Showing posts from October, 2010

Kaya the Wonderdog

This is the face of one patient and persevering dog. She's ever loyal, incredibly funny, and about had it with me lately.  Ever since we moved into our new neighborhood her patience with me has been tested. You see, this is well-fenced in neighborhood. Most houses have fully fenced in yards, but we do not. We are fenced in on three sides by the neighbors, but that all important fourth side is wide open. And therefore, Kaya the Wonderdog cannot be left outside.  This bothers her to no end. She suffers from immense peer pressure. All the other neighbor dogs are allowed to hang out in their fenced-in yards, where they get to bark all freaking day long. But I'm the mean mommy who makes her dog stay inside while all the other dogs get to go outside and bark. Instead, Kaya has nothing better to do than sit at my feet and whimper in horrible jealousy every time all the neighbor dogs start another rousing chorus of Irish drinking songs. (That must be what they are, because there are no …

How do you become a writer?

There are two questions I get asked more times a week than I can count. The first one is, "How do you get to be a writer?" The second one is, "How did you get to work from home?"
There are days when I'm truly baffled that I am a writer. Growing up that is all I ever wanted to be, but the problem always was- how do you get to be a writer. Sure, you have to learn all the necessary skills (grammar, punctuation, word flow, vocabulary, structure) but really, what matters most at the end of the day isn't any of those skills. What really matters is having something to write about!
There are so many dreamers out there who want so badly to be a writer. I can't blame them- I am one of them! Their heads are full of ideas, words, and stories. But nobody wants to pay them to be a daydreamer. It is a very sad reality. To be a writer (that actually makes money) you have to have something worth writing about that others want to read.
But here is the real secret about …

Plentiful Pantry

A few weeks ago I got an email asking if I'd like to try out Plentiful Pantry in exchange for a blog review. And I am SOOO glad I said yes!
Plentiful Pantry makes all sorts of products- soups, bakery items, and more- but I got asked to try out the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Fettucine and the Meatball Mix. Now you know I love a good pasta. I am the carb queen! And this fettucine did NOT disappoint! I loved it! The one bag (that comes with extra virgin olive oil as well) of pasta was enough to feed both me and my sister 3 different times! It could easily feed a family of 4 for one meal!
I have never made meatballs before. And I didn't think I was much of a meatball lover. (After all, I always associate meatballs with Swedish Meatballs from Costco. So not the same!) However, I am now a meatball fan, and I am very much in love with this mix! The Meatball Mix was easy to make. You add the mix to one egg, a little water, and some ground beef. It was optional to add ground sausage to it…

31 Days of Service - Day 26 Nutty Putty Cyclers

Last year there was a tragic caving accident in Utah. A man, John Jones, caving with his brothers, got stuck in the popular "Nutty Putty Caves." He died in the cave, leaving behind a pregnant wife and a baby. The story was huge in Utah, and well-known throughout the LDS world. It was also a huge story here in Roanoke. Why? This is the home of the John's wife, Emily.
It has been just short of a year since the accident. Emily is now the mother of Elizabeth (age 2) and John (infant). Emily's brother, Dan, along with some friends, have formed the Nutty Putty Bike Trip. This bike trip was originally intended to raise money for Emily's family, but has since transformed into a nationwide fundraiser to benefit desperate widows and widowers across the country. Beginning October 4, 2010, Eric Maughan (Emily's friend), Jonathan Miller (Emily's cousen), and Dan Petersen (Emily's brother), will bike from Virginia Beach, Virginia to the Pacific Coast of San Di…

Online Dating and Me

Alright kids, I did it. I finally caved to my total lack of a dating life and joined an online matchmaking site (i really, really hesitate to call them "dating" sites. they are meant for meeting and introducing, not to take the place of a date.) I'm never going to meet people in my daily interactions, so it was time to do something, anything, to make friends and meet people.
So it is.
It has been a week, and thus far, I've found little to nothing to be glad I spent money about. (I'm broke people! I carefully spend every dollar. It was a risk spending $39 to meet people.)
So help me make the most of my $39. Help me write my profile. What would you say about me? Describe me to me.
The categories are:
"About me and who I am looking for" (let's find a way to make it clear I like smart guys who don't wear flannel)
"What I do for fun"
"my job"
"my religion"
"favorite hot spots" (kind of a joke seeing a…

Political Attack Ads of Roanoke, VA

It's that time of the year again where we all start hitting the mute button a little bit more often. Political attack ads are in full swing. I am a registered voter in the little city of Roanoke, VA. I am one of the most likely individuals to get out and vote.
But here we are 1 week away from election day and I have a major confession. I have no idea who I am voting for. The local candidates, who I presume to be Tom Perriello and something or other Hurt, and I think maybe Bob Goodlatte? are slinging so much mud at each other, that I have no idea who stands for what, or which party they represent.
Here's what I do know- Perriello must have deeper pockets than the other guys. (Which doesn't make me like him. It makes me who funds him.) I see his commercials at least five times more often than the other guys'. In fact, I don't know what office Goodlatte is running for. I haven't heard or seen one ad for him yet, but my uncle has a sign in his yard for him. And I t…

Never give up hope

Twice this week I have read Facebook statuses from individuals going through extraordinarily difficult trials saying that they are turning against God, or have given up hope.
I don't speak much on this blog regarding my own faith, but have never shied away from sharing my faith. Today that will change.
I have faced and endured by own heavy trials over the past year. The life I have today would have been unimaginable to me one year ago. The past few weeks have been more difficult than most of the past year put together. But my trials are mine and mine alone.
Earlier this week I "hit my knees," so to speak. I knelt down to pray, more humble, more penitent, more heartbroken and weak than ever before. It was 1 a.m. I cried my heart out to the Lord, and begged for guidance and light. Something to get me to the end of this very long dark tunnel.
I tried to go to sleep. But I tossed and turned, and finally gave up. And then at 1:45 am I turned on my computer. Why? I didn't …

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

This week I received a comp'd ticket to the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show in Roanoke. I had never heard of this band before, but I always welcome the chance to try new, live music. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were fantastic. In fact, I'd even go see them again! This little clip is my favorite song I've heard from her so far. The acoustic style is SO not what I heard at the very LOUD, rocking, lights and arts show I saw. But I love the a-oops in this song! So fun!

I was not compensated in cash for this review. I did receive a free ticket to attend. All opinions are mine and mine alone!

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


You can find me next door--->

I blogged on my Cutting Back and Going Green blog today. You can find me talking about Adventures in Recycling there!
Also, my deal loving friends, be sure to check out CityDeals today! They have brought back the amazing 50% off AMC movie tickets (2 tickets for $13!!) and let's not forget you can get a $20 Cold Stone Creamery gift card for only $16. Seriously, I love CityDeals!

Why I want to join the Peace Corps

I am happy to report that another round of the Peace Corps has been completed. And by that, I mean they have accepted my application. Now, I actually get evaluated and considered by them. Hopefully I will be interviewed in the next few weeks, which is really the most competitive part of the process so far.

I know most of you don't know much about the Peace Corps, so I thought I would tell you. If this doesn't interest you, mosey on. I'll see you tomorrow.
First, no, you do not get to pick where you go. As much as I wish that I handpick the program I want, that isn't the process. They actually take into consideration your previous language skills, your practical skills, professional background, and education. Even though they do accept applicants at 18, it is a competitive process, and therefore, having a college degree or applicable work experience, is in an applicant's favor.
There are 15,000 applicants a year, but they only accept 4,000 into the program. (Which…

Happy Dance Day!

It is the return of the HAPPY DANCE!! I had something great happen for me, plus I heard fantastic news from some friends! 2 pregnancies, a job, little Rylee is home from chemo round 1, and lots of other fun stuff! Therefore, I think it is time to HAPPY DANCE again!!!

Come on, get happy!

31 Days of Service continues

I've had one very long and busy week. So I am very grateful for the friends who did their acts of service for me! They all promise that blog posts are on their way, so we'll have real content to share soon.
As for me, I've been enjoying doing good deeds every day. It hasn't been as hard as I thought at all. One day this week I sent little care packages to a few people (who must remain nameless because I don't think they have received them yet). Today I helped clean up at the church for a few hours, and then came home to remember that Karen was going to do something today. (But if she forgot, she totally gets a pass. She volunteered BEFORE her daughter got diagnosed with cancer!) And I realized I would have done the good deed anyway.  I like doing it!

testing, testing,123

I just discovered the blogger app on my new android phone. I am curious to see how well it works! I love the new phone, but i am not as fast on it as i was on ny blackberry!Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

31 Days of Service- Days 6 and 13- Amanda reaches out!

Many thanks to my friend Amanda for taking on every Wednesday to do service!! This post was written by her!

About a year ago, I finished a Masters. Single and childless, I suddenly had quite a bit of free time. Not all the time in the world, but enough that I knew that if I didn’t do something productive with my time, I’d spend a lot of time after work sitting on the couch watching mindless television. Volunteering somewhere crossed my mind, but I didn’t know where or doing what.

So, I spent a lot of time sitting around watching mindless television until early this summer, when a friend finished his Masters in May and was already announcing that he’d found volunteer work with the National Park Service!

Inspired, I got off my duff (metaphorically, since I did this next step on my computer) and found an organization I could feel good about working with – Reach Out and Read ( &, which advocates literacy for children.

From their …

A writing fool!

I've said this on Facebook and Twitter already today, but I want to thank my blogger friends too. If you are annoyed by all the links to my writing projects, I apologize. I get paid for page views, so I do some self-promotion so that I can make more money! Make sense?
To those of you who ever so faithfully click on my links and read my articles, and even better SHARE my articles with others- THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It really means a lot to me.
I'm on my way to making more money this month writing than I ever have before (which trust me, isn't all that much, but its more than it was!). I'd love it if someday I starting getting so much traffic to my writing projects that I didn't have to self-promote. It would also be a dream if someday I could just make money as a writer! But until that day comes, I must self-promote and hope for the interest and kindness of friends! (And the effectiveness of SEO!)

So without further ado (or is adieu? I can never decide!) he…

Ay yi yi and then some

It is 2:40 am as I start this. I am WIDE AWAKE. I've given myself permission to just stay up and get some work and projects done, rather than fight this. I waste a lot of time in the middle of the night just sitting around, trying to convince myself I should go to sleep.
Have you ever had the kind of week where you thought, "If I do XYZ on Wednesday, I better plan to see the chiropractor on Thursday?" because you know you'll be in pain? This week is going to be a killer. Seriously, if you could see my schedule you would understand why I support reproductive cloning. From writing projects to marketing freelancing to a job interview in DC to preparing lessons for church, I'm going to be going crazy. And let's not forget I have my 31 Days of Service to do too!
Which reminds me, I did do something on Saturday (Day 9), but I didn't do anything of significance for Day 10. I was having a rough and busy day and just completely forgot. (I think busy Sundays shoul…

31 Days of Service - Day 8

For today's good deed I hand-sewed a cute little purse/bag for my cousin. The little bag took less than 1 hour to make, which I sewed while watching TV one night, and cost less than $1.
I put some Halloween candy in it and delivered it to my favorite 5 yr old. She was thrilled with the candy, and ran around holding it and showing it off. She gave me a great big hug, sat in my lap, took my face in her hands, and said, "Erin Ann, what happened to your beautiful face?" Apparently, she doesn't approve of my new bangs/haircut. She also said thank you for the present. But seeing her run around and twirling with it was good enough for me!

The one where I promote little things I have come to love, also, how my butt shrank

If I do get into Peace Corps, or get that job I haven't mentioned yet on the blog that is another country (and that's all I will be saying about that), I've decided I will be be buying all of the seasons of Alias to take with me. I only just barely started watching this show (that has been off the air for 5 years), and I LOVE IT. It is killing me that I didn't watch it years ago. I keep getting to big twists in the plot and want to call someone and talk about it, and then I remember nobody else is watching. Bugger! (and nobody ruin anything for me- I'm only in Season 3!)

Now, let's discuss the size of my butt.

Remember how a few months ago I bought these Avia iShape Toning Shoes?
I am now going to tell you they work! (And that the Amazon widget gizmo thingy has them for half the price I paid for them 2 months ago.)
Over the past 2 weeks I have noticed multiple times that my pants don't fit. As in, all of my pants are baggy in the butt. Also, they are all l…

31 Days of Service, Day 7- Be The Match

These are the beautiful faces of Rylee and Karen Ewing. Rylee is Karen's baby. Karen is one of my high school BFF's. When I look at Rylee all I can see is a little tiny version of Karen. And I love it.
Rylee is 4 years old and has just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. She has already begun chemo, and in a few more weeks will get a bone marrow aspiration and possible bone marrow donation.
I wanted to do so much more for Karen and her family. (Rylee also has a dad and 3 other siblings.) But what can a cash-strapped friend on the other side of the country do? What could I do to really serve or help them out? I really and truly prayed my heart out over this one. And the answer was plain as day-

Bone Marrow Typing

I had heard that it was expensive and painful to get tested to donate bone marrow. NOT TRUE!!
I found a foundation that makes it easy, pain-free, and FREE to test you for bone marrow typing! It took me less than 10 minutes to fill out the form on …

Facebook unveils new Groups feature

Everything you need to know about the new Facebook Groups right here! (written by yours truly)

Dear Universe- I win, you lose

Dear Universe:

I'm having a day. You know what I mean. The kind of day where it feels like I can't win, and that no matter how hard I try, you are going to keep holding me under. But you've underestimated me. I can beat you. And I will overcome this bad day.
It all started when my mobile phone stopped working this morning. Just kaput! What was a perfectly good phone yesterday, today was only capable of dialing gibberish, and suddenly incapable of answering calls. As you know, I'm underemployed these days, and stretched thin financially. But thanks to the phone breaking down within 3 days of the warranty expiring (as in still under warranty), and an incredibly understanding sales lady, I have a loaner phone till my awesome new phone arrives on Friday. Oh trust me, you hit me where it hurts (the wallet) and its going to leave a mark, but I'm going to survive just fine.
And then, Universe, you decided to make my car break down. But again, I was saved by incredibly ni…

31 Days of Service- Day 5

So Day 5 didn't work out as well as I had hoped. My plan had been to go over to my sister's and make her dinner and dessert, and clean her kitchen. I did technically do all of those things. However, she wasn't hungry, didn't eat the dinner, and claims she doesn't like brownies. (Who doesn't like brownies made with marshmallows in them??) (I also predict she eats the brownies anyway.) But the kitchen got cleaned, so that's something, right?

31 Days of Service and Love Day 4

Day 4 of Service was done by my sister Natalie (and her husband, Steve, even helped out too)! As you may recall, Steve's mother passed away less than a week ago. I told Natalie that she was not at all obligated to do a day of service, given their situation. (Shouldn't I be doing service for them right now?!) But she insisted that she still wanted to. The following is the email she sent me about her day-
A fundraiser guy from came to my door asking for donations for the Care Package Campaign .  I donated to it just because it went towards my day of charity for your 31 days of charity. ( I am actually very worried now that it was a scam.) I donated some clothes to the Boys and Girls Club. While my family was in deep sadness, Steve's coworkers generously organized several nights of dinners for us. They also helped me with my babysitting needs.  These people went above and beyond with showing their love and concern for our famil…

31 Days of Service - Day 3- Brownies

Made brownies for the next-door neighbor. Planned more on my big service project that I will announce soon!

Favorite quote of the week, "a freaking shark!"

Setting: Friday evening. My brother calls to ask why I haven't returned his voice mail yet. "I called you Wednesday night, well, maybe Thursday morning. It was kind of late." We chat for a few minutes, and he tells me that on Wednesday he went to the dentist for a toothache, and they pulled 3 teeth while he was there. Thankfully, he also mentioned he was taking some painkillers after having his teeth pulled. Otherwise, the following voice mail would have been a little disturbing.

I never check my voice mails, but I made an exception this one time. And oh am I glad I did. Please make sure you read this in your very best, drugged up, freaked out, OMG, voice.

"Erin, this is your brother. This is Scott. I'm your brother. Erin, they pulled my teeth, Erin. They pulled them! And it hurt. Three teeth, three. I'm a freaking shark, Erin! A freaking shark!"

Oh, and he left the message at 4 a.m.

31 Days of Service and Love- Day 2

One of the goals I set for myself as I began the 31 Days of Service and Love was that I wouldn't say no when others asked me for help. If it was inconvenient or difficult, I would try to find a way to be able to help. For Day 2 I had something simple planned. However, my aunt asked me to come and "sit" with my grandmother. It meant not having the time to work on my service project, and giving up some personal time. But I was happy to do it. After all, this is what the challenge is all about- putting my wants aside, and focusing more on other people.

31 Days of Service and Love - Day 1- HealthWell Foundation

Today was the funeral of Sandy Gresko, the mother of my brother-in-law, mother-in-law to my sister, grandmother to my nephews, and friend to my family. She lost a well-fought, but losing battle to cancer at the age of 60.

Sandy was kind to everyone. I have some very fond memories of her. A few years ago when I was plagued with [what we thought at the time were] kidney stones, and was stuck in bed, in massive pain and on all sorts of painkillers, she was my angel. I was new to the area, and had no friends or family to help me. My sister, Natalie, wanted to do something to help me. So she called Sandy and asked her to bring me dinner on Natalie's behalf. We both expected her to show up with McDonald's, or just a portion of her family's dinner. Instead she showed up with a month's worth of groceries and some fun magazines. She told me, "I thought 'what would I want if I was stuck in bed?' and the answer was tabloids! So here you go!" She insisted on mak…