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A trip to Five Below, and a reminder of perspective

I met the kids at the bus stop this afternoon, and after dropping Ryan the Reclusive Hermit off at home with Dan, Alyssa and I headed to the bank to cash an affiliate check, to Pet Smart for the replacement Betta fish I promised her (R.I.P., Blaze; hello and best wishes, Ish The Fish), to Target for a super-sweet deal on a small TV for Ryan as well as a pack of baby wipes (the world only needs three things: duct tape, WD-40, and baby wipes), and then to Five Below for a few odds and ends.

Those “odds and ends” were a couple of items I had to leave behind at the register last Saturday afternoon, when the kids and I found out the hard way that Five Below does not accept American Express credit cards or gift cards. At the time I didn’t have any funds in PayPal, my online savings account only has an ATM card attached to it (no debit/credit option), and my cash was at home. It was a minor inconvenience, and the items weren’t things we really needed: a Quirky power strip I wanted to give as a Christmas gift to one of my brothers, a pack of neon dry-erase markers for Ryan, and a fuzzy hat for Alyssa.

Alyssa and I grabbed those tonight, and I carefully counted our purchases and calculated tax as we headed to the register – too many times we’ve literally been counting pennies to make sure we have enough. We did, with just a few dollars and some change left over. As we left, I noticed a homeless man nearby in the same shopping center. This is a fairly popular shopping center for tourists and rich old ladies alike in our town – their prices really aren’t great but you’d surely think otherwise with the way people flock to the stores throughout the year, but especially so during Tourist Season and the holiday shopping season. Anyway, as Alyssa and I were leaving the parking lot, I pulled up alongside the man, rolled down my window, and gave him the cash I had left — $2.98 — along with several sealed granola bars and oatmeal cookies I keep in the car for Dan and the kids. It wasn’t a lot, as I told him apologetically, but I hoped it would help. Sometimes, the little things DO help. And as I told Alyssa as we headed home: imagine if even 10% of the shoppers that drove by the man — probably 100, easily, during this time of year — stopped and gave $10 or even $5 to him. Imagine how quickly he would go from living out of a shopping cart and plastic bags and off the fast food leftovers and candy bars and granola bars given from strangers to a motel room or even an efficiency. Just imagine: kindness, even small amounts of it, can add up to a lot.

We surely don’t have a lot to give, as I reminded Alyssa, but what’s important is that we can still give. We won’t miss that $2.98 or those half dozen granola bars and oatmeal cookies. But for that man, that’s a meal, maybe two. And hopefully the people around us who didn’t make a point to not notice the interaction were motivated to give similarly.

Filed under General

The pink purple Christmas tree

Over the years we’ve amassed a surprising amount of Christmas tree decorations – most are glittery, of course; and there are color “themes” – pink & purple; blue & green; red, silver, & green; and of course silver and gold. On the lights front, we have white, multi-color, blue, pink, and as of this year, purple. I thought that since in 2011 we went with pink, in 2012 we went with blue and silver, and last year we went with RAINBOW!, that this year would finally be the year we’d have a traditional red & green tree (red, green, and silver ornaments with white lights). Nope – Ryan decided he wanted purple. Purple? Okay, I’m cool with that. Only…the “purple” lights look very much like our pink lights, and the kids added a bunch of pink ornaments to the tree alongside the purple and silver tree, so even with the “purple” lights and the pre-dominantly silver decorations (tree star topper, garland, skirt), the tree still looks pink. Oh well – it’s still gorgeous.


no lights

with Leah

P.S. Last year Ryan’s most wanted gift for Christmas was a magnet. This year it’s a gyroscope, followed by a solar panel. Random, weird, and awesome! :D

Filed under Photography

Sweet Serotonin Syndrome Dreams

I saw a resident/rotating doctor the other day. One of the perks of our family physician’s office is that it’s a teaching center, so there are always numerous doctors available; the downside is that unless you specifically request the same doctor, and/or can wait possibly weeks for the next available appointment, is that you never see the same doctor twice. Typically this doesn’t bother me, as my non-bariatric/stomach issues are fairly straightforward: I’m depressed and I’m anxious and I need medication to cope and function, but no I am not suicidal, and most of the time I’m not homicidal, either.

But this time I got a total ninny for a doctor. Well, I shouldn’t say ninny, because she wasn’t inept. But she was so hung up on finding and printing out a medication agreement for me to sign (Ativan is a BIG DEAL, YA’LL) that she completely dismissed my concern about 50mg of Trazadone (an SSRI that she suggested to help with my sleeping issues) being okay to mix with 100mg of Zoloft (an SSRI I take for depression/anxiety) and 25mg of Topamax (migraine preventative), assured me everything was fine, had me sign the medication agreement and sent me on my crazy, sleep-deprived way.

On Friday night, about twenty minutes after taking the Trazadone, Zoloft, and Topamax, I got hit with a nasty case of what Dr. Google confirms is Serotonin Syndrome: basically an overload of serotonin (Trazadone + Zoloft in particular are listed as a VERY BAD, DO NOT TAKE THIS UNLESS YOU WANT TO DIE combination). Suddenly I was dizzy, nauseated, uncoordinated, trembling yet hot, dry-heaving all over the place, I could barely see because my vision was fuzzy and dim, and my heart was pounding so hard and fast I thought my chest was going to explode. It took everything I had to make it from the living room into the bathroom, where I threw up several times; and then it took the rest of my remaining energy to drag myself and a trash can into the bedroom. I don’t even remember what clothes I managed to get out of on the way, but I know when I woke up the next morning I felt like my brain had been put through a meat grinder.

Moral of the story, kiddos: always double-check meds yourself, because you can’t depend on your doctors or your pharmacy (we use the same pharmacy for all of our medications) to check for you!

Filed under General

Finding the Perfect Antique Anniversary Gift

gift with bow

Image by: Surprise Pally

Sometimes when it comes to buying a present for an anniversary, it can be hard to come up with a great idea for a present. The longer you are together, the harder it sometimes seems. If you are looking to get something for your partner that shows some character, as well as taste, then you may wish to consider purchasing an antique to show them how much you care about them. There are many different types of antiques that make the perfect present for your loved one.

There is a wide selection of different antiques that are available, so you are sure to be able to find something that suits your partners taste.

A Touch of Class with an Antique Watch

An excellent way to surprise your other half would be to surprise them with a 1970’s brilliant retro style Omega watch, or something similar. You can remind them of their youth and give them a gift that makes them feel young again. The simple and sleek design of the 1970’s watches have a very classy and elegant feel, making them the perfect watch to wear for a special occasion. Many watches are highly collectable, and you will find that as long as you look after it and keep it in good condition, the value of the watch will also most likely increase.

Wooing Her with an Antique Ring

Why not woo your significant other once more and buy them an antique ring? You can find many Georgian, Victorian, and also Edwardian antique rings on the market, in a wide variety of different styles. If you were not able to give your loved one the ring that you wished on your wedding day, then you can make amends. You can always give them a new antique engagement ring or an antique wedding ring, which will knock their socks off! There is also a wide variety of other rings that you could give as an anniversary present, such as signet rings or cameo rings.

A Wide Variety of Choice


Image by: Kotomi_

As well as watches and rings, there is also a wide variety of other antique jewellery that you can surprise your spouse with and show them how much you care. Necklaces, Broaches, and Earrings you can find in many antique shops, and also in a wide variety of different styles. With a bit of searching, you are sure to find the perfect anniversary present that your partner is going to love.

Purchasing Antique Jewellery Wisely

There are many different places where you can purchase antique jewellery, but one of the safest ways is to visit a reputable dealer that you can talk to in person. Where possible it is always good to get the provenance for the antique that confirms where it came from and who owns it. Provenance can be important to the value of the item, especially if the antique in question has claims of grandeur. Unlike when you make a purchase using the internet, by going to the store you can actually ask questions about any pieces that you like the look of. Asking lots of questions can help to educate you so that you know what to look out for, and what makes a good collectable piece. There is a wide variety of different antique jewellery and watches available, and your partner is sure to love them. What better reason do you need to buy other than to put a smile on your sweetheart’s face!

Filed under Articles

How I make money online (with blogging & social media)

I feel like this post has been a long time in coming; in fact I’ve been meaning to write it for several weeks now. I just haven’t found the time. But now I’ve found the time, so without further ado, here are the companies and programs I use to make money via blogging and social media (disclosure: many of these links are affiliate links, meaning I’ll earn a small commission if you sign up via clicking through. I would most definitely appreciate that, as running a 4-person household on just one income isn’t an easy feat!):

Sponsored blog posts

average monthly earnings: $100.00


Affiliate programs

These programs offer me a commission for purchases made via my referral links; additionally, each offer flat-rate payments of $5 to $10 just about every month for blog posts (sometimes the content is already provided; other times I am required to write it myself).
average monthly earnings: $200.00


Product reviews

Some of these companies offer just products for review; others offer products and compensation.

If you are a part of any paid blogging/affiliate/product review programs I haven’t listed here, feel free to list them in the comments!

Filed under Paid Blogging