Top Ten Gadgets I’d Love to Spend (Waste) Money On

In no particular order for the countdown, and with links to products when appropriate, please enjoy this Top Ten Tuesday post and let me know if there are any gadgets YOU want to get your hands on. Maybe I’ll add them to my growing list!

10. A Dyson Air Multiplier – Why? Well, I LIVED in Texas, where a fan is ALWAYS welcome, and now I live in Okinawa, Japan…where the humidity level is something rivaling a wet sauna in the fiery pits of an active volcano. And, have you seen these things? They look freaking cool! It’s like functional art! Why not??

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9. An Automatic Car Starter – These are more common nowadays, anyway. And, did I mention the heat and humidity with which I’ve had to deal? Having some air circulation in the car before I get in with or without my children would be great and would go a long way in helping avoid instant heat stroke upon entering the oven…I mean, car. In winter, a little head-start on the heat would be nice, too, but I’m beginning to think that winter is just a myth perpetuated by evil penguins. Okinawa has no real winter. It just gets wet and goopy and uncomfortable and even though you’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains with several feet of snow in the winter, a 60 degree day in the “winter” in Oki will make you pull out your parka and electric blanket. Acclimatizing to this sub-tropical island is no joke. Being able to start my car from my phone while I’m finishing the last bit of coffee would be very nice, indeed.

8. An Electrolux Reverse Scan Toaster – This is one of the more unusual gadgets I’ve stumbled upon while surfing the ‘Net. Think about the fun you could have with this thing! Who needs a newspaper subscription when you can save paper AND eat the toast!

7. Camera lenses to attach to my iPhone – They DO exist! Photojojo has a cool set of them for under $50. So, that’s not really wasting money, is it? I mean, they’re totally functional!

6. Taco Plates – For $8.00 as of this writing, you can own your very own set of four Fiesta Taco Plates! I mean, COME ON. Don’t you hate it when your taco falls over on your plate and all the filling falls out and you have to try to cram it back in the shell or just eat it with a fork? If I wanted to eat it with a fork, I would have made a taco salad. I want my taco shells to stand up proudly and hold my taco fillings in!

5. A Personalized Library Embosser – So maybe this is just a thing a teacher would want. Especially a reading teacher. Unless you’re really possessive of your books, and let’s be honest – you do most of your reading digitally these days, don’t you? (No shame – e-readers are supreme gadgets.) But this baby for a teacher – saves time, money, no more labeling with markers or stickers or library card pockets. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy…and you get to feel all official when making your seal, too!

4. Ostrich Ladies Comfort Lounger – It’s a beach chair, but trust me…it’s a gadget. A girly-gadget. It has a boob hole! Well, it’s not exactly a hole, but there’s a space in the chair that expands/contracts so you can lay on your stomach and not have that lovely boob smash thing going on that is often accompanied by some level of discomfort. PLUS, there’s a face hole and arm holes for stomach laying and reading, tanning, etc. It is neat0! (Look at the boob hole!)

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3. A Toothbrush Sanitizer – Let’s face it. You keep your toothbrush very close to where you take care of other hygiene and bodily functions. While the ADA recommends that you replace your toothbrush approximately every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed, you still don’t want to stick a germy mess in your mouth. Do you know what happens every time you flush your toilet? Let’s just say it ain’t pretty and leave it at that. Sanitizing your toothbrush daily might not be a bad habit to start. With help from one of the many automatic sanitizers on the market, it would be super easy, too. Take care of your toothbrush – take care of your teeth. Take care of your teeth and you might get to keep them well into your geriatric years.

2. A Swatch Watch – Remember the 80s? Remember the totally rad silicone watch bands that came in all kinds of cool colors and designs? Well, Swatch still makes watches and people still buy them. So why don’t I have one already? I mean, just check out their Classics for starters.

1. Altec Lansing Life Jacket 2 Floating Waterproof Speaker – It. Floats. Do I really need to explain this one more than that?!?! And really, this one isn’t even a waste of money. It could SAVE money…by ensuring that I do not drop my iPhone in the bathtub.

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My Top Ten Favorite Cheesy Movies

Top Ten {Tuesday}

In addition to my love for reading, I also love movies. I love all kinds of movies. I love great classics, science fiction, romance, comedy, action… You name the genre, and I bet I can find at least one movie within it that I absolutely adore. That being said, my movie choices aren’t always “mainstream popular.” My husband, in fact, would tell you that I have terrible taste in movies…which is SO not true…mostly. I mean, HE thinks Starship Troopers is a fantastic movie! (And should I mention how much he likes the movie, Spice World? You know, the Spice Girls movie? Nah, I won’t mention it…that would just be mean.) I like all the Twilight movies, but they aren’t on this list. They may have a definite cheese factor (“You’re like a drug to me…”), but as a teacher, I read the books first and they were captivating, if not classically written.

So, my movie preferences may run toward less-popular titles, but I’m okay with that. Some are more mainstream, but are still definitely cheesy. There are a few movies that I really, really like that I’m embarrassed to admit…but only a little embarrassed, and probably just because my hubby makes fun of me for watching them. Here are my Top Ten Favorite Cheesy Movies, in no particular order.

10. What a Girl Wants, starring Amanda Bynes – This is a family-friendly movie, a little on the teeny-bopper side. It is really cute, and mega-cheesy, but I absolutely LOVE it! In fact, I own it, and when I’m having a not-so-great day, I pop it in and instantly start to feel happier. I think Amanda Bynes is such a great comedic actor in almost everything she has done! (I haven’t seen She’s the Man, although my nieces can quote it word for word.)

9. The Cutting Edge, staring Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney – This one is definitely old-school, and I’m still young enough to not care if that dates me at all. It’s from the early 90s, so if that’s old-school for me, I suppose I’m not doing too bad. I’ll always remember growing up, any time my sister or I did anything stupid in front of each other, saying, “Toe pick!”

8. Snakes on a Plane, starring Samuel L. Jackson – This has to be one of the top cheesy movies of all time. The title alone is enough to make people cringe. Don’t worry. I didn’t rush out to the theater to watch it. I didn’t even order it on Netflix. I caught it when it came on cable…and I have watched it more than once since then. It’s not all bad! It’s full of action, albeit within a very limited setting. And, come on…Samuel L. Jackson is just cool!

7. Dream a Little Dream, starring…the Coreys – I have not watched this movie since Corey Haim died last year. It’s not because it would bring up too many sad memories. It’s honestly just because I don’t own it and it doesn’t often come on TV. I think I need to check to see if it is available on Netflix. I was probably in middle school when I discovered this gem, and I have loved it ever since. Embarrassingly or not, this is probably one of my very favorites. Corey Feldman channeling Michael Jackson in a dance scene was just fun!

6. Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon – This. Is. A. Classic. I don’t care what you think. As cheesy as it may be, and I can face the truth about it, it is simply a phenomenal movie. It might not have as great of an impact today as it did in the 80s, but it’s still a great story. The remake of this movie is due to come out this year. I’m already preparing myself to be disappointed. Julianne Hough may be a great dancer, but she doesn’t seem like a rebellious preacher’s daugther to me. And Kenny Wormald? Who the heck is that?

5. Independence Day, starring Will Smith – Aliens! Destruction! Jeff Goldblum! I love it all. I think if this movie were rereleased in the theater I might actually pay (again) to see it on a big screen with surround sound. It’s a great end-of-the-world sci-fi flick. Period.

4. Flashdance, starring Jennifer Beals – Admit it. If you were born before 1990, chances are you’ve danced in the middle of your living room, belting out, “She’s a maniac, MANIAC, on the floor!” I can’t remember how old I was when I first saw this. It does have a lot of boobs in it, but you know, a girl has to make money somehow. It’s a truly cheesy love story. Poor welder girl who moonlights as a stripper catches the eye of her extremely wealthy boss… That’s totally how I met my husband! Haha!

3. The Day After Tomorrow, starring Dennis Quaid – It’s another end-of-the-world movie! There are no aliens, but there is a massive ice storm that freezes everyone within seconds of being exposed to it. And there’s a dad, who happens to be a climatologist, that must trek across the country to save his son, who happens to be trapped in the National Library. This movie is total cheese at its best. Whenever this one is on TV I watch it. It might be the movie that my husband makes fun of the most.

2. Sweet Home Alabama, starring Reese Witherspoon – I think this movie is fun. It’s not the cheesiest movie on this list, by far. There is one particular line that always, for no apparent reason, pops into my head. I think that this line might be what adds to the cheese-factor for me. “You have a BABY…in a BAR!” I live in Texas, and although it’s fairly different from Alabama as a whole, I’m sure that there could, at some point, be a time in my life when I would actually get to use that statement.

1. Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst – I am not now, nor have I ever been, a cheerleader. I had friends who were cheerleaders, even in college, so this movie should not have appealed to me. Each sequel, and I haven’t even seen them all, gets progressively worse. So, while this movie may have been tolerable, and is definitely cheesy, it’s also kind of like a train wreck – you just can’t look away! The most memorable line from the movie isn’t even from this actual movie, it’s from Not Another Teen Movie. But whenever most people hear the title, Bring it On, they think, “Oh, it’s already been broughten!”

This list is my no means comprehensive. I could easily write a Top 100 on this topic. I think this is a pretty good representative sample of my tastes, though. Don’t make fun of me. I know there are probably many worse movies on your list!

Have a top ten list of your own? Click the Top Ten Tuesday link at the top of this post and share your list on Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday Link-Up!

Top Ten Ideas for Top Ten Lists

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Knowing that it’s been on its way, I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a top ten list to share today. I came up with many ideas, but that’s where it stopped. I just couldn’t find it in me this week to pump out a complete list…except for this: My top ten ideas for future top ten lists. Consider it a sneak peak into (hopefully) the next ten weeks. Now that I have a spring board, I’m hoping I’ll be able to bounce them out quite easily. So, here’s what I’ve been thinking:

10. Reasons I really need a job (among which is my sanity)

9. Things I Worry About (I could probably do an entire year’s worth on this one)

8. Places I Want to Visit (and why)

7. Things I Want to Teach My Children (from the mundane to the profound, I hope I can narrow it down!)

6. Favorite Cheesy Movies (you know…those movies you’re kind of embarassed to say you like)

5. Gadgets I’d Like to Spend (Waste) Money On (this one will be SOOOOO easy!)

4. Pet Peeves (overdone, perhaps, and always changing…could be insightful)

3. Chores I Hate (maybe this one is too inclusive…)

2. Things I Would/Wouldn’t Change About My Life (I could go either way on this one…so maybe it will be two posts!)

1. Irrational Fears (even if I think they’re logical)

Next Tuesday, you’ll probably see one of the above topics. Which one should I start with?

Top Ten Things I Can’t Live Without (Today)

There are always things we can use and appreciate. Right now, at this very moment, these are the top ten things that I (believe) I can’t live without…at least for today:

10. My four pillows, which aid in blissful slumber on the nights when I am actually able to sleep. Yes, I said four. Wanna’ make something of it?

9. Watermelon. I live in Texas. It’s June, and soon enough will be July. Enough said.

8. Yarn – you know, the colorful, stringy stuff? Right now, one of my main hobbies is crocheting. It’s an awesome hobby for folks on a budget. Yarn is cheap and the products you make you can actually use!

7. Weight Watchers, which has been a true life changer for me. In the last 7 months I have successfully lost over 55 lbs. and I’m still losing. I have under 10 lbs. left to go, and with the WW plan, I can honestly say that I’m never hungry and I don’t have to deny myself anything. It has really helped me begin making better decisions.

6. Bare Minerals make-up. Perhaps I sound like an infomercial right now, but I don’t really care. I love Bare Minerals and will never, ever use any other kind of foundation again if I can help it! I’ve used it for almost 8 years now, and have never been happier with a product of any kind.

5. Child-safety cabinet locks. If we didn’t currently have these on our entertainment center right now, I would be spending hours every single day cleaning up DVDs that my 18 month old decided to organize for us across the living room floor. Of course I tell her no, redirect her, and keep a constant eye on her. However, she’s still learning boundaries, she has a one-track mind sometimes, and that girl is fast!

4. My Kindle, aka my boyfriend (according to my husband, at least). I read extensively. In addition to buying books for my Kindle, there are so many (quality) free books available that my book-hungry brain should never be starved.3. My iPhone. I’m not ashamed. This palm-sized piece of technology is not only my means of communicating with the outside world, but it is also my day planner, address book, weather reporter, GPS locator, entertainment, camera and video recorder, and so much more. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of phones and has been useful in so many places and situations.

2. My friends, without whom I truly would have lost all of my marbles many years ago. I have awesome friends, and I love them all, even if I don’t see them as often as I should or would like to. My BFF totally gets a shout-out here, though (not to make anyone jealous – you’re all important!) – Deb…you rock!

1. My family, which includes my pretty-awesome hubby and our two beautiful daughters (as well as all those other crazy people I admit to being related to!)

Tomorrow, there could be many different things on this list, but it won’t be Top Ten Tuesday so you won’t see that list here! At least I know #1 & 2 won’t be changing!

Have a top ten list of your own? Make sure to link up with O Amanda here:

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Top Ten Healthy Recipes that are Still Delicious

Top Ten {Tuesday}

After completing one of the Writing Workshop prompts from Mama Kat last week, on my very new blogging endeavor, I decided that I enjoyed compiling my own Top Ten lists. It allowed me to be creative, funny, serious, or weird all in the same post! After doing a little web search I found O Amanda’s “Top Ten Tuesday” link-up (click above). So, here I am with my first official Top Ten Tuesday.

In the past 6 months I’ve lost more than 50 pounds. Trying to be more active and eat healthier can be a major challenge, especially when you have young children, and finding healthy meals that don’t taste like “health food” is especially difficult sometimes. Here are my top ten favorite healthy recipes that still taste sinfully delicious! They come from a mix of sources, to which I have included links. My daughters readily devour most of these dishes, but a few can be slightly tweeked to meet the less-sophisticated child palate, if needed.

10. Slow Cooker Chicken Paprikash – Slow cooker (or crock pot) meals are great, aren’t they? Pop in the ingredients in the morning and several hours later you have a meal all ready! For this dish, I think it needs a little extra flavor. You can add an additional bell pepper and some spices according to your taste. A little more salt, maybe a bit of cumin along with the paprika, or anything else your tastebuds might find appealing. We served this over egg noodles.

9. Cheesy Chili-Mac – This dish is a comfort-food favorite for many people. This version is healthier without sacrificing flavor. For an even healthier version, you can use whole-wheat elbow macaroni.

8. Spinach Lasagna Rolls – Lasagna rolls are a twist (haha) on classic lasagna. Instead of layering the noodles, each individual lasagna noodle serves as a single serving. Using cooked and cooled noodles you place your filling along the length of the noodle and roll it up, jelly-roll style. In the past, I have enjoyed other versions of these, but the calorie counts are so astounding that I don’t even want to share them. This one, though, has a lean 225 calories (and only 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus) per serving.

7. Chicken Pot Pie – Who doesn’t love chicken pot pie? This one doesn’t come in a box, taste like cardboard, or promise to add an inch to your waistline, but it’s still satisfying and tasty!

6. Falafel Pitas – This dish is on our menu for this week. I’m cheating a little bit and using a boxed falafel mix, which will add a few calories, but overall it’s still a really healthy, cool, satisfying vegetarian meal. For those who fear anything labeled “vegetarian” you can grill up and slice a chicken breast. The yogurt dressing tastes wonderful on the chicken, as well!

5. Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken – The adults usually nix the rice as part of the suggested serving of this dish and opt instead for fresh, shredded cabbage. My girls eat it up with the rice!

4. Layered Mexican Chicken – A much lighter version of the classic Mexican chicken casserole, this dish will be requested again and again! I added about a cup of salsa to the sour cream/chicken mixture for an extra kick. Turned out great so I’ll definitely be doing that again. Leftovers of this dish are awesome!

3. Chicken Larb – The name may not sound extremely appetizing, but let me assure you…this dish is delicious! Larb is a Thai/Laotian meat salad. This dish has ten ingredients and cooks up quickly. It is served as more of a lettuce wrap than an actual salad and would even make a great appetizer, but we usually eat it as a main dish. My oldest daughter enjoys hers in a tortilla or pita.

2. Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles – This one is one of my hubby’s favorites to make. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser! We have found that it is a MUST to use fat-free sour cream in this dish. Low-fat sour cream tended to make the sauce separate.

1. Spicy Chicken Cakes with Horseradish Aioli – I often substitute ground turkey, as it is quicker and usually more readily available if you don’t want to grind your own chicken. We serve as recommended, with mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus (or other green vegetable – peas compliment the dish nicely). This is my ALL-TIME favorite!!!

I hope I’ve inspired you to seek out some leaner, healthier versions of your favorites and given you some new ones that will become part of your go-to meal ideas. Happy and healthy eating!

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