Monday, June 30, 2008

One more site with great resources

Charities Supporting Soldiers and their Families

The following is a list of websites of belonging to charities and other non-profit organizations whose mission it is to support Soldiers and their families. These organizations provide a variety of services from programs to “adopt” a unit or to provide military families with emergency assistance to funding scholarships for the children of fallen troops or supporting wounded Servicemembers and their families.

Disclaimer: AUSA Family Programs does not endorse any of the the organizations listed below nor the information about services provided on their websites. We strongly encourage anyone who plans to contact one of these organizations for assistance or to make a donation to ask questions about both the services provided and how the money being raised is spent.

There are several independent "watchdog" sites that individuals can visit to learn more about how to identify effective and efficient charities. The Independent Sector is a coalition of philanthropic organizations which establishes principles for ethical and efficient charitable practices. It is also possible to research specific charities through Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and the Better Business Bureau. Please be aware that each of these organizations uses different methods to evaluate and rate charitable organizations so conclusions may differ depending on which site is consulted. Last, the Internal Revenue Service has an online search facility to enable members of the public to verify the tax-exempt status of an organization.


Browse organizations by type of program or service:

Help Soldiers Help Others | Donate Item or Services | Emergency Assistance | Letters and Messages |
Military Children | Staying Connected During Deployment | Send Care Packages | Wounded Warrior and Family Support |


Helping Soldiers Help Others

Operation Iraqi Children
Many soldiers deployed to Iraq are rebuilding schools. Donations to Operation Iraqi Children help purchase desperately needed school supplies.

Operation Give
Operation Give provides toys, clothing and school supplies primarily to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Spirit of America
Spirit of America helps US troops carry out humanitarian projects around the world through donations of much needed goods and supplies.

-Back to top-

Donate Items or Services

The American Veterans collect new and used DVDs to distribute overseas to US military personnel.

Commissary Gift Certificates
Gift certificates purchased though the Defense Commissary Agency can be used by military families.

Green Care for Troops
A nationwide outreach program connecting local lawn and landscaping companies with the families of deployed Servicemembers to help with lawn and landscape care.

Homefront America, Inc.
Homefront America is a volunteer, non-profit website that assists military families during deployment. Their programs include referral assistance, tuition and scholarship assistance, holiday programs, back-to-school supplies, teen education and routine auto maintenance.

Operation Top Knot
A program that supports the wives and children of U.S. soldiers through donations of baby gifts.

Support for Military Pet Owners during Deployment
The Military Pets Foster Project helps find temporary foster homes for the pets of Servicemembers who have to deploy. More information about the project is available by emailing Operation Noble Foster can help Servicemembers find temporary foster homes for cats only.

-Back to top-

Emergency Assistance

American Soldier Foundation
The Foundation can provide grants or interest free loans to help Soldiers and family members with unexpected events.

Armed Forces Foundation Family Assistance Program
The Family Assistance Program awards financial assistance to military families ranging from hotel room cost and utility bill payment, to laptops for recovering veterans. Families must apply for assistance through the website and are accepted based on their need in relationship to monthly income.

Army Emergency Relief
Army Emergency Relief provides emergency financial assistance to Soldiers and their families.

American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services
The American Red Cross sends communications on behalf of family members who are facing emergencies or other important events to members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving all over the world. It also offers financial assistance to military families and veterans.

Operation Eagle’s Nest
Donations to this charity support the families of Soldiers stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront can provide financial assistance to military families in need as well as help with emeregncy household and vehicle repairs.

Reserve Aid
Reserve Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing financial support to the families of Reserve Service Members called to active duty in all five branches of the Armed Forces. Reserve Aid makes unrestricted, need based grants to military families who have a Reserve Service Member on full-time deployment to a combat zone or homeland security position.

Unmet Needs (Veterans of Foreign Wars)
The Unmet Needs Program provides emergency financial assistance and has a network of skilled volunteers able to assist military families.

USA Cares
USA Cares exists to provide military families with financial support and other critical resources in their time of need.

-Back to top-

Letters and Messages

Operation Kids for Troops
Write directly to military men and women stationed overseas through this site or learn how your local school can participate in sending mail to troops. You can submit the names and addresses of loved ones (serving overseas in a combat area) to the mailing list.

-Back to top-

Military Children

Believe in Tomorrow Foundation
The Believe in Tomorrow Foundation provides respite care to families with critically ill children, including military families.

-Back to top-

Staying Connected During Deployment

Cell Phones for Soldiers
This charity accepts donations of old cell phones, which it then recycles for cash to buy phone cards for deployed troops.

Caring Bridge
Caring Bridge offers free, personalized websites to connect family and friends who are separated by deployment.

Freedom Calls
Donations to the Freedom Calls Foundation help build and maintain a state-of-the-art telecommunications network for military personnel to keep in touch with family members back home.

Help Our Troops Call Home
Purchase prepaid calling cards through military exchanges for troops serving overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Uplink
Run by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Operation Uplink accepts contributions in order to supply phone cards to troops and their families.

-Back to top-

Send Care Packages

Adopt a Platoon


A Soldier's Wish List

Books For Soldiers

Boatsie's Boxes

Operation: A Bit of Home

Operation Air Conditioner

Operation Care and Comfort

Operation Gratitude

Operation Homefront’s

Operation Interdependence

Operation Troop Appreciation

Packages From Home

The Scott Valelly Soldiers’ Memorial Fund Holiday Gift Drive

Soldiers' Angels

Treats for Troops

USO Cares

-Back to top-

Wounded Warrior and Family Support

Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops assists severely injured service men and women and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and coordinating the process of building new adapting existing homes with handicapped accessibility.

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund aids severely injured military personnel in their treatment and recoveryat Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Fisher House
The Fisher House Foundation provides affordable lodging for family members of hospitalized military personnel.

Operation Hero Miles
Operation Hero Miles takes donations of unused frequent flier miles to help soldiers travel on emergency leave. They can also be used to help families fly to hospitalized soldiers.

Project Valour-IT
Project Valour-IT provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Servicemembers recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Visit the website to learn how to make a donation or request a laptop.

Quilts of Valor
The Quilts of Valor project provides homemade quilts to wounded Servicemembers.

Wounded Warriors Family Support Fund
Provides support and solace to the families of injured or fallen troops through vacations.

A bit of inspiration

In honor of our country's upcoming birthday I wanted to share this. It is from today's AOL news. Last week I finished reading Inside Delta Force. These guys to the most amazing things. They tax themselves in ways that we probably can't even fathom. My mom works at one of the local hospitals and there were a few Marines walking down the hallway by her office last week and she asked if it was ok to thank them. She said their smiles were just from ear to ear. Honestly I don't care what your political convictions are or whether or not you agree with the war but if you see a service member thank them. They're the reason we're sitting comfy and cozy in our homes with minimal risk (I won't say no risk because anyone old enough to remember 9/11 knows what its truly like to be risk free at your home stateside). The men and women serving our country are doing so much and giving up so much and in all actually not getting a lot in return. Yes this is a subject I'm passionate about but there is almost nothing that can rise my ire more than someone giving a service member a hard time about following orders. For all you know they may not agree with the same war you disagree with but they are standing tall and doing their job.

Here is the link:

Blind Special Forces Officer Pushes Limits
Posted: 2008-06-30 12:57:38
Filed Under: Nation News
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (June 30) - When Capt. Ivan Castro joined the Army, he set goals: to jump out of planes, kick in doors and lead soldiers into combat. He achieved them all. Then the mortar round landed five feet away, blasting away his sight.
'I Want to Work Every Day'
Gerry Broome, AP
Capt. Ivan Castro, who lost his eyesight from a combat injury in Iraq, is the only blind officer in U.S. Special Forces. "I am going to push the limits," he said. "I don't want to ... show up and sit in an office. I want to work every day and have a mission."
"Once you're blind, you have to set new goals," Castro said.

He set them higher.

Not content with just staying in the Army, he is the only blind officer serving in the Special Forces - the small, elite units famed for dropping behind enemy lines on combat missions.

"I am going to push the limits," said the 40-year-old executive officer at the 7th Special Forces Group's headquarters company in Fort Bragg. "I don't want to go to Fort Bragg and show up and sit in an office. I want to work every day and have a mission."

Since the war began in Iraq, more than 100 troops have been blinded and 247 others have lost sight in one eye. Only two other blind officers serve in the active-duty Army: one a captain studying to be an instructor at West Point, the other an instructor at the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Castro's unit commander said his is no charity assignment. Rather it draws on his experience as a Special Forces team member and platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division.

"The only reason that anyone serves with 7th Special Forces Group is if they have real talents," said Col. Sean Mulholland. "We don't treat (Castro) as a public affairs or a recruiting tool."

An 18-year Army veteran, Castro was a Ranger before completing Special Forces training, the grueling yearlong course many soldiers fail to finish. He joined the Special Forces as a weapons sergeant, earned an officer's commission and moved on to the 82nd - hoping to return one day to the Special Forces as a team leader.

Then life changed on a rooftop outside Youssifiyah, Iraq, in September 2006.

Castro had relieved other paratroopers atop a house after a night of fighting. He never heard the incoming mortar round. There was just a flash of light, then darkness.

Shrapnel tore through his body, breaking his arm and shoulder and shredding the left side of his face. Two other paratroopers died.

When Castro awoke six weeks later at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., his right eye was gone. Doctors were unable to save his left.

The Blinded Veterans Association estimates 13 percent of all combat hospital emergency procedures in Iraq have involved eye injuries and more than half of the soldiers with traumatic brain injuries also suffer some visual impairment. That makes them the third most common injury - behind post traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries - in Iraq.

"What he is doing is a strong example that blind individuals can lead exciting and meaningful careers," said Thomas Zampieri, director of government relations for the association.

After 17 months in recovery, Castro sought a permanent assignment in the service's Special Operations Command, landing duty with the 7th Special Forces Group. He focuses on managerial tasks while honing the group's Spanish training, a useful language for a unit that deploys regularly to train South American troops.

"I want to support the guys and make sure life is easier for those guys so that they can accomplish the mission," he said.

Though not fully independent, he spent a weekend before starting his job walking around the Group area at Fort Bragg to know just where he was going. He carefully measured the steps from car to office.

"Obviously, he cannot do some things that a sighted person can do. But Ivan will find a way to get done whatever he needs to get done," Mulholland said. "What I am most impressed with, though, is his determination to continue to serve his country after all that he's been through."

Castro works out regularly at the gym and runs, his legs powerful and muscular. And though he has a prosthetic right eye and his arms are scarred by shrapnel, his outsized personality overshadows his war wounds: Nobody escapes his booming hellos, friendly banter and limitless drive.

He ran the Boston marathon this year with Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Last year it was the Marine Corps Marathon. He wants to compete in the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and graduate from the Army's officer advanced course, which teaches captains how to lead troops and plan operations.

Mulholland said Castro, who was awarded a Purple Heart like others wounded in combat, will always be part of the Special Forces family.

"I will fight for Ivan as long as Ivan wants to be in the Army," Mulholland said.

Married and the father of a 14-year-old son, Castro still needs help getting to the gym. He recently needed an escort to the front of the headquarters company formation, where he promoted a supply clerk.

Once in front, Ivan took charge.

Affixing the new soldier's rank to his uniform, Castro urged the soldier to perform two ranks higher. In the Special Forces, he said, one has to go above and beyond what is asked - advice he lives by.

"I want to be treated the same way as other officers," Castro said. "I don't want them to take pity over me or give me something I've not earned."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-06-30 09:32:46

Also if you are looking for some worthwhile charities here are a few links:
This link lists several organizations that help the troops and gives a breakdown of effectiveness and how the money is spent.

There is also an incredible organization that helps to fund the travel for the family of injured service members to they can be with them while they are in the hospital. My mom has the name & I can get it for anyone who is interested.

HM Sarah Siggy

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Does anybody have any experience with adsense? Positive? Negative? I'm part of a mom's forum that wants me to write articles but I need to have adsense. Not sure what to do.

I would like to know what happened to Sunday being a day of rest! I feel like I've been going nonstop since 6:30 this morning! Princess Bear (PB) woke up screaming to watch Dora (she got 2 new Dora movies for her birthday the other day & I'm already trying to figure out how to hide Dora). My ankle somehow blew up again (I had a severe sprain in December as in my ankle literally did a 180 and somehow didn't break. I partial tore all ligaments and tendons, stretched muscle to the point that it can't fully be repaired and bruised the bone). My 10:30 this morning I was asking my dad to bring me ice. I think I would have preferred a stiff drink but that just didn't seem to be in the cards!!! PB was just full of energy and I tried (once again!) to repair her trampoline. This thing is truly testing what little patience I have left! Today might have been the charm though! I filled it at 11:30 and my dad & bil moved it around 4:30 and it was still inflated!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!! The little girl from 2 doors down has already been over three times to ask to jump in it. She also demanded to know when I was charging PB's car. UGH! My dad, sister, bil & I spent a few hours empty some (a very small some) of our attic. Honestly I think we need to just go up there and blow it would be easier!!! I really don't even think we made a dent. We did find a "new" outdoor riding toy for PB. It looks like the inch worm guy but is a dog. She was a happy little camper! Then we had my neighbor & her grandson who is living with her over for dinner. Mary Jean (our neighbor) is like another grandmother to me and she adores PB. Her grandson Ryan is also a big PB fan and the feelings are returned 10 fold. The highlight of her day is getting to go to Mary's house. Ryan is so good with her; its just darling! For her birthday he gave her the 2 Dora movies and Mary always gets her Gymboree gift cards. Fun fun! Well that is an update on this side. I'm off to take a shower and join the rest of my family in sleeping!

HM Sarah Siggy

Saturday, June 28, 2008 experiments, stuff to learn, & things I like!

Well, here is a definite sign that I no longer have a life. Its 11:45pm on a Saturday night...what am I doing? Well, I'm sitting here blogging. Ok...maybe the fact that I'm sitting here with a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil and tea tree oil in my hair that makes is just down right sad. I can remember a time that I wouldn't have been home at this time on a Saturday unless I was deathly ill. Hmmm....I'm not sure what I think of this! I know some of it is the inevitable process of growing up. Beyond any shadow of a fact I could no longer party like I used to. On the flip side it would be nice to have something to do if I was so inclined! I wouldn't even know who to call to hit a Saturday night out. Is this one more of the joys of getting older?!!?

Princess Bear & I had a fun day. She had swimming lessons this morning. That child loves the water! Next week we're going to try moving her up a group. That means I won't be in the water with her. This might be interesting!!! Afterwards I took her to a drive in restaurant in town called Lou's. I've never taken her there before and she had a ball. "We're not going in and we're not driving thru?" Nope...we sit here and its brought to the car & we eat it here. Just blew her little mind! Then it was time for some vegging out/ Dora watching. My sister, bil and darling nephew stopped by for a bit as well.

So I forgot one of the most important things I'd like to learn. Digiscrapping!!! I love doing my regular scrapbooking but the funds aren't always available. I'm pretty crafty so this seems like it could be fun!!

Now on to things I like:
1) Homemade laundry detergent. I don't know what it is but my clothes are so much softer!
2) When a new book is released in a series I've been reading. Fern Michaels latest in the Sisterhood series came out. I like Fern Michaels and this series has a basis that is very easy to relate to.
3) That summer TV series are starting. I'm loving Sunday nights! Army Wives & In Plain Site!
4) Gooseberry Patch. I cannot say enough about their cookbooks! Its like going to a church potluck where everyone brings something delicious and then all the recipes are compiled and printed! I like their Christmas decorating ideas as well! Very cozy. Not prim but cute & comfy feel. Does that make sense?
5) Toys that my child likes & will actually play with! Oh happy day!

So what are some of your favorite things? What do you wish you could learn?

HM Sarah Siggy

Friday, June 27, 2008

Things I want to learn....can you help me?!!!!!? as I'm nearing the end (I think! fingers crossed) of the house cleaning project from the underworld I'm evaluating what I would like to do and learn in the next few months. I can't believe that the summer is 1/2 over & I'm not sure that I will be able to pick up classes in the fall so here is a list of things I'm interested in. If you're good at or have resources for any of these things hit me up! You can email me at (that is one of the can I add an email me button to the right hand column that will help someone automatically email me?!!!? Add learning HTML to the list!)

1) I'm in the process of redesigning my Control Journal/ Home Management Binder. I'm a form junkie and would love for anyone to share any and all forms with me! Sites, good graphics etc!

2) Ways and resources for going green...preferably economically please!!!

3) Resources for making natural based products for the home. I make my own shampoo and laundry detergent as well as wipes for my nephew. I'd eventually like to turn this into a business venture at some point in time. Do you do these things? Where did you learn? If you don't make your own are natural products important to you?

I think there is more but Princess Bear is about to fall out so I want to scoot her off for a nap before she falls asleep in here!

HM Sarah Siggy

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Contest winners!!!

The contest winners for the school times & pool maintenance are:

jenontheedge, Lea from farmhouse*blessings & Bethany

Can you guys please send me an email with your snail mail addys to and let me know if you want clippies or french clip barretts? THANKS!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Would anyone like a 5 year old for a little while?!!!?

I'm of it me some of it Princess Bear (PB). I did get about 4.5 hours of sleep last night though so I'm happy about that! PB is just one of those kids who feels the need to take out LOTS of toys and then do nothing with them up to and including putting them back. Today that led to a battle of wills. A very long battle of wills! As in 3 hours! (What can I say...I'm a stubborn pollack!) Now the thing is PB did pick up everything & I'm left with a blinding headache. I knew I was in trouble since I've had a cluster headache for days but man this sucks! My mom & dad even took her with them on a few errands so I could get a bit of peace. WOOHOO!

I didn't blog yesterday because we were a) recovering from Chuck E Cheese and b) busy. Chuck E Cheese was a very interesting experience. At first PB wanted absolutely nothing to do with anything. It took about a half an hour to get her warmed up. Then there was no keeping her away from the games. She loved playing skee ball....ummm can I tell you what a scary experience that was?!!!? Overhand throwing, lobbing balls, various THUNKS! At least no one was hurt and fun was had by all! Things were fine at dinner for all of the kids until the live show started. Even though I explained that Chuck E was a nice mouse...even Mickey's cousin she totally freaked. Here is a picture of PB under the table.


This is so different from my child who usually has no fear of anything! She fears nothing or anyone except for a gray mouse who owns a pizza joint! Guess that trip to Disney can wait for awhile!!!

I've been pondering kids toys for a few days. Mostly because PB got the new crop for her birthday. Is there anyway of taking care of a dolls hair to keep it looking nice and knot free?!!!? We have a new Strawberry Shortcake doll that has hair to her rear. She's been in the house for approximately 48 hours and has already had once major comb out that lead to some significant hair loss. UGH! Also, whoever invented Legos needs to be shot! Those things could be considered weapons of mass destruction...just walk on one barefoot!!! Hopefully Monika won't see this entry since I just gave her son some Legos!!! One the plus side of things we've found some toys that PB LOVES and will play with for more than 3 minutes!!!! I bought her the Pet Palace from the Go Anywhere Girls set. That's been followed by the carousel and dance studio. She's dying for the pony cart. I'm seeing it in her future!!! Honestly I can't even begin to explain how exciting it is to see her having meaningful play with toys!!!! She's been a part of the Lekotech program through Easter Seals for years but this is even better than that!!!!

HM Sarah Siggy

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Monday!!!!

Ugh! Sorry its been so long!!! Its been crazy crazy crazy here! Mostly my mom but Princess Bear has had a few moments as well! Man...after almost a week of only 2-3 hours of sleep a night I honestly if I could sleep enough!!! Today we drove to Champaign which was an hour and 45 minute trip. No blood shed on the way! I was quite proud of my mom & myself! PB did very well too. We went up to see a new GI Dr. for PB. This man was incredible! I mean every Dr in the world should be like this man! So kind & caring. He answered all the questions my mom & I had and even some we didn't think to ask. Told us the risks and benefits of everything. Took lots of time with us. Simply amazing!!! He want PB to have a pH probe study done. For those of you who don't know what that is its not the worlds most fun test and frankly I wasn't looking forward to it but it was the only test he wanted done and with some pretty valid reasons. Ooops I digress! A pH probe study is when a pH probe (duh!) is inserted through the nose, down the throat and into the stomach. It has to be left in place for 24 hours and the person is supposed to eat as normally as possible so the results are as accurate as possible. Its been about 2 years since we've done one and I see the reason for it. I just can't even fathom convincing my balls to the wall child who stops for nothing, never sits still and doesn't like bodily invasion of any sort to keep this in for 24 hours. A few years ago they put splints on her arms and she still managed to yank it out once (and then you get to start all over again!) Anyway I asked the Dr. about the splints or what other options we have and he decided to wait 2 more years until PB was a bit older. He didn't want to subject her to something that might not have accurate results...... G-d bless the man!

Things have been hopping here and I'm sure there is lots more to report in but frankly I'm beyond brain dead! We have a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese tonight. I'm not looking forward to it. My daughter is 5 and I've managed to never take her there! Guess it was a good run! I'm going to hope my daughter will chill out for awhile so I can at least zone off for a bit if not actually get a nap in!!!

HM Sarah Siggy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 one

I borrowed the following from my MySpace blog as I'm still dealing with the issue at hand. It does contain swearing (not apologizing...just giving you a warning!)

fa·ther ..>

1. A man who begets or raises or nurtures a child.
2. A male parent of an animal.
3. A male ancestor.
4. A man who creates, originates, or founds something: Chaucer is considered the father of English poetry.
5. An early form; a prototype.
6. Father Christianity
a. God.
b. The first person of the Christian Trinity.
7. An elderly or venerable man. Used as a title of respect.
8. A member of the senate in ancient Rome.
9. One of the leading men, as of a city: the town fathers.
10. or Father A church father.
11. Abbr. Fr.
a. A priest or clergyman in the Roman Catholic or Anglican churches.
b. Used as a title and form of address with or without the clergyman's name.
v. fa·thered, fa·ther·ing, fa·thers
1. To procreate (offspring) as the male parent.
2. To act or serve as a father to (a child).
3. To create, found, or originate.
4. To acknowledge responsibility for.
a. To attribute the paternity, creation, or origin of.
b. To assign falsely or unjustly; foist.
To act or serve as a father.

Ok...going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. Why is it that men can father a child and then oh so easily walk away from responsibility and be ok with that?!!? Also let me interject that there is WAY more to responsibility than paying child support. I won't go into the fact that these children at some point in time will acknowledge their sperm donors (and I'm being kind here) as the pieces of shit they are. Trust me I've heard it all. I have had a few guy friends who have literally stepped out of their childs life because it was easier than dealing with their ex. HELLO! What the HELL are you doing?!!!? You obviously liked said woman enough to nail it that difficult to get along enough to see your child? You don't have to like each other. You don't have to be friends. It really isn't necessary. What is necessary is to be civil. Thats all bottom line end of story. Pick up the phone and ask to talk to your child; make arrangements to spend time with your child. You might ask where this tirade is coming from and trust me it isn't based on what you think it is! I had an ex's son ask me to have his father get in touch with him. WTF?!!!? Ok done with the vent for now.

Well, apparently I'm not done with the vent. A bit of background...I was more or less ecstatically engaged to a great guy named Wayne in 2003. He'd been my best guy friend for years and frankly I'd been in love with him the whole time. He was married so I never told him how I felt. He'd been there for me through everything and I really do mean everything. When he left Great Lakes it was like my world was falling apart. We stayed in touch and stayed close. He never liked any of the guys I was involved with. His marriage by then had fallen apart but I was also pregnant (high risk from the beginning) and going through a lot. Wayne was actually supposed to be Princess Bears godfather. Then in early Jan '03 I got a call from him and out of the blue he told me he'd always loved me and that he wanted to get married. Push me over with a feather! After a really long deep discussion of disclosing all of our feelings, hopes, wants and fears we decided that we did belong together (everyone who ever saw us together knew this way before we did). The down side was he was in the Navy and getting ready to deploy for the beginning of this mess in Iraq. We talked constantly and made a lot of plans for the baby. I'd just found out it was a girl. I'd had two names picked out but he didn't like either so it was back to the drawing board. We decided on a name and he started contacting lawyers here to see what it would take for the baby's father to rescind he's rights so Wayne could adopt her. I won't lie and say his deployment was easy. I was in the middle of an awful pregnancy and missed him a lot. Through a lot of trial and tribulations we made it through the deployment. Wayne was also having some health issues so he was flown off the ship early to be seen by a Dr. The first time we were able to talk in 6 months and PB was in the hospital (she was 3 weeks old and had turned blue while I was nursing her because she aspirated). I have never been so glad to hear another human beings voice in my entire life! We talked for hours! We knew that he only had a few months left until he hit his 20 years service in the Navy and started discussing different options on where to live. He's a California boy born and bred but there is just something about California. I wanted to live in FL or NC but he wasn't too thrilled with those options. He was offered a job in Louisville. Not bad. Not too far out from IL so I was a 6 hour drive from family. Its Southern but still urban. Lots of appeal overall. He also asked at one point if I was ok with his son from his first marriage living with us. Of course I was. I started looking online at homes in Louisville for a house big enough. Then he told me not to worry about a room for Cameron. He didn't want to ok.

Fast forward to Feb 2004. We'd hit a few rough spots but found our way back to each other. He was planning on moving here to Illinois until we found a permanent job and house. He even filed my address with the Navy as his forwarding address. I called his apartment in CA one day and the phone was disconnected. Talk about the bottom dropping out. After a major panic attack I tried picking myself up as much as possible. I won't say I'm totally over it but I'm not looking for answers anymore. Well apparently he is quite good at falling out of people's lives because his son would like to know where to find him. Man, this kid is 18 and I really don't want to screw him up. I forwarded him a picture I had of his dad and offered to call his grandfather (if the old hateful jerk is still alive). I just don't know how to play this one but its bringing up a lot of things that I don't want to deal with anymore. In closing boys are bad...throw rocks at them!

HM Sarah Siggy

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can you mainline Caffiene?!!?

Hey there! Its been so crazy here. A week and a half ago I was suffering from MAJOR lethargy and its back! I dozed most of the morning and then Princess Bear and I also too a major nap this afternoon. I didn't sleep much on Sat or Sun nights but this is crazy!

Fathers Day was wrapped up by my mom deciding she could handle us living here. I've really been working on the house and I've stepped it up so hopefully things will calm down. I'm a Flybaby (follower of FLY Lady) but I've read a lot about Home Management Guides (first introduced to this by Heather from Wanting what You have) (Can anyone teach me how to link things?!!?) and I'm trying to find some more useful ideas and forms to add to my binder. I'm a definite list person.

Well that is it on this front. I'm tired and run down (Oh I did have a cyst rupture so that could explain today's lethargy, huh?) How about a few more favorite things? Also thanks to everyone who shared theirs!!!

1) Learning new ways of living green and frugally (please share any and all tips you have)
2) Nice weather in Illinois is mid June!!!
3) Helpful strangers!!! I read Bethany's comment about the floating chlorine dispenser and was at Walmart checking them out yesterday. I was on my cell phone telling my dad about both and not sure which one to buy. This guy overheard me and came to the rescue! He also gave me a bunch of really great tips about maintaining the pool! I was so excited!
4) My red hot sipper tea. I'm addicted! I love it and drink it constantly! YUM YUM!
5) Magazines. I'm a reading junkie. I love reading but sometimes when you're busy books just don't work. My favorite mags are: Women's World, All You, and First. I'm so bad...I bend the pages of anything that can be useful later. I have a HUGE box of said pages. Maybe I need to start a project with this!

HM Sarah Siggy

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Moving Tribute

I know I spoke a bit about Tim Russert the other day but I'm going to do it again. The first guest on the Today show this morning was Luke Russert, Tim Russert's son, and this picture was displayed many times. I think this is just so poignant. (the picture was taken after yesterdays Meet the Press taping. Luke took the chair home afterwards)


It was an awesome interview to watch and just really drove home what happens when a parent does a good job at parenting. Luke came across as such a strong, intellectual young man with great love for his parents. I can only hope to instill those traits as eloquently in my daughter.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Do you make your own laundry detergent?

Quick question....has anyone else made their own laundry detergent?!!!? I made my first batch last night. I'm wondering if I can add essential oils to it to make it smell yummy. One of my favorite things is washing with the lavender detergent and then using the coordinating fabric sheets. I'd love to still have the lavender smell so I'm wondering about adding the essential oils. Thanks for any input!!!

If you have any other recipes for household cleaners I'd love them as I'm trying to go green and be frugal!

HM Sarah Siggy

Saturday, June 14, 2008 anyone reading?!!!?

OK...just had to ask! I'm running 2 contests and have only had comments left for one! I'm even offering referral entries if you post on your blog!!! But really enough of that! How about some random rumblings?!!?

I'm STILL glued to the TV watching tributes about Tim Russert. What a sad sad thing. I loved watching Meet the Press. He was a no holds barred kind of guy but he did it with such integrity. Something that is sorely lacking overall in this world. If you've watched any of the tributes about him it seems that he was such an honorable man; a true family man with strong religious convictions. Am I silly to be saddened by his death?

Lets move along here...Fathers Day. What to do what to do?!!? I'm behind broke right now so it must be free and creative and at this point quick. Princess Bear (PB) and I have to do something for my dad (or Dzadza as PB calls him...polish for grandfather). Any ideas?!!!? Please lay them on me!!! lol The only thing my dad asked for is for me to fix PB's inflatable trampoline so I can get it out of the garage! I'm working on it...really! I also need to set up the pool.

Frankly for whatever reason I'm having a hard time with Fathers Day this year. Perhaps because I'm butting heads with my dad so much lately. Perhaps as PB gets older and older she's realizing the lack of a father in her life. I'm forever grateful for the roles that my dad and brother in law play in her life and she adores both of them but its not the same; its not a dad. Before I had PB I was one of those women that believed in single if I only knew then what I know now!

On a bit of a change my parents are in Chicago for a wedding this weekend. Its always nice but a bit trying when PB and I are on our own. A bit more freedom which is lovely. PB just doesn't always do well with a change in routine. She had swim lessons this morning and then we've just done whatever we felt like! Some of that included gutting my room...ugh! Hopefully the end is in site! I did fill another HUGE lawn size garbage bag today. A few more of those and a few more to donate and I should be good to go!

Oh! I've decided to share some of my favorite things with y'all in hopes that you'll share some of yours with me! So here we go!

-I don't know if its a favorite yet but I'm so excited it finally got here! Just what am I referring to? Lipfusion XL Ok...I'm obsessed with getting a plumper pout! I admit it!!! I'll let you know how it works!

-Cherry Oatmeal bake...yum yum! A relatively easy fast (ok..takes 30-40 min to bake but prep time is EASY!) Love easy breakfasts! I'm so bad about actually eating breakfast but want to lose weight and know that breakfast and fiber are both key in that!

-Joanne Fluke. She's an author. Fun! Not smutty (although I like that at times as well!). and she has lots of yummy recipes in each book! Also funny!

-Janet Evanovich. Another author. Beyond funny and a bit of gratuitous sex but not over the top. She is absolutely laugh out loud funny. Not just a bit but LOTS! My sister gave me books 3-12 in the Stephanie Plum series which I managed to read in a week and a half. PB would look at me asking what was so funny. LOVE IT! If you have a dead body in your trunk with its legs sticking out make sure you tie a flag to it so no one gets too close!

OK...just a few to start! I'm off to do more cleaning and make up a batch of homemade laundry detergent! Have a good one!

HM Sarah Siggy

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Maintaining an above ground pool contest

Ok...because I don't know of ANY other way of doing this I'll do it by comments left (although if you can tell me a better way please let me know!)

Best ways/tips/websites for maintaining an above ground pool

Last year we had a quick set above ground pool and it was a DISASTER!!!!!!!!!! It was green and gross way too often and not worth the trouble. Since I really need a pool because Princess Bear can't regulate her body temperature I'm looking for any and all advice! What to do, what not to do. How often do you do what. Where to get the best supplies.

Every comment will count as one entry. Also if you refer someone and they include your name & link in their comment you will receive another entry.

Contest will run through June 25th.


Pair of 4th of July clippies. (I'll post pics in the next day or two!) Spread the word! I'd really appreciate the help!

HM Sarah Siggy

School times Contest

Ok...because I don't know of ANY other way of doing this I'll do it by comments left (although if you can tell me a better way please let me know!)

1) What hours does your child go to school each day?
Do they go to a private or public school?
Do you feel this is a long enough school day?

The public school district in their great wisdom here in Peoria has cut the school day for primary children in an attempt to balance the budget. I'm trying to get a feel for what other school districts do. (Oh...the school day is going to be from 9:15a to 3p)

Every comment will count as one entry. Also if you refer someone and they include your name & link in their comment you will receive another entry.

Contest will run through June 25th.


Pair of 4th of July clippies. (I'll post pics in the next day or two!) Spread the word! I'd really appreciate the help!

Thanks so much for leaving a comment!

HM Sarah Siggy


Ok...because I don't know of ANY other way of doing this I'll do it by comments left (although if you can tell me a better way please let me know!) I'm going to hold 2 contests.
1) What hours does your child go to school
Do they go to a private or public school

2) Best ways/tips/websites for maintaining an above ground pool

I'll set up a post for each one. Every comment will count as one entry. Also if you refer someone and they include your name & link in their comment you will receive another entry.

Contest will run through June 25th.


Pair of 4th of July clippies. (I'll post pics in the next day or two!) Spread the word! I'd really appreciate the help!

HM Sarah Siggy

Princess Bear turned 5 today!


I'm sitting here reminiscing this night 5 years ago. Actually by this point I was so out of it on Demerol I remember very little. A bit of past history. Princess Bears bio dad bailed 3 weeks after I told him I was pregnant. Fine so be it. In all actuality I don't think he could deal with Princess Bear (PB) or any of her issues so we're probably better off. It doesn't mean that I don't despise him for it or at times would give a vital organ to have some help but he obviously isn't the one that's going to do it. Half way through my pregnancy I got engaged to Wayne the love of my life who was my best friend. He wanted to adopt PB and was really there for me (as much as a deployed sailor could be!). He helped pick her name and was my rock. My pregnancy had been high risk from the word go and wasn't at all fun. I was actually looking forward to my induction. All I could think about was getting this kiddo out of me so we could move along with our lives! Never once did the thought of having a special needs child cross my mind. Anyway, the day of my induction I drove to my parents house and picked up my mom....after stopping at McDonalds for breakfast first! Then I drove my mom and myself to the hospital. I'm probably the only woman that shows up late for her own induction! As it turned out it was ok b/c L&D was full that morning and there were no rooms. Eventually there was a room available and the fun and games started! The nurse that was helping me was the nurse that delivered me! I thought that was pretty cool! Anyway, Sue (the nurse) started my pitocin and gave me the warning of it will probably have to be turned up more but we'll wait and see. Hello...what are they talking about...within 20 minutes I was having strong and fast contractions. Not work... I don't think so! :) Oh...I must say that the absolute best thing I ever did for my delivery was have a doula with me. What an incredibly wonderful addition to the whole birthing experience! Anyway, the day wore on and really nothing much was happening. I wasn't allowed to get out of the bed b/c PB was so high they were afraid the cord would prolapse. I didn't want an epidural if at all possible because frankly I was afraid of them! I did a round of IV drugs and though "OK...I can do this!" That was beautiful stuff and I actually took a nap. An hour and a half later I received another round that didn't kick in so well :( Early evening I was grumpy and not a happy camper and letting everyone know! Why is it that you can have ice chips but not water?!!? Its just melted ice chips for goodness sake!!! I finally had enough and decided if I couldn't get out of the bed that I might as well get an epidural. (If anyone ever wants to hear a couple of horror stories drop me an email and I'll let you know about my & my sisters epidural experiences). Once that kicked in my mom & Jennifer had a good time teasing me. They were watching my monitor and every time a contraction came they asked if I could feel it. HELLO! I CAN'T FEEL ANYTHING & I'M LOVING IT THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I took another nap then and woke up around 6:30. I woke up and listened to listened to the monitor and commented to my mom & Jennifer that something was wrong. They assured me that the nurse was watching my monitor at the desk. This went on for a few more rounds and then I watched TV. Dr. Couri came in a little after 7pm. She took one look at the monitor read out and went to get the nurse. Its not a good thing when your Dr is holding the monitor readout asking "How long has it been like this" PB was going into distress every time I had a contraction. Dr. Couri was going to try oxygen for an hour and see if that would help PB. 20 minutes later Dr. Couri came back and said it wasn't working at all and she didn't want to wait longer...enter emergency C-section. Now the one thing I was more scared of than an epidural was a C-section. I remember so little and actually went into a bit of shock. I remember my mom showing me PB. I remember in the recovery room later coming to and my best friend was holding my hand and I was begging for pain meds. I knew something was wrong since my mom was no where to be found. The nurse and my best friend went a few rounds before Jes convinced her that I really wouldn't ask for pain meds unless I needed them. I have a vague memory of my mom telling me there was a problem with PB and that the neunatologist were with her and the pediatrician had been called in. I had my mom call Fr. Bliss. Fast forward another few hours and I was transferred to a room. I was completely out of it and remember coming to awhile later to my mom holding PB and Jessi & Monika by her and everyone crying and very upset. Not a good memory. Monika said that I needed at least one picture holding my baby the night she was born so they gave her to me and took some pics and that is the last thing I remember of the night she was born. The specialists were called the next day and we started all sorts of testing and so began my adventure with Princess Bear.

I always get a bit melancholy around PB's birthday. The first birthday was fun and there was lots of family celebrating with us. I remember Mason told me that 1 wasn't a big deal...that 2 is the tough birthday. They don't even looked at all like a baby at that point and he was so right!

Today we decided to make it a fun day for Princess Bear and try to keep it low key at the same time. She woke up WAY early so she actually caught my parents before they left for work. We spent the morning vegging out watching TV and playing. We took a rest and then a shower before meeting my sister and Tyler for lunch. McDonalds was the order of the day. PB actually behaved well and it was an overall nice time! Then my parents decided that we were going out to dinner so it was off to Carlos OKelly's. PB was in heaven as she loves salsa and chips as well as queso and chips. Add mac n cheese and sprite to it and she was just ready to go over the moon! On the way home from dinner my sister called to say that were coming over to do cake with us. It was a great day of spending lots of family time. I got her a Little Mommy Real Life doll which was a big hit. I also got a new pool at Toys R Us yesterday as the rest of the birthday gift. Its a 12'x30" metal frame pool. I can't wait to set it up!!! Its been darn hot here!

Here are a few pics of tonight. They where taken with my cell phone (sorry! I can't find my camera :(!!!!) My sister took a few awesome pics of PB & Tyler but I don't have those yet. I'll share when I do.






HM Sarah Siggy

Friday, June 6, 2008

Children...their purpose to age us!!! :)

Ok...I've been trying my very best to avoid this but it just isn't going away. Princess Bear's birthday is rapidly approaching. I've talked about the party b/c parties are fun but not really but much thought into any of it. MY BABY ISN'T A BABY ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's going to be 5!!!!!!!! Yes 5!!! Where has the time gone?!!? Its so mind blowing! I can't even begin to comprehend all of the changes the last 5 years have brought for us. PB is getting so big and is such an awesome, loving kiddo. I'm so blessed to have her. I just want her to say young! I love that she wants to hold my hand every night as she's falling asleep. She's still my little girl and I know that isn't going to be a fleeting thing soon. :(

Next I can discuss my panic over her birthday party and actual birthday gifts. This months money has already been mostly spoken for...ugh! We didn't have a birthday party last year but that just isn't an option for this year. Hmmm....anyone have any creative ideas for making money?!!!?

Tomorrow is Lexy's first birthday party. There are four of us that have been best friends since high school (actually Maria and I since first grade!) and our kids are basically stair steps. Matty is the oldest and will be 7, Caleb will be 6 in Oct, PB is 5 on the 11th, Emily will be 4 in August, Andrue will be 3 in a few weeks and then Lexy is one...we just are missing out on a 2 year old! Its so much fun seeing all the kids together. I'll try to post some pictures!

I'm off to watch my sleep baby sleep and then bang my head into the wall! ;)

HM Sarah Siggy

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I interrupt this so called life....

(Can you tell I love House Mouse?!!!?)

to let you all know that I'm still alive! Well I think so anyway. My mom is on the rampage again and Princess Bear (PB) was sick and gave it too me. I'm trying to get my room (the last of the triad to get cleaned) done. Then hopefully my mom will stop making noises about kicking us out. I will post a real blog soon. I'm just bummed, TIRED!, busy and too darned stressed right now. Hope all is well with everyone else though!

HM Sarah Siggy