Thursday, January 31, 2008

Viral Marketing

I signed up Buzzfuse tonight. It's supposed to help get more traffic to my blog. If you have an article or post that you really want people to read, you can add the Buzzfuse widget to that post and share it, or market your content. Buzzfuse gives you a special code to paste into your post, then you activate and release that content. Originally, it looks like it gets shared with your circle of friends - and I had to invite at least 10 friends to release my first post, so some of you may be getting emails from Buzzfuse. I tried to choose those of you who have blogs and would like to get some more readers. Buzzfuse also measures popularity, and judges your content by how people react to it.

Buzzfuse is free, though they also have premium paid accounts available. It's a good way to discover new and exciting content as well as help people discover what you have to say.

brought to you by

15 Down, 5 to Go - I Think

I've been working on rebates this afternoon and tonight. We bought TurboTax and a whole lot of other software on Sunday. Did we really need all that other software? Maybe not, though we did get several copies of different virus protection software. I don't know which one is better, but we figure we can try them all if they're going to give them to us for FREE. Besides, we have to cover all the computers in the house.

We also got some learn to speak Spanish software that I thought we were going to have to return. I sent an email asking about it because two of the rebates asked for the same proof of purchase. I hadn't heard anything back from the email, so I called today and was told that one of those rebates had expired in September. $10 for this language package isn't bad, but still - I wanted it to be free. About half an hour later, I checked my email and found an answer to my original email question. Yes, both of the $10 rebates were good, and she gave me the online codes to use. I'm going with the email. I have it in writing, and printed out my rebates.

Each software title seems to have not one but two or three rebates. I'm putting everything together, making copies, and putting everything into envelopes. Then, when I get them all done, I will go through each envelope to double and triple-check that everything is right - because I'm obsessive like that. It all has to be perfect, because not everyone is like Walgreens.

Get Jamie Home


She tries to sleep, but she can’t-the noises coming from the only bedroom in the trailer are too loud, too embarrassing. Rolling over she faces the wall and hopes that her father will finish what he’s doing and that her step-mother won’t make any more noise.

She’s living every teenage girl’s nightmare.

It’s bad enough that she was torn from her friends in Kentucky-but living here, in this cramped, dirty trailer with no privacy and no indoor shower is the icing on the cake. Fitting in at school was out of the question-her father made sure of that by not allowing her to socialize outside of class & eventually, she woke up one morning knowing that she would no longer walk the halls of freedom, but instead would be taught in the very trailer she slept in.

It’s probably for the best, she thinks-if anyone ever found out that they make me wear hand me down underwear I’d be the laughing stock of the state anyway…

She wishes she could move home-to her real home-with her mother and sister in Connecticut. There she would be nurtured and cared for, and allowed to be a teenager…allowed to have opinions and ideas and to cut her hair the way she likes it.

But she knows she can’t. He’s making sure of that too…

Jamie wants to come home.

Many of you know Linda from Are We There Yet? And perhaps you know that she has two daughters, Amanda and Jamie. Amanda lives with Linda here in CT and Jamie lives in Florida with her father and his wife.

Life for Jamie is not going well.

Jamie is living a lonely life in a cramped, dirty trailer with guardians who won’t allow her to be an individual. She is not allowed to have friends. She can’t choose her own music or movies and she can’t even cut her hair. She has to shower in a common area of a camp ground because her “home” doesn’t have a shower.

She is homeschooled by her stepmother-a woman who is not qualified to take on such a task and Jamie is, for sure, behind other kids her age academically. No doubt, she will also fall behind socially as well.

Though Jamie has expressed to her father that she wants to move to Connecticut to live with her mother, he will not allow it. His reasoning is that Linda is not a good mother.

His reasoning is bull shit.

When Jamie visits, it is easy to see that she flourishes. Her smile is bright and it’s clear that being allowed to smile and laugh and to be a little quirky is the reason. Anyone who reads Linda’s blog knows that she is a caring and attentive mother who strives to give both of her children what they deserve.

The man that Jamie and Amanda call Dad is not a good man. He remarried and is completely wrapped up in his new marriage and does not care what happens to Jamie. If he believes that Linda is a bad mother because Amanda has blue hair, then I wonder what he would say if she were to cast her daughter out of her life simply because she was a little different…

Of course, Linda would never do that-but he did. Amanda lived with her father at one time, and was sent back to live with Linda because she didn’t “fit in” to the family he wanted to create. He no longer speaks to her. Now tell me, how can a man who disowns one daughter ever be a better parent than one who loves unconditionally?

He can’t.

And that’s why Jamie needs to come home.

Being a single mother who makes “too much money” (read: she makes over the poverty level) Linda does not qualify for financial assistance for legal aid, and therefore is having trouble getting a lawyer’s attention. In CT, courts consider a custody award as subject to change until the child involved grows up, and in most states proof of a "change in circumstances" may overturn an earlier award. This flexibility is intended to allow for the correction of poor or outdated decisions.

Jamie has vocalized to both parents that she wishes to move. Her dad has vocalized that it will never happen. Linda made a promise to Jamie that she would do anything in her power to get here home.

But she needs our help.

On the sidebar at Ms Maggie Moo Talks 2 U is a magic button - this magic button allows you to donate to the Get Jamie Home Legal Fund. The faster you click, the faster you will help change the life of one little girl who very much needs a new life.

Please help. We’ve seen in the past that every penny helps…even if you can only donate $5, please consider doing it.

Jamie needs to come home.

We Live in Wisconsin, People

The other night when the weather was supposed to be so bad, Beth ended up calling in to work and not going, because she didn't want to be out in it. It did end up getting cold and windy, but we really didn't get any snow to speak of. I don't think the roads were any worse or even as bad as they have been other times she's gone to work. It's typical - the weather people on the news always make a big deal out of everything, and it rarely ever turns out as bad as they predict. Sometimes I just want to yell, "We live in Wisconsin! We're supposed to be used to this stuff. We're supposed to know how to deal with it." Now, if the same weather was heading for some southern state, then by all means, shut down everything!

It's snowing again. We're supposed to get more tonight than we did the other night. Beth has to work again. This time the roads might actually get bad, but since she already called in once this week, she probably better not call in again. She still hasn't found out for sure whether she gets to keep this job or not, and that might make a difference if they're still trying to decide. Most of all I just want her to be safe.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tomorrow Night




Cory and I just finished watching Lost, the finale from last season. It's good to watch it again to be reminded of what happened. I liked the extra comments on the bottom of the screen, and I'm still wondering why Charlie had to die. I liked Charlie.

I need to spend some time on the Lost site watching the Lost recap in 8 min 15 sec and reading some episode recaps. I know I've missed lots, and not just because I'm usually on the computer while I watch. There is just so much in each episode, and some of it doesn't even make sense until later.

Cold Weather and Money

The kids didn't have to go to school today because of the cold. The wind chill was 25° to 30° below this morning. I guess they figure that's too cold for the kids to be out waiting for the bus or something. I figure it's too cold to walk, so I didn't go walking this morning, either. The kids slept in as long as I would let them, and then they mostly lazed around all day. Teenagers don't do much but mess around on the computer or watch TV.

I worked on rebates - calling with questions about requirements and such. Those things can be so confusing, and I am so obsessive trying to make sure I do everything right. It adds up to a lot of money this time, and I'm not opening anything until I check and double-check that everything will work together. I also found out that I was supposed to have gotten a check for this website I worked on, but somehow the invoice got overlooked. Now that's all straightened out, and I will be looking for a check in the mail.

And speaking of money - the PayU2Blog people finally sent me a password today. So we'll see how that works out. They told me weeks ago that they accepted my blog...

Save Money on Car Insurance

Since we've had a teen driver, our car insurance costs have definitely increased. From the things Beth says, I realize it could be worse, much worse. Some of her friends are paying about the same per month as we have to pay every six months for her to drive. Of course, some of her friends have had accidents and gotten tickets, and their insurance has increased accordingly. Unfortunately, most insurance companies charge high rates for all teen drivers because teen drivers are known to be reckless. The combination of teen invincibility and lack of experience is not a good one. I'm just glad my teen driver isn't driving on those freeways in Southern California. Cost-U-Less Insurance has a student division to help these young people understand the basics of car insurance, how to get better rates, and how to plan for the future to get lower rates. The insurance is for those Southern California drivers, but the resources and information can be used by anyone.

brought to you by Cost-U-Less Insurance

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

Happy Birthday
My friend Elizabeth @ Table for Five just happened to mention a few times that today is her 41st birthday. Yes, I can say she's 41 - because she said it first. All she wants for her birthday is 41 comments, so run on over and wish her a Happy Birthday, won't you?

While you're at it, check out her blog. It's great. Show her some love - after all, she's getting OLD!! :P

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Need a Refresher Course in Spanish

Like I said before, I took Spanish in high school and college, which is why I thought Cory should take Spanish, and not French. He took French because he likes the teacher better, and he is enjoying learning the language. However, that means I won't have anyone to practice Spanish with. I was kind of looking forward to being able to speak Spanish a little because I just haven't used it since college.

I really need to take a refresher though, because you never know when I might need a little Spanish, right? That's where the Internet comes in handy again. I can use the lessons, vocabulary and audio files to remind myself of the things I used to know. It's good to learn another language, but it's true that if you don't use it, you lose it. Hopefully it will come back to me. I may not need the basics, but the Practice and Exercises ought to come in very handy.

brought to you by

This Resort Sounds Amazing

As I was reading everyone's posts yesterday about the vacation destinations they have been to or would like to visit, I kept finding places that sounded great. When it really is time to plan our next big vacation I am going to have a hard time deciding. Today I found another place that might just be the one. It's the Letoonia Golf Resort in Belek, near Antalya Turkey.

The reason I started looking at it was because of the golf. No, I don't play golf, but my husband does. When I think vacation, I think beach. I want to spend time on the beach, tanning, swimming, reading, and relaxing. That doesn't excite him in the least - kind of the same way I feel about golf. So, he's pretty much said it's fine with him if I get a beach, but he'd like to be able to go play golf while I'm lazing about on the beach. Then later we can meet up and do some other stuff together.

That's what's so cool about this resort. They have the beach, 3 private beaches, in fact, and pools. They have the golf, and they have so much more. It's an all-inclusive resort, meaning all the food, drinks, and activities are included. I could probably get Jeffrey away from the golf course for some sailing lessons and maybe even some tennis or any number of other activities they have. With all these activities I may not have much time just to laze around at the beach or at the pool. They also have nightly entertainment and a Moonlight Disco. There are activities for all ages, even kids, but I'm not planning on taking the kids. Yeah, I'm selfish like that.

brought to you by Letoonia Golf Resort

Bad Weather is Coming

It's practically balmy outside. My desktop weather says it's 46°. It's gray and dreary, but it's really not doing anything. However, that is supposed to change. The temperature is supposed to start dropping. It's supposed to start snowing, and the wind it supposed to start blowing that snow all over the place. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? By tomorrow morning the wind chill is supposed to be -20° to -30°.

I just saw on the television that our school is letting out early - either 1pm or 1:30pm - depending on whether you look at the tv or the web site. I guess they're taking it seriously and expect all this nastiness to move in before school is supposed to let out, and they don't want to be in the process of busing kids home when it gets here. I guess we'll see. That's the problem with canceling school or letting out early - the decision has to be made so early. Sometimes they make the right decision; sometimes they don't. Either way it seems that someone will complain. It's so funny how you just can't make people happy.

Cory was supposed to have Pep Band at the basketball game tonight, but I guess that is canceled. I'm actually kind of relieved. I don't really mind going, and I like hearing the band play, but if it's really going to get so nasty, I really don't want to be out in it. Beth, of course, has to work tonight. It almost seems to be a given - if Beth has to work, it's going to snow. She doesn't like driving in it, either, but she certainly has gotten a lot of experience this winter.

Heads or Tails - I'd Like to Meet You

Today it's TAILS - Who would you like to meet and why?

Truthfully, I would most like to meet all my blogging friends. I already feel like I know you, because I'm reading about your daily lives and looking at the pictures you take, and visiting the web pages and blogs you've discovered. Every blog post, every question, every picture - with each of these things I feel like I know you more. What would be even better would be to meet you in person.

What about that trip to Australia?

More Heads or Tails can be found at Skittles' Place. If you haven't played before, now is a good time to start! Be sure to tell her that I sent you!

Drug Rehab Sunset Malibu

It seems to be a regular occurrence that we hear on the news that this celebrity or that one is in rehab. Obviously celebrities aren't the only ones with addiction and substance abuse problems, but they're the ones we always hear about. Beth asked the other day why these people who seem to have everything always seem to get involved in drugs. That's a good question. Why do people get involved with drugs and alcohol? Why do some get addicted and ruin their lives? And why is it that these drug Rehabs don't seem to work? At least that's the impression we get when one of these celebrities goes into rehab, gets out, and then goes right back to their old behavior.

Drug Rehab Sunset Malibu is a different kind of drug rehab facility. It's a luxurious, private treatment facility on the beach in Malibu. The founder started Sunset Malibu after completing drug rehab, and many of the staff and counselors have been through addiction and treatment themselves. Because they understand, they can tailor the treatment to each individual. The treatment includes a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional methods - whatever works. There is no one drug treatment program that works for everyone, and they are committed to finding the one that works for each individual.

Sunset Malibu specializes in alcohol detox, substance abuse treatment, painkiller addiction treatment, and treatment of such disorders as depression and eating disorders. It's a small facility, allowing them to focus on the individual and help them regain their life.

brought to you by Drug Rehab Sunset Malibu

Monday, January 28, 2008

Give Me 5 Monday - Vacation Destinations

The topic of today's list is - Give Me Five vacation destinations you've already enjoyed or would like to some day.

  1. Acapulco - I've been there twice, once the year before Jeffrey and I got married, and then the next year with him. I enjoyed it both times. The first year I went with several people from my college Spanish class. We really enjoyed practicing what we had learned in class. Of course, we found it rather difficult to practice our Spanish because all the people who lived and worked there wanted to practice their English on us. The second time I went was a whole different experience - going with my brand-new husband instead of a group of friends. It was great! We're trying to plan a trip for our 25th anniversary (in 3-1/2 years) - maybe it would be neat to go back to Acapulco? We haven't decided yet.
  2. Destin, FL - Here we go, another place with a beach. Yes, the beach is important in my life. Besides that, a few years ago in Destin, we had my parents, my brother and his daughter, and some of our cousins all together. So, besides getting to enjoy the beach, we had a really good time with family. Every morning I got up and went walking on the beach. Usually my mom and my cousin went with me. It was great! The sunrises were amazing. One day I even talked everyone into getting up extra early so that we could see high tide. Wow - what a difference from the way we usually saw the beach and water.
  3. Hawaii - I've never been to Hawaii, but I really want to get there one of these days. Yes, more beaches! Jeffrey thinks it means golf courses.
  4. Caribbean Cruise - I'd like to take a cruise someday, in spite of all those cruise horror stories you hear nowadays.
  5. Alaska - and I'd love to go to Alaska. The pictures I've seen are so amazing.
I'm thinking that I haven't really been that many places. I really like staying home, but there are some nice places out there just waiting to be seen. If you'd like to read about some more great vacation destinations, check out other Give Me 5 Monday participants.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It Was Nice While it Lasted

A couple weeks ago, I was surprised to see that my PageRank had returned - even better than before. Well, that all came to an end a couple days ago, when Google slapped me back down to a big fat ZERO.

See, it really was a 4:

The whole PageRank thing has been pretty frustrating. Before I started doing paid posts, I hadn't even heard of PageRank, and I for sure did not know what it was. Now apparently, Google has decided that blogs with paid posts do not deserve to have a PageRank. Though I have noticed that this is not across the board. Some blogs have paid posts and still have a PageRank, many others have a big fat ZERO. Advertisers still ask for blogs with a certain PageRank, and there are fewer and fewer blogs that qualify. The blogs that do meet the qualifications are not necessarily the best blogs. They are just the blogs Google has not, for some reason, slapped down to ZERO yet.

It was nice having a PageRank again, for a little while, because I had a lot more choices when it came to paid posts. It was nice being able to choose the ones I wanted and not have to just grab whatever was available and then try to write something about it. It's much better for everyone if I can write about something that matters to me or that I can get excited about.

I have read that it is possible to get your PageRank back if you get rid of all paid posts, tell Google you are sorry you ever did paid posts and promise never to do them again. My question is - what would be the point? If I'm not going to do any paid posts, then what do I need a PageRank for?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Free Pistachios

Al's Pistachios is working on setting up their online store. It's not quite ready yet, but they are giving away a free 12-oz. sample while supplies last. Like they say, "Free stuff always tastes better." They also say that this sample is big enough to share, but I'm not sure I want to. Instead I'm going to give you the link so that you can request your own sample.

Warning - for some reason this page will not work with Firefox, so you will need to either use the IE Tab extension of Firefox or some other browser.

Order your FREE Pistachios - even the shipping is free. They're only available for a short time, so get yours while the supply lasts.

Build Your Own Computer

When Cory was little he once asked me when I was going to learn to work on the computer. It took me a while to figure out what he was talking about, because I was using the computer. We finally figured out that he wanted to know when I was going to take the computer apart and fix it or upgrade it - or whatever it was his dad was always doing. Jeffrey built our first computer by buying all the required parts and putting them together himself. He had to research what he wanted and buy all the separate parts, sometimes from different places. I think he enjoyed doing it, and I know it was cheaper than just going out and buying a computer. Since then he has built several more computers and upgraded others.

There have been a few problems when certain parts didn't like to work with other parts - like this motherboard doesn't like that video card and things like that. Buying pc kits, where all the computers parts are guaranteed to be compatible would certainly have saved a lot of headache. I'm not even sure this was an option when Jeffrey built that first computer. These kits come with complete instructions, and supposedly anyone who can use a screwdriver can do it. Instructions are in plain English with full illustrations, and if you get stuck, you can call someone for help. I'm not sure I'm ready to try, but wouldn't this be a great father/son activity? I think it's about time I ask Cory when he's going to learn to work on the computer.

brought to you by Easy as my PC

Sky Watch Friday (#7)

It's Friday again, and that means Sky Watch Friday! This week I took some pictures of the moon - because it was there, and because I just can't help myself. It's just so pretty. These are out my back door in the mornings.

Yesterday 1/24/08:

Today 1/25/08:

If you enjoy watching the sky as much as I do, you'll love visiting other Sky Watch Friday participants.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Alphabet Tag

Rule #1
Copy all the links below and replace a single link under the appropriate alphabet. If your domain name, or even the title of your blog, starts with an ” A,” you’d replace the link under that alphabet and put the replaced link at the bottom. Also, don’t forget to credit the tagger, or where you got the list from, at the end of the list with a full URL of the post so that a pingback gets generated.
  17. qweddings.com1

Replaced link:
Previous tagger:

Rule #2You now have to “tag” at least five people and encourage them to participate so that this thing spreads like a virus. Remember, though, that not everyone’s into these kinds of things, so don’t be upset if they don’t participate. Just simply replace your tag. Remember to tag blogs only and no pornographic ones as we do want to keep the integrity as a blogging community. TIP: Tag your frequent EntreCard droppers via its messaging system.

I am tagging... Amanda, Bradley, Rachel, Diana, and Holly.

Rule #3 Just like any other “meme” out there, ask a question for your taggees to answer along with your own answer to your previous question. This is optional.———–END HERE—————-

I like the idea of the optional question. Too bad I can't think of one right now.


I'm getting frustrated. For some reason I cannot use Ctrl+a to Select All today. I don't quite realize how often I use the little keyboard shortcuts until they don't work. Ctrl+v still works. Ctrl+x still works. Ctrl+z still works. So what in the world is wrong with my Ctrl+a? At first I thought it was something specific to my browser, because it's got some other weird issues today, but then I tried it in PhotoShop, and it didn't work there either. How in the world does a keyboard shortcut suddenly stop working? Any clue?

Save Money on Office Supplies

I recently went online and ordered some ink for one of our printers. I got lucky and happened to order it when they were offering free shipping. I had to order it from a certain store because I had a rebate to send in, but I could have gotten it cheaper at some discount office supply stores if I hadn't had the rebate. Normally, though, I don't have a rebate, and I'm not limited to buying from a certain store. I can search for online coupons and savings codes and buy from the store that gives me the best deal. According to the list at, I could get that free shipping from Circuit City now.

I like that the focus at is on computers, office supplies, ink cartridges, and all things office and business related. It's a good place to start if that is what you are looking for, and you won't have to weed through a lot of other things. The site is updated daily with deals and promotions from some of the top office supply stores today. The latest savings are always reflected, and the information about each of the stores is very helpful.

In addition to offering the best deals and promotions possible, has a nice library of articles to help with everything from setting up a home business and working at home, to finding cheap, discount or free office equipment and furniture. I think the tips for working at home could be very helpful, if I would just follow them. The hardest part for me is scheduling time to work, without letting all the other things get in the way. I keep thinking, "I just need to get this (insert mundane household task here) done, and then I can sit down and work."

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

When this show first came out, Cory and I watched it several times. It was a fun thing to do together, and no one else in the house wanted to watch it. We hadn't watched it for a while, though, until tonight. I guess it's one of those shows you watch when there's nothing else on, but it doesn't really matter if you miss it. I think it's fun to try and answer the questions, and I really do know a lot of them. It always amazes me the questions that people can't answer - things that seem so easy. Other times they ask questions that I honestly don't remember learning. Then again, grade school was so long ago...

Cory knows most of the answers. Besides being a very smart guy, it hasn't been that long since he was in grade school. They have an online game you can play if you want to find out if you're smarter than a 5th grader. It looks like fun. I'm just afraid that if I start playing I won't be able to stop. It's not like it's just a game - it's educational, right?

Save a Whole Load of Money

You already know I like to save money, and it's very important to me that I get the best deal possible on anything I buy. In fact, if I buy something and then find a better deal later, I have been known to obsess over that, even when there's nothing I can do. Eventually I do get over it.

One of the best ways to get the best price available at the time is to use a price comparison site that will tell you what the best price is on the item you want to buy. Save Buckets is one of those sites where you can search for a particular product or browse by category, and they will find you the best price and tell you where to buy it. Something they have that I haven't seen before is what they call My Price. If you find what you want but the price is more than you want to pay, you can let them know how much are willing to pay for that product, and they will email you if the product comes available at that price or lower. They also have some great Buying Guides to help you understand how to choose a product and the features to look for.

brought to you by Save Buckets - save a whole load of money

Basic html Lessons in my Google Docs

I went through my computer and found the lessons I took from Sony 101 on basic html. What I have learned from taking those lessons (besides what they teach) is to save the lessons, either into an html document or a Word (or Open Office) document so that I can refer to them later. Otherwise I can not access them after the course is over. In case any of you are interested, I just uploaded them to my Google Docs, and I'll link to them here. Please note that none of the images work, but all the important information is there.

Basic html Lessons:
  1. Lesson 1
  2. Lesson 2
  3. Lesson 3
  4. Lesson 4
  5. Lesson 5
  6. Lesson 6
I also discovered a new thing about Google Docs. I can email my documents. They gave me a special email address, and I can either start a new document by sending an email, and the subject line will be used as the title of the document and the body of the message entered into the document. Or, I can just send an email and attach the documents I want to upload. I hadn't noticed this before, so I just had to try it. I started an email, attached all 6 of these lessons, and hit send. As quick as that, they were all available in my Google Docs. Then I just had to open them, click Publish, and copy the links here.

Free Hit Counters

I'm finally putting a counter on my blog. I know I have all kinds of widgets to tell me who's visiting and where they're coming from, but I think it will be fun to watch the numbers increase. I've used different free counters before, but they often have some random text underneath them. This one from Free Counters promises to have no visible advertising. Besides just counting my visitors, my free hit counter is going to give me information about my visitors such as what browser they use and what operating system they have, and more. The information is available any time I want to look at it, and it's all free. I can create and customize up to 10 free counters.

They have other free tools for webpages and blogs, such as polls, clocks, and search engines, but I haven't had time to check them out yet.

brought to you by Free Counters

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Learning html

I got an email the other day reminding me that January courses are now enrolling at My 101 by Sony. I've taken several free courses there, and I like to check and see what's available. If only I had the time, I would sign up for, and finish this time, the Graphic Design for Non-Designers course. One lesson a week isn't bad, and you get to work at your own pace, but last time I signed up for that one, I just didn't finish it.

I was hoping they were offering a basic html course that I could recommend to those of you who want to learn some html. I took one several years ago, and it was really good. Since they aren't offering that one, I thought maybe this page where you can start learning html would be helpful. Then, after you learn the basics, you can move on to advanced html, if you want to. They have all kinds of information here, whether you want to go through the tutorials or just use it as a reference. And of course, like all good things, it's free.

I'm not sure if he really did or not, but Cory was talking about taking Web Page Design in school next year - so he could get credit for doing nothing. Unfortunately, that's exactly what would happen. Beth took that class last year, I think. It's a one semester class, and it took them the whole first quarter to learn the most basic stuff. Apparently they don't have a text book for this class because there should be enough information on the Internet. Yes, there is plenty of information on the Internet, but the teacher does not go out and find it. They'd be ahead if he just pointed the students to this page and turned them loose. Of course, that is assuming the students have some initiative and aren't just in the class to get credit for doing nothing.

Surf Camp

Some of my favorite memories from growing up are of the summers I spent at summer camp. The camp I went to offered all kinds of activities, from basketball to archery, cheerleading to water skiing. There are also summer camps that focus on a particular sport or activity. One of those is surf camp, where kids, teens, and even adults can learn to surf. Do you think I'm too old to learn to surf? I love the beach. I love the water. I could do it, right? I could take surf lessons.

It would certainly be an amazing experience for the kids. They have teen summer camps that completely immerse the teens in the surfing experience, taking them from beginners to the next level. Besides learning to surf, teens will learn some marine science and ocean safety, and have lots of fun on the beach with other teens from all over the world. The minimum student to instructor ratio is 3:1, so there is plenty of individual attention and a high emphasis on safety. These teen overnight camps are in some amazing places, too - Hawaii, Australia, Florida, Costa Rica, and the Bahamas, to name a few.

They also have Family Camps and a Women's Only overnight adventure camp. Ladies, anyone interested in leaving the husband and kids and taking advantage of some sun, sand and learning to surf? I have this thing for the beach. I'm pretty sure I'd be jealous if my kids got to go to surf camp, and I didn't.

brought to you by Surf Camp

Shopping and Sleep

I just got back from the grocery store. Boy, is it cold outside! I would really rather stay inside where it's warm, but I just couldn't resist the deal they had on cereal. If I bought 6 boxes of General Mills cereals, I got $10 off plus coupons for 2 gallons of milk free. I also had $2.75 in coupons off the cereal. So, all 6 boxes of cereal cost $10.51, and then, counting the milk coupons - 2 @ $3.75 - I figure the total cost for the cereal is $3.01. I know the coupons are for free milk, but I would have had to buy the milk anyway.

I also bought other important stuff like apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce, lemons and lentils (for Lentil Garlic Soup), and broccoli. Now I'm eating a bologna sandwich, and then I need to go finish putting groceries away and wash some lettuce. The kids came home while I was gone. Now Cory is downstairs cleaning, and Beth is sleeping in her room. That girl has always needed a lot of sleep, and she ends up staying up too late watching movies on her computer. Of course, if we say anything about it, she insists, "I'm fine!" I guess it's good she can get a little extra rest today. She doesn't have to work until tomorrow night, when, of course, it is going to snow again. It always seems to snow when she has to work.

I wish I had time for a nap.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chocolate Massage Oil

Earlier today, there were a lot of us talking about our five senses. I wish I had heard of this Organic Chocolate Massage Oil a little earlier, because this would have been an ideal topic. Let's start with smell - dark chocolate is a smell that doesn't bother me at all. I'd be perfectly happy to let my honey rub this all over me so we can both experience our sense of touch. Then I could rub it on him and lick it off, so I can taste it. It's made with 100% organic ingredients and completely edible and yummy.

The question is, if I order some of this, would it be a gift for him or a gift for me? Definitely me, me, me, but I'll let him enjoy it with me.

Illini Basketball

Illini Basketball
Originally uploaded by Nitin B.
The father / daughter activity in this house is watching Illini basketball. Cory and I really don't care, but Jeffrey and Beth love watching and cheering for 'their' team. Beth likes the Illini so much that she painted her room Illini colors. Did you know you can buy paint that is officially 'Illini White' 'Illini Blue' and ' Iliini Oraage'? Well, you can, and those are the colors in her bedroom, in bright, bold stripes.

The team isn't doing so well this year. Beth really started watching the year they did really, really well. I think that year they were practically undefeated and went all the way to the Final Four. Beth doesn't do so well when her team's not winning. In fact, tonight they're playing Ohio State, and the score is not pretty. Beth's not even watching.

Of course, I understand. I used to watch the Illini, too. I used to care, but the team was just so inconsistent. Sometimes they'd win, and sometimes they wouldn't. I suppose that's how it works, but I just didn't feel it was worth the energy to care. It's just a sport, after all. I do have a little more tolerance for college sports than I do for professional sports. The idea of paying grown men lots of money to play a game just seems wrong. If it's a way to pay for your college education, well, that's good. Really, I like watching the band and the cheerleaders, but they don't show them very much.

Blog Buddies are the Best

My friend Deb @ Mom of 3 Girls gave me this blog buddies award just the other day. (Did you get that part about it being just the other day?) Deb is one of the best blog buddies there is, and I really appreciate this award.

I'd like to pass this award on to all my friends. Really, I would especially like to pass it to someone who hasn't received it yet, but I just don't have the time to view everyone's awards. So, if you consider yourself one of my blogging buddies, and you'd like this award, feel free to take it and display it proudly on your blog. If you leave a comment, I'll list your name here, and we'll pretend I took the time to pass it to you in the first place. How's that?

Thanks again, Deb - you're the best!

Discount Dental Plans

Whenever I look at any of our doctor bills or dental bills, I notice the actual cost of the procedure, and I'm really happy I don't have to pay that. Then there's what they call the 'provider's discount' which means they mark down the cost because of our insurance. It's still more than I want to have to pay, and I'm glad we have insurance to cover most of that. What I often wonder is how people who don't have insurance can afford to pay those original pre-discount costs? I think it would be practically impossible.

Today I learned about discount dental plans that people can sign up for to get discounts off the high cost of dental care. I just put my zip code in and searched for plans in my area. Our dentist came up in the first plan I looked at. It offers savings of 15% to 50% off the cost of dental procedures. They even have a sample chart showing approximate costs and how much members can save. It would only take one or two visits to save the cost of the membership. Plan members simply present their membership card at the time of the dental visit and get the savings up front - no waiting for insurance payments. lets you choose from more than 30 national and regional discount dental plans. You can browse the plans available in your area and then compare them to choose the best plan for you and your family. If you need more help, their Dental Plan experts are waiting to help.

brought to you by

Finals and Exemptions

The kids have semester finals at school this week. I know high school has been a long time ago, but I don't remember having finals. Really I don't. I also don't remember being able to be exempt from finals, but that's what these kids get. If they have good enough grades and not too many absences, they can be exempt from their finals. They still have to take 3, no matter what, but the rest of them they do not have to take. One of the finals Cory had to take was for Jazz Band. He had to write a paper and turn it in by 8am today. He turned it in yesterday, and he didn't even have to go to school today. Tomorrow he has to go and take his other two exams, and then Thursday he gets to stay home again. There's no school Friday for anyone.

Beth had to go take two tests today. She's got two tomorrow - luckily the same time Cory has his, so they can go together. Then she's got another one on Friday. Yeah, somehow she had to take 5 instead of 3, so she only got out of a couple. I guess some of the classes have what they call a 'culminating activity' and you can't be exempt from it. It doesn't count toward your grade, either. Beth doesn't think it's fair that she has to go for those, but there's nothing she can do about it. Besides, being able to skip any exams at all is a big privilege and not a right. Teenagers have a hard time understanding the difference.

Easy to Share Wedding Pictures

When my brother and sister-in-law got married, they had disposable wedding cameras on all the tables. A few people took pictures, but there were a lot of cameras that had only a few pictures taken with them. I know the bride and groom were looking forward to seeing the pictures taken by the wedding guests and being able to enjoy the little moments that they were too busy to notice at the time.

I bet the wedding guests would have taken more pictures if they had known they would be able to see them later. A new service called makes that possible now.
It's easy not only to get the cameras and get the film developed after the wedding, but all the photos are available online for the wedding guests to see and enjoy. They can even download and comment on the pictures. Pre-printed cards with the website access codes can be handed out at the wedding, and only those with the code can access the album. The bride and groom also have full control over the online album, so if any of the pictures are inappropriate, or Aunt Suzy would be very upset to see that picture of herself, those pictures can be deleted.

One price covers everything - cameras, shipping both ways, prints, photo DVD, and online album. If you know anyone planning a wedding (Jaye) tell them to check this out.

brought to you by
wedding cameras

Heads or Tails - 5 Senses

Today it's HEADS - Any of the Five Senses (Hear, Touch, Smell, See, Taste).

I appreciate all five of those senses. Every once in a while I try to figure out, if I had to live without one of my five senses, which one would I prefer it to be? I think the hardest one to live without would be seeing. I don't feel that I actually understand anything I learn without actually seeing it in writing. I have been listening to audio books for a while now, and even though I hear the words, I still feel that I am missing something. I need to see the words, and my brain just doesn't translate what I hear into something that I can get a concrete hold on.

I think I could live without my sense of smell, if I had to. I love good smells, but there are so many bad smells that really bother me. I can't be around people who wear perfume and cologne, or any kind of strong scent. I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke. I'm not sure it's all in the scent, though - those things give me headaches, sore throats, and make it hard for me to breathe. If someone is smoking over on the other side of the room, I can smell it, and I can avoid them. Same with the perfume. Personally I think strong, irritating smells should be outlawed in public, but I'm sure that's not going to happen. It's especially irritating when someone, who reeks of perfume or stale smoke, sits down right next to me or in front of me in a crowded movie theater, and there's nowhere for me to go. If I couldn't smell the irritants and couldn't avoid them, I'm afraid I would end up with a headache or sore throat and not know why. I really would miss the good smells, too - like fresh-baked bread, freshly cut grass, and that apple cranberry crisp I mentioned last week. Obviously for those things, I also need my sense of taste - so I can't do without that one.

Touch? Need that one too. For all kinds of reasons. I'm just going to be very very thankful now that I have 5 senses!

Find more Heads or Tails here. Also, if you've never tried Heads or Tails, now is the time to start playing along. When you do, be sure to tell Barb I sent you! (It's a contest - the person who refers the most new people to Heads or Tails wins and Amazon gift certificate)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Give Me 5 Monday - Ebay Searches

Becca over at BeccA's Buzz has started a new meme. Here's what it's all about:

The 'Give Me Five' Monday meme is designed to share fun information with each other in a simple short list! Here's how it works. Each week, I will put out a random topic from my list of topics and you share 5 answers of your choice on the given topic and link back here! You can add photos, links or stories or just a simple list of your own of 5 things that relate to the topic as it pertains to you and your life experiences. It doesn't have to be in any order of importance unless otherwise specified.

The topic of today's list is - Give Me Five 'favorite searches' on Ebay (for shopping or browsing or any other ideas not selling related)!

Ebay - I hear some people are addicted to Ebay and spend a lot of time there. I really don't. I do have an account, and I have bought and searched for several things there. Among them:
  1. Prom 2007Prom dresses. We've never actually bought one, but Beth has spent quite a bit of time looking at prom dresses on ebay. The problem is that she doesn't really know what size she needs, and she obviously can't try the dresses on to see how they fit or how they look. Plus, the ones that she has really liked and the price looked reasonable were being sold by someone in Australia or Japan or the U.K. - and the cost of shipping was just too high.

  2. Jack Daniel's stuff.

    This is probably the top ebay search in our house. Jeffrey is always looking to see what kind of collectible Jack Daniel's bottles or glasses he can buy. Or, better yet, he is telling me how much a particular bottle that he happens to have is going for on ebay - not that he'd actually sell his bottle. He just likes to think it's worth something. We haven't bought any bottles, but we have bought his set of signature glasses on ebay.
  3. Movies. Not to buy them, just for the cover image. I keep track of all our movies on imdb. For the movies we have recorded onto DVD, I like to make labels for the DVDs, and I like to use a picture of the cover on my label. Sometimes imdb does not have and image for the DVD cover, and sometimes it's an odd one, or one I don't like, so I go to ebay and search for that movie - and use the image I find there.
  4. Reeds for Cory's saxophone. They are much cheaper on ebay than they would be if I bought them at the music store. I buy a bunch all at once, and they last him the whole school year.
  5. and recently - games for the Wii. We had a whole bunch we were watching, but the bid kept going up beyond what we wanted to pay. Still, there's always that hope of getting a good deal.
Check out other Give Me 5 Monday lists.

Longer Than Expected

Why is it that anything computer-related seems to take so much longer than you think it should? I think, "I'm going to do this real quick." or "I'm going to do that real quick." - and then 'real quick' turns into hours.

This morning I finally decided to install Norton (SystemWorks) on my computer. I already had it, but my subscription expired so I wasn't getting all the updated virus definitions. I've been meaning to install a new version. I've had the CD sitting here for a while. Finally today it reminded me again, so I figured I'd go ahead and install it 'real quick' and get it over with. It's now after 2pm, and I finally think I've got it installed and ready to go. First I had to uninstall the old version. That had a problem and wanted the original CD, and I ended up having to re-install the old version. Then, when I went to install the new one, it started installing Go Back, which has always been a separate install in the past. Apparently, part of installing Go Back is going through every file on the computer and 'packing' them, whatever that means. This install went on and on and on. Finally I got tired of waiting and not being able to use my computer, so I started Firefox and started reading email and such. After a while, I got an error message telling me that the install failed because I was using other resources on the computer. Talk about a waste of time!

I ended up restarting my computer, installing Norton again, this time without Go Back, and then having to remove the old version because it was still there telling me that my subscription expired. Hopefully it's all good now. The only problem so far is that I'm going to have to train my firewall all over again - and all the history in my browser is gone. For a while now I'm going to have to actually type in the url's of web pages I visit regularly. They don't automatically come up, and it looks like I'm going to have to sign in to pages that usually remember me. That's what happens when you let all your temporary internet files get cleaned up, I guess.

For the Money

Yes, I do get paid for some of my posts. Some are simple links, some information and reviews about sites and services. It's fun. It's easy. And I've found lots of interesting sites I wouldn't have known about otherwise - unless I read about it on someone else's blog! (for which they would have gotten paid instead of me)

Follow any of these links for more information on how you can do it too:

You blog. You Profit. Sign up for SocialSpark!

Blog Advertising - Get Paid to Blog

I don't always specifically mention that I'm being paid for a post, but you can always tell. Starting this month, I tag all paid posts with a date. For instance, all paid posts this month will be tagged with '01/08' - next month '02/08' - and so on, so check the labels. It's also a good way for me to easily see how many paid posts I do every month.
Get Paid Money to Blog

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Decorative LED Lights

Every year around Christmas time I wonder about the sky high electric bills that people must have with all those lights they use for decoration. We don't decorate, but I still like the lights, so we have several sets we bought on clearance. We've used them for things like decorating for a dance, hanging behind the bar downstairs, and we have some red, white and blue rope lights that we have outside on the column by our front door. We like to turn those on around holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.

If we had some of these LED Christmas lights instead of the regular old lights, we could use them even more. These new lights are more energy efficient, using only 90% of the energy required by the old kind of lights. They're also safer, virtually indestructible, and last more than 50,000 hours. I'm already picturing them out on our new patio and pergola, whenever we get that finished.

brought to you by HolidayLEDS

Let Things Go?

I was going through some old magazines today so I can rip the stuff out I want to keep and toss the rest. I was reading one of those Can This Marriage be Saved? articles in an old Ladies' Home Journal. The husband felt that his wife complained about everything, and the examples given were that she wanted him to put a bath mat down when he took a shower and to be sure that the shower doors were closed a certain way so that water wouldn't splatter out onto the floor. Of course there was more to it, but this is what jumped out at me because I didn't think it was unreasonable at all for her to expect those things. In the end they resolved their problems and the wife learned to let these 'little' things go. The therapist pointed out that all the wife's rules and 'checking up' on the husband made him think that she thought he was incapable of following them. I would have liked to point out that she wouldn't have to continually check up on him if he would prove that he was capable.

Now, I can be picky with the best of them. I think there's a certain way that things should be done, and I have reasons why they should be done that way. I can understand why the wife would want the bath mat on the floor and the shower doors closed so that the bathroom floor didn't get all wet. Now, if she could be confident that her husband would dry the bathroom floor when he was finished with his shower, then it wouldn't matter so much whether he put the bath mat down or closed the shower doors. Now, I'm only guessing that he didn't do that, otherwise it would not have been such a big deal. So then if she had to come along later and clean up after him, no wonder she kept after him to do the simple things that would prevent the problem in the first place.

I fight with this kind of thing all the time. Not necessarily with my husband, so I'm thankful for that, but I have teenagers. My daughter especially has decided that she's not going to do anything the way I want her to, because that's my way. She doesn't want to hear the reasons. She doesn't want to hear the explanation. She wants to do it her way, whether it works or not. I try to back off and let her do things for herself, but when that means things aren't done properly and I have to come along and 'fix' things later or redo the job, it makes me really irritated. If I could be confident that, however she chose to do it, it would actually be done, and done right the first time, then I wouldn't have to keep after her. Of course, sometimes I think she does things poorly hoping that I won't have her do it ever again. Other times I think she just likes to have things to throw in my face when she's upset - "Nothing I ever do is good enough for you!"

It would be good enough if only I felt she was actually trying to do her best. Is that wrong? Or am I just supposed to let things go? That was the feel I got from the marriage article. Yes, the husband had to get his stuff together, and he had some changing to do, but the wife was supposed to let things go. And I keep wondering - who's supposed to dry the bathroom floor?

Car Repairs Can be Expensive

I keep getting things in the mail telling me that my warranty is about to expire and that I should buy a Used Car Warranty. I don't know where they get their information. Is information about who buys a car and how old it is public? Until this last car we bought, Jeffrey's Honda, we have always bought used cars, and I think we have always bought an extended warranty at the time we bought the car. That has really come in handy. I've heard different opinions on buying warranties for things. Some people think it's a waste of money, but if anything ever happens and the car needs repairs, that can cost a lot of money. With the warranty, it's paid for. I think Jeffrey had no deductible on the Regal, or it was $50. So, instead of paying $400 or $500 for a repair, it cost $50 at the most. That was definitely helpful because we had to get that car repaired a few times.

See FinanceGenius for more options and resources for saving your family money.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Search Terms

I really like the Feedjit widget in my sidebar. It's really fun to see where people are coming from when they visit my blog, because it not only tells me where my visitors are located, but it usually tells me how they got to my blog. I just recently realized that, when it says they came from, I can click that and it will take me to the search page they used to find me. There were a few times when I got all excited because my blog was coming up #1 or 2 on the page - and then I realized it was page 4. Either way, they found me and clicked.

Sometimes I wonder about search terms and how Google compiles the results. Tonight someone searched for "mommy running swimsuit blog' and they made it to my blog. Yes, I'm a mom, and my kids did call me mommy when they were smaller, but then they decided they were too old for that. I have been talking about swimsuits recently, though I didn't talk about running in a swimsuit because, to be honest, I really can't do that. I'd be bouncing out. You know what I mean.
The interesting part is that Google returned results that brought up these words - but it's a combination of two different posts. Obviously very helpful. Oh, and this actually was on Page 1 of the results - and my blog came up #4.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - I've Been Tagged

Tammy tagged me again. I'm supposed to answer all these questions. I think it's supposed to prove I can count?

1. Name one thing you do everyday.

Brush my teeth

2. Name two things you wish you could learn.

I wish I could learn to read faster like Cory. I also wish I could learn to get things done without always worrying about doing it perfectly. I think I could get more done that way - even if it wasn't perfect, it would at least be done.

3. Name three things that remind you of your childhood.

- Gardening, because we always had a huge garden
- Strawberries - and a huge strawberry patch
- Popcorn. We ate a lot of popcorn - sometimes even for dinner.

4. Name four things you love to eat but rarely do.

- My mom's cheesecake
- Steak, medium rare
- Kahlua (and milk) on my cornflakes
- Tacos

5. Name five things/people that make you feel good.

- My family
- My mom (and my dad, too)
- Blogging and all the good friends I've found
- Curling up with a good book
- Tequila!

I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to do this if you want, and let me know so I can read yours.

Let There be Rodeo

We've got a lot of channels we can watch because we've got satellite TV. One of the things Jeffrey seems to watch a lot, besides Texas Hold 'Em poker, is bull riding and other rodeo events. I tell you, those bull riders are some mighty tough cowboys. It really is kind of fun to watch them - when I'm not wondering why anyone would do such a thing. I also enjoy watching the bronc riding and the roping, and I think it would be fun to actually go to a rodeo instead of just watching one on TV. Wisconsin isn't really known for its rodeos. No, when you think Wisconsin, you think beer, right? And cheese and that pesky football team, the Packers.

For rodeos you'd need to go somewhere like Texas. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, also known as RODEOHOUSTON™, takes place at Houston's Reliant Stadium every March. Now, that's a rodeo. It's considered the world's largest rodeo with over one million spectators each year. It's not just the world's largest rodeo, it's the world’s largest livestock exhibition and the Southwest’s premier entertainment event, too. I've been browsing the RodeoHouston site, and they have something for everyone - not just the rodeo events. There's a bar-b-que contest, a carnival, wine events, shopping, food, and concerts. Yes, after the rodeo events are done for the day, they move a stage out into the middle of the ring for a concert. Some of the performers this year are Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and Brooks & Dunn. As if those aren't enough, there are more. Those are just the ones I would really, really like to see. Can you tell I like country music?

The rodeo runs March 3-22 this year, and there is a big concert every night. Since I'd love to see all those concerts, I would need Houston Rodeo Tickets for practically every one of those days. Some of these tickets even include food, and they look like a pretty good deal. Now, if I could only get to Houston in March.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tagged for Some Link Love

I was tagged by Tammy @ Mom Knows Everything to do this. She just tagged me yesterday, and I'm already doing it. How's that for keeping up? I added two of my blogs.

*Start Copying Here*

I have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and I hope that you will similarly publish this post in your blog. You will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!)

It’s real easy! Tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially! The benefits of Viral Linking:

- One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode!
- Increase your Google PageRank fast
- Attract large volume of new traffic to your site
- Build your community
- Make new friends!

The Strategist Notebook ~ Link Addiction ~ Ardour of the Heart ~ When Life Becomes a Book ~ The Malaysian Life ~ ~ What goes under the sun ~ Roshidan’s Cyber Station ~ Sasha says ~ Arts of Physics ~ And the legend lives ~ My View, My Life ~ A Simple Life ~ Juliana RW ~ Mom Knows Everything ~ Beth & Cory's Mom ~ A Mind Forever Voyaging

*Stop Copying*

I'm tagging: Holly, Deb, Vic Grace, jenn, and Rachel.

That *start copying here* and *stop copying here* really helped me. I really need that, after I messed up on that last link tag list I did!

Should We Switch to EBooks?

Cory and I read a lot. We go to the library and check out lots of books. When the library is having a book sale, we buy lots of books, too. Jeffrey's been trying to get things organized around here and trying to get rid of some of the clutter. He was trying to say we should get rid of some books. Gasp! We may not find time to read all of the books, but they're books. We can't just get rid of them.

I wonder if it would be the same if we collected ebooks instead? Cory checked an ebook reader out of the library once, and he really liked it a lot. You can store the same amount of books in a much smaller amount of space that way and carry around a lot of books in a little reader. has a huge selection of ebooks to choose from. They have everything from Romance Authors to Horror authors, and everything in between. My collection of Stephen King books would certainly take up less space in this format. The prices aren't bad, either. They're definitely less than the cost of traditional books. There are no membership fees or clubs to join, either.

brought to you by

Books I've Read So Far

Originally uploaded by Moochin Photoman.
I still haven't figured out how I want to do this, but I do want to keep track of the books I read this year. I don't know if I want to post each book as I finish it, post each month's books, or just keep a running list and post the whole thing at the end of the year. What do you think?

So far I have finished:

Creation in Death by J.D. Robb
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

and (audio)
Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

I'm blogging this from Flickr, and I'm too lazy to do the links, but I'll add links to the books and some comments about them later.

Think Smart About Money

I'm all about saving as much money as possible, and not spending any if I can get away with it. That's why I was interested when I heard about a new blog at that helps people learn to save and invest creatively. I'm always happy to learn of new ways to save money, but I really don't know anything about investing, so I'm hoping I 'll be able to pick up a few tips there.

After browsing the blog for a while, I think the most helpful part is going to be the discussion and explanation of the American economy. I admit not really understanding all the information in the news. Should I be worried? Is there anything I should be doing to be sure we'll be OK? It really helps to have someone break it down and explain it for me. The parts about politics and the presidential candidates look very helpful, too.

Besides that, the post that really caught my eye was called Teaching kids to invest and think smart about money, because, of course, I have kids, and I would really like them to be smart with their money. This isn't a completely unselfish hope, either. I'm sure it's not too late for their dad and me to build wealth, but it really can't hurt to have our kids financially stable so that they can support us in our old age - in the manner to which we'd like to become accustomed.

Understanding the Mind of a Teenage Girl

What? You expect me to explain it? To help you understand? Nope, sorry, I can't do that. I have no idea what goes on inside her head. I think I should be able to talk to her, to reason with her and use logic. She wants to be treated like an adult, right?

A while back we had a big blow up, because I told her she needed to do the dishes. She didn't want to do the dishes. She wanted to go shopping. So, instead of just doing the dishes and getting them over with, she went on and on about how she never uses the dishes anyway because she never eats, so she shouldn't have to wash them. Besides, it was my job, and I never do anything. Why should she do my job? In the middle of all that she said she'd rather clean the bathroom than wash the dishes. She can understand having to clean the bathroom, because she uses the bathroom. Ok, fine - cleaning the bathroom is now Beth's job. That's fine with me. I'd rather do the dishes. Who wouldn't? Obviously a teenage girl.

Yeah, understand that.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#6)

Sunrise on Wednesday this week was amazing. Lucky for me I could walk out my front door and take these pictures from my sidewalk and driveway. I didn't put my coat on, and my fingers got cold because I had no gloves, but that's OK. I can't take pictures with gloves on, anyway. I just kept walking out and shooting every few minutes. I just couldn't help myself!

If you enjoy watching the sky as much as I do, you'll love visiting other Sky Watch Friday participants.

Why Stay in a Hotel?

They're saying that the coldest temperatures of the season are moving in. This is when I have to keep repeating to myself that I really do like all the seasons - even winter. Truthfully, when the weather gets this cold, I really wouldn't mind being somewhere warmer. The only problem is, we have kids in school. We can't just pull them out of school to go where the weather is warm.

I am going to admit that I am totally spoiled when it comes to being away from home. I hate staying in a little, cramped hotel room. There is no way that our family could stay in one hotel room for a week, so we have to get two rooms, which costs us twice as much. I only stay in a hotel under protest.

I'd rather stay in a condo or a house, someplace with room, a kitchen, a washer and a dryer. Believe me, once you've tried it, you will not want to go back to a hotel. Take a look at these vacation rentals. Instead of staying in a cramped hotel room, you can stay in one of these Orlando Vacation Homes. All the conveniences of home with a kitchen, washer and dryer, separate living and bedroom space, and more. Some of these places even have their own private pools! And the prices? Usually better than a hotel room, especially if you're like us and need two. Listings are updated weekly, so if you don't see the perfect place, check back.

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Playing Catch Up

When Misty passed that last award to me, and all her other friends, she admitted that she has a lot of awards to collect and pass along and a lot of memes she's been tagged for, and hasn't done yet. I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone! I feel like I'll never catch up. I love the awards. I love the memes. You know, I even have memes lined up that I wasn't even tagged for. I just saw them somewhere on someone's blog, and they looked like fun, but I haven't figured out the best way to get them done. I guess I should ask Tammy, because she's the queen of memes. I bet she's all caught up - even with her flooded living room and her injured foot. So, Tammy, how do you do it?

I have tried a couple things - first I copied the basic information into a post and then saved it as a draft, fully intending to get back to it as soon as possible. I got some of them done that way, but there are still some awards and some memes sitting in my drafts, just waiting for my attention. Then, I started using Google Reader to keep track of all the blogs I like to read. It took me a while to figure that out. Before I was just trying to remember to visit everyone's blogs to see what was going on in their lives. So, anyway, I started starring the posts when someone tagged me for a meme or gave me an award. I can easily view the starred items and see what I still need to do, but there are still starred items waiting for my attention.

I really want to go back to the earliest award or meme, take care of that, and then move forward, in order. That's just the way I think it's supposed to work, but it's not getting done that way, so I'm going to try to take care of the current ones right away - and then move backwards and take care of the old ones. Let's see how that works.

You Cheer Me Up Award

Look what Misty gave me! OK, so she gave it to everyone she could possibly think of, a whole list of blogs. But, seriously, she gave it to me! You know, Misty, you cheer me up, too. I smile a lot when I read your blog. You just have a way of putting things...

This award was created by Ann at A Nice Place in the Sun. Here's what she says:
If you are one of the recipients of the You Cheer Me Up Award, please find at least five blogs that cheer you up, copy the code to post on your sidebar (can be found on Ann's post) and pass Ethel and Lucy across the blogosphere. You can use what cheers you up in your post, or copy this one, all I ask is that you link back to the original post to get a copy of the code for the image, and check out the list of the wonderful blogs I will have posted on the award page.
Like I already said, Misty cheers me up, so this award goes right back to her, and to Lady Banana (and this is not just so I can get into your new widget), Deb, Mom of 3 Girls, Elizabeth, and Jaye.

You ladies cheer me up like hot cocoa on a cold day, like curling up with a good book and a warm blanket, like a visit to the lake in the summertime - and so much more.

Prevention and Treatment of Acne

With two teenagers in the house, acne is always a threat. Isn't it? It just seems to be a right of passage for teenagers. Luckily, my two haven't had to seriously battle acne. Cory gets a zit or two once in a while, but we haven't really looked into any serious acne treatment like Proactiv® Solution. I found an article recently in the paper that said teenage boys who cut out sugar, and some other things I can't remember, out of their diet for 30 days had a significant decrease in breakouts. I showed Cory the article, and he said he was going to try it, but I don't think he really took it seriously. Now I'm reading on that foods commonly believed to cause acne really don't, so maybe it wouldn't have mattered anyway. I don't think it would have hurt him any to cut out the soda anyway.

There is a lot more information on this site about acne - from causes to treatments to myths, and more - that can really be handy for anyone with teenagers, or even those of us who should have outgrown zits ages ago. There's even a page that lists 5 Steps to Safer Shaving that tells how to avoid those shaving bumps. Since Cory just started shaving, I'll have to be sure he reads that page as well as the one about the foods.

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Band Meme

I was tagged by Carrie to do the Band Meme. I already did it on my other blog, but it was so much fun I figured I might as well do it again. The purpose of this meme is to create your very own CD cover for your very own band.

Follow these instructions exactly:
    The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
    The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
    The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result!
Here's mine:

My band is: Jilani Humayun
album title: obvious only in retrospect

This is really fun. You all should try it!