Monday, July 13, 2009

"Amazing Grass" Giveaway

My latest in great blog discoveries is Oh She Glows. On this site Angela writes with wit and enthusiasm about finding inner and outer health through balanced food, fitness, and fun. And...this is the same woman who started the Green Monster Movement. I just made one of these amazingly-nutritious-and-equally-delicious smoothies this morning and was surprised by how much it filled me up; plus, I felt great all day knowing that I had started with something as wholesome as fruit, spinach, milk, and flax whipped up to perfection in the blender. Mmm! Anyway, TODAY on Oh She Glows Angela is hosting an "Amazing Grass" giveaway! Amazing Grass is this green superfood made from wheatgrass (I think). I am not entirely sure WHAT it is, but it is supposed to be an amazing (haha, no pun intended) Green Monster addition. More nutrition in a healthy 'milkshake'? What's not to love! So I encourage you to head over to this inspiring and motivating blog and throw your name in the hat for today's giveaway. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Beauty Queen Bows Out

(Psst! Yes, I know the title is sort of lame. She’s much more than a beauty queen now, etc., etc. But it sounded good and it is original. So just revel in my creativity... and don't analyze the title).

I am undecided on what I think of Sarah Palin (I’ll talk more about this in a latter post). Perhaps I am tainted by the biased reporting of secular media, but to me she seems a surprising, puzzling and unpredictable character. Now whether or not these are virtues or vices depends on how you look at it. Most would agree, however, that her recent decision to resign from governor of Alaska was both shocking and unexpected.

I admit to being slightly irked by this news, thinking to myself “Palin, Palin, why must you always be so out-spoken and untactful? Don’t you realize that you are just feeding the media another sensationalist headline with your name on it?” It seemed that by solidifying her image as a babbling, inexperienced diva that just did whatever popped into her head, this once-promising politician was only further decreasing her credibility and potential. That is kind of what I thought at first. Today, however, I came across an intriguing article on Yahoo! that explored the subject of Palin’s resignation with a different perspective. Here are some excerpts.

Sarah Palin is a sinner. She has violated several commandments and thoroughly deserves the savage beating that she is now getting from political mandarins and media elites.

…Let us list just some of the political commandments she has recently violated: Thou shalt not surprise the media.

Palin announces she is quitting her job as governor of Alaska, and she catches everybody by surprise. What is up with that?

Where were the leaks and the trial balloons? Why weren’t the media alerted so they could have predicted it?

When you do what the media have predicted, you are “savvy.” You are a “skilled” and “adept” politician.

If you surprise the media, however, you are “out of control” and “bizarre” and even “egotistical.” (Though I have always believed that accusing politicians of being egotistical is like accusing ballerinas of dancing on their toes.)

How badly do some in the media take to surprise? Here is CNN’s Rick Sanchez on Palin’s announcement that she was leaving office prematurely. “Is there anything going on with her that perhaps may lead her to want to make this decision, and the one thing that’s still left out there is, hey, could she be pregnant again?” Sanchez asked.

Could be, Rick. Or maybe it was just her time of month, because, hey, that’s why woman politicians make the decisions they do, right?

But you can see why some in the media were shocked and dismayed. Imagine abandoning your office! Imagine quitting and deserting the voters who elected you!

Though this is what Bob Dole did in 1996, didn’t he? Dole resigned his Senate seat to run for president. I remember it. I was standing right there when he did it. And I don’t recall anybody accusing him of being a quitter. Or of being pregnant.

…She is a dumb hick, a nobody from nowhere. She hunts moose with a chainsaw from the back of a snowmobile or something. Just listen to her resignation speech. It was not slick or polished or written by somebody else. She appeared to deliver it off the top of her head as if she were a real person. What a doofus!

Doesn’t she know that the highest form of political communication today is to exactly regurgitate a speech written for you by a speechwriter who has crafted, vetted and polled every phrase, line and word?

But listen to Palin. Listen to how “rambling” and “disjointed” she is. Once upon a time in American politics, this was known as being “plain-spoken,” but that time has gone. An entire industry of political consultants has grown up to make sure politicians are never plain-spoken. Sarah Palin does not get this. Which is to say she is not very bright. (Or else she is pregnant, in which case, I apologize.) …

I thought this sarcastic, witty article provided a unique angle that I had not considered before. There is also a lot of truth in it.

Only time will tell what the hockey-mom-turned-politician has up her sleeve next. I for one, am eager to see what her future holds.

The above article was written by Roger Simon. It can be viewed in its entirety at:
Photo source can be found by clicking on image.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

“I’m not crazy; I’m just a little unwell…”

I just got back from this psychology class that I am taking at the community college for the spring semester. Today we covered abnormal psychology which was, well, odd. It kind of freaks me out. It's not that I don't have sympathy for the people who suffer from those mental conditions, it's just that I am so near the brink of insanity myself that it frightens me to see into that distorted world. One good thing about it, though, is that after hearing of these crazy behaviors I am thankful that I am pretty normal. I mean, really, what do I have to complain about? My life is pretty great. Yes, it's filled with uncertainty, doubt, worry, perfectionism…things I need to work through and deal with…but it is also filled with wonderful, happy things. Like my family, my faith, my imagination, the beautiful things of life, and how blessed I am overall to have a safe, clean home and plenty food to eat. I have so many gifts and talents; we all do. I just need to focus on cultivating those talents instead of counting my flaws and problems. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at that. But I know that each day that life is getting better. Because God is with me, with you, with all of us, every moment of our lives. I know that this sounds terribly cliché, but have you ever really thought about what that means? I try to sometimes but it's just way too big for me to understand. But sometimes I just feel a sense of peace knowing He is here, always. I so glad!

What does all of this have to do with psychology, though? Well, it just reminds me of my 'issues.' I'm hesitant to share those things because a) it's personal and probably really boring to most people, b) I don't know how open I should be on here, since it is the Internet and all, and c) what would it accomplish? If it would help someone, sure, I would share, but I don't want to just sound like I'm moaning about my problems. I'll just have to pray about it and see the direction that things take with this blog. Despite the abovementioned hesitations, I really have no probably sharing that stuff. I just want to make sure it's the right thing to do. Oh, and just to appease your curiosity 'it' isn't that exciting, juicy, shocking, or scandalous. I don't have any skeletons in my closet, or anything.

This post's title is a reference to the Matchbox 20 song "I'm Not Crazy."(Frankly, I don't even understand that song. It just popped into my head and seemed fairly fitting to the content of this post.) Oh, and if you wish to hear the song you can listen to it on YouTube.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Website: Free Fonts Galore

I found this really cute website last night. It's called From what I can gather they make fonts based on people's handwriting...for FREE! You can even send in (scan) your own writing and s/he (I'm not sure if they both do it or just Amanda) will turn it into a font for you. How cool is that? I just downloaded like a gazillion fonts and they are so awesome. My blood pressure goes up just looking at I fantasize about the limitless design possibilities that they evoke in my overly-creative mind. So if you are a font freak like me and are itching to get your hands onto some of these adorable ones just check out the site. It looks like there are links to their other sites, including a photography blog, a personal blog, another site with free scrapbooking fonts, and a recipe blog. (How do people maintain that many sites? I've been wondering that lately; it seems like blogging could easily turn into a full-time job.) Oh, and by the way, this isn't a sales pitch or anything; I stumbled upon this site in my own right and I am recommending it soley because I like it. : )

...aren't computers wonderful (in a frustratingly fantastic way).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Yoplait® Light

Recently, while in my local Meijer, I had this irrepressible urge to give in and buy all the flavors I could find of Yoplait's decadent dessert-themed yogurts. With flavors like "Pineapple-Upside Down Cake" (which I love! The real thing, that is!), "Raspberry Cheesecake" and "Cinnamon Roll," I was sold. (Plus, they were on sale for 50 cents a piece. ) So I toted home my 60 ounces of yogurt--I didn't actually buy all the flavors; just 10 of them:

1. Apple Turnover
2. Strawberry Shortcake
3. Lemon Cream Pie
4. Orange Crème
5. Pineapple Upside Down Cake
6. Raspberry Cheesecake
7. Boston Cream Pie
8. Peaches ‘N Cream
9. Cherry Cobbler
10. Cinnamon Roll

After trying all of these, my rule of thumb would be to not expect the real thing." It ain't gonna happen. These are good yogurts, but don't hold a candle to an actual piece of cake. There are a few acceptations, but I wouldn't buy most of them again.

"Apple Turnover" wasn't too bad; it at least had nice chunks of apples in it.

"Strawberry Shortcake" was a huge disappointment. It was just plain, boring strawberry yogurt. No juicy chunks of strawberry, no crumbly biscuit, no fluffy whipped cream. Waaah! I think it would've been better if instead of mixing everything up, they made it more layered, like the real dessert. I love the real thing immensely, though, so I'm probably not a very good judge. But look how misleading the picture is.

"Lemon Cream Pie" was divine, and by far my favorite. I think this flavor works because lemon pudding is already so close in consistency to yogurt.

"Orange Crème" was pretty good. Not bad. It was kind of like an orange creamsicle, which is the taste I assume Yoplait was looking for. Even though they're not exactly creamsicles, those orange push-ups from Schwan's are still better than this yogurt. (Does Schwan's even make those any more? I haven't had one in years. I hope they do! They were a favorite treat as a child. The raspberry ones are delish, too.)

"Pineapple Upside-down Cake" was the first one I tried, so I had huge expectations, but one spoonful and they were gone. I already mentioned my affinity for the real thing, so maybe, as with the "Strawberry Shortcake", I was biased. To me it just tasted like fake pineapple (you know, like the smell of sunscreen or something). This is one of the few I tried that had actual little chunks of fruit in it (in this case being pineapple, of course). As with the "Strawberry Shortcake" flavor, I think it would've been better if they layered the flavors. Mixing everything together destroys the unique taste experience of yellow cake, brown-sugar-carmelized pineapple, warm and gooey. And what about the cherries? They're on the package, but not in the product. Nice idea, but it needs a lot of work.

"Raspberry Cheesecake" wasn't half bad. It didn't taste like actual cheesecake, mind you, and it lacked that distinct "cheesiness", but it had a nice red raspberry (almost like jam) taste to it.

"Boston Cream Pie" majorly disappointed. This one falls into the 'sweet nothings' category. It was kind of sickeningly sweet (I couldn't even finish it, honestly) and I wish they would've made it into three layers: the chocolate, the cake, and the custard. I would think that would be sooo easy, as pudding is really similar to yogurt as I noting when commenting on the "Lemon Cream Pie." The 'cake' part might have been kind of hard, but if they can make cake-batter flavored ice cream can't they make cake-batter flavored yogurt?

I don't actually remember much about "Peaches 'N Cream "**,which leads me to assume it wasn't that special, but not that horrible. And going by the trial-and-error-established rule of thumb that the fruity ones were better than the pseudo-cake fakes, I'll have to say that it was probably okay. (I think it might've even had little chunks of peaches in it. I can't remember, though, as the occurance of anything like that was extremely rare in my experience with this line of yogurt.)

"Cherry Cobbler"** was fairly good. You know, not fab, but definitely
tolerable for a light indulgence. (Still, quite certain that the evidences of actual fruit were not there, but I can't be sure as this was a couple weeks ago.)

And, finally, "Cinnamon Roll."** Nothing special here. Another 'sweet nothing.' Real cinnamon rolls are so much better, in my opinion. It's just too hard to compare a measly little yogurt to one.

Now, before you decide never to buy the flavors I didn't care for, let me remind you that flavor is subjective. Just because I did or didn't like it does not mean you will feel the same way. I ususally don't even like flavored yogurt because it is so sweet. Normally I'll just get fat-free, low-sugar plain or vanilla and add fruit to it. But because I love my desserts, I had to try these. (Yeah, normally I eat way too much sugar; that's why I try to pare back on things I don't like a lot of it in--like yogurt.) You really need to try them yourself, to decide.

Another thing to keep in mind is the nutrition facts of these yogurts. You can see the specific numbers for each flavor on the Yoplait website here and here. All are fat free, either 100 calories (for fruit flavors) or 110 calories (for indulgent flavors), contain 20% of daily calcium (plus vitamin D), have around 5-10 grams of protein, and 14 or 15 grams of sugar.

My newest yogurt adventure is about to start soon: I was at Kroger yesterday and they had Yoplait Whips! on sale next to a sign that said "try it frozen." So, of course I grabbed as many as I could carry and headed to the checkout. I've tried freezing regular yogurt before, but it was too hard and kind of icy. I'm hoping that the Whips! will make perfect, fluffy, frozen yogurt. Mmmm. I may have found a delicious new frozen treat. Stay tuned!

**This means that it’s a Yoplait® Light Thick & Creamy. All others were just Yoplait® Light.
Click on pictures to see source.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Night at the Museum 2

I have been so bad about posting! Every day I come up with half a dozen great ideas to write about, but the problem is that once I get on my computer…I get REALLY distracted. Really, really distracted. The Internet is such a big world out there, and so enticing…can you really blame me? Well, for once I’m on here and I’m gonna do better because I have some awesome ideas. (Okay, well I think they’re awesome.) So stay tuned! As for today, I’ll just try to give a recap on some stuff that’s on my mind and see where I go.
Enough about what I’m going to do; here goes.
I went opening weekend (that was like 3 weeks ago now!) to see Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian with my family. It turned out to be a very satisfying movie: fun, family-friendly, good special effects, and even a teensy bit educational! (Call me stupid, but I didn’t know Napoleon was short.) In brief, it was really good. Not that I expected anything less. I admit to immensely enjoying the first one, so I had big hopes for its sequel. Never mind that it’s a kids’ movie! Do you think I care about that? It was entertaining, decent, and history-filled (which I love); plus it was laugh-out-loud funny moments and paid great attention to detail (e.g., making Al Capone black and white). It is SO nice to be able to go to the theater and see a movie that is actually entertaining and fun without all the garbage that frequently lands in—even family and kids’—films. That said, there were a few tiny flaws. I am tempted to say none, because they are so slight. But to be fair, I’ll give a heads-up on what those might be:

1) Amy Adams’—she’s a great actress, by the way, and so cute in this movie—character, Amelia Earhart, had some seriously tight pants. But Amelia Earhart was a pilot and that was what pilots wore, so that wasn’t really a big deal to me. Despite the fact that one of my younger brothers said “I wish they would’ve left Amelia Earhart out,” I think her darling spunk contributed greatly to the plot and atmosphere of the movie. Plus, it’s nice to see a heroine with some moxie (as Amelia herself would say), and I’ve kind of concluded that said brother is just at that all-girls-have-cooties-except-for-mom stage.

2) I kind of winced when Amelia (yep, I’m really picking on her) said the only reason to do anything is “for the fun of it.” This advice may just be a manifestation of Amelia’s spritely personality, though; I think she means well. On the positive side, one of the underlying messages of the film is that one should do what he/she loves rather than what makes the most money. Maybe that’s all she was trying to say.

3) Language: a couple instances of misusing God’s name, one use of “sucks” (I thought it was almost unnoticeable, though).

4) “Roosevelt tells Larry, ‘Sometimes it's more noble to tell a small lie than deliver a painful truth’—a questionable conviction portrayed in a positive light. Later, Larry puts that idea to work when he chooses not to be entirely forthright with Amelia.” (qtd. from PIO review). Tsk, tsk, tsk! Lying is bad. May have to clarify this with young viewers.

5) That’s about it on my list (pretty tame, right) but if you want a thorough dissection of the movie check out Plugged In Online’s movie review. As much as I love Plugged In Online, I have to admit that sometimes they tend to over-analyze things (like the “little midnight cowboy” reference you’ll see in this review. I would’ve never made that connection, and I don’t even remember it in the movie). But I would rather they over-analyze than trivialize things. Even if I don’t always agree with every little criticism, I certainly appreciate their attention in pointing them out. When it comes to entertainment choices, it is decidedly better to be over-informed than under-informed. Bottom line: I find their reviews to be really thorough and helpful (probably the best out there that I know of). Yet every so often it is necessary to take it with a grain of salt.

Overall, this is a fabulously fun flick. I most certainly recommend it! (Plus, you'll come away with a trove of cheeky one-liners and enough notable-quotables to annoy your family until Night at the Museum 3 comes out).
Photo credit here

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chick Flicks, Disney Stars and Other Important Things

I am almost scaring myself. I mean, aren't I supposed to be too old to care about lame Disney Channel stars? Obviously...not. I just find Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato to be extremely cute in a fun, innocent sort of way. Especially Selena. Demi is just so-so, and I've kind of given up on Miley; I keep praying for her, though.

Don't get me wrong, I think Disney shows are the lamest thing ever: bad acting, cheesy lines, predictable plots, middle school humor, and gaudy sets. But I do admit to liking a couple of the stars of these shows. If only for their youthful exuberance and the fact that they are not (yet) tainted too much by fame and money. I hope this next generation of Disney starlets stays pure, and just, you know, good. So hard to find these days among any sort of celebrity figure. Of course no one is perfect and Hollywood shouldn't ever really the place to look for role models (although it is), but I keep hoping that cute, bubbly Selena won't turn into the next Britney Spears. The pressure must be so intense; I can't even imagine how hard it must be to even attempt to maintain one's morals and beliefs in that kind of atmosphere.

One thing is certain, though. We need to PRAY for these girls and all celebrities, famous figures, athletes, musicians, and all those in a position to influence and inspire others. Actually, let's just pray for the whole world! There are no limits to God's love and mercy so why not ask for it all? It's the least we can do.

Okay, after you've said a quick prayer for everybody-in-the-world-but-especially-celebrities, check out this video. *Smile* I can't wait for Princess Protection Program! I LOVE girly-girl movies, and I LOVE princess movies. I probably won't see it until I watch it with my own daughters, though, because with a household full of brothers, when we rent a movie it's usually not a princess movie! (You can imagine, I'm sure).

Speaking of movies, I still want to see the Hannah Montana movie. The trailer did look fun. Not a classic, but fun--and clean. And that is saying a lot. It's sad, though, that I have to resort to Disney to watch a clean chick flick. Maybe someday my little sister and I can escape and watch all those girly movies without any males giving us a hard time. Maybe someday we'll make our own awesome chick flicks that don't have all that nasty stuff in them. Sure, we can do it. Anything is possible with God!
Photo Credit here