Friday, August 01, 2008

Ummm, Hello?

Hey! What are you still doing here? Didn't you read my last post and see that I'm in a new home?

No? Well, alrighty then. If you need more coffee, pie and doses of reality, head on over to

There's a whole bunch of people already there, but we can always make room for more!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wanna See My New Home?

So here we are the week of our big move, and I realize that I have been totally remissed at showing you my new home.

WHERE ARE MY MANNERS?! Please forgive my lack of grace and click here to see my new place. Then you'll be able to "oo" and "ah" over it and tell me how to better decorate it because I do not have the golden touch.

I wonder if Antique Mommy makes house calls...


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Hard Cell

The Girl, who is fast approaching 12 at lightning speed, has been petitioning us for a cell phone. This request has only come of late, mainly because she herself indicated the reasons that a cell phone would be frivolous at this stage in life less than 6 months ago.
  1. She has no need to have one during the day at school.
  2. She’s home most of the time and has the house phone for use.
  3. When she does go out to a school activity and is in need of a phone, her friends will let her borrow one.
  4. She doesn’t think that she has enough to say to anyone else to warrant a phone of her own. (She’s like her mother that way. She wants to get to the point and then get off. Poor dear…)
  5. She can always use our cells to make long distance calls.

What has changed between 11 ½ and 12 to make her request a phone now?

“Everyone” else has one.

Of course we told her no mainly because we don’t think she needs one yet and she’s not old enough by our standards. I’m not for giving my kids things just because everyone else has/does something. Start down that road, and I’ll be not only poor, but only showing love by materialistic means: a poor compensation for real reflections of love like time together, conversations or finding ways to connect together. Besides, it’s an unnecessary expense at this point, even if I just adding her to our family plan.

But then she asked the big question: When will she be old enough? And to that, I draw a blank.

At what age do you think a child should have a cell? My first instinct is to say the age in which she can drive. Is that too late in this day and age? Am I missing something? I don’t need to consider the security of a cell for walking home from school because she will ride the bus.

Besides, most youths that we see using cells aren’t using them for security needs. Mostly we hear them chatting to friends about non-essential things or seeing them texting each other about where to meet later. It’s not really being used as a precaution; rather it’s more of an entertainment item.

Talk it out here. I want to get a feel about how you all would have this conversation because if you’re not already there, it’s coming. You might want to plan for it now rather than fumbling around like me later.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear God, It's Me Again

Yep. I’m asking for your prayers again. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

My father-in-awe has been taken back to the hospital for an infection that can only be treated with surgery. I’m assuming that they need to cut out the infection since the antibiotic isn’t treating it well enough.

So… the prayers are first and foremost that God will lay his healing hand on Ron. This Sunday will be Ron and Avon’s 46th wedding anniversary, and I know for a fact that she would love to celebrate at least 25 more anniversaries with him.

Secondly, I ask that you pray for our family. Every phone call to Avon ended with the sincere question, “Do you want/need us to bring the kids home?” Yesterday, she finally said yes. So, that means that the kids are coming home to a house full of boxes and no toys. I did call a friend and basically asked if the kids could stay at their house and play with their kids from Sunday through Wednesday. She was so wonderful that she said yes without taking a breath! After that time, they’ll be back in our keep to help us with the move. The rest of the time, Mr. Right and I will work out how we’re going to take care of them this late in the game. Itps my guess that all the good summer sitters are taken already. I also have a feeling that The Girl is going to start earning her keep, and The Boy is going to truly understand what it means to submit to his sister when she’s in charge.

Lastly, I need you to pray for Mr. Right and me. We’re used to sleepin’ neked and eating ice cream out in the open. It’s gonna be hard to make a sudden switch! Oh the horror of being parents again…

Seriously, thanks for the prayers. I know that God already knows what we need, but it's a balm to the soul to know that others will take a moment to pray for a friend... or a stranger.


Techy Two-Step

Well, you know it had to happen sooner or later. Work is not work without another technological problem for me to submit to our help desk. Here's my most recent submission.

Doing the old two-step to Brad Paisley
Impaired [Customer - Shalee

Now I know I can't dance. Never could, probably never will. But the way that I'm having to two-step around the internet by getting access to it is wearing me out! But hey, I'm catching the rhythm a bit! You should see me move to Brad Paisley's song "Online"...

Please. I'm such a white girl from the South. The best I can do is to do a knee-jerk move that really makes me look as if I have epilepsy set to music. Would someone please stop the music and allow me to get on the net without all this movin' and groovin'? Because it is not a pretty sight when I step on the dance floor. I'm better at being a wallflower.

I received an email not only from the Regional IT Manager, telling me "I LOVE IT!" (which you all know is pure excitement in the IT world), but I also received a call from the area's IT personel who called to complain that someone beat him to the request first. That's the way you want your IT department: fighting over you.

The problem was fixed in no time. My dancing? Not so much...


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

WFMW – An Oldie, But A Goody

Sometimes I think we put too much emphasis on things that are NEW!, ADVANCED!, or THE NEXT BIG THING!

Often I find that the same old products that have worked for years are the best things to use. I hate it when I get caught up in the frenzy of trying something new, only to find that it didn’t work as well.

Take 20 Mule Team Borax for instance. Here is a time-tested product that has worked marvelously for decades. It’s a naturally occurring mineral with many practical cleaning uses. It does so many things that specialized cleaners can’t do because they’re specialized. Can Resolve boost laundry detergent to make clothes brighter? Can Comet be used as a deodorizer the refrigerator? Will Woolite make the porcelain in the bathroom shine? You would need several different products to do the work of one box of TMT Borax.

I’ve been using TMT Borax as the back of the box suggests.
  • I’ve added a ½ cup of Borax to the load and I’ll be darned… They were brighter!
  • I’ve sprinkled some of it in the bottom of my trash can rather than using Lysol and it does deodorize as it said it would.
  • Since I had to clean the refrigerator for our move, I used the 1 qt: 1 Tsp TMT solution and that puppy not only shines, it smells so much better… and it didn’t stink in the first place!
  • I’ve made my tubs and sinks sparkle with the TMT too. I just used it like a cleanser and it looks mah-vel-ous, darlink!

I haven’t used it as a spill remover or a pet stain remover yet, but just as soon as I have opportunity, I’ll try it to see if it will work in that capacity too. And although we’re out of the nighttime accidents, TMT is supposed to work wonderfully to neutralize urine odors in mattresses or mattress covers and still be soft enough for your delicates – from baby clothes to your fine china. Its non-abrasive quality lends a hand to many things in your house.

The extra bonus to this discovery is that a large (76 oz) box only costs around $4. So you can do a lot of your cleaning for a very little price. Save that money for things that you really need – like a box of chocolate or a really good book.

For a little fun, 20 Mule Team Borax created a quiz so that you can find out exactly what kind of cleaner you are. As an incentive to encourage participation they will give back to the Earth by planting one tree for each quiz taken. They will donate up to 10,000 trees or the equivalent of $10,000 to the American Forests organization. If you're interested, click here to take the quiz.

So a tried and true frugal multi-cleaner works for me!

Head on over to Shannon’s place for some excellent suggestions.

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Things I've Packed But Wish I'd Left Out

  1. The camera cord to download pictures

  2. Plastic leftover containers

  3. Hydrogen Peroxide

  4. Booze (I don't know what possessed me.)

  5. T-shirts (I keep stealing Mr. Right's shirts)

  6. Maple syrup

  7. Writing paper

  8. Mixing bowls

  9. Drinking glasses

  10. Bubble bath

  11. Certain spices
  12. Band-aids
  13. Books

And I seem to have packed up my sanity in one of the boxes last weekend too!

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Today is America's birthday, a day when Americans should celebrate liberty and freedom that was hard earned in 1776. In declaring our own independence, we were doing more than breaking away from England: we were breaking away from tyranny, from the idea that some men were fit to govern others without their consent and from the chains of dependency and servitude.

This first taste of freedom led to other inspired causes such as the end of slavery in America, the standing up to Nazi cruelty in WWII and the fight to end segregation. Today it inspires us to give a fighting chance for democracy to those who have not had the same breath of freedoms. None of these causes were easy. None were painless. However they all were worth the fight.

Remember, were it not for those who have gone before or those who are going still today, we would not have the freedom that we have. I mean "we" as in humanity, not limiting this thought to America alone.

I found this clip, and I was filled with gratitude for those who are still fighting for our continued liberties, our freedoms and our protection. Though man can be evil/selfish to the core, there are those who choose to stand and to fight for themselves, for their loved ones and for others whom they will never meet. That's what makes them heroes. Thank you to every soldier who chose, who is choosing and who will choose in the future to stand for freedom.

Gladiators - American Style

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Battle of the Suds

I was out of dishwashing detergent and being the frugal person that I am, I said to the family, “I’m not buying detergent until we move. I’ve got some Dawn in here that we can use.”

And then the moaning ensued. Too bad for them. I’m not above using what I’ve got, and I actually like doing dishes by hand. All they had to do was put the dishes away. Slackers.

However, God in all his infinite wisdom knew that we had better things to do with our time – like packing the house and trying to find a trash can that didn’t require a lien. Those two tasks alone have consumed much of our time... So he had a very nicely-timed challenge plop into my lap. I was asked if I would like to review both Cascade Complete and Electrasol Advance liquid dishwashing detergents to see which cleaner did a better job. That God – he sure has a great sense of timing, not to mention a great sense of humor.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve been alternating the detergents, trying to determine the pros and cons of the two products.

Using the same process for both detergents (no pre-washing, filling dishwasher with the same amount of dishes, letting dishes sit the same amount of time between washings), here’s what I’ve discovered:

Cascade Complete

Liquid is thick
Has a pleasant clean smell
Left the dishes completely clean
Added a “sparkle” to the glasses
No water spots on dishes
Only one filled detergent compartment to clean dishes

Electrasol Advance

Liquid is thick, but not as thick as Cascade
Has a pleasant lemon smell
Food was left on some dishes
Some glasses sparkled
Water spots on silverware
Had to filled the detergent compartment AND the extra fill area to get similar results as Cascade
Hands down, Cascade Complete won the challenge. It did the job right the first time, without using as much detergent to do the job. I’m not really surprised. I always found Cascade to be a time-tested, constantly-working cleaner that makes doing dishes just a little bit easier. Others may be cheaper on the front end, but when you have to use more, pre-wash or rewash some dishes after the fact, you realize that you didn’t really save yourself anything in the long run.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

WFMW – 5 Ingredients Or Less

This is one of my family’s favorite meals. It sound odd, but Oh. My. Lands! It is delicious, easy and cheap!

Strawberry Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken (enough to feed your family)
Italian bread crumbs
Milk (to make the bread crumbs stick – can use eggs if you prefer)
Strawberry Jam (or Seedless Raspberry if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Dip chicken into milk (or eggs), then roll in bread crumbs. Place on cookie sheet. Cook 20 minutes and then flip the chicken. Cook additional 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Serve with strawberry jam as dipping sauce.

That’s it. Easy as pie. (Mmmm… pie!)

There are a few things you can do to speed up the cooking time.

  • I’ve flatten the chicken; that cuts about 10 minutes off the time.

  • You can cut the chicken into strips to cut the cooking time as well.

  • Strips make it a finger food for little ones.

  • You don’t have to flip the chicken, but I like to do it so that it will crisp both sides.

We love this meal with the cheesy broccoli rice and a side of small early peas.

Go find some excellent dinner suggestions at Shannon’s place. I’m heading over there to find some that don’t involve a grill

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Oxymorons - Gratituesday 12

It's time for a little shout out to the Lord, so you know that it must be Gratituesday, where one can be vocally thankful for something in life.

Let me honest: I love that the kids are away at Grandma's all summer. It's a joy to us for so many more reasons than sleeping naked again.

Mr. Right and I have had opportunities to laugh, cry, play, and work in situations that may not have been possible were the kids here. It's like a two month long date that doesn't have to end at the stroke of midnight. It's down right fabulous and a blessing that we know not every parent has. Having a chance to reconnect now gives us a treasure to look forward to having when the kids leave not for Grandma's house, but for life.

On the other hand, I have to be honest: I miss the kids like crazy. I miss their hugs, their tears, their arguing, their laughter, the essence that makes them them. I miss their innocence and wonder. I miss them. Absence does make my heart grow fonder for them (if that's even possible.)

One thing that I love about their being gone is that we actually do a lot more talking when they're away (or so it seems). We talk on the phone, packages are sent and we email each other, which gives us opportunities to bond (that might not happen were they to be here.) The Girl sent me a meme-type of email where she answers questions about herself. I loved it! It was telling of who I think she is and, more importantly, who she thinks she is.

And my favorite answer she gave is this one:

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? i don't like bugs and stones would hurt

I'd like to say that she makes me feel young, but that's not always the case... I think I need to give The Girl a music lesson or two.

Head on over to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers to see some other ways that people are thankful for their not-so-little things.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Smack-down Inbetween Wars and Christianity

So Friday around 3 PM, I realized that I would be on my own after work. The kids were at Grandma's and Mr. Right had to work late so I wouldn't see him until around 8ish that night. I wanted to find something to do that had nothing to do with packing because I am tired of packing. In other words, I wanted to get out.

Here's the problem with getting out: I couldn't spend any money. Since we're moving in the next few weeks, we have to spend carefully because when we're at the closing for our house, we don't want to lose the house because we've just blown our money on something ridiculous. Well, that and we want to make sure that we have plenty to cover our closing costs. This house buying stuff is hard, y'all! Anyway, I'm stressing more than I should, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Go for a walk? Well, I'd been doing that every night with Mr. Right, so I wanted to do something different. Besides, I didn't really think a two hour walk would be all that fun.

Go to the library and rent a movie? We've been seeing quite a few movies lately. I was ready for some other form of entertainment.

Window shop? Ummm, unless I could get a lobotomy in the next hour, I didn't think I would enjoy that activity too much. Besides, there were too many things on my "I need to buy for the new house" list. I was afraid that I might find a great deal that I couldn't pass up, if you know what I mean.

So I pulled an old standby that I haven't done in a loooooong time. I went to Barnes and Nobles to peruse the books. Oh how I miss the smell of new books! Though I might want to make purchases there, I could easy avoid doing so by thinking about how I would have to pack it if I bought it.

Low and behold, guess what I saw was finally published! The fourth in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz - Odd Hours. How exciting to read about the odd one! This series has been thrilling, fabulous, funny and endearing since the first book, Odd Thomas.

I plopped myself down in last chair - a comfy chairs too! - which was located between War and Christianity and delved into the mysterious life of Odd. Now here is a series that I think portrays characterization at its best, storylines that compell you to turn the pages because you must know what happens next and creates emotional investments that make the reader care about the outcome. Excellent reads for all. (If you start on this series, DO start at the beginning. If you don't start with Odd Thomas, you'll find out things you don't want to know from the previous books. Me? I like the elements of surprise. It's part of what makes the books so good.)

Anyway, about an hour into my reading, a young woman sat in a straight chair next to me. How did I know she was coming? I could hear her flip-flopping 20 feet away from where the chairs were. (That's one of the reasons I dislike flip-flops. They can be so loud! Note: This next statement does not apply to ALL flip-flop lovers. Save your hate comments. It's as if certain wearers can't make themselves known any other way so they make as much noise as they can so that others take note of them. Annoying, however, is the notice I usually take.)

Even if this person weren't wearing flip-flops, she still had a way to make her presence known for she was chomping gum like a cow. She wasn't chewing it; she was torturing that piece of gum with a very extended, open-mouthed jaw. Smacking, popping, slurping... completely rude in a group of readers, in my opinion. It's not as if we joined her; she joined us, the quiet group that was extending courtesy to each other by letting them enjoy their reading in peace.

As she kept smacking and blowing, I could feel my annoyance-meter starting to bounce toward "Critical" levels. I tried to ignore her, to get into my book fully, but all the sounds were starting to drive me crazy. How could someone be so selfish and unaware that her actions were disturbing other around her? As I would looked at her, my eyes darted to the other readers in the chair group. They kept looking at her with annoyance too. So it wasn't just me being picky or irrational - whew.

I told myself to move as far away as I could from her in my chair, to block the sounds, to enjoy Odd. The next thing I heard was someone saying, "Would you mind not making so much noise?" I thought, Finally someone told her to knock it off, all right!

When the young woman turned her dark look on me, I realized that it was me who uttered the question. I surprised even myself. The girl glared, started to say something, but returned to the celebrity pages while chewing her gum with her mouth closed. Well, good for me. It needed to be said.

One of the readers in the group had a cell phone that rang. He promptly set his books down, got up from the comfy chair and answered it away from the group. He understood the need to be polite in a setting of strangers. He didn't go far, just far enough to have his conversation without disturbing the readers.

But I watched with half disgust/half fascination as the gum-chomping girl quickly gathered her fashion magazines and stole his chair. I was shocked at such a bold move, but only just for a moment. It was a very fitting move for all the discourteous characterization that she was showing already.

The man came back in less than a minute, looking at his occupied seat. She at least had the awareness to ask non-chalantly if he wantrd his seat back, to which he graciously demurred. I could already tell that the man was nicer than me. The young woman was already looking camped in the seat and I wondered what body language she would have shown had he said yes. I have a feeling much sighing and gestures of irritation would have ensued.

Irked on the man's part yet glad to have Smackers one seat further away, I continued reading. Smackers continued smacking, as she seemed completely unable to control her habit, and we all settled into a calm. But suddenly, Iron Jaws took out an insert from the magazine, spit her gum into it and folded it over. Relief at last!

Imagine my horror when she moved from bending to the table to bending to her behemoth bag, grabbing two more sticks of gum and popping them into her mouth. Sigh. It started all over again. My eyes moved to one of my seatmates; he lifted his eyebrows in amazement, rolled his eyes at her continued need to chew and gave me a little half-smile with a side of shrug to say, "Some people have mommas who didn't teach them manners." I couldn't agree more.

A few minutes later, Mr. Right came strolling to where I was sitting. We left a little bit later to the sanctity of a smack-free house. Besides, I think I needed to talk to God about finding a way to move not only my chair, but also my heart, closer towards Christianity.

(Oh, and Odd Hours was really good, despite the gum interruptions. If you need a great summer series, then I urge you to try the Odd Thomas series. It's that good.)

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Friday, June 27, 2008


One of the things I adore about this beautiful blogging community is the way it allows bloggers to communicate with each other. You leave a comment and, if you've done everything correctly on your part, I can respond to you via the email you have set to your blog name.

Can I just take the time to reiterate how you need to pair your email with your comment name? It's so frustrating when I want to respond to a question or a great comment and I have no where to send my reply. (Smeagle, this means you. Bren J, you're another one. There's more, but I'm drawing a blank right now... not enough coffee.)

Stacey is actually one too, but because she emailed me out of the blue one day, I have her email addy at the ready. I'm pretty sure it was the post that said that I wanted to know who was willing to talk to a stranger and she emailed me her number and said that she'd call when she got a chance. She was pregnant then, so I'm pretty sure she had other things on her mind. Sniff, sniff.

So. Anyway...

Yesterday, in the comments, Stacey said :

I would have done it in the pan, too. You're not the only one! As far as the
cake goes, it's not shocking that you tried to rescue it... that would have
crossed my mind for sure :o) Maybe he'll surprise you with chocolate cake one of
these nights!

To which I replied something like, "Yeah! That would be awesome!" - or something equally brilliant.

(Now you need to understand that I have my comments set to go to my work email since that's where I have the most time to respond to comments. When I send out a reply, sometimes I don't erase my work number from the outgoing emails because a) I forget or 2) I know the writers well enough via the blogs that I'm comfortable enough to have that number get into their hands.)

Stacey replied immediately with "Personally, I think so! Maybe I need to send him an anonymous tip :o) You don't know how many times I see your name and phone # below and think, 'I should just call and surprise her!' Then I chicken out and don't go through with it."

Screeeeech! Why on earth would anyone be afraid to talk to me? (Jeana, don't answer that.)

So I did what I should have done long ago. I called her... and got her voicemail. My message was short and to the point. "Hey, this is Shalee. Quit being a chicken, you big dummy." Click.

Now wouldn't that message just make you want to talk with me?

She called about 10 minutes later with a laugh and an "Alright, alright." I inquired as to why she was chickening out and she said (and I quote) "Because you're The Great Shalee with the big blog and the big audience, and I was too scared to talk with you."

Huh? Am I being Punked!? I mean, it's not like she's talking to Boomama, Shannon, Dooce or anyone like that. I'm just Shalee who puts her pants on the same way that everyone else does: by holding in my stomach and praying that the zipper won't bust. (What? You don't do that? Whatever.)

And that's when it really hit me: It's all in the eye of the viewer. Though I may feel small and insignificant at times (okay - more than I want to really admit), there are others who are intimidated by me and my 8 - 20 comments (on a good day). At least I hope that's why they're shy. It's not my breath, is it? I brush, honest! Someone who has hit the big time is different for me than it is for someone else. And that's okay. It's all in our perspectives.

Stacey and I had a wonderful conversation, by the way. It lasted at least 20 minutes, which if you know me, is a marathon in my book. She's funny, sweet and way more patient with her kids when she's on the phone than I ever am. I sure wish I had her around to mentor me when my kids were little...

Anyway, I just wanted to set the record straight. I'm not intimidating really. I laugh too loudly and I'm usually slightly higher on the wacky-o-meter, but really I'm just like you. I like chocolate, I want friends and I sweat the small stuff that doesn't deserve any attention. You know, normal. So don't be afraid to speak out on the blog or in real life. I might even answer my phone when you call. (Poor you.)

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