. The lines aren’t quite as deep. I am dealing with a little bit of on again, off again acne – but not that bad. Better than when I was using some of the other moisturizers. The acne is only on my nose. I freckle and I did not touch up these pictures at all (wow… if I did and I still look this bad.. lol)



I am really excited to be able to give away Therapon’s Skin Renewal System with a Peptide Hydrator (value $147.50) 


To Enter Giveaway – ** Closed**

1) Leave me a comment about why you would like to win this awesome skin renewal system!

For Extra chances to Win:

**Each of these HAS to have a separate comment written please. (I know its a pain, but other wise you won’t have as many chances if you don’t)

1) Subscribe to my Organizing with Sandy blog
2) Follow me on Twitter @OrganizerSandy
3) Tweet out this giveaway up to 3 times per day. Write a comment for each time you do with the link.
4) Stumble this post
5) Google + this post.

See….lots of ways to enter to win!
This contest will run from June 9th (when I post this) until 11:59pm est on Friday June 29, 2012
Any comment that comes in after the above time will be deleted.
This is open to US mailing addresses only. One person per mailing address only. Winner will be chosen by
You will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail if you win to be eligible. If I don’t hear back then I will go to the next winner.
I was given the products I displayed above at no cost to review. Opinions are my own & truthful, pictures and videos are my own.

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Dad Update

June 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

Family (Dad)  Has To Come First

My Dad has been one of my main focuses lately.

You would think that is a statement that would just be common sense for everyone.  But unfortunately, it isn’t.  There are days when I’m so busy with my job and I’m so focused, that I can block out what is most important too. Of course there are limits. When you are being paid to do a job, the job still has to get done – so of course there has to be balance in that statement.

With that being said, I wanted to update you on the progress of my Dad.. since many of you have asked.

For those of you who may be newer to my blog, I have to apologize – I’ve hardly blogged at all in the last several weeks. My 81 year old father had open heart surgery and then several days later had to have a pacemaker. Trips to the hospital, and now trips to help out at his home, and of course working a full time job –  have caused me to put something aside…. my blog.

Dad is doing very well.  He doesn’t necessarily think he is each day, but I think he is right on track.  Progress is slow (remember, he is 81 years old – oh, funny side note… there wasn’t a Doctor or nurse anywhere that didn’t comment on how good he looked for being 81 yrs old. Most of them thought there was a type-o on his chart) but they now have home physical therapy coming out, so I think that will move things along.  You know how they say that often your older parents make you reflect on raising your children. lol  The PT will help to keep him accountable, and the Doctor isn’t going to take him off his insulin and put him back on his diabetic pills, until he can get his sugar in line. (Does the word cantankerous come to mind? )

But over all he is doing awesome.  We are SO lucky to have a bit of cantankerous (and he isn’t that bad) and still have him. When you have one blockage that is 99.9% and another one 85%, with one more that is 40%… and it is all calcified – he is just very lucky that he didn’t have a massive heart attack.  Interesting fact is that we didn’t know he had any heart disease at all.  He has had a bit of high blood pressure, but that isn’t real abnormal in someone his age. But, even when he was getting checked out because of jaw pain and shortness of breath (when he finally went to the Dr. 5 days after this happened) his EKG was normal and his echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) was normal. It wasn’t until they did the cardiac cath that they found the problem.

Looking back, Dad has had problems with shortness of breath over the last year or so, and gets worn out easy. We had contributed that to the fact that he doesn’t do a lot. He isn’t golfing anymore, and had been getting little exercise.

So please watch all those symptoms you always hear about, and pay attention to them.

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Taking a Blogging Break This Week

May 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

I’m taking a Blogging Break because Family Comes 1st


My Dad is going to have open heart surgery tomorrow, so this week will be just a bit hectic for me. Blogging will not be on my list of “To Do” this week, and maybe not even next.  Trying to keep up with my job while at the hospital is all I’m going to attempt and that will be hard enough.

Dad is 82 years old and has never had heart problems, that we knew of.  But shortness of breath recently made him talk to his Doctor. What we thought was going to be a consult with a cardiologist last Friday ended up being a series of test done immediately. The cardiac cath showed calcification in his heart and 3 blockages. One was 99.9% blocked, another 85% and another 40%.   They were unable to do stints because of the calcification.

You always hear of heart disease being the silent killer. We are very lucky that Dad didn’t have a full blown heart attack. We aren’t looking forward to the open heart and (at least) double bypass, and the recovery – but we are so very thankful that we got this chance.  So many people never have the chance because they ignore  the very sudle symptoms. One of them we didn’t realize was increased belching. Dad thought he was just having stomach problems because for the last several week he had much more belching than usual. This is a sign of a blockage.

Here are a couple good places to start if you have any concern for yourself or a loved one.

Heart Issues for Woman can be different 

Heart Disease Guide from Web MD



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Just Do It!

How Many Times Do You Hear Just Do It?

just do it

I tell myself to Just Do It! all the time.  Do you wonder why we don’t always do the things we should?  It’s almost like we make ourselves our own enemy.

My struggle right now is with weight.  I like to eat, I love sugar.  Do I know it is bad for me? Yup!  Do I feel like crap at my heaviest weight? Yup! Do I WANT to be thinner?  Yup!

So it should be simple, right? Just stop eating the crap, exercise and JUST DO IT!

I actually am beginning tomorrow with a trainer once a week. I need someone to make me accountable, someone to push me, someone who I have to answer to.  I know I shouldn’t. I know everything I need to do, I know what I need to eat and not eat – but it is something about someone else believing in you and working with you and counting on you… to motivate you.

I think the same thing happens in almost any area of our lives that we struggle in, but want to improve.  That might be keeping the house clean, cooking or organizing for you.  Of course there are way too many to list.. but you understand.

Steps To Just Doing It

1) Goals & Visions

Write them out.  What do you want to accomplish?  Give yourself specific goals to reach. Make them attainable goals. Be sure to put a date on the paper when you write it, so you can monitor time.

2) Make a Plan

When are you going to start? What time or cost is involved? What steps do you need to take to accomplish your goal?

3) Write it on your calendar

Writing it down is very helpful in making us accountable. If that time is set aside to accomplish your goal, then that is usually one big obstacle out of the way.

4) Find the resources you may need to help you.

It might be a personal trainer, a Professional Organizer, a chef  or, it might be finding a tutorial on Youtube, an article, book or magazine to help. It may just be your friend or neighbor that can help you.

But why does it seem that anything we need help with cost money? Have you noticed that it cost more to eat healthier? Why is that? I don’t know, but when I’m watching what I eat, I always spend more on the healthy vs the unhealthy items in the store.  Hiring a personal trainer cost money too. If you have organizing problems, hiring a Professional Organizer isn’t free either. I think we have to think of it as an investment in ourselves, our well being, our families well being.

5) Just Do It!

I know… I had to say it didn’t I?  But it does come down to that. We can’t just plan and want to do something – we have to actually do the grunt work to receive the benefit.  I know I’ll feel better once I start working out and eating right, so I’m going to just do it.

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Saint Patrick’s Day Milkshake

Saint Patrick’s Day Milkshake – Surprise Your Kids

Saint Patrick’s Day can be a lot of fun.  You can do something as simple as give your kids a green milkshake and they will be thrilled.  We don’t decorate for St. Patrick’s day, or go to any big parties or bars to drink green beer. But I have fun doing special things for the kids if we have them on that day. (My step kids, we have week on/week off).  One year I made them Green eggs and ham for breakfast, another year I made green pancakes (ewwww..)  I don’t know why I necessarily pick breakfast to create green creations – maybe because it seems to scary to create them later in the day? lol

But this year I decided to go with my new green smoothie for them. Fun thing about it, is that it can be a really healthy shake and they don’t realize it.  It tastes like banana and peanut butter, so the kids don’t  even realize there is spinach in it (if you don’t want them to know).  It is a great way for them to have a healthy snack after school or for breakfast in the morning… any day of the week.

I have been drinking one most mornings. Actually this makes enough that I usually have half for breakfast and the other half is my lunch.  It holds you for so long too.  I don’t get the cravings at 10am. So this would be a really good thing on school mornings for the kids, rather than those sugary cereals.

Saint Patrick's day milkshake

Recipe for Green smoothie Shake

1/2 cup vanilla low fat yogurt
1 cup skim milk
1 banana (you can freeze before hand if you’d like)
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
3-4 Cups leaf spinach
4-5 ice cubes

One thing that I’ve done, if I end up with bananas that are starting to go bad, I’ll cut them up individually into plastic bags and freeze them. Then you can take them out and throw them in the mixer. You don’t waste the bananas and you get a colder, thicker shake.  I found this recipe on pinterest and she always used frozen bananas in hers. You can find her link in my full post (link below).

Makes about 48 oz of shake.

You can see my full post here for Green Spinach Recipe


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Green Smoothie Recipe

February 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Health & Safety

Spinach Green Smoothie and it’s Yummy!

I found this recipe for this green smoothie on pinterest and decided to try it and loved it!  I know… looks gross… like something for Saint Patrick’s day or something. Am I a total healthy freak who thinks all that gross healthy stuff tastes good? Nope.. not at all.  I am a total sugar-holic (but going through sugar de-tox now! LOL ) I do not have a taste for veggies, they are hard for me to get down, so this is a great way to do it.

green smoothie

Does it taste like spinach…. NO!  Believe it or not.

I have been having one each morning and it holds me until lunch… easy!
This has been referred to as a diet secret weapon…. and I can see why!
It tastes like a banana peanut butter milk shake.

It is around 350 calories per serving – but remember, it is a meal and it is so healthy and will help you not to have those in between cravings.


1/2 cup fat free or low fat yogurt (Greek yogurt would be good, but it is more expensive, so I don’t use it)
1 cup skim milk
1 banana (you can slice & freeze ahead if you want, I use ice cubes instead)
1 T peanut butter
several cups of leaf spinach
hand full of ice cubes

spinach smoothie

Cup up your banana

bananaAdd 1/2 cup yogurt


Add 1 tablespoon peanut butter

peanut butter

Add 1 cup skim milk
Fill the rest with spinach

green smoothie

Add a handful of ice.

spinach smoothie

Pulse your blender until the ice has made it’s way down. I like to put it on top because it seems to push the spinach down a little better.  Once your ice is chopped pretty well… then let it blend on smoothie or high for about a full minute.  There shouldn’t be any pieces of spinach left. (at least that is how I like it)

green smoothie

You get a large serving. Drink it all.

green smoothie

It tastes like a peanut butter banana shake!!!  Honest! My 11 year old tried it and liked it (the other one wouldn’t try it)

Green Monster

So happy I found this… you’ll have to try it!

Green monster smoothie


I made the shake myself. These are my pictures. Please do not use them without permission, other than pinning them to pinterest. That I would love! :)

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Cold and Flu

Cold and Flu! Has it Hit Your House Yet?

(Originally Cold and Flu was posted on Chat with Sandy 12/30/10. I am bringing it back because I like these products. I am no longer a GT VIP blogger and I’m not getting compensated in any way for this post. But I do believe in these products and use them myself and wanted to let you know)

Cold & Flu  has hit mine… several times.  We have had colds, bronchitis, walking pneumonia, strep throat, sinus infection in the last 3 months between the 10 of us.

Genesis Today

Not fun is it?  Yuck!!

What have I had?  I will tell you that I thought 2 different times that I was getting sick. But it was like 1 day of a little sore throat and then it was gone.  Last night was the first night that I wondered about a cold. My nose was stuffy, but so far today it seems fine.
You know.. I hate even writing this! Because as soon as I start bragging that I haven’t gotten sick… I’m going to get whammied!!

I was going to put this video at the end of this post….but I want you to see this.  Dr. Lindsay Duncan was on the View and did a great job explaining some of these… After the video… check out the rest of our adventure with these juices. Consider this a commercial break! lol

What have I been doing that the rest of my family hasn’t been?  I’ve been drinking Omega Orange Juice from Genesis Today.  Do I know that is why I haven’t been sick and they have been?  Nope, I don’t.  Could it be?  Sure…

cold and flu

My boys got home from the first 3 weeks of basic, both with congestion and the beginnings of colds and coughs.  I started them drinking the Omega Orange and also the Resveratrol, Acai juices along with taking the new Vitamin C and Acai chews that I received from them.

cold and flu

Neither of them have gotten worse like you would expect with a cold. They are both doing great. The first several days that took Nyquil at night and Dayquil during the day. But then that was it. About 3 days and they are better.  Again… can I say it is from the Genesis Today products that they are better?  No… I can’t.

cold and fluWe had several different juices from Genesis Today to try.  The favorite of my older boys (we were out of Omega Orange) was the Pomegrante & Berries with Resveratrol. We also tried the Cranberry Goji and the new Veggie Blast.

genesis today

genesis today
cold and flu

genesis today vitamin c chews

The Vitamin C chew has 200% of vitamin C in it, along with some other great stuff.  It tastes good, reminds me of a starburst piece of candy.

genesis today vitamin c chewThe Acai chew is the same size. The consistency is slightly different.  It is just a little firmer. The taste is very much the same as the Acai juice. It is a little tart, and I like to have my coffee to drink after I eat it.  It doesn’t taste bad, but my mouth is actually watering as I type this. lol

genesis today acai chew
My thoughts on the new Cranberry Goji juice – taste wise, I don’t care for it. But… remember!!! The Genesis Today products are about the health benefits for you and what they can do… Let me tell you… the pure form of these things do not taste good. You can get the concentrated form and take 1 oz a day.. and it is terrible! But they have made these juices in a diluted 8 oz serving form that I get at Walmart. So those of us who want the health benefits but want a better taste.

The Veggie blast tastes like cold tomato soup.  I personally have never liked V-8 because of the peppery taste. The Veggie Blast did not have the peppery taste when I was drinking it. Now – what I did notice was an “after burn” in my throat – not really my tongue. Kind of strange really – but a good way to get your veggies in!

I have to start eating healthy and this year is going to be kicked off right. Genesis Today is going to be part of my healthy lifestyle for 2011 and beyond!

Disclosure: I am on the Genesis Today VIP Superfood blogger team. I did receive samples of the Veggie juice, Goji juice and chews to try. I was allowed to use the video if I wanted to (which I did). The pictures are my own and opinions are my own.

(Update 2012 – I’m no longer a GT blogger and did not get compensated with any product to repost this blog)

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Healthy Smoothie

January 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Health & Safety

Super Healthy Smoothie that taste good!

I’m like things to taste good, especially a healthy smoothie and often when I see or hear of “healthy” food, it doesn’t taste good.  Here is something that that I like and is really healthy for me. 

healthy smoothieMy sister gave me the recipe for this shake that she has been having in the mornings. She started drinking it in January of this year and has lost 11 pounds, just because she isn’t hungry during the day.  She is still eating.. but she isn’t snacking.  {perfect!!}

I made it again today, and other than my Lean Cuisine that I ate for lunch, I have been great with water and now a piece of gum. It is 3:54pm (and that 3:00 hour usually kills me) and I’m fine. So really hoping this works for me too.

healthy smoothie

Here is the recipe:

1) 1 cup Omega Orange Juice (you can use any juice here. My sister uses a juice with grapefruit etc..)
2) 1 cup Frozen Fruit (mixed)
3) 1 cup Greek Yogurt
4) 1 cup fresh spinach (I just use a big bunch)
5) 2 Tablespoons Flax Seed
6) 2 Tablespoons Metamucil (I didn’t have for first batch. My sis recommends the berry favored. I could only find orange)
7) ice – optional

healthy smoothieJust measure everything out and put into the blender

Greek Yogurt

greek yogurtFrozen Fruit – My husband went to the store for me, and got blue berries instead of a mixed frozen bag of fruit. No complaints.. the blue berries are good.  But next time I’m going to try the mixed fruit.

These are frozen.. not sugared as they appear
frozen blue berriesNext I added the Omega Orange Juice from Genesis Today. Love this juice! You can get it at Walmart. I drink it every morning, so I wanted to use it.  (update July 28, 2012 – I’ve not been able to find Omega Orange anymore at Walmart. Not sure why and I’ve not checked into it. But this was my fav!

omega orange juice
Add your fresh, washed spinach

fresh spinachMy sister just said to take a big bunch of it. Hard to really measure a cup

healthy smoothieAdd your 2 T of Flax seed and 2 T of metamucil

flax seed

flax seedThen you turn on your blender and blend it all together

healthy smoothieI had to stop once or twice to get stuff off the side and move the spinach down, but it mixed pretty well.

healthy smoothie

healthy smoothie

You can add ice if you want.  I don’t know that it needs it, but I did add a few cubes each time I made it. Of course you can add the ice in at the beginning.. I just forgot.

shakeThen blend some more

healthy smoothie

I originally poured it into a 12 oz glass. That was too small. I needed a bigger cup.

omega orange shakeI have had things with flax seed in them before… so I wasn’t too sure about this. I was a little scared to try it.  I thought…. spinach, flax seed .. oh no.  This shake did not have the metamucil in it.

healthy smoothieBut this really was good.  I was so pleased!  It wasn’t one of those that I had to hold my nose and force down. I enjoyed it.

I made it again today with the Metamucil.  It was thicker.  I noticed that right off the bat.  If I would have taken a picture, you wouldn’t have seen all the bubbles, it was more like a thick milk shake. I got a straw.  It was also very good. I didn’t really notice any change in taste adding in the Metamucil.

Some of it was left at the bottom of my cup.. maybe about 1/4 of a cupful… and I went to wash the cup out a little later and it had really thickened up. I defiantly think that was the Metamucil at work.

I’m going to keep drinking them. I’ll try some different combination’s with the mixed fruit, and maybe I’ll try another one of the Genesis Today juices in it… but for now I am wanting to stick with the Omega Orange.

Update: I posted this originally on my Chat with Sandy blog 2/7/11. I have not been able to find the Omega Orange juice for awhile when I go to Walmart. You can use any juice, and I’ve made it with Acai or Resveratrol from Genesis Today also. I’ve inspired myself by reposting this. I’m going to get these started again. They are good… and good for me.

Disclosure: I have done some work with Genesis Today in the past and love their products. This post was not done as a review, promotion or even the knowledge of GT.

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New Year’s Goals

Goals not Resolutions

What is the difference between a New Year’s Goal and a New Year’s Resolution?

A goal is something you are striving for.  A resolution is something you say “will happen before next year”. You are resolved that it is going to happen.  I think that is the reason people don’t like them. There is no “give”.  Then people feel defeated when they aren’t living up to what they want to do, and they quit.

What are your goals?


By the way, doing what that guy is doing is NOT one of my goals! lol  (photo from Google photos)

The same thing happens with organizing.  Someone wants it “perfect” and when they aren’t achieving that, they end up just giving up and things get out of control.

I have goals this year. Many of them are things I’m always working on.  But here is a list of my goals:

1) Get up around 6am. Go to bed by 11pm
2) Work on my blog in the morning BEFORE I open any other windows to start my job.
3) Work towards working my job 9-5 M-F instead of 7am-11pm M-Sunday.
4) Exercise everyday. Walking (with goals of jogging 1 mile) and maybe a Zumba DVD the other day.
5) Lose this extra weight I am carrying around (that is heavy to carry! lol)

Sit down today, if you haven’t already done so and write out at least five goals you have for this year. Something to strive for, something to work towards.  Don’t beat yourself up & give up, if you aren’t where you need to be at a certain point.  Work slowly and steadily.

Exercise has always been a thorn in my side. I wasn’t athletic in school and I’ve never had a good routine that I have maintained for any real length of time.  I picture myself as someone in shape who can run! I am inspired by watching the Biggest Loser. I always think, “hey, if people that have that much extra weight can do this, then there is no reason that I shouldn’t be able to do this.”

With work there is so much work to be done, that I could work 15 hours everyday and still have things that I could be doing. That is one down fall of working from home – work is always there. lol  But I think it is about the only down fall I can think of. I love everything else about it. I love being able to sit in my family room with my feet up, with my turtle neck and hoodie and tennis shoes on and working. cool huh? (I’m not a PJ worker).  But I’ve not been able to keep up with my blog and one of my goals is to give it more time this year.

What are your goals for the new year?

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Weight Loss Plan Decision

December 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety

I am not going to continue on the Nutrisystem Plan.

Why?  Am I crazy or what?  I might be, but I wanted to let you know what has been happening.

I went out of town again last week (and you know I always have trouble with that). But even before that I had been eating less and less of the Nutrisystem food.  Why?  I just didn’t like a lot of it. There are plenty of things that are good.  I highlighted those in my posts.  But even the things I first enjoyed I began to not like.

Do I think this plan works?  Yes I do, if you eat the food and stick with it I know you will lose your weight.  But I couldn’t in good faith continue the program when I haven’t even had any of it since I got back from my trip last week.

Am I gaining back some of the 12 pounds that I lost? I’m sure I am, I haven’t got back on the scale.  Is this a failure on my part? Sure is! Can’t say anything other than that.

What are my plans now?

I will need to get myself together and make myself exercise and get back on some kind of routine with what I am eating because I still have this weight to lose.

Would I suggest Nutrisystem to others?  I would tell them that there were things I didn’t like and some things I did like. That it might work for them as I know there are many people that it really helped.  It might also be because I was on Jenny Craig for a year in 2008 and compared a lot of the food to that.  I didn’t enjoy the food as well as the Jenny Craig food.  I missed the accountability of having to go and pick up the food (which was a pain I admit) and get weighted in.  Having food delivered to my door was really nice. But having to go and know that someone was going to weigh you in was even more powerful that taking a picture of the scales for you guys.

I was being sponsored for a four month period of time with Nutrisystem.  I am opting out after 11 weeks.  I feel bad for letting them down, letting you down, but I also can’t continue to write about something that I’m not using.



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Hoarders Are People Too!

What Are Your Thoughts About The Hoarders On TV?


Have you watched some of the shows on TV about hoarding? Had you known this condition existed before you first saw about it on TV?

What are your thoughts about hoarders? The people who live in those situations, those houses filled with junk? Would you want to be friends with them?

My guess is that there are hoarders that you know…. but you have no idea they are hoarders. They are usually very “normal” people. People you see everyday at work, at school, in the neighborhood but you have no idea that they have a problem.

This is the home of a client I once had. She was a very sweet, nice woman. She has many unfortunate events happen in her life that led up to this. No one knew her home looked like this. She had a full time job, was very involved in her church, but kept this a secret. She was too embarrassed to let anyone know.

She wanted help, she wanted to move past all the stuff and she knew she needed help.

I put out comments on Twitter about hoarding, for instance:

“You might be a hoarder if: You can’t find a place to sit down in your house because all your chairs have stuff on them. #hoarders”

I had a disturbing comment back to one of those tweets.  Someone said,

“I bet that show just makes your skin crawl! Those ppl are soooo gross! All those dead cats, rats, spoiled food….yuck!”

It actually made me cry. Now also realize that I had just come home from seeing the movie “The Help” and it was a disturbing movie portraying the treatment of the black maids had to go through back in the 60’s.  But it just made me SO sad that someone thinks of the people as “sooooo gross.”  I think specifically of the two clients that I had that were true hoarders. Both were very nice people… not gross. They just both had problems that they needed help with.

I commented back with this:

“Hard 2 watch but I feel 4 those ppl. They have real illness, I don’t think of them as gross, just their situation #hoarders

I think the hardest part about hoarding is that people don’t understand it is an illness. They do just look at the people who live in home filled with junk and often filth as “filthy people”.  They view the people simply as “lazy” and “gross”.

For the majority of hoarders, this condition has developed over time and their accumulation of “stuff” has grown over time.  It isn’t like they lived in a pristine home one day and the very next had stacks of stuff piled everywhere.  It happens gradually and gradually their defenses, their coping mechanisms build up so that they rationalize their situation as “normal”.

The illness has trapped them into a life where their “stuff” is their security, their safety net, their sanity. So that the thought of losing that stuff, is intolerable to them. They don’t feel they can cope in their daily lives without it.

What about people who smoke? It isn’t really the same, but you can draw parallels.  The smoking is the coping mechanism to help deal with stress. To go without cigarettes for some people is intolerable… they need them to deal with what live hands them.

I know they are completely different things…. the smoking just popped into my head when I was thinking of vices that people need to cope with everyday life.

Please try to watch those shows (if you do) with compassion, with empathy, and with caring for the people.  You can think their living environment is gross and filthy (usually it is), but don’t relate the grossness & filth to the person.

The woman who owned this home, got some other help (she was also receiving psychological help) from her church members I think. She wasn’t able to afford to have me (or any other Professional organizer) help her for long. I suggested to her to reach out for help from her church – they would be more understanding than she thought. There was no way she could do it physically by herself, even if the mental part of it wasn’t there. But she did receive help, was able to clear the things out and move into a smaller home like she planned. There is hope!


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