Friday, December 31, 2010

Camera Critters (#143)


My mom has some bird feeders outside her back door, and I really enjoyed watching the birds while we were visiting.  It seemed like they were constantly in motion, so it was hard getting a good shot – but that didn’t keep me from trying!

I have a whole lot more and video too, but that will have to wait until another time.

Camera Critters is a fun weekend meme hosted by Misty Dawn.  Visit the Camera Critters headquarters and join in.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Much Water Do You Drink?

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...Image via Wikipedia
Because water is so important to me, I find it hard to imagine that some people just don't drink water.  Without some conscious effort.

My sister-in-law has started an incentive program with her 4 kids in an effort to get them into the habit of drinking water.  They've got a chart to keep track of how many glasses of water each kid drinks each day.  They get 8 pennies or 8 chocolate chips if they drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day.  If they drink less, they get less - more like 1 penny or 1 chocolate chip for each 2 glasses of water - so there's an incentive to drink the entire 8 glasses.  Their mom is hoping that it will help get the kids in the habit of drinking water every day.  Eventually they won't need pennies or chocolate chips, and they'll just drink water because it's what they do.  Like me!

I'm one of those people who needs to drink a lot of water, or I don't feel good.  Friday night I had a severe headache, so bad I actually felt sick to my stomach.  When I thought about it, I realized that a big part of the problem was that I'd been busy all day and hadn't drunk enough water.  Not that that could help me then - so I drank a bunch of water, took something, and went to bed.  By the next morning, the headache was mostly gone, but I was still really, really tired.

The rest of the weekend, I made sure to drink lots of water.  At home it's not so much of an issue, because the water is there, and I just drink a lot of it, pretty much every time I get near the sink.  Lots of times I make a special trip out to the kitchen just to get a drink.  Being away from home, it's just a little harder.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Someday We'll Have that Fireplace

When we built our house, we had the funds for limited upgrades.  At the time it cost exactly the same to put in a fireplace or to get 9-foot ceilings instead of the regular 8-foot ceilings.  We chose the higher ceilings because we figured we could always add the fireplace later, but raising the roof to add a foot to the walls was out of the question.

13 years later, we still don't have a fireplace.  Maybe that's next on our list of home improvement projects?  We'll probably end up putting in a gas fireplace that burns Gas Logs instead of a actual wood-burning fireplace - just because it's easier to put in the vent for a gas fireplace than an actual chimney for the wood-butning one.  Except, I just found these Ventless Gas Logs that might mean it's even easier, because we might not need a to vent it at all.  But then again, I am going to have to do much more research to find out what will work best for our needs.  The Ventless logs are less realistic, but they provide more heat, so I'll have to decide whether realism is more important than heat.

These R. H. Peterson Real Fyre Gas Logs look just like 'real' wood-burning fires.  Hansen Wholesale has a very large selections of all types as well as a great page full of Gas Log FAQs  to answer all your questions about gas logs and how they work, where they can be used, etc.  They are the gas log experts and have been selling gas logs online since 1994.  Besides their already low prices, right now you can save an additional $75 off entire sets, pay no sales tax, and get FREE shipping in the continental U.S. on sets under 36". 

I'm not ready to choose mine yet, but now would be a good time to check them out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

They Don't Have Vegetables in College

Cut Green BeansImage via Wikipedia
I think one of the things Cory has enjoyed most about being home on break - besides sleeping in every day - is being able to eat real food.  Apparently, vegetables are very rare at college, and if you want to eat healthy food, you're pretty much out of luck.  We haven't really had anything special, but green beans and salad are pretty special when you don't get them very often.

Chicken NuggetsImage by JaBB via Flickr
What I don't understand is why food service on campus doesn't serve healthier food.  Does it cost more than serving the stuff they do serve?  Do most college students want to live on chicken nuggets, French fries, and pizza?

I really would think they'd have an easier time learning chemistry, math, engineering, managed web hosting, and even theater, if they ate healthier foods. I wonder what it would take to get some vegetables in college?

But then again, Cory wouldn't appreciate my cooking so much if he got good food all the time while he's away.
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Reese's Bars

365.125 - Reese's Peanut Butter CupsImage by nettsu via Flickr
Beth asked me for a recipe today, and while I'm sharing with her, I figured I might as well share it with you, too.   Because it's yummy!

Since she moved out, she's been asking for a lot of recipes.  A lot of them can be found on my recipe blog, bcmom's kitchen, and it sounds like she really appreciates it.  She even thanked me once on facebook and called it her favorite cookbook.  Ordinarily, I'd post any recipes over there - easier for me to keep track of and find later, and it makes more sense, too.  But, I have to say something about material handling on this blog and not that one, so if I have something to post, this is where it's going to go.

Or, I suppose I could just tell you I'm posting a recipe for Reese's Bars over there, and if that sounds like something you'd be interested in, you can run on over and check it out.  I know you want to - if you like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, you'll like these.
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Win a Literati e-Reader

I'd love to win this Literati e-Reader that Deb is giving away on her blog Just a Mom's Take on Things. 
I haven't had the chance to try out any e-Readers at all, but I really like the idea of being able to have an entire library of books in one small device.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give up real books completely, but one of these would be so handy and fun to have.

I love reading.  If I don't have at least one book going, I just feel lost. When I win this, I can always have a whole 'stack' of books waiting to be read.

If you've been wanting, thinking about getting, or lusting after a new e-Reader, check out Deb's review and enter the giveaway.  A brand-new Literati e-Reader could be yours!  (hopefully not - hopefully it will be mine!!!)

Giveaway ends 1/5/2011

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Snow Shoveling for Excercise and Safety

I've started my winter exercise program.  Besides walking most mornings, I get to shovel the driveway!  Sometimes, like yesterday, we don't walk at all and just stay home and shovel the driveway.  This morning there was a little bit of snow on the driveway, but we ignored it and went for our walk anyway.  And I went out later to clean it off.

There really wasn't that much, and it almost seemed like a waste of time - except for the exercise part - but I did it anyway.  Now there's just a thin layer of snow, what I couldn't scrape off, and when the temperature warms up and/or the sun comes out today, it should all melt, and we should have a clean dry driveway by the end of the day.  If we don't clean off the driveway as much as possible, some of the snow may melt, but not all of it.  Then, come evening when the temps drop again, you get ice, which is not a good thing at all.  I am all for getting and keeping that driveway, and sidewalk, as non slip as possible.

There are people in our neighborhood who just don't get around to shoveling, and their driveways turn into real messes after several snows, partial thaws, and re-freezes.  Once they get a nice, thick layer of ice on the driveway, there's not much they can do but wait for the weather to warm up, walk really carefully, and hope no one gets hurt.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Kids Say the Funniest Things

Here are some more of the 'Wee words of wisdom' from the magazine:
Three-year-old Katie gave her grandmother a birthday card on which she had scribbled a design.  Trying to be polite, the grandmother said, "Katie, this is very nice.  What does it say?"  The child answered with dignity, "Grandma, I can write, but I can't read."

When four-year-old Janey's mother told her they were going on a trip to Orlando, she had one question: "Is that Spanish for Disney World?"

At school, five-year-old Jonathan was complaining about life at home with his three-year-old brother.  His teacher took him over to a feelings chart that had angry, happy, sleepy, scared, sick and silly faces on it.  The teacher told Jonathan to point out the face that best described how he felt about his little brother.  Jonathan pointed to the circle with the yawning face and said, "Sleepy - because I'm tired of him."

Don't those kids just crack you up?  Why oh why is is so hard to get along with little brothers?  I know there were plenty of times I was pretty tired of mine! I bet Jonathan wasn't thinking about a football gift for his little brother. He was probably thinking of getting him a suitcase so he could pack up and go live elsewhere.  I remember shortly after we brought Cory home, Beth was wanting to take him back to the hospital.  I guess she was already tired of him - and she pretty much stayed that way, until they grew up and she moved out.  Now she kinda seems to like him.
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Otter - Auto Reply App for Smartphones

I just got a comment on my post about texting and driving, and I thought it was definitely worth sharing.  Because I'm just now starting to text, I don't understand how addictive it can be for people - and that just not doing it isn't as easy as it might sound. 

From Erik:
I think we live in a culture where business people need to 'hit the ball over the net'. Teens consider it rude not to reply immediately to texts. Home schedules would grind to a halt without immediate communication. We are conditioned to pursue this level of efficiency but we are all supposed cease this behavior once we sit in our respective 5,000 pound pieces of steel and glass. Anyone can win an argument in a forum like this by saying "Just put the phone away" - but we can see it;s just not happening.

I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and I think we need to do more than legislate.

I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

Erik Wood, owner

Erik did not leave a link, so I looked up his app - Otter app - and I thought I'd share in case this sounds like something that would be helpful for you - either for yourself or to help protect your teen drivers.
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Did You See The Lunar Eclipse?

It was cloudy here, so we didn't get a chance to see the lunar eclipse early this morning. Thankfully there are lots of people who did get a chance to see it and have been so kind as to share their photos.

I especially like this time-lapse video:

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Wasn't that awesome? I am always fascinated by these. Forget Murray Feiss lighting, the moon is where it's at - even when completely in the Earth's shadow.

Did I tell you that a photo I took during a lunar eclipse was published in a text book? Maybe not quite as cool as getting the whole thing on time lapse, but still pretty awesome.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

No Texting and Driving

Texting while drivingImage by mrJasonWeaver via Flickr
Speaking of texting (see last post), as of December 1st it is illegal to text and drive in the state of Wisconsin.  I may be figuring out how to text and do things with my new phone, but I cannot imagine ever thinking that I can text and drive at the same time.  I don't need a law to tell me not to.  But, apparently, a lot of people did.

I've always told my kids not to talk on the phone while driving, at least not for any length of time, and definitely not to text.  Of course, not being in the car with them all the time, I can't really be sure whether they're listening to me or not.  I wonder if one of these sim card spy things would have been able to tell me?  It says it can read deleted texts, but I'm not sure if it can tell when those texts were being sent and read.  If they can do that, then law enforcement could probably use some of these - because when I was talking to Beth about the new texting and driving law, she started saying there was no way the police could prove someone was texting while driving.  If someone was stopped, they'd have plenty of time to delete all recent texts.  No texts, no proof they'd done anything wrong.  That is, unless the police officer has a sim card spy that can recover those lost texts.

My plan is not to ever text while driving in the first place.  So I won't have to worry about whether or not the police are capable of recovering lost cell phone data.
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I'm Learning to Text

It's quite handy that I have a teenager in the house for a few weeks.  I got a new phone yesterday, and we added unlimited texting, picture and video messaging to our plan.  I didn't really need a new phone, but they were offering 'free' phones, and we had been thinking about changing the plan for a while - so we figured it was a good time to do it.

Cory was the only one who had texting before.  For $4.95/month he got 250 texts, and he's been having a very hard time staying within that limit, and any texts over that cost 25¢ each - and that adds up quick.  When we started looking into upping the number of texts he can send, it just seemed more cost effective to get an unlimited plan for everybody, and if I'm going to be texting, I need a keyboard on my phone, which my old phone didn't have.

But, keyboard or not, there are still some things I need to learn about this texting stuff, so it's handy having Cory around to help/show me.  My phone is similar to his, except that his is a touch screen and mine's not - because I know that would drive me crazy - so it's easy for him to show me how things work on mine.

So far I've sent text messages to Cory and Jeffrey and set my facebook and twitter accounts up so that I can update them from my phone.  And, I even figured out how to upload a picture from my phone to facebook.  I think this texting stuff is going to be fun.

There's a Lot More Laundry

The boy is home from college, and it looks like my laundry tripled or quadrupled today.  Piles and piles of dirty laundry!  When it's just the two of us, I can sometimes just do everything in two loads.  Not today!  Today I had two loads of darks, a load of jeans, a load of light colored clothes, and a load of whites.  How does this boy get so many clothes dirty?  He's a college student.  He goes to class and hangs out with friends, and I'm pretty sure they're not playing outside on any wooden swing sets or in any mud puddles.

Thankfully the clothes aren't really all that dirty - just worn, at least for a few hours, and therefore needing washed.  Also, he probably has more than a week's worth of laundry, because he hasn't been home for a while, and I think he only does laundry when he absolutely has to when he's at college.  He also brought both sets of sheets home, but those are going to wait, at least until tomorrow.
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Clean+Green Giveaway

I love these products!  Ideally, I wouldn't need them, but if you have pets, you need stain and odor removers.  What's great about these products is that they're made from organic and biodegradable ingredients.  They're all natural and pet-safe, but most importantly, they are effective.  They really work.
  1. Spray Clean+Green on the problem or source.
  2. It encapsulates the source to completely eliminate the source or odor.
  3. The encapsulated source biodegrades naturally, and stains and odors are gone!
And there's no annoying smell that just attempts to cover up the odor.

You don't have to take my word for it, though - because one lucky reader will win 3 cans - of your choosing - of Clean+Green products.  There are products for dogs, for cats, for birds, and for small animals.

To enter:
  • Visit Clean+Green and then come back and leave a comment letting me know which products you'd like to try.
For additional entries: (leave a comment for each one)

  • Follow me on twitter (@bcmom) and tweet the giveaway link, you can tweet once per day and leave a separate comment for each.
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post and to Clean+Green.  Leave me a comment with your url.  I'll give you 5 extra entries for this one.  (You don't have to leave a separate comment for each of these entries.  I'll count them)
  • Subscribe to my blog in a reader or by email, or Follow this Blog with Google Friend Connect.  Let me know which way you subscribed - or let me know if you're already a subscriber.
  • Link to Beth & Cory's Mom on your sidebar or add me to your blog list or blogroll.
  • Follow Clean+Green on twitter.
  • Like Clean+Green on Facebook.
  • If you can think of any other creative way to spread the word about this giveaway, go ahead.  Just leave me a comment letting me know how and where you shared.
Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S.  All entries must be received by 11:59pm Thursday, 1/6/11.  Winners will be randomly chosen.  If you're the winner, I will contact you via email, so be sure I have an email address for you.  Good Luck!
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Camera Critters (#141)


I took a few pictures of my favorite handsome kitty boy, Weasley.

He doesn’t look like he was particularly thrilled to have the camera pointed at him, does he?

See even more Weasley pics.

Camera Critters is a fun weekend meme hosted by Misty Dawn.  Visit the Camera Critters headquarters and join in.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Many Calories are You Burning?

Jogging on a bright November morningImage by Ed Yourdon via Flickr
I still say the best way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight is to eat less and exercise more.  To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.  It sounds really simple, but most people have a hard time actually doing that.  Unless you have a very physical job that requires a lot of movement, you really need to fit in exercise somewhere, and with busy schedules that is so hard to do.  I consider myself blessed that I have the time to walk 2 miles every morning, and I worry about how I will keep it up if/when I have to go out and get a job, and my time will be even more precious.

I may have to change my workout in order to get more bang for my buck, so to speak, and find some exercises that will burn more calories and build more muscle in less time.  This handy tool at FitClick looks like it will come in really handy to find out the calories burned for different exercises. Just put your body weight and exercise duration in, and then find your exercise.  When I put in walking, it gave me various options, from an easy walk to an inclined walk to walking lunges with weights - and each one tells me how many calories I'd burn in the time I have.  Cool, huh?

Another good thing about this?  When you see exactly how much exercise it will take to burn off the calories in, say, a candy bar, you might be less likely to eat that candy bar.  Maybe?  Remember, to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in.  Walking 2 miles every morning at about 4 MPH - doesn't even burn the calories in a candy bar!  Not that I eat very many candy bars, but I'm thinking maybe I better 'step up' my exercise plan.  Maybe lunge walking with weights?  That burns more.
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Tips for Parents - Coping with Winter Break

Cory will be coming home for Winter Break this weekend. He would be home tonight because his last final is over at 5, but he has to be there tomorrow for auditions - so we'll go get him tomorrow evening. When I got the following article in an email today, I thought the timing could not be more perfect.  I'm pretty sure it was planned that way!

If you've got a college student coming home for Winter Break, perhaps some of these tips will be helpful for you, too.
Tips for parents – coping with your child’s return from college for winter break
By Dean Tsouvalas, Editor in Chief of

As the fall semester draws to a close and freshman students deal with the stress of finals for the first time, parents everywhere are looking forward to their kids coming back home for an extended stay for the holidays. But as any parent that has celebrated their own child’s return can tell you, the scene may not be as idyllic as you’ve imagined.

We’ve got some tips for parents to help keep this happy time happy for everyone.

Be realistic with the rules – Your child has likely lived without rules about curfews, phone usage, Internet and TV restrictions (and more) for the last few months. Thinking of suggesting the same rules that applied when they were in high school? Expect that to go over like a lead balloon. Instead, have a discussion with your child when they first return home (before they head out to see their friends) and be prepared to compromise. Do your best to let go of parenting patterns that don't work with a fellow adult. If you tell your child what to do, nag him about his appearance, or do his household jobs for him, you are setting him up to fall back into a child-like role and childish behavior

Carve out some time – Your child is more than likely looking forward to connecting with their hometown friends as much (if not more) than they are looking forward to seeing you while on break. The best way to ensure that you get some quality time with your son/daughter? Make a “date”! Plan in advance to take them out for coffee, out to dinner – even to the mall to return the gifts they didn’t love. By planning in advance, you’re showing your kid that spending time with them is a high priority – and it will remind them to make it a priority for themselves, too.

Let’s all let loose – Think back to your first year in college, and how “adult” you felt. Know that your child is feeling the same way! You’re both entering the next phase in your relationship – when you can start to relate as adults. Now is a great time to let loose… a little bit. Share some stories about yourself at that age (edit where necessary), don’t freak out when they talk about being out till 3 am - now that your kid is out of the house and grown, you can be a bit “cooler.” All within reason, of course! (No need to be Dina Lohan).

Prime for a refresher – While being “cool” has its advantages, you are still (of course) first and foremost a parent. The things that worry you most – are they eating well? Getting enough sleep? Keeping out of trouble? – are going to keep worrying you, no matter how old your child gets. Your son/daughter will be more relaxed on break than they have been all semester, so now is a great time to do a little digging. Talk about your recent health kick and the healthy things you’ve been eating, how you read that getting less than 8 hours of sleep can be bad for your health, etc. By making the focus on YOU, you’re leading by example and can draw your child into talking about the things that concern you without seeming like “a nag.”

Be gentle with your spouse. Having grown children at home can increase the frequency of arguments among married couples, especially over finances and chores -- the very issues that you may not be discussing openly with your kid.
With everything else you have on your plate this holiday season, no one needs the stress or hassle of fighting with their kids. Take time to step back and admire the wonderful child you’ve raised!

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 79

Looking at the 

Sky on Friday
I’m so glad there’s a meme like Looking at the Sky on Friday, because it means all the time I spend looking at the sky, and taking pictures of it, has a purpose! Click the badge for more info.

I went out to check the mail the other evening and just had to run back in to grab my camera so I could try to capture this sunset.

I’m sure there’s some kind of scientific explanation for why the sun’s rays were doing that, but mostly I just thought it was cool-looking.  Another reason I like sunsets, besides the gorgeous colors in the sky?  For at least a little while every day, I know which direction is (pretty much) West!  The rest of the time I need a Garmin GPS to tell me which direction is which.  Jeffrey doesn’t understand it at all, but I just don’t have a built-in compass in my head.  Mostly though, I just find myself enjoying the sunset and taking pictures and not worrying about which direction I’m looking.

If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Kids see the world in their own special way.

Here are a few 'Wee words of wisdom' I found in a magazine I was going through:
Megan and her mother were at a library desk checking out books.  As her mother shuffled through her wallet looking for her library card, Megan asked, "Are we going to buy them?"  Her mother said no and handed her library card to the librarian.  "Oh," Megan said knowingly.  "We're charging them."
Three kindergartners were talking about the age of their mothers.
"My mommy is 34," Adrianne said.
"My mommy is 40," added Therese, who turned to her friend Jessica.  "How old is your mommy?"
"I don't know," Jessica answered.  "My mommy is quitting her birthdays."
Andrew had just begun to read.  He was riding in the car with his mother one day when he noticed a traffic sign.
"Mom!" he hollered.  "That sign said 'Do not pass' - and you just passed it!"
There are quite a few more I might have to share later.  I am really getting a kick out of these.  It makes me wish I wrote down all the cute things my kids used to say. If you still have little kids - do it! Write it all down. They grow up so fast. Before you know it, they'll be worrying about how to get rid of blackheads on nose, and then next thing you know they'll be off to college...

Are You America's Most Engergized Woman?

This holiday season, the makers of Centrum® multivitamins and Molly Shannon are in search of “America’s Most Amazingly Energized Woman” and they want your help!

Is it you?  Is it someone you know?  Enter this Centrum Contest and you (or she) could win some great prizes.
One (1) Grand Prize: The grand prize winner will be given the opportunity to experience dozens of exciting adventures in the form of a $3,000 XPERIENCE DAYS Gift Certificate. XPERIENCE DAYS offers thousands of unique gift adventures nationwide. She can select from many adventures - anything from a romantic hot air balloon ride with her significant other to a wine and cooking class with her girl friends or even kayaking with her family. Adventures can be selected based on location, category and interest (for details visit; Four (4) Runner Up Finalist Prizes: $400 XPERIENCE DAYS Gift Certificate. 
Sounds like the perfect prize for someone with excessive energy, doesn't it?

Visit to nominate yourself or someone you know.  In 300 words or less explain how you (or the person you nominate) do it all - how you maintain healthy energy levels so you can enjoy all the great things in your life and accomplish all those things that must be done.

Nominations are being accepted until January 3, 2011 (12pm EST). Contest open to US residents only. Five finalists will be selected and then, from January 17-31, 2011, the public can cast their votes for who should be named “America’s Most Amazingly Energized Woman.”

Also, be sure to download a $3 off Coupon from Centrum.

I learned about this contest through One2One Network, and by posting this I will be entered to win a gift card.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Anybody Miss Me?

I can't believe I haven't been on my computer all day.  I finished up my grocery list this morning and then left the house before too terribly late - later than I wanted but still earlier than I usually get around to leaving when I go shopping.  Then I ran around, to the bank, to get the oil changed and tires rotated on the van, to Walmart and Walgreens and Pick 'n Save.  I had to stop at McDonald's too, because I needed some food, and I had a coupon for a free Frappe (is that how they spell it?) that I had to use.  It was really good!

When I got home, I had time to put everything away, heat up some leftover chicken for dinner, and I did turn my computer on long enough to find the movie coupon and get it printed out.  Then Jeffrey and I left and went to see the new Harry Potter movie, which we hadn't seen yet - and, since we could see it for $5, we just had to.  There was another movie Jeffrey wanted to see also on the $5 movies this week, and we briefly thought about seeing that one too, but it didn't start until 9:30, and when we did the math and realized we wouldn't get home and to bed until after midnight, we decided against it.  Why do they even start movies at 9:30 on a weeknight?

Because now, it's almost 10:30, and it's definitely time for bed.  Those people who go to late movies must be much younger than I.  They probably keep in touch with everybody even when they're out because they all have iphones too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where do People Find the Time?

Cory's facebook profile looks like this now:

Which I think is very cool.  He's got nice eyes, doesn't he?

He used this as a guide- for anyone who wants to give it a try.  I know I want to, though first I have to find a picture I like enough to use, finish my list so I can go grocery shopping, pay the power bill, toss the junk mail offering car insurance quotes, type up notes from last night's Library Board meeting, and who knows what else. There is always something that needs done!  And, when I see people doing cool things like this, it has me wondering what I'm doing wrong - how come they have time, and I feel like I'm never going to get caught up?  Ever.

God is Busy Right Now

This has been around before, but I just got it in an email again today and thought it was worth passing on:

If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks!

A United States Marine was taking some college courses between assignments. He had completed 20 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform... I'll give you exactly 15 min." 

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting."

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you?  Why did you do that?" 

The Marine calmly replied, "GOD was too busy today protecting America 's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me."

The classroom erupted in cheers!

Coffee or Tea?

A mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and ...Image via Wikipedia
I never really drank coffee until I started college.  My great grandmother (Mammy) gave it to me once when I was younger, but she fixed it up with so much sugar and milk that I just didn't like it.  I'm sure she thought she was giving me a real treat, and there probably wasn't enough coffee in it to even count.  But when I got to college, I needed something to keep myself awake in class and for those late nights of studying and, other things.  I'm not sure it really worked, though I really tried - lots of times I mixed instant coffee into brewed coffee in an effort to get double the caffeine.  That's also when I started making hot chocolate with my coffee, and I still do that.  Mostly, though I just drink my coffee black.  No sense messing it up with sugar or cream!  Though adding hot chocolate and whipped cream is sort of the same, isn't it?

It sounds like Cory's been drinking coffee more since he's been in college, though he started drinking it some when he was in college. Often on a cold morning he'd take a travel mug full of coffee and hot chocolate when he left for the bus stop.  I'm not sure how he drinks it now, but I did get him a nice orange travel mug so he can make the coffee and/or hot chocolate in his dorm room and take it with him wherever he needs to go.  When I was in college, we had to go to the dining hall to get our coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.  I may be remembering wrong, but it seems that it was always available.  Cory says he can get it with a meal, instead of another beverage, but other than that, he'd have to buy it somewhere.  That's why so many college students have their own coffee makers and K-Cups or Coffee Pods in their dorm rooms - so they can get the coffee when they need the coffee.  Come to think of it, that is a bit more convenient than walking down the hill to the dining hall.

Hot chocolateImage by Andrea_R via Flickr
All these years later, I'm still drinking coffee and enjoying it.  I can't remember why, but I tried drinking green tea instead of my morning coffee once.  I think I heard it's supposed to be better for you and have just as much caffeine as coffee.  So I tried it.  For a week.  But it just wasn't the same.  There's something really satisfying about a cup of black coffee in the morning, and tea just can't touch that.

The tea drinkers probably say the same thing, only in reverse, but if you're gonna send me one of these Gift Baskets, make mine coffee and not tea!

I do enjoy an occasional cup of tea - just not first thing in the morning and not as a replacement for coffee.  Mint tea - so good!  Mint tea and hot chocolate - yum!  And I just bought this Apple Spice tea that is absolutely amazing.  How about you - coffee or tea?
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Save 35% and Get Free Shipping on Books

Well, I didn't win the Chronicle Books giveaway, and that means none of you who commented won either - unless you commented on  Then you might still have a chance.

There's still a chance to get some great books.  Chronicle Books is offering 35% off and free shipping through this Thursday, December 16 - on all books and gifts.  Not as good as getting a whole list of books for FREE, but some pretty good savings.

Shop Chronicle Books now and use this promo code at checkout: HAULIDAYS to get your discount and FREE shipping.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Favorite Children's Books

I'm sitting here trying to come up with something to say, something that I can cleverly incorporate wholesale life insurance into, but I'm failing miserably. Where do all the things that go through my head when I'm not staring at a blank blog post go?

So, lacking anything real to say, I thought I'd just post another bit from Reader's Digest that caught my eye:
Once Upon a Time...

Even if you have outgrown bedtime stores, you may still be able to identify the following quotes from classic children's books.  Take our quiz and check your answers below.
  1. "I'm not very big.  they use me only for switching trains in the yard.  I have never been over the mountain."
  2. "Help!  Help! A Heffalump!"
  3. Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this forever?"
  4. The sun did not shine.  It was too wet to play.  So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.
  5. "Now, my dears, you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your father had an accident there."
  6. When they got to Boston, they felt too tired to fly any further.  There was a nice pond in the Public Garden, with a little island on it.
  7. "If you become a fish in a trout stream," said his mother, "I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you."
  8. Lucy felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitive.  She looked back over her shoulder and there, between the dark tree trunks, she could still see the open doorway of the wardrobe.
I read to my kids all the time when they were little, but I must admit there were some quotes on this list I wasn't familiar with, or I couldn't think of the title of the book.  It has been a while.  There were also some quotes that were very familiar because they come from some of our favorite books, and we read them over and over and over.

Ready for the answers?

  1. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  2. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
  3. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  4. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  6. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  7. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
  8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
How many did you get?  I got 6 right.  Are your favorite children's books on this list?  My kids really loved #6 and #7 - we read them all the time.  And Goodnight Moon, they liked that one, too.  If/when they read this, they'll probably think of some I didn't remember.  Oh, Harold and the Purple Crayon!

Name some of the books your kids really enjoy(ed) reading.  Did you read the same books to your kids that your mom read to you?
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Stupid Instructions

Found in Reader's Digest:
Stupid instruction labels on products, collected by word-smith Richard Lederer:
  • On a camera: This camera only works when there is film inside.
  • On a package of airline peanuts: Open packet and eat contents.
  • On a chain saw: Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.
  • On a mirror for a bicycle helmet: Remember - objects in the mirror are actually behind you.
  • On a bottle of flavored-milk drink: After opening, keep upright.
  • On a steering-wheel-lock: Warning - remove lock before driving.
I suppose the camera one was pre-digital - before the camera started telling you there's no memory card and refusing to take a picture without one.  Imagine going on vacation, taking a bunch of pictures, and then getting home only to find out you'd forgotten to put film in the camera.  Of course, they needed to put that warning on there!  Right? 

This list was also obviously written back when airlines actually served peanuts to passengers.  Nowadays we'd probably actually need the instructions, because we'd all be sitting there wondering what to do with them - you know, if the airlines actually gave us peanuts.

Now, actually having to tell someone to store an open container of liquid upright, that's a little ridiculous. Like putting warnings on mens ties not to tie them too tight to avoid strangulation.  It seems people should be able to figure these things out for themselves.
But then, maybe I give people too much credit?
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 78

Looking at the 

Sky on Friday
I’m so glad there’s a meme like Looking at the Sky on Friday, because it means all the time I spend looking at the sky, and taking pictures of it, has a purpose! Click the badge for more info.

Oh, the colors of a sunrise!

I just can’t resist them.

If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.

Send Cookies to Our Troops

I just found out about this today, and I think it's an awesome idea.

Kenmore and The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson have launched Kenmore “Baking for the Troops” to send up to 250,000 cookies to deployed troops along with messages of support from Americans. Kenmore recognizes the holidays are a time loved ones gather, share meals and make memories. With that in mind, the company has created a means for Americans to share warm thoughts and delicious treats with troops away from home. Americans can participate by visiting the Kenmore Facebook page and asking Kenmore to bake and ship a dozen cookies on their behalf. Even sweeter – when the 250,000 cookies are sent to the troops, the company will donate $50,000 to Heroes at Home Wish Registry*  to assist military families in need stateside.

The program kicked off last Friday Dec. 2 in Chicago. Chicagoans and local tourists were given the opportunity to be among the first to send their thanks and support to the troops by creating personalized messages in the Kenmore Live Studio at 678 N. Wells Street, where they also got to sample cookies fresh from the new, onsite Kenmore Elite ovens.
“Kenmore is proud of our continued commitment to the troops and this program serves as a means to show a small token of our gratitude,” said Guenther Trieb, president, Sears Brands. “Our ‘Baking for the Troops’ program ships cookies and messages of thanks throughout the holiday and into January, for a post-holiday pick-me-up to let them know we think of them year round.”
With the help of Operation Support Our Troops Illinois (OSOTIL) and the USO, all of the cookies will be shipped to individual members of our overseas troops throughout the holiday season. To learn more about the program or to send your own message with a dozen cookies, visit Kenmore on Facebook.

*Donations made to the Heroes at Home Wish Registry are not tax deductible and will be used to purchase Sears gift cards for registered families.