Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Review: Million Dollar Diva

Remember back here when I reviewed Safe Money Millionaire?  I really liked that book.  And that's why, even though my reading-anything-other-than-textbooks time is limited, I was really intrigued by the idea of this new book by the authors of Safe Money Millionaire, and my friend, respected fiction author, Tristi Pinkston.  In essence, she was going to become a Safe Money Millionaire guinea pig.  She was going to open up her financial situation to Brett and Ethan and see if they could offer her a brighter future than what she was currently picturing for herself.  She was swinging the doors wide open, with a refreshing honesty that most of America can relate to behind its closed doors, and through her personal journey, offer hope to others.  

And she did!  I loved this!  

The book is called Million Dollar Diva, and it is written to give women financial advice for the different challenges that we might face, but the advice is equally pertinent to men, or, as in Tristi's case, couples and families, since this is a journey that she and her husband embark on together.  In a marriage, both people would need to be equally committed to make any financial goal work, and this is no exception.  

In the beginning of the book, Tristi is bogged down with debt.  $33,000 worth, if I remember correctly. She and her husband didn't rack up that debt spending lavishly and traveling the globe, but like many, it was here a little and there a little putting things like groceries and diapers on credit cards when ends just wouldn't stretch to meet.  They faced setbacks like employment struggles and health crises.  And though they were conscientious and frugal, they just didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel.  They certainly didn't see a fulfillment of financial dreams like a bigger house, the ability to vacation, and a secure retirement.  But Brett and Ethan helped change all of that, bucking conventional wisdom, and it is all spelled out in the book, and available to you, too.  

(From the back cover:) In this book, you'll discover:

* The 5-step, simple, safe, and predictable process to change living paycheck-to-paycheck to enjoying wealth and security.

* How to give yourself a $400 per month raise without asking the boss or working a minute of overtime.

* The secret formula of how to completely eliminate your debt in 1/3 the time and save tens of thousands on interest costs in the process.

And more.  Seeing Tristi's financial future changing on the pages of the book was really exciting and inspiring.  She felt empowered in her life to bring about financial security for herself and her family.  The amazing thing is that the authors of the book are offering anyone a free copy of the book (there is a $5.95 shipping charge) so that you can experience this empowering change too!  I highly recommend that you get your free copy and read it and then take action immediately!  I really do.  This offer for the free book is only good through June 15th, though, so act on it, and tell your friends!

You can go to the website to take advantage of that amazing offer:

If you're reading this after June 15th, then you can buy a copy here.

This, my friends, is way cool.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Aiden brought me breakfast in bed this morning.  And late last night, he had Lyndsay drive him to the store where he bought me the tulips.  It made me cry.  Tulips are my favorite flower and my 12 year old son knew that and spent his own money to buy them for me.  Then, while I ate, he went downstairs and did the dinner dishes from last night that I'd left in the sink, and cleaned up the kitchen.

Conor's offering was one of his chocolate milks, a bowl of strawberries, and those two boxes of raisins.

And some flowers he picked from the front yard to put in my hair.

I thought it would be fun to have our dinner and party outside in the carport/patio since it was such a nice day.  Adam and Aiden set up the tables and chairs and we all worked to get the salad fixings ready.  The lettuce we picked from the garden.  Lyndsay cut up a watermelon and made my cake.

After we ate, we thought we'd play a game together before cake, but Conor was so excited for presents, so we did that first.  I love his expression in this picture, as I open the gift that Lyndsay got me.

She gave me this beautiful (LOVE the color!) cardigan, short-sleeved.  It will be perfect with a white tee or tank underneath it.  And bless her heart, she bought a size small.  Crossing fingers on that one.

Then Conor gave me his present, really from Adam and Conor.  He wrapped it himself, and wrote me this sweet letter all by himself. (I put a copy of it at the bottom of this post.)

Then he said, "Guess what it is, Mom?"  And the reason I'm laughing so hard is because once again, Conor blew the surprise.  Conor has a long history of blurting out gifts and other surprises. This morning, while I was enjoying my breakfast in bed, he said, "Dad and I are going to give you a new alarm clock."  I thought, "yeah, right, that's random."  But when I tore back the paper there it was, a new alarm clock!  Apparently, it was his idea for my gift because he told his dad that mine was "all dusty and old."

When I was first looking at it, I said, "Does it play CDs?" To which my family said, "Mom, CDs are so over."  Well! I still like CDs.  So there.  

Missing my Dylan boy in this picture.  But he called me today.  Twice.  And we had a great talk.

Then we got our Settlers of Catan game going.

Lyndsay painted some Love Tree for her boyfriend.  La La land.  So sweet.  And we had music playing on the laptop.  It was so nice, really.

And then, finally, it was cake time.  Definitely not 39 candles, but we scrounged up what we could find.  And I made a wish.  I was thinking this morning about what my wish would be, and how, inevitably, my wishes are always about my children.  Isn't that the way it is for a mother?  Even my wishes belong to them, just like my heart.

And here's a copy of Conor's letter to me.  I'm used to reading little kid "I spelled it myself" letters, but in case you're not, it says, "Dear Mom, I do love you and I want you to be my mom forever.  Happy birthday.  [comma] Conor Consolo".

It's been a wonderful day.  Now, let's hope I can figure out this newfangled alarm clock and get up on time in the morning.  I have more to say about turning 39, but I'll save that for another post.  Soon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another Garden Post, Maybe Too Soon (But I Just Can't Help It.)

We've had rain off and on this week and so, though I went out to pick green caterpillars off of my brassica plants, I was really impressed with the growth in one week, and had to take pictures.  I found 9 caterpillars, by the way, and I squished them.  I'm sure there are more and it's making me want to pull up all the plants and just be done with them.  Those stupid white moths, acting all sweet and innocent.


Salad, anyone?  The lettuce is growing beautifully.  So is the zucchini next to it, though I noticed that white mottling on a few leaves.  It doesn't look like powdery mildew to me, and it doesn't come off when rubbed, but I'm not sure.  I never had powdery mildew on my zucchini plants before, but I will probably spray them with chamomile tea, just in case.  

Look how big the tomatillo plant has gotten!  And it has beginning blossoms!

This is one, big, Granddaddy broccoli plant.  It's huge.

The Black Seeded Simpson lettuce has grown, and the red bell peppers have blossoms!

Here's a view of that second bed.  Since I know you all keep up with my garden in your mind's eye, right?

Here's the first bed.  The chard is growing faster than it's being eaten now, so that's good.  And that delphinium in the lower right hand square has really grown back.

Can you see progress?  This is bed 3.


I think the tomato plants have grown a lot!

And here's a cucumber plant, with new growth.

The watermelon plants are a little bigger, but they need more sun, so they'll have their day.

The peas have probably grown a foot.  No blossoms yet, though.

This is that yellow crook-necked squash plant that was a little wimpy and sad looking last time, remember?  It's doing very well settled into its new home.

And look how much my Eva's Purple Ball tomato plant has grown!  I'll be trellising it in no time!

Here are the other two cucumber varieties, growing slowly and steadily.

I included this photo as a "What NOT to do" tip.  Something was eating my basil.  I could never catch it in the act, so I wasn't sure, but I saw the droppings and figure it was some kind of caterpillar.  I put mason jars over my plants to shield them from the little mooches, thinking it would act as a greenhouse maybe, but it didn't.  It cooked them.  So, I'm out two basil plants and will have to replace them.  At least in the end, I took them out and not those insects, right?  Who's laughing now?  Wait. . .

My delphinium has grown even more with beautiful flower stalks!

Back to the first bed, here's the same view I took before of the cabbage plants. Despite the green caterpillars, I do think cabbage plants are beautiful.  And did you know that cold cabbage leaves are good for breast infections?  I was pleasantly surprised to be taught and tested on something so "natural" in nursing school.

Here's the other zucchini plant nestled in between cauliflower plants.

And here is my act of mercy for the day.  This first bed had my cherry tomato plants last summer and I've been pulling up volunteers by the dozens every day.  I decided to leave this one and see how it does, since the cauliflower and cabbage will be coming up soon, and I didn't plant any cherry tomatoes as of yet.  We'll give it a chance.  Give peas a chance?  No, give tomatoes a chance. (That was for you, Dad.)