Friday, December 30, 2011

Daily Chances to Win a $10 Subway Gift Card

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gift Card Weekend for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I don't know about you, but I love Subway.  It's a great place to get something to eat - without the fried foods and grease - and I love all the veggies I can get on my sandwich.  What would be even better?  Winning $10 to spend at Subway - meaning FREE food!
Through 12/31, 'Gilbert the Gift Card Machine' will be giving away $10 Subway gift cards daily to Facebook fans.  $10,000 worth of gift cards will be given away in the month of December.  All you have to do is like the gift card giveaway on facebook to get started.  Click the button and fill in your info.  You only have to enter once to be eligible for every drawing in December.  Invite your friends for even more entries!  You get an extra chance to win for every 'like' you influence.  There are also gift cards being given away for tons of other cool places, so be sure to check the page often for more information on those.
All this is building up to Gift Card Weekend, a once-a-year event where participating retail partners give featured offers for gift cards purchased during the Holiday season and redeemed from January 6 - January 8, 2012.
Here's a list of participating retailers:
  • JCPenny
  • Regal Cinema
  • Subway
  • Sephora
  • Applebee's
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Adidas
  • Buca di Beppo
  • Lowe's
  • Spa Finder
  • Marriot
  • Giant Eagle
So if you received gift cards to any of these retailers, be sure to use them during Gift Card Weekend (January 6 - January 8, 2012) for even more savings.  Simply click on the retailer name for the gift card you received on the Partners page, and then click "View Offers" to see how your gift card can be even more valuable on Gift Card Weekend!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good Night

It's not like we did much today - sat around and talked, ate, walked down the hill to see Darryl's house.  I rode Jessica's horse and did puzzles with Naomi.  I didn't get to play dominoes.  But it's definitely bed time.  The kids wanted to play Double Hearts, but we didn't get time for that before they had to go home to bed - and now it's about time for the rest of us.

Jeffrey and I are planning to pack up our clothes, stainless steel necklaces, toiletries, computers, and everything else, and head home tomorrow.  We'll get to spend some time with Cory over the weekend before he heads off to ACTF - so that will be nice.  It's been nice being here, but it will be nice to get home and see our boy.

I just wish home wasn't so far away and we didn't have to go so long between visits.  Somebody figure out how to get that Google Earth thing to work in real life.  I know a whole bunch of us who would get together a whole lot more often!

Names for Groups of Animals

From my email:
I really like this one. And you may want to save this email if you have children starting school. Somewhere down the road they are going to need the names of groups of animals.

The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a  Flock of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese.

However, less widely known is:  a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), an Exaltation of doves
and, presumably because they look so wise: a Parliament of owls.

Now consider a group of Baboons.  They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates.

And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons???

Baboon relatives gazing
Image by derekkeats via Flickr

Believe it or not ……. a Congress!


I guess that pretty much explains the things that come out of Washington !

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Better put on your miller welding helmet and duck!

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See it Again (or for the 1st Time)

Edited version of photograph of American actor...
Image via Wikipedia
For those in the local area - anywhere close to Whitewater - remember you have one more chance to see "The Edwin Booth Company Presents "
Monday January 2nd, 7:30pm, Barnett Theatre, UW Whitewater campus, the Pay What You Can send off performance of "The Edwin Booth Company Presents". The company is going 'on tour' to the ACTF Regionals! Come show your support, and get your Booth on!!
We really enjoyed the play both times we saw it and definitely plan to go see it again.  If you didn't get a chance to see it, you'll want to take advantage of this opportunity.  Put on your Treksta evolution Mid shoes, or jump in your car and head to Whitewater Monday evening. You'll be glad you did!

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Name the New Cat

While we were gone, Beth called and said she'd had to take her cat Teddy to the vet because he was having trouble breathing.  The vet put him on the exam table, checked him over and gave him an x-ray.  He had some kind of heart problem which would have cost quite a bit to 'fix' - and then he only would have probably lived a year or year and a half.  So, they had to have him put down and buried him the next day.

She was sad because she loved that cat, and apparently her other cat Turbo was sad, too - because she decided to get a new cat to keep him company.  Already.  I'm not sure I would have been wanting another cat already, but I'm not Beth, I guess.

She's looking for a name for the new cat.  The cat they have is named Turbo, so they're thinking about Rambo, Nitro or Piston.  I liked the suggestion one of our friends made, though. She said to name him Charged - so their house would be Turbo Charged!

House Progress

One of the things we look forward to when visiting the family in Kentucky is seeing the progress on my brother and sister-in-law's house. He does post a lot of the progress on his blog, Cedar Ridge Farm, but it's nicer to see it in person.  I'm not really interested in all the details about what he's doing and what he's doing it with, band saw blades or whatever.  I usually read his posts for the pictures - and hope for a glimpse of the kids!  It's really great information for other people, though.  It's a great record of his building project.

It's going to be really nice for them when it's finally finished and they get to move in.  And I'm sure it's exciting for them seeing it take shape.

Good Food Served Here

It's not officially part of the Jack Daniel's tour, but I think most people drive the two blocks to the Lynchburg Town Square and visit the shops after a tour.  There's a coupon on the back of the tour tickets for a free shot glass (with a $10 purchase) at several of the shops in town.  If you want anything Jack Daniel's, that's the place to find it.  So, of course Jeffrey had to find something to buy.  This time he ended up with some playing cards and a coffee mug.  Last time he got a stave from one of the used barrels.  They make some really cool stuff with those barrels - if only they weren't so expensive.  One stave was enough.  He's got it hanging on the wall behind his bar in the basement.

With all the driving and touring and shopping, we were all getting a bit hungry.  So, when we saw a sign out front of a restaurant advertising, "Good Food" we went inside.  We didn't need any commercials blasting through  5.1 speakers to convince us.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that the menu prices were reasonable, and the food sounded quite tasty.  The only problem - she was out of quite a few things, onion rings for one - due to the holidays, business had been good, I guess, and deliveries messed up.  Dad and Jeffrey ordered some burgers which turned out to be huge, mom ordered a Philly Steak sandwich - out of chips so she got fries, and I ordered a Corned Beef on Rye except on Texas toast.  But, she was out of corned beef - insert sad face here - so I ordered the Philly Steak, too.

The food was really good!  Like I said, the burgers were huge - 2 huge patties on each - and the Philly steak was just right.  The sign was right - so if you're ever in Lynchburg and see a sign advertising good food, stop in and get a bite to eat.

Of course, now I'm hungry for corned beef, so I'm going to have to find someplace else to get that.
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A Visit with Jack

A wall showing how much a single barrel will f...
Image via Wikipedia
Since we're so close - about 3 hours - Jeffrey just had to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, TN.  He talked about it last year but decided it was more important to stay and spend time with family.  This year he just couldn't pass it up again.  We took Mom & Dad with us so we got to spend time with them on the car ride there and back - and during the tour.

We'd been there one other time, but not since Jeffrey became a Tennessee Squire, and mom & dad hadn't been before.  It was a gorgeous day, warm and sunny enough for Native Sunglasses, and the tour is really interesting.  If you have a chance to go - do it!  It's free, takes about an hour, and you get to enjoy some great smells.  You can't actually have any whiskey because the Distillery sits in a dry county - but the smells are great, and it's fun to see how this little place puts out all the Jack Daniel's whiskey produced in the whole world.  Everything involved in the process of creating this Tennessee sipping whiskey is done right there in the Hollow - building the barrels, making the charcoal, making the sour mash, mellowing the whiskey through 10 feet of charcoal drip by drip, aging the whiskey in the barrels until the taster says it's ready...

We also got to see the World's Largest Bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey, and we got to go into the Squire's room where Jeffrey got a gift for visiting and we got to see some more Jack memorabilia, most of it donated by other squires - a room we hadn't been able to visit last time. I have a feeling Jeffrey will want to visit again one of these days.  He says he's going to buy one of those barrels (Single Barrel) one of these days.  He'll have to go then to choose his barrel.  I guess we'll see.

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You will be seeing a whole bunch of random, short posts popping up here.  Why?  I write paid posts for a certain website.  I haven't been getting any assignments for a while - or maybe one a week.  Before we left home, I checked and noted that I had one due today - 12/29.  I've been busy.

A few minutes ago I logged in to take care of that - only to find 8 more assignments that have to be done by tomorrow.  Eight!  When I've barely been getting any.  Why they wait until I'm away from home and away from my computer most of the time is beyond me...

So, somehow I've got to figure out how to write 8 posts with included keywords/links - probably all tonight because Jeffrey says we might head home tomorrow.

And I wanted to play dominoes!

Something for My Mom

I suppose, since I'm visiting my parents you're wondering if I brought any gift baskets for mom. Nope, I didn't.  I guess I'm not a very good daughter, huh?

We did bring some wine and snacks to share.  And I brought a sweatshirt I was planning to get rid of.  I started to donate it to Goodwill like I do most of the things I don't want anymore - and I need to get rid of plenty more things!  But then I looked at the sweatshirt and realized it said Kentucky and had a picture of a horse on it, so I packed it up and brought it for my niece - because she loves horse, and she lives in Kentucky.  I guess she must like it because she's been wearing it today.

My mom said maybe it would have fit her...

I guess it would have, but I didn't give her a sweatshirt either.  I guess I'll have to think of something she'll enjoy and send it to her later - or maybe I'll use that as incentive to get her to visit this next summer since we don't have any graduations or new babies being born this year.  At least, not that I know of.

Still Not Home

Once we left Lexington, Jeffrey and I drove a couple hours to visit my parents - and brother, sister-in-law and their 4 adorable kids.  We have been blessed enough to see mom & dad a couple times a year these past few years.  They came up for Beth's graduation in 2009, came for Cory's graduation in 2010, and then came again last summer to see their brand-new great-grandson, Jason.  Then, each year since we started going to the Winter Family Weekend in Lexington, we've taken a few days to visit them, since they live in the same state and just a couple hours away.  It would be a shame not to!

So, after spending a great weekend with great friends, we're getting to spend some time with family.  It makes it hard to even think about going home or to even think about writing anything about eyelash enhancer! But, Cory's at home, and it will be nice to get to spend some time with him before he runs off to ACTF with the cast and crew of his play - and we have to get home in time to see it again on Monday night!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hangin' With My Friends

I haven't been around much - at all - because we've been busy spending time with a whole bunch of wonderful people.  This was our 3rd time going to the Winter Family Weekend in Lexington, KY - where we get to fellowship, eat and play all weekend.  We don't get much sleep, but we can all sleep later, right?
Game Night - Double Hearts w/ some really fun people

I love spending time with old friends and making new ones.  Even the sore muscles from playing volleyball two days in a row are good!  I won't talk about my friend Jeana beating up on my in the Sumo Wrestling circle - but I might post the video if I ever get it, because I know it's hilarious to watch.  (Even if it might be embarrassing to me - you won't laugh at me, right?)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Refresh and Redecorate with PartyLite

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PartyLite Simple Pleasures Holiday Sweepstakes for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's been years since I've hosted or attended anything like a PartyLite party.  It seems like all the ladies in our old neighborhood took turns hosting parties.  We had parties for food storage products, rubber stamps, kitchen products, lingerie, you name it.  I'm not sure if it wasn't around yet or if we just missed that one, but I can't remember anyone having a PartyLite party.  I think I'd remember, because I love candles.  According to PartyLite, they have the very best candles you can buy anywhere!  Checking out their website, it looks like they have some really nice stuff - scented candles, candle warmers, home decor accessories, reed diffusers and more!

I'm really not sure who I'd invite to a party, but there are some really nice incentives for hosting, including FREE candles.  It can be a great way to "redecorate and refresh" every season at no or nearly no cost and have fun too.  I'll have to think about it.  The PartyLite Winter/Spring 2012 Catalog launched on Dec. 16, so I'm sure there are plenty of new items people will want.  I'm liking the looks of this ScentWarmer pictured here - if I find a scent I like.

Like PartyLite Facebook to find out about special monthly offers online for party hosts and guests, and sign up to host your own PartyLite party.   Unfortunately it's too late to enter the PartyLite Simple Pleasures Holiday Sweepstakes, but it's not too late to earn free candles and home decor for your house!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Options, Harder Decisions

I was just thinking the other day that it's been more than a year since we had everything on our house re-done.  Time sure flies!  And I am still really liking the green siding, which is really good since we're 'stuck' with it for a good long time now, huh?  We're still appreciating how nice everything turned out, maybe not every time we pull into the driveway, but often enough.  I guess it was worth all the decisions we had to make in choosing everything!

I was talking to someone not too long ago about building a house and all the choices that have to be made - from siding, shutters, and shingles to carpeting, paint, and pendant lighting - so many decisions!  I said I thought it was easier when we first built the house because there were limited options to choose from.  I don't think we had more than 10 choices for siding colors and shingles, if that many.  And we couldn't choose the same ones that our immediate neighbors had already picked - which is good so you don't have identical houses sitting side by side, but that limited the options even more.  There were a few options for carpet colors and vinyl flooring patterns, and maybe 2 or 3 cabinet wood colors and styles.

We did have a few more choices when it came to picking out the lights in the house.  They gave us a total budget and sent us to a lighting store to pick out the lights for the whole house.  An entire store full of lights of all types - ceiling fan lights, fluorescent lights for the kitchen, the pendant lighting for over the bar and the dining room table, the lights to go over the mirrors in the bathrooms.  It took a while, but we picked out our lights, and I'm still happy with them, so I guess we did OK.  Imagine if we'd had a website like LampClick to choose from.  It would have taken weeks, instead of one long afternoon in the store.  I don't even need any new lighting right now, and I'm still browsing through the site picking out things I like.  There are so many options!  You can browse by style, finish, price, and even height and width.  You can even shop by room!  With all the tools for narrowing down the options, it might be a lot easier to find just the right lighting than I originally thought - given all the options.

When we were picking new siding, new shingles, and all the other details when we had to get them redone last year after the tornado, the decisions were so much harder than when we first built the house - because there were so many more things to choose from.  The new contractor gave us many more options to choose from than our original contractor.  I don't know if it's because there are more options out there now, or if the builder got especially good deals on certain things so that's all they made available for us to choose from, which probably helped to keep the cost of building the house down.  While it was easier to make choices when there were limited options to choose from, in the end I'd rather have more options.  It may make the choosing harder, but the end result is more likely to be something we're going to like for a long time.

The Hobbit!

I keep watching this trailer, and I don't know how we're supposed to see this and then wait a whole year to see the movie.  It looks so good.

I guess I'll just have to read the book again. 

Fun fact: my 6th grade teacher was the one who introduced me (the class) to The Hobbit.  He read the book out loud to us over the course of the school year.  Actually, I can't remember how long it took to get through the book, but I know we enjoyed it.

And, in a year, we'll get to enjoy the movie.  Who else is impatient?

3•2•1 Slim - Fast!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Slim-Fast for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I haven't really had a problem with my weight since freshman year in college.  They say now that the 'Freshman 15' is a myth, but I think I must've gained at least the 15 my freshman year, if not more.  Thankfully I was aware of my weight gain and determined to take care of that before it got totally out of hand.  I swam and played basketball every day all summer, and I ate better.  Between the physical activity and better eating habits, I lost most of the weight I'd gained by the time my 2nd year of college started.   Since then I've tried to stay active and eat right.
When Jeffrey and I first got married and I worked in a department store, I lost about 10 pounds right away because I was on my feet and moving all day long - from the front of the store to the back, up and down the stairs, etc.  I didn't need to go to the gym.  I got my exercise at work!  So you're probably wondering why I ever tried Slim-Fast, aren't you?  Well, first of all I got a good deal - sale, coupon, something like that - and I thought it sounded good.  So I tried it, and I liked it. What I liked about it was that, if I had a Slim-Fast shake for breakfast, I wasn't starving before break time.  It really did keep me feeling full and satisfied for hours - better than a regular breakfast.
I'm sure that's a big reason Slim-Fast helps people who are trying to slim down.  Slim-Fast shakes provide up to four hours of hunger control and offer 10 grams of protein, five grams of fiber and 24 essential vitamins and minerals, making it easier to stick to a plan and achieve weight loss goals.  The Slim-Fast 3•2•1 Plan promises quick results when followed correctly.  It's a great way to lose weight and look fabulous for that special upcoming occasion - or just to get a start on the rest of your life with a slimmer, healthier you.  The Plan consists of 3 nourishing snacks, 2 Slim-Fast shakes or meal bars, and 1 500-calorie balanced meal per day.  When you start a Plan, you can also register on the Slim-Fast site and use all of the great features of the site - chart your progress, personalize a meal plan, get recipes, and connect with others for inspiration and support.
Besides the shake mixes that I tried, Slim-Fast has recently introduced the richest, creamiest, best-tasting shakes ever in nice convenient bottles designed to go anywhere, along with their meal bars and snack bars - all in delicious sounding flavors.  There is a lot of chocolate!  But the Fruit & Yogurt Trail Mix Meal Bar looks really good to me - rolled oats, roasted almonds and cranberries - yum!

 Slim-Fast products are available online from and with free delivery on orders over $25, as well as retailers nationwide, including Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway and Kroger.  Like Slim-Fast on Facebook and enter to win a $10,000 Wow! Moment as well as instant prizes like gift cards and free Slim-Fast.
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Check Out This Phone the LG DoublePlay™

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of LG DoublePlay™ for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Since I've got Beth's old phone as my own for a while, I'm learning what I like about smart phones, and what I don't like.  So far I'm liking that I can do more things with this phone than I could with my old one.  It's awesome to be able to check facebook or the web right from my phone and to play games with my friends on the phone.  Some days I don't even turn on my computer until late in the day because I can do so many things on the phone.  I have no idea how much time I actually spend on texting and interacting with people on my phone each month, but I am spending more time on the phone than ever before.
On the other hand, I do feel a bit limited.  The battery life and internal memory on this phone leave a lot to be desired!  I know I'll be looking for something with more internal memory - so I can install as many apps as I want - and hopefully get better battery life, too.  I'm thinking I want to find something with a slide-out keyboard too.  It just seems to take longer to update my facebook status or send a text when I'm trying to type on the touchscreen keyboard.  I don't send that many texts every day, but still, an actual physical keyboard would help.

I'm really liking the looks of this LG DoublePlay™ phone.  Not only does it have the slide-out keyboard, but it has two screens!  Two!  This phone lets you do two things at once - play games while chatting or texting with your friends, watch videos while chatting or texting, surf the web while chatting, etc.  It's practically like a mini-computer, or at least the ultimate phone for a mult-tasker.   Or maybe I should say the ultimate social multi-tasker, because this phone seems to be all about doing everything you want to do online while simultaneously keeping in touch with your friends - which is basically what a phone is for, right?
Available exclusively at T-Mobile, the LG DoublePlay™ runs on Android™ 2.3 (Gingerbread), has access to Android Market™ and allows complete user customization with seven home screens and up to nine touchscreen shortcuts for one-touch navigation, which I would probably have to get my teenage son to set up for me!  It also comes with a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p HD video recorder and several different messaging options, including Cloud Text™ and Group Text™  - which I don't really understand, but I'm sure the 'kids' would have no problem using!  Once I figured it all out, I'm sure I'd spend even more time on the phone - kinda like those 'kids' who already spend every waking moment on their cell phones.  Moms can do it too.

How much time do you spend on your phone?  Do you send a lot of texts and do a lot of your social networking from your phone?  Check out the LG DoublePlay™ and imagine all the things you can do with this phone!   How do you think it would change the way you interact with your friends and your social networks?  Want one?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Left $3 on the Table

I went grocery shopping today, but first I went and got the oil changed on the van.  There's usually a coupon for the oil change, and I had one - $5 off.  Plus they gave me a coupon for a free car wash and $10 off my next oil change.  Not a bad deal.

That is, until I went on to Walmart and opened this coupon app I have on my new smart phone.  If I'd thought to check the app when I was getting the oil changed, I could have saved another $3!  I hate not saving all the money I could have.  Free money there for the taking, and I left it on the table!  I probably should have driven back to the oil change place and checked to see if they could give me an adjustment, but I didn't...

I am definitely going to have to get used to having this phone and all the extra options it has.  Of course, I've already found out why Beth didn't like this phone - not enough internal storage.  I've added this coupon app and a couple games, and the phone is already yelling at me that it's low on storage space.  Really?  Which means when I upgrade my phone, I'm definitely looking for one with plenty of internal storage so I can add the apps I want without worrying about running out of space.  In the meantime, I need to be choosy about the apps I install and only keep the ones I'm really going to use.  So far that's Words with Friends. *grin*

So, here's where you can help.  What coupon apps do you use?  Which is the best, and how do I remember to use it?  Let me know - because you know I'm all about saving the money!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When Math Just Doesn't Add Up

My daughter Beth has always loved math.  She's even talking about going to school and becoming a math teacher.  I know that whatever she decides to do she will be really good at it, because that's how she is.  When she sets her mind to something, there's no stopping her.  Then again, if she doesn't want to do something, there's nothing anybody can do to get her to do it.  What do you call that?  Stubborn?  Determined?

There was that one semester in high school when she actually failed a math class.  That's right - failed with a big fat F.  She blamed it on the teacher, and from what she said he wasn't a very good teacher, but she really wasn't willing to do or try anything else.  She just expected the teacher to teach in the way she needed to be taught, and because he didn't, it was all his fault.  Maybe we should have found her a
Math Tutor who could have worked with her and explained things in a way she could understand, but we didn't.  Everyone learns differently, and it would take a very special teacher to address the learning needs of every student in the class.  Sometimes one-on-one tutoring is exactly what's needed.  (According to a 1999 UN study, 70% of students worldwide work with a tutor by the time they graduate from high school, most of them for help in math!)  A tutor can explain the concepts that just aren't making sense in class in a way and at a pace that works with the learning needs of the individual student.

Beth just had to take that semester of the class over again the following year.  The second time she took it, she got an A+ - on the exact same material with the exact same teacher.  So, for Beth it was a matter of deciding that she was going to do it instead of looking for excuses.  In the end I think she may have learned more from failing the class than she would have if she'd passed the first time.  Education shouldn't be about sitting in a class expecting someone, the teacher, to pour all this knowledge into your head.  Education should be more about learning how to learn, how to find the answers you need in any given situation, because that's something you can use the rest of your life.

Of course, she might also use that math knowledge if she becomes a math teacher.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Clean Like a Pro

When my kids were little, I had a regular cleaning schedule, and thinking back on it, I seem to remember that I actually kept my house clean.  Yes, I know - even with little kids!

Either my memory is faulty or I was Superwoman back then, because I can't figure out how to get everything done nowadays!  I still have a schedule, but it pretty much just covers doing laundry on Mondays and washing the towels on Tuesdays.  Clean bathrooms on Thursdays?  Vacuum every week?  Yeah, right...  So, when I found this article on Cleaning Like a Pro, I thought it would be worth a try.

The article outlines the tried-and-true system used by the professional cleaners that work for Molly Maids and claims that normal people like you and I can employ the same techniques in our own homes.  OK, how does this system work?

First, they say to start in the room that is farthest from the front door - I wonder if that would be my bathroom, or should I count the basement?  Whichever room that is, they say to start at the right of the doorframe and move from top to bottom, left to right, and clean everything in your path.  Finish up by vacuuming or mopping the floor and making your way out the door.  Do the same thing in the rest of the rooms, saving the kitchen for last.

In the bathroom, they say to apply cleaning solution to the tub and shower area before starting the right of the doorframe, top to bottom, left to right routine.  That gives the cleaner time to do its job, and you wipe that down last.

In the kitchen, which you've saved for last, always start to the right of the stove, which they say is generally the messiest area in the room.  Remove stove grates and soak them while you clean the rest of the kitchen.  Again, move top to bottom, left to right.  And then, I guess they move on out the door.

Well, now I see my problem - I always start in the kitchen!  No wonder I can't get my house clean...  My stove grates will never need soaked while I clean the rest of my kitchen, though.  I occasionally wash them along with the rest of my dishes, but they are never that dirty!

How about you?  Do you have a system that works for getting your house clean or any tips to share?  I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to hear them!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Master the Meal w/ GravyMaster

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of GravyMaster for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love to cook.  I can usually look at a recipe and pretty much tell what it's going to taste like before I even try it.  Sometimes I know that it would be even better if I add a little of this or a little of that.  Other times, though, I can make something, and even though I know it needs something, I don't know exactly what that something is.  I've got a cupboard full of spices, but picking the right one isn't  always that easy.  Chili is one of those things that I'm never sure about.  Chili Powder and, what?

I found this recipe for Chili Stuffed Potatoes that looks really good:
Chili Stuffed Potatoes
The recipe uses canned chili, which I don't usually buy, but it gave me an idea - add GravyMaster to my chili.  Just looking at the name GravyMaster, I would have thought it was just for gravy - but the folks who make GravyMaster are trying to get the word out that it's not just for gravy.  Sure it's good for gravy.  In fact, cooks have been using it to make great gravies since 1935!  But it's also good for caramelizing vegetables & meats or locking in juices while grilling meats, fish or vegetables, and it's a wonderful addition to sauces or marinades.  This may be just what I need for those times when I'm not sure just what to add.  I think I'll start with the chili!  It's definitely time for a big pot of chili.

GravyMaster contains a carefully concentrated blend of celery, onion, parsley, garlic, caramel, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, apple cider vinegar, salt and pure cane sugar.  NO chemical preservatives, artificial color, flavors or additives are ever used - so I won't feel like I'm adding anything to my food that I shouldn't.

There are several recipes on the GravyMaster website to get us started using GravyMaster and being able to Master the meal - which is where I found the recipe for the Chili Stuffed Potatoes.  Check out the recipes and let me know which ones look good to you or what else you'd use GravyMaster for.  Don't have GravyMaster in your cupboard (like me)?  It's available at most grocery stores, in the aisle with the gravies, or you canorder it from the GravyMaster website.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Not So Cold After All

I'm feeling kind of cold today.  Blame winter!

Truthfully, it's plenty warm enough in here, and I really am thankful for a heated house and warm clothes!  When I was growing up we heated our house with a wood stove.  Actually we heated 2 rooms (sort of) with our wood stove.  Sometimes it was so cold that we could stand right next to that stove until the side of our body next to the stove was burning up - while the side away from the stove was still frozen!  I don't think that stove was very efficient...

Going to bed was an adventure.  We did not heat the upstairs where the bedrooms were, and we did not have electric blankets on our beds.  We'd pile the blankets on the beds and wear flannel pajamas, and lots of times we'd heat a brick on the wood stove, wrap it in a towel and take it to bed to keep our feet warm.  Still, there were lots of nights I thought I'd never get warm.  Only to wake up (sometimes with snow on my pillow) in the morning when mom or dad called up the stairs that it was time to get up for school.  I must've gotten warm and fallen asleep somewhere along the line!  But having to climb out of my now-warm bed into the frigidness of my bedroom - not fun!  The best thing was to just get it over with, jumping out of bed and getting dressed as quickly as possible.

Looking back on it now, I should have slept with my school clothes in the bed with me, so I'd have warm clothes to put on.  But, I was a teenage girl who never could decide what to wear - which is again hard to believe considering the only things I ever wore to school were t-shirts and jeans.  I did probably make up my mind faster in the winter time...

Nope, it's not that cold in here after all!

Burn 480 Extra Calories Today without Going to the Gym

I found this in a magazine I was going through, and I was going to post this after Thanksgiving - but obviously didn't get around to it.  For all of you in the midst of your holiday season where you might be eating more than usual, perhaps you can still use these calorie burning ideas.
  • Make your bed instead of leaving it all rumpled, as usual - maybe even put on fresh sheets.  You'll burn 30 calories.
  • Park in the spot that's farthest from your office or train and power walk there (about 3 minutes each way).  You'll burn 40 calories.
  • Forget email.  Actually deliver 15 messages or so to coworkers in person.  You'll burn 68 calories.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you get to work, when you go out to grab lunch, and when you leave.  For 6 flights you'll burn 58 calories.
  • Walk the 3 blocks to Starbucks, rather than driving, to pick up your skim latte.  You'll burn 65 calories.  (of course, you'll probably take in more than 65 calories, but who's counting?)
  • Leave the grocery cart in the store and tote the bags to the car and also, of course, into the house.  You'll burn 35 calories.
  • Do a half hour of chores.  You'll burn 75 calories.
  • Get off the couch and pace around (or do those chores) while you chat on the phone with a friend for 20 minutes.  You'll burn 64 calories.
  • Special bonus: Crawl into bed and have sex!  You'll burn 45 calories (and live longer, but that's another story).
Extra calories burned throughout the day: 480!  (all calculation based on a 140-pound woman)

Some or all of these may not fit into your day, but the point is to get up and get moving!  Think of little ways to burn those extra calories, and it all adds up at the end of the day.  The goal is to burn at least as many, if not more, calories than you take in every day.  If you're going to be eating more, you need to be moving more.

What are you going to do today?
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

I missed last Tuesday.  Who noticed?  Anybody?  It's my own fault because I just didn't get around to posting until late - as my habit seems to be, and we had a play to attend last Tuesday evening.  We loved it, just in case you were wondering.   We went back and saw it again on closing night and enjoyed it even more.  We picked up on things the second time that we'd missed the first time. 

I'm hating all these political commercials.  Usually we only have to put up with them around election time, which is bad enough, but there's this whole recall effort thing going on.  I wonder how many people would be calling for a recall and signing petitions if they were the ones who had to pay the costs - because, seriously, why should the rest of us have to pay for their nonsense?  And then there's the teacher who voices her opinion that it just all sounds like sour grapes, people who didn't get their way - which is exactly what it sounds like to me too - and everyone is making her life miserable for speaking out.  I guess you're only allowed to speak out if you're on the side of the complainers?  Speaking of the complainers - there's this one commercial where the dad complains there aren't enough chairs in his daughter's classroom for all the kids - and he blames it on the governor.  What - did I miss where the governor went into the schools and made them get rid of chairs?  How is this his fault?  If there really aren't enough chairs, then there probably weren't enough chairs before Scott Walker took office.  Were they blaming the last governor?  Really, I hate politics because it all just seems so childish.

I finally got a smart phone.  It was just last year about this time that I upgraded my phone because we put texting on our plan.  I didn't really understand what the point of texting was and why people do it so much - but then I figured out I could tweet and post to facebook from my phone, and I was hooked!  OK, not completely hooked because it's really easier to just do all that stuff from my computer, but it is handy when I'm away from home.  But, the 'boys' got new phones this summer, and we upgraded our plan to include data, but my phone only had limited access.  So, this past week, Beth got a new phone, and she gave me her old one - which is only a few months old because she had problems with her phone, and they sent her a brand-new one.  So why did she need a new one?  Well, she didn't really, but she got a good deal, and she wanted one.  She wasn't really impressed with this phone she gave me, but it lets me use our data plan and play with a smart phone so I'll have a better idea what I want when I decide to upgrade.  While we were at it, we moved our home phone number to our cell phone plan, so that's my new number.  Nobody really knew my cell phone number anyway, and we've had the home number for years.  I just have to get used to having my cell phone with me all the time - like everybody else and their phones.  On the plus side - it's so much easier to play Words  with Friends on the phone than it ever was on my computer!

It's getting cold.  Morning temperatures are expected to be in the teens the next few days.  Yes, I know winter is pretty much here, but it takes a bit to get used to it.  Cold weather means we have to stop pretending winter isn't coming and make sure we're ready.  I think all the neighbors have taken in the patio furniture and put the pool covers on, but if not, now's the time.  We've got all the deck furniture put away, and we finally brought the wind chimes and hanging decorations in.  We hung them downstairs in the basement where they'll be safe from the winds of winter.

Beth found out this morning that the family she works for won't be needing her any more after this week is over.  It is what's best for the family, but now Beth has to figure out to do next.  If anyone in this area needs a wonderful nanny, I can hook you up!

And that's about all I can think of right now.  I know there were things floating around in my head - until I sat down...  Tune in next Tuesday.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Kennedy Center Here They Come!

The play Cory was is a part of - The Edwin Booth Company Presents... - has been chosen to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) regional festival at  the U of I at Champaign-Urbana in early January!

About the festival:
In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the finest of each region's entered productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs. Regional festival productions are judged by a panel of three judges selected by the Kennedy Center and the KCACTF national committee. These judges in consultation with the Artistic Director select four to six of the best and most diverse regional festival productions to be showcased in the spring at the annual noncompetitive national festival at the Kennedy Center, all expenses paid.
We saw the play two times - opening night and again last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times.  What a great group of talented young people!  We're definitely proud and excited for them!

Please consider donating to help them raise some of the funds needed to present “The Edwin Booth Company Presents…” at KCACTF. For a donation of $20 or more you can get an autographed copy of the program - plus an autographed poster if you donate $50 or more.  

Any little bit is welcome, encouraged, and greatly appreciated.  
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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Shop Online and Earn Cash With BigCrumbs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of BigCrumbs for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've never understood the term 'retail therapy' because going shopping is not my idea of fun.  I mean, I like seeing how much money I can save.  I just don't  like having to go out and do it where I have to deal with  people and crowds.  If I really need something, I'll go shopping, but it's definitely not relaxing or enjoyable.  Especially right now when everybody is out doing their holiday shopping - I'd rather not be anywhere near a mall!

What I love is online shopping.  I still don't like to spend unnecessary money, but if I'm going to buy something, I like to check online first.  Many times I can get the exact same thing for a better price - and have it delivered right to my door!  It saves so much time and frustration.  Online shopping is even better when I get cash back on all my purchases!  It's like getting paid to shop - or the easiest rebates ever!  No receipt copies or upc codes to mail in, just clicking a link before checking out.

I just found out about a new cash back site called - new to me, anyway so I'm signing up right away.  They claim to be one of the highest-paying cash back rewards sites around, and from looking around a bit, I'm going to have to agree.  I'm seeing some pretty high percentages, and they have over 1200 of the top online stores - like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.  Yep, I shop at all of those!  Another plus is that BigCrumbs pays monthly, as long as you have a minimum balance of $1.  The other cash back sites I've joined make  you wait months or accumulate a much larger balance before you get paid.

BigCrumbs is free to join so why not sign up today and start getting cash back on all your onlilne purchases!  You can also earn money by referring all your friends.  I'm getting ready to sign up right now, but I asked my facebook friends for a referral first, because I'd love to help somebody earn more money.  And if you haven't joined yet, I'd appreciate it if you'd use my referral link.  I'll post it in the comments and in my sidebar as soon as I get signed up.  And then we can all start getting cash back on all of our online purchases!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, December 02, 2011

Packit - Way Better Than a Brown Bag!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PackIt for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Picture 17
My kids always took their lunches to school.  Except when Beth got into high school and decided she was 'too good' to take her lunch - or maybe just too lazy to  pack it - but that's another story.  What I did not know at the time is that those ice packs we used to keep their lunches cold only last 2 hours.  Maybe they lasted a bit longer in the  insulated lunch sacks we used, but they definitely weren't cold when the kids came home at the end of a school day, and if anything was leftover from lunch I didn't feel comfortable keeping it for another day.  Was the food in their lunches really not cold enough by lunch time?  Thankfully nobody got sick, but  these PackIt lunch boxes would have been so much better.

The entire Packit folds up and goes into the freezer, and the bag itself is the ice pack.  That means everything you put into it is completely surrounded, and it stays cold for 10 hours - meaning through lunch time and through the entire school day.  Like they show in the video, any leftovers can be refrigerated for another day, no doubting if they're still good.

Right now you can buy one Packit for $19.95 and get one FREE, so it's a good time to get some for yourself.  Start sending healthy lunches to school with your kids.  Take your own lunch to work, pack snacks for a car trip, take a picnic to the park.  These Packit bags could be handy any time you need to keep things cold on the go.  I may not have kids taking lunches to school any more, but I could sure use something like this for road trips.  Let me tell you, any time you can pack and take food from home instead of buying it at the convenience store or the fast food place, or even at school, you are going to save money!  

Let me know what you'd use PackIt lunch boxes for, and be sure to check out the Packit website to learn more and take advantage of this limited-time BOGO deal.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Christmas is All About

and that's why I don't do Christmas and why it bugs me to see people trying to 'Keep Christ in Christmas' - because you can't keep Him in something He was never in to begin with.

That and all the shopping and selfishness and stress and going into debt....  so thankful I don't have to mess with all that and so perplexed as to why people who know better - or at least used to know better - would want to start doing it. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Hadn't Even Made the Coffee

Jeffrey left for work this morning, and I went for my walk.  (Yeah, he's still not back to walking with me in the mornings - we really must do something about that.)  I got back, stretched, and then did one of my exercise videos.  As we got to the cool-down, everything went dark.  The power went out - again.  In case you missed it, we were without power on Tuesday night for an hour and a half.  The power company called later and said it was a blown fuse.  Thankfully a power outage in the daytime isn't quite as bad as one at night.  I opened all the window curtains and let the light in so I didn't have to sit in the dark.  At night opening the curtains does absolutely no good.

Pretty much all I did all morning was read because there's really not much that can be done with no electricity.  I couldn't even make my morning coffee!  I tried making it with hot tap water in my French press, but no matter how hot the water might feel, it's not really hot enough for coffee.  I did unpack my clothes from the weekend, sort the laundry, go through all the mail, and make the bed.  Though I was sorely tempted to close those same window curtains I opened and climb right back into that bed!  But I didn't.  If I'd known how long the power was going to be out, I just might have.  We have some really nice curtains in the bedroom that block out most of the light when they're closed.  It would have been nice and dark and cozy - perfect for sleeping.  I've been thinking about moving the curtains from the living room to the bedroom, because the color is perfect with our new comforter, but I don't think they're quite as good at blocking out the light, which is important in a bedroom.  Also, I'm not sure the bedroom curtains will look good in the living room or if I'd have to find new ones for the living room.  So, I'm still thinking about it.

Anyway, because I called to report the power outage about 5 minutes after it happened, the power company had my number and kept calling to update me on their progress - which was really nice.  The  power went out shortly after 8am.  They called me at 9:40am and told me it was more serious than they originally thought and estimated the power would be back around 11am.  Then they called again around 10:40am and told me it would be noon before the power would be back.  I really would have had plenty of time for a nap!

The power finally came back about 11:30am, and I made some real coffee and got busy doing all the things I couldn't do without electricity.  Hopefully they got everything fixed right this time, and we won't have any more power outages for a long time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Are Your Computers Protected?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Norton Small Business by Symantec for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you've ever had a computer crash because of a virus, you know how important anti-virus software is.  And if you haven't - consider yourself very, very lucky, and get some anti-virus software on your computer immediately!  Or sooner.  We've had to start over several times because a stupid computer virus wiped out everything.  Why do these people do this, anyway?

As annoying as it can be for an individual like me, imagine how devastating a computer virus could be for a small business.  We lost personal files and some pictures. Most businesses nowadays rely heavily on technology to keep track of everything, from employee hours to customer orders.  A computer virus could wipe all that out, resulting in unhappy employees, unhappy customers, and many frustrated hours trying to recover everything.  That's why it's a really good idea for small businesses to get Norton Small Business by Symantec to protect themselves from the latest online threats.  There are several different products to choose from to get the right protection for the right cost.

We've used several different Norton products on our personal computers and always been very happy with them.  I think the viruses got us when we were running something else - all anti-virus programs are not created equal.   There are a couple new Norton options - Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security 2012 that just launched this past September.  It's definitely worth checking out to see which products will best keep you safe on the Internet.

You can also get 30% off Norton Small Business Products now so it's a really good time to buy and get all the office computers protected.  Or all your home computers, I suppose.  The small business products are for 5-10 computers, and we have about that many computers in our house!  How about you?  How could Norton products help you?  Which product do you think would be best for your needs?  I like the Norton 360 because it does everything - anti-virus, automatic back-up and access to your backups from any computer,  keeps your computer running at top speed, and lets you do your banking and online business worry-free.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I Like About Fall

I like all the seasons.  My favorite one is always the one we're in.  I figure I can't change it, so I might as well enjoy it!  So right now my favorite season is Fall.  I like the cooler weather after the heat of summer, even though we usually don't get super hot summers in Wisconsin.  I love the colors on the trees as the leaves change.  I love the smell in the air - except when there's too much smoke in the air from burning leaves.  I love wearing jeans and boots and hoodies.  And I love that it's finally soup weather!  You just can't enjoy a good bowl of soup in the summertime.

Once winter gets here, it will still be great weather for soup and boots, but we'll have to start wearing heavy coats and hats and gloves when we go out.  A hoodie won't be quite enough.  I'll still wear them around the house, though.  I like the zipper ones best because I can take them on and off without pulling them over my head and messing up my hair.  We keep the house fairly cool in the winter, so I definitely need to wear a sweatshirt, but when I get busy baking or doing dishes, I need to be able to take them off quickly and easily.  That's why I love the zipper hoodies better than any other sweatshirts.  They're even good in the summertime, when the guys in my house turn the air conditioning on, even though I shouldn't need them in the summer!

That's right, I enjoy the cooler weather in the Fall because it's supposed to be cooler.  I don't like artificial coolness caused by air conditioning.  I love sweaters and hoodies and all the other cooler-weather clothing; I just don't like it in the summer time when it's supposed to be warm!  To each season its own time, and I love it when it gets here - but not before.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's nice to have a day set aside each year to remind us to be thankful, but I'm thinking that every day should be Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

We'll find out tonight who wins the Mirrorball Trophy on Dancing with the Stars - and then I won't have anything I need to watch on Tuesday nights!  (then what?)

I was thankful for the digital books on my tablet this evening.  About half an hour before DWTS was supposed to come on, the power went out, and we were thrown into darkness.  The tablet gave off a nice glow!  And, I could still read, even without power.  Way better than a book and a flashlight!

I found this on Pinterest today - how to get rid of that awful gap in the back of jeans - right after I had posted my solution - wear guy jeans.  I might have to try this.  Surely even I can sew this much, right?  I think it's definitely worth a try.

Dancing with the Stars is over, and J.R. won!  It turned out the way I thought it should - J.R., Rob, then Ricki.  I originally thought Ricki would come in 2nd, but Rob really put it together last night and has steadily improved.  His timing was right!  But J.R. was just plain awesome - a good dancer who just had that extra something special.

I think the whole Black Friday thing is absolutely ridiculous, and it's getting worse.  Many stores are opening at midnight Friday morning.  I remember working at Kohl's years ago, and we thought it was crazy that we were opening at 7 or 7:30am - and couldn't believe the people who lined up outside the doors waiting for us to open.  Well, they just interviewed some people who are already lined up for those Black Friday sales.  Already!  They are planning to camp out in the parking lot for the next couple days so they can be first in line for those sales.  Really?  Is there anything they can possibly need that much? I'm sure those televisions, game systems, or sexy school girl outfits will go on sale again - or even better, on clearance later after this whole retail orgy called Christmas is over.

I got an email today asking me to sign a petition to "Stop Wisconsin's discriminatory voter ID law" - which I am not going to sign.  I can't for the life of me figure out what the big deal is.  It actually surprises me that we haven't always had to provide an ID to vote.  Really, not a big deal but there are so many people - on both sides of every issue - who have to make a big deal out of everything.  It's enough to drive you crazy.

Another thing that drives me crazy - things like this:

I could agree.  Often it's something that I would agree with, would even like - except I just can't, not when they can't even bother to get the words right.  It's not even like they typed it into a blog post or an email - they took the time to create a graphic!  And, if that's not bad enough, other people actually like it and share it and pass it around the Internet.

OK, my Tuesday is over.  It's time for bed.  Tune in next week!!

You Don't Have to Pay a Lot for Glasses

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zenni Optical for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of my friends just ordered some new glasses and sunglasses from Zenni Optical.  She wanted me or Jeffrey or Cory - one of us - to order some too.  They were offering free shipping on orders over $50, and her two pairs of glasses didn't qualify.  That's right, she was ordering two pair of prescription eyeglasses, one of them sunglasses, and her total was less than $50.  Unfortunately, none of us could help her out because Cory already has two pair of glasses, I already have two pair - including the pair I paid too much for at a local eye doctor, and I don't want to talk about! - and Jeffrey couldn't decide which ones he wanted.  So she had to pay Zenni Optical's regular $4.95 shipping.  It was still a really good deal.

I had a pair picked out -

Maybe.  There are lots of cute frames available at Zenni Optical, so the hardest part is deciding which one (or two) to order.  If you think getting cheap eyeglasses means you have to give up on style, you'd be wrong!  The only thing you're giving up is the over-large price.  The last time I ordered glasses from Zenni Optical, I paid about $10 for a pair, and I loved them!  And, I got lots of compliments on them, too - to which I usually responded, "$10 at Zenni Optical!"  This pair I like here is $29.95 - that includes the frame and light 1.57 index single vision lenses.  Now that I need bifocals, they'll cost a bit more, but they're still a lot cheaper than I could get them anywhere else.

How does Zenni do it?  No middlemen, no retail overhead, and practically no advertising budget,(they leave it to satisfied customers to spread the word).  They do not pay for or sell expensive, or even inexpensive, brand names, but only their own manufactured brand ZENNI.  They're high quality glasses anyone would be happy to wear.

I believe in saving money any time, but with the current economy, it's extremely important. Glasses are something that, if you need them, you need them.  You can't just not buy them.  But why should you have to spend a fortune? You could use the money you save on something else you want or need, like groceries, a night out, or a new pair of shoes!  That's why any time somebody mentions needing new glasses, I refer them to Zenni Optical.  Why pay a lot for glasses if you don't have to?  By the way, the free shipping on orders over $50 is still going on, so if you need new glasses...

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guy Jeans are the New Sweats

I like to wear sweats around the house.  They're comfy.  I can sit on the couch, sit on the floor, bend, move, clean, stretch, whatever I need to do.  However, I don't always feel like I look good enough to go out or for somebody to stop by.  Not that I should really worry about it - have you seen what people wear to Walmart?  And really, I don't go out much.

Recently though I've been wearing some of Cory's old jeans around the house.  They're just as comfy as sweats, but they look nicer because they're jeans.  Unlike girl jeans that look like they fit fine in the front -

But have way too much room in the back - (Seriously, are these jeans made for women with humps/lumps on their backs?  I can't figure out what would make these jeans fit properly)

The guy jeans have a waist that is loose enough to be comfortable, but it is evenly loose - meaning that it is loose all the way around and doesn't gap in the back.  And they don't feel like they're going to fall off because the waist just settles on my hips and stays there.  I guess if all those guys who can't seem to keep their pants up had some hips, we could avoid that pants on the ground thing!  I'm not quite sure why jeans that are made for guys with no curves seem to fit me better than jeans made for girls with curves, because that just seems wrong.  Doesn't it?  But that's how it is - except for Levi's which seem to fit me quite well with no weird gappage in the back.

I won't be getting any more old jeans from Cory because the ones he wears now are too big for me - even my hips couldn't hold them up - but I'm thinking I'll buy old guys jeans from Goodwill from now on, instead of getting sweats to wear around the house.

How about you?  Have you tried wearing guy jeans?  Or do jeans made for women fit you better than they seem to fit me?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Art of Marriage

Saw this on facebook today.  I don't know if it really was written by Paul Newman or not, but I like what it says, and considering Paul Newman's marriage lasted, I think he and his wife knew a thing or two about marriage - unlike today's Hollywood couples.

Paul Newman's letter to his wife on their wedding day:
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding rooms for things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
What today's Hollywood couples call marriage doesn't really have much to do with what marriage really is.  It makes me wonder why they even bother, and why the rest of us are supposed to care. 

Baby Signs Complete DVD Series - 50% Off

Right now you can get 7 Baby Signs DVDs for only $49.99 plus $4.95 shipping!

This set usually sells for $99.99, so now is a really good time to grab it - that's 50% off!

Babies often become frustrated by the communication barrier between them and adults. It's frustrating for parents and care givers as well when there's confusion about what baby wants. The solution? The sign language for babies program from Baby Signs! With this program babies ages 6 months to 36 months are able to learn to communicate using simple signs and gestures. This set makes the perfect gift for first time parents, seasoned parents, and anyone who works with small children. The Baby Signs Complete DVD Series is included in this deal price which means you will get all 7 DVDs for half off! A deal like this doesn't come around too often, so get it before it's gone!
The Baby Signs Complete DVD Series is a complete set of 7 DVDs:
  1. My Mealtime Signs (Teaches the signs for Eat, Drink, More, Milk, Cereal, Bib and All Done.)
  2. My Bedtime Signs (Teaches the signs for Stars, Moon, Book, Light, Sleep and Love.)
  3. My Bath Time Signs (Teaches the signs for Bath, Bubbles, Water, Toothbrush, Frog and Duck.)
  4. My Pets Signs (Teaches the signs for Cat, Dog, Bird, Bunny, Fish and Turtle.)
  5. My Park Signs (Teaches the signs for Ball, Butterfly, Slide, Flower, Tree and Swing.)
  6. My Getting Dressed Signs (Teaches the signs for Hat, Coat, Shoes, Socks, Comb and Diaper.)
  7. Bonus DVD: Welcome to the Baby Signs Program Parent DVD with 100-sign Video Dictionary
  • Deal ends on Thursday, 11/24/11 at 11:59pm MST - you must order before then to get this price.
  • Orders open to US mailing addresses only
  • Orders will be postmarked for shipping within 72 hours (working business days) of the conclusion of the deal
Order the complete Baby Signs DVD Series now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's so Hard

Do you know how hard it is to get anything done when this little guy comes to visit?

The only things I get done are playing and snuggling!  Look at that face.  Can you really blame me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

It's Tuesday again -

First - I have some friends who lost their only daughter in June.  Now they're oldest son is in the hospital with bacterial meningitis.  The infection has spread to his heart, and he will need surgery to repair or replace a couple valves in his heart - which is very risky combined with the meningitis.  He could really use a miracle!  So, if you believe in prayer, please say some for this family.  

We went to the high school this weekend to see the musical - they did The King and I.  This was the first year Jeffrey didn't run sound in years.  He did it all the time Cory was in the high school plays, and he even did it last year after Cory wasn't in it any more.  This year he just didn't have time.  It's a shame really, because even though there was supposedly some kind of sound system and mics set up, it was still really hard to hear what they were saying.

It also just isn't the same to see a play without Cory in it.  The kids who were in it did an OK job, they knew their lines and such, but they're not actors.  It's a high school production in a school without a real drama department.  They do the best they can with what they have.  Actually, that's not true - they could do a lot better if they'd involve more parents and families instead of relying on the same few to do everything every time - which is partly why they didn't have a decent sound system or anybody to run it.  The boy who played the King has an uncle who could have run the sound - he's done it for several schools and would probably have been happy to do it for his nephew's play - but they didn't know he was needed.  Oh well...

I got my hair cut today.  It was just getting a bit unruly and needed trimmed back up. I'm really liking these layers and still trying to figure out where the curls came from.  Oh well, I guess it doesn't really matter.

I put the flannel sheets on the bed yesterday - just in time, it sounds like.  It's been fairly mild, so much that I wore a sweatshirt today and didn't even need a jacket.  But things are gonna change.  They're talking cold and wind chill starting tomorrow, and a high of 36° on Thursday.  I guess it is that time of year...

I heard somewhere the other day that if you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you're not really hungry.  It really didn't make sense to me.  Anybody?  Speaking of apples, I bought some really good ones today - crisp and tart.  Apples make really good snacks!

There's this whole 'Recall the Governor' thing happening in Wisconsin right now.  I really don't understand it.  It just seems like all people want to do is complain these days.  They don't like the governor?  When his term is up, they have the opportunity to vote someone else in.  But no, they can't wait, and it just seems ridiculous and a huge waste of time and money.  Seems like there are a lot of childish people in this state.

Tune in next week. There are probably things I will remember as soon as I hit 'Publish' but I can't think of them now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reebok Class Action Settlement

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Reebok Settlement for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you bought any of the following merchandise from December 5, 2008 through October 12, 2011, you may be eligible to receive payment from this Reebok settlement.
  • Eligible Shoes:
    Easy Tone, RunTone, JumpTone, SlimTone, EasyTone Flip, TrainTone, and SimplyTone 
  • Eligible Apparel:
    EasyTone Capri, EasyTone Shorts, EasyTone Sleeveless Shirt, EasyTone Pants, EasyTone Long Bra Top and EasyTone Short Sleeve Top
 A lawsuit alleged that Reebok violated certain state laws regarding the marketing and sale of toning shoes and apparel. Reebok was charged with making claims about EasyTone and RunTone shoes that the company couldn’t support.  Reebok has denied all wrongdoing. The Court didn't decide which side was right.  Instead, the parties have decided to settle, and Reebok has agreed to pay $25 million for refunds to people who bought Reebok toning shoes or apparel.

You can read the full Press Release or call 1-888-398-5389 toll free for more information about the EasyTone Settlement and to see if you are eligible for a refund. (click to enlarge)
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I personally didn't buy any of these products, though I was curious about whether using the shoes would strengthen and tone leg and butt muscles like Reebok claimed.  I did have a pair of Reebok shorts I used to wear all the time when I went walking, until I completely wore them out and had to throw them away.  But that doesn't qualify me for any Reebok refunds.

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