Friday, April 30, 2010

Between the Memes

I had some posts in my head today - while I was cleaning.   But I cleaned and didn't post anything.  And then I ran out of time because we had to go to school, because tonight was opening night of Cory's play, Night of the Living Beauty Pageant.  Cleaning was because it needed it, and because the Cast Party is here tomorrow night.  The whole time I was cleaning I was wondering if I'm not doing things backward.  I mean, people are coming over, things will get messed up, and I'll just need to clean again.  Maybe I should just wait?  Except that cats and cat litter and bathrooms... well, things did need cleaned.

Overall the play went really well.  It was fun to see how some of the kids really stepped it up from the other night in rehearsal.  Things came together really well, even though it didn't look too promising earlier in the week.  Cory is a natural on the stage and fun to watch no matter what he is doing. (and Jenna, too!)

(Hey!  I was liking the new add an image dialog.  What happened?  It's back to the old one.)

Anyway, opening night went well.  Two more performances, so that's what we're doing this weekend - and concessions for a track meet tomorrow.   (Yay, fundraisers)

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 55

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.

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I walk every morning.  I probably should, (Misty says I should) but I don’t always take my camera with me.  Mainly, I’m walking to get outside and for exercise, not to take pictures, or look for used golf balls, which is good, because we don't live on a golf course, so I'd be sorely disappointed on that front. I also have a limited amount of time, because I need to get back home before Jeffrey leaves for work and sometimes have to take Cory to school for Jazz Band.  So it’s usually better if I leave the camera at home so I don’t get distracted or stop too often.

But, the other day I walked out the front door and thought the sunrise was so pretty that I turned around, went back in, and grabbed the camera.

Maybe Misty’s right – maybe I should take my camera more often.  What do you think?

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photo Tag

Tammy tagged me for this fun photo meme. Rules for the photo tag follow the photo and short description.
 This is one of the first robins of Spring last year.  The grass wasn't even green yet, but those robins are a sure sign that Spring is on its way!  I was probably thinking I could use this photo for Camera Critters, though I can't remember if I actually used it or not.  The cats just seem to always jump into my Camera Critters posts.

Now the rules:
  1. Go to your photo files, select the 8th photo folder.
  2. Select the 8th photo in that folder.
  3. Post that photo along with the story behind it.
  4. Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same!
This is actually the 8th photo in the 24th folder - because the 8th folder didn't have 8 photos, so I went to the 8th folder after that, and it didn't have 8 photos in it either.  So I went 8 more, and finally found a folder with at least 8 photos.  All the folders are by date, and some days I only take a photo or two.  Other days I take hundreds, I think.

Anyway, I'm tagging:  (do I have 8 blogging friends who would want to do this?)
  1. Tammy (at her other blog)
  2. Sassy
  3. Jaye
  4. Darryl
  5. Dad
  6. Frigga
  7. your name and link could be here
  8. your name and link could be here
Yes, I stopped before I got to 8 because I'm lazy.  If you'd like to play, let me know, and I'll add you to the list.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mosquito Magnet, Save My Summer!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Mosquito Magnet. All opinions are 100% mine.

You have to see this:
Those are mosquitoes, lots and lots of mosquitoes.  You know how irritating the little buggers can be!  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to take care of them - catch them, kill them, and keep them from biting?  I hate being out in the summer right when it starts to get dark.  The stupid things won't leave me alone.  Sometimes, when they're really bad, they don't care what time of day it is, and they bite all day long.  It really makes spending time outside practically impossible, not to mention the fear of diseases they can spread, like West Nile virus.

Since Jeffrey and Cory built the deck last summer, I know we'll be wanting to spend more time outside when the weather warms up.  It's a great place to sit and eat dinner - as long as we can avoid getting eaten ourselves.  We did buy some Citronella candles, because that's supposed to do something, though I haven't yet figured out what.  Attract mosquitoes maybe?  And I don't particularly like the smell, either.

Last summer I was reading some mosquito magnet reviews and doing a little research on the Mosquito Magnet, wondering if it really works.  I was reading some customer testimonials tonight, and judging from what these people are saying and the pictures they've included with the reviews, this thing really works.  They are eliminating thousands of mosquitoes.  One guy said he'd buy them for all his neighbors if he could.  Imagine how nice that neighborhood would be!  That is one great thing about summer - all the neighbors spending time together outside in the yards.  No mosquitoes would make it even better.

If I thought it would be nice to have one of these before, I think so even more after reading some of these customer testimonials.  The Mosquito Magnet has helped so many people be able to enjoy their yards, without being mosquito bait.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Now I just have to convince my husband that we need one of these.

Visit my sponsor: What are People Saying About Mosquito Magnet?

Sax Quartet

Besides performing his vocal solo at this past weekend's State Solo & Ensemble, Cory also performed with the Sax Quartet.  I think they did well, and we were all proud of them.  Here's video of the performance.  Too bad that music stand is blocking Cory, and you can't really understand what he says in the beginning, but...

Sax Quartet @ State from bcmom on Vimeo.
PEHS Sax Quartet performs at WSMA State Music Festival at Whitewater

They scored a 2 - not as well as they might have liked, but nothing to sneeze at, right? Besides, understanding how the judges think is about as easy as figuring out what pronexin is - at least to me.  Just qualifying for State is an achievement in itself, and they all did their best.

Update:  Cory just told me that they found out today that they were 1 point away from getting a 1, so they're not too upset about that.  It was close.


I've been logging my miles with BeeWell for Life since the beginning of April last year, and tomorrow I will hit the 500 mile mark.   I've been walking practically every morning now for 17 years.  I wish I had logged all those miles - just to know how many miles I've walked.  I suppose I could do the math...

If it takes about 13 months to walk 500 miles, how many miles will I have walked in 17 years?  Sounds too much like a word problem, doesn't it?  Anyone who wants to solve it, feel free.  I'll just be happy that all that walking means I don't need diet pills!

...and I'll probably end up doing the math, just because.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Teen Writers

I was checking out the list of free stuff tonight and came across this site.  The offer is for a free issue of Teen Ink.  It's a magazine entirely written by teens and distributed to thousands of schools nationwide.  Students can also submit their own work - creative writing, art, or photography - for free.  Cory took a creative writing class in school this year, and the class put together a book of their work, which is really neat.  This looks like the same idea, only better.

I'm not sure my request for the print magazine went through or not, because I kept getting an error message.  It looks like there is plenty to see on the Teen Ink website, though, and I'd like to go back and read some of it.  And maybe see if Cory wants to submit some of his work.

Our Son Can Sing

We don't know where he got all his musical and artistic talent, but we DO know he didn't get it from us.  Regardless of where all this great talent comes from, he's got it.  He's been in band throughout middle school and high school, but this is his first year in choir.  He never sang before last year when he was in the musical Oliver.  And this year, he had time in his schedule, so he took choir.  His choir teacher really wishes he'd started earlier, because he really puts his best effort into it, and he's improved so much in just this school year.  And because it's really hard to get boys in the class - and hard to hear the ones there are over all the girls.

Anyway, first year in choir - Cory sang two pieces for Solo & Ensemble, a Class A* solo called Deep River and a musical theater piece, The Kite from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown - a musical he was in, but he didn't sing that song because he played Linus and not Charlie Brown.  He wanted to do the musical theater piece because he really enjoys it, but he had to do the Class A piece in order to be able to do musical theater. 

He scored well enough to go to State with Deep River, and was one point away with The Kite.  This past weekend was the State Solo & Ensemble Festival, and he scored a 1 on his solo!  Gold Medal, baby!  1st year in choir, 1st year singing a solo for Solo & Ensemble, and he goes to State and scores a 1.

The boy has talent.  One of these days he's going to be singing and dancing in acneticin reviews, I mean, Broadway Reviews, and being all famous or something.  He may not have gotten it from us, but we're definitely proud of him.

* Class A: The most advanced skills are required for Class A performance. (WSMA)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Camera Critters (#107)

Our sweet boy Weasley loves to look out the window, whether we open the blinds for him or not.

This face makes me wonder what he saw out there!

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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things I Didn't Blog About

This week:
  • Beth & Tim signed a lease for an apartment, so she'll be moving out soon.
  • Jeffrey got a new motorcycle.
  • Pick 'n Save doubled 10 manufacturer's coupons on Wednesday, instead of the usual 5 - and I made sure I had 10 $1 coupons.
  • Cappuccino Heath is my favorite Blizzard flavor - coffee, chocolate and Heath bar.  We had to make sure we got to DQ this week for the buy one Blizzard get one for 25¢ deal.  And a large Blizzard is good for at least two nights - just don't freeze it with the spoon in.
  • They found out today at school that one of the students has scabies.  She's in the play with Cory and was trying on all the costumes yesterday.  Everyone was freaking out at school.
  • Tomorrow we have to go to Whitewater for State Solo & Ensemble where Cory will be singing a solo and playing with the Sax Quartet.
  • and, I've been spending way too much time researching flights to and hotels in Vegas - trying to decide if we really should go and, if so, where we should stay.  It would be nice to get away, because we never do anything like that, but then again - Jeffrey bought a new motorcycle this week.  Do we really want to spend the money on a trip?  Or do we just stay home, buy those Santana tickets and ride the new bike to Summerfest so we can park for free?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I always thought of Bingo as a kids' game.  I guess because I never played it except with the kids.  We had a Mickey Mouse bingo game or something fun like that.  It was always fun to see who could fill up a row first and yell 'Bingo!'  But that's all it was - fun.

Now I know that some people play bingo for money.  The one time Jeffrey and I went to a casino, I noticed that the bingo hall was full of people filling up their bingo cards.  Of course, that would never work for me because the casino and bingo area were completely full of smokers - so I'll be staying out of there!  Jeffrey was quick to point out that there is a non-smoking area, but since you have to walk through all the smokers to get there, it's kind of pointless.  Who plans this stuff, anyway?

A better option, at least for me, is online bingo on a site like - except that it's in the UK and they won't let me register.  For those of you in the UK who would like to play bingo, you can register, get 20 free cards, and up to £100 free Welcome Bonus.  Judging from the testimonials on the site, people are having fun and enjoying their winnings.  Besides the jackpots, there are several promotions going on where people can win things like a vacation or a flat screen TV.  And they have a chat feature, so you can meet new people, too.

Sounds fun, and who knows - maybe you'll be the one yelling 'Bingo!'

Monday, April 19, 2010

They Make a Good Team

I took some video of Cory and Jenna performing their piece at the Family Night we went to last week.  I thought you might enjoy watching them.  I still get a kick out of it every time I watch.

Romeo Revised from bcmom on Vimeo.

I think they make a great team.  Sadly, this is their last year of high school and last year to team up for Forensics.  Luckily, we'll still get to see them work together a few more times, when they star in the Spring Play - Night of the Living Beauty Pageant - coming up here in a couple weeks.  So we'll get to see them another 4 times!

So Tempted

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of KAO Brands. All opinions are 100% mine.

Jeffrey has wanted to go to Las Vegas for a while now. Me, I've never really cared one way or the other.  But the other night we were talking about it, and I told him that Vegas would be fine, as long as we get to see Cher.  That would make it worth going!  So, we started looking and realized that Cher is only going to be there through July 5 - so we better plan a trip quick if we're gonna see her.  Believe me, I am so tempted.

OR, we skip the trip altogether and put the money toward a new motorcycle, and really really really hope we win the Temptation is Beautiful sweepstakes.  Grand prize is a trip for 4 to Las Vegas - so we could even take a couple of our friends.  It includes air transportation, 3 days and 2 nights hotel accommodations, and $1500 spending money.  I already entered once a couple weeks ago, but I didn't realize I could enter every day through May 8 - so guess who entered again today!

I also took the Temptation Quiz for an extra entry and shared it on twitter for another entry.  Some of the questions were a little difficult for me, and I just wanted a 'none of the above' answer, but I did my best and got these results:
Just Right is good, right?  When you take the Quiz, be sure to let me know what  you got.

In addition to the Grand Prize trip to Las Vegas, there is also an indulgent Gift Basket containing Curél®, Jergen’s®, Bioré®, Ban®, and John Frieda® products being given away every day - another reason to get those daily entries in.

A trip to Vegas would be fun, wouldn't it?  Be sure to enter - every day!

Sweepstakes open to US residents only.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

He's #1 in My Book

The Forensics team went to two State competitions this weekend. On Friday, they went to Madison for the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association performance. There everyone performs just once, and Cory and Jenna scored a perfect 25.

Then they went on to Ripon for the Wisconsin Forensic Coaches' Association competition. On Saturday, students competed in three preliminary rounds, and the best-ranking students in each category continued on to the semi-final and final rounds. Cory and Jenna made it to the finals again this year and were hoping to place better than 6th, where they placed last year.  (PE 4N6 Rocks!

Making it to the finals and placing 6th out of all the teams that were there is awesome!  Last year they were so excited when they placed.  This year they placed 6th again, and I can't speak for Jenna, but Cory was quite disappointed.  He felt that they put so much work into it and improved so much this year - they ought to place a little higher.  But, unfortunately, no matter how hard they worked and how much they might have deserved it, all they could do was give it their best, and then it was up to the judges. 

The judges may not have thought so, but they're #1 in my book!

Gift Ideas for Mom

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bliss Living. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mother's Day is May 9 this year. That's only three weeks away.  What that means is that it's threatening to sneak up on me again, and I better start thinking about getting a card or something for my wonderful mom.

How about you?  Have you planned for Mother's Day yet?  If you're looking for a really nice gift for Mom, you'll want to check out Bliss Living Jewelry. They have a huge collection of mothers necklaces, mothers bracelets and stretch rings that would make the perfect gift for mom anytime of the year. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and custom made with her children's names and birthdates hand-inscribed onto the charms.

I really like the necklaces with the custom inscribed charms.  You can order a charm for each child, with first names on the front and birthdates on the back.   I particularly like this necklace pictured here because of the delicate look, and the crystal birthstone beads on each charm.  But then, the more I look, the more I find others that I really like, too.  There are several styles to choose from - round charms, rectangular charms, Sterling silver, or gold, so chances are you'll find something Mom will like.

Shipping is free on orders over $99 with coupon code FREESHIP, and if you want guaranteed delivery by Mother's Day, you need to order by 4/21/10.
Visit my sponsor: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Camera Critters (#106)

Here’s our sweet Tillie girl hanging out in the kitchen.  The tile floor feels good when the weather gets warm.

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Till You Love Me

When Cory was 3 or so, he could sing along with Reba every time this song came on.  He knew every word, and he was so dramatic.  I just wish I'd had a video camera back then.  When I listen to the song, I can almost still see him.

Why am I remembering this now?  He's got State Competition for Forensics this weekend.  He called this evening to say that he and Jenna got a perfect score in Madison.  The boy is just so dramatic and so talented, and I just don't know where he got it - certainly not from me or his dad.  But he's always had it - ever since he was a little bitty guy.
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In The Snake Oil Business

Apparently most of my friends don't believe I'd really be sending them links to random websites selling Canadian Pharmaceuticals, which is a good thing.  Because I wouldn't.  But someone or something did.  I started getting facebook messages and emails from people asking me about the email I sent - asking what the link was about.  Then I started noticing a bunch of Returned Mail notifications in my inbox.

Yep, someone sent these out using my email address - to everyone in my address book.  When I tried checking to see if they'd actually been sent from my email, I found that there were NO emails in my Sent folder.  I found a few really old ones in my Trash folder, but that had been mostly emptied, too.  I immediately changed my email password, hoping that if someone actually did log in and mess with my email, he at least wouldn't be able to do it again.  But there's nothing I can do about all those emails that went out.  I wish there were some kind of KVM switches or Global UNDO buttons I could use to call them all back.

Hopefully most of my friends were smart enough not to click, and if they did click, hopefully it wasn't something really bad like a virus or a worm.  Spam emails advertising Viagra are bad enough.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 54

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 took these a couple weeks ago.

and in the other direction:

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

Do You Facebook for the Games?

I cannot believe how many games there are on facebook.  For a long time I just left all the game updates on my newsfeed, figuring it was a way to see what my friends are up to.  It wasn't until I started hiding all the games last week that I actually realized there were so many.  Before, they just kind of blended together, people talking about a philadelphia job or a barn-raising, or accepting a sparkly heart.

Then I started hiding them.  I hid Farmville and Mafia Wars and Vampire Wars and something about Castles.  I hid Yoville and Cafe World and Happy Little Aquarium or whatever it's called.  And just when I thought I had them all hidden, something else would show up.  Seriously, how many are there?  And how do these people find time to play them all? 

The only thing I'm worried about is that now I'll never hear from some of my facebook friends, because I don't think they ever did anything but play the games.  So, if you just facebook for the games, I guess I'm gonna miss you.
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Book Review: Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not
by Vicki Hinze


Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family.  Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away.  His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith.  Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too.  Why had he survived?  He’d failed to protect his family. 

Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan.  A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace. 

The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill.  Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly.  Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

From the moment I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down.  There were so  many twists and turns, and every answered question seemed to bring up even more.  I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen.  Who were the bad guys, and why were they after our mystery woman?  And how does it all tie in with the murder of Ben's wife and son?

The plot may not have been completely believable, or maybe I just don't want to believe people can be as bad as some of the bad guys in this book, but it made for an enjoyable read, right up until the very end.  Elements of faith are woven throughout the book - faith in the absence of all else, and the loss of faith when it's most needed.  It's hard not to question your own faith when reading something like this and wonder how you would react.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

She's Been Planning this Since she was 4 or 5

I can't exactly remember how old she was.  What I do remember is walking down the hall to the kids' bedroom to find them pulling all the blankets and sheets off their beds.  I asked what they were doing, and Cory said, "We're running away, Mommy.  Do you wanna come?" - Not exactly what Beth had in mind.  She was leaving home to get away from Mom.

Then, through the years, we heard it often, how she was going to move out the second she turned 18.  But 18 came, and she didn't go.  It's not as easy to live on your own as she might have liked.

Now, though, it looks like she just might actually move out.  She's been looking at apartments and planning budgets with her boyfriend Tim - now having our daughter move in with her boyfriend is not what we would choose for her, because I don't care how many people do it, we still don't believe it's right.  But, as Beth is always quick to point out - she's over 18 and it's her choice and there's nothing we can do about it.   So, they found one apartment they were going to sign all the paperwork for today, but then she called about another one last night and went to see it today.  It's a lot bigger and closer to work for both of them and costs just a little bit more per month - basically the money Beth saves on gas will pay the difference.  And she should know tomorrow if they're approved to rent it, and they could conceivably move in by the first of May.

She'll only be 5 miles away, and it's not like we see her much anyway - but when did she get big enough to move out?  She did say she's going to come back and do her laundry here, so I guess I'll see her once in a while - at least when she runs out of clean clothes, right?

How do You Feel About Health Insurance?

I haven't quite figured out what I think about Obama's Health Care Reform.  I know there are people who feel strongly about it - on both sides.  It's kind of like cilantro, I guess - you either love it or you hate it.  The one thing I'm in favor of is that grown kids can stay on their parents health insurance plan up to age 26, when hopefully they will be established in a good job and will be eligible for their own plan.   Wisconsin passed a law saying the same thing.  That didn't help Beth, who is currently without health insurance because she's 19 and not in school.  Because Jeffrey works for a company that is  based in another state and is self-insured, they really don't have to comply with a law passed in Wisconsin.  So, no coverage for Beth.  The company would have to comply with a national law.  Hopefully this won't be an issue much longer, because they've pretty much promised her a full-time position at work, so she'll be able to get her own health insurance.

Now the part of the Health Care Plan that requires everyone to have health insurance - I'm not a fan of that.  Requiring health care providers to give everyone the same discount that people with insurance get - that would be a good place to start.  Why they charge the people who can least afford to pay up to 60% more than they charge someone with insurance is beyond me.  If they can afford to give a huge discount to people who have Blue Cross Blue Shield, and who will only have to pay a small portion of that already discounted charge, why can't they give the same discount to someone who may not have insurance?  Or, never mind about discounts, just lower the prices and charge everyone the same price.  And publish those prices so people know what they're getting into in the first place and can maybe even go somewhere else for medical care, because they can get a better deal there.

And then there's the other stuff in the Health Plan about taxing rich people to pay for the whole thing - because, after all, they can afford it.  When our government is all done, the rich will be poor, the poor will still be poor, and everyone will probably be sick - and no one will be able to afford the health insurance they are required to have.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We Can Watch 4 Shows at Once if we Want

We've had Dish Network for a while now - more channels than we can ever watch, for more money than I like to spend every month.  But my husband likes it, so we keep it.  Some of our friends have canceled cable or satellite television and watch what they can get with the antenna or online and subscribe to Netflix for $9/month for movies, video, and TV on demand.  Since most of the time I turn the local channels on, which I can get over the antenna, or end up watching shows on hulu because I just can't watch them when they're actually on, I think I'd be perfectly happy doing the same thing.  I just have to convince the man, and he has to figure out how we want to hook the televisions up to the Internet.  I keep telling him how much money we'll save every month.

Yesterday we started having problems with one of our DISH receivers.  It's supposed to run two TVs at once, so you can watch different shows in different rooms if you want to.  I had GMA on in the living room and went to the bedroom to sort laundry.  I thought I'd turn it on down there, but nothing happened.  It just kept saying it was searching for signal.  After the 4N6 Family Night last night, I had Jeffrey test it to see if he could figure it out.  We found out that it didn't matter which TV it was, the LCD HDTV in the living room or the other one in the bedroom, the receiver would only run one of them at a time.  So, he called customer service and they ran him through a bunch of stuff - testing connections and running tests - all to no avail.

So, they said they'd send a technician out to check it and bring a new receiver if we needed one - for $15.  I really resent having to pay anything, considering it's their equipment.  If something goes wrong with equipment that is owned by DISH Network, shouldn't they pay the technician to come out and fix it?  Never mind that they make us pay some fee every month for insurance or something - again, on their equipment.  And they just recently raised our rates, while saying that they weren't raising rates.  Well, OK, they didn't technically raise the rates - they changed the fees for the receivers, but the end result is that we're paying more per month, which is the same thing in my book.  So, when they offered to send a technician and charge us more money I thought it would be a good time to just say forget it and seriously seriously think about canceling their service altogether.

The technician came today and replaced the receiver.  We can watch TV on both televisions at once again.  And it will only cost us an extra 15 bucks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pizza and 4N6

We're having pizza for dinner tonight.  It's Family Night for the Forensics team, where we all get together, eat, and they show us what they've been up to this year.  It's nice that they do this, because otherwise we'd never see them perform.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Cory and Jenna.  They were really awesome last year - even got 6th at State in Ripon.  This year they are hoping to improve on that.  They've had some disappointing meets, usually because some judge just doesn't seem to like them, their piece, or their style.  That is the problem with judged events - they're so subjective.  Most of their meets have been very positive, though, and they've gotten really good scores.  Their main complaint is that the judges haven't given them any constructive criticism, nothing to work on to improve.  Luckily they have a really good teacher at school who is a lot of help in that regard.

At one of their meets Cory and Jenna got all perfect scores.  The judges all loved them.  Cory found out how much later.  One of the judges is the Forensics coach for another school, and Cory has friends on that team.  One of them told him that their coach had raved about him and Jenna all the way back to school after that meet!!  How cool is that?  And I haven't seen them perform yet.  One night after a meet Cory acted out the whole thing by himself, but since it's a 2-person play-acting piece, it was kind of missing a really important component - Jenna!  It was pretty funny with just Cory, but I'm sure it will be better with the two of them.

I should also probably mention that the rest of the team isn't half bad either.  They all qualified for State, except for their Foreign  Exchange student.  And you really have to admire someone who doesn't speak English as well as the natives and still puts herself out there and does something like this.

Plan a Romantic Getaway

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of St Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, Florida. All opinions are 100% mine.

Just yesterday Jeffrey mentioned that soon it will be just the two of us. Cory will be away at college, and Beth will be on her own.  And then we can just pick up and go whenever we want, take 3 day weekends and getaway.  Of course, he was talking about that in the context of getting a new motorcycle, one that both of us can ride comfortably, and getting away on the motorcycle.

While I admit that sounds like fun, I'm not sure I'd consider that a romantic weekend.  Then again, neither of us is all that romantic, so what does a romantic getaway look like, anyway?  We're going to have to work on this with no kids in the picture, when it's just the two of us.

I was just browsing a website called Romance Lives Here, because what better way to figure out what romance is than to go straight to where it lives, right?  That, and they mentioned beaches, and I love beaches.  The problem is, I married a man who isn't the least bit thrilled by the beach.  If it wasn't for me, he'd probably be happy never setting foot on a beach.  (Very, very hard for me to understand)  The last time we were in Florida, I think he walked down to the beach once, and then he was done.  So, if we're going to get away somewhere where I get a beach, there will have to be a lot more to do there, so Jeffrey won't be completely bored - and never want to get away with me again.

I'm really liking the looks of the St. Augustine area, (where romance lives, by the way).  The St. Augustine Beachfront Resort looks like a nice place to stay.  I'll take the Deluxe Jacuzzi Suite, please.  Nothing says romance like a jacuzzi, and some candles and wine and... move along now.

The thing is, there's a lot more to do in St. Augustine than just sit on the beach.  There are history tours and museums, cultural and arts events, sailing and fishing and more.  There's even the perfect activity for Jeffrey, a cruise on the Black Raven pirate ship!  Or maybe one of the sailing tours offered by Ghost Tours of St. Augustine.  It looks like there is so much to do that both of us could have a good time and spend some time together.  No, we can't ride the motorcycle there for a long weekend getaway, but I think it could certainly qualify as a great romantic getaway - and a good place to work on my tan.  I could enjoy the beach while Jeffrey plays golf.  It looks like they have some really nice golf courses, too.

You can plan your entire vacation on  Romance Lives Here - find a place to stay, attractions to visit, and activities you'll enjoy.  Check it out and see if you can plan the perfect romantic getaway for you and your significant other.

Visit my sponsor: Endless sands. Boundless waters.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

You Don't Do Windows?

I've heard this before - a house cleaner or maid says, "I don't do windows."  I've always wondered what the big deal is.  I mean, if  you're gonna clean toilets, how hard can windows be?  Of course, this is coming from me, who can't clean mirrors without leaving streaks - sneaky streaks that show up days later.

Well, today I did windows, and I don't want to do them again.  A little squirt of Windex and a wipe with a paper towel wouldn't be a big deal, but I had to really clean these windows.  During the winter when it's cold outside, we get a lot of condensation on the inside of our windows.  Then we get all this black mildewy kind of stuff all over the window frames - looks really nice on the white.  But until the weather warms up, there's not much I can do about it.  Well, the weather has warmed up.

So I started in our bedroom - dusting the mini-blinds, which is practically an impossible job in itself, and dusting the curtains, too.  I really wanted to just pull those curtains down and throw them in the washer, but they're really not supposed to be washed, so I ended up dusting them with my new micro-fiber duster, and that worked amazingly well - even better than vacuuming them.  And then I took a bucket of soapy water and a rag and wiped down every bit of those nasty window frames and then cleaned the glass, inside and out.  I always forget that our windows tilt in so you can get to the outside of the glass.  If cleaning windows was only about the glass, it really wouldn't be that big of a deal, but it took me practically all day to clean three windows.  I did both the windows in our bedroom and the window in our bathroom.  Now, somehow I have to find time to get the rest of the windows in the house done.

Good thing I only do windows once a year.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easy Family Meals

Hormel Foods CorporationImage via Wikipedia
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

I always try to serve my family something good for dinner.  Of course, my idea of good and their idea of good may differ, but the important thing is that there's always a meal on the table.  Usually.  Sometimes I get really busy, think about dinner in the morning, and then never think about it again until it's almost time to eat.  I'm sure most of you know the feeling - rushing around like crazy trying to figure out what's in the fridge or the pantry that you can throw together before everybody starves.

I recently saw a commercial on television featuring Dinty Moore stew from hormel. For an easy family meal, the commercial suggested warming up a can of stew, cooking some noodles, and serving the stew on top of the noodles.  Add a vegetable your family likes, and you've got a quick semi-homemade meal.  Or hide the can (read: throw it in the recycle bin before anyone else sees it) and call it homemade.  With Hormel Foods' commitment to quality and flavor, who's to know?  Another thing I think would be good is to use the new Hormel Chili Master Chipotle Chicken Chili in my Layered Chicken Enchilada recipe.  It just sounds so good.

Seriously, as busy as we all are these days, with kids and work and just keeping up around the house, we can all use a little help now and then.  Visit the Hormel Foods Recipes site for all kinds of ideas, from quick & easy to holiday recipes.  If keeping a few cans of Hormel Chili or Dinty Moore Stew in your pantry means you can get dinner on the table sooner, that's a good thing.  Americans have been doing it for 75 years!

That's right - Dinty Moore products and Hormel Chili were introduced in 1935, 75 years ago.  Each brand began with a single product - Hormel® chili con carne and Dinty Moore® beef stew – but today, feature almost 20 varieties combined. Both brands have come a long way, and they're the first brands that come to mind when most American's think of stew or chili.  I'd be hard-pressed to think of another brand right now. 

In celebration of the 75th anniversary here's a video of commercials through the years.  See if you remember any of these:

Not too hot; not too mild - and haven't those labels changed?

Visit my sponsor: You ain't Dainty
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Camera Critters (#105)

A face only a mother could love:


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

Friday, April 09, 2010

Speaking of that Date Night

Brooks & DunnImage by Beau B via Flickr
Brooks & Dunn are coming to Summerfest this summer.  Jeffrey and I decided we should see them since this is the Last Rodeo tour, and we probably won't get another chance.  Unless they pleasantly surprise us and decide to stay together, but I'm not holding my breath.

The tickets go on sale tomorrow, but I'm signed up for our local country radio station's email list, and they gave us a code to get tickets a day early.  So I went on line and bought tickets this morning.  What's up with all those fees?  I guess I just don't go to enough concerts to realize how many fees are tacked on when you buy your tickets online.  Oh well - we have tickets.  We're going to see Brooks & Dunn!

I've been a little obsessed all day, though, because I didn't quite understand the seating chart, and they really rush you to make a decision - so the tickets we got aren't exactly where I might have liked.  So I've been randomly looking to see what's available all day - to see if something better comes up.  I almost grabbed some, but I didn't really want to pay double for concert tickets or hope that I could sell the original ones - and probably eat those fees I was talking about.  So, I just have to make myself stop, because unless I start making more money with something like Article Marketing, and even if I do, I don't want to get stuck paying twice for tickets.

The good news is, we're going out, going to a concert, and we're going to see Brooks & Dunn before it's too late!  (and we've got a lot better seats than the person who took the photo at the beginning of this post)
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 53

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.

Driving (riding actually – Jeffrey was driving) into the sunset.

A lot of times I feel that power lines and light poles are in the way when I’m trying to take pictures of the sky, but I kind of like them against the orange of the sunset in these.

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

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

You Learn Something New Every Day

I had never heard of such a thing as a Crystal Singing Bowl until I visited this site - Silver Sky Imports.  Apparently, there are bowls made of quartz crystal that make this really relaxing sound when you strike them, supposed to be good for meditation.  Silver Sky Imports specializes in these Singing Bowls, and they have all kinds of them.  You can choose by size, style, color, or even sound.  There's a sound file for every one, so you can hear what it sounds like before you buy it.  I listened to a couple of them, and they really do make an interesting sound.

I don't suppose you're supposed to line a bunch of them up and play a song, but wouldn't that be cool?  Then again, I never heard of these before today, so maybe Tibetan monks do just that?

Just Waiting

You know what I've noticed?  If I'm not home, things don't do themselves.  The laundry doesn't fold itself.  The dishes don't wash themselves.  The towels don't wash themselves.  They just sit there and wait for me.

I wonder if I should feel special?

Does Your Marriage Need a Date Night?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 20th Century Fox. All opinions are 100% mine.

The first time we saw a trailer for Date Night Cory said he wanted to see it.  That happens a lot - we go see a movie and watch all the trailers before, and Cory leans over and tells me he wants to see that one, and that one, and that one.  It seems there are a lot of movies this boy wants to see.  I'm not really surprised about this one, though because it stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey and he really likes both of them.  He watches 30 Rock and The Office, and I don't watch either of those, so I'm not as familiar with them as he is (yes, I know - where have I been?). After watching the trailer, I think I really want to see this movie, too, because it really looks funny.

Date Night, which opens this Friday, April 9, 2010, is about a bored suburban couple who go on their weekly dinner date, claim to be someone else to get a table, and find themselves thrown into a night of intrigue:
there’s breaking and entering, a car chase, a shootout and a showdown with an underworld boss at a strip club. Husband and wife come out of the adventure with some scratches and also with their ardor renewed.  (source:
Sounds like your average night out, right?  The article called Date Night "the latest in a long line of films in which a man and woman liven up the extended sigh that is their marriage with a joint stint as sleuths, crime-busters and action heroes." and compared the movie to a couple movies we really like, True Lies and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.  It seems like an extreme way to shake up a marriage, but it certainly makes for some good entertainment.

Check out the trailer, in case you haven't already seen it:

I don't want anything quite so intense, except to watch, but maybe Jeffrey and I should try doing something fun once in a while - just in case sitting in the living room watching TV and blogging or checking out facebook, each of us on our own laptop, might be considered boring.  We wouldn't want our marriage to be considered an 'extended sigh', would we?  Especially considering it won't be long until Beth moves out and Cory goes to college, and it will be just the two of us.  We better start figuring out what we're going to do and what we're going to talk about!

I'd say we could start the date night thing by going to see the Date Night Movie, but I'm pretty sure our son wouldn't be very happy with us - since he's the one who wanted to see it in the first place.  I guess this particular 'date night' is going to have to be a family night at the movies, pretty much like all our nights at the movies these days.  Before we had kids, we used to run all over town - not being chased by the bad guys, but trying to see how many movies we could see on a Sunday, at matinee price.  Matinee price has gone up a bit since then, but maybe it's about time to try that again?  We'd have to set some rules to make it interesting, like no more than one movie in a row in any particular theater, since we could just go the Majestic and see every movie we wanted without ever moving the car, and where would be the adventure in that?

Remember, Date Night opens this Friday, April 9.  Who will you see it with?

Visit my sponsor: Date Night
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Drink Your Grapefruit

From one facebook friend to another (sick) facebook friend:
Take a large grapefruit and slice it in to eighths, then put it in a medium sized pot of water to boil until the skins are translucent (this helps to exract the needed vitamins and minerals from the rind as well as the pulp). When the grapruit is ready, remove it from the water (leaving behind as much pulp as you like), add honey, consume.

Note: Ruby Reds make for a less bitter tea.

I swear by hot honey lemon water when I'm getting or have a cold, but I'm thinking that I will have to try this next time.  I may not even wait for a cold to try it.
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Monday, April 05, 2010

Win a $50 Shopping Spree

Jenn is hosting her first big giveaway over on My Kids Are My World.  She's giving away a $50 shopping spree to CSNStores.  I'll tell you the truth.  I hadn't heard of CSNStores until I entered Jenn's giveaway - which is, of course, why they asked her to host the giveaway - to spread the word and raise awareness.

So I checked out CSNStores, and they really do have a lot of stuff.  The hardest part for the winner will probably be choosing what to spend the $50 on!

If you love online shopping, especially when you get to spend someone else's money, run over and enter Jenn's giveaway.  Be sure to tell her that I sent you, because I get an extra entry for every friend who enters.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Camera Critters (#104)

Happy 2 Year Anniversary, Camera Critters!

Since the weather has warmed up, we’ve been opening windows and blinds, and Weasley has discovered some interesting things outside – birds!  He spends most of his free time looking out and just watching.  It’s so interesting that he even skips his naps sometimes.

The back of the couch is a cushy place to recline while he enjoys the show.

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

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 52

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.

The first day of April dawned bright and pretty, and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. 

This bird just couldn’t help diving right into the day:

It got up to about 85° today, which is pretty warm for April 1st – not that anyone is complaining!  Except maybe those people who were stuck inside working on their computers instead of being able to get outside.  It’s hard to stay inside on a day like today.  I wonder how many people called in sick just to enjoy it?

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