Saturday, March 31, 2012

GIVEAWAY: April iPad Mania (and a Fire Kindle too!)

Welcome to the April iPad Mania Giveaway!

I've teamed up with Bay Area Mommy and other awesome bloggers to bring you this amazing chance to win one of the two hottest tablets!

Grand Prize: The New iPad (or $550 cash)
Second Prize: Kindle Fire (or $200 cash)

Entries will be accepted from April 1 at 12:01am EST until April 21 at 11:59pm EST. There are no mandatory entries but plenty of options to increase your chances of winning!

FOR SALE: Parachute - Only used once, never opened, small stain

I had to write a funny title - I needed a small laugh. Today is just one of those days. I don't know what happened - it was as though the proverbial switch was flipped and I went from being content to feeling crummy.

There are people in the world right now battling terminal illnesses or severe hunger; people who are in extreme pain or in a dangerous situation... Unfortunately, however, those thoughts aren't doing to help me snap out of my miserable mood.

It's been so long I cannot remember the last time I felt depressed. Actually, now that I really think about when the bad mood started I pinpointed the trigger. I texted my sister last night about an immediate teaching position available (she's been trying to find a full time teaching position for years). I texted her again this morning to find out if she was interested and she informed me she's looking for positions in Vegas.

Admittedly, I was upset. I think she sensed it because she called and we talked about it. I completely understand and agree with all her {and her husband's} reasons for wanting to move out of state - but I don't like it.

Nothing has happened so far. I feel a bit ridiculous for having such a strong reaction. I know my sister and I don't talk all too often or hang out nearly as much as I would like to - but the thought of her moving away really bothered me. God (Allah) help me if the day comes and she actually does move - I'm going to be a wreck!

Today is supposed to be my rest day from exercise but I think I might just have to go out for a jog/walk or a bike ride to get my endorphins pumping and hopefully brighten my mood!

Saturday Weigh In - 03/31

I was bad this week! I didn't cheat or have any desire to - but I didn't eat as much as I should have. Monday night I completely lost my appetite; I forced myself to eat an English muffin with a little honey and sunflower seed butter (my new favorite snack/treat - super yummy) and cottage cheese.

The rest of the week I fared better but Thursday I missed lunch because the kids requested me to make something entirely different for lunch (a Moroccan pea soup called Bisarra and homemade bread) and I just wasn't in the mood to eat it. I figured I would eat something else after I exercised but the time kept getting away from me... I didn't start exercising until after 4pm and finished an hour later - so my lunch turned into an early dinner.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: 1992

I've missed a few weeks of Flashback Friday but I'm happy to be back this week with a gem of a photo!

Yours truly, in my teenage 90's glory, sucking on a baby bottle {for Halloween} in NJROTC class (Naval Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps). I couldn't help but laugh at myself when I saw my over-sized windbreaker jacket with the bright colors and my long pig-tails/bangs! What's even funnier is I distinctly remember seeing that jacket in my parents front closet several months ago when I was looking for something.

I also couldn't help but feel a sense of longing - if only I could go back to those days when I thought I was "fat." I was a bit overweight back then but definitely not fat and I was still fairly athletic back then too - I was on the girls armed drill team, the physical fitness team and I played basketball my sophomore year (oh, and I could run 3+ miles back then too). I thought I was so ugly - but looking back I was relatively cute (in my biased opinion of course)!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FLASH GIVEAWAY: $30 Amazon Gift Card

Welcome to the Weekend Amazon Flash Giveaway! One lucky shopaholic will win a $30 Amazon gift card to add to their Amazon fund.

Lots of chances to win -- just use the Rafflecopter form below and complete as many entries as you’d like. Giveaway ends on 4/1 and is open worldwide.

Good luck!

DEAL ALERT! Refurbished Kindle Fire for $139

I recently signed up to be an Amazon Associate {aka affiliate} because I truly LOVE shopping on Amazon! In fact I search for pretty much everything on Amazon first because I can usually save money but more importantly time! I abhor having to take the kids with me shopping - it always results in a headache, lots of frustration and constantly repeating, "NO, I'm NOT buying that!" Sometimes I have to mentally say it to myself because I'm tempted to buy something I don't really need...

What better way to introduce you all to my love for Amazon than sharing today's great Gold Box deal! Today (March 29th) you can score a Certified Refurbished Kindle Fire for only $139!

They are certified to look and work like new AND come with the same one-year warranty (and other perks like the Amazon Prime Members Lending Library)!

I have 2 iPads but I definitely took advantage of this deal because I've been wanting a dedicated e-reader. I've been holding off on the hope I would win a giveaway but so far it hasn't happened! I love to read and there's so many free books available for Prime members with a Kindle. I also don't want to kill the battery on my iPad from all my reading!

If you have a Kindle Fire or you end up taking advantage of today's deal let me know how you like it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April iPad Mania Giveaway - Twitter Follows

This is the second Twitter Follows page for the April iPad Mania Giveaway. Following all the pages below will give you 25 entries to the giveaway. Not following even just 1 page below will make the 25 entries invalid so please make sure you follow ALL the pages then go back to the Rafflecopter form and click "Enter".

It may take a couple of seconds for the Twitter icons to load depending on the speed of your PC/MAC and internet connection.

Giving in...

While I don't blog a lot - it's not usually for a lack of inspiration or things to say. In fact, I have plenty of things I want to blog about; unfortunately, however, I don't usually have the time. Time - it's such a luxury!

Weeks ago I started blogging {again} about my weight loss journey; I struggled with how often I was going to weigh in or post about weight loss in general. I didn't want my blog to become a "weight loss blog." Not that it's a bad thing - I actually appreciate weight loss blogs, a lot!

When I started blogging I wanted to write about the madness of my life as a whole - being a wife/mom, a homeschooler, a Muslim, living with bipolar, struggling with my weight as well as incorporate my various projects (sewing) or favorite recipes...

I'm not changing my blogging course entirely - I definitely will continue blogging about the other "stuff" - but I'm "giving in" to writing more about my weight loss journey because it's currently the biggest madness I'm surviving right now (that and my kids behavior).

I also set up a SparkPeople page (my username is SerenaMichelle). It's a great site where I can track my fitness, weight/measurements, and connect with other people currently losing or have already successfully lost weight. I could track my nutrition as well but I really prefer the online calendar I'm using to track my food/points. My page also has a blog option so I will be posting my weight/fitness related blog posts there too!

Many thanks to everyone who is following and supporting me along the way - knowing you're with me is an excellent motivation!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity! April Extreme Cash Giveaway

Sign-ups for the April Extreme Cash Giveaway are now open!

Our last giveaways had over 100 participants and hundreds of thousands of entries! You can sign up for the April edition and include any of the following social media links:

Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter ~ Email Subscribe/RSS ~ Picket Fence Blogs ~ and more!

Cost is $3 for first link and $2 for each additional link.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Muslim Monday: Rest in Peace Sister Shaima

Last week on Wednesday (March 21st) Shaima Al Awadi was found lying in a pool of blood after having been beaten in her El Cajon, CA home. On Saturday, March 24th, Shaima was taken off life support and died. Here is the local San Diego news report concerning this terrible tragedy.

I am still extremely upset by the news. I pray Allah (God) grant Shaima paradise and bring peace to her family (she leaves behind 5 children and her husband). There is a lot of speculation about whether or not this was a "hate crime" (a note was found near her body) or committed by a relative - I believe it's irrelevant and downright disgusting that her murder has been turned into a spectacle with people bickering over their thoughts.

Some comments on the report(s) from various media sites have been downright abhorrent - many claiming this was an "honor killing" and Islam is to blame.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FLASH GIVEAWAY: $30 Walmart Gift Card

Welcome to the Walmart Flash Giveaway! One lucky reader will win a $30 Walmart gift card to use on their next shopping trip. Giveaway ends on 3/29 and is open to the US only.

Lots of chances to win -- just use the Rafflecopter form below and complete as many entries as you’d like. Giveaway ends on 3/25 and is open to worldwide.

Best wishes!

FREE Blogger Giveaway Opportunity!

Looking to offer an amazing giveaway on your blog for free? Here's your chance...

Acadiana’s Thrifty Mom is offering Bloggers an opportunity to give away a Kindle Fire for FREE!

Click here for more details!

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity! iPad MAY-nia - only $2 to sign-up!


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Signup for the iPad 3 MAY-nia Giveaway Event for only $2 per link! This is a great opportunity to gain new followers at a very low signup fee!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 03/24

Another fantastic week... BUT, not without consequences! Monday I jogged 2 miles non-stop in the rain! I really enjoyed jogging in the rain - I did not, however, enjoy pushing my 3 year old son in the stroller as I jogged. He insisted on coming with me despite my begging him to stay home... Nevertheless, I was able to make 2 miles and I got teary-eyed when I updated my daily journal because it felt like such a huge accomplishment!

Tuesday I woke up with a terrible back ache. I must have slept in the wrong position but I just couldn't get out of bed until well after 9am! I skipped my morning walk/jog and decided I would go in the evening when hubby came home. I discovered I enjoy jogging in the dark much better than even the rain; and without kids in tow! I went 2.5 miles non-stop - AWESOME!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

FLASH GIVEAWAY: $30 Amazon Gift Card

Welcome to the Weekend Amazon Flash Giveaway! One lucky shopaholic will win a $30 Amazon gift card to add to their Amazon fund. Grab a couple books, a movie, or put it towards a new Kindle Fire - the options are endless with Amazon!

Lots of chances to win -- just use the Rafflecopter form below and complete as many entries as you’d like. Giveaway ends on 3/25 and is open to worldwide.

Best wishes!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

FLASH GIVEAWAY: $30 Starbucks Gift Card

Welcome to the Starbucks Flash Giveaway! One lucky coffee lover will win a $30 Starbucks gift card to help offset the costs of their caffeine addiction (for a few days anyway).

Lots of chances to win -- just use the Rafflecopter form below and complete as many entries as you’d like. Giveaway ends on 3/22 and is open to the US only.

Best wishes!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 03/17

Another great week filled with delicious food and exercise. Last Sunday I spent 3+ hours making tamales. I tried to talk the hubster into helping me so it would be faster but he wasn’t really interested in helping. I jokingly told him that like the Little Red Hen he would not be able to enjoy my homemade tamales since he didn’t want to help... Anyhow, my original recipe called for quite a bit of fat (nearly 3 cups of shortening/butter). I decided to cut the amount in half, used only butter instead of the shortening/butter combination... Honestly, I couldn’t taste a difference at all - they were just as wonderful without all the extra fat.

I gave a half dozen to a friend and she told me her son was convinced I didn’t make the tamales but I bought them. She assured him that I indeed made them myself and he was impressed - such a lovely compliment!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

GIVEAWAY: March Extreme Cash Giveaway!


We are giving away:

$450 CASH (via PayPal)

There are lots of entries available and this giveaway will go on for a whole month, so take your time! Be sure to bookmark this page so you can come back every day and claim your daily entries too.

This giveaway ends 4/12 at 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. You only need to enter the giveaway on one of the sponsoring blogs.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 03/10

I've been at it for 5 weeks now and I feel absolutely amazing... I'm still feeling very motivated, inspired, and full of energy. I continue to challenge myself and rise to the occasion every time. This week I managed to jog 1.25 miles non-stop! I've been walking and jogging for a few weeks - but usually at intervals of 1-2 laps walking and 1-2 laps jogging - never 4+ laps!

Eventually I might tire of going around the block over and over - but for now it really keeps me going. I tell myself, "You only have a 1/2 block left." or "You can do this Serena - only a few more houses!" Going around the block is a lot more exciting than the dreadmill - in the past I used to have to negotiate with myself everyday to get on it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flashback Friday: 2005

Sorry I missed last week's Flashback Friday... I was busy with follow-up doctor appointments and grocery shopping with 3 kids in tow - by the time I got home I just needed to unwind from the built-up frustration from the day.

You can child proof your home but it's impossible to keep your child from getting into things you'd rather them not get into... My Little Bug was about 1 year old in this picture. I was sitting at the computer in our old home and I looked over to see Aaliyah playing with the dental floss! You can see the little slobber spots on her shirt from her trying to floss. I couldn't help but laugh...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Currently March...

Currently Counting Down To: Spring break! This homeschooling mama needs a break from school work.

Currently Super Proud of: Myself! I’ve been working really hard for more than a month - eating super healthy/clean and exercising 5+ days a week!

Currently Broadening: My writing... I love writing but don’t find much time for it.

Currently Concluding: My 5th week on my weight loss journey...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tournament of Books...

I love discovering new novels... I don't like reading the book descriptions (previously discussed in my post How Do You Choose a Book?) so finding recommended reading lists are also great ways to discover novels I wouldn't ordinarily find myself reading.

This morning I came across a post about the The Morning News 2012 Tournament of Books. This was exactly what I needed to get my reading juices flowing again - especially since I haven't done much reading in the last month and a half. I decided I was going to read each and every book on the tournament list.

While I'm not a literary critic and will not read these books against one another - I will definitely share my thoughts and ultimately my favorite(s) from the list.

Anyone interested in joining me?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Stealing - The 99’er Meme - Final Part

Sunday Stealing - The 99’er Meme - Final Part

76) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?
A great relationship is something that develops over time... it’s a combination of trust, honor, respect, and love. Knowing one another and loving them in spite of their worst characteristics and qualities.

77) How did/could someone win your heart?
My hubby is not a man of many words, but he’s honest and very sincere - I cherish this most about him!

78) In your world, what brings on more creativity?
Creativity is all around me... I’m most creative by things I see and would love to replicate. However, I also get my own creative ideas from a need.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Weigh In - 03/03

This week was awesome. I was finally able to get back on track with exercising after 3 days off because I was sick. I exercised 5 days, increasing my jogging every day except Friday - I kept it light because I pulled a muscle in my foot on Thursday and I didn't want to overdo it.

I also had some very delicious food (of course it helped that I could actually taste it). My breakfast is fairly predictable. I usually have Oatmeal (occasionally Cream of Wheat) with fruit (although lately I've been making Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal), cottage cheese, or hard boiled egg whites if I'm skipping the cottage cheese, red bell pepper, and a cup of unsweetened almond milk (and lots of water).