Friday, December 17, 2010

Kitchenaid Mixer Giveaway - 3 Kids and Us

3 Kids and Us and KitchenAid want to make your holiday wish come true and offer you the chance to win a brand new KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, in your choice of over 20 colors, valued at $349.99!

Enter the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway and check out the Homemade Holiday Feast recipes that show all the ways the KitchenAid Stand Mixer and attachments can be used to create unique family dishes and save you counter space with one appliance that can be converted to meet your every need.

If I'm lucky enough to win this I'd be a cooking and baking machine! Cat's blog posts and recipes have given me a lot of great ideas :)

Frantic Friday - more wins, more giveaways ending today

TGIF! I'm ready for the weekend - this week has been exhausting!

I did pick up a few more wins over the last couple of days which was nice. I also redeemed my points from the Marlboro Outwit the West game for a Fuji Mountain bike, so I'm looking forward to getting that - not sure what happened the last week, I fell just short of the netbook *sigh*. My son is hoping it's a mistake, he's waiting a couple of days to see if they correct it - otherwise, he'll get the digital camera.

LOTS more blog contests are ending today, I think this is the last big wave before the holidays. There's literally thousands of dollars worth of prizes up for grabs!

Piera at Jolly Mom is hosting a giveaway for a Hoover® MaxExtract77 Multi-Surface Pro™ Carpet & Hard Floor Deep Cleaner! From Hoover's website: MaxExtract® deep cleaners are designed to clean a variety of surfaces from carpets to couches and sealed wood floors to tiled floors. This versatile, easy-to-use machine removes water, dirt and grime with pressurized cleaning, and has heated drying for a fast dry time. Doesn't this sound amazing? I have mostly hardwood and tile flooring, but I do have several large area rugs (as well as upholstered pieces) that I could use this for. Whoever wins this will be very lucky indeed.

A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier have THREE sets of giveaways ending today! The first is for a $100 gift card to Hayneedle. I love winning items like this, so I can shop for things for the house... I still need a few things, like lighting for the living room (and I'd LOVE to replace the lighting in my kitchen and dining room). Hayneedle has so many nice things, and their prices are VERY reasonable!

The next set of giveaways are sponsored by EatSmart. A Mom's Balancing Act is offering a Precision Pro Digitial Kitchen Scale, while Thanks, Mail Carrier is offering a Precision Digital Bathroom Scale. Either of these would be great for my diet (excuse me, weight management plan.... it's a lifestyle, not a diet). I wonder if I can win them both? LOL

The last set of giveaways from A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier are for $75 ATG Stores gift certificates (one awarded from each blog). ATG Stores has a lot of great products perfect for you or anyone on your gift list! I mentioned earlier I needed lighting for my living room and these sconces would be PERFECT for one wall. If I win this one, I'm getting those sconces!

My Wee View is giving away a $100 gift certificate to CSN Stores. There's several things there I like, or I could use this to purchase a gift for someone on my Christmas list! So many possibilities....

Cocktails with Mom is giving away a Honeywell 360° Surround Heater. I would love to win this for my office. Now that it's just me in the house, I could keep the thermostat even lower than I already do, and use this in my office (which is where I spend most of my time when I'm home after work). Think of the money I'd save on heating bills!

The Mommy-Files is giving away a NESTLÉ Baking Package, which includes either coupons or product for CARNATION Evaporated Milk, TOLL HOUSE Morsels, TOLL HOUSE Refrigerated Cookie Dough and a $25 Visa gift card for other baking supplies. Although these won't be here in time for Christmas, this prize package would be great for any winter afternoon. Nothing like coming in from the cold and warming up with some freshly baked cookies!

Baby Loving Mama and Barefoot Mommies are each sponsoring a giveaway from One lucky reader from each blog will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate! is a shopping comparison site, but with a social media twist. Not only can you compare prices, you can review products, share finds with your friends and solicit their feedback, and so much more! I recently joined and I look forward to exploring the full functionality of the site. Not sure about the badges they have (they look a bit too Nickelodeon for my taste) but it's a nice idea.

Flying Giggles & Lollipops has TWO $500 gift card giveaways ending today! One gift card is from Kmart, the other from Sears. Either gift card can be used at the other store, and they can also be used at Roebuck and Co., Lands’ End, and The Great Outdoors! Can you imagine the shopping spree you could have with either of these? I would stock up on items for the house like sheets, towels, curtains, new drinking glasses, socks and underwear (because at my house, you ALWAYS get socks and underwear at Christmas!) but I could also afford to pick up a video game or two for my son, some tools I need to work around the house, or maybe a Foodsaver or hardwood floor cleaner!

Amanda at My Life with Rats and More is giving one of her readers a Samsung 22" Class 450 Series 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV! Yes, a flatscreen TV! Honestly, I don't know how she does it. She's not working with a sponsor either - she paid for this herself. If I'm lucky enough to win this, I think I'll give it to my mom to put in her kitchen. She spends a lot of time in there, and there's not a TV in that area. She can mount it on the wall so it'll be out of the way :)

The Fashionable Gal is offering one lucky winner a Wanchai Ferry dinner kit, a Macaroni Grill dinner kit, and a $25 Visa Gift Card so you can enjoy a date night or 2 at home with that special someone. Use the gift card for a special dessert, a bottle of wine, maybe some candles or whatever would make your date night memorable! I wonder if there's a giveaway for a special someone? LOL

Mommy PR is giving away a $50 gift certificate from Novica. If you're not familar with them, they sponsor artisans from around the world and make their crafts available through the Novica website. You can find everything from jewelry and clothing to masks, wall art, rugs and more! I've gotten a pair of earrings from an artisan in India once, and I gave my mom a gorgeous brooch. I also got my son an African drum that is one of his most favorite possessions. If I win this, I think I'll get him either a mask, or another African drum.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

my aspirations and plans for 2011 - my weight loss journey #OWNtalk

I've mentioned it before, but I'm overweight. Morbidly overweight, according to my BMI. Morbid.

mor·bid (môrbd) adj.

  1. a. Of, relating to, or caused by disease; pathological or diseased.
    b. Psychologically unhealthy or unwholesome: "He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses" (Edgar Allan Poe).
  2. Characterized by preoccupation with unwholesome thoughts or feelings: read the account of the murder with a morbid interest.
  3. Gruesome; grisly.

I'm diseased. Gruesome. Grisly. Unwholesome. Well... isn't THAT special?

I can't pinpoint the exact moment when my weight spiraled out of control. There have been factors my whole life.... I was a chubby kid, a curvy teen (I was probably 150-160 pounds, and a size 14). In college, I packed on the freshman 10, and a couple more besides. Every year at my checkup, I was 2-5 pounds heavier than the year before. Never a big deal, it's only a few pounds, right? Other than the weight I was healthy. The doctor always said so. They weren't concerned, so neither was I.

When I was pregnant with my son, I was sick. VERY sick. I couldn't eat. It literally made me vomit to use toothpaste to brush my teeth. I saw my doctor regularly, and he told me not to worry about not eating - he made sure I was getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, and that I was well-hydrated. He said it was worse to be sick than not to eat, so not to force it. So for the better part of 6 months, I ate very little, maybe a piece of toast and yogurt, or a little cottage cheese. That wasn't breakfast - that was what I'd eat in a day!

I was also under a tremendous amount of stress (my father died unexpectedly when I was carrying my son, plus there were issues with his father). All of this put my my body under tremendous stress. My metabolism basically shut down.

Fast forward to the birth of my son (I actually weighed 5 pounds less the day I delivered him than I did the day I got pregnant), and I resume eating. Only I have no metabolism at this point, so now I'm gaining 5-10 pounds a year.

My son turned 21 this year, so you do the math. Oh, I've lost weight at times - but it comes back. It ALWAYS comes back. When it comes back, it brings along even more weight. I can't escape it. Amazingly enough other than the weight, I've been fairly healthy my whole life; but in the last few years, I'm developing issues that are either caused by, or exacerbated by my obesity. Sleep apnea. Insulin resistance. PCOS. Asthma. Degenerative arthritis in my knees. My kidney function is compromised. I retain a lot of fluid in my feet/ankles/legs - at times I can't even wiggle my toes, and it feels like my skin is going to split. My hormones are soooo far out of whack it's not even funny - I hate to think what'll happen when I go through menopause! At times, I have been hypertensive. I'm severely anemic. Stress incontinence. Depression.

Then there's the non-medical issues.... like finding clothing that fits. BRAS that fit. Going out to eat with friends, and having to check that the restaurant offers tables as well as booths (I don't fit comfortably in most booths). Flying.... dear God, FLYING. Don't get me started. I just don't travel anymore - it's easier. I don't do a lot of things I used to do anymore.

This is the year that I've decided enough is enough. I've spent (probably) the first half of my life carrying not only extra weight on my body, but extra weight on my soul... emotional, mental, spiritual and (at times) psychological weight that is killing me as certain as the extra pounds on my body. I want to be free of the proverbial monkey on my back - although in my case, the monkey is now the size of a full-grown man, and I've literally been carrying it.

I've always told myself once I lost the weight, I could reclaim my life.... until I realized I needed to reclaim my life in order to lose the weight. I had to do this. Doing nothing was killing me - one french fry, cheeseburger, soda at a time.

So, I took the plunge - I admitted the problem more than I could handle, and I asked for medical help. I'm now working with a nutritionist, who has me on a medically supervised diet, as well as prescription medication to help control my appetite. I'm reading food labels, I've cut out all drinks except water (I will occasionally have a small glass of juice or unsweetened tea). Turkey bacon instead of bacon. At least 1 fruit or vegetable at every meal. Whole wheat pasta, quinoa or couscous. I have to keep a food journal, and right down everything I eat. I do. I write down EVERYTHING. I figured out how many calories were in a slice of pepperoni (10). A Dot (12). I exercise. Not as much as I should, but I try.

It's been about 2 months, and I've lost weight. It's not coming off as fast as I'd like, but I tell myself it's coming off faster than it went on! I'm not 100% compliant - I do cheat a little here and there (otherwise, I wouldn't know that a Dot has 12 calories!). I'm probably 75-80% complaint... this isn't a diet, this is a lifestyle change. I won't spend the rest of my life not eating chocolate cake, or fried chicken. I just have to learn HOW to incorporate them into my diet. It's about moderation. Choices. Cheese in my eggs, or butter on my toast - not both. A Dot (or 6, in a small box) isn't the large box I used to eat. 2 or 3 slices of pepperoni in my salad are OK (better than 8-10x that amount). One tater tot isn't an order. Turkey bacon isn't that bad.

Even though I've been working with a nutritionist, I plan on having WLS. I was all ready to go, but then the doctor's office told me that my medical history notes weren't complete - my doctor hadn't completely documented my dieting attempts. So, I have to do a 6-month medically supervised diet before I can re-submit (which I'm doing with the nutritionist). Although, I did find out a couple of weeks ago that although my insurance carrier requires the 6-month MSD, my company's specific plan doesn't have that requirement in it.... so I could re-submit again and get approved.

But, I'm going to wait and stick with the nutrionist for a bit longer. I've seen too many cases of people who have WLS but don't change their eating habits, so they either don't lose as much weight as they could, or they end up gaining some, or all of it back. I don't want that to be me. So, I'll keep with the nutritionist for now (although I may not do a full 6 months). I can learn how to eat post-surgery (yes, there are guidelines you need to follow to be successful). Every pound I lose prior to surgery means that much less stress on my body (not to mention it makes it easier for the surgeon when we re-engineers my insides!).

Plus the extra time will allow me to work on other things, like getting my anemia under control (which will be harder to manage post-WLS), getting rid of all this excess fluid I'm retaining, improving my overall fitness. A healthier me pre-surgery means an easier recovery, and I'm all for that.

I'm looking forward to little things. Not needing a seat belt extender on an airplane. Not needing to sleep with a mask on (for my sleep apnea). Shopping for clothes in the "regular" stores. Fitting comfortably in a regular chair (with arms). Walking up stairs. Riding a bike. Wearing heels. Crossing my legs. Touching my toes.... heck, SEEING my toes!

I'd like to ride the rides at the fair next year, or fit through the turnstiles at the train station. To be hugged and have their arms reach ALL the way around me. Heck, maybe even swept off my feet, literally... and not by a forklift!

So, that's my story.... where I came from, how I got to where I am today, and where I'm going. I'm looking forward to the New Year - more so than I ever have before. Because now, I have a plan, and the tools to make that plan a reality. I have people who will help me, but more than that I'm helping myself. I'm looking forward to seeing how much weight I can lose on my own pre-surgery, and then post-surgery how close I can get to my goal weight. I'll keep you posted on my progress :)

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network blogging program, for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner - and lots more giveaways to win today

I had another amazing day yesterday!

From MyCoupons, I won a Harry & David Twelve Days of Christmas Triple Discovery Gift! It's currently sold out on their site, but I googled it and it looks AMAZING! I know my son and his friends will devour this in no-time flat!

From Pretty Pink Momma, I won a necklace from I picked a white pearl, 18" length with a yellow gold clasp - I wanted something classic. :)

Lastly, from I won another $50 gas card! I won 2 two weeks ago (I was a Twitter and Facebook winner). I didn't realize you could win multiple weeks until I noticed a few others did, so I decided to play again this week - I'm glad I did!

There's another plethora of giveaways ending today..... here's a few of the ones I've entered.

Bridgette at The Not-So-Blog is doing a 24 hour giveaway for an AMAZING Blu-ray Prize Pack which includes a Blu-ray Player AND an year’s worth of rentals from Redbox! With the cold weather we've been having lately, staying home and wating Blu-ray movies sounds like just the thing (and with the Harry & David prize I won, I've already got plenty of snacks to go with it!).

The Mommy-Files is giving away a Craftsman prize package including a Craftsman Hooded Shirt Jacket, a Craftsman Workwear Tee, and a set of Craftsman Long Sleeve Coveralls, as well as a $25 Sears Gift Card! My son has ruined more clothes working on his car or doing work on the house (especially in the crawlspace) so these Coveralls would be PERFECT for that. Plus with the weather we've been having lately, he could really use a Hooded Shirt Jacket - the wind just whips around campus and he's miserable right now. :(

Mommy Mandy and Our Ordinary Life have teamed up to offer 1 reader an great prize - a Dyson City DC26! You need to check it out - it's the cutest thing I've ever seen, with the power of a Dyson! This would be perfect for my son's dorm, where cleaning is a necessity but space is at a premium. Plus, it's multi-floor, so it'll work equally well on the bare floor as well as the area rug in his room. I entered on both sites to maximize my chances on this one.

Outnumbered 3 to 1 is giving away a $100 gift certificate to ATG Stores as part of her Holiday Palooza! I love shopping there - every time I look at their site, I find another 27 things I want. They're the first place I look for anything now - they're my Amazon for home items.

Head over to Eighty MPH Mom where you can win a $175 GameStop Gift Card! I don't need to tell you that this would be great to win - there's several games on my son's wish list, and I'd love to pick up a few things for the Wii for my workouts.

A Review and a Giveaway and are giving away a $100 Amazon gift card! I don't need to tell you how much I get from Amazon - heck, I even order grocery items from them for me, my mom and my ex's mom (she's addicted to some rice I got her once)! LOL

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What a Day! Wins, More Wins, and Even More Giveaways!

Holy Moly, yesterday was AMAZING! I received SEVEN different winner's notifications.

From Two Southern Girls, I won the Old Orchard prize pack.

From Piera at Jolly Mom, I won the Nestle prize pack which includes a copy of the Southern Plate cookbook (written by the blogger at I've been wanting this cookbook for awhile now.

From Jennifer at MomSpotted, I was 1 of 5 winners who each won $100 American Express gift card! It'll get added to the offspring's car repair fund. Another $100 I won't have to come up with!

From Dove Chocolate, I won some DOVE Chocolate Snowflake PROMISES. I'll share these with my friends at work - someone's always looking for chocolate!

From Familylicious Reviews, I won a $25 American Express gift card. I'll be sending this one to mom, along with some of the coupons I get. She's funny - she won't take $100 gift card from me, but I can send her $25-$50 a month and those she'll accept. Go figure. LOL

From MyPleasureBlog, I won a Form 3!!!! No need to tell you what this will be for :)

...and last, but certainly not least, I won a $100 ThinkGeek gift certificate from Mommy Living the Life of Riley! I see a Star Trek pizza cutter in my future :)

Insane, right? I KNOW!

Lots more giveaways are ending today, maybe my luck will hold out :)

Baba's Farm Life is giving 3 of their readers their own copy of the book Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns (courtesy of I Love Inns) with a Free Night Certificate inside! There's several B&Bs in Asheville that I'd love to spend a weekend at, so this would be a great prize to win!

Sweeps4Bloggers is offering a Himalayan Salt Lamp from Shop Natural Ways. I've never heard of these before - I think it would be not only a cool conversation piece, but it would improve the air quality in my bedroom. I've heard about the benefits of negative ions for awhile now, and this is a unique way to do it!

Cincinnati Coupons is giving away a $100 gift certificate to I just got my first pair of glasses this year, and they were unbelieveably expensive! I'd love another pair to keep at work, so I'm hoping I win this one.

Heck of a Bunch is giving away EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale in your choice of color. I think I'd pick the silver one. This would really help me on my diet, because I sometimes struggle with portion sizes - this would take all the guesswork out of it.

Sammi's Blog Of Life is hosting a giveaway for a Barilla prize pack (the reviewer got a 10-pound box of different shapes and types of pasta - both regular and whole wheat). Pasta is definitely a go-to meal in our home so this would be great to win.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Manic Monday - even more giveaways!

They say things come in threes, and I think they're right! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas with all these Holiday Gift Guides and associated giveaways.... it's incredible the amount of prizes being given away. Tons of giveaways I entered ended this weekend, and here's another list of ones I've entered that end today.

Our Ordinary Life has partnered with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), in an effort to get parents, specifically moms, to set aside one minute a day this holiday season to teach their kids safety. To help promote this effort, they're offering 1 reader a $100 Visa gift card. Also, readers have posted tons of safety tips, so there's a lot of great info on her post.

I entered to win a $300 gift card from Dear Crissy & Bare Necessities! Since I've started losing weight, I've got clothes in smaller sizes, but bras/panties? That's another story. Considering how much weight I have to lose, I will be going through several sizes of bras/panties on my way to a healthier weight, so winning this would really help me with this unexpected expense!

MomStart has 2 giveaways ending today - one is for an amazing Kraft gift pack (lots of Kraft products, free Cool Whip coupons, and even some stuff from Williams Sonoma!). The second is for a Alouette and Chavrie cheese (free coupons), along with some additional items. We go through a lot of Alouette and Chavrie cheese all year long, but especially over the holidays!

Dina at Just Another New Blog is giving away the most GORGEOUS Diamond Journey white gold pendant from Kranich's Jewelers ($299 value). Seriously, it's STUNNING. What an amazing gift for yourself, or that special someone!

Girl Gone Mom is giving one lucky reader a Special Edition Keurig Brewer. I love my Keurig, and I'm still holding out hope that I can win one to take to work.

Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House is giving away a Bissell Steam & Sweep Hard Floor Cleaner. I would love to win this - I'm finding it almost impossible to keep my kitchen floor clean (especially the grout lines). This would be great for that - and I'm probably going to have my son seal the grout lines while he's home on Christmas break so they don't stain.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a $50 gift card to They have pretty good prices on the cologne my son likes, and they offered a 15% coupon as soon as I loaded their site so that makes it a great deal. I like that they're all genuine brands (no imitations).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TONS more giveaways ending this weekend!

There are a ton of giveaways ending this weekend that would be great for the holidays! Here is a small sampling of the ones I entered.

Sweeps4Bloggers is offering a 3 Month “Cheesecake of the Month” Club membership from to one lucky reader (ARV $179). Can you imagine, ringing in 2011 with THREE months of cheesecake?

Fab Find Foodie has 2 giveaways ending - one for a SodaStream Limited Edition Gold Pure machine (1 of only 500 made!), 2 reusable carbonating bottles, a sample pack of flavors, and 3 full-sized flavors (winner's choice). The other is for 2 free Chavrie coupons, a bamboo serving dish, cookbook (For the Love of Goat Cheese) and craisins to make their signature dish. In addition, 2 runners-up will each receive 3 free Alouette coupons!

Survey Junkie is offering a Community Coffee Private Reserve Gourmet Holiday Gift Basket ($79.99 value).

Momspective is giving away TWO $20 Chili's gift card to TWO winners! So, you can do a Chili's two for $20 meal deal, and then pass one along to a friend to do the same!

Half-Past Kissin' Time is giving away a $100 CSN gift card.

Mrs.4444 Cooks is giving away a $50 CSN gift card.