Why I'm post-Thanksgiving thankful

Whew! I'm back from OK! As in Oklahoma, o'course.

We had a really incredible time visiting my mom, and my brother and his family were there, too. It's hard to explain, really, that feeling you get when you are surrounded by folk who love you and know you.

When you've lived with someone and fought with them and cried and laughed and thrown dirty socks at and snuck out at night with and screamed at and grieved with and grown with and prayed for and just plain loved; and then spent years apart, it's amazing how right that person can still feel in your heart.

The concept of a dysfunctional family makes me laugh. We were always functional, just not always in ways one might call "normal"; and we were even occasionally harmonious. We could depend upon each other, and I can't imagine that there is greater testament to family than to know that you never have to stand alone.

Thank you, God. Your grace is astounding to me. I've been very lucky in my life. I am even more blessed because of your incredible wisdom in granting me a family that is so perfectly imperfect. Ma, Gram, Bird, and boys, thank you for being in my life. And Ant? You get it, you always have, and I am especially thankful for you.
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Around Town: Thanksgiving

There's more to Thanksgiving than stuffing your face!



Staten Island

November 21
Native American Social: The Real Thanksgiving - 1pm. Share traditional Native American comfort food with a presentation by Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe. This event will feature facts related to the 1621 Plymouth colony and the Wampanoug people, avoiding the mythology that surrounds "the first thanksgiving". http://statenislandmuseum.org

November 21 & 22
Staten Island Children's Museum - 1-3pm. Weave a Thanksgiving decoration for your holiday table.http://statenislandkids.org

November 22
*Thanksgiving with the Beasts - 10am-4:45pm. Do you want to see some of the rowdiest dinner guests you could ever imagine? Join us for a day-long series of special feedings at the Staten Island Zoo in honor of Thanksgiving. Make a Thanksgiving craft to take home (1:30-3:00pm). http://www.statenislandzoo.org

November 23
Project Hospitality Poor People's Dinner - $60. 6:30pm at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Avenue. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a special raffle for a chance to win a one year family membership to the Staten Island YMCA. We invite you to bring a donation of canned or non-perishable food to stock the shelves of our food pantry for the coming winter season. RSVP Anita Yuen (718) 448-1544x163, or anyuen@projecthospitality.org

November 27
6th Annual Turkey Be Gone Hike - 10am. Join the Greenbelt educators at the Greenbelt Nature Center for our annual day after Thanksgiving hike in the Greenbelt. Walk off all that turkey and stuffing on this two hour hike and enjoy the serenity of the woods. Suitable for children age 8 and up. Dress appropriately for hiking. Registration required. Call (718) 351-3450. http://www.sigreenbelt.org

November 28
*Thanksgiving Kitchen Tour - 2-3:30pm. Tour the oldest kitchens in Historic Richmondtown to discover the recipes and sources of Thanksgiving traditions. http://www.historicrichmondtown.org/


New York City


November 26
*Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - 9am. Since 1924. The parade is a national tradition. Floats, bands, stage shows, bands and giant balloons. 77th Street and Central Park West. http://www.macys.com/campaign/parade/parade.jsp





*free or free with admission
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Froot Loops are good for your kids?


Well. They're better than they used to be.

The Kellogg's Company has made a renewed commitment to nutrition as part of their effort to make their food healthier, so that their customers will have healthier choices. In kids cereal, that seems like a bad idea. (For an established brand, that is.) I grew up with Apple Jacks and Froot Loops, and I'm pretty sure that no one was particularly concerned with how healthy my breakfast cereal was. Of course, the times, they are a'changin'.

Kellogg's added three grams of fiber, per serving, to it's two most popular kid's cereals, Apple Jacks and Froot Loops. These cereals include ingredients such as whole-grain corn flour, whole-grain oat flour, oat fiber and soluble corn fiber. They also intend to extend the fiberocity (my word) to other cereal lines shortly.

I was sent the new Apple Jacks with added fiber, Froot Loops original and Froot Loops with added fiber. Oddly enough, the Apple Jacks, smelled more appley (appleish?) than I remember. DH and I both tried it and I even let my nearly five year old daughter have some, mixed in with her regular, unsweetened breakfast cereal. She (no surprise) is a fan.

The Froot Loops were a total hit with my kiddo, and she even managed to scam her dad into giving her an un-modified bowl (no mix-ins). As far as she is concerned there is no taste difference between the original and added fiber versions. DH and I detected a slight, but not unpleasant, change in the aftertaste. The added fiber version also appears to have less of a sugary coating than the original.

I've written here before about what a food nazi I am when it comes to my kidlings, so you might be surprised to see me endorsing sweet cereals. But I am. Kinda. In moderation. I still prefer unsweetened cereal, and would rather reserve the colorful stuff for special occasions and such. However, I know that many moms just aren't in a position to do the same. For those parents, I say go for it. Make the switch to Kellogs Froot Loops or Apple Jacks with added Fiber. Your kids already like it, they'll eat it, and they'll get a little boost in their daily fiber intake. That's a win-win as far as I can tell.

To learn more about the Kellogg's Company's commitment to nutrition, you can click over to KellogsNutrition.com


"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Kellogg’s and received boxes of Froot Loops and Apple Jacks and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate." Disclosure Policy
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My Precious Kid Review, Coupon and Giveaway



I'm so excited to be hosting a giveaway for these incredible products. And better, that there will be SIX winners. That's right! Six winners in all!

Okay... I shouldn't get ahead of myself here. Let's talk about My Precious Kid.

Based in Oregon, My Precious Kid was founded by Kay Green, a Christian homeschooling mom whose ideas about ID tags for her own kiddos soon grew to the over 150 product retail store in her hometown. What an incredible company! Check out their mission statement:

My Precious Kid Child Safety Products Manufacturer of Oregon is founded on Christian values of truth, honesty, integrity, human worth, and the value of all children. Our mission is to provide "A Gift of Safety - child safety and baby gear products for your precious child."

I was very fortunate (and super-excited!) to be able to review The Child Safety Pack and The Child Safety Guide for New and Expecting Parents.

The Child Safety Pack came with:
  • 1 - Child ID Card
  • 1 - Child Car Seat ID Card
  • 1 - Medical Release Card
  • 1 - Child Luggage Tag ID Card& velcro
  • 2 - Shoe ID Stickers
  • 1 - Disposable Child ID bracelet
  • 1 - Child DNA Fingerprint Kit, which includes a Fingerprinting Card, FBI approved Ink strip, and a DNA Sample Bag with Instructions!

Every single item was easy to use, and exhaustive in contingency coverage. I am especially a fan of the carseat tag. In the case of an automotive accident in which my husband and/or I were incapacitated, the information on that card would be invaluable to rescue personnel.

At just 16 dollars, I can't imagine why any parent wouldn't immediately get a set for each child in their home. I am a believer in the numbers. I know that according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,000 children reported missing each day. I've had that terrifying moment when you realize that your child is nowhere to be found. I was very fortunate that the entire episode lasted less than two minutes, but I promise you that the terror I felt has not yet left me, more than two and a half years later.

The other great item I received is The Child Safety Guide for New and Expecting Parents. It is chock-full of useful information and tips with sections like Sleep Safe Baby, Car Seats Made Simple, and Hazards To Young Children. Written in simple, but non-alarming language, the guide is a must-have for the nervous new parent in your life. I found the appendices to be invaluable.

On to the giveaway!!!! One winner will receive The Child Safety Pack and The Child Safety Guide for New and Expecting Parents. Five other winners will receive a Car Seat ID.

Not only will there be six winners, but I'm giving you lots and lots of entries, too. One entry each, please, and you MUST leave an email, you can avoid spambots by typing it this way, jane [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Head over to My Precious Kid, check out their product lines, and then comment on this post with your fave. (Must be something besides the book and safety pack.)
  • Follow My Precious Kid on Twitter, and leave a comment here.
  • Became a fan of My Precious Kid on Facebook, and leave a comment here.
  • Subscribe to the My Precious Kid's blog, and leave a ... you get the idea, right?
  • For extra love from me, you can fan me on facebook, publish my button on your sidebar, follow me on the right, or even subscribe to my rss. That would be awesome. and I really would love you mucho.

Entry period from Tuesday, November 11th through Saturday, November 14th. Winners will be chosen via random generator. I'll shoot out an email to the winning commenters emails. All winners will have 24 hours to respond, and I'll announce here on Monday.

One more thing. (I know, I know!) Kay Green has generously offered O'Joy readers a first time order coupon. Just type in 10FLL09 for 10% off at checkout. Thanks, Kay!


Good Luck & God Bless!
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One Fine Season by Michael Sheehan Book Review



Michael Sheehan's writing debut is mostly a winner. The story has a sad beginning, made sadder by the real-life tragedies that inspired the main character; but Danny Grace, and his killer pitching arm are a winsome combination.

It helps that the book is populated with so many interesting and likable characters. Josh Sizemore as the aging catcher and mentor; Johnny Flint, the philosophical right-fielder; and Joy the smart-mouthed love interest.

I found myself looking forward to Danny & Johnny's long talks about the nature of God and faith and the universe. Mr. Sheehan never writes more engagingly than during his character's many conjectures upon the state of the human condition as it pertains to the spirit.

The assertion of a quantum mind isn't my favorite, but it does make for fascinating discussion. Still it's hard to disagree with the simple statement that "If we all lived as if God were walking beside us every moment, maybe society's worst problems could be resolved, especially the destructive acts that break the commandments." I especially agree with Johnny's (the philosophical right-fielder) assessment of human nature as a mathematical equation. (You'll have to buy the book in order to find out just what that equation is, lol.)

One Fine Season is a rare love story that my husband might actually enjoy as well. I'll admit that I had a tendency to skim the game passages, as the author's knowledgeable but complex baseball terminology had a tendency to pull me out of the rhythm of the story. Though there was plenty of good old-fashioned sports drama to hook me at the end.

An excerpt can be found here. And if you want to know more about the book, the author and maybe even baseball, you can check out the website, onefineseason.net

The only drawback is one that I wish the editors had been a little more in tune with. Every so often, Michael Sheehan imbues his main characters with an oddly stilted and formal speaking style. I understand his decision to avoid teenage-boy patois, but grown men and women aren't much for that kind of talk either.

All in all, a fine story, that could have used a heavier hand in editing.


Check out what other bloggers are saying over at the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of One Fine Season by Michael Sheehan to read by Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy
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You Know You Grew Up In The 80's if:

I was forwarded an email today that I've just gotta share (Thanks, Nina!)
Kids - you have no idea!

You Know You Grew Up In The 80's if:

1. You used to buy cassette singles… and still have some stashed somewhere…

2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton

3. Girls wore biker shorts under their skirts and felt stylishly sexy.

4. You yearned to be a member of the Baby-sitters club and tried to start a club of your own.

5. You owned those lil' Strawberry Shortcake pals scented dolls (or your sister did).

6. You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey on Blossom

7. Two words: Hammer Pants

8. You watched "Fraggle Rock".

9. You had plastic streamers on your handle bars... and spokey-dokies or playing cards on your spokes for that incredible sound effect

10. You watched "Duck Tales" (Woo ooh!)

11. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

12. You (your sister, cousins) wore a ponytail on the side of your head.

13. You saw the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the big screen..and still know the turtles names.

14. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.

16. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.

17. L.A. Gear....need I say more?

18. You remember reading Tales of a fourth grade nothing and all the other Judy Blume books.

19. You know the profound meaning of " WAX ON , WAX OFF"

20. You wanted to be a Goonie.

21. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe)

22. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.

23. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.

24. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.

25. You still get the urge to say "NOT" after every sentence.

26. You remember Hypercolor t-shirts.


27. Barbie and the Rockers was your favourite band.

28. You thought She-ra (Princess of Power!) and He-Man should hook up.

29. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.

30. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know you are, but what am I?"

31. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"

32. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.

33. You ever got seriously injured on a Slip and Slide.

34. You have ever played with a Skip-It or Elastix

35. You had or attended a birthday party at McDonalds.

36. You've gone through this nodding your head in agreement.

37. Don't worry, be happy

38. You wore like, EIGHT pairs of socks over tights with high top Reeboks.

39. You wore socks scrunched down

40. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that.

41. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.

42. You know what it meant to say "Care Bear Stare!!"

43. You remember watching Rainbow Bright and & My Little Pony Tales

44. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.

45. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.

46. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool...and don't even flinch when people refer to them as "NKOTB"

47. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell," The ORIGINAL class.

48. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.

49. You just sang those words to yourself.

50. You remember watching Magic vs. Bird.

51. Homemade Levi shorts.. (the shorter the better)

52. You remember when mullets were cool!

53. You had a mullet!

54. You still sing "We are the World"

55. You tight rolled your jeans.

56. You owned a bannana clip.

57. You used to (and probably still do)

say "What you talkin' 'bout Wil lis?"

58. You had big hair and you knew how to use it.

59. You're still singing shot through the heart in your head, aren't you!

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