Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

I can't resist a giveaway -- lots of drawings to enter AND lots of new faces to meet. The quarterly carnival is for one week, July 28 - August 1. Go to the Bloggy Carnival Giveaways site to participate.

Anyway, I'm Shawna, the mom around here. Scamp's my rambunctious almost 3-year old who inspires much of my blogging. And you'll see my hubby, Matt (aka Beef) around, too. I love to write and have picked back up my love of reading as well. Recently, another blogging buddy and I started a Christian book review site for parents and teens called Teen Lit Review. Please stop by if you get a chance. We are doing a book giveaway there, too.

Now, let's get down to the real business. I'm giving away my personal copy of the book "Snow Angel" by Jamie Carie.

Synopsis (from book jacket): When Noah Wesley heard the faint sound outside the door of his remote Alaskan mountain cabin during a violent nighttime blizzard, it was no less than the voice of God that urged him to take a closer look, soon to discover his snow angel.

Unconscious and more than half frozen to death, her name, as Noah would later learn after boldly saving her life, was Elizabeth, a beautiful young woman, fragile yet fierce, and intent on discovering gold like so many others in that region during the late 1800s.

But why Elizabeth was so drawn to the gold, and why she would chase it even through a pounding storm that no man would dare face, was a secret to be shared with no one else, not even at the invitation of Noah's deep blue trusting eyes.

I was a bit disappointed in how the book started, being Christian fiction and all. The plot was pretty cliche, nothing original. It was, however, very romantic but not one of my favorite romances. It was enough of a good read to pass on though.

Rules to enter drawing:

1. Leave a comment. You don't have to be a blogger, but please leave a way to contact you if you aren't.

2. You must be a US resident.

That's all. Because I'm late to enter the carnival I'm extending my drawing to August 7, which gives everyone a week to enter. Entries will be taken up until noon CST on Thursday, August 7.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rescue of a Fuzzy Baby Kitty, Part 2

For part one of the rescue, click here.

Mid-day, Monday

Scamp and I return from a shopping trip after which she fell asleep in the car. I had had no more thought of the kitten until I hear him begging for his mama again in the original jungle bush. I lay Scamp inside in her bed and start my search of the bush from the side closest to the back of our neighbor's house gently calling, "Kitty, kitty," when I hear someone else from the opposite side saying the same thing. It's our neighbor who heard the kitten meowing as well. We didn't know we were searching on separate side's of the bush. I explain our attempts of rescue beginning last night, and he basically leaves the hunt up to us because his son is allergic to cats.

Matt finally comes back out and sends me to the spot my neighbor previously claimed on the front side of the plant while he guides me to the kitty's lair. He has his eye on the him and tells me I have to lay down and reach about a foot and a half into the oblivion of this vast tree to grasp the now silent kitten. After two attempts, I lay hold of one of his paws and manage to wrangle him around his fuzzy belly pulling him out, claws and all. If he'd been any bigger than his five-week old self, I wouldn't have been able to handle those sharp nails. I quickly settle him into my chest and gently pet him. He's calm at last, and we take him inside for a bowl of milk. Scamp's still asleep, and we know what will happen. She'll quickly become attached to this little creature and will not want to share him. But, we are determined not to keep him.

We make a soft bed for him in Scratchy's carrier, but the poor little thing isn't happy unless he's snuggled up in the crook of someone's neck. Needless to say, I let him out until our own baby wakes up. "Look what Mama and Daddy found, Baby," I say as she peers down at the infant kitten. She's so excited and uses her stubby little fingers to pick him up. "My baby kitty," says Scamp. "No, Baby, that's Janice's baby kitty." Janice is one of our kitty loving friends who we think would have the ideal home for this new bundle of fur.

While Scamp's petting and strangling, oh wait, gently caressing the kitty around the neck, we call Janice and leave a message about the kitten. We hope she calls back soon because Scamp can't keep her hands off him, and we don't want her to become too attached. We intervene numerous times on the kitty's behalf while Scamp is holding him, but as soon as she sits him down, he's off following her. Finally, I leave for my 7:00 pm Bible Study, and Matt's left to supervise. When I arrive home two hours later with kitten chow in hand, Janice is there holding "Scamp's Baby Kitty." Scamp is already beside herself that she isn't in charge of the petting for the moment.

Bad news for Scamp. It's time for bed. She's had four hours plus of constant interaction with the kitten and wants him to sleep with her. But, Daddy tries to explain to her that the kitty is going to a good home at Janice's house. "Don't take my baby kitty, Janice," cries Scamp as tears of desperation streak down her face. Scamp begins screaming as Matt carries her upstairs to bed. What kind of parents are we? She finally settles down and goes to sleep. The next day wasn't as bad as we thought it might be. Scamp only mentioned the kitten once and without tears I might add. Later that day, I talked with Matt. He said he nearly broke down and let Scamp have the kitty as another indoor pet. It broke all our hearts to let the kitty go, but we have too many friends and family members who are allergic to cats. Scratchy will be out last indoor pet.

Kitty is doing well at Janice's. She has family staying over, and they all take turns sleeping with the kitty cuddled up on their necks. Janice has the pictures to prove it. We may even let Scamp visit baby kitty when he gets a little bigger and doesn't look so much like a tiny baby anymore.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Vintage Fashion Show 2008

It was Vintage Fashion Show (Hosted by Studio Six Limited) time again at the county fair last night. Everyone from Sonny and Cher to Marilyn Monroe to Elvis accumulated under the pavilion. I can't believe I stood next to Cher. She seemed only slightly irritated for not being the only big star present. I was pretty nervous about my segments of the show, especially given the star-stacked line-up.

My friend Robin and I had been preparing for our 1970s disco dancing routine since last week. The blue dress I'm in is actually a vintage disco dress I found at a store called Flashback. I got several outfits including a 1970s leisure suit which I'm sporting below.

I went all out Farrah Fawcett again with the hair. Remember last year? It seems my hair was made to fan and flip 70s-style. That little orange number under my pant-suit is a long-sleeved bodysuit. Except for the Velcro on the bodysuit (I won't mention where, but I'm sure you get the picture), it was very comfortable. Maybe I'll wear it on my next date night!

I loved the disco dress. So much fun to twirl! Everyone who participated had a great time. My MIL was the Eva Gabor character in Green Acres. Scamp was supposed to do the twist in her poodle skirt along with myself, Robin and her 4-year old daughter, but she woke up with a fever yesterday morning. She's feeling much better now. I was so excited about having a video this year that I went ahead and posted before the conclusion to our kitty rescue. I'll have that up in a day or two.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rescue of a Fuzzy Baby Kitty

9:30 pm Sunday.

We arrive home from Meme and Papa's to a hoarse meowing coming from our neighbor's enormous bush. When I say enormous I mean one-story house tall and 10-15 feet in diameter big. This is no flimsy bush but could easily hide a grown man if he could maneuver his way through the maze of tightly tucked limbs.

Scamp and I walk over to investigate. My heart is hoping the muffled meowing is from a kitty but could very well be the chirping of a tree frog. Even with the light from our front porch we can't see into the dense bush, so I retrieve a flashlight. Scamp is so excited to find what is lurking inside, but I can't see anything except branches. The meowing grows more distinct as I make my way toward the back of the jungle of limbs. "It's a kitty!" I exclaim to Scamp, almost sure that the tiny creature has nearly lost his voice from meowing continuously.

Matt arrives with his hefty high-powered flashlight and squeezes his upper body into the center of the bush. "I see it," he says. "It's just a baby," who has apparently lost his mama. Scamp's anticipation of seeing the kitten grows, and she ecstatically climbs into my arms to wait. But, the kitten has become frightened and moves farther away from Matt still half wedged in the tree. We move over to the other side of the bush on the front of our neighbor's house. I'm surprised they haven't come out with a baseball bat to catch us "cat-burglars" sneaking around on their property.

After about 15 minutes we give up since it's so late and too hard to see anything outside much less inside the bush. We put Scamp to bed, but Matt and his determination decide to hunt more for the kitten. We didn't realize our cat, Scratchy Paw Paw, was outside and has chased the poor baby kitty out of his hiding spot. But, Matt hears the baby across the street and proceeds in prowling yet again in another neighbor's bushes. With no luck however. He returns inside in defeat except for the fact he wasn't arrested! We accept our failed rescue and hope the kitty is able to find his mama. We put it all behind us...we think.

Read the rest of the rescue later...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Great Smoky Mountains 2008 Day 3

The third day was our trip to the Aquarium. We first stopped at one of the parks along the scenic highway going out of downtown Gatlinburg. This detour is most certainly becoming a tradition in our family. We always make several family pictures. Here we all are minus my mom.
This is the first exhibit you see upon entering the aquarium. We we so glad we were able to use our free tickets. One of the best parts of the center is the shark tank. You step on a moving belt and spend 10-15 minutes following an enclosed shark tank, but there are many more fish besides the sharks. Scamp was freaking out most of the way through especially when we would go under the exceptionally long swordfish with their sharp beaks all plastered to the tunnel ceiling. It's really hard to take good pictures inside the tank, so I'm not going to post those.
There were a few mini aquariums where you could climb inside for a picture. Scamp and Bubby really enjoyed these. My mom, too, as you can tell!
This was the entrance to a miniature cave where all adults had to crawl inside. Scamp thought this was her own little clubhouse.
She really enjoyed meeting the "stuffed" shark. She gave him hugs. She would have been terrified this same time last year. She used to be so afraid when Chuck E. Cheese would come visit her!
We came back to the cabin afterward. The guys all left to ride the slick track cars while the ladies and kiddos under 12 stayed behind. Scamp and Bubby played hide-and-go-seek. I think this is just an adorable picture. Scamp loves her Bubby. That was the end of our stay. We left the next morning. I'll post our family pictures we took prior to leaving later since this is already a pretty long post.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Great Smoky Mountains 2008 Day 2

If you've missed Day One of our Gatlinburg vacation, click here. Day 2 started of with a bit of excitement as we left our cozy cabin in Pigeon Forge and made our first drive into Gatlinburg. Nephew Bubby claimed our second back seat as his own and rode with us the remainder of our stay. I failed to mention that when we arrived our first day, our car started to overheat in the stop-and-start traffic into Pigeon Forge and escalated in temperature when we trekked up the windy mountain road of our cabin. We spent most of the trip with the windows down (thankfully the temperature was only in the 80s) and the heater on full blast to calm our engine. We didn't break down, thank the Lord. Therefore, we chose to park our car and take the Tram from downtown Gatlinburg to Ober Gatlinburg, a carnival/ice skating rink of sorts on top of one of the mountains.
Bubby was all smiles here, but he was a bit nervous. He braved through the at times jerky swaying and the overly packed corridor of the Tram car. I didn't get any pictures out of the Tram this time due to all the sight-seers blocking the windows. You can see more pictures of Gatlinburg from our trip last year here.
Our first visit at Ober Gatlinburg was the bear exhibit. It was a bit shabby because they were making lots of renovations, but we still managed to see some chubby ole' black bears sunbathing.
Nana packed us a picnic, and we ate in a small grassy area off to the side of the parking lot.
Several of my family members got all-day passes to ride the carnival rides, water slides, and the chair lift. Here's my dad following up my mom and niece to the top. Scamp and I took a turn also with Bubby and his mom (my sis Julie) leading the way. Scamp kept yelling, "I'm gonna catch you Bubby and JuJu."
You have the option to ride to the top of the mountain or get off halfway and ride the Alpine Slide down. We came here when I was twelve, but I was much too scared to attempt the slide that time. But, my free spirit (Beef's saying "Yeah right" about now.) got the better of me, and I rode down. Here's my BIL Bill and nephew Billy on the back left and Beef on the back right coming down.
The view from the top is breathtaking. It's so calm and serene except when you're with a two-year old and five-year old who chase each other screaming until the smaller of the two falls down! Poor baby!!

We stayed longer at Ober Gatlinburg than intended, so we waited to the next day to attempt the Aquarium. Box and Rocks were tuckered out and needed a cool breeze to help deter the intensity of the heater. Anyone care for an Ogle Dog? We missed our chance. Catch us here again for Day 3.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Great Smoky Mountains 2008

We loaded the car up Sunday morning with Scamp in her jammies and her two buddies, Box and Rocks to head to the Smokies. It only takes us 3-4 hours to get there, and we met up with my parents and sister's family halfway.
We stayed in the Black Bear Resort in a chalet, and here's a partial view off one of our balconies. Scamp called our cabin the Big House. She loved that she got to spend so much time playing at the house with her cousin Bubby. There were 5 bedrooms and a jacuzzi tub in every one of them. It slept eighteen, but with a party of 10 we stretched out. Scamp slept on the floor on a mattress off a pull-out bed in our upstairs room. She loved it.

After relaxing for a little while once we'd arrived my mom, sister, and I headed to Kroger and picked up groceries for our four day stay. My mom always packs tons of drinks, snacks, and picnic stuff. We (my mom mostly) cooked breakfast and dinner daily, then we packed a picnic and ate at a couple of parks for our lunches. We didn't eat out our entire stay minus the trips to and from our destination. That saved a ton on money.
We went to the Wonder Works Museum on Monday before lunch. This was one of our favorite parts. A camera distorted our images on a huge screen as we danced to lots of disco music. A picture from this angle made us look like shadows.
After leaving Wonder Works my sister, her husband, Beef, and I attended a time share presentation and received 8 free tickets to the Ripley's Aquarium. It was my first presentation, but the guy was really nice even though we were only interested in the free tickets. He graduated from the same school Beef and I did.

Later that night, we went to Old MacDonald's Mini Golf where the pigs really do fly. I don't think we were supposed to sit on the livestock, but it made for a funny picture.

Beforehand, my niece had the idea to put Box and Rocks into her backpack. I've already mentioned that these buddies tagged along so that I could take pictures of them and make a scrapbook for our swap partners in a different state.

They even played golf with us. Many people looked at me strangely because I was always posing the raccoons for pictures.

Here we are from left: my niece Alex, Scamp, me, my nephew Bubby, and my mom. Scamp didn't play, but she roamed around with Nana and petted the talking animals. She requested to pet the "dirty little pigs." The things she says! Bubby had a fun time and did really well putting.
Scamp decided to show up her daddy in a game of Dance Dance in the arcade there. She's got moves! That's all for day one. I'll post more in a day or two.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

How to Properly Care for Our Fickle Yet Beloved House Cat, Mr. Paw

Kailiani at An Island Life has started a Group Writing Project. This weeks theme is "How to..." A random winner will be drawn on July 17 and will recieve a $30 Amazon giftcard. See the link above for the guidelines to participate. Here is my entry:

Dear Janice, (our adored nanny for hire),

With all due respect, I am exceptionally grateful to you for your commitment to care and nurture our beloved cat whilst we are away. I have left you a few simple and may I say quite concise instructions of his proper care. Please read as follows:

7:02 am Scratch P. Paw or Mr. Paw as I will be referring to him for the remainder of our correspondence requests his first bowl of kit chowder to be served in a glass (please do not bother with plastic or the like as Mr. Paw is highly inconvenienced by the squeaky clamor the outer waxy layer of such bowls produce as he is feasting on his delicacies) dish, his favorite in red, slightly warmed over an open flame of due proportion and mixed delicately with a cream of goat’s milk.

7:05 am Mr. Paw may not finish his platter immediately but may savor the like as you in return may offer him a chilled concoction of bottled well water and savory lemon peel to cleanse his palate.

8:54 am Upon your return if in fact you have left the premises to parade the city streets in a mild mannerly fashion, of course, for an errand or two Mr. Paw requests to be walked. Although but slightly finicky Mr. Paw does enjoy the fresh breeze of the morning air as he is pranced about upon yonder leash through the cropped grass of our beloved neighborhood. He prefers not to allow his delicate paws to touch the rough, and decidedly uneven, surface of the commoners’ road of pavement. His pace of choice is a brisk yet expectantly gentle scamper as to not ruffle his coat of velvety fur.

9:09 am Mr. Paw will expect to be efficiently littered at this time. I do regard this is a delicate procedure, but I assure you, you will succeed in your efforts if you stay within these succinct guidelines. Place Mr. Paw within eyeing distance of his favored littering box but do not exit in haste. If he is ready upon immediate arrival you willst need offer some further assistance and perhaps a bit of coaxing with light fanning and gentle humming to summon forth his efforts. If Mr. Paw becomes agitated by your choice of tune to the point of spitting or hissing you must abort, I say ABORT child or you may receive a good lashing. Proper anesthetic is hidden under the back cupboard among various other elixirs and the like.

10:22 am Mr. Paw requires massage at this point. With scantily light fingers begin at his lower back and work your way up to the tips of his ears. Too rough and he will reciprocate in an ungentlemanly behavior. Too light, and he will speak unpleasantly until the job is done to his liking.

11:17 am Mr. Paw will take his mid-morning nap. I dare say he refuses to fluff his own pillows. You will be expected to accommodate his fickleness and fluff both the left and the right feathered pillow of his napping quarters. The center bundle is to be left untouched as too much fluffing causes an uneasy lumpiness that sets Mr. Paw into a frenzy of spats.

12:06 pm Din-din is expected on the dot. His midday meal should be proportionately halved between a moist succulent potted duck and a dry basted fish tender. The local grocery conveniently carries both delicacies. You will promptly be reimbursed for any costs you incur minus the 20 percent the grocer will demand for immediate service.

1:16 pm Mr. Paw delights in his afternoon nap. Again, you must fluff the pillows and lightly massage in the exact fashion of the aforementioned instructions. Any change of routine will cause serious consequences on your part.

3:34 pm Mr. Paw requests to be promptly woken from his nap with gentle birdsong. If your imitation of the sweet voiced swallow is lacking, you may attempt the mating song of the yellow canary. Be fore-warned that if Mr. Paw isn’t delicately woken, he will respond distastefully.

5:54 pm Supper is to be served. Mr. Paw’s evening tastes vary drastically therefore he will make his cravings known at this time. It is best if you inscribe his exact instructions on parchment and dictate them back to him before proceeding in the preparation.

7:29 pm Mr. Paw relishes his evening moonlit scamper. Leash-liberated and fancy free, Mr. Paw expects to romp and play free from the burdens of his tedious day. You are not to interfere in his play of choice.

8:59 pm Time to bed Mr. Paw. Again begin with the pillows but end with your best rendition of Over the Rainbow. If your voice is incapable of rendering the beautiful melody, Mr. Paw may fall into a fitful sleep upon which you must rock him until his restless slumber embarks on a beautiful journey of tender dreaming.

Congratulations. You’ve survived day one. Now, that you’ve perfected Mr. Paw’s proper care I expect day two will be just as fulfilling. Thanks be to you for your cordial service.


Mr. Paw’s Mother-of-Sorts

Side-Note: I left these instructions as a joke for my friend Janice who so graciously cared for Scratchy while we were on vacation. I'm so glad I had a reason to post this.

Running Low on Ideas

This post will be stickied for awhile. Scroll down for new posts.

Don't get me wrong, I love blogging. But some days I don't have much to say. I love to post picture after picture of Scamp, and I'm sure you guys don't get too tired of that. But, every once in awhile I like to do something different. So, I need your help.
I've seen several other bloggers do this in the past: ask their readers to post questions. So, what would you guys want to know about me? Anything at all. And they don't have to be just typical questions like "where did you go to school?" I like those questions, so if you don't know ask. But, I love questions that cause me to think, too. Also, feel free to ask more than one question or comment several times with questions.
I'm not sure when I will start posting the answers and who asked them, but it will be pretty soon. So, don't be afraid to dig deep with your questions! Thanks!!

We're Home

We returned from our trip to Gatlinburg on Thursday. We were all so exhausted, especially Scamp. She didn't get many naps on the trip, but she had such a big time playing with Bubby at the Big House (our chalet). I hope to post a series with plenty of pictures this next week about our vacation.

We celebrated the 4th at my cousin's house in my hometown. Everyone brought fireworks then several of the guys put on a show for us. It was great. Today, we're going to hubby's hometown for the Jamboree, a two-day craft event with live music, clogging, and lots of greasy food. Should be fun!

Happy Independence Day!!!!