Saturday, February 26, 2011

Express Spring 2011 Swim Collection

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

Basic beach gets an upgrade with bold hues and body-loving shapes.

I realize winter is still here, but it's time to start thinking about swimsuits.  Can you believe it?  I seem to collect swimsuits about the same way as I collect shoes.  Even though I already have more swimsuits than I will ever need, I love looking at women's swimwear, and I just can't help myself when I find a new one that fits.  Of course, that's the key - finding one that fits - but when I find one I must have it.  So I'm checking out the Express Spring 2011 Swim Collection.

Some highlights:
  • Available in their always-popular monokini, sexiest string bikini and must-have strapless and halter bikini styles.
  • Bright solids, on-trend graphic prints, the essential reversible style, nautical-inspired striped and sleek metallic styles.
  • Designer details include flirty ruffles, sexy self-tie sides, glam beaded embellishments and polished metal hardware.
  •  Removable padding in tops.  (because girls with something up top don't  need that padding)
  •   Bottoms fit smaller to size for moderate back coverage.
Right now I'm liking this top:  (all those brights and prints, and I pick black!)
but I'm not sure I want the skimpy bottom they have it paired with.  I'll have to find another one I like better.
If I was I bit younger...  Then again, I'd probably want a skimpier top, too.  For tanning purposes, there's nothing like a string bikini - the skimpier the better - though I wouldn't wear it in public.  This top with the right bottom would be perfect for the pool or beach.  It's got the ease of two piece swimwear with the coverage of a one-piece, which I like, and I like that you can mix and match the tops and bottoms to get just the right look. Advertisement

Check out the new swimwear collection, and be sure to sign up for the Express e-mail to get 15% off your next purchase and the chance to win one of ten $200 Express Gift Cards.  Get the complete sweepstakes rules.  Ends 4.21.10 at 11:59pm, EST.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, February 25, 2011

Music Break

Harry Connick, Jr. - Blue Light, Red Light (Someone's There)


Sometimes I sit down, and can't think of one single thing to say - like now.  Weasley doesn't care.  He just wants me to sit down so he can snuggle up.  He'd rather I not say anything about blackhead removal tools or anything else - because the typing bothers him. 

He complains and pushes against my arm, and I tell him he doesn't have to be right here next to me.  Or else I just type with my other hand.

It takes a lot longer to type a blog post with just one hand than it does when I can have both hands on the keyboard.

Getting Rid of the Soap Scum and Hard-Water Deposits

Soap scum doesn't stand a chance!Image by ChiaLynn via Flickr
I cleaned our bathrooms this week.  Way back when the kids were little, I had a schedule for cleaning my house, and I did the bathrooms every week.  Thursdays, to be exact!  Nowadays I get to them when I get to them.  I haven't figured out what the difference is.  It should be easier without two little kids running around, shouldn't it?

The thing that seems to take so long is scrubbing the tubs.  Between the soap scum and the hard-water stains, I scrub them until my arm is sore - and still I feel like I'm wasting my time.  I use Comet, and I've tried both Lime-Away and CLR, but nothing really seems to help.  Sometimes the home-made cleaner I make works really well, and sometimes it doesn't.

I just clicked the Related Article ( and found a couple things in the comments that I am going to have to try:
  1. dipping paper towels into white vinegar and sticking them to the shower walls
  2. 1/4 cup baking soda - 1tablespoon of detergent - and mix in just enough white vinegar to create a thick paste.
I know vinegar helps, but I haven't been able to figure out how to keep it on the sides of the tub long enough for it to work.  Paper towels!  That just might work.  Any other suggestions for getting rid of the soap scum and hard-water deposits on your shower walls, shower doors, or glass mosaic tiles? I could really use some help.
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Goin' to the Theater

We're going to see Fiddler on the Roof next week!  Cory mentioned the other night that it was coming to Whitewater, which I already knew but had forgotten to check when.  So we had him check into getting us tickets,  because we love Fiddler on the Roof.  Well, we've only seen the movie - and I'm expecting this to be better.

The beauty of seeing it in Whitewater is that tickets are really reasonable and we won't have to sit miles away from the stage.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I've been watching some YouTube videos and getting excited!  I found one yesterday, which I can't find again, showing part of a performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York.  That is one big place, and we'd probably need binoculars to see any of the action there.  Thankfully, that won't be a problem in Whitewater.

This is going to be fun!

Not a Week for Walking

This has not been a good week for walking.  First we had sleet and freezing rain on Sunday, and then we got snow on top of that.  So we shoveled the driveway instead of walking the first two days of the week.  There was still a layer of ice on the driveway and streets after that, so we didn't even try on Wednesday.  Yesterday I decided I just had to try, so I went out for my walk after Jeffrey left for work.  It was just slippery enough that walking was no fun, and I had to walk very carefully and pay attention at all times - or I would have been on my butt!  So I just walked around the block and came back early.

Today was much better.  It got warm enough yesterday that the stubborn layer of ice finally melted away, so I actually got my walk in.  It was nice just to get outside and get moving!  Too many more weeks like this, and I'm going to be researching safe diet pills that work! Or I might have to actually figure out that dance video I gave up on earlier this week.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Table Pad Giveaway at

How does your dining room table look?  Have you had it for a lot of years, and you can see those years scratched all over the top?  Or do you hide it with a table cloth like I do?  Then you'll want to hurry and enter this giveaway.

Wholesale Furniture Brokers is giving away a free table pad to one lucky winner.  Winner will receive a $229 Gift Certificate for to use towards the purchase of a new table pad manufactured by Ohio Table Pad Company that includes a table pad up to 120” in length and two table pad leaves.

If you're not familiar with table pads, they protect your tables from stains, accidental spills, scratches, and heat damage from hot dishes. So it might be a bit late for some of us, but if you've got a nice dining room table and don't want to spend all your time worrying about whether someone's going to scratch it, spill something on it, or set a hot dish on it, you probably want to check out custom dining table pads. They can be made to fit any table, and I think they look much nicer than the vinyl table cloths I use to cover the scratches and water damage my table has.  They come in wood grain or leather grain and fold easily and neatly if you need to remove and store them.

If you'd like a chance to win this table pad, you can enter either by writing a blog post about your table, or if you don't have a blog, you can enter on facebook!  Check out the full giveaway details here - Table Pad Giveaway.  The deadline for entries is Monday, February 28th at midnight PST - so hurry and enter now.

My Options are Limited

I was filling out a consumer product survey I got in the mail, and some of the questions were practically impossible to answer.  For instance, asking about storage bags, they wanted to know about various brands, and they wanted to know how often I buy each one.  The options were: 3 or more times per month or 1 or 2 times per month.  That's it, no more options.

Well, I do buy storage bags, and I do buy several of the brands listed, but I do not buy them that often.  I buy them when they're on sale, when I have a coupon, when I need them - maybe once every 3 months?  If that.  So, how do I answer that question?  If I don't check either option, it seems that I don't buy the storage bags at all, which isn't true, but if I say I buy them 1 or 2 times per month, that's not true either.

The survey also asks how often our household uses 'cents off' coupons.  The options: More than once per week, Once per week, Less than once per week.  Well, since I only shop every couple, three weeks, the only answer I can check is Less than once per week.  However, that makes it look like I really don't use coupons, and that's not true.  I use a lot of coupons!

I know the people who build these mail or internet marketing or email surveys can't think of every possible option, but it seems that giving such limited options to their questions can't really give them a clear picture of whatever they're studying.  But, I'll still mail it in, because they're paying the postage - and I could win $10,000!

CSN Stores Giveaway!

 ~~~ This Giveaway is now CLOSED ~~~

Heads up, everybody!  The kind folks at CSN Stores have agreed to let me host another giveaway.  One of you lucky readers will win a $70 gift certificate to CSN Stores - to spend on anything you want.  If you're anything like me, you are going to have a tough time deciding just what to spend your winnings on, because CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find just about anything, from lights to kitchen appliances to furniture, mattresses, and even flooring.  You want it, you can find it at CSN Stores.
Giveaway info:
1 winner will receive a one-time-use $70 gift certificate to use at CSN Stores.  This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.  Please note that, while many items ship for free, there may be shipping charges or in the case of Canadian readers, international fees, for certain products.

To enter:

  • Visit CSN Stores and have a look around. Come back and leave a comment telling me what you'd use your $70 for if you win.  Don't worry, you can always change your mind later, and if you're anything like me, you will!  (This must be done first for any additional entries to count)
For additional entries: (leave a comment for each one)
  • Follow me on twitter (@bcmom) and tweet the giveaway link, you can tweet once per day and leave a separate comment for each.
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post and to CSN Stores.  Leave me a comment with your url.  I'll give you 5 extra entries for this one.  (leave a numbered comment for each entry)
  • Subscribe to my blog in a reader or by email, or Follow this Blog with Google Friend Connect.  Let me know which way you subscribed - or let me know if you're already a subscriber.
  • Link to Beth & Cory's Mom on your sidebar or add me to your blog list or blogroll.
  • Follow CSN Stores on Twitter (
  • Like CSN Stores on Facebook (
  • If you can think of any other creative way to spread the word about this giveaway, go ahead.  Just leave me a comment letting me know how and where you shared.
Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.  All entries must be received by 11:59pm Friday, 03/11/11.  Winners will be randomly chosen.  If you're the winner, you will receive your gift certificate via email, so be sure I have an email address for you.  Good Luck!

Thank you to CSN Stores for sponsoring this great giveaway!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For Zits and Dandruff

I jotted down a couple tips from the Dr. Oz Show today that I thought might be handy to remember.
  1. Use eye drops to hide zits.  The eye drops won't really take them away, but they will reduce the redness, the same way they reduce redness in your eyes.  Simply moisten a Q-Tip with they eye drops and apply to the zit.  Wait a few minutes, and the redness will go away.  It may not be the best acne treatment, but I think it's definitely worth a try - both for my teenage son, and for me.
  2. Use aspirin to control dandruff.  Crush some aspirin, and mix it into your shampoo.  Wash your hair as usual, leaving it in for a couple minutes, and it's supposed to help.  Why? Aspirin is a type of salicylic acid, and salicylic acid is an active ingredient in some anti-dandruff treatments.
I'd never heard either of those.  Had you?

    How to make a Green Monster Smoothie

    Blender!I was just checking my Recent Activity on Flickr and found that someone had used one of my photos in a gallery called How to make a Green Monster Smoothie.  So I clicked to see what that was all about.  It was really cool - like a story in pictures.  I'm thinking I need to try putting together a gallery or two of my own on Flickr.  You know, in my spare time.

    I'd like to know if I can actually add some text to a gallery, because even though the pictures are really cool, I still don't really know how to make one of these Green Monster Smoothies.  What would be really great would be if the actual recipe was included.  Think of the possibilities - recipes for cookies, for weight loss drinks (you know, for after you eat the cookies, or maybe instead of the cookies), for simple suppers and fancy dinners, recipes for practically anything.  I could have some fun with this.

    In the meantime, I'm thinking maybe I should buy some spinach and start adding that to my smoothies.  I'm not sure my husband would actually drink them, though - if they're green.

    Movie of the Week: The King's Speech

    H.M. King George VI of the United Kingdom.Image via Wikipedia
    Last week the Spotlight Movie Club included The King's Speech, which we had been waiting to see.  We had been hearing a lot about it, since it was nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

    About the movie:
    After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle.

    Based on the true story of King George VI, THE KING'S SPEECH follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice.

    Sometimes the movies that get all the attention and hype are a real disappointment - not this one.  This was a really wonderful movie.  We enjoyed it thoroughly, from beginning to end.  I was aware of the abdication of King Edward VIII but did not know the story of his brother's struggle to become the king the country needed him to be.  Or if I learned it at all, I had forgotten.  If only all history could be taught this way!

    Colin Firth was absolutely amazing as Bertie (King George VI).  Amazing!  His speech impediment was very believable as well as his struggle to overcome his childhood issues and become the man he was meant to be and the king his country needed him to be.  Helena Bonham Carter as his wife Elizabeth was loving and strong, and also had to come to terms with the fact that she and Bertie would no longer be allowed to live a relatively private life.  Geoffrey Rush was wonderful in his role as Lionel.

    We left the theater understanding why this movie has received all the attention it has.  If you haven't seen it yet - do!
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    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Time to Get New Glasses (and Maybe Contacts)

    Cory sent me a facebook message a few weeks ago letting me know he's going to run out of contacts soon and wondering if we just need to order some more or what.  Well, actually, those contacts lasted him about 2 years, and before he gets new ones, we're going to have to take him and get a new eye exam.  And then we can order him some more.

    We had vision insurance, for the first time ever, a couple years ago - when we last got eye exams.  Cory got his exam and contacts paid for with the insurance, and we had to pay for a pair of prescription glasses.  My eye exam and part of the cost of my glasses was covered by the insurance, and Jeffrey's exam and glasses were covered, too.  My glasses just cost too much at a regular eye doctor/glasses place.  I even got my glasses at Sam's Club, and they cost too much.  But I've gotta have 'em.

    We didn't get the vision insurance last year, figuring we don't need to get eye exams and new glasses every year, so we'll just get it every other year.  That means this year, just in time for Cory's new contacts, we have vision insurance and get to start the process all over again.  Considering they pay more for contacts, and that we can get really cheap glasses online, glasses that are as good as any we can find locally but so much cheaper, I'm thinking about getting some contacts too.  I'll let the insurance pay for the contacts and just order some glasses online.

    I haven't worn contacts since Beth was a baby, but I'm thinking it might be time to try them again.  The only problem is that, with my prescription, I probably won't get two years' worth of contacts paid for by the insurance.

    I'm Not Gonna Learn How to Fly

    It snowed again last night, so instead of walking, Jeffrey and I shoveled the driveway.  It wasn't really deep or heavy, so it didn't take us too long - but we didn't have time to walk, and it was quite slippery (slickery) underneath the snow anyway.  So, when Jeffrey left for work, I thought I'd try this Fame Dance Workout DVD that I got from the library.

    I went downstairs, pushed the coffee table out of the way, and started the DVD.  There are 4 different dances on the DVD, and I'm sure they'd be great workouts, but I started with the instructions for the first one, and I got lost right away. 

    Mostly it's the fact that they are facing me, telling me to do this with my left foot and that with my right hand, and I'm completely and totally turned around and putting the wrong hand in the wrong direction and kicking the wrong foot, and....  (suggestion for you workout DVD makers - mirror images)

    So I gave up, turned everything off, and came upstairs.  No need for post workout supplements, I just had coffee!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Parking Perfection (games)

    When Beth was learning to drive, I came across this game I thought would be great practice for learning to park.  And then I found myself getting addicted.  I had forgotten about it until I came across an old link to it tonight - a link that didn't work! - so I went searching to find it again.

    Here it is - Parking Perfection - and there are several versions.  Believe it or not, I know I learned how to parallel park in Drivers Ed, but I've never had to do it since.  I don't even know if I could and would most likely just go find somewhere else to park or not stop at all if I had to.  But, maybe playing a silly game on the computer can give me enough of an idea or brush-up on how it's done, so if I had to, I could.  Maybe.
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    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    How Much Do You Spend on Groceries?

    While I was writing my last post, I came across this discussion page.  The question was, "How much do you spend on groceries per week/month?" and I was amazed at how much some of these people admitted to spending.  I realize groceries cost more in different parts of the country, and buying mostly organic foods is going to cost more, but still, some of the grocery 'budgets' are sky high.  I can hardly stop reading them.  I just came across one that said she spends a minimum of $900/month on groceries, and she was begging everyone else to share their grocery lists.  I feel the same way - only I'm wondering what's on this woman's grocery list.  How is it possible to spend that much each month on groceries?  And it wasn't like she had a big family, either, just her husband, herself, her daughter, along with her step-daughter every other week.

    I saw this, or something similar, a while back - food for a week in different places (in pictures) - and thought the same thing.  How can they spend that much?  Are they really eating all that food?  It would be quite interesting to see all the food we eat in a week out on the counter like that at one time - just to see how much there is - but I'm not sure exactly how we'd go about doing that.  Save the empty boxes?  Banana peels?  Because, really, how do you know how much you're actually going to eat until you actually do?  My kitchen looks kind of like that when I come in from shopping, before I put everything away, but all that food is going to last several weeks.  Anyway...

    I've been spending $300/month for several years.  Some months I spend more; some months I spend less, but it all averages out.  That $300 covers groceries, toiletries, household cleaning items, any clothes I buy for myself, and basically anything else I want to buy.  My pantry is full.  My freezer is full.  We definitely do not go hungry.  Now that Beth has moved out and Cory's away at college, I'll probably be able to get by with even less, though I still have to figure out how that's going to work.  Maybe instead of spending less, I can think about buying more organic foods, or making my husband happy by buying steak more often.

    But, since we have a son in college, I probably ought to focus on spending less on groceries, finding cheap car insurance, and saving money any place I can.  There will be time for steak later.

    Keeping the Pantry Stocked

    I went grocery shopping yesterday, for the first time in about a month. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who doesn't mind stopping on the way home from work and picking up a thing or two when I ask him to.  There just aren't many things we need badly enough for me to make a special trip to go get them, but since he's going right by the stores anyway...

    When I do shop, I take a long list and my coupons, and I stock up on everything that has started running low since the last time I went.  I try to keep a running list between shopping trips, jotting down things we're going to need as I think of them.  Needless to say, when I finally get to the store, it's not a quick trip.  I think I've done that a time or two, made a quick trip to the store, but usually it takes a while.  I heard somewhere that the average American goes to the grocery store 2 or 3 times a week, but I'm thinking those quick trips all add up, and I'm actually spending less time in the store, even if it takes me all afternoon - because I don't have to do it again for 2 or 3 or 4 weeks.

    Except for the basics like milk, which we don't go through quite as fast now that the boy isn't living at home, we could probably go even longer than that.  I was thinking about trying to use up a lot of the food we have around here, in the pantry and the freezer, before buying much more, but then I heard that grocery prices are on the rise, and I decided maybe now wasn't the best time to do that.  I'd rather keep my freezer and pantry stocked by buying items now, when I can find good prices, than run out and have no choice but to spend much more.  Hopefully grocery prices won't rise so much that people will have to take out payday advance loans just to feed their families.  In the meantime, I don't think it hurts to keep the freezer and pantry well stocked while I can.  If grocery prices go through the roof, if we get snowed in for a week, if things just get crazy and I can't get to the store for a while, we can still eat.

    But I'm still not going to shop more than once every 2 or 3 weeks.

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    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Review: Tie Hangers from (and a Giveaway too)

    Remember that awesome bow tie I got for Cory from  He loved it when we got it, and he still loves it.  He also likes to wear regular neckties - and he even used the internet and taught himself to tie his own ties.  I tried giving him the instructions from the comics, but I guess that wasn't good enough.  Whatever it took, now he can tie his own ties!  Which is awesome, and I'm sure it means he will be wanting more ties.  Thankfully, has some really nice ones for some really great prices.  $5 ties - you really can't beat that.

    They also have these handy plastic tie hangers, which I got to review.  As soon as Cory saw them, he wanted them, because he doesn't have a good way to store his ties right now.  These will let him hang them neatly in his closet so the ties won't get dirty and wrinkled, and he can look as spiffy as he wants to.  Each hanger should be able to hold two ties and hang on the closet bar with his other hangers.  They sent me three of them, but I broke one when I was trying to hang it in his closet to take a picture, so now we only have two.  It wasn't the tie hanger's fault - I was holding the camera in one hand and trying to force the hanger onto the closet rod with the other, instead of just sliding it on properly.  (and I didn't even get a good picture to show for it)  So, depending on how many ties he has and how many he's planning to have, we'll have to get him some more.  They're only 5¢ each at and shipping is really reasonable, so it looks like a good place to get them.  I don't even know if you can get these anywhere else, and certainly not for 5¢ each.  I think they're going to be really handy to have.

    Now here's the giveaway part - you could win a $25 gift card to to spend on anything they have - neckties, bow ties, some of these plastic tie hangers, whatever you want.
    • To enter, leave me a comment letting me know what you'd spend your $25 on if/when you win.
    • You can earn extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway, sharing on facebook, and/or writing a blog post about this giveaway.  Leave a separate comment and link for each.
    • Be sure I have your email address (either in your blogger profile or in your comment) so I can contact you if you win.

    Giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide and will end at 11:59pm CST on Monday February 28, 2011.  Good luck! (Giveaway Sponsored by

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

    Our First Hockey Game

    Milwaukee AdmiralsImage via Wikipedia
     We attended our first hockey game this weekend.  The Milwaukee Admirals played the IceHogs from Rockford, and Jeffrey got free tickets from work.  I don't think we'll make a habit of it, but we had a good time.  We didn't really understand the rules, but it was still fun to watch - and 'our' team scored 5 goals in the first period and went on to win the game, so that was good.

    Cory and I took pictures and updated facebook from our phones while we watched, and we had several questions.  First I asked if anyone knew where the IceHogs were from, because I'd never heard of them.  Of course, I had facebook friends who knew the answer to that!  Maybe it was because they're from Illinois, or maybe that's just something everybody but me already knew.  Another question I had, which nobody answered, was why these Admirals fancy themselves pirates when admirals are high-ranking officers in the Navy, aren't they?  Of course, while I'm writing this, Zemanta is suggesting several different Milwaukee Admirals logos, so I'm just thinking they're suffering from some kind of identity crisis.  Currently they're using the skull with the pirate hat, and they 'sail' a pirate ship around on the ice before the game and during breaks.

    Another question Cory and I had was, "What is that thing?" regarding the fuzzy orange puck-nosed creature they call Roscoe - the Admirals mascot.  There he is 'helping' out with the pie eating contest.  Does anybody know what he's supposed to be?  I should probably go look it up.  If Jeffrey hadn't left his phone at home, either in it's blackberry case or charging on the end table, we could have looked it up while we were at the game, since he's got Internet on his phone, and we don't.  You'd think they'd have a parrot for a mascot.  Don't pirates always have parrots?

    Then the 3rd period started and the fights started, for no real reason that we could see except that it's expected at a hockey game?  That had Cory wondering if "third period hockey" is canadian for "fight a lot" because if so, awesome.  So, yeah, it was fun.  We might even go again sometime.
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    Friday, February 11, 2011

    I Need to Clean the Carpet

    Since all the work is finished on the house, I really, really need to clean the carpet.  We do not wear shoes in the house, but there was no way I could require the guys who were working on the house to take their shoes off at the door.  So, they came in and out, walked on my carpet, and I just had to tell myself it was OK, I'd clean the carpet when they were done.  But so far, I haven't done it.   I haven't called commercial rug cleaning austin, and I haven't hauled my handy carpet cleaner out of the closet and done it myself.  I know it needs done, it's just that I have to move everything I can move, vacuum the floor really well, clean the carpet, let it dry, and then move everything back - so it's a big job.  It might actually be easier to to get a commercial carpet cleaning service austin - not cheaper, but maybe easier - than to do it myself. 

    Easiest is just to keep the shoes out of the house, but like I said, that's not always an option.  When we were out of town and renting a villa last fall, we did like we always do and took our shoes off at the door.  Several days into our stay, we noticed how dirty our feet were getting.  They were positively black!  Because other people don't have the same ideas about wearing shoes in the house, and obviously the cleaning people don't deep clean the floors in between guests.  So, we had to start wearing our shoes in the villa, because we really had no other choice.  Once people start wearing shoes in the house and tracking all the outside dirt in, they pretty much have to keep wearing the shoes, at least until they clean the floors really well.

    I almost feel the same way here now - not necessarily the carpet, because it, thankfully, didn't get too bad, but with the tile.  Since we had the tile put in the kitchen and dining room, Jeffrey likes to take his shoes into the dining room and use a chair to put them on in the mornings, and then he walks to the back door, with his shoes on.  The problem is that I walk in the exact same places all day long, into and out of the kitchen, and I've noticed that my socks get a lot dirtier than they used to, because I'm picking up the dirt off his shoes.  I don't want to start wearing shoes in the house, so I'm going to need to come up with some ceramic tile cleaning solutions austin that I can use on a regular basis.  For now I try to sweep the floor fairly often. though I don't do it every day.  I do need to mop more often, and set aside some time one day soon to clean the carpet.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Movie of the Week: No Strings Attached

    Jeffrey and I have been seeing a movie practically every week.  We really like the Spotlight Movie Club, which lets us see select movies for $5 on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  It just occurred to me this morning that I ought to at least mention the movies we see each week and maybe even let you know what I thought of them.

    Last night we saw No Strings Attached with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.  This is not a movie that will ever be nominated for any awards or anything, but it was quite enjoyable.  I'm not sure why - it was just plain wrong on so many levels.  Some of the scenes were very funny, and some of the lines had the entire audience groaning/laughing out loud.  None of it was at all believable, I mean, people don't really act like that, do they?  Especially Adam's dad!   But maybe that's what made it fun - because it was obviously just entertainment.  

    Natalie Portman is just adorable, and Ashton Kutcher is sweet.  The movie was entirely predictable and ended up exactly the way you know it's going to end, but getting there was quite enjoyable.
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    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Super Granny

    I keep seeing this on the news and all the talk shows today.  It's hard to stop watching it.

    In broad daylight, this gang was attempting to rob a jewelry store.  From across the street, this granny came running and beat them off with her purse.  If you thought grannies were little old ladies who sit home knitting with slipcovers on their sofas, think again!  This 71-year-old lady put others to shame as they just stood by.  It wasn't until she'd chased them off that they finally took some action and helped to apprehend the would-be thieves.

    I'm wondering what I would do in the same situation.  What would you do?

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    Promotional Pens

    I know the usual purpose of a custom promotional pen is to promote your business, but I'm thinking these would be kind of cool for a college student.  We could get Cory some with his name and whatever else he wanted on it, and then everybody would know that those were his pens.  That ought to cut down on 'lost' pens, right?  Either that or everyone will grab them because they're so cool.  And some day, when he's famous, they might even be worth something.

    Honestly, I'm just looking for an excuse to get some of these engraved pens because they look really nice.  They're not your ordinary, boring stick pen.  I got some of those once, even though I didn't have anything to promote, and they were just ugly and didn't work very well.  These are very nice looking pens, can have custom text and/or a logo engraved on them, and write very nicely.  They are a bit more expensive than the back-to-school sale or clearance pens I usually buy, so I probably won't get any - unless I can think of something I need to promote. 

    While I'm at it, I'll need some custom stationery and custom envelopes too.  Maybe if/when I ever start my own business...  Or if I ever go to a big blogging conference, I can use them to promote my blog.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Walk This Way

    I've been walking about two miles a day every weekday morning for the past 18 years.  That's a lot of miles!  I was reading an article in USA Weekend last month that walking the right way is an effective exercise option that has been proven to promote weight loss, trim waistlines, improve heart health, tone bones and joints, and relieve stress.  So I figure all those miles have been pretty beneficial.

    The article went on to gives some suggestions for maximizing a walking workout.  Right now I feel like my workout is being maximized just by trying to keep up with Jeffrey and by walking in all that slush that ends up in the streets after it snows.  That stuff is really hard to walk in!  But I'm going to have to try these too:
    • Heel walking - This gives your calf muscles a natural stretch while strengthening the shin muscles.  Walk on your heels for 30 paces at least three times during your walk.
    • Crossover walking - This method strengthens the muscles that support and stabilize the hip and knee joints.  Walk sideways with the back leg crossing behind the lead leg.
    • Waist-whittler walking - With your arms bent and elbows out to the side at shoulder height, walk slower as you increase your upper-body rotation. 
    Luckily my husband is always in front of me anymore, so he won't be laughing at me when I try these.
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    Book Review: Under the Overpass

    Under the Overpass - A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America
    5th Anniversary - Updated & Expanded Edition
    by Mike Yankoski

    About this book:
    Ever Wonder What it Would Be Like to Live Homeless?

    Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag and a guitar, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities—from Washington D.C. to San Diego— and they put themselves to the test.
    For more than five months the pair experienced firsthand the extreme pains of hunger, the constant uncertainty and danger of living on the streets, exhaustion, depression, and social rejection—and all of this by their own choice. They wanted to find out if their faith was real, if they could actually be the Christians they said they were apart from the comforts they’d always known…to discover first hand what it means to be homeless in America.
    Mike and Sam's story is gritty, challenging, and utterly captivating. What you encounter in these pages will radically alter how you see your world—and may even change your life.

    This updated and expanded edition contains added stories, an interview with the author, a “five years after” bonus chapter, and a new foreword from Francis Chan
    Have I ever wondered what it would be like to live homeless in America?  Not really, and I've certainly never had a desire to try it like Mike and his friend Sam.  Their experience gives real insight into the everyday lives of homeless people in several cities in America.  The stories are well-told, and you'll find yourself caring about the people they meet along the way.  This book gives a unique perspective of what it's like to be homeless and will help you see homeless people as just that - people.  I think that's the first step. 

    Like Mike repeated several times, their experience was a limited one, while some people have been living on the streets for years. Still, they experienced what it means to be cold and hungry and dirty, and to be ignored by most of society.  The hardest part was seeing how church groups and Christians were just as bad about ignoring them and reaching out to help.  We've read the scripture:
    NLT Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' 37 "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' 40 And the King will tell them, 'I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'
    Putting it into practice is a whole different thing.  This book is a challenge and a wake-up call - a reminder that we are supposed to be reaching out and helping those who need that help.  We have people among us who need our help.  What are we doing about it?  It's hard to read this book without being very thankful for everything you have and wondering how you can be more sensitive to the needs of those who don't have anything.

    Under the Overpass is available from Waterbrook Multnomah.  Read the first chapter here.

    This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    Time to Refinance?

    I'm not sure how I got on their list, but I periodically get emails about VA Benefits and VA Home Loan Refinancing.  I've never served in the military, so I don't qualify for any of the benefits, but I'm really glad that there are special programs like this for our active duty and service veterans.  They, and their families, give so much to our country, and I think our country ought to give them everything it can.

    With interest rates at an all-time low, one of those benefits is the Streamline Refinance program.  It gives service members a fast, simple and hassle-free way to refinance an existing VA loan and take advantage of the lower interest rates.  If the current loan rate is above 5% there can be some serious benefits to refinancing.  We've been thinking about refinancing our home loan but just haven't gotten around to it, and we really should.  It doesn't take much of a drop in interest rates to save quite a bit on monthly payments - or to be able to pay off the loan that much faster. We're thinking we can reduce our loan to a 15-year loan, get an even lower interest rate, and pay the house off even faster.

    It's definitely worth checking into.  Veterans can request a free Streamline refinance quote, and the rest of us can get more refinancing information by contacting our banks or mortgage holders.

    Sunday, February 06, 2011

    Review: Ladies Tan Thru Golf Gloves

    It's the middle of winter here, and we've got a lot of snow on the ground, so now isn't really the time to be talking about golf gloves or playing golf.  Though, I think true golfers are thinking about golf year-round and would gladly play any chance they could get.  Me, I've never played, but if I did, I would definitely need to get one of these tan thru golf gloves.  I did get one free for review, but my husband who does play golf tells me that I need one for the other hand since I'm left-handed.  There are all kinds of other ladies golf gloves, but I really like these.

    Even though I didn't wear it to play golf or get to try out the tan thru properties of this glove, I did try it on.  It fits very nicely, and I love the half length that keeps my fingers free.  I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time doing anything with gloves on, so the open fingers are really important.  I also love the tan thru mesh on the back, which not only allows the sun to get through, eliminating weird tan lines, but is also designed to help keep the hand cool.  The palm is nice and soft and made of a SureFeel palm material for a better grip.  I'm sure that is very important if you don't want golf clubs flying when you try to hit the ball.  I also love that this glove is machine washable, which I think is very important for all sports equipment.

    I tried really hard to think of what I could wear this glove for if I'm not going to take up golf, but I can't really think of anything.  Maybe I should go play golf with my husband.  How hard can it be?  But really, I'm going to give this to one of my lady golfer friends. 

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

    CSN Stores Gift Card Winner

    Congratulations to Mary, winner of my CSN Stores $75 gift card giveaway! chose #13, which was Mary's lucky number for her comment, "I'd get Timberland hiker boots for my son."

    Will her son get those hiker boots?  Or will Mary get distracted by all the other things CSN Stores has to offer?  Either way, I hope she has fun spending her $75!

    How do You Pronounce these Wisconsin City Names?

    We've only lived in Wisconsin for 13 years or so, so I remember first seeing some of these Wisconsin city names.     They're not as easy to figure out as some Wisconsinites would have you believe.  Living just down the road from Oconomowoc and Mukwonago, I've had to learn.  And now I can laugh when these Texans try pronouncing some Wisconsin City names:

    A typical bubbler found at Humboldt Park in Mi...Image via Wikipedia
    When in doubt, I say visit, an entire site for learning to pronounce all things Wisconsin.  Here's one you'd never get:  Did you know that in Wisconsin drinking fountain is pronounced 'Bubbler'?  Crazy, huh?
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    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Camera Critters (#148)


    I usually make the bed.  Really I do.  But, for some reason, I haven’t done it the last couple of days.

    It’s also Tillie’s fault I didn’t vacuum the floor.

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

    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    Radio Dreams

    My alarm goes off at 5:45 every morning and starts playing the local country music radio station.  Jeffrey's goes off at the same time, except that it's usually a little earlier or a little later because our clocks aren't exactly synchronized.  His is just an annoying beeping.

    This morning I woke up and looked at my clock.  It said 6:00.  I stared at it for a while wondering why it hadn't gone off - before I realized that the radio was playing, and had been playing since 5:45 like always.  I just hadn't heard it, at least not on a conscious level.  They could've been talking about the Super Bowl or Christmas Cards for all I know.  I had some odd dreams during that 15 minutes, something about song lyrics that didn't make sense and radio hosts who weren't in town and were missing their show, so part of me was listening.  The radio hosts really are out of town - in Mexico and doing their show from there.

    Thankfully, it didn't matter that I missed hearing the radio come on.  Because of the cold, Jeffrey had already decided last night that he wasn't walking this morning, so we got to sleep in a little.  Which is probably why I didn't hear the alarm - I knew I didn't have to get up. 

    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    The Polish Divorce

    I know I should write a real post and pick the winner of my CSN Stores giveaway, but instead I'm sharing an email:

    A Polish man moved to the USA and married an American girl.  Although his English was far from perfect,they got along very well.  One day he rushed into a lawyer's office and asked him if he could arrange a divorce for him.  The lawyer said that getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances, and asked him the following questions:

    Have you any grounds?
    Yes, an acre and half and nice little home.

    No, I mean what is the foundation of this case?
    It made of concrete.

    I don't think you understand.  Does either of you have a real grudge?
    No, we have carport, and not need one.

    I mean what are your relations like?
    All my relations still in Poland .

    Is there any infidelity in your marriage?
    We have hi-fidelity stereo and good DVD player.

    Does your wife beat you up?
    No, I always up before her.

    Is your wife a nagger?
    No, she white.

    Why do you want this divorce?
    She going to kill me.

    What makes you think that?
    I got proof.

    What kind of proof?
    She going to poison me.  She buy a bottle at drugstore and put on shelf in bathroom.  I can read, and it say:
    ~~~Polish Remover~~~

    I'll pick a winner tomorrow.