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My Self Help Shelf

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Over the past 5 or so years, I’ve read a bunch of self help books.  It started with The Secret, then I continued reading a bunch of Law of Attraction books.  I found the whole thing fascinating.  I tried some of the things I read about, and gosh darn it, this stuff seemed to work.

Only here’s one thing I’ve discovered.  You can read as many self help books as you can fit into a day.  It just won’t do too much if you don’t follow the instructions.  My head is full of all different kinds of things that I’d like to try.  But trying them out can be difficult.  I get so used to what I HAVE to do every day, fulfilling responsibilities and what not, that it’s hard to introduce something new into my daily routine.  The good side of this?  I haven’t had time time or energy to start drinking in the middle of the day ;)  But it does seem that my life is at one of those plateaus, and I’m not going to go any further ‘up’ if I don’t change something.

That brings me to a book that I had the chance to review.  The title of the book is “You Can Break-Free Fast ” (you can visit the website at  This has a little thing in it called EFT and tapping.  It was a pretty interesting read, and was backed up by some research at Pitt.  I think that this whole ‘tapping’ thing could be something that really helps you reach into your ‘inner’ brain and memories.  If I could remember to fit it into my schedule on a regular basis, it could really be something helpful.

I’m sure I’ll get there.  I did try it out…I thought about quitting smoking, did the tapping, and my memory flashed back to a day in high school.  I really think it was the day I truly decided to become a smoker.  And it’s funny, I don’t really remember a lot of specific details about times in high school.  But when I did this, I remembered a lot of specific details.  Crazy.

I enjoyed reading this book, though.  And I’ll try to squeeze some of the stuff into my life.  Really.

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I’m Afraid of Summer Vacation

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Obviously, from the title of this post, I’m not a kid any more. Tomorrow is the last day of school for Becca, and I’m not quite sure what we’re going to be doing for the summer. So many things to think about. I did plan one thing, a summer rec program offered through the township we live in. Great deal, four weeks from 9-12 for only $30 for both of the kids. And a bunch of the neighbors are going, too.

Yesterday I had a little chat with my two chickies. I told them they had to make a decision. They could decide to get along for the summer, swim, play and have fun OR they could argue and fight, and spend half of their summer stuck in their rooms. I have a feeling I’ll be having this talk about once a week for the next three months.

The other thing that I’m worried about is whether or not Becca will retain all of the stuff she learned in kindergarten. She really worked hard all year. The school send home an entire folder of activities for her to do over the summer. But you know what it looks like? Homework. I don’t think it will be easy for her to do homework over the summer. Hell, it was hard enough to get her to do it through the school year. And just when my brain started thinking about what I could do with her, I got a request to review a website. It’s exactly what I was looking for.

So, the website is  I had already purchased some JumpStart cd’s for my nieces when they were younger, so I was a little familiar with their other software. It promised to have lots of stuff for Becca’s age, and it delivered.  The first time we logged on, Becca had a blast picking her character’s clothes (and hair color – she chose blue!).  That was pretty much all we did the first time we logged on.  Chloe wasn’t exactly cool with Becca hogging up the computer.

The next time we logged on, Chloe was asleep.  That worked out much better.  It took a while for the website to load (I actually thought it had hung up my computer), but once we got it going it was some fun exploring.  There were some games that were just fun, and there were some incorporated things that she had learned in school.  You could choose different levels of diffuculty, also…which means I actually COULD get Chloe on this site.  The graphics are cool and very 3-D ish.  Becca really enjoyed it, and I think it will be easy to keep her brain working through the summer now.  The only thing she has to practice is using the arrow keys on the keyboard.  Her little fingers just can’t go fast enough with those buttons.  She does a great job with the mouse, though.

Here’s a little snippet of one of the games, Ghost Town Grab:

There’s even a blog for parents, and they have some great ideas (and I also found out that they’re coming out with a game for Wii)  Here’s a great post THEY did about summer brain drain. So, guess what the nice people at did?  They gave me a 3 month membership to the website TO GIVE AWAY TO YOU!!!  It’s my first give away on the blog.  I feel so grown up.

So, if you have younger kids, there are a few ways you can enter my contest!

  • Leave a comment here, and you get an entry
  • Follow me on twitter (twitter/hdowney) Just come on back and leave another comment saying you’re following me!
  • Post a message on twitter or facebook about this give away with a link (again, add a comment)
  • Subscribe to my RSS Feed in a reader.  Put that in another comment, too!

I’ll use a random number generator on June 14th to get a winner (that’s in a week, people!).

I have more posts coming for ya…I think that next up will be about my old grade school. It’s closing and I got to walk through it for one last time.  I’ll fill ya in Tuesday (gotta go to commencements for our nephew tomorrow!)

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A New Toy

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I love getting new toys. Really, I’m just like a little kid when it comes to gadgets. Did I want jewelry or flowers for Mother’s Day? No. I wanted a little pocket video recorder. So, here’s the one that I picked out for myself:

I really like it…although I haven’t gotten a bunch of time to play with it. Chloe’s last day of school is tomorrow, and they’re having a little concert. I plan on recording the concert, and posting it here. Here are a couple of sample videos I did. These are NOT in high def, just in regular VGA mode. I’ll play with the high def more later.

This thing is great! It uses 2 AA rechargable batteries (which came with it…it actually came with four) and fits right in the palm of my hand. Great for throwing in my purse. It takes still pictures, too. I’m going to have fun playing with this…and I’ll be able to share some more video of the kids with my folks. Right now we have a camcorder that records on those mini dvd’s, and it’s a pain in the arse to share them with my folks.

So, I got a new toy to play with, and today I’m going to get some new hair! Well, not NEW hair, but a new cut and color. If you live around Pittsburgh, I absolutely LOVE how Jess does my hair. Jess owns Hot Heads Hair Design, which is right next to Downey’s House in Robinson Township. She’s super sweet, a whiz with color, and she took a big risk opening a place of her own. she’s great!

So maybe I’ll post a pic of me and my new hair. I hope everybody has a great day! The weather is fantastic here. Maybe I’ll slap some fake tan on myself soon, so I don’t scare everybody when I wear shorts!

Categories : Downey's House, life, reviews
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Coming Out of Hiding

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Well, my entire life was consumed.

Consumed by, of all things, eight wonderful novels. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been reading the Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Well, for the past week, it’s about ALL I’ve been doing. If you’re looking for a good bunch of books, these are a great read!

I have to say, I am totally in awe of people who can write stories like this. The author, Charlaine Harris, has other books, too. And I’m sure I will eventually get around to reading them. I can’t imagine being able to sit down and weave the stores, characters, settings, and everything else. And this woman is either an extremely talented, creative and dedicated writer OR she’s something supernatural. I am amazed at how she has explored the supernatural, and made up the rules as she went along. Kudos to her!!!

If you don’t know, I’m not really casual about anything. When I start reading something and enjoy it, I jump right in, both feet first. I was walking to the bus stop while reading. I stayed up until 2:00 am many nights so I could finish the book I was on. When something gets my brain going, it takes me over. Needless to say, other areas of my life have suffered. The house is a mess, the kids are ready to kill each other, and I haven’t blogged (sorry) or tended to any of my other online ventures. As I finished book number eight last night, I had a whole mix of emotions. I was sad I was finished reading about Sookie. I was amazed that I got through these eight books while still feeding, clothing and tending to the kids and the restaurant. I was glad that I was going to go back to ‘normal’ life. Then it happened.

I went to the Charlaine Harris’ website. Yeah, there’s another one coming out next month. I pre-ordered Dead and Gone today. No big deal. What’s one more book, right? Um, WRONG! If you look under the bibliography on her website, you’ll see that there are quite a few books with short stories about Sookie (these stories sort of fill in the gaps). Yeah. Now I have to read those, too. I ordered one from Amazon. There is the great possibility that I will read the collection of short stories, find another author that is fantastic, and discover another five thousand books I want to read.

Oh well. The kids know how to get cereal for themselves.

If you remember, the whole reason I started reading this series was that it’s the inspiration for True Blood on HBO. I really enjoyed the first season of the series, and from what I understand, the second season is supposed to start this June. However, the series and the books are completely different. Well, not completely. Many of the characters are the same. But things happen differently. I’m not going to give out any spoilers here, but let’s just say I’m curious about what direction Alan Ball is going for the second season. I’ll probably enjoy the series. I may quite possibly enjoy it even more, because I’ll be so into the differences.

Anyway, for now, it’s back to my little spot here in Collier Township, PA and out of Bon Temps, Louisiana. And I’ll write more.


My plan is to go on over to my friend Barb’s site, Barb’s Bookshelf, and post something on the forums over there. Many of the members there use CafePress, Zazzle,, and other POD’s (that’s Print-On-Demand for those who don’t know). They’re uber awesome, and make up a large portion of who I like to call my ‘online friends.’

And they’re frickin’ funny!

OK, I’m gonna catch up on some of that housework. The girls are at the neighbor’s house, running through a sprinkler. Yup, it’s April and it’s 86 degrees right now. But I’m not complaining.

Have a gerat weekend!

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Becca’s Picture view of Christmas Eve

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Here are some un-edited pictures taken by Becca and her cousins last night. They are taken with the Kid Tough camera from Fisher Price. She absolutely LOVES the camera. Of course, the quality is not exactly stellar, but I think this camera is a great starter camera! She already dropped it down the basement stairs, and it held up great! The only complaint that I have about this camera is that it SMOKES through batteries. It takes 4 AAA batteries, and they lasted for about 130 pictures (which is about 1 hour, in our case). I think that I’ll invest in some rechargeable ones.

Click to play Becca XMas
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