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Monday, July 30, 2012

All Summer Long is Here!

Former underwear model turned entrepreneur Clay Stryker has loved, tragically lost and vowed that he'll never risk his heart again. After making his fortune, the youngest of the rugged Stryker brothers returns to Fool's Gold, California, to put down roots on a ranch of his own. But he's frustrated to discover that even in his hometown, people see him only for his world-famous…assets.

Firefighter Chantal (Charlie) Dixon grew up an ugly duckling beside her delicately beautiful mother, a feeling reinforced long ago by a man who left soul-deep scars. Now she has good friends, a solid job and the itch to start a family—yet she can't move toward the future while she's haunted by painful memories.

Clay finds an unexpected ally, and unexpected temptation, in tomboyish Charlie, the only person who sees beyond his dazzling good looks to the real man beneath. But when Charlie comes to him with an indecent proposal, will they be able to overcome their pasts and find a love that lasts beyond one incredible summer?

Okay, I haven't gotten my copy yet but here's the last book in this summer's Fool's Gold trilogy by Susan Mallery, "All Summer Long".  I am really looking forward to this one mainly because of the build up it got in the last book.  If you've been with me on the Fool's Gold ride, don't miss out on Book 9!  

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Croup at age 12...who knew?

Michael had a friend sleep over last Friday night.  They ate, they played video games, they went to bed some time after midnight but slept until almost 11 the next morning. Saturday night, he slept at the friend's house; same scenario.

When we got him home late Sunday afternoon, something was up.  Frank and I sat down to watch "Barefoot in the Park", a GREAT movie from 1967 starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.  It was something that no 12 year old would willingly watch.

He did.

Midway through the movie I noticed he was sniffling and looked a little glassy eyed.  We figured it was just the weekend, the sleepovers and allergies.  No big deal.  I had him showered and to bed early.  Monday morning he woke up looking a little worse and sneezing a whole lot more.  So I kept him home.  He had a slight fever on top of it all and by Monday night the sneezing and runny nose were better but now he had a cough.

Kept him home Tuesday, fever persisted and so I called the doctor.  Took him in and found out he has croup!  What in the world???  I mean, it didn't SOUND like croup!  Parents, if you've ever had a baby with croup, you know that horrible sound.  This wasn't it.  The doctor explained to me that because his airways are larger than that of a baby, the cough isn't so heinous sounding but essentially, he has croup.

Delsym, Mucinex, steam...it's a virus.  There isn't a whole heck of a lot you can do for it.  He's coughing still, I kept him home Wednesday but I sent him back to school Thursday because really, the fever was gone Wednesday morning but it was too late to send him to school and he hadn't been fever free for 24 hours.

So really, early childhood illnesses don't only come around in early childhood.  In a million years I never would have guessed that he had croup.  

Now I know better...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Amtrak

So I'm taking Michael on this trip to Disney in September.  A super FAST trip to Disney.  I had won a free night at a Disney resort hotel and it was going to expire and so I had to use it or lose it.  Um...hello?  USING IT!

I start making plans and things got a little complicated and I had to completely change the way I do my Disney vacations to make this happen and make it happen within a budget.  

One of the biggest obstacles I was facing was the cost of airfare.  For the two of us to fly it was going to be a little over $500.  That was HUGE.  I mean, the cost of the hotel of the one night I have to pay for, food for three days and our park passes was going to be $700 so really, the cost of the airfare was killing me.  

People suggested driving but it was just going to be the two of us and that is 10 hours of driving each way with me being the only driver and it would take 2 full days and potentially additional nights at a hotel to be safe.  

And then there was Amtrak.

Did you know that kids travel at half price??  We have an Amtrak station less than 30 minutes from our house and it goes right to Orlando!  I went on line and looked at schedules and pricing and round trip for the two of us is only $180!  Who knew??

We will leave on a Saturday night around 9:15 pm and arrive in Orlando at 10:30 Sunday morning.  I opted to not get the sleeping car because that was an additional $250 and really, I think it's going to be an adventure!  I did a lot of research, asked tons of questions on my Disney boards from people who've traveled Amtrak to Disney before and basically all the reviews were positive. 

Coming home we leave Orlando at 7:30 at night and arrive home at 8:30 the next morning.  We're sleeping most of the trip away and we've saved a bundle!  I'm excited for the adventure and although I am definitely like the princess and the pea when it comes to my sleeping arrangements, for the opportunity to have this trip with Michael I think I can make the sacrifice.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Carolina Music Awards

So we had our big moment of walking the red carpet at the Carolina Music Awards back on the 15th.  

It was a little disappointing.  

Okay, so first, it was like 98 degrees out.  I looked fabulous in my black dress and my big, rock-star hair and after walking from the car to the pavilion, well, let's just say there was a BIG difference.  

The red carpet was more like 2 red mats.  The staging/photographing/interview area was chaotic and disorganized.  We took it all in stride and were determined to just go and have fun.  As a rock band, okay, so as the wife of said rock band's drummer, I was happy to just sit back and watch my husband shine.

An hour in the heat, and hour in a very cramped auditorium for an event that really should have been billed as a "hip hop" event, our category for best new rock band came up.  Eight nominees for the North Carolina/South Carolina territory and the winner was...

NOT Motrendus.

I'm not going to lie to you, we were that rude group of people that got up and left after that.  We went out for sushi, had a lot of laughs and now can officially say that we experienced and awards show.  

But didn't we look good?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yard Sale vs. Craigslist

Okay, so about a week and a half ago I had a yard sale.  It was a little spur of the moment even though I've known for quite a while that I wanted to do one.  I just had to bite the bullet and do it.  

One of the few things that I love about my house is that it's small and doesn't allow for too much clutter.  One of the things I hate about the house?  It clutters fast!  So we went through the house and the shed and I felt fairly confident that we could host a solo yard sale and be okay.  Plus, the main incentive (in my mind) was that all of the money was going toward our trip in September.  

A few of the "big-ticket" items got posted on Craigslist first.  If you've never used Craigslist, I can honestly say that I am still on the fence with it.  I've heard people rave about it and I am not one of them.  Yes, I sold SOME of my items but the tradeoff was that a simple ad for a Levi Strauss denim jacket had my inbox bombarded with porn-spam of half naked women wanting to have a good time.

Seriously?  I still don't get the connection between the two!

Well, Michael and I set out that humid Saturday morning to sell our stuff and between the yard sale and the few items on Craigslist, we've made a little over $200!  Not too shabby.

Here's the thing about yard saling, though, that I could do without.  Snarky people.  Yes, snarky people.  You know who you are.  You want everything for a dollar and you are quite nasty in your approach.  I have this beautiful earthenware tea set.  It's got the pot, four cups and a serving tray.  BRAND NEW.  People honestly wanted to pay a dollar for it!  Brand new it's $40!  Now I'll be honest, there were a few things that I let go without too much of a fuss but some of the things...well, it was the attitude of the buyer and I said that I'd rather not sell it at all then give some rude jerk the satisfaction.

Probably not the smartest move when trying to make some money but there it is.

So, I've still got items listed.  Most of the big ticket stuff has sold.  I've since removed the Levi jacket from the listings and my email inbox has thanked me for it.

Do you prefer the yard sale approach or selling online?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Shhh...It's a Secret!

I am like the world's WORST person at keeping a secret.  I have been ever since I was a little girl.  Ask my dad; he's got TONS of stories to back that statement up.  

Anyway, I had originally been planning a trip to Disney with my sister but things kept getting put off and there were a couple of disagreements scheduling conflicts so I have decided to take the money that I was going to spend on a completely (worthwhile) selfish getaway and spend it on a mother/son getaway.

As the younger child, Michael had to spend most of his formative years in the shadow of his older brother.  Nick is like a force of nature; he is vibrant and personable and pretty much commands attention when he's in the room.  For years I would watch as Michael simply faded in to the background while Nick held the floor.  So as a way of doing something that is just for him, I am taking Michael away for 3 days in September, just the two of us. Where to?

Disney.

Seriously, was there any doubt?

I earned a free night through some freelance writing that I did for a Disney travel blog and I needed to use it before it expired.  So we are going to take the Amtrak train down to Orlando (it's an overnight trip) and then spend three days/two nights at one of Disney's moderate resorts and then take the overnight trip back on the train.

Do you know how much more cost effective it is to take the train??  When I was pricing flights, no matter how hard I tried, it was going to cost a little over $500 for the both of us round trip.  And that wasn't including the "extras" that the airlines are charging for these days.  For $180 we are both traveling round trip on Amtrak.  And really, what boy doesn't love a train??

Now my plan is to NOT tell him that we are doing this but to go on planning the trip as if I were going with my sister.  This way if he hears me talking about it, he won't think anything of it.  Then, the night before we leave, while I'm packing, I hand him a suitcase and surprise him with the fact that he's the one going!  I may find a more creative way of doing it, like a treasure hunt or giving him a puzzle of some sort to figure out where the final piece is the fact that he's going on this trip.

How cool am I???  This is a great time for us to spend together, one on one, where he is the sole focus of the trip.  I am really hoping that it's going to be a wonderful experience for us both.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

That's Mr. 12-Year Old To You...

I seem to remember when Nick was growing up that I was ANXIOUS for him to do so.  I wanted him to grow up, I wanted him to get bigger and more mature.  I rejoiced when he passed me in height (sort of) and we all got a kick out of him getting facial hair and what not.  He was my first born, the oldest and these were the things that we wanted for him.

So not the case with the baby.

Michael is 12 going on 30.  All of a sudden I have a hard time telling the difference between him and Frank on the phone, he's almost as tall as me but his hands and feet are huge.  His new sneakers for school are a size 11!  We went shopping the other day and there were were in the Super Target happily walking toward the boys department when he stopped and reminded me of how "big" he is getting and how he could probably now shop in the men's department.

Um...I don't think so.  

After much "discussion" we did compromise and got the majority of his stuff in the boys department, I did cave and buy a few "men's" items.  How did this happen?  WHY is this happening?  He's got hair under his arms!  He's getting acne, I mean...this is not right.  I'm not ready for this!  He has to stop.  I want my little snuggly bean back.  

I am not handling this well...  I mean, I know this is what is supposed to happen but I want my baby to stay my baby for a little bit longer.  He still holds my hand (when we're home and no one's looking) and he still says "I love you" (when there's no one around and in a hushed tone) but it's hard to look in to those big blue eyes and accept that he really and truly is becoming a man.

What I wouldn't give to have one more day with him as a four year old who I could just take in my arms and cuddle...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Susan Mallery's Summer Nights

I'm not going to lie to you, I liked this one better than the last one.  I know as a cheerleader I shouldn't have a favorite, but I do.  Sort of like in the last trilogy when I enjoyed the second book more than the other two.  So on June 26, Harlequin released book number eight in the Fool's Gold Series, Summer Nights.  LOVED it!

This time around we are witnessing the burgeoning relationship between small-town librarian Annabelle Weiss and horse-whisperer Shane Stryker.  If you've read book 7, you'll know that Shane is Rafe's brother.  Shane is back in Fool's Gold to start a new phase of his life and isn't looking for any complications and after watching Annabelle dance on a bar, he's convinced that she is one.  Little does he know, that little dance was a one-time event and Annabelle is about as perfect for him as they come.

The story is really centered around a large festival (which Fool's Gold is famous for - see the website for some of their most popular events!) and Annabelle needs to learn how to ride a horse.  Enter Shane.  Although they strike up a friendship, it isn't long before they realize that they have so much more for one another.

A GREAT story that had me laughing and kept me thoroughly engaged and turning the pages.   This was a definite favorite and I was sorry to see it end.  Remember, you can learn more about Susan and the Fool's Gold series by visiting SusanMallery.com and joining her Members Only section or logging on to Facebook and liking her page.  This particular cheerleader is in need of some major points - I'm behind this season!  Remember to leave a comment here if you join!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Days by Susan Mallery

Okay, so I've been a bad Fool's Gold Cheerleader and am behind on my online promoting of Susan Mallery's latest trilogy in the Fool's Gold series.  First up is "Summer Days".  This is book 7 in the Fool's Gold series (if you are keeping count) and was released back in May.  Sorry for jumping in late with this one!
 
Okay, so we are BACK in the awesome California town of Fool's Gold.  If you haven't visited yet, you have got to check out the official Fool's Gold website and learn all about it.  This time around the ladies of Fool's Gold are meeting up with some handsome cowboys.  And who doesn't like a cowboy, right?

Susan introduces us to goat farmer Heidi (yes, like the beloved childhood story) who owns a ranch with her grandfather, in the previous trilogy.  This is her story this time around and she finds herself in a land dispute with Rafe Stryker.  Rafe's a man who has no desire to be back in Fool's Gold, a place where he has unpleasant childhood memories.  But fate brings these two together; the corporate shark millionaire and the goat farmer.  It's pretty funny when you think about it and their story is delightful.

With a familiar setting and characters that we all enjoy and recognize, "Summer Days" is a wonderful addition to the Fool's Gold series.  With each story, Susan Mallery creates friends for her readers and keeps us up to date with them all without losing too much of the main character's story.  I won't give away all of the details of the book but if you're a fan of the series or you are looking for something new, you won't be disappointed here.  While it's more enjoyable when you read all of the books in order, you won't find yourself too terribly lost if you happen to pick up one mid-series. 

For more information on Susan and a chance to get in on some of the fun, make sure to check out her Facebook page and her website and join the Members Only section and leave a comment here if you do!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Big Shocker...Not!

Okay, I have to admit, I am in no way, shape or form a fan of divorce but in this case all I can say it "Run, Katie, run!"  Good grief, this relationship, in my opinion has been bizarre from the get go and I'm kind of surprised that it lasted this long.  

Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that I am no fan of Tom Cruise.  I can't even say an exact reason why but everything about him irks me.  I don't think he's hot, I don't think he's a good actor...generally I just don't like the guy.  His antics back on Oprah's couch just sort of sealed the deal.  So when I heard the news about Katie Holmes filing for divorce I found myself grinning and mentally giving her a high five.

It's a well known fact that a majority of Hollywood marriages do not last and so this is really no surprise; like I said, for me, the surprise was in the fact that it took her so dang long to do it.  

Buh-bye, Tom!