February 24, 2010

Twitter account - hijacked?!?!

Suddenly there were several direct messages to my Twitter ID. Had I become famous overnight? Won some contest or sweepstakes? Been found by long lost cousins?

No. Not even close.

These "messages" from my Twitter pals were nothing but spam, most wanting me to go to a porn site.

How could this happen? I trusted these people! That one there, the one who tried to trick me into visiting a site I had absolutely zilch interest in... she's a mom of 4 and a very religious person to boot.

What was going on??

Then I realized these messages were virtually all the same. And these women all have different personalities and would at least phrase things differently. But no. These messages were all almost identical.

Which led me to be suspicious, to say the least.

Then I ran across a blog post by someone else stating how sorry she was to her followers because her Twitter account had been hacked and even though those messages came from her account, they were not from her personally.

I just scratched my head. How can a Twitter account be hijacked? I mean, my Twitter handle may be public for anyone, but my password is my own, and I've never given that out to anybody.

And then I remembered...

I had in fact given out my Twitter password, even if I believed it to be innocent enough. Not just once, but several times. Sheesh. How stupid can I be.

Ever used one of those programs that lets you tweet with hash tags? Or a program that lets you tweet with several people at the same time? Or gone through some third party like Facebook, for example, to retweet something to your Twitter followers?

I have. And every one of them asked for my Twitter username and password. And I gave it freely.

Because I trusted.

Now, I'm not saying Facebook is the culprit. I'm not naming names of the programs that allow hash tag tweets, etc. I don't want to point fingers because I can't prove anything.

The only finger I can point is to myself. I was ultimately responsible for giving out my Twitter ID and password.

So after getting a few more porn spam direct messages, I realized that this was becoming so common, I wondered if I had already been a victim and my own account had been hijacked as well, and maybe my Twitter followers were just too polite to chastise me for sending them spam.

If that's the case, then let me apologize right here and now to anybody who's received any spam messages from me. I don't spam people, and I hate spam myself. So it may have indicated that it was from me, but it wasn't from me.

I have changed my Twitter password. Now I am the only person (besides Twitter itself, of course) who knows my password.

And you can bet I'll be pretty darn careful about where I share it from now on.

February 21, 2010

Family Folktales - review and giveaway


Family Folktales - Write Your Own Family Stories is a workbook by Karen Pierce Gonzalez designed to help you create a written collection of family stories in a simple and easy to learn manner. Published by Folkheart Press, this little book will have you remembering family stories and anecdotes and realizing that at last you can begin to write that family history you've always wanted to write but didn't know how to begin.

This workbook makes the process completely understandable. You don't have to be "a writer". No fancy skills or talents are required. We aren't talking Pulitzer material here, folks--just a way to pass on fond family memories so that they don't get lost in the shuffle of everyday life that carries on without them.

Our society today is based on technology. If we can't text it, tweet it, blog about it, podcast it, or update our Facebook status with it, it is generally forgotten. No longer do we have the oral (and sometimes written) histories passed down from generation to generation. And that's a real shame, too, because I'm not going to debate whether it's more important that you tweeted about your new haircut today or related a funny story about your grandfather to your granddaughter. Relative importance is for you to decide, not me.

But I have an opinion on the subject, and my opinion is that so much is being lost to the dim and misty past that should be--must be--captured and preserved, that it is an extremely worthwhile project to begin to gather these "legends" into a coherent and permanent format.

Karen Pierce Gonzalez has more than fifteen years' experience in leading writing workshops helping amateur chroniclers do just that. Family Folktales is chockfull of helpful advice and practical steps to take to get your stories down on paper. She reminds us that we aren't setting out to write the Great American Novel, nor even a formidable family historical saga, but merely retelling, with the written word, the stories that we grew up hearing, and thus preserving those stories for future generations.

Karen's easy style does much to alleviate anxiety and overcome typical roadblocks to budding family chroniclers. She does this by reminding us that family stories are folktales, short stories told for entertainment or enlightenment, for education or for honoring, for remembering and for cherishing. There is a great possibility that no one outside your own family will care much about these folktales, but to members of your family they are gold...especially to younger or future family members who probably never heard these stories before.

With the help of Family Folktales - Write Your Own Family Stories from Folkheart Press, you can at last begin that project of collecting family anecdotes and remembrances so that they are preserved for generations to come. The workbook even has space to begin to write your own stories, or at least to make notes to begin the thinking and remembering process. And Karen leads you step by step the whole way. At only $11.95 per copy, this makes a great investment for both the past and the future, and would be the ideal gift for that family historian who just doesn't know how to begin.

Karen Pierce Gonzalez and Folkheart Press will be giving away a copy of Family Folktales - Writing Your Own Family Stories to one lucky Shady Lady blog reader! Thanks Karen and Folkheart Press!

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries, or they will not count. I check each and every entry, and if I can't verify the entry, it will be deleted from the competition before I determine the winner through Random.org so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you, otherwise the entry will not count. Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

In a comment below, tell me why you want to win this. Is there a particular family story you want preserved? Will you begin writing your own collection of family folktales? Or is this a gift for a beginner family historian?

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:

Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect.

Follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady and leave your Twitter id.

Tweet this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet.

Sign up for my rss feed and/or email. Tell me what email you used.

Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or other social networking site. Leave me a link so I can verify.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Sunday February 28, 2010. Giveaway open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner has 72 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen. I will provide winner's email address, mailing address and phone number to Folkheart Press, who are responsible for prize fulfillment.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Family Folktales - Write Your Own Family Stories gratis from Folkheart Press in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.


February 19, 2010

Don't miss this - win an Acer Aspire One Netbook!

Okay, so I'm not much for signing up for yet another "hot deals" email - but this one really is all about hot deals. Big Daily Sale is the place to go for some really $-saving deals -- while they last. I was led there just now by the lure of winning an Acer Aspire One Netbook and when I saw their daily deal, I knew I had to order it!

I was able to get WWII: Bloodiest Battles DVD for only $2.99 and $3.73 shipping/handling for a total of $6.72. I'm going to save this as a birthday or Christmas gift for my brother-in-law who is a WWII history buff. The perfect gift for him and I got it for under $10!!

Plus I'm now one gift ahead on my shopping. Can't beat that with a stick!

So head over to Big Daily Sale and sign up for their newsletter. And create an account while you're there, because you're gonna want to sign up to win the Acer Aspire too. Oh, and they have a points system for order discounts. My $6.72 order earned me 100 points just like that, and for every 100 points I can get $1.00 off my next order. Cool!

Go check it out. And if you know a WWII history buff, grab one of these DVDs before they are all gone!

February 18, 2010

DiGiorno Giveaways ending soon!

Everybody loves DiGiorno pizza, right? You know, "it's not delivery, it's DiGiorno!" Yep, that DiGiorno. Well, they've just come out with a 200 calorie pizza product. Oh yeah. 200 measly calories in a pizza! I'm all over that!

To celebrate this momentous new product, they are giving away $200 gift cards and you can go to each of these blogs to sign up. Don't delay - sign up by Feb. 22!


Fluid Pudding

Busy Mom

Clever Girl Goes Blog

Through the Looking Glass

Cheat Day Café

Karianna Spectrum


Mom to the Screaming Masses

February 16, 2010

Dance with Your Family for Happy, Healthy Hearts

Now this is a fun competition!

Primrose Schools has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network to bring you the FAMILY DANCE-OFF video contest. Dancing is a fun and easy way for your family to increase physical activity while spending quality time together at home!

Now, it’s time to DANCE! Film a 30-second clip of your family dancing to your favorite songs. The sillier, the better! Then, get your friends and family to VOTE for your family’s video. If your video makes the cut, your family can have a chance to WIN these great prizes:

* $5,000 grand prize
* Wii Fit Bundle
* FLIP Video camera
* $30,000 donation to your local Children’s Miracle Network hospital

Get ready to get down and boogie – register for the FAMILY DANCE-OFF contest now to upload your video or vote. Don’t forget to check out all the videos and VOTE on your favorite in the Gallery!

Join Kelly's Cake Off for a Cause

Vote for your favorite cake in Kelly's Cake Off. For every vote, Electrolux is donating $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

You can get in on the "baking", too. When you send a virtual cake to a friend, Electrolux will donate another $1 to the cause.

And each day you vote or send a cake, you'll be entered for a chance to win a new Induction Range. Electrolux is donating $100 to OCRF for every range purchased this month.

Entering is easy - just click here to get started. I'm entering daily because I need a new oven! Good luck!

February 15, 2010

Leslie Loves Veggies Giveaways

Leslie Loves Veggies always has the best giveaways! Right now you can enter to win:

4 boxes of Donut House K-cups coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

Hana Elite 1" 100% Ceramic Flat Iron from Misikko

Jenulence 3 piece gift set including 1 foundation/concealer, 1 finishing or setting powder (winner’s choice) and 1 jar of blush

Mixer Kit from Geri G. Cosmetics

"Scarlett" Garnet ring from Guy and Eva

$35 gift certificate to Eden Home Organic

$75 gift certificate to Novica

Exuviance Vespera Bionic Serum from NeoStrata

At last... a slow cooker I can fall in love with!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I announced that I would be getting a new slow cooker from CSN to review? Well, it arrived in a timely fashion and my mailbox was my best friend that day.

Behold this beauty, still in the box just waiting to come out and bring my kitchen to a whole new level --


I could hardly wait to test drive this sleek machine.

So I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a good-sized beef chuck roast. Yes, chuck. I wanted to see just how this slow cooker was going to perform, and why not start with something fairly difficult? I knew if it could make a chuck roast tender, it can probably do anything I ask of it.

Here's the machine out of the box, and the hefty beef roast waiting to go inside. Notice the neato spoon and spoon rest on top? Also, you can't see them well in this picture but there are two locking hinges, one on each side underneath the handles, that lock down the lid and keep everything from spilling. Why didn't someone come up with this simple but effective idea years ago? Leave it to Hamilton Beach!

Oh, and notice the colorful labels on the left? Those came with the slow cooker, and they slide into the oblong logo spot right above the dial. Yes, LABELS! Another fabulous idea from Hamilton Beach!

So here's the roast just before I started the cooking process. I added potatoes, salt, pepper, paprika, some Worchestershire sauce, and I seared the roast in olive oil before putting it in the cooker in order to lock in the juices. Probably an unnecessary step with this jewel, but habits are hard to break.

I set the dial for "low" (the options are high, low, warm, and off) and walked away. It was oh so tempting to take a peek now and then, or take a test taste... but I knew I had to give the beef time to cook. I could have held off on putting in the potatoes for a couple of hours, but personally I like potatoes cooked until they almost fall apart and have absorbed the flavors of the meat and seasonings.

After about six hours, I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to see how this baby was performing. I stuck a fork into the meat....and it literally flaked away from the tines of the fork, it was that tender. I grabbed a plate and took out a nice chunk of meat and a couple of potatoes and began to chow down on some of the most tender and moist beef roast I've had in a long time.

Folks, it works!


My camera isn't the best in the world, but maybe you can see how succulent this looks. Absolutely delicious! The Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Slow Cooker passed the beef roast test with flying colors.

But I wasn't through yet...

My next test was a ham. Not a whole ham, of course, but not some puny little chub either.


Okay, so maybe I picked a ham package that was a bit much for my new cooker. After all, the cooker was still at home in the box unopened when I bought this shank portion ham, so how was I to know whether it would even fit or not? Oh well, I went on with the test anyway...

And would you believe that I only had to trim off a little of the sharp end of the shank to get it to fit in the slow cooker? Actually I only needed about an inch or so less ham and it would have fit perfectly.

I trimmed off the pointy end on the left ---

--- and I probably wouldn't even have had to trim that if the bone part on the right wasn't so deep.

But anyway... I got it in there and set it to "low" and left it to cook overnight.

Next morning, I awoke to the most de-li-cious smell! And then I remembered... the ham had been cooking in the slow cooker all night long.

My curiosity got the better of me - even before I could grab a cup of coffee, I was checking out the ham. I stuck a fork in it...and the meat just fell apart under my fork! Soooo tender! Here's a picture of the bones in the ham - they were just there in the pot, having come apart from the meat completely. Look how clean these bones are!


Wow! I was amazed at how juicy and tender the ham was after cooking all night in the slow cooker. I am definitely a believer!

I love my new Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Slow Cooker! I can see that I'm going to be using it often. My sister has already informed me that I should make a pot of chili and bring it to her house this Friday night for bunko. I told her I would. After all, my new slow cooker has these ingenious little hooks that snap into place to hold the lid down tightly, and I mean tightly. So no spills when transporting food, even chili and soup!

Did I mention that the lid has a rubber seal around the edge so that it fits on really tight? And the handy dandy spoon rest on the lid handle? And the ingenious lock-down hinges... I could go on and on about this amazing slow cooker. Oh, one other thing - it says right on the body of the unit "Hot Surface". Well, you know me... I had to test that, too. So I touched it. Several times. It was warm, yes, but I wouldn't call it "hot". I mean I didn't go YEOWTCH! or anything like that. I wouldn't want little fingers touching it, but otherwise it isn't a hazard as far as I can see. But the warning is there, nonetheless. Although I admit I didn't use the slow cooker on "high", so it might get a great deal hotter on high than it did on low, I don't know. So just be careful and use common sense.

Although I have raved about this gorgeous slow cooker and how it cooks meat just perfectly, the real test of a product's value is the price in relation to what you get. At a price of only $34.95, how can you go wrong? The list price is $71.95, and believe me, that's more like what this baby is worth. But cookware.com has it for $34.95. An amazing value considering you'd pay at least $30 for a cheap crock pot in any discount store!

I am so grateful to CSN for giving me this opportunity to review this fabulous product. I will use it often and think of their generosity every time!

Oh, by the way, maybe I'll update you all when I take the chili to my sister's bunko party this Friday night. And I'm by no means finished with my "testing"... next up I want to see how a corned beef brisket comes out in the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Slow Cooker. To me, that is the true test of a slow cooker. I absolutely love corned beef brisket, but I don't like it boiled (takes the flavor away) or baked (comes out too dry). It has to be slow cooked so that it is moist and tender and just falls apart. I can't wait to see how my new best friend in the kitchen handles a corned beef brisket!

Stay tuned!

(I was provided a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Slow Cooker gratis from CSN in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.)