Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saturday after a string of Saturdays...

Today is actually Saturday...but it's pretty much felt like Saturday ever since Thursday. The girls have been gone and Johnny has been at work...so it all seemed like Saturdays. :P And I've been sick since Wednesday night, so that hasn't really helped with the whole keeping track of the days thing.

It was weird having the girls gone during the week. Aubry went to my sister's house Tuesday night and was babysitting my nieces during the day while my sister was at work. I think Aubry is going to be watching my nieces during the summer as well...so this was a good trial run. She loves kids and it'll be a nice way for her to make some extra money.

Ashlyn has been at XH's parents' house. She asked if she could go over there...and since the kids don't have school and we didn't have any other plans, I didn't mind letting her spend some time with them.

Things have changed a lot in the last couple years. It used to be that XH and I each had the girls about 50% of the time and any deviation from the parenting schedule resulted in an argument. In the beginning, I'd let the girls go to things with XH and his family...but then when I'd ask to have the girls for something, he'd say no. So it got to the point where we just planned things during our time and got used to the fact that there were just some things that the girls wouldn't be able to do if something was scheduled during his time.

Now that I have primary custody, things have gotten a lot better. The girls have more stability, but there's also more flexibility. There have been times when XH's mom will ask to have the kids for a birthday party or to take them out to dinner or whatever...and as long as we don't have other plans, I've let them go. I usually just ask that they provide the transportation. And when they don't have school the next day, I've let the girls spend the night when they've asked to.

The kids have gotten old enough to have more say in what they do or don't want to do. There have been times when they haven't wanted to leave for XH's visitation. When Ashlyn didn't like XH's girlfriend or sleeping on her broken couch during his weekends, I didn't make her go...and he didn't argue against it. And when Aubry has had plans with her friends or school activities, she hasn't gone, either.

The girls haven't actually seen their dad since the beginning of December. He had been living at his parents' house, but he got kicked out and started staying with some friends. He doesn't have a vehicle, so he hasn't picked up the kids and he hasn't said anything about seeing them. I've let them go to his parents' house during his visitation time since that's what they'd been doing when XH was living at their house...when they've wanted to, anyway. They went over there right after winter break started to celebrate Christmas with his family and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Quite honestly, things have been a lot less dramatic since XH stopped staying at his parents' house. His animosity toward his family was creating a toxic environment...Aubry definitely noticed a difference. She's even been getting along with Ashlyn more lately, which is a miracle in and of itself! But Aubry has cut ties with her dad for the moment. She's feeling pretty jaded by some of the things he has said and done. I'm not sure if/when that will change...she may just need some time.

The new year is approaching! We don't really have anything planned...probably a relaxing evening at home! Ashlyn will probably be at XH's parents' house since it's his holiday this year, and I assume Aubry will want to hang out with her friends. So...I'm thinking Netflix and lots of snacks! :)

Here's to a happy and healthy 2018 for everyone!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday13: Santa Claus edition!

Thursday13: A list of thirteen random things with or without a theme. 

The other day I was trying to remember what my daughters have gotten from Santa each year. So in the spirit of the holidays, I thought I'd incorporate it into a festive Thursday13 this week.

1. 2017 - Each of the girls got a Samsung Galaxy On5 cell phone.
2. 2016 - Ashlyn got an iPod Touch and Aubry got Beats On-Ear Headphones.
3. 2015 - Ashlyn got a Chocolate Pen kit and Aubry got a Sky Viper HD Video Drone.
4. 2014 - Ashlyn got a Horse Barn and Stable for her 18in doll and Aubry got a Razor Electric Scooter.
5. 2013 - They got a 32in Samsung SmartTV for their room (which they shared at the time).
6. 2012 - They each got a pair of Adjustable Inline Skates.
7. 2011 - They each got a Nintendo DSi.
8. 2010 - They got a Nintendo Wii.
9. 2009 - Ashlyn got a Fur Real Cat and Aubry got an Easy Bake Oven.
10. 2008 - Ashlyn got Ponyville Amusement Park and Aubry got Littlest Petshop Tail Waggin Fitness Club.
11. 2007 - They both got the Barbie Mini Kingdom Castle and 2 playsets to go with it.
12. 2006 - Ashlyn got a stroller and infant carseat for her dolls and Aubry got an Interactive Princess Genevieve Dancing Barbie.
13. 2005 - Lots of Disney Princess Stuff (table and chairs, bedding, lights, toy organizer, etc) to decorate their new room in my apartment.


Disclaimer: Most of the items in this post include Amazon Affiliate links. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Best $99 I've ever spent...

My daughters are now teenagers. Parenting teens is a funny thing...and by "funny" I mean it's often OMG!frustrating. Now that they're in middle school and high school, they've had a hard time balancing school work and their social life (ugh!). As their mama, I have a hard time not getting frustrated with their lack of prioritizing responsibilities. :P

When it comes to disciplining kids, different things work for different kids...and a lot of it depends on their age as well. In our family, I discovered several years ago that grounding them from their electronics worked pretty well. It's one of the few things they get really upset about when it's taken away. So...I use that to my advantage.

I used to physically take their electronics away. It got to be pretty exhausting, though. Even when they weren't grounded, I still had to keep all their devices in my room because they wouldn't stay off of them at bedtime. And then there was the matter of making sure they're using the school laptops only for schoolwork and not playing around on the internet.

This past spring I started looking for a better solution. The modem/router we had was supposed to come with parental controls, but the website would never load correctly so I couldn't use it. In my attempt to find a solution as to why it wasn't working, I stumbled upon devices that can be used to control internet access. That's when I found Circle.

Life. Changed.

I don't typically splurge on pricey items, so the $99 price tag was a bit daunting. But it sounded like a perfect solution to my problem. It's branded by Disney, but it's pretty irrelevant to the actual functionality of the device.

The set-up instructions which were pretty straight forward. Everything is controlled using an app on your cell phone (available for Android 4.2+ or iOS 9+). The app can be managed on more than one device but requires a passcode sent to the original phone number before it can be authorized (so your kids can't set up an account themselves). From there, you can control any device that connects to your wifi...even when your phone isn't connected to your home's wifi.

You can create separate profiles for every person in the household. There's also a default "home" profile. Every new device that connects to your wifi is initially categorized as home until you assign them to a specific profile. When setting it up for the first time, I suggest having all your devices turned off and turning them on one at a time. The app will notify you that a new device has connected and if you do it one at a time, it's easier to know whose device it is. Otherwise, you have to check the MAC address to see which is which.

For each profile, you choose a preset filter: pre-K, kid, teen, adult, or none. The first three filters contain items that are automatically not allowed (explicit content, dating websites, etc) and then there's a list of apps, websites, browsing categories, and even custom filters that you can choose to be allowed or not allowed for each profile.

Circle makes it easy to control when and for how long each profile has access. You can set a daily time limit (like one hour a day) or limit specific apps (like only one hour per day on Facebook). There's also the option to set a start and end time to allow internet access only during that window. One of my favorite features is being able to set a bedtime. The internet will automatically turn off at a specific time when they need to go to bed and then you can set what time it'll turn back on the next morning. All of the time limit features can be separated by weekday and weekend time. For example, my kids have a later bedtime on the weekends than during the school week.

One of my favorite features is the "pause" button which can be used in a variety of ways. You could pause the internet for the entire house, a specific person's profile, or a specific device. You just tap the pause button and then tap it again whenever you want to resume. I use this button a LOT. If one (or both) of the girls is grounded, I just hit that pause button and all their devices no longer have internet access. Or sometimes they're allowed to watch Netflix on their TV but they can't be on their tablet, so I hit to pause button on just the tablet.

Another useful feature is being able to see usage and history data for each profile (though not available on profiles set to the "none" filter level). Under usage, you can see how many minutes have been spent on each app or category for a specific day, week, or the whole month. You can see what specific websites they have visited and at what time under the "history" section.

There is also a "rewards" button where you can choose: no time limit today, late bedtime tonight, and no offtimes today. You just choose which one, for how long, and hit "send reward." So that's a neat little positive reinforcement thing.

I love that I can create a separate profile for the kids' school laptops. That way if their internet is turned off on their profiles, they can still do their assignments on their school laptop. However, I have virtually everything blocked on their school laptops. If there's something they need access to for school, they have to give me the link so I can manually create an exception to allow it. And if I find a site that wasn't caught with the filter, I can add it to the filter for what is not allowed.

The biggest limitation of Circle is that it can only regulate the devices connected to your home wifi. So...if your child is using a friend's wifi or on a cell phone with a mobile data plan, that access isn't monitored by Circle. They do offer a subscription service (monthly fee) for CircleGo which uses a VPN to allow Circle to control compatible devices on 4G LTE and other wifi...but I don't personally have experience with that. The only other thing I don't like is that they say to have it about 5 feet away from your router but they only give you like a 2-3 foot cord to plug it in to the router. :P

I've frequently said that this was the best $99 I've ever spent. I really love being able to have a no-hassle way of monitoring internet usage and convenient punishments/rewards. Once my kids are all grown up and moved out of the house, I plan to pass Circle on to my sister so she can use it with her girls, too.

You can find Circle on amazon.com and it's currently on sale for $71.30...so even better! Oh and definitely make sure to check this list to see if the device is compatible with your modem/router.




Disclaimer: this is NOT a compensated review. I purchased this item myself on Amazon because I was looking for this type of product. I've loved it...so I wanted to share it with you in case you could benefit from something like this as well. I have, however, included my affiliate link to the product described. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday13: Android Apps

Thursday13: A list of thirteen random things with or without a theme. 

This week, I'm going to share 13 of my favorite apps that I have on my phone (in no particular order). These are all Android apps...I don't know if they're available for other platforms.

1. Dillons: We shop at Dillons most of the time for groceries. I love this app because it's connected to our Dillons Plus card and we can load coupons to the card using the app and it applies them automatically at checkout. You can also see the weekly ads, make shopping lists, manage prescriptions, check your rewards points, shop via clicklist, etc.

2. Walgreens: We get all our prescriptions filled at Walgreens and it's really the only thing I use this app for. You can order refills, see order status and history, set pill reminders, etc.

3. GasBuddy: You can check the gas prices of nearby stations (reported by users) to see if there's cheaper gas elsewhere. I've also gotten notifications when the price shoots up.

4. SideSync: I absolutely LOVE this app. You can view your phone screen on your computer and control it completely from there. You can send/receive messages, transfer files, etc.

5. Soundhound: This app "listens" and identifies songs.

6. TV Show Favs: With this app, you can keep track of your favorite shows. It tells you the date and time of the next episode, synopsis and episode information, and if the show has been renewed or cancelled. It also lets you keep track of which episodes you have or have not watched.

7. Accuweather: This is my favorite weather app. It has "minutecast" which tells you any precipitation for the next 2 hours, 2 week forecast, view past and future radar, etc.

8. Peel Smart Remote: For those phones with the capability, you can control your TV, DVD player, and other devices from your phone.

9. Retailmenot: Great app for coupons that can be used online or in stores.

10. Toy Blast: This is one of the few games I currently play on my phone.

11. Two Dots: This is another game that I've been playing. I really only do the "expedition" and "treasure hunt" anymore, though.

12. Circle: This is an app that goes with a device I purchased that controls all devices connected to our wifi. You can "pause" the internet, filter access, set time limits, etc. I'll talk more about this soon!

13. Skyward: As far as this app goes, it's really the school's choice whether they use this app or not. If you can convince your school to shell out the money for it, though, it's amazing! I love being able to see the kids' grades, schedule, attendance, lunch money balance, etc. right there in the app. The kids' old school used powerschool...but skyward is much better!

Any ideas for future Thursday13 themes? Comment below with your ideas. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

End of the semester already?!

Today was the girls' last day of school before Christmas break. I can't believe it's already the end of the semester...this year is going by so fast!

This is the second year that my kids have attended the school here where we live. It's a much bigger school than where they previously attended, but it does come with more opportunities as well. Not only is there more variety of extra-curricular activities, there are also more classes to choose from. And after being so worried about making friends at a different school, they've made many new friendships. So much so, in fact, that they've had a hard time prioritizing their schoolwork over their social life. ;) This past semester seemed a bit more difficult for them than last year, but here's to hoping that 2018 will be a more productive year!

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Happily Ever After

It's been four months since we said "I do" and I thought it'd be the perfect time to tell the story of us... :)

Johnny and I met when we were working at a data entry center for the post office. We started dating on June 28, 2005. Back then, we had a much different relationship. I was in the middle of a messy divorce and he was coming off of his own bad break-up. We kept our relationship separate from everything else in our lives. We didn't go to each other's home or bring each other around our kids. We just hung out after work and talked for hours. With everything that was going on in our lives at the time, it was nice to have someone there to lean on. And the more I got to know him, the more I fell in love with him.

I'd never been with someone I had so much in common with. From our views about relationships and parenting to opinions about religion and politics...we were so alike in so many ways. I finally understood what it felt like to find your other half. It was like Johnny was a piece of my soul that I'd never known was missing before. I truly believe he is my soulmate.

At a time when our lives were already so chaotic, it became more and more difficult to find time to see each other. We'd both been offered a career position at work in September, but I was unable to take it because the job required flexible hours and I just couldn't do that while I was in the middle of a custody dispute. But it meant Johnny was working a different shift than I was, so we weren't able to see each other at work anymore. And with his second job and our family obligations, there just weren't enough hours in the day to spend with each other. We went our separate ways in October and we fell out of touch after I stopped working for the post office in December 2005.

Johnny and I hadn't spoken to each other for years until I looked him up on Facebook one day in the summer of 2009. We were both in other relationships at the time, but we enjoyed chatting as friends. We didn't see each other again until June 6, 2012 and it felt as though no time had passed at all. I was still just as much in love with him as I'd always been. We started dating again on August 18, 2012.

Our relationship is unlike any relationship either of us have ever had before. There is no bickering over trivial things. There are no arguments with raised voices. Our "fights" mostly consist of playful debate over who loves who more and who is the lucky one. After five years, we still hold hands everywhere we go. We say "I love you" in nearly every text message we send to each other. It's just a very loving relationship where both of us are committed to making it last forever. He makes me happier than I've ever been.

Johnny also has a wonderful relationship with my daughters. I couldn't have chosen a better man to be their stepdad. The best gift Johnny has ever given me is the wonderful example we set for my kids. They can see what a good relationship looks like...where two people love, respect, and never give up on each other.

We were married on our fifth anniversary in August 2017. We had a beautiful wedding at the lake where we spent a lot of time together back in 2005. We wanted something small but meaningful...a special day to celebrate with our family.

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It was a short, relaxed ceremony officiated by my sister (who was ordained by the Universal Life Church) followed by a pot luck reception. My cousin took photos for us and helped my mom and sister with hair and make-up. We had a peacock theme in jewel tone colors. Aside from the cake, we did everything ourselves. We already had the arch and some of the supplies from previous weddings. We purchased the rest of the supplies on sale (and with coupons) from Michaels and Hobby Lobby. The girls and I found our dresses at Ross Dress for Less (all three for about $50 total!) as well as the mosaic vases. Everything came together beautifully.

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It was one of the very best days of my life and I'm so excited to be married to my best friend. I look forward to every single day I get to spend with the love of my life. <3

Saturday, December 16, 2017

My Furbabies!

My youngest daughter, Ashlyn, found a litter of stray kittens in an alley back in May 2016. They were about four weeks old at the time. She was able to carry three of them back to XH's mom's house. When they came home later that day, she'd brought the kitties with her. XH's mom gave us $20 for supplies if we'd take them home with us. One of the  kitties was white with black stripes like a tiny little white tiger...and in a moment of weakness, I said yes. I thought we'd get them health and ready to find them some new homes...maybe keep one of them or something.

Well, now I have three furbabies! I loved watching the funny little kittens play and the way all three of them would climb into my lap to take a nap. They were also the easiest babies I've ever potty-trained! The only accidents they've ever had where when they were too tiny to climb into the litter box. We found a little box to use as a "step" in front of it and they never had another problem. They've been really good kitties. :)

I didn't realize that a mama cat can actually have multiple fathers for the same litter of kittens...but it definitely explains how all three babies look so different from each other. They have their own little personalities and quirks...it became impossible to just pick one or even two of them to keep. So...we kept all three! The girls and I each named one of the babies: Leo, Angel, and Milo.

Leo is a silver short-hair tabby with black spots and stripes. We always get compliments about how beautiful he is. He's the biggest kitty and it's all muscle..he's very heavy compared to the other two! He's a pretty "aloof" cat. He doesn't mind people being around and he loves getting scratches on his back right in front of his tail...but he's pretty content just hanging out by himself. As he's gotten older, he doesn't cuddle as much and he hates to be picked up. He's pretty vocal about anything he doesn't like or that he's had enough of. He doesn't mind being brushed or having his nails clipped...until he wants you to stop and then he'll start making whiny noises. He's also a big baby...he has a favorite scarf that he loves to knead and suck on. He loves to sleep up on the the perches of the cat tree and stare out the window watching the birds. He's the only one who puffs air out of his nose...almost like he's annoyed and saying "hmph" which would match his personality. ;) Oh and he HATES car rides...he'll freak out jumping around the car and panting. He's a sweet boy though...as long as you're not doing what he doesn't want you to do when he doesn't want you to do it. ;)
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Milo is a short-hair classic tabby with brown circles and spots on his black coat, a brown spotted belly, and a cute little white chin. He's only slight shorter than Leo but quite a bit lighter. Milo has PICA...which means he eats everything he can fit into his mouth. So we have to be very careful about what's in his environment (especially yarn, hair ties, and he once actually chewed the tail off of a stuffed animal and swallowed it). He's our little cat dog. He follows me around like a puppy and loves to roll over for belly rubs. He also plays fetch better than any dog I've known. He'll sit and flick his tail waiting for you to throw his little poof ball...then he'll chase it and bring it back to you. We didn't even train him to do it...we just tossed the ball for him to catch and he brought it back. Now he'll actually find a ball and bring it to you when he wants to play fetch. He's a super sweet baby who purrs really loud and gives me "head bubs" all the time...he'll reach his paw out to "pet" me and then bump his head on mine and rub his face all over my glasses. He also does this cute thing where he wiggles his ears when he stretches. He's not a fan of being brushed and hates when I clip his nails.
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Angel is the smallest kitty and also the only medium-hair cat. She's super soft with a fluffy tail and a tiny little face. I always call her Angelface. She looked mostly black as a kitten with a lighter face and belly...but as she grew, the black spread out to be stripes on brown fur with a cute little spotted belly. She's pretty vocal and the only one who really makes a typical "meow" sound. She was also the first of the three to start "chattering" at the birds and sometimes she'll even do it when she's falling asleep. She craves attention and will crawl up in my lap to hang out and take a nap. She loves head scratches and if you stop, she'll nibble on your hand until you keep petting her. She loves to be brushed and if you're brushing either of the other kitties, she'll sit in between and paw at you until you start brushing her instead. She also loves laying in the sun and sleeping in Ashlyn's laundry hamper. She doesn't like having her nails clipped and it takes even longer with her because she has long tufts of fur on her paws that make the nails harder to find. :P
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday13: Thank You Netflix

Thursday13: A list of thirteen random things with or without a theme. 

This week, I'm going to focus on thirteen shows that I really liked which I started watching after finding them for the first time on Netflix.

1. The BlacklistRaymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) is a notorious criminal who has eluded the FBI for 20 years until he surrendered to the FBI Task Force that had been hunting him. He makes a deal to work with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and the Task Force to bring in a "list" of criminals. - This is my top favorite right now. The woman who cuts Johnny's hair recommended it  last year. I LOVE Spader's character and I also like figuring out the mysteries that surround Red and the people around him. The show is on Season 5 right now and the first four seasons are on Netflix.

2. Zoo - Based after the James Patterson novel by the same name, Zoo is about the journey to solving a global pandemic of animals coordinating violent attacks on humans, government reaction, and the involvement of a large biotech company. - This is another fantastic show that we started watching last year. I love Billy Burke's character, Mitch Morgan, a veterinary pathologist with a pretty dry sense of humor. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after 3 seasons...but they're still on Netflix.

3. The 100 - Almost 100 years after a nuclear war destroyed civilization, 100 juvenile delinquents are sent down to earth from their home on a space station in order to see if Earth is habitable again. - We watch a lot of dystopian, post-apocalyptic shows and this one is pretty good. It does have a lot of dark story lines and I wasn't impressed with the "AI" arc, but the show has kept me interested in seeing where they will take it. I'm very curious to see what will happen after the show comes back in 2018. You can find the first four seasons on Netflix.

4. Jericho - The small Kansas town of Jericho (not a real place) deals with the aftermath of coordinated nuclear attacks across the United States including the reestablishment of government. - This was a really interesting show and I like the main character, Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) and his dad, Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney AKA Major Dad). Many shows have started after the apocolyptic event, but this show actually starts with the mushroom cloud and then spends quite a bit of time trying to figure out what happened...which is difficult without access to television or internet. The second season was cut short after only seven episodes, and it really seems like the show was left unfinished.

5. Heroes - Seemingly ordinary people discover they have superpowers in this show that is presented much like a comic book. These extraordinary individuals find that their lives are intertwined and must prevent a devastating event that culminates in the final episodes of the show. I didn't start watching this show until a few years ago (well after it had been cancelled). I really liked the characters and was drawn into the story of how everyone was connected. There was a second installment called "Heroes Reborn" but it just wasn't the same and I really missed Hayden Panettiere's character, Claire. Unfortunately, it's only available on DVD through Netflix now. Side note...people still get DVDs from Netflix??     

6. Revolution - Set fifteen years after a global blackout, Revolution delves into the history of the characters as well as a group of people posing as the "United States Government" trying to take over the territories that have been established. - This is another show where I really enjoy the dry humor of Billy Burke's character, Miles. I like the show even more once Monroe (David Lyons) stops being so much of a bad guy and ends up being pretty funny. There were only two seasons and while I would've loved to see more, I really hated how they ran off with the "nanotech" story arc...it just got a little too weird for me. But it was definitely a good show other than that. It's also available only on DVD from Netflix.

7. Touch - A widowed father (Kiefer Sutherland) learns that his 11 year old autistic son (David Mazouz) is communicating with him through numbers that lead him to connect with certain people and change the course of fate. - This show focuses on the interconnected lives of people and has a very spiritual (not religious) tone regarding fate. It was interesting to see how everything came together. Kiefer Sutherland is really great in this series, but it only lasted two seasons. I don't think it's on Netflix anymore, unfortunately.

8. Skin Wars - Reality TV show where artists compete to be considered the best in body painting. - This show is awesome. I love art and the body painting is amazing...especially the camouflage challenge. There are some people in each season who are incredibly annoying (and at least one of them seems to make it to the final three each time) but there's a lot of gorgeous painting going on. The show hasn't aired new episodes since 2016, but the first three seasons are on Netflix.

9. Under The Dome - Based on the Stephen King novel by the same name, this show focuses on a small town that is inexplicably trapped under an invisible "dome" which cuts them off from the rest of civilization. - I really like Dean Norris who plays "Big Jim" in this show. There's a lot of mystery to the show and--for the most part--it was pretty interesting. Once the Christine character (played by Marg Helgenberger) showed up, I sort of lost interest but continued watching just to see the end of the series, which lasted three seasons. It's available on Netflix only by DVD.

10. The 4400 - The show starts with 4400 people who had been missing suddenly reappear after a bright flash of light. The National Threat Assessment Command (NTAC) division of Homeland Security are tasked with investigating the 4400 and find they have come back with certain new abilities. - This show was pretty interesting and I liked seeing where it was headed. The show centered around government involvement in response to the incident and led to the formation of a terrorist group, the ability to give powers to ordinary people, and then the creation of a safe haven for the people affected by special powers. It was an interesting show...though I wasn't a huge fan of the ending. The show has been cancelled but all four seasons are on Netflix.

11. Terra Nova - Taking place in 2149 when the Earth is dying, Terra Nova follows the journey of a family who travels back in time to join a colony that is inhabiting Earth 85 million years ago. This show had a bit of a different concept and I thought it was fairly interesting. There were only 13 episodes so it was quick to get through, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. It's now a DVD only show on Netflix as well.

12. Scandal - A former White House communications director starts her own firm as a professional "fixer" who manipulates situations to change the appearance of problems. She and her team of "gladiators in suits" solve one crisis after another for their clients; all while dealing with their own secrets and problems. - I almost forgot to include this show because we started watching it a long time ago. The show is in it's seventh and final season. I really like Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) who has played the president since the beginning of the show but his wife Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) really annoys me...so I started losing interest once she started running for President. We still haven't watched Season 6, but I'm sure we'll get around to it sometime now that it's on Netflix.

13. Quantico - Quantico follows FBI field agent Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) as she tries to prove her innocence after becoming the prime suspect of a terrorist attack. Using dual timelines, we also take a look into her training at Quantico and the circumstances that preceded the present day events. Season two shows Alex working undercover as a CIA operative and the dual timeline continues as we delve into her CIA training at "The Farm" and how it led to the current situation. - I was really interested in this show during the first season but have started to lose interest while watching the second season. At times, the dual timeline was a little annoying, especially during the second season. I'm sure I'll go back sometime and catch up on the episodes I've missed (maybe when I'm done obsessing about Blacklist). ;)

What new shows have you found lately?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Welcome!

I like to start my blogs with a little "get to know me" type of post... so here are 25 random facts about me and my life:

1. I've always gone by "tinycandi" on the internet. The "tiny" part comes from the nickname I was given during 7th grade cheerleading practice almost 25 years ago. Then "tinycandi" popped into my head and just kinda stuck.

2. My hair has been both super long and super short. I didn't dye my hair until I was 24 years old. Since then, I've only dyed it once or twice a year. I wish I was brave enough to die my hair unnatural colors...I'd totally go with a peek-a-boo layer of purple/blue/green. Maybe someday! ;)

3. We always did lots of arts and crafts when I was growing up and I've enjoyed sharing my love of arts and crafts with my kids. I love drawing and painting...though I wish I was a lot better at it! :P I love creating things. Oh and I love coloring books!

4. My favorite TV show tends to go in cycles...currently I'm obsessed with Blacklist. Other shows I like right now include: NCIS, Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds, Zoo, and The 100. Some of the shows I really liked that are no longer on air: Burn Notice, House, Smallville, CSI Miami, Jericho, Revolution, Touch, and Heroes. Oh and I watch The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, and Glitch with Johnny...but those are more his shows than mine.

5. My favorite movie is probably When a Man Loves a Woman starring Andy Garcia. He's been one of my favorite actors since high school and I have a pretty good collection started of all his movies. Bruce Willis has been my favorite even longer...he was my first "older man" crush back in his Moonlighting days. I think Die Hard 4 is my favorites out of all his movies...but he has so many good ones (and I have a lot of his movies on DVD, too)!

6. I love writing and I aspire to actually publish a novel someday. I've wanted to ever since I was little. I used to write and illustrate books that I'd try to sell for 5-25 cents a piece...my mom bought most of them. ;) But I have at least a dozen ideas that are rattling around in my brain. Hopefully I'll put them to paper someday!

7. One of my biggest pet peeves is noise. For example, I don't know why anyone's phone needs to be making a noise every time you touch the screen...other than to drive me batshit crazy. And I really, really don't like when people have conversations on speakerphone when other people are around...especially when they're just sitting there holding the phone and not doing anything else. WHY?! I don't want to hear your entire conversation.

8. On a somewhat related note, I don't do well with roommates. :P When people get a place with their friends to share expenses and everything...the thought of that has always made me cringe. I prefer to live alone (with the exception of my kids and husband...I'm fine with that). I'm just way too moody and get way too irritated over stupid little things. I'm just not a fun person to live with, trust me! :P

9. I have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. My focus is on numbers, patterns, and matching colors. Things have to be organized in a certain way or it makes me twitchy. I really don't like clutter. There are two things that never seem to stay organized though: my desk and my car. :P

10. Some of the things I wanted to be when I grew up: teacher, author, artist, detective, psychologist, event planner, lawyer, politician, paralegal, anthropologist, archaeologist, and even an actress at one point. I have a broad range of interests, obviously. ;)

11. I started community college right after I graduated in 2000. When I got pregnant in 2001, I focused on being a mom instead...but I always wanted to finish. When my oldest child started Kindergarten, I decided it would be a good time for me to go back to school, too. I finished my AA in Psychology in 2008. I was going to get my BS in Criminal Justice, but it had a foreign language requirement that didn't go well (I really should've taken a foreign language in high school...oops!) and I knew I wouldn't be able to get through an additional two years of it. So I switched things up and got a Bachelor of General Studies in Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Sociology. It didn't provide the licensing, certification, or training that is usually required with those careers, though. I could be a cop or corrections officer...but it's not something I want to do while my kids are still kids.

12. I'm kinda nerdy. I actually enjoy reading textbooks, self-help books, and other non-fiction books that seem interesting. My favorites are criminal justice, psychology, and sociology textbooks (not surprising given my field of study). If I could be a professional student, I totally would! I love to learn. If it weren't for the scary prospect of massive student loan debt, I would love to go on to get my Master's and even my Doctorate in Forensic Psychology.

13. I read really fast but I don't generally take the time to read unless I find a really good book. I tend to be the kind of person who starts a book and then finishes it in a day or two. One of my guilty pleasures is young adult novels (especially dystopian or apocalyptic types of stories)...mostly because they're usually quick reads. I got a Kindle for Christmas in 2012 and I've found a few self-published novels that turned out to be pretty good. I like dramas, mysteries, and crime novels.

14. I'm really good at filing and paperwork. I'm not good at manual labor or working outdoors. I'm also not good at gardening. Or sports. I love swimming, though! I'm just more of an indoor hobbies sort of person. The extreme hot/cold temperatures of Kansas don't really get along with me, either.

15. I think pasta is probably my favorite food. Spaghetti, Alfredo, lasagna, mac n cheese...I love all of it! However, I'm not really a fan of cold pasta like macaroni salad.

16. I love going to museums and touristy places. I love to travel! I would love to take my kids to California. I went for about 3 weeks when I was younger and loved it. But...I'd pretty much like to take my kids everywhere. Hopefully one of these days we'll be able to travel more!

17. Last year we saved two baby bunnies (their eyes hadn't even opened yet) after the dogs had gotten into a nest in the backyard. The mama and the other babies had died, but I bottle fed and weaned the last two babies and we were able to release them back into the wild a few weeks after finding them. Right before that, we'd rescued three kittens that my youngest found in an alley. I'm now totally a cat person...which is weird, since I'm allergic to cats. lol. But they are definitely my little furbabies. They are cuddly and best of all...they're very entertaining!

18. I like a lot of music but tend to gravitate toward rock/alternative or country depending on my mood. I think I'd have to say my favorite song is Bed of Lies by Matchbox 20.

19. If I could have any superpower, it would be invisibility. I think it'd be the most handy of all the possible choices. And it'd be awesome to be the ultimate fly on the wall! ;)

20. I've enjoyed playing the Sims computer games since I got my first computer in 2000. I've played all four installments of the game. Johnny also got me hooked on playing World of Warcraft with him...though we rarely play anymore. Video games are a nice escape from reality every once in awhile.

21. I have a very good long-term memory but my short term memory is horrible...and seems to get worse by the day! I used to have an awesome eidetic (photographic) memory but it has a few holes in it the last few years.

22. I'm pretty good at reading people and catching people in lies. A lot of the time it's more just a feeling that something is off...but sometimes I can pinpoint exactly what it is (especially depending on how well I know the person). There are many subtle cues that can often tell you more than a person's words can anyway.

23. I love binge watching TV shows on Netflix but I don't watch movies on it much unless Johnny picks one out. We do watch a lot of documentaries and stand-up comedy specials, though. I can watch episodes of my favorite TV shows over and over again without getting tired of it. I also have a lot of favorite shows, so it's easy to cycle through them in spurts.

24. My list of favorite candies include Hot Tamales, Reese's Pieces, and pink Starbursts. I'm not a big fan of chocolate except for chocolate ice cream...and cookies and cream ice cream is even better! I prefer white cake...or strawberry! I do like Red Velvet cake...which is basically chocolate. Ooh! Blue Bunny red velvet ice cream is the best!

25. I love filling out surveys. I'm also a very long-winded person. It usually takes me quite a few drafts to condense anything I write, and even then it's usually still pretty long. You'll probably figure that out while reading my blog. ;)