Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Fives - Oscar Edition

Friday Fives Badge
Elizabeth over at Table for Five has started a new weekly meme that's pretty simple.  Just share a list - of anything! 

Since the Academy Awards are Sunday, I thought I'd list the Best Picture Nominees that I have not seen.
  1. The Artist
  2. The Descendants
  3. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  4. Hugo
  5. Midnight in Paris
 and a couple bonuses - The Tree of Life and War Horse!

That's right - of the 9 movies nominated for Best Picture, I've seen two of them - The Help and Moneyball.  I guess I really don't need to watch the Oscars...

How many of the movies on the list have you seen?  Which one do you think will win?  (For a bit of fun, you can go here and make your picks in all the categories and see what other people are thinking - and then, of course, compare results on Sunday night.)

And for even more fun visit Table for Five and join Friday Fives with your own list!

Save 74% on These Winter Boots

I love boots!  And I love a good deal.  So, I give you two of my loves - a really good deal on boots!

That's right, you can save 74%!
  • Buy any pair of winter boots for just $26
  • Choose from four different best selling styles
  • 5 awesome color options
  • No Limit Per Person
  • Your feet will look great for less!
 So grab a code now and go get some new boots.  I'd never spend $100 on boots, but $26....

Jeana, I haven't found a deal on golf clubs yet, but I'll be sure to let you know.  *grin*

Monday, February 20, 2012

Turn Your Child into a Reader

I love reading - as you've probably noticed.  My son Cory loves to read.  My daughter Beth?  She'll read when she absolutely has to - or when she finds something that interests her.  She can do it; she just doesn't love it.

I found this list in a magazine I was going through, and I like to think I did most of these things - so obviously there's no guarantee your child will grow up to be a reader, but following these tips will make it more likely:
Turn Your Child into a Reader: What Parents Can Do
  • Be one yourself.  Make sure your child see you read every day
  • Read your child stories.  And make reading aloud part of your daily ritual, even after a child can do it on her own.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions about the book you're reading, and ask them yourself.  "What do you think will happen now?  Why was the girl so sad?"
  • When your child reads to you, be patient, listen attentively and don't correct too often.
  • Keep new reading material coming:  Make regular trips to the bookstore or library.  Get you child his own library card or even a magazine subscription.
  • Expand your child's vocabulary by explaining new words you come across when you're reading together.
  • Encourage fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books.
  • Have children practice reading to young siblings or even pets.
  • Pick books that are at the right level, because material that's too hard can be discouraging.  Be aware of what your child enjoys.  If she finds she likes an author, help her find more of that author's work.  Encourage her to explore subjects that interest her.
  • Make sure there's a comfortable, quiet spot to read.  Put limits on TV watching and computer use.
I know Beth loved books and reading when she started school.  We had been reading them since she was a little bitty thing.  I learned that's not always the case when we met her kindergarten teacher before school started, and she said one of the primary goals for the year was to instill a love of books in the students.  It really shocked me that there are kids going to kindergarten who have not been exposed to books at home.  Maybe the parents don't read so they don't think it's important?  That first tip there - Be a reader yourself - is so important.  If your kids don't see you reading, they won't think it's important or that it's an enjoyable activity.  Unfortunately, Jeffrey is not a reader, and Beth likes to use that as an excuse - if Daddy doesn't read, and he's OK, then it must not be that important.  Even if you just sit down and read the kids' books - together, out loud, just for fun - do it!  Read!
I don't really remember if I continued reading aloud to my kids after they learned to read on their own, but I think that's a really good idea.  I can remember some of the books we read together that would have been for older kids - Mr. Pudgins and Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to name a couple - so maybe I did. (I'm shocked to see that copies of Mr. Pudgins are selling on Amazon for around $30!  I could sell ours, but we read it so many times!)  The Five Little Peppers books are free for Kindle, so I'm grabbing those!

Once the kids could read on their own, I would have them read to me or ask them questions about the books they were reading.  Lots of times I'd read their books too, especially if they really seemed to enjoy them.  I gave up trying to keep up with Cory when he got out of children's books and into full-length books.  I wish I had time to read all the books he's read!  I especially wanted to read the books Beth was reading, because there weren't many books that grabbed her attention, so I figured they must be really good if she wanted to read them.  I still remember when her 3rd grade class was reading Harry Potter, and she disappeared when we were out roller-blading, because she just had to get back to reading the book!  Believe me - I had to read that book!  I was always trying to find something that would interest her - not an easy thing to do, but those Harry Potter books really got her attention!  She's read all of those.  And practically every book written by James Paterson!  Oh, and The Twilight Saga books, which is the only reason I've read two of them and have another one on my bookshelf to read.

Are your children readers?  Could you or did you use some of these tips?  What books do you remember reading to your kids?  Are there any books I need to get so I can read them to Jason?  (I'm already grabbing free children's books for my Kindle app)  What else do you do to help your children develop a love of books and reading?  Please share!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baby Proof!

Now that we've got a curious little 9-month-old boy hanging out at our house on a regular basis, we've got some changes to make around here.  So far that mainly has meant moving stuff off the coffee table and tucking cords away as much as possible - and keeping a close eye on him so we can turn him around whenever he tries to get into anything else.

Then he learned to open the kitchen cabinets.  Do you know how much stuff is in kitchen cabinets?  Very interesting and enticing stuff when you're a little guy.  So Tuesday night - with 'help' from the little guy - Jeffrey put Child Safety Latches on the kitchen cabinets.  I think if we'd put them on before Jason learned to open the cabinets he may never have noticed or thought anything of it.  He'd just think it was normal that the cabinets only open a little bit.  But, now he knows they're supposed to open - and there's all that great stuff in there - and he wasn't at all happy when he suddenly couldn't open them!

I'm not sure I'm all that happy about it either.  I'm happy I don't have to continually get him out of the cabinets and that he can't get into anything that might hurt him - but I don't know if I'll ever get used to having these things on my cabinets.  Again.  Because, of course, we had them on the cabinets when our kids were little.  I just keep trying to open the cabinets like usual and being surprised when they don't.  I can even go straight from opening one cabinet right over to another one - and I still forget about it and try to open it like normal. 

I didn't actually realize how often I get into my kitchen cabinets every day, until they got baby-proofed!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is It Dark in Here?

I like a lot of light in my house - especially in the kitchen.  It's really hard to work when I feel like I'm casting a shadow over whatever it is that I'm working on.  Unfortunately it's been feeling a bit dark in my kitchen recently.  The lights over the stove are part of the microwave we installed when we first built and moved into the house - and that's been almost 14 years.  That microwave has been having some issues, one of those being that the light will randomly go off when I close the door.  So I'm always having to turn the light back on so I can see what I'm doing, and the bulbs seem to burn out faster, really leaving me in the dark until I can get my husband to replace them.  (The microwave is probably going to need replaced soon, too - or we'll need a range-hood of some kind to replace it)

And the fluorescent light on the ceiling doesn't seem as bright as it used to be...  Thankfully I can still get some decent light from the pendant light fixtures over the sink and in the dining room.  I cannot imagine being able to work without the light over my sink!  I don't necessarily have to use it when I've got sunshine pouring into the window, but the rest of the time it's on.  It looks pretty, too - and matches the one in the dining room.

Even after all these years, I still like them.  Choosing was hard, but I think we did a good job!  There are so many different styles of lighting fixtures that we could have chosen just about anything, which is why it was so hard.  That, and the knowledge we would be living with the fixtures we chose for a long time!  I think the key is to look at a lot of them and pay attention to the ones you are drawn to over and over again.  Narrow it down to the top three (or four) and then choose from those.  Most of all - do not forget to check to see how much light they put out, because no matter how great they look, if it's still dark in your house, you need some new lighting fixtures!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Please Help

Could you please take a few seconds to go "like" this video for my son Cory and the theater department at his school!  They're entered to win a new light board from ETC and need the most likes to win! (popular vote counts for 40% of the overall score, so it's really important.) It only takes 5 seconds - unless you actually watch the video, of course; it's quite entertaining, and Cory is in it - and it would really help them out! Thanks!

The challenge ends February 21, and the winners will be announced in March.

Thoughts on Valentine's Day

Beth posted this on facebook:

It's nice to see she learned a thing or two from me!  I don't really care that much about the chocolate, but it's impossible for me to pay full price for something I know is gonna be half off tomorrow.  Sounds like some of that cheapness rubbed off on Beth.

If your sweetie pays full price for chocolate, does it mean he loves you more?  I think not!  And does it really mean he loves you just because he buys you something on a day that somebody else decided is the day?

Maybe Valentine's Day is a day for those people who wouldn't declare their love or show it in any way - unless somebody told them they have to.  But does doing something just because you have to really mean anything?

Maybe I do need that chocolate after all... 

I can wait until tomorrow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Funniest videos

Content by Sol Rosales
We finally went to and got satellite TV. I have to tell you, I am so glad that we did. We have had some sweet evenings all curled up on the couch together watching TV. One of our favorite shows to watch as a family is 'Funniest Home Videos'. The videos are pretty funny, but what is even more hilarious is our four year old little boy that likes to reenact every single video. He will crack himself up doing all sorts of crazy stunts and it cracks us up to see him crack himself up! Kids are the best. He really does seem to get some crazy burst of energy when we watch that show. But he usually gets it all out and goes to bed really easily on those nights! I think that these will be the special moments that I remember of his childhood. I hope that he remembers it in a positive way also. I can picture him watching that show with his own kids someday! Who said family-time couldn't be spent watching TV?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Get Organized with Clipix

There are so many great things to be found on the internet.  There are recipes I want to try, articles I want to read, Photoshop and HTML tutorials I'd like to try, and... So many things, so little time!  And sometimes I find things I'd like to check out, but then I forget to save them anywhere, and I never see them again.  Sure, I could search for them again, but lots of times I can't exactly remember what they were - I just have this knowledge that I found this great recipe or life-changing article.
Anyway, I just found this new site called clipix which just might be a big help.  Basically, clipix makes it really simple to save anything you see so you can find it and go back to it later.  Start by signing up for a free account - I used my facebook account, so it was just a matter of connecting and authorizing the app.  Then add the 'Clip' button to your Bookmarks bar, and you're good to go.  Start clipping all the fabulous content you find every day.  They start you off with some basic boards - Books I'd Like to Read, Vacation Ideas, Gifts for the Family, Interesting Articles - just to get you started.  You can rename those if you want and create your own as you find things to save.  You can have as many clipboards as you like and organize them any way you like.  I'm definitely keeping the Books I'd Like to Read clipboard and the Interesting Articles one.
clipix windowWhen you find something you want to save, just click the 'Clip' button and in the window that comes up you choose an image for your clip, choose which clipboard to add it to, and write a little description. And that’s it! The article is saved to one of your clipboards for when you have time to go back to it.  I like that clipix not only lets you choose from the images on whatever page you're saving, so it's a bit easier to remember why you clipped it in the first place, but if there are no images, you can simply type your own words in and give the clip a relevant title.  The web page and title are added automatically to the description, so you don't even have to type that in.  Of course, you can change it or add to it as you want.

Clipix also makes it really easy to share all the fun stuff you're finding - send an email, share on facebook or twitter.  Or, if you want to keep something to yourself, you can keep all your clipboards (or just some of them) completely private.  Working on a project with someone else?  You can set up what they call a Syncboard and everybody can add to it together and see everyone else's updates in real time.
I created a clipboard of all my bread recipes from my recipe blog.  I'm hoping I can link directly to the clipboard and use it as the table of contents for that category of recipes on my blog.  It just looks better than the way I'm doing it now, and it will be easier for people to find the recipes.  I'd love it if clipix would include a direct html link as one of the share options!

I can see how clipix can be really handy and really addictive.  I wonder who's going to clip and organize the whole Internet first!  OK, maybe not, but at least we can all clip, organize, and keep track of the stuff we're interested in.  Visit clipix, sign up for your free account and start clipping!  And let me know if you've got some great ideas for using it.  I think the possibilities are endless.

I'm sure I've forgotten something important, so check out this video explaining it: (and then just go start using it)

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Little Man in the Mirror

Jason found the mirror in our bedroom.  He got a little distracted from smiling at and kissing the baby in the mirror when I pulled out the camera – little ham!

Baby fingerprints and slobbers all over my mirror!  Somehow, I think it’s all worth it…

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Discount Dental Plan - an Alternative to Dental Insurance

If you've ever had to go to the dentist and not had dental insurance, you know it can be expensive.  Beth had about a year when she didn't have insurance - because she was over 19 or whatever the age was, and she wasn't in school, so she couldn't be covered under our family policy anymore, and she didn't have a plan of her own.  Thankfully now she's back on the insurance, but she did make at least one visit to the dentist when she didn't have the insurance.  Our dentist was willing to work with her and help her out a bit, because he understood she didn't have the insurance, but there's no guarantee all dentists will be that nice.

I didn't realize this, but there are options for people without dental insurance - discount plans that can save families up to 70% on most dental procedures.  There are several discount dental plans to choose from on the site. Preferred Network Access by Cigna is one of the better ones.  Individual membership is $134.95/year, and a family membership which includes the member plus a spouse and dependent children up to the age of 18 or full-time students up to the age of 25, is $189.95/year.  They're even offering 3 months free when you join now. Membership gives access to discounts on dental care at over 93,000 participating providers nationwide, and members receive immediate savings on dental procedures.

If you don't have dental insurance for yourself and/or your family, be sure to check out Cigna dental plans to see how much you could save.  Just put in your zip code, and they give you a list of usual fees and discount fees for plan members.  Judging by these sample fees, it looks like one of these plans would pay for itself after one or maybe two dental visits.  And the plan includes vision and prescription discounts - so there are even more savings there.

Even if you don't think you need this, remember it's available.  It looks like you can join anytime, and your plan will activate the very next day.  That means, if you or someone in your family gets a toothache and really needs to go to the dentist (this can be used for routine visits, but let's just say you're only going to visit the dentist if you really have to), you can join today and use your benefits tomorrow.  Just print your membership card, make an appointment with a participating dentist and enjoy on-the-spot discounts.  Payment for services performed is due at the time of service, and there are no paperwork hassles to worry about.

Shopping with a Baby

I haven't shopped with a baby in years.  I forgot all the things you have to remember!

Beth got a new job and went back to work last week.  She's working for a new family and taking care of their three kids.  Once she gets to know the kids and they get to know her, she'll be able to take Jason - but for the first few times, she left him with me.  So I got to hang out with the little guy last Wednesday and again yesterday. (Beth will be working more than just one day a week, but it's probably good for me that it's only been one day a week while I'm babysitting.  I'm not used to having a little guy around, and I don't get anything done!)

Yesterday I decided to go to the store and pick up some groceries.  Jason's mommy said he loves to go shopping.  He's big enough to sit up in the cart now so he can look around and see everything that's going on.  So, I figured I'd at least get something done...

I just forgot how much more complicated it is with a little guy! 
  • Not only do I have to carry in my purse, coupons, and reusable shopping bags, I also have to carry a baby, diaper and changing pad, some toys, and... well, I'm sure there was more.  It seemed like it anyway!
  • He can't really wear his coat in the carseat because it's so bulky - so I had to unstrap him, try to get his coat on before pulling him out of the van - and then grab all the stuff.
  • Then I grabbed a cart from the parking lot cart corral and put Jason and everything into it - only to discover there was only one side to the strap.  So we had to transfer to another cart when we got into the store.  But first we had to turn around and go back halfway to the van when I realized he no longer had his binky in his mouth.  No, he'd dropped it on the ground.
  • With a little guy in the cart, there's nowhere to put my purse, coupons and shopping bags - unless I want to put them next to him and let him get into them.  Not a good idea.
  • So I put everything I normally put in the baby seat into the main part of the cart - and that left very little room for the stuff I wanted to buy, so I had to get creative re-arranging.
  • He did enjoy shopping and flirted with everybody he saw.  If they didn't pay him any attention, he just hollered to get their attention - and then gave them his big smile, which they of course couldn't help returning.  I guess he's used to being the center of attention!
  • Toys, shopping list, coupon wallet - anything I gave him to hold would first go into his mouth and then onto the floor, if I didn't catch it first.  And, of course, he wanted to hold everything.
  • It probably took twice as long as normal to get what I wanted to get - mostly because of the getting into the store and getting back out and loaded back up into the van.  And he did not want to get back into that car seat!  But did I stop at one store like a smart person?  No, I had to go and do it all over again at another store!  Except I forgot the reusable shopping bags...  Then again, I forget to take those in even when I don't have a little guy with me.
I'm not sure I want to make this a regular event. It was nice to have a little guy to talk to (and kiss on) while shopping - just a bit more complicated.  I can't believe I used to go shopping with three little people!  Granted two of them were 6 and 4, so they were big enough to walk - but that's a whole different challenge.

I do think I was a lot more popular while shopping with a baby than I am without him.  Then again, that was probably just Jason...  I just happened to be with him.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Act of Valor

I got free passes to a pre-screening of this movie tonight.  It was really good and really intense and definitely worth seeing.  These guys are my heroes!  I knew I'd cry.  And be on the edge of my seat throughout most of it.  Seriously - see this when it comes out.

Act of Valor - in theaters 2/24/12

Find the Best Deals

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of dealnews for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
You know I love a good deal, and there are lots of great deals to be found on the internet.  The problem is that sometimes those deals only last one day, and if you don't find out about them in time, you miss out.  Until now I've never found a good way to find all the good deals available - without visiting lots of deal sites and signing up for tons of different email lists, and...  Well, it can get a bit complicated.
I just found out about a site called dealnews that should make finding good deals a lot easier.  Basically, they scour the internet to find the best deals out there, bringing together thousands of deals from over 2000 online retailers and listing them all in one place.  There are deals in all categories - electronics, clothing, computers, local deals, travel deals and more.  They find the lowest prices available from reputable dealers, verify all of them, and post them on the site.  These are deals so good you usually only find them on Black Friday!  At least that's what they say - I've only just begun checking out the site.
Normally I'm most interested in electronics deals because I love the gadgets, but I do not like paying a lot for the latest things.  Today, though, I saw these cute little animal hats that would be absolutely adorable on a cute little guy I know - if only he'd leave a hat on!
But about those electronics - dealnews says they have over 200 tech deals every day.  If there's a specific item you want, or even a general category of items you're interested in, you can even sign up for email alerts so they'll let you know when a good deal comes up.  How handy is that?  If you're just interested in the best of the best deals, you can sign up for their Select Newsletter to get a daily email of the best deals they find every day.
If you're like me and love a good deal, be sure to check out dealnews to see what kind of good deals you can get - and be sure to come back and let me know because the next best thing to getting a good deal myself is hearing about the great deals my friends get!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, February 06, 2012

Limited Time Phone Sale from Sprint

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sprint for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you're thinking about changing your cell phone plan and getting a new phone, now is a great time.  Sprint is offering some free phones when you open a new line of service or add to your account.
They are offering the Nexus S™ 4G which features Android 2.3 , comes with built-in Google apps, integrated Google Voice™ service, 4G speed and a super fast processor.  You'll get full web browsing, internet calling and true multi-tasking with the mobile hotspot capability.  This phone is specifically designed to fit perfectly and comfortably in the palm of your hand.  Regular price is $549.99 - but with a 2-year agreement and new line savings (or eligible upgrade), it's free.
Facebook_EVO 3D.jpg
If you're an entertainment junkie, you'll want the HTC EVO™ 3D - only $49.99 if you order it online - with a 2-year agreement and new line savings (or eligible upgrade).  It's regularly $549.99.  It also runs on Android 2.3, features an oversized screen and lets users take, share and view 3D pics and flicks all at lightning-fast 4G speeds - no 3D glasses required.
These deals are only available online, you'll get free shipping, and they're even waiving the normally $36 activation fee on new lines.  So be sure to check out to pick out your new phone, and remember - these deals are only available for a limited time.
Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Shortcuts for People Who Hate Housework

I was cleaning out some magazines today and found this article full of cleaning tips.  I thought I'd share some of them, just in case you can use one or two to make your life easier.
  • After using your blender, partly fill it with warm water, give it a squirt of dishwashing liquid and run it for a few seconds.  Rinse it out, then turn it over and allow it to dry on a towel.
  • Clean the top of the refrigerator, then cover with plastic wrap you can pull off and throw away when dirty. (Moisten the surface slightly so the plastic wrap will stay put.)
  • Line crisper drawers with paper towels so you don't have to clean the drawer - just toss the dirty paper towels and replace with clean ones every two weeks or so.
  • Garbage night?  Clean out last week's leftover from the fridge before putting out the trash.
  • Wipe your TV screen with a fabric softener sheet.  This will help cut down on static electricity, which attracts dust.  Swipe other vertical surfaces - computer screens, mirrors and hanging photo frames - while you're at it.
  • Stop dirt in its tracks.  Put two shoe racks near the door - one for street shoes, the other for clean-soled tootsies to slip on indoors.  (Or just plain take off your shoes!)
  • Spray nonstick spray on plastic storage container before filling with tomato-based sauces to avoid stains.
  • Before working with messy foods, like dipping fish or chicken in bread crumbs or peeling potatoes, cover the countertop or sink with waxed paper or a ripped-open brown grocery bag to catch the mess.  When finished, wad up the paper and throw it away.
  • Soak grimy pans in warm, soapy water while you eat.  After the meal, messy pots and pans will be much easier to clean.
  • Clean the bathroom right after taking a shower, when the steam has loosened the dirt.  (Or if you don't have time to actually clean, at least wipe things down with a towel while everything is all steamy.)
  • Fill your teakettle with equal parts vinegar and water.  Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let it stand overnight.  This will remove the lime deposits left behind by hard water.
  • Clean stubborn residue from flower vases.  Mix 2 tablespoons of oxygen bleach with 1 gallon of warm water.  let the bubbles work while you sleep.  Rinse clean the next morning.
  • To unclog drains, pour 1/2 cup each baking soda and salt down the drain.  follow with a cup of boiling water and let sit.  Flush with hot tap water the next day.
There were quite a few other tips, but I just shared a few.  Some of these I already do and others I am definitely going to try.  There were a couple tips for cleaning microwaves, which again had me wondering what people are doing with their microwaves.  How in the world do they supposedly get so dirty?  If yours gets dirty please share - and
  • spray the inside with a plant mister, then turn on high for a few seconds.  Allow it to sit for a minute or two, then wipe with a clean cloth.  You can also nuke a few tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of water and then wipe up the mist with a paper towel.  For stubborn stains, scrub with a toothbrush.  
and there was at least one that seemed so obvious I couldn't imagine anyone really needed to be told, like:
  • Before putting muffins or a cake into the oven, wipe off drips from the rim of the pan so they won't get baked on and require extra elbow grease to remove.  (really, people don't know this?)

And here's a bonus tip from me (actually I got this one from my mom):
  • Line the tops of your kitchen cabinets with waxed paper.  It's just about exactly the right width and will protect the cabinet tops from accumulating all that greasy dust.  When it's time to clean, just remove the waxed paper and replace it with new - so much easier than trying to get that dust off!  You'll still have to clean all the stuff you put up there to look pretty, but at least that can be pulled down and cleaned off in a sink of hot soapy water, unlike those cabinet tops.
If you've got any tips to share, leave them in the comments.
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Special Discount on Walgreens Prescription Savings Club

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you've ever had to fill a prescription, you know that prescription drugs are not cheap.  If your medical insurance includes prescription drug coverage, great.  If not, you can still save money on your prescriptions by joining the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club.
The plan not only offers savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications, it also includes discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies, and gives you bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services.  Right now you can get a family membership for $35 a year.  It covers everyone in your immediate family, including spouse, dependents 22 and younger, and pets. No family?  An individual membership is only $20/year.
Walgreens is so sure you'll save money through their Prescription Savings Club that they promise if you don't save more than the cost of your membership during the course of the year, they'll refund the difference.  Considering the cost of most prescription drugs, it probably won't take more than a couple prescriptions or refills (if that many) to cover the cost of your membership - not to mention the other savings.  But it's good to know you'll get that money back if you don't.  Joining is really risk free.
Be sure to Like Walgreens on Facebook and follow Walgreens on Twitter to stay updated and learn about even more special discounts and savings opportunities.
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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Aging Parents - Recognize the Signs

I saw this on facebook this morning and had to share: 
Housework makes you Ugly
From an article in Woman's Day: "Adult children often don't realize aging parents need care until a family get-together which I call the 'holiday eye-opener'.... The trouble signs are: food spoiling in the fridge, always finding parents dressed in the same clothes, stacks of paper...and a messy home or yard."

So, now I'm worried. How will MY kids know?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Who is This?

I was going through some pictures in Windows Live Photo Gallery.  I haven't taken full advantage of it, but there's a feature where you can tag the people in your photos.  I was trying to at least get Jason tagged - because, of course, he's the most important one in all the pics.  No, actually because I think it will make it easier to find all of them and share them with his mommy.

Anyway, the program asks 'who is this?' whenever people appear in the pictures.  It learns to recognize people once they've been tagged a few times, makes suggestions, and asks for confirmation so it can learn more.  I hadn't really paid much attention to it before tonight, but somehow I ended up on a screen asking me to confirm that several pictures were Jason, and most of them were.  There was also a picture of Jason's mommy on there (and his uncle, too).  So, I couldn't help myself - I put a couple pictures together:

What do you think?  Is there a resemblance?

Oh wow -  I can't believe my baby girl used to be so little!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Simone France - Review

I was contacted by the people from Simone France skincare and asked if I'd like to try their products.  They had me fill out a skin care analysis form to determine the right products.  They sent me what they call 'The Sandwich' - their signature skin care treatment that includes moisturizer, scrub, and soap in combination.

There are several steps involved, but they sent very clear instructions along with the products, and after about 4 days I didn't even have to refer to them anymore!  Once I got used to it, it really didn't take much time at all.  The evening process was even simpler, using their Rich Milk and Toner.

They said that I would see and feel a difference from the first time I used it, but I have to say I really didn't.  If anything, I thought I saw more fine lines around my eyes - but that's probably because I was looking harder!  I continued using it - except for the week we were gone at the end of December because there were just too many products for traveling light - and then went right back to using the products when I got back home.  I really didn't see a huge difference over what I was already using.

Not that I don't like the products.  I do.  They don't have any kind of obnoxious scent, and they don't have any adverse effects.  I like the soap - I haven't used soap to wash my face in forever, and following the Simone France instructions lets me use it without drying out my face.  I like the scrub, and I'm sure it's better for my skin than what I was using.  The moisturizer (Lovely Glow) is thicker and richer than what I was using before and sometimes can seem a bit greasy, but I haven't noticed any dry skin since I started using it, at least not after the first few days.  They sent me a small sample of their French Formula moisturizer, which is for really dry skin, but that was definitely too heavy.  I tried it after the first couple days with the other one, when I was still feeling a bit dry, but I didn't like it at all.  They say that if you are concerned about preventing lines and wrinkles, the richest moisturizer your skin can take is best.  My skin is usually quite dry in the winter, but I guess not that dry.

I will continue to use these products until they are gone.  I would buy them - if they were sold in my local store for about the same price as the products I am currently using.  But they're not, and even though there are plenty of glowing reviews on the site so I know these products work really well for a lot of people, I just can't bring myself to spend the money.  I would have to see really a dramatic difference to justify the difference in cost.  As an on-line company,  they work closely with all their customers to make sure they have the right regimen for their individual needs.  Everyone can get an in-depth analysis to help find the right products, and they freely exchange products when necessary if an adjustment is needed.  I did not work with anyone beyond my original analysis, just used the products they sent me based on the information I gave them in the first place, so maybe there was some little change that would have given me that dramatic result, and I just didn't take advantage of it.

If you're looking for some better skincare products, do check them out.  Like I said, there are many glowing reviews of the products and the company on the website, so they may be just what you're looking for.  If you're used to spending more than $10 on your skincare and not getting the results you want, then I'd say definitely check them out.  New customers can get 10% off by entering code FT108 at checkout, and signing up for their newsletter gives access to special sales and free gifts with purchase.

Dig, Drop, Done - Can It Be That Simple?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I would really like to have some pretty flower beds out in front of my house, but I have absolutely no idea where to start.  I planted some perennials several years ago and then pretty much left them to their own devices.  That was not a good idea. Some of the plants took over and choked out the others, and everything was just wild and didn't look good at all.  I just pulled everything I could out this fall and piled it up.  I'd really like to dig everything up and start from scratch - and maybe make better decisions this time.
I was just checking out and reading some of the information there.  I've never planted bulbs of any kind, but they make it sound really easy.  I think I'm pretty much like Marcy on that site.  She's super busy and needs something really, really easy to bring a little beauty and color to her life.  Bulbs are pretty much complete flowers in a little package, and all you have to do is dig a hole, drop them in, and you're done!  Just sit back and wait for the plants and the flowers and the colors.  I'm thinking they may be exactly what I need.Marcy  There is certainly enough information on the site to help me figure it out!  When to plant, how to plant, etc.  I especially like the tip that says, "For a natural look throw out handfuls of bulbs and plant them where they fall."  I definitely think I can handle that!  They say that bulbs can be used in anything from interior and exterior design, to creative gift giving and decoration, to entertaining activities for children and families.  I think I'll start with the flower beds, see how that goes, and then go from there.
What would be incredibly helpful would be if I could win the $5,000 yard makeover.  “Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done" is an educational effort designed to excite women about the surprisingly simple beauty of flower bulbs, but it's also a contest that will give one lucky winner a yard makeover and a visit from Taniya Nayak. (@TaniyaNayak on Twitter) She'll go through and give you tips on the best way to update your yard along with creative ideas for incorporating flower bulbs into your landscape..  To enter, all you need to do is submit a photo of your yard at Curbside Chaos.  Also, be sure to share on twitter, because for every share, "Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done" will donate $1.00 to Rebuilding Together - the nation’s leading nonprofit, working to preserve affordable home ownership and revitalize communities.
While you're there on the Curbside Chaos site, be sure to check out the garden guru tool to help you figure out which bulb is perfect for your home depending upon where you live!  (You know, just in case you don't win) All you have to do is:
  • Step 1 – Pick your Country
  • Step 2 – Pick your location within that Country
  • Step 3 – Choose the type of bulb you want to grow
  • Step 4 – Check out the Planting Guide that shows you how to plant your bulbs.
I printed one out - but it looks like it's too late to think about planting to have pretty flowers this spring.  Maybe next year...
 Planting Guide 

If you'd like to find out more about bulbs and how simple they can be to add to your life, be sure to visit to learn more.

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