The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2009-08-09

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A little like losing you...


When I was pregnant everyone thought I would lose you...

toschool

...except me. I trusted you.

toschool3

Not for one second did I think I would lose you.

toschool5

Thirty-six weeks later in a flurry of anesthesia, and
scalpels and doctors, there you were. Perfect and calm.
And born.

toschool6

And everyone was shocked.

toschool2

But me.

toschool1

I knew I wouldn't lose you.

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But honey, yesterday? Driving you to find a place to live at school...


toschool8

...felt a little like losing you.

toschool9


Although I guess it's just another kind of being born.


toschool10

And I'm going to have to trust you on this one, too.

toschool11

I'm so proud of you.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm a Happy Peekster

I've complained on my blog- and off my blog to anyone who'd listen- about my Fred Flintstoneon cell phone. The short version is; it's old but it's works.

I've tried upgrading but always go back to this phone because the newer phones are always lacking.
The problem than becomes I can't access newer features efficiently.

cellcharms

Except texting. Having a teen age son makes unlimited texting a no-brainer. I've had unlimited texting for quite some time. But that's the extent for 21st century phone technology.

My phone texts reasonably well but sometimes I need to check my email. And I would, at a per kilobyte charge.

Reading email on a very small screen with a phone not really meant to do the whole email thing was awkward. The phone constantly refreshed itself to get the entire message. Multiple times. Every. Single. Email. And each time it refreshed I was paying.

Again.

I needed a way to access email when away from home and I found it.

pronto

That's my Peek Pronto

I found out about the Peek Pronto on Twitter and checked out their website.

This is what I found:

Peek is a simple gadget that allows you to send and
receive email while you're on-the-go. For as little as
$15 a month you’ll never miss another email again.

When I checked out my cell phone carrier rates it would cost me at least $120 a year more than Peek does which was really appealing to me. I tweeted Peek about trying one of these out and they provided me with a Peek Pronto and three months of service. If I wanted to keep the unit after that I will need to take over the account. I will be keeping it.

Here are my thoughts about my Peek Pronto

1. The Peek Pronto is very easy to set up, right out of the box. It has intuitive controls and on-screen hints. There are some short-cuts that make functions a bit faster and I had the Peek Pronto up and running in less than 5 minutes. Probably way less. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts about 2 day depending on use but I normally plug mine in at night. You can access 5 email accounts through your Peek.

2. For me it's very cost-effective. I could not get unlimited email from my cell phone carrier for what I pay for my Peek service. It would cost me at least $120 more a year to upgrade my cell phone plan to allow me to access unlimited email. Taking off unlimited family texting would save me another $120 a year.

3. I can start and stop the Peek service at any time. There are no contracts.

4. I would have to upgrade my cell phone. I have not been happy with the phones that are offered as free or low-cost promotions and a higher-end cell phone would be a minimum of $200. On a good day.

The Peek Pronto is at most, less than half of that and on sale it's frequently quite a bit less than half that.

5. I can also access text messages on my Peek Pronto and it's wonderful to do that. The Peek Pronto's screen is a HUGE compared to what I was using before. It's like going from trying to read a book on a toenail to reading a book on a, well, book.. Fabulous!

6. The Peek website has a technical support forum that is very active. I haven't used it but I've watched it. People post questions and the company addresses them, quickly. That isn't something seen very often and it's impressive.

When I had technical support question I contacted customer service via email and we corresponded in a series of emails. Good customer service is priceless. While it's rarely thought of when you purchase something; poor customer service can make any purchase a nightmare. I am all about customer service. Peek has shown some good quality customer service and I adore that.

What I contacted customer support about was when the controls became sluggish at some point and I thought I had a mechanical issue. It turns out that when the inbox and trash become fuller than the Peek can handle, things slow down. This is fixed by emptying old emails. However, once the Peek slows down trying dump hundreds of emails is slow and the easiest way to clean things out is to reset the peek. It's not a bad option and not as dramatic as it sounds. Your emails remain on your computer anyway, the peek retains your account information and all you need to do is put in you email accounts again.

There is a short-cut that allows you to scroll, highlight all and than delete but for whatever reason that isn't effective for me with a somewhat full Peek. If there was a 'delete all' function it would make deleting the old emails easier and I hope this is in the works.

That said, that's is the only peeve I have about the Peek at all. And I think that is pretty great, personally. I certainly have way more peeves about my cell phone and cell service than that... And my laptop and internet service than that... And my television and satellite service than that... for that matter. And they all cost me way, way more than my Peek does. Every. Single. Month.

The Peek Pronto works great for me. It's all that I need for a price I can't match anywhere. Before I got it I searched around for some reviews and they seem to fall into two categories: People who love their Peeks and people who say, I can get my email but ... than go on to list what it doesn't do. And I really don't get those reviews. It's like buying a house without an indoor pool and than complaining that it has no indoor pool.

As they say on the Peek website:

Peek is a simple gadget that allows you to send and
receive email while you're on-the-go. For as little as
$15 a month you’ll never miss another email again.

My Peek Pronto is great, I love it. It's what I need right now. It would be perfect for people in my situation who want to access their email away from home or people who are looking to reduce their cell phone bill and really don't need all the features they are paying for.

Peek is available directly though the Peek website, at amazon. com, Radio Shack and Target stores. And be sure to follow Peek on Twitter, they do a lot of promotions directly through Tweets.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Traumatized...

Today is the last day to get a picture in for that thing. You know the thing?

Thing is here about 3/4 down the post

So today was put up or shut up day. My son liked the idea of the thing so this morning I was in the bathroom taking eleventy-jillion pictures so I could get one that I could stand. Also to have time to Photoshop the wrinkles out of it.

The whole picture thing is very traumatic for me. Pictures are the reason I started weight watchers in the first place (You can read about that here). I'm no where near comfy with the camera yet.

To keep it real...I sent a picture in before I posted here. I was afraid I would change my mind. I just dabbed out a wrinkle here and there and worked my double chin to within an inch of it's, Um, chinniess and hit send. I was making myself nuts.

And I'm gonna post one here that's a bit more,worked shall we say.

cerealbox

I like it even better cause I'm fairly sure it looks so much not like me my own father would say, Who the heck's that?

That's what I'm looking for in a self-portrait, anyway.

Not a shred of resemblance.

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I was busy on Tuesday so it's Retro Thurday

retrotuesay stamp

I've seen a lot of creepy things in my life, trust me on this...
But the thing advertised in this ad? This may be the most
horrific thing
seen in the history of, well, seeing things.

bench

This is NOT a kiddie chair, I don't care what that ad says.
This is forty guaranteed years of therapy dressed up as
a clown. Which somehow sounds redundant.The only
thing I can think of that would be worse than
the nightmarish Mr. Bencho?

The potty chair version of Mr. Bencho.


**If you want to use an ad that I've posted please link back to me The Crazy Suburban Mom*

*My current giveaway is here*

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weekly Weight Watchers Update...

Here is this weeks weight loss total in my usual (hello
kitty bowling ball, propane grill, etc.)visual format.


That's total, m'kay? All together, so far, not just this week...

51BfU9NFtRL._SS500_

And...

51d0PlF4KeL._SS500_


Yep, total weight loss is a Nostalgia Electrics Retro Series
Counter-top Snow-Cone Machine. And the pack of syrups, too.

A month or so in and I'm losing whole appliances. Wow.


*Don't miss my current giveaway here*

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wanchai Ferry Giveaway Nom!


How cute is this?

Wanchai-Full2-Small

It's part of the Stay-At-Home Prize Pack I got from Wanchai Ferry and MyBlogSpark.

Want one?

I really like Asian food. It's my food of choice when dining out. I also shop at an Asian market so I can make stir-fries at home. It's not hard to do but you need a lot of different ingredients to get an authentic taste and you need to prep and cook in steps. First, chopping the ingredients, than cooking each item separately so everything retains it's own character.

Truth is, I've tried frozen Asian dinners before and they have really fallen short in either flavor or texture. Or both. The biggest reason being that everything is dumped, frozen, from the bag to the pan and cooked together.

I was really surprised by the Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken. In a good way. When I opened the main package there were a few smaller packages. At first I'm all, It's 5 minutes after dinner is late already how long will this take? But in the back of my mind I had this growing admiration thing starting because I remembered hearing on Top Chef that frozen dinners should be packaged in parts (like this) for optimum quality.

I looked at the directions, and really, the separate pack thing? No biggie. No really, I think it even cut the cooking time and definitely improved the texture of all participants involved.

I put some oil in the pan and added the chicken....Cooked till golden...Removed chicken to a plate.... Added veggies, sauce, some water.... Cooked a bit....Added chicken back give a few stirs and... Done. And the rice is cooking while you're doing this in it's own microwave package. The package times were accurate for me.

The package contains two servings and the website has suggestions for side dishes (here). I had mine with a salad (because that's how I roll these days - a salad with almost every meal), and some melon for dessert. The portions are entree-sized to be part of a meal and you will probably want to include a side or two to round out your dinner.

This was really good. We all liked it. The kid who likes nothing wasn't eating home that night but I ran to the door with a forkful on his way out. I caught him mid-eye roll with his mouth open ready to say, No. Stuck the fork in and even
he had to grudgingly admit it was really good. Now, that was fun.

You know how the food you make never looks as good as it does on the package?

WCF_OrangeChicken_lg

Weirdest thing... I was looking at it after I cooked it
and grabbed my camera....

orangechicken

I thought mine looked better so I took a picture. That is the first time that's ever happened. It was all colorful, and bright and juicy looking. Cool, right?

So, want to try it? I have another "Stay-At-Home" prize pack like that picture at the top - the bowls and chopsticks and place mats - to give away. And it comes with 2 coupons for the dinners! Best part, right?

Normally, I'm kinda lax with the rules but this time I have one. Because this is only sold in the United States the giveaway is only for U.S residents.

Ginger will not be monitoring this giveaway because when I was cooking the chicken I stir fried a piece right out of the pan. She grabbed it like it was Christmas and ran. Than came back for more. I can't trust her.


So I've enlisted Taz to monitor the one entry per person thing.

taz5

She's got a small beak but she pecks like a eagle. And if I haven't mentioned it
her pet peeves are getting covered at night, Ginger and double commenters.

Leave me a comment to win. Maybe tell me what your pet
peeve is? Since you now know Tazzy's....

That's all you have to do. I'm sure you all do other giveaways where you do other things, right? Subscribe, tweet, link...other stuff...all that. If you want to, you can. Just tell me what you did, I'll look around and if I can find the extra stuff I'll give you the extra entries.

This giveaway will run until Friday August 14, 2009 at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. Please include your email address in the comment section and subscribe to this post or I can't find the winner! I've had a few unclaimed prizes and, dude I hate that. Since this is a giveaway sponsored by MyBlogSpark and Wanchai if the winner hasn't contacted me by midnight August 20, 2009 I will pick another person.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Blogging and caring, feeding the hungry with comments...

General Mills and ShopRite will donate one box of cereal to a food bank for each of the first 30 people who comment on this post so please, leave me a comment. It will cost you nothing and will mean a family can count on breakfast, at least for a few days.

POC_logo


I know, I know. I don't usually get to the point that fast and I tend to be wordy. I've tried to work on brevity but it's not happening so I thought I would get right to the point with this one. If you don't make it through the rest of my post at least you know your comment will mean a food bank, and a stomach, will be fuller for your effort.


ShopRite Partners In Caring, a regional hunger-fighting initiative, contacted me about joining their "Blog It Forward to Fight Hunger” program. My response was, Of course.

Have you noticed lately how many food banks and shelters stand in front of grocery stores handing out lists of what they need most to shoppers entering the store? I used to only see them around Thanksgiving; now I see them frequently. I always take a list and at least buy something, if not several things. There are so many hungry people.

No, not hungry people. Starving people.

The ShopRite organization recognized the pervasive problem of hunger experienced by so many people right in the neighborhoods served by their stores. It’s a problem that not only exists during the holiday season, when attention is focused on charitable giving, but it also exists throughout the year. ShopRite had already been helping to fight the problem of hunger for more than 20 years through its support of the Feeding America network (formerly America’s Second Harvest) and through participation in the Checkout Hunger program, but wanted to do more.

In 1999, ShopRite conceived and began its ShopRite Partners In Caring program, a year-round, community based hunger fighting initiative. With the help of more than 50 manufacturers, the program is committed to helping to feed and meet the nutritional needs of families and the elderly who may otherwise go without. These generous companies are a major reason why ShopRite Partners In Caring has been such a success.

Today, the ShopRite Partners In Caring program supports 23 regional food banks and more than 1,400 charitable agencies with food or meal components. With a $2 million annual donation, more than $20 million has been donated since 1999 in the fight against hunger.

shoprite_logo

For this campaign ShopRite has partnered with General Mills and bloggers to donate boxes of cereal to food banks. I've come in on the campaign a bit late and only have until August 13, 2009 to get 30 comments. And to um, send them my picture. Seems just for doing this post they will put me on the a box of Honey Nut Cheerios as part of a photo montage. Which is, um...Gee, I never thought my face could sell cereal but when I told my kid my coolness ratio went through the roof and since he's already told all his friends... Um, could you help me out? Personally, I hope my head on the box turns out no bigger on than a Polly Pocket's, my son's got something more along the lines of a Time Square billboard in mind.

GMLogo

If you come upon this post late remember that a "$1 donation can purchase 10 pounds of food from a food bank." (FeedingAmerica.Org)
There are no small donations. Everything helps.


Read more...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Is this a crack about my weight?

Sunday morning I was surfing around, minding my own business... You know searching for Mom Blogs to read? I went to We Magazines Bloggers to watch list because I found some great Gal Blogs on their last list.

I love their icon 'cause it has a green eye like I do.

Well, I have two, not just the one.

womanbloggertowatchsm

I read Heidi Richards intro....

Every few months I share a list of women bloggers whom I have come in contact with either by a link to their blog, by twitter, google alerts and referrals from other women bloggers. This list of 100 women bloggers was particularly challenging to create. First because there are so many wonderful blogs, how does one pick just 100? And second because I decided to do something different. So instead of just a random listing of women bloggers to watch with a link to their blog, I decided it would better serve our readers to alphabetize the list and include a sentence about the blog.

Please do leave your comments below and let us know your thoughts. And more importantly visit these exceptional women bloggers and LET THEM KNOW where you heard about them!

By the way, if you would like to submit your blog for consideration for a future post on Women Bloggers to Watch, please leave your blog title, the url and a one sentence description in the comments section. I personally review EVERY Blog that is on this list before listing it, and would love to do the same for your woman edited, published, or owned blog. And if you happen to be one our bloggers to watch, CONGRATULATIONS!


I started making my way through the list, visiting, coming back, laughing learning... enjoying... going to get more coffee...reading...

And than I got to number 19 and I'm thinking, Whoa! And Crazy! And Hey, that sounds like me 'cept she lives in the city, right?

And Wow, she's got the same name as me, too...What a coincidence, right? Someone with the same name, and almost the same blog name made the list.

Insert cricket noises here because I am that slow. So very. Very. Slow.

It eventually dawns on me, it's me. But of course it's a mistake so I continue making my way down the list.

Than I get down to number 26 and, Boom.

No really, like Boom. I'm freaking out because there I am again, right? But, like this time it's me. Really me. My blog name, my name. Unmistakably. Me.


See? Here's the list...

19. Crazy Urban Mom with Tracy Reinhardt Don’t judge me til you’ve driven a mile in my minivan

20. Create Your Own Reality Now With Nan Akasha Free your mind and the wealth will follow

21. The Curvy Fashionista with Marie Denee Created as a resource for the Curvy.Confident.Chic. Plus Size Fashionista

22. Customers Rock with Becky Carroll focuses on customers, their experiences and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock

23. The 14 Day Experiment with Sheri Collins premier social goal setting blog

24. The Domestic Diva

25. Donna Payne is The Web Coach ~ Insights on marketing and social media, classes and more

26. Crazy Suburban Mom with Tracy Reinhardt Don’t judge me till you’ve gone a mile in my minivan ~ Suburbia, it’s so weird


So, I'm 2 of the woman bloggers to watch in 2009?

I couldn't find a link to email to Heidi so I left this comment...

Heidi, I love, love, love you for making me 2 of the 100 more women bloggers to watch for 2009….but just one would have been fine :)

You’ve got me down as the Crazy Urban Mom and the Crazy Suburban Mom… Technically, I could be either, but I am in the suburbs so lets stick with that one :)

Tracy

But than I started thinking. Never good, right? I've been on Weight Watchers, okay? And need to lose weight. This week I said I lost a propane grill, last week I said I lost a Hello Kitty bowling ball...

You think I've made myself sound so big I couldn't possibly fit as just one woman blogger to watch? So they made me two of them?


You think being 2 of the 100 woman bloggers to watch makes my ass look fat?


Read more...

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