Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spiritual Road Rage

Over a year ago, I wrote about Private Road Rage... a purely sarcastic paragraph where I described "Private Road Rage" as "displaying a Godly face and a serene smile, and nodding kindly with a smile on my face to the person trying to cut me off, but inside... I'm privately raging, just displaying it with manners." Real spiritual, huh?

Well, I have a new level of Road Rage to share with you ... it's called ... Spiritual Road Rage. It's where the enemy is purposely trying to tick you off by sending people your way to cut you off, swerve or veer into you, yell and scream at you, flip you off, all while talking on the phone, all with the sole purpose of getting you upset past the point of self control and cause an un-Godly reaction to burst forth. It really is spiritual warfare.

Living near a city like Washington, D.C. can make your state well known for their traffic issues. Bumper to bumper rush hours, crazy drivers, ANGRY drivers, drivers that have a sense of "road ownership" and feel that they are entitled to drive like crazy maniacs (and you should BACK OFF, dude) are not uncommon!

And then ... there's a whole other level of crazy drivers ... the Kawasaki race rats. Oh, MY STARS! They really bother me! They veer in, veer out, veer in, veer out. They drive in between lanes, and change lanes in the emergency lane. They perform stunts ... they almost mock you as they veer back and forth ... and that's the truth. GAH! It's just about enough to get my blood pressure boiling.

Living in this area really tests a persons limits of self control, Godly love, and forgiveness. Driving on these main highways brings on a whole new level of spiritual warfare into play, and really stretches your discipline with regards to following two scripture verses: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..." (Matthew 7:12a) and "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt 26:39b). Trust me when I say ... there are many things I'd like to do to a crazy driver, and one of them is not to love them like myself. Uh-uh.

Last week, I was cut off by a young woman (nineteen to 20 years old), who was busy dialing on her cell phone, and then chatting away. She was most certainly NOT paying attention. We were both turning left. There were two left turn lanes. She was in the far left, and I was in the right one. When we turned, she veered right into my turning lane without even looking. I couldn't go anywhere, because there was a car to my right. So, I laid on the horn, and when she looked up at me, she yelled at me and gave me the finger. A sight we see often in these parts.

And it was right then ... right there ... that it became very clear to me that I had to come up with a new way to release all my pent-up anger. I decided I would no longer practice "Private Road Rage" ... no, indeed. I found that when I yelled the following out loud in my car (to no one in general), I felt so much better! Right when she flipped me the bird, and went off in her "entitled" merry way, I yelled out: "LADY! YOU are TRYING to make me LOOSE MY SALVATION, but it's NOT GONNA HAPPEN TODAY, because JESUS LOVES YOU, and THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME, so I'M GONNA LOVE YOU TOO. Now, MOVE ALONG."

I tell you ... the release I felt was ever so freeing!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Shannon!!

Wishing Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer a very, VERY Happy
35th Birthday!
Click on the flowers to go
wish Shannon a happy day!
You can't imagine how much it pains me to post this a day early, but I'm not sure I have my wireless router working at home yet.

I think I'm loosing my ever-lovin'-choo-choo mind...

Yesterday, I stayed home with my son, who had a mild temperature the evening before (100.9 -- close enough to 101 degrees). We had a really nice day -- in the morning, when he woke up, we went downstairs and watched Choo Choo (Thomas the Tank) while we ate our fruit loops. Momma tried to surf the internet and catch up on blogs, but we had.no.internet.connectivity. We had a power outage earlier in the week, and now, our wireless is "acting up" quite nicely, thankyouverymuch!

So, we stayed in for the first part of the morning, and watched Choo Choo some more, while we threw an occasional temper tantrum. Hunter. Not me. Then, because I felt he was feeling better, we went to Sears to get our tires rotated and balanced, and get lunch at McDonalds.

Hunter fell asleep in the car on the way home, so I thought I'd lay down for one too. PERISH THE THOUGHT. As soon as the car stopped, he popped his eyes open, and when we stepped into the house, he demanded to see Choo Choo. Again. So no nap for either of us. But we did get to enjoy the same Choo Choo movie over and over again! Did I mention again that he wasn't feeling real well? Sick child, no nap, and only one Choo Choo video makes for a looooooong day.

So, being the excellent mother I am, I took my sick child to a new park to play. It was the most excellentest park ever... except it didn't have any swings. But that's okay, because it was still excellent. And we went through an awesome car wash with yellow, blue, and white soap, and lots and lots of gushing water.

Then we went to the grocery store. Because we need food to live off of while we watch Choo Choo again. Which ran the entire time we ate dinner. Yup... through grace and everything! Because Stinky Steamies and Dirty Diesels need to work together! And while we're on the topic of telephones ... we went to Best Buy to get a new one, because we can't find the one Hunter hid. Okay, we weren't on that topic, but I thought I'd throw it in, because the heavens may fall if I miss any of your calls because I can't hear the phone ring. Especially since the battery pack on the other phone just died, and we had to replace that too, while we were at Best Buy last night. So the only phone that works at Casa Sunshine is the one, loan, old fashioned phone mounted to the wall in the kitchen.

As for the malfunctioning wireless modem ... I don't know what to make of it. I unplugged it. Then I unplugged my cable modem. Then I took out all the other lines. Then I put them all back in. Then I held my breath and tried to connect. Then I threw all the modems ... lines and all ... against the wall and bashed them with the Choo Choo DVD. Okay. I really didn't do that. But I've got a birthday wish to post tomorrow ... and an important PodCast to listen to this weekend, for crying out loud! I can't have my wirelessdownforonemoresecond!

Ehem... But the highlight of the day?

Oh, the sweet moment that I discovered that Burger King has an iced Mocha Coffee -- the thick, sweet, cold concoction ... it makes me heady just thinking about it now! And the nervous twitch in my left eye from not having internet connectivity at home is slowly increasing, and I figure if I drink a lot of these yummy iced Mocha Coffees, I'll get both eyes to twitch, and it might help my wireless router perk up and work.


Can you tell I'm happy to be back at work today?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Backlash on Toys Made in China...

Thomas the Tank toys are popular in our household. "Choo-Choo" is often heard coming out of Hunter's mouth, and I was a wee bit cross that I had to take some toys away from Hunter because of lead contamination.

Then, Mattel came out with their extensive recall. Fisher Price toys, "Cars" Character toys, Polly Pocket toys, Dora and Diego toys, Sesame Street Character toys, Batman toys, Barbie toys...

Wait ... did you hear about the bibs being recalled by WalMart? How about the ones being recalled by Toys R Us? Guess what I've thrown away?

And, let's not forget about the massive dog-food recall, and the toothpaste recall.

Then, there's the investigative report ABC came out with that said that most hoses contain extremely high levels of lead (a stabilizing agent used in the PVC when making hoses). We've replaced our hoses with marine hoses that specifically say "safe for drinking." They are made of a medical-grade vinyl which does not contain lead.

Where does it stop?

"Nearly 1-in-3 Moms Surveyed Say They Will Not Buy Any Products from China According to a Poll From Online Toy Retailer eBeanstalk.com"


"Nearly 1-in-3 Moms" -- 1/3 of moms across the nation -- will not buy ANY products from China (not just toys). That's a lot of households in America! That's a lot of lost income for China.

Recently, I participated in this survey for eBeanstalk.com, and I must say that when I read the results, I was surprised that so many moms felt the same way I do... more than just leery about the quality of merchandise they are getting from China. After all, no one wants to give their child a loaded gun, do they? So, why would we hand them a "loaded toy?" Okay, maybe that was a bit severe, but the safety and well-being of my child is so important to me and my husband, and it really upsets me the more I think of the unsafe manufacturing practices by overseas manufacturer's, and the lax followup by the toy giants once the toys are back in America and ready to go out to the toy stores, sales shelves, your home, and the hands and mouth of your child.

It almost makes me want to go out and get a lead test and test all of Hunter's toys. AND, it makes me want to throw away all items that are made in Asia. The frustrating thing is ... it's not just the cheap dollar store toys that are made in China! It's Mattel! Fisher Price! Thomas the Tank (which are very expensive)!

I, for one, will have my eyes open wide when I shop for Hunter's birthday presents (October) and for Christmas, and you can bet that I'll lovingly encourage my extended family to do the same, although, I doubt I'll have to, because they are all so concerned about safety anyway.

One thing that will make it easier for me is that eBeanstalk.com has a commitment to their consumers:

"Given the scope of all products from all categories that come from China, we as retailers, must be stronger advocates for our customers and not just rely on the manufacturers", says Brian Gordon, co-founder of eBeanstalk. "First, we are working with all of our manufactures to ensure all safety steps have been made in the manufacturing process. If we are not satisfied, we remove the manufacturer from our site. Second, we lead-test all the toys ourselves. And third, we are offering free lead testing of any toy from any retailer that is brought into our store." Adds Gordon, "We recognize the seriousness of moms’ concerns and are trying to be proactive and helpful. I’m a new parent too, and I know when it comes to your child’s safety and health you never compromise."

Brian Gordon, co-founder of eBeanstalk

I URGE you to go over to eBeanstalk.com -- check out the results of the survey, and more importantly, check out their toys (they have great gift kits, too!).

Also, here is a website where you can get lead tests to test your toys, etc.

So, what are your feelings on this? What will you be doing to ensure your child's health and safety? Will you boycott purchasing products/toys made in China/Asia? Do you think you'll test the toys? Do you think you'll throw away toys made in China?

I'm not trying to sound like Chicken Little, or all gloom and doom... so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave them in the comments or leave a link to your own post. Please remember ... this is not an opportunity to "bash Chinese or Asian manufacturers."

By the way ... NONE of the recalled toys from Mattel or Fisher Price have ever been sold at eBeanstalk. NOT ONE. Thought you might want to know!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Trying it Out...

So, the magnificent Chilihead over at Blogging Basics 101 did a fab-U post today about fancy-ing up your quotes, and I just had to try it to see how it worked! So, here are a few Pooh, et all quotes for you to enjoy...

"The atmospheric conditions have been
very unfavourable lately."

(very unfavourable in Oklahoma City!)

"My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places."

Pooh (and GiBee, too!)

"One can't complain. I have my friends.
Someone spoke to me only yesterday."


"I just wanted to be sure of you."


"Spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count."

Rabbit (and GiBee, too)

Chilihead has created a monster! Y'all REALLY need to get over to Blogging Basics 101, roll your sleeves up, and dig around and read all the treasures Chilihead and Shannon are posting!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Need a reason to live?

Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer had a link to a really cute video over at her blog today, which is where I discovered ... for the first time ... God Tube. Love it. (maybe I live under a rock??)

Here's a video I found ... and loved ... and thought I'd share with you today:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why F@t Chix Shouldn't Run...

Because when they fall, they fall hard.

And it hurts.

For a long time.

And it's embarrassing.

Especially when they BOUNCE. OH YEAH. For real.

Unless, of course, said fat chix is chasing after her son who pulled out of said fat chix hand, and is now darting into a street with an on-coming SUV headed right for child, and the child is hidden by a parked pickup truck, and the oncoming SUV can't see the hidden child in their direct path, and said fat chix totally freaks out, sees child's life flash before her eyes, runs after child to grab him, steps on his foot, is propelled into air, lands on knee and hands with a big and sickening smacking sound, bounces back up a bit, rolls flat, and turns around screaming the child's name like a mad woman. Who bounces. Hard. In front of all the horrified neighbors having a community yard sale ... oh, AND all the people shopping at said yard sales. And she also tripped her child, made him fall, skeered him to death, but stopped on-coming traffic with flashing key-lime green crocs flailing in the air.

It was an exhausting 3 minutes, and it took a while for the shock to wear off.

But other than a swollen knee, bruises on knee, hands, and elbow, twisted ankle, sore shoulders and arms and a stopped heart ... fat chix okay. Boy is oblivious. Life is grand.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Can I just BRAG on my sister for a second?

Yesterday was such a bad day. I didn't feel well, I was in an "off" and "sour" mood, and I took it out on someone, which I should NOT have done. The day got worse, and the night was no better. Today, however, is a better day, but I am left dreaming for my upcoming vacation, which I really, REALLY need, and wishing it would be here sooner than two weeks from today. I really need the time away, did I mention that? The quietness (as quiet as a vacation with 5 children will allow), and being away from traffic, people (not you, of course), and work. So since I can't go for another two weeks, I'll just talk about it, and share some pictures... then you'll understand why I'm so anxious for my "vacay."

Warning: I'm serious ... The following may sound like I'm bragging about my sister ... so if you don't want to read it ... move on now! And I don't mean that in a mean way, either. (my husband is going to be horrified I'm even posting this)

My little sister is a very lovely person. She is two and 1/2-ish years younger than me, and is a true and fine (and refined) southern woman, who takes after my mom with her gift of hospitality, is uber-creative, and loves all things "beautiful" (unlike me who has no manners at-all anymore, much to my parent's horror -- but I do love me some beautiful stuff). She was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in the area (hey, me to, just in case you're wondering), and then went to college in the south, where she received her degree in interior design. And ... where she appropriately acquired a heavy, heavy Southern drawl.

She met her husband in the south, came back up to get married in D.C., and moved back down south to start her now large family of 4 adorable, well-mannered, Southern children. Who all have the most hilarious appropriate adorable southern accents. Her husband has worked hard, and has made a great name for himself, as well as a great living (again, I stress worked hard)... They are blessed. And I re-stress ... BLESSED. And in turn, they take little opportunities here and there to share their blessings with me and my family. Which also in turn, makes ME blessed. The two of them (actually his whole family, too) have such generous, kind, and loving hearts. I love them so much.

Anyway, now that I've set the stage, I feel some bragging coming on. My little sister and her husband own a beach house in NC. It's a duplex, and they own the whole home, but only rent out one side, and they vacation on the other side. And in two short weeks, my whole family will be vacationing together there -- in the whole house -- how fun will THAT BE!!!

As I mentioned before, she majored in interior design, and if you're from the south, chances are, there isn't a single white wall in your home... and in keeping with tradition, she has decorated her beach home (the rental side, too) so beautifully. I love going there, because you truly feel like you're at a tropical beach in her homes! And as an added plus, the house is located in an area that has no boardwalks, no carnival rides, no bells and whistles. Just beach. Ocean. Sea Grass. Dunes. The Sound. Seafood. Mom and Pop Ice Cream shops.

Can I just say ... I'M SO EXCITED I CAN BARELY WAIT! Whew. I feel better now.

So, anyway ... I thought I'd share some pictures of what my vacation will look like. Their house is on the ocean (so nice!!!), and in no time soon, I'll be sitting on the porch, enjoying a cup of whatever, listening to the ocean crash in on the beach, and yelling at my son not to eat the sand, not to hit his cousin, and not to throw sand at anyone. My sister, her husband, her four kids, my mom and dad, me, my husband and my son. Doesn't that sound wonderful?!

Anyway, here's a picture of her house. You are looking at it as if you were standing with the ocean behind you. The side they stay in is on the left, the side they rent out (and I'll be staying in along with my parents) is on the right. If you're on that porch, the next picture is the view you have with the house to your back. Nice, huh? Did I mention they are blessed?

Okay ... here are some pictures of the inside of the rental side ... first, is a picture of the main floor with a family room, a dining area, and the kitchen... all overlooking the ocean. I just can't wait.

Next, I give you pictures of the bedrooms... I love the yellow one with the stripped cover.

Finally, I give you the only room in the house that appropriately has white walls... the "peak," which has a "window bed" -- it's the top, top, top part of the house, and I'm thinking it's a fine place to hide and read. Very serene, dontcha think?

So that's what I'm holding out for ... in another two weeks. And hopefully, I'll even be able to tap into the neighbors wireless modem. Now, THAT would make it a wonderful, WONDERFUL vacation. Did you know that "uber" comes up as "buber" in spell check? What's up with that?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday -- Bloggy Tip

Thank goodness today is Works for me Wednesday, because I have a good one! Thanks, Shannon, for being such a wonderful host ... head on over to Rocks in my Dryer and checkout more awesome tips when you're done reading mine.

I am totally ignorant when it comes to all things HTML. True story. I am. And, every now and then, I have a light-bulbby-idea explode in my head ... like ... "Hey -- how can I keep weirdo people from right-clicking on my precious baby's pictures?" But the frustration of: A) not knowing how to do this stuff; and B) not understanding html instructions prevents me from figuring out how to do stuff like this (see below for answer).

That's where my Works for me Wednesday tip comes in to play. And seriously, I'm not doing this because I've met these two gals in person, or because I'm trying to kiss up. No sir! I'm doing this because this is one of the most helpful sites about blogging that I've come across in a long time, and let me just say ... these chicks are as smart as razor-sharp tacks! Where I, well ... I'm only as smart as a sharp crayon (that's been sitting in the sun for a long time).

Anyway, I'm talking about Blogging Basics 101.

Those two crazy, but ever so intelligent, girls (Chilihead and Shannon) are always posting very, very helpful tips for the following platforms: Blogger, Typepad, and some Wordpress. They also have numerous explanations such as: Blogrolls, Carnivals, Design Tips, Memes, Graphics ... people ... it's a lot of links! I know! So just go there and read everything! Everything, I tell you!

If you do nothing else today ... I strongly urge you to read the post (written by Chilihead) about preventing people from taking your images/photos from your blog -- AND GO DO IT on your own blog. You can! I know you can! Because I did, and it worked. While it won't prevent pictures from being lifted off of your site, it may possibly irritate the person enough that they won't bother.

Also, if you don't see a post on whatever light-bulbby kind of question might be exploding in your head, email them ... you will get a reply! I promise!

Trust me when I say ... This is one site you are not only going to want to bookmark, but you're going to want to get the word out, AND place their cute graphic on your blog's sidebar

Whatcha waiting for? Go see what works for me, because I KNOW it will work for you, too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Please Pray...

About 18 months ago, we had a family crisis. My husband's extended family experienced a very heart-breaking loss of a very loved cousin who ended his life at a very young age, leaving three young children behind.

Since that time, my husband's aunt and uncle, as well as their children, have had a very difficult healing process. They have had numerous emergencies since then. One cousin's husband was rushed to the emergency room, where he proceeded to stay in the hospital for numerous days due to critically high blood pressure that caused a stroke. Then, they have also experienced all the awful "firsts" -- "first Christmas without your child/brother", etc.

Now, they are faced with yet another crisis, and I turn to you, my praying friends, and ask that you lift this family up in your prayers. The youngest daughter of the cousin that committed suicide was riding the tractor with my husband's uncle (her grandfather) yesterday, and her foot slipped into the engine and was entangled in a belt. They air-lifted her to Children's Hospital, where they tried to clean it up as best as possible in the small window of time they could keep her sedated. They hooked up a machine to try to pump out any remaining dirt and fluid. That's all I know right now.

She is barely a toddler, and is the apple of her grandfather's eye. My husband spoke to him a while ago, and he shared that he is feeling awful and heavy-hearted over this accident. From what I understand, she was riding the tractor with him.

This family has seen its share of sorrow, pain, and trials in the last 18 months. The enemy is working overtime to defeat them, but we know that the Lord will prevail. Where two or more are gathered, there is the presence of the Lord ... not the enemy.

Please, I ask you to keep "S" in your prayers as she begins her recovery in the hospital. Please pray that her foot will heal completely, that she will be able to walk and have full movement of her foot, and that any memory of this will be completely erased from her memory. Also, please keep my husband's uncle ("M"), and his tender, crushed heart in your prayers, as well as the mother of "S".

Thank you! I know I can turn to my friends when I need support through prayer!

Summer Cupcake Caper -- Final Results

For those of you that might recall, the week that the entries for the cupcakes were due was the exact same week that Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer had her huge, HUGE Dog Days of Summer Giveaway. It was soooo much fun, but it totally trumped the cupcake contest.

As a result, everything was delayed, and we only received 5 entries. But -- worry not -- we had a great time baking, tasting (see hunter above), and judging. I personally do not want to see another cupcake until at least September. And really -- every one's a winner. What could be better?!?

I just wanted to take a moment to thank the guest judges... my Trendy Church Friend, who is a loving wife, mom of 2, church secretary, and Pampered Chef Consultant, and has a schedule so full, that I'm surprised she was able to squeeze all this in! She's simply amazing. And... Shalee, from Shalee's Place... who is also a loving wife, mom of 2, has a full time job, and loves to cook (she can make a mean Mac 'N Cheese, by the way!). Thank you, ladies ... your input was valuable, and without you, I couldn't have done it!

So without further delay, the winners are:

First Place
Coming in first place with the "Most Scrumptious-est Cupcake" ... Cupcakes of Perfection, submitted by Rohanknitter's from Weathertop Farm. She submitted, what truly was, a cupcake of perfection. It was a very moist, very delicious and dark chocolate cupcake with am amazing semi-dark chocolate-syrup-based frosting that had the perfect consistency. It was deeeelish, hands down. Everyone that tasted them immediately said, "this has GOT to be the winner." It was a simple, decadent cupcake that completely stole the show ... or, in my Trendy Friend's words ... "took the cake!"

Second Place
The second place cupcake ... the "Most-likely to be enjoyed by adults" cupcake was ... the Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes, submitted by Carrie (I don't have a link to a blog yet). They were really, really scrumptious, with a special hidden surprise ... a ribbon of raspberry jam in the middle of the cupcake. I've done this before with strawberry jam, and knew it would be a great hit!! We would all have been happier without the coconut, which is odd, really, because we all like coconut (all the judges). It's just strange chewing on leftover flakes of coconut after you've bit into a really nice and tasty cupcake! The final decorated cupcake was simply adorable, as she decorated it like a flower! And I personally am not a fan of Crisco/Shortening - based frostings, but this one was very good. And ... Carrie did an AWESOME job decorating her cupcakes!

Third Place
The third place cupcake was ... Mema's Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, submitted by Jana at Quick, Before I Get Sidetrack'd. We all thought that the cupcake itself was very moist, and very sweet (she used a box of strawberry jello -- genius!), but again, we agreed that we could all do without the coconut, and were left wondering why it was included inside a cupcake that wasn't a coconut cupcake? What did it add? Especially with chunks of strawberries to chew on! I must say, though, that I was a bit disappointed with the strawberry frosting because it was too runny, almost glaze-consistency, and way too sweet, which is why in general, we preferred it with the cream cheese frosting, which by the way, was delicious. (I would suggest using strawberry jam in the strawberry frosting instead of the strawberries, as it would produce a firmer frosting). All-around, it was very, very good.

The prize for the cupcake that was "Most Likely to be Enjoyed by Children" was tied between Momo Monkey Cupcakes, submitted by Robin at My Pursuit Of... and Surprise Cupcake Cones, submitted by Tarrah, at My Blue Eye'd Babies:

The Momo Monkey Cupcakes were chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chips, but had a special twist that I KNOW my son personally adored ... mashed banana. While the cupcake was moist and dense, I personally was not crazy about the heavy banana taste. And again, I am not a big fan of shortening-based frosting, but my son loved them, and they are so cute when decorated like a monkey, although in my opinion, they were enjoyed just as well without the decoration! One judge was even impressed with the ease of the batter, and that there was fruit within the dessert! Sneaky!

The Surprise Cupcake Cones had a very delicious cupcake "batter" but the baked cake itself came out a bit dry and hard. They are simply adorable when completely decorated, but required a lot of work, and I could see that I was loosing my "stay-power" after only getting half-way done with them. I gave them to a neighbor who has three kids, and they were thrilled with them. I would suggest under-baking the cupcakes from what the recipe calls for so they don't dry out. Also, I found that they were quite time consuming, but even so, they are something I would do for a special occasion (birthday, summer party, etc). The look on a kid's face when they are handed one of these is far more rewarding than you can imagine!!!

There you have it! If you are interested in any of the recipes for the cupcakes mentioned above, you can click on this link -- CupcakeContestRecipes.pdf -- and then go to the second box (the first one is just advertisements for Google, etc.), and click on "DOWNLOAD FILE" in order to download the pdf file to your computer.

Congratulations, ladies! The prizes will be mailed off to you as soon as I collect all your addresses, and I'll post a picture of all the prizes after you receive them (so as not to spoil the "visual" surprise!).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Cupcake Caper Results

The recipes have been turned in ... the baking ensued ... the judging has took place ... the taste tests have been completed ...

The results?

Please tune in tomorrow for the final results. I know I said I'd have them up today, but I need just a wee bit more time, so the best I can do is have them up tomorrow!

Talk about a cliff hanger! Stay tuned!

... and thanks for understanding!

How Do YOU Say It?

I've always wondered what the correct way is to say: Ephesians.

I've heard Pastors say something that sounds like: eh-fish-unz (with the middle "e" pronounced "short" like you would say"fish" (in fact, the "phes" sounds just like "fish") and the "ia" pronounced like "uh")

I've heart Pastors say something that sounds like: eh-feh-zhunz (with the middle "e" pronounced like you would say "enter")

And then, I've heard Pastors say it the way I say it: eh-fee-zhunz (with the middle "e" pronounced "long" -- like you would say "erase" or "free")

I had asked a previous pastor of mine (who hails from Kentucky) why he said it the way he did (eh-feh-zhunz -- or maybe it was eh-fish-unz -- I've lost track), and he said it was the way he was taught to say it. That explanation rings too close to, "because my momma did it that way" when you ask someone why they cut off part of their roast when they cook it ... only to find out from "momma" that she did it that way because the roast was too long for the only pan she owned. You know what I mean???

Well, I heard it pronounced again this weekend, and it sounded like a cross between "eh-FIH-zhunz" and "eh-FEH-zhunz," and it really bothered me! What is the proper way to say the word Ephesians? I know! You're wondering the very same thing too! And if I don't find out, the entire world is going to stop spinning, fall off of it's axis and everything as we know it will... CHANGE. AAAHHH!

Well, the same pastor I mentioned earlier always told me that you should be ready to defend what the Bible says about something, including being able to "point to it" in the Bible ... not just say, "well it's in the Bible somewhere." So I took what he said, and changed it a bit ... I wanted to know why I pronounced Ephesians the way I did, and be able to explain it to people in the event that they might ask ... which happens so often, don't you know. So, I went on line, did a very quick, nitty-gritty Google on the pronunciation of the word, and came up with this:

eh-FEE-zhuhnz or ih-FEE-zhuhnz (with the middle "e" pronounced "long").

Now, all these "long" and "short" sounds really take me back to the days of elementary school, and that was way back when we were writing on stone tablets ... so I'm not even sure I'm using it in the right context ... I'm probably not. In fact, I vaguely remember a late music minister of ours explain how certain vowels are pronounced long, and certain ones are pronounced short ... something about the consonants surrounding the vowels ... or something like that (as in ... pronouncing the word angel like Ayn-gel (like for your hair) -- which according to him was the wrong way to say it, or Ayn-guhl, which according to him was the right way to say it). If you're a grammatical expert, do share!

Any way, I am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert on grammar, pronunciation, vowels, or anything related to the English language (other than "I talk it") ... but I do know one thing... I was pronouncing it properly. Which is a tremendous relief for me, because I would hate to have been saying it wrong for the past 25 years! The world shall continue to spin as normal.

Yes. I'm totally confused at this point, as I'm sure you are also. And you're probably asking your self ... "who really cares, anyway?" And you're probably saying something like... "get ON with it, wouldja?" Well, I do (care) ... or did. Now, I don't, really. And, okay, okay ... I'll move on. ;-)

As for the rest of you? I'm curious how do YOU say it... and WHY? Oh, go ahead ... be honest ... this is a "no judgement" zone!

Here are two links that have a .wav file that allows you to HEAR how it's pronounced: Net Ministries and Your Dictionary

Have fun with it!!!

(edited to correct some crazy grammar problems I had -- heh heh!)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Bible Funny -- Sort of...

I know, I know... I rarely post on weekends... but this was so cute, I had to share.

This evening, my husband was studying the Bible. He started off by reviewing our Pastor's notes from this morning, and moved onto a closer exposé on Paul, because he wants to get to know "Paul" better.

Any way, he was reading about Saul, and his encounter with God, when he burst out laughing. I, being the non-curious type (hahahaha -- ehem) asked what he was laughing about because, while there have been times that I smiled, or even snickered while reading scripture... I've never belly-laughed out loud -- and I needed know if I had to move far away from where lightning might strike.

So, Mr. Bee told me that he was reading in Acts 9, and came across a passage where God blinded Saul and told him to go to town. Then, the Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision... that's where he burst out laughing... See if you see the same humor in verse 11 that my husband did, because I did, and we both laughed out loud!

Acts 9:10-11-- 10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. 11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.

Get it? The Lord was calling Saul out of his old life, and into his new life of serving the Lord... so essentially, the Lord was going to straighten Saul (Paul) out... Get it? Straighten Saul out? On Straight Street?


Okay. I know. We're warped.

What can I say... we're old. Go with it!

See you tomorrow in blogland!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

This morning, I sat down to my computer, not really knowing what to post about. I had many ideas whirling around, but nothing concrete. So, I started to go down my list of favorite blogs, only to stop at the second one on my list ... Big Mama ... and was so inspired by her post that I hurriedly left her blog to come here and share about my very special weekend [cue music to You're The Inspiration by Chicago]. Mostly, because I had nothing else to talk about... SNORT ... and I really, really wanted to share... but also because her enthusiasm was just as ROCKING as mine was over this particular topic... Plus ... I didn't want to look anything less than cool ... and when I saw that Big Mama had already posted about it, I figured I'd remain in my "semi-cool-wanna-be" status if I went ahead and did a post on basically-and-pretty-much the same thing.

Except my post has a twist... of the belly-kind.

Anyway, remember my post on Friday about Finding your Sign ... to being old? Well, I'm not sure if my dear, and most considerate husband read that or not ... but, Saturday afternoon, he let me take a nice, quiet nap, then he let me shower (by "let" I mean ... he watched and entertained our son the whole time -- alone), and then he came up as I was getting dressed, leaned over, and very, very suggestively said to me ... "Wanna go to a matinee?" I heart this man a ton!

Evidently, he and his sister (my real-life bff -- oh, yes indeed), had already conspired to go to the matinee, and he had already shipped Hunter off to his grandparents for the evening (while I was napping), so we were free ... free, I tell you, FREE. So, I called Sunshine to firm up plans, and the funny thing is that all 4 of us wanted to see the same movie. I mean, who doesn't want to see the Bourne Ultimatum?? (please don't make my ears bleed by telling me you don't want to see it)

So, we went to the matinee, plunked down $14 for tickets, and did what all old-folk do when they go to a matinee -- we whooped it up, baby! We both got our very own popcorn with extra butter and drinks (I got the "kids meal" -- very small popcorn, a snack-sized bag of skittles, and a small diet coke -- sheer perfection). I had mine wolfed down before the movie ever started. Very lady like, I must say ... especially when I licked the butter off of each finger ... loudly ... because the lady behind us didn't have her decibel-control-monitor on, and you could hear her plain as day all the way in Texas, if you tried real hard... so to heck with my own manners!

But then ... oh, my heavens ... then the movie started ... and let me just tell you -- Jason Bourne looks better today than he did in any of his movies -- I heart Jason Bourne. The scar on his face made me melt. In fact, I think my husband looks just like him if you squint your eyes real tight, tilt your head to an almost upside down position, and turn off the lights. They're twins, I tell you.

Anyway, The Bourne Ultimatum was a totally rocking, socking, actionactionactionactionaction packed movie. Oh, and it was sooooo action packed, too ... did I mention that? And guess who comes back in this movie? Julia Stiles (well, a couple others, too). What a cutie. And someone commented over at Big Mama's that her highlights were too streaky, and they were making it easy for her to be followed (in a crowded open-air market in a middle-eastern-ish country) -- why yes, they were ... because she was probably the only woman that wasn't covered by a burka -- oh, okay -- I jest -- but it was obvious where she was ... but let me just say --- WHEW! Because that's how JasonMyJason kept tabs on her... and if I wanted Jason to chase me, I'd have my hair done just like she did (in fact ... I just may... never mind).

Oh, and that Jason ... he's so smart, and buff, and can fight like a lean fighting tiger-machine, and has the nine lives to go along with the whole tiger-fighting-machine image, and really, I can't say much more, because I would give the movie away, but suffice it to say ... you will barely notice anything else in the room because you will be riveted to the screen. Just take a word of advice from Big Mama and don't forget to breath ... not even for one second!

BUT ... rent the first two Bourne movies if you haven't seen them yet. You need to know the history in order to make sense of the ending ... (or is it???)

So, after our action-packed matinee, we walked out and decided to go to a restaurant. Oh, I tell you -- it was a fully-grown-up evening. I suggested the middle-eastern restaurant directly across from the movie theater.

There were a few grumbles, but we went, and let me tell you -- you have never, ever lived unless you have dined to the fine sounds of an over-weight, way-outta-shape, I-can't-believe-you're-not-embarrassed-because-I'm-embarrassed-for-you woman who is tinkling her finger bells at you as she belly dances her way around the restaurant. I will never look at light blue diaphanous gossamer fabric with the same eyes again. And I won't even go into the whole "doused with sandalwood incense" subject.

Okay, I will ... it was totally overpowering, and scented the food in such a way that you felt like vomiting (just in case her gyrations didn't make you wanna vomit). I think she cornered the market on "senses" by "looking and smelling as bad as possible." The entertainment was a total flop ... of the belly kind. I think it was more entertaining for me to listen to Sunshine say things like ... "Oh, you're done ... good, are you leaving? No. Of course you're not." I'm sure you would too. In fact, I was really, really surprised to see a few people enjoying it! She wasn't even good! I know we all felt a sense of distaste because of our high values and morals. I'm sure of it.

So, here's my two cents worth of advice for you... GO rent the first two Bourne movies ... GO see the Bourne Ultimatum ... and DON'T GO to a middle-eastern restaurant with belly dancers afterwards -- or any time, really.

Anyone else see the movie? Or have run-ins of the belly-kind?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

WFMW: Strawberry-Infused Lemonade

It's Wednesday again, and you know what that means... Works for me Wednesday, hosted by Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer! Make sure you take a few moments to check out all the excellent tips that are being shared over there!!

Now ... what works for me on a hot, humid evening? A tall, cool glass of homemade Strawberry-Infused Lemonade. My husband, the wonderful man that he is, developed this very special recipe, and we love it at Casa Sunshine... so props to the King Bee! And as always, please be sure to give him credit when regaling the wonders of this special strawberry refresher!

The lemonade is a really pretty corally-color, and has a wonderful flavor to it. The recipe is best made early enough that you can chill it. Here's what you do:

In a small saucepan, make a syrup by bringing to a boil the following: 2-1/2 cups of water, 5 washed and hulled strawberries (I slice them up), and 1-1/2 cups (or 1-3/4 cups, depending on how sweet you like your lemonade) sugar; Soft-boil for 3 minutes.

In the mean time, juice 5 lemons (1 cup), and 1 lime. Strain all seeds out, and pour into a pitcher.

Add the syrup, and 3 additional cups of water. Stir well. At this point, you can choose to either leave the strawberries in or remove them. Taste (remember that it will be hot) to make sure it's sufficiently sweet (if not, add more sugar), or if it's overly sweet (if so, add more water or lemon juice).

If you're too anxious to wait, pour over a lot of ice. If you can stand the wait, chill for several hours before serving. It is even better the next day


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Momrn2!!!

Today is a special day for Momrn2 ... it is her birthday! So, make sure you visit her and wish her a very big, very happy, very jouyful, and very loud Happy Birthday!!!

"He renews your youth --
you're always young in
His presence."
Psalm 103:5 (the Message)


Big Mama ROCKS in the Sunshine Household!

A couple months ago, Big Mama posted a recipe for Chicken Chilaquiles, and last night, I thought I'd try it out. Here's a brief recap of what happened:

I started by boiling my chicken, because unlike Big Mama, I don't have an aversion to raw chicken in any form. Except eating it raw, of course, which I hope you do too. I soon realized that it would have been faster if I had used the rotisserie chicken ... but I'm hard-headed like that.

So anyway, I started putting the components to the recipe together, and decided to boldly go where the recipe did not take me. I added garlic powder to the recipe, because everything needs a good dose of garlic, in my book. Then, I added salt to the sauce. I know. I know. It's a light and healthy recipe ... but seriously ... the recipe contains cheese, so I thought it needed salt to go along with all the cheese that made the recipe so healthy.

Then, when I was adding the Parmesan cheese, I opened the wrong side of the container and accidentally dumped what looked like 1 cup of the stuff ... rather than the 1/2 cup the recipe actually called for. But, being the ultimate professional that I am in the kitchen, I did not worry. I kept right on adding the other ingredients. Low, and behold, when I got to the "1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers" (which is the very next item on the list of ingredients) I thought it said ... 1 cup. Or, maybe I wanted it to say 1 cup. So, I added one cup instead of 1/2. My only explanation at this point is, I needed to balance out all the Parmesan cheese.

When I poured the green sauce into the baking dish, I distinctly remember thinking to myself, two very clear and concise thoughts: 1) this is awfully runny! and 2) I'm not sure I'm going to like this, because I hate tomatillos ... a main ingredient to the sauce.

Finally, when the recipe said "Sprinkle top with Monterey Jack cheese," I used the remaining 1 cup of cheese in the 2-cup bag... because nothing tells your heart you love it more than a good helping of cheese. So in all actuality, instead of the 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers that the recipe called for, I used 2 cups. Because 1/2 and 2 are so similar, in that they both have a 2.

As it turns out, not only did I like it, I loved it. And, not only did I love it, but the whole familia loved it too ... my husband and Hunter, too! The recipe magically worked out perfectly with all my "additions and variances," the sauce thickened up beautifully, and it gave me a good use for some of the 100 corn tortillas I happened to have on hand (my husband purchase them a couple weeks ago... when I asked him to get 1 package. Evidently, I need to specify ... "a package of 10 corn tortillas, love!").

The only other change from Big Mamma's recipe is... She used extra spicy green chiles because she's a "Rocker" ... I used extra mild green chiles because I'm old. As in almost 40. As in ... I want to relish in the flavor of the dish, not peel layers off of my tongue.

No worries, though ... my very picky, very high-faluting-gourmet-lovin' husband gave the dish an A++ -- and added that he would have served some green salsa on the side to put on top of the finished dish ... because none of us at Casa Sunshine care to follow directions on recipes at.all.

So, thank you Big Mama, for sharing your light and delicious recipe for Chicken Chilaquiles -- internets, I encourage y'all that have a love (or even mild fondness) for all things Mexican to try this outstanding recipe!

And Big Mama, you ROCK in our household!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Here's Your Sign...

You know you're getting old when...

1) You want white cotton underwear. Not granny-panties, mind you ... but white, comfortable, cotton underwear by Fruit of the Loom, and without tags. There can't be any tags.

2) You want white cotton bras with underwire. Long gone are the days of Victoria Secret's fru-fru bras ... now, you just seek comfort, in an coolandcomfy, cottony, breathinthedeadofsummery, underwirey kind of way (because now ... underwire is an essential element to holdingupedness). Lightly padded, thankyouverymuch.

3) You look upon a person picking their hind end (in what he thinks is a deserted hallway) with sympathy instead of disdain or disgust, because you know he's uncomfortable (because you've been there), and you feel sorry for him, therefore, wanting him to be comfy.

4) You no longer enjoy dipping your fries in chocolate milkshakes as much as you once did, because you know what will heppen to your hips. And you care.

5) You wait for movies to come out on DVD, because for the life of you, you can't understand why anyone would pay over $10 for a movie ticket, and leave "empty handed," when they can pay $15 for a DVD, and own it forever.

6) If you must go to a movie, you make darn good and sure that it's a matinee (refer to number 5 for further explanation).

7) You'd rather have friends over for a quiet evening together (or to play a maddening game of Taboo), rather than go dancing ... or whatever young people do these days. What do young people do these days, anyway?

8) Bar crawl? What's that? It's been too long to remember. Besides ... you're a mom now, and all you have time to think about is ... Milk crawl.

9) Sleeping in late means waking up at 7:30, maybe 8:00... Oh, the days...

10) You turn the volume down on the car radio, the house radio, and the TV, but turn the volume up on the phones.

Have a blessed weekend ... and share some of Jesus' joy and love with someone! Really! You'll get more out of it than they will! Promise! Money back guarantee!

Thoughtgul AND Creative Blogger Award

Updated to add: Heather from The Roller Coaster Ride of my Life has given me the Creative Blogger Award!!! Thank you! I'm totally blushing right now!!

Heather said... "GiBee who in all her Christian kindness offered to open her home up to me anytime I wanted to get away. This is a lady worth learning about folks! Oh, and I'm pretty sure she'd offer you a cupcake if you dropped by!"

She's so sweet ... and, ummm ... cupcakes are on the cooling rack!

Beth at Life With Two Little Vikings has passed on another special award to me, which has not only honored me, but blessed me!

It is the Thoughtful Blogger award, and the criteria is as follows:

"For those who answer blog comments, emails and make their visitors feel at home on their blog. For the people who take other people's feelings into consideration before speaking out, and who are kind and courteous. Also for all those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others."

And here is what Beth said about me (I think she hit her head before she typed it up, but ... that's just me):

"... she is the considerate-thoughtfulness type to a "T". And, while she loves her Lord, isn't afraid to shout it out, and will defend Him to the end, she is considerate and concerned enough to follow up, clarify, and minister to those she thinks she may have irked, offended, or been misunderstood by. And, she does it all in a Christ-like way. Another trait I desire for myself."

See why I'm so honored? I do love my Lord, and will shout it out ... but the rest of the stuff she said? Wow. Thank you.

In all honesty, it is an honor that someone thinks enough of you to take the time to bestow an award to you for something you've done... Thank you Beth, for thinking of me! It means a lot... So now, I'd like to pass this on to a few deserving souls ... in a "Pay it forward" type of fashion:

I'd would like to share this award with momrn2 at My Quiet Corner, Peach at Without Fear, and Barb at A Chelsea Morning.

These women are compassionate, sympathetic, caring and hospitable bloggers, and I am honored to call them friend. They are always willing to listen, and always willing to pray for you and with you when needed. Their thoughtfulness goes deep, whether through the written word on their blog, or through an email, or through a wonderful note that pops into your mailbox when you least expect it, but most need it.

Thank you, Beth and heather, for the awards, and for giving me the opportunity to pay this forward, and thank you ladies, for your unending thoughtfulness!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dear Blogger-Blogging Friends:

The time has come again for another friendly public service announcement about privacy issues, email addresses, and commenting.

I have had a lot of comments over the past few months that I've been unable to reply to, because there is no email address left in the comments section of my blog.

I really want to communicate with you! And so does everyone else whose blogs you're leaving comments on ... but it simply isn't possible, because you haven't completed a few critical steps on your Blogger Profile in your Dashboard.

We all understand how important privacy is, therefor, before you proceed to do the following steps, please take a moment to analyze your email address. Is it going to give any personal information out that you don't want anyone to know? For instance, is it something like: Firstname_lastname@myemail.com ? Because you may not want anyone to know either your first or last name! If this is the case, I would strongly recommend that you open a new email account with Yahoo, or whatever free email provider you choose. Might I suggest that your email name look something like this? yourblogname@yahoo.com ... or yourcutenickname@yahoo.com .

Once you have that cleared up, it's really easy to change the necessary items in Blogger... Here are step-by-step instructions (with pictures!): (As always, email me if you need help!)

Step 1 -

When you are logged into your blog (in Google's Blogger), you will see three words at the far top/right corner of your window: Dashboard Help Sign out -- When you find those three words, click on the word DASHBOARD (see picture to right).

Step 2 -

Once you are at your Dashboard, you will be able to edit your User Profile by clicking on the words User Profile off to the right (see picture to right).

Step 3 -

Once you are in your Profile, you will see 9 major sections titled in Orange: Privacy, Identity, Photograph, Audio Clip, General, Location, Work, Extended Info, and a box that says Save Profile. You want to be in the "Privacy" section, and you want to click on the box next to SHOW MY EMAIL ADDRESS (see picture below).

Step 4 -

Now you'll want to go to the "Identity" section. You will see several options here. The first one is your USER NAME (which is your email address), and it is already filled out for you. The second one is requesting your EMAIL ADDRESS -- please fill this in! The third one is requesting your DISPLAY NAME -- please fill this in, too (this is where you'll put either your screen name, your blogger name, your first name, or whatever you want people to know you by).

Step 5 -

Your final step is to save your profile edits by clicking on the orange box at the bottom that says "Save Profile."

That's all you need to do.

Phew. I feel so much better ... and now, I can start replying to the wonderful comments you leave me! And as always ... rest assured that your information will not be sold, or miss-used in any way when appears in my email box (which no one can see) or blog comments.

Thank you!


I know, I know ... it's totally ridiculous to enter something that has thousands of comments already ... but when it comes down winning something for free ... doesn't it peak your interest just a tiny, itty, bitty, bit??? Huh? Doesn't it??? Free, free, free ... see? You're curious, aren't you?

So, here's the first BIG freebie giveaway ... a bit of KA-CHING...

Over at Ashwin’s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting!

So all you readers, what are you waiting for?? $2500 could be yours! (The closing date is August 20, 2007)


Next BIG freebie giveaway ...

Those crazy chix at 5 Minutes for Mom are at it again! This time, it's big, big, big!!! Are you ready for this?

They are giving away an ultra slim, lightweight Insignia® 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV (Model: NS-LCD37) which features 1366×768 Resolution, with 16:9 widescreen ratio for cinema-quality viewing ... ohmystars I can hardly contain my self! Lord, if you're listening, please let the random number generator choose mememememe! Ehem...

Anyway, this giveaway ends on Friday, August 17th, at 12:00 AM (not during the days, my little chicadees --- so sign up before Friday)! And a special thank you to Best Buy for sponsoring this outrageous giveaway!

So what are you waiting on??? Go! Go! Go NOW!

eBeanstalk Product Reviews

Recently, I became a Mother Board Member for eBeanstalk, in which I agreed to review products they wanted to endorse. They sent me a box full of goodies to review for them, and let me tell you ... Hunter was as excited as I was! The white box they sent to us had bright green vines on it, and the box was as attractive as the items inside! Hunter was pulling things out of the box so fast, I couldn't keep up with him! Thank you for allowing me to be a member of this board!!!

Here are my reviews of the individual products:

Baby Einstein plate, utensils, Spill-Proof Discover Cup and Spill-Proof Insulated Straw Cup:

I loved how the plate was divided in three sections. My son loved the colors, and I love that we are able to use it as a learning tool at the dinner table. The utensils were easy for him to hold in his hands, and just the right length for him to "turn his hand" to get the food in his mouth. Hunter didn't really show a preference with the cups, other than the cool toy that was in a bubble in the middle of the inside of the Discover Cup. Both cups, the Discover cup and the Insulated Straw Cup rated lower with me, because they both leaked ... each and every time they were tipped on their side. Other than that, they both were fine, and of good quality plastic. The plate and utensils gets two thumbs-up, but the cups only get one and a half thumbs up.

Leap Frog Counting Pals Color Tray Toy from Sassy (I can't find a link for it):

This is a pretty cute toy that can suction onto the tray of a high chair. It is the shape of a caterpillar, and has numbers, rings, and the head of the caterpillar sings when turned. While I found it to be colorful, and it had a couple catchy tunes, it didn't do enough to capture my son's attention. I think it had a lot to do with age appropriateness. I would recommend this toy with two thumbs up for children from the ages 9 months to 18 months, but not older.

Banana Boat KIDS UltraMist Tear-Free SPF50 6 oz and Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free SPF 50 Packet: I love this product. It truly is tear free, and trust me ... we just had an awful, awful experience with my usual baby sunblock. It got into Hunter's eyes when he rubbed them in the car, and it stung him for close to 15 minutes. He was NOT happy. I was NOT happy.

The Banana Boat UltraMist Tear-Free arrived shortly after that experience, and it is a WONDERFUL product. It stays on for a long time without loosing its strength. I used it at the beach this past week (without reapplying), and he didn't burn at all, whereas with the old product I was using, he burned within 15 minutes, and it was an SPF of 50 too!! He also loves how this product tickles when I spray it on ... it fascinates him, really ... which keeps him still during the entire rub-down process! That's a plus for me, because I don't have to chase a crying child around the room anymore.

The only problems are: 1) it was unclear to me if the packets were a "sample" of the lotion, or if the packets were available for purchase, as I would love to have a box of them so I can throw a few packets into his diaper bag, my purse, the glove compartment, etc.; 2) the spray bottle gets a little clogged and then it sprays out in a stream rather than a mist; 3) it is a little "wet" on the hands after you rub it into the child. Other than that, it certainly gets two thumbs up from me, and if I had extra thumbs, it would get those, as well!

Please take a few moments to visit the eBeanstalk website... you'll want to bookmark it in your favorites!