Not So Wordless Wednesday – Egg

So technically it’s not a picture and some might call it a “sponsored” post, but I am not receiving anything for it and it is something I love.  I enjoy pausing and rewinding Disney movies to see if I can find all the “easter eggs” that are there.  Like Rapunzel in Frozen and the Hidden Mickey also in Frozen…did you see them both?

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Pure Bred Love

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Kennel Club for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I will be moving in to my own apartment soon.  This is the first time ever I have lived alone.  Like really ALONE.  No kids, no roommate, not even a pet.  Which got me thinking.  I want a pet.

When my kids were little we got a kitten from the neighbor whose cat gave birth like clockwork every few months.  Because of his coloring we named him stone (because this is a sponsored post I am not allowed to include a picture but trust me he was cute).  But they really wanted a dog.  As soon as we moved in to a house with a yard our first stop was to the local shelter where we found the Link to our hearts.

Stone died suddenly no notice, nothing, I just came home from work and he was lying on my bed in his favorite spot.  We had Link put to sleep after an arduous time with hip and leg problems, she stopped eating couldn’t walk and it just wasn’t a quality of life that she deserved.

As time has gone onI have considered getting another pet, but my landlord (Kathy) was not amiable to it.

But now!  Now I will be living alone (hmmmmm I should probably go check the lease before I run out to the breeders) and I think I want a pet again.

There are so many types of animals to choose from, I vacilate between dog and cat all the time.  Can you believe how cute these guys are?!

I have always leaned towards the larger breeds, thinking if a dog was small it was more of a toy than a dog.  But those little Mini Wirehairs are something else indeed.

Boo!  I just checked my lease, no pets allowed!  Maybe I can get a fish.

However, if you are looking for a specific type of dog you can check with the AKC Rescue Network and they can direct you to rescues in your area.  When adopting a dog from a shelter be sure to do all of your homework.  ASK QUESTIONS!

  • Why is this dog in a shelter? Was he surrendered by the previous owner, is it a stray, or a rescue? Why did the owner surrender him? If he was a stray, where was he found and in what condition? Is the dog from the local area? Is the dog here because of an animal cruelty charge against its previous owner?
  • What was the health condition of the dog when he was brought to the shelter?
  • Has this dog been adopted out before? How long has the dog been in the shelter?
  • What veterinary care has the dog received since arriving at the shelter and can you provide copies of the records?
  • Is the dog housebroken?
  • Does the dog get along well with kids or other pets and how does he act around strangers?
  • Does the dog have suitable good manners that I could take away his food bowl while eating or remove his toy while playing? What training and socialization has the dog received since entering the shelter?
  • Can he walk calmly on a leash in public or does he need more training? Click HERE to find a training club in your area.
  • Does this dog require any special medical care, ongoing treatment, dietary restrictions, or additional socialization?
  • Will the shelter take this dog back if it doesn’t work out with my family?

Sometimes you need a trial run.  Maybe fostering before adopting.

If you go to a breeder remember these tips:

  • Don’t be put off if a breeder isn’t immediately responsive. Hobby breeders often have full-time jobs and they don’t always have available puppies. Be selective. Find a breeder who is knowledgeable and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
  • Visit the breeder’s home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents. Get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance.
  • Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.
  • Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers.
  • Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates with potential buyers.
  • Establish a good rapport with the breeder. He/she will be an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout the life of your puppy. You should be encouraged to call the breeder if your dog has a crisis at any stage of its life.
  • A responsible breeder may ask you to sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, he/she will reclaim it.
  • Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with its mother and littermates.
  • Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.

Baby steps, I have an apartment.  When I get a house, all of the cute ones are coming to live with me.

Him first:

French Bulldog photo a39a4cf7-a4d9-4aa5-81e0-d455d5ad91de_zps6443419a.jpg

and then them

French Bulldog Puppies photo bd6d5bc8-00e0-4500-b2e2-5757e03772f1_zps97fa7c59.jpg

and all of them!

Boxer Puppies photo 77524d07-6f83-4ac6-9d99-445ddee7bc76_zps3439838d.jpg

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[in-shoor, -shur]  

verb (used with object),


to guarantee against loss or harm.
My medical insurance became effective April 1st.  It was the best April Fools I have every been involved with.  I made my first phone call to an allergist that comes highly recommended and am in search of a General Practitioner to get a physical and start working on the rest of my woes.
My employer pays for 100% of my premium and insisted I get a PPO not an HMO and is in fact one of the most generous people I know.  But all of this would not have been able to happen if it were not for the Affordable Care Act.
I have pre-existing conditions.  I am fat.  I am a woman who has given birth (yep, that is considered a pre-existing condition). I work for a very small business, 25 employees all but 2 are part time (less than 20 hours per week), with the Affordable Care Act my boss is able to provide medical insurance to the two full time employees for under $1000 a month!
I’m not alone in the positive effect of the Affordable Care Act.  You have all heard me talk about my friend Erin before.  She is battling Lupus and has been going through financial difficulties due to the hospital bills (multiple major surgeries), prescription drugs and other incurred costs.  She and her husband both had insurance through their jobs, she lost her job due to medical reasons and he was laid off.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act they are not losing their house.

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Not so Wordless Wednesday – Pink

Yesterday was April 1st.  April Fools Day.  I hate April Fools Day.  I am a scrooge, in that I don’t think it is funny to play practical jokes on anyone, tell them you are pregnant or quitting your job or moving to another state.  Ijust don’t get it.

But what really isn’t funny is the email I received from my insurance broker. (of course it is a reply and I am too lazy to edit so you have to read from the bottom up.  Although I guess in the time it took me to type this explanation I could have just edited the damn thing.)

Yes…you are just waiting now for your health cards to arrive. I will call to see where they are at.

My first order of business is to get to an allergist.  I have a great recommendation from a friend that I trust.  Next up a physical and all the lady stuff and then moving on from there.  It has been 6 years since I have had any kind of medical insurance.  Finally I don’t have to put up with this color PINK anymore.

Allergy arm

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A Season Full of Slacking at Knotts Berry Farm

A few weeks ago I received an email asking me to offer you readers a chance to win 4 Season passes to Knotts Berry Farm.  I readily accepted.

But then I slacked.

Now the contest ends in less than 48 hours and I hope someone from here rushes over there and wins!

When my kids were little we went to Knotts at least once a year.  I have never been much of a “rider” but I enjoy people watching and the ambiance of a fun environment.  The kids would bring a friend and I would just hang around, people watching (one of my all time favorite pasttimes!) and carrying drinks.  Even now 20 years later, I don’t balk when the grand kids want to go to Knotts.

@knotts  welcome to #campspooky

@knotts welcome to #campspooky (Photo credit: adriennevh)

This morning as we were on our way to a movie screening, Matthew asked me “where was that place that we went and I had on my cowboy outfit and Madilyn was a unicorn?”  I told him it was called Knott’s Berry Farm and he replied “I hope that’s where we are going now!”  I hated to burst his bubble but I think he enjoyed the movie anyways.

On the way home from the movie he brought it up again and we chatted about the rides he went on (and glossed over the one he had to be taken off of) and he declared that he was ready for Halloween again whenever I was.  Guess I better get ready!

When Taj and I took Caitlyn for her 7th birthday she was not satisfied with just hanging out in Camp Snoopy, she wanted to go on all the “big” rides.  Unfortunately (or fortuantely depedning on if you are her or me), she was not tall enough.  I am afraid to take her back now.  I swear she has grown three inches since then and I sure as heck am not going on those rides with her!

I am supposed to share five memories, but since I slacked and won’t be paid for this anyways I’m just gonna move on.

A season pass at Knotts can be as low as 6 monthly payments of $14 (that’s $84 for those of you that are math challanged), which is less than a one day ticket to the other park I write about sometimes, ahem.  The most expensive season pass is only 6 monthly payments of $32 ($192 total) which even includes parking and admission to ALL the Cedar Fair parks in the US!  Speaking of good times at amusement parks, I have a gajillion great memories of Cedar Pointe in Ohio growing up (except the time Karl and Janine dragged me on the corkscrew!).

If you are so inclined now that I have totaally sold you on this you can just click on over here and purchase your pass right now.  But first go over to the contest before midnight Sunday March 16 and try to win a four pack!

Disclosure, this post was due almost a week ago, if I had posted on time I would be receiving a family four pack of tickets in exchange for this post.  But I didn’t so this one is a freebie.  

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There’s a Reason Californians Can’t Drive in the Rain

rainWe are experiencing the most torrential downpour right now.  Today alone Los Angeles has received over 2 inches of rain.  On average we get 11-13 inches of rain per year and we just did two in one day!

That’s not a lot of rain to the rest of the country.  But here it is a total wash out.  We go for so long without rain that oil and other fluids build up on our freeways and eventually when the rain comes the roads become oil slicks.  Add to that the fact that native Californians were never taught to drive in the rain and you have a recipe for disaster.  When I was learning how to drive in Michigan eons ago my mother forced me to drive to the grocery store in a horrible thunderstorm just for the experience.

When we do have rain here it is one of two kinds, either a really thick mist that is hard to see through or a torrential downpour again hard to see through.  Since we get the rain so infrequently, our windshield wipers get dried up form the heat, so when it does rain more likely than not instead of cleaning the windshield they simply fall apart and smear bits and pieces of dried rubber all over the window.

mudDuring our fire season so many areas are burned to the bottom roots, so when the rain comes there is nothing left to hold the dirt in place and mud slides are a reality.  Right now there are over 1,000 homes in the Glendora and Azusa area that were evacuated a day before the storms came and good thing too.  Most of the hills in that area came down the first day.

Add these factors together and it is just a given that there is going to be not just a rain storm but a shit storm.

So the next time you make fun of Californians, do it because we talk funny about our freeways not because we can’t drive in the rain.  because at the end of all of this, the sun is always ready to shine again.



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Not So Wordless Wednesday – I Stir Fry You in My Wok

The illustrious Kim Prince thought it would be fun to give us an oddball phrase for this week. But I think I’m up for the challenge.

Last night I had dinner with Adam and he mentioned he had the day off and had some errands to run today so I offered to loan him my car. I figured I would call the boss and ask him to give me a ride or ask my son-in-law, somehow I would find a way to work.

At some point at the night I decided I would walk this morning. It’s 1.8 miles not really that far, some actually do consider that walking distance. Me not so much.

A good friend texted me this morning and offered me a ride after she dropped her son off at school, but I declined. I can do this I kept telling myself.

I started out shaky my ankles were weak the left one was hurting really bad. But I soldiered on. Because I favored that ankle my hip then started to hurt so about halfway through I was ready to stop.

I had already put it out to the world all over Facebook that I was going to walk and I was getting encouragement from family and friends. Humiliation kept me going I couldn’t stop because then what you can’t even walk a mile.

I made it to work in under an hour – 1.8 miles. I don’t know if that’s a good time or a bad time but all I know is I made it.

Oh yeah, I forgot I stir fry you in my wok, my face looks like it’s been stirfried after 1.8 mile walk.

adrienne van houten



Not So Wordless Wednesday – Love

Today is my mother’s birthday.

She would have been 77.

I still can’t believe she is not just at the other end of the internet waiting for me to play a move on a game on Pogo.

Love doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings rushing through my body and soul today.


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Zubie Zubie Zoo!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zubie for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am all about practical gifts.  I have received a dishwasher for my birthday (and was estatic about it), a blanket for Christmas (by far my favorite gift Taj has ever given me in over 25 years!) and even tires for my car for an anniversary gift.

So when Social Spark contacted me about writing about the Zubie as a Valentine’s gift, I thought sure why not?!

I don’t drive as much as I used to.  My work is less than 2 miles from my house now and the grand kids live within 10 miles.  So since I take fewer long distance trips I tend to slack off on the car care.  I forget to get the oil changed until the SERVICE light comes.  I think the last tune up done on the car was done by ME back when my hands still could turn a socket wrench.

Zubie combines a smart device (about the size of a matchbox) that plugs into a standard port in almost every car (after 1996) along with a smartphone app that help you get the most from your car.

Features include:

  • Location tracking and alerts when family members arrive at home, work or school.
  • Be alerted to car problems before they leave you stranded, such as a Check Engine light or a dying battery.
  • Track and improve your driving, and connect and compete with friends. Monitor and coach teen drivers.
  • Connect with friends to share locations and simplify coordinaton on short trips or car-pools


Now you can hit the road with Zubie! Order today with code SAVE20FEB and SAVE 20% off your Zubie Key plus one year of service.  Offer good through March 31, 2014.  SHipping charges will apply.

Go, like Zubie on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


You can thank me later.

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I Will Never Race for the Cure, But I Can Support #KnottsPink

This is the pin worn by employees.  I love the vest!

This is the pin worn by employees. I love the vest!

I have a lot of friends who vehemently dislike the use of the color pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. They think it “pretifies” the cause, they think it is too “feminine”. They purposely don’t participate in or support any causes that use the pink ribbon or merchandise pink items. Good for them. They have an opinion and they feel strongly about it.

What I feel strongly about is the fact that Breast Cancer is still one of the leading causes of death amongst women.  In Orange County alone one in eight women will be diagnosed with Breast cancer in their lifetime.

It is preventable, it is curable, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation is one of the hardest woring foundations in the fight.  Thanks to Komen’s funding of research, new treatments and awareness of the importance of annual mammograms to detect breast cancer in its earliest and most curable stages, the survival rate for breast cancer has risen dramatically over the 33 years of the organization. The Orange County Komen Affiliate provides mammograms for uninsured women and works with other organizations to bring breast health information to people throughout the county.

Knott’s Berry Farm is joining in that fight with their #KnottsPink promotion.  The promotion will provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy Knott’s world class entertainment, attractions and specially-themed “pink” décor, while supporting an important cause that touches many women. Starting February 1, through March 31, guests can purchase “Pink Tickets” for theme park admission online at A portion of the “Pink Tickets” proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen Orange County.

Knott’s has kicked off the promotion with a $25,000 to the Orange County division of the Komen Foundation.

The money that the theme park has already donated will provide 400 women in Orange County with life-saving breast health services.
Guests entering the theme park during the time of the promotion will be greeted by a pink Knott’s Berry Farm for the Cure display adorned with Snoopy and his pal Woodstock. Guests can purchase a commemorative limited edition magnet to place on the special display in honor of, or in memory of, someone affected by breast cancer. The magnet will be sold at select merchandise locations inside Knott’s Berry Farm and all proceeds will benefit Komen Orange County.  Kind of like the balloons sold for the Children’s Hospitals and the stars sold for something else.

Today I am attending a media release with all the details and you can follow and join the conversation by using #KnottsPink on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  By the way after the media event I will be staying and enjoying the park courtesy of Knotts (just in case you were wondering).

If you would like to enjoy the park courtesy of Knott’s all you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below for a chance to win 2 tickets!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on the fight against breast cancer, please contact the Susan G. Komen Orange County office at (714) 957-9157.

For Knott’s theme park information including hours of operation please visit or call (714) 220-5200.


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