Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review and Giveaway: #EclosBeauty Products

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of éclos Skin Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I recently had the opportunity to try éclos Skin Care  products.  I received a kit which included the following products:
  • Facial Cleanser Skin Prep -removes makeup and daily debris, helping to refresh skin and purify pores.
  • Cellular Activator Face Serum - nourishes skin cells, promotes collagen production and
    stimulates the growth of connective tissue, helps visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and protects against environmental damage.
  • Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream - revitalizes skin stem cells, helping to tighten sagging skin and postpone wrinkles, helps skin to repair itself, protects against aging free radicals, slowing the signs of aging.
  • Restorative Eye Cream - visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and increases moisture content to delicate eye area.
  • Instant Radiance Facial Scrub - exfoliates dry, dull dead skin cells and enhances cell turnover and prepares the skin to better absorb the treatment products.
  • Skin Renewal Clay Mask - cleanses skin, absorbs impurities, and helps unclog pores.
  • éclos Terry Cloth Head Band - to keep hair out of face while using the products.
Sounds like a lot of products, I know, but you don't use every product every day.  You use the scrub every other day and the mask twice a week. I used the products for 1 week.  Here I am Before and After:
Before After
Monday morning before cleansing
The following Monday after cleansing and applying serum, moisturizer, and eye cream
You will not see a picture of me with the clay mask because - if you ever want to see what you'll look like when the wrinkles really do set in, try one of these masks.  It's scary!  I'm sure it does what it's supposed to do, but by the time it dries and everything tightens up, you're ready to wash it off!  At least I was.
I really loved the idea of these products.  They feature Apple Stem Cells extracted from a rare Swiss apple, the Uttwiler Spätlauber, along with vitamins and anti-oxidants.  These stem cells have shown tremendous ability to stimulate skin stem cells, encouraging aging skin to behave like younger skin and helping minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and tired skin. Skin can look up to 15 years younger.  Sounds great, right?  I really wanted this stuff to work for me.

I absolutely love that the products do not contain parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, or petro-chemicals.  They are natural products with highend spa feel, and results, at mass-market prices.  They're available Nationwide at food, drug and mass stores, including Target, Ulta, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Fred Meyer, and the prices really are reasonable.

I liked the feel of the products and the natural smell.  Each of the éclos products is scented with a clean and fresh blend of all-natural essential oils including rosewood, ylang ylang, palmarosa, cardamom, and geranium.  However, I started to notice a slight burning when I applied the serum and moisturizer, and by the middle of the week. my face was extremely dry.  I could not get enough of the moisturizer on my face to take away the dryness.  It didn't just feel dry, it looked super dry.  After using the éclos Skin Care  products for the week - after I had run out of the moisturizer - I went back to using my regular products, and it took until the middle of the next week before I had to stop applying moisturizer several times a day to get rid of the dryness.  I may buy some of the Eye Cream and possibly the Serum, because I like the idea of using natural products directly on my skin,  and hopefully I can get some of the benefits from those, but I am going to have to keep using my regular moisturizer.

I have not closely examined my before and after pictures to see if there was a reduction of the fine lines around my eyes - but I did really like the Restorative Eye Cream.  I have been looking for another good one ever since they stopped making/selling the one I had been using.  Based on clinical studies, 100% of the women using these products saw a reduction in wrinkle appearance within 2 weeks, and most of the fine lines I'm seeing on my face are around my eyes. 
If you'd like to try these products for yourself - maybe they'll work for you - I have a one of the same kits I received to give away.  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me which product in the kit you are most excited to try.  Contest is open to U.S. residents only, and I will take entries until Friday June 8, 2012.  Good luck!  And if you win, be sure to come back and let me know how the products work for you.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

File This Under "It Figures"

We finally went to see The Avengers on Monday.  It was really good!  We paid full matinee price - for reserved seats - and saw it on the UltraScreen.  The first couple weeks they were only showing the 3D version on the UltraScreen, so that's why we waited.  That, and being busy.  But anyway, we saw it and really enjoyed it - but if we'd waited just a couple days we could have gone for $5!  Yep, this week The Avengers is one of the Spotlight Movies - $5 on Wednesday and Thursday.  It figures.

Cory recently picked up Alien and Aliens on Blu-ray - for $10 each with a free ticket from each to see Prometheus when it comes out, which is a good deal.  But, he's been wanting the whole Alien Anthology [on Blu-ray] for a while now - and today Amazon put it on sale for $29.99 - for all 4 Alien movies and 2 discs of extras.  But since he just bought the first two movies, we don't really need to spend another $30 for the other two - even if we do get all those extra features.  It figures.

And Cory got a new (to him) car last week.  Sunday he went to visit friends in Illinois.  He'd barely left their house to drive home, and he hit a deer.  He's driven my van for ages and never hit a deer or anything else (except that poor mailbox, but we'll not talk about that now) and he just barely gets his own car, and some deer decides to commit suicide by standing in the road.  It figures! 

Cory is OK.  There's nothing he could have done - just a random incident involving nighttime, a car coming the opposite direction, and a deer that decided to cross the road at right that time.  He flipped his brights back on and there it was - no time to do anything but brake, but not enough time to stop enough to miss it.  It's just a bit frustrating to have his pretty car all crumpled up - right after he got it.  Thankfully we've got a friend who fixes things like this, and he's going to get her all pretty again.  And, most importantly - Cory did not get hurt!

Special sneakpeeq Deals Today Only

I got this in my email today, and I thought I'd share:

Today Wednesday May 30th, starting at 10 am!

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!  Every Spring is a chance for renewal, so be a risk-taker with your self-expression.  Try bohemian fashions with a twist, like strong bamboo rings, full of color and soul.  We love how it combines lightweight, easy-to-wear bamboo with sweet and classic floral motifs.  A FREE BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY BAMBOO RING ($27 value) and FREE SHIPPING just for joining sneakpeeq

Nothing says Summer is here more than a beautiful MAXI DRESS!  No one makes them softer and more flowing than Colorfast Apparel.  We love the Mahalo Triblend Jersey Maxi in colors such as bluebird or safari!  A MUST HAVE AT 70% OFF!  These dresses retail for $103, but your price is only $34!  SHIPS FREE! 

I'm ordering one of those free rings right now!  Join sneakpeeq and grab your own.  They're really cool.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cory's New Car

After quite a bit of looking and test-driving, Cory found his car last night.  It's a 2001 Ford Taurus, and it's quite pretty.  It has less than 100,000 miles on it and should be a good car for him for his last two years of college and beyond - and it was within the budget.

Cory and his dad have been looking at lots and lots of cars on the Internet in the last week.  They've found some that looked promising, but they always seemed to be gone when they called to get more information - which can be quite frustrating.  It's not easy finding a (relatively) cheap car in good shape and without too many miles on it, and when they come available people snap them up.

He wasn't particularly wanting a Taurus, and was looking at some other kinds of cars, but when he saw this one it spoke to him.  I don't know if it said, "Cory, take me home with you!" or what, but he saw it, he drove it, he loved it - and he got to bring it home.

Yeah, he's pretty excited.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Two Things

  1. When I try to look at my hair in the mirror (to fix it), I feel cross-eyed and dizzy.  I have to close one eye and focus with the other one.
  2. I can't get my hands dry with a towel for anything.  I end up just having to shake them and let the air dry them off. (which is pretty much why I hate drying dishes - I can't get them dry either)  That doesn't keep my dish towels from getting soaked every day (several of them) as I attempt to dry my hands.
Anybody else?

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Got POWOW Messenger for my Phone

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of POWOW Messenger for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I got a new phone this past weekend.  Well, it wasn't exactly a new phone - it was Jeffrey's old phone, and he got a new one, but it's new to me.  I had been using Beth's old phone - do you see a pattern here? - but I definitely needed an upgrade.  That phone had no internal memory to speak of, so it was always telling me it was low on space, and there was nothing I could do about it!  Sometimes I couldn't even read an incoming text message until I deleted something or cleared the cache on my apps.  It was very frustrating.

So now I have a phone with enough internal memory that I can download and use apps.  I'm so excited!  One of the apps I've downloaded is POWOW Messenger for Android. It's free, and it looks like it's going to be a really handy app for text messages.  What it does is let you create groups of your contacts so you can easily text all of them at once - without selecting multiple contacts every time.  I created a group for our family - because I really don't text anyone else, yet.  When you create the group, the app sends out a text message to everyone in the group letting them know they are part of the group and giving them a number to use for group messages.  So all anyone in the group has to do is text a message to that number, and it goes to everyone in the group automatically.  It can be good for families, people working on a project together, people planning an outing, etc.  Once you've created your group, you won't have to worry about anybody being left out because you forgot to select them when you started composing your message, and everyone will know what's going on.  I think it will be a good way for everyone in our family to keep in touch and know what's going on with everyone else.
POWOW MessengerPOWOW Messenger can also be used for regular one to one messaging, so if I can just figure out how to disable the messages app that came on the phone, I can just use this one.  Otherwise it's like getting duplicate messages.  POWOW Messenger said to disable the notifications of the other app, but I couldn't figure out how to do that either, so I'm still getting double notifications.  Oh well, I'll figure it out.  Or get one of my kids to show me how. (Update: I figured it out!)

There's also a neat feature I haven't tried yet called ZipIT which lets you blacklist unwanted texters so you don't see their messages or get notifications.  Or you can mute the notifications while still being able to see the messages.  I can see how that could come in handy if you're being bothered by somebody, or you only want to be notified of incoming messages from people who are important in your life - and the others can wait.  And, it displays all your text messages in the speech balloon format I've seen other people have, but my old phone didn't use.  Yeah, I get excited over the little things.
If you're looking for a handy Messenger app that lets you easily  handle all your one to one and group messaging, be sure to check out the free POWOW Messenger for Android.  It's available in the Google Play store.  Did I tell you that I couldn't even update the Android Market to Google Play on the old phone?  I'm going to have so much fun having a phone that can actually do stuff!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Money is Running Out

Cory has finished his first two years of college.  So far we've been able to help him out so that he's only had to accept the subsidized federal loans - the ones he doesn't have to start paying back until after he graduates - figuring it will be better for him in the long run to pay us back than to pay some loan with interest.  (or maybe we could collect the interest?)  Fortunately Jeffrey has a job, and he makes enough to support us.  Unfortunately, that means Cory does not qualify for any of that free money 'less fortunate' students get.  When he gets out of school, he's going to be paying.  Yes, I know, that's true for a lot of young people, and he'll survive...

As his mom I would love to see him put some effort into finding scholarships to pay for at least some of his remaining school.  I would have loved to see him actively seeking those scholarships all along, but there's just so much you can do when your kids grow up.  While there are things you would love to see them do, you can't do it for them.  When he graduates and starts having to pay back those loans - and we'll probably work with our bank on some kind of home equity line of credit to pay for the rest, because the interest rate will be better than anything they offer through financial aid - he may wish he'd listened to me, but I can't make him do it.

All I can do is keep sending him links to sites like Scholarships Online where he can search through scholarships and grants and hopefully find some he might qualify for.  I used to send him links to specific scholarships I thought he'd be interested in or would qualify for, but they just didn't grab his attention, so I must've been picking wrong - so he's just going to have to do the searching.  Scholarships Online lists nearly every scholarship and educational grant available in the U.S. - so if he can't find it there, maybe it doesn't exist.

I don't know what's available, but they have a large database and the site is designed to make it as easy as possible for students to find relevant scholarships.  Every one is real, and many are sponsored by organizations you are probably already familiar with.  If you've got a high school student who's planning to go to college, or a college student who could use a little help paying for college, you'll want to check it out - or send the link so your student can start looking.  He'll thank you later when his college loans come due!

Save Big on these Little Speakers

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lenovo for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
OK, I really want these cute little Lenovo speakers.  I mean, they are adorable!  I know that's not the reason to get them, but sometimes I just can't help myself.  See what I mean?
_38_0_57Y6361_V1.jpg (JPEG Image, 1000 × 1000 pixels).jpg
These ultra-portable speakers are not only cute, but they promise to deliver a big sound.  The description says 4 watts of power for high-quality full sound. It's a 2 speaker system that includes a main speaker with built-in amplifiers and a sub-speaker.  They're great for attaching to your computer, smart phone, or MP3 player - because sometimes the built-in speakers just aren't good enough, and you don't always want to use headphones.  For instance, these speakers make it super easy to share YouTube videos or stream Netflix movies, and have enough sound for everybody.
We have some decent speakers we use for things like that, listening to cybercasts, etc., but they're a lot bigger, and we always have to dig them out of wherever they're stored when we want to use them.  These are small and made to be portable.  I could just keep them with my laptop so they'd be handy any time we need them.  The speaker wires spool for easy storage, and they're conveniently powered by USB.  The only thing I don't know is if they come with a store and carry bag to keep them protected in the laptop case.
They'd go perfectly with Jeffrey's red computer, too - and my friend Peggy's red computer, though they might look a bit funny, being so small next to her Big Red computer!   Through Monday May 21 they're even on sale for $11.99 (regular price $29.99) so now's a good time to grab the Lenovo speaker M0620 and start enjoying big sound from these stylish little speakers.
Visit Sponsor's Site

Win a Las Vegas Spa Weekend

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

How does an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for you and 3 of your girlfriends, complete with massages, facials, and beauty treatments, sound?  Awesome, right?  It's easy to enter.  Simply join - for FREE.  Then get extra entries by inviting your friends.  You get an extra entry for every friend who accepts your invitation and joins.  And for every friend who joins and places an order, you get a $25 credit to your account - with no limits.

What is  It's a social beauty network helping women find and buy the right beauty products.  When you join you'll create your own beauty bio that includes things like skin type and complexion, hair and eye color, hair length, etc.  You can also choose from different beauty concerns and categories to get information  that interests you. will then be able to give you personalized recommendations from the 10,000 items available from over 150 top brands.  And, you can connect with other Bloom users who are using the products and read reviews from users.  So much nicer than standing in the beauty aisle in the store and wondering which product to buy, if a certain product is worth the extra money, or if I can get by with the cheapest one or the one without the annoying fragrance.  (except I won't ever be buying the product with the annoying fragrance)  I checked just one category - Daytime Moisturizers - and got several suggestions, including Best 4 You on a Budget (do they know me, or what?) and Best Natural 4 You.  Each item also lists product information that includes a description and full ingredients.  If only there was a way to smell them...
Purchases come with free gifts - I'd guess product samples based on your personalized recommendations, but that's just my guess - and 10% back in Bloom Dollars which can be applied to future orders.  Be sure to enter coupon code 30BACK, and you'll get an additional 20% back on your first purchase - 30% back!
All products come with a 365 Try It Love It Guarantee.  That means that if you are unsatisfied—for ANY reason—with a product you’ve purchased from Bloom, they’ll happily give you a refund within 1 year of your purchase date (not including any original shipping).  All they ask in return is that you share why your product didn’t work out, so they can pass it along to the other women of Bloom.   How awesome is that?  Not only do they work to match you up with the best products for your skin, hair, and style, but if the products aren't right, you don't have to keep them - while having to find and buy something else.
For your own personalized beauty recommendations and a chance to Win a spa vacation for 4 girlfriends! be sure to sign up for your own free account on and invite all your friends to join, too.  Good luck!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grandma's Remedies

I was going through one of my old blogs - one I haven't used in ages - looking for a recipe.  I didn't find the recipe, but I did find this list of handy remedies for all kinds of things.  I'm not sure where I originally found this list, and I still haven't actually tried any of these, but a lot of them sound very promising - and they use things you probably already have.
  • Did you know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately -- without the  unpleasant side effects  caused by traditional "pain relievers."
  • Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns.
  • Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.
  • Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.
  • Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and  take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.
  • Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer . Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly even though the product was never been advertised for this use. (Note: Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine is not the same...and contains aspirin, which can cause stomach bleeding if you have ulcers.)
  • Honey remedy for skin blemishes... Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.
  • Listerine therapy for toenail fungus... Get rid of unsightly toenail  fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.
  • Easy eyeglass protection... To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from  loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish  to the threads of the  screws before tightening them.
  • Coca-Cola cure for rust... Forget those expensive rust removers.  Just  saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca Cola and scrub the rust stain.  The  phosphoric acid in the coke is what gets the job done.
  • Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer... If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.
  • Smart splinter remover...just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.
  • Hunt's tomato paste boil cure...cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.
  • Balm for broken blisters...To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine ... a powerful antiseptic.
  • Heinz vinegar to heal bruises... Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.
  • Kill fleas instantly. Dawn dish washing liquid does the trick.  Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly.  Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Goodbye fleas.
  • Rainy day cure for dog odor... Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.
  • Eliminate ear mites... All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerate  healing.
  • Quaker Oats for fast pain relief....It's not just for breakfast anymore! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.

Outdoor Furniture Refinishing?

We've had some really great weather this week.  It's interesting how this time of year it gets nice and warm during the day, but it really cools down in the evenings.  I was tempted to change out of my shorts this evening because I was getting cold.  Instead I just closed the garage door so I didn't have that cool breeze blowing through the kitchen - and then I washed dishes and got all warm!

When summer gets here, it will be just the opposite.  Well, not actually cold - but during the day it will be nice and pleasant in the house, with a good breeze blowing through.  Then, come evening, the breeze will die down, and the guys will come home and start complaining about how hot it is.  Why can't it just cool down in the evenings like it does this time of year?  I wouldn't have anybody complaining about how I don't want to turn the air conditioner on.

I am looking forward to the warmer weather - because I like it! And because we'll start using the deck more.  I love being able to sit out there and enjoy our coffee in the mornings and having dinner out there in the evenings.  It's usually much cooler outside in the evenings than in the house, so it's great having the deck available.  Maybe someday we'll get tired of it, but since we've only had the deck for a few years, we're still appreciating it.  All our deck furniture is still in pretty good shape too, so we're not ready to think about outdoor furniture refinishing yet, but it's a good idea to keep in mind.

Actually, it's not something I ever would have thought of until I started reading through the services offered by the Patio Guys in California.  Instead of buying new outdoor furniture, you can have it completely refinished.  They make old patio furniture look like new.  They update everything - paint, strap, fabric - and save their customers up to 70% compared to the cost of buying new.  All it takes is one call.  They'll pick up your old furniture, restore and refinish it, and deliver it back to you looking like new.  Not only can it save you money, but it's good for the environment, too - fewer old patio sets going into the landfill!  Patio Guys has over 30 years of experience, and all work is done by trained technicians in their factory.  Judging from the customer comments, they do great work and offer exceptional customer service.

If you're in the Southern California area and have some old patio furniture you were thinking of replacing, why don't you give them a call first.  It couldn't hurt, right?  Save some money; take care of the environment; and enjoy some brand new (looking) outdoor furniture.

Among the Squirrels

Cory finished his second year of college last week and moved back home with all his stuff.  But, he's been going back to Whitewater every day this week (except for Monday when he went to Milwaukee for a screening of the Booth DVD) for rehearsals.  Here's what he's doing now (copied from the UW-Whitewater Greenhill Center Newsletter):
The UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department has paired with the Whitewater Arts Alliance in downtown Whitewater to produce a unique Summeround Benefit Event, a staged reading of Among the Squirrels. This imaginative new play is written by faculty member Eric Appleton, and will be performed on May 19th at 7:30pm and May 20th at 2:00 pm at the Cultural Arts Center in downtown Whitewater. There will be a silent auction event held one hour prior to each performance.

Among the Squirrels follows the life of an out-of-work computer geek, who is inspired out of sheer boredom to collect data on squirrel interactions. He could never have guessed how his backyard observations would reveal truths about his own, stagnant existence. Skillfully combining real life insights, including Netflix, Goth culture and nature shows, Playwright Eric Appleton explores the darkly hilarious complexities of love, friendship, employment and creating community.

Appleton, a UW-Whitewater faculty member, teaches scenic and lighting design for the Theatre/Dance Department. He has written three full-length plays, all of which have received productions. The staged reading of Among the Squirrels will be directed by Jim Butchart, and features Cory Hagen, Jake Lesh and Jen Samson.

The benefit is free due to the support of the Whitewater Arts Alliance; however, donations will be accepted at the door. For more information call 262-472-5943 or email
I like to think they listed Cory first because he's the most important, but that's just the mom in me.  I'm sure it's just alphabetical...

We'll be going to see the performance this weekend, probably Sunday. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out.  Those 'kids' from the Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department put on a good show.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cat and Mouse

To my knowledge, we don't have any mice around here - though sometimes I hear a strange rustling in the attic, a squirrel perhaps?  Considering we have 4 cats in this house right now, we better not have mice!  Though I do wonder if any of the cats would know what to do with a mouse if he (or she) found one.  They have fun batting the toy mice around, but I think a real mouse would probably get away - because they're not used to something that actually moves.

It's like watching those old Tom & Jerry cartoons from Warner Bros where the cat is always trying to get the mouse, but he's just so smart he always gets away.  Speaking of Warner Bros - Dark Shadows comes out today.  Yes, I know, this has absolutely nothing to do with the cats and any hypothetical mice, but - Johnny Depp!  ...and the previews look really good, too.  We probably won't see it this weekend, but I'm definitely wanting to see that movie. 

OK, back to the cats.  Considering there are so many cats around here, things are going quite well.  They are getting along better than I thought they would.  Beth's two cats get along with each other, and Weasley gets along quite well with Nitro.  They play with each other and even snuggle up together sometimes.  And, surprisingly, Tillie doesn't seem to mind either one of them.  She even chases Nitro and bats at him like she wants to play - even when he's just lying around minding his own business.  Beth's other cat Turbo is kind of left out, though he's trying to make friends.  He's a sweet kitty, so I'm not sure why neither Tillie or Weasley seems to like him.  Well, Tillie, because I didn't expect her to like either one of them, but I'm not sure why Weasley likes one cat but not the other one.

I guess I shouldn't complain.  We could have all four of them running around after each other like some crazy episode of Tom & Jerry.  It's bad enough when a couple of them start playing and I start hearing claws on my furniture.  Yeah, I'll just go play some free games on and figure that's enough Tom & Jerry for me!  (and continue to hope/believe there are no mice in the house)

I'm not so good at games - I tried a couple of those games I mentioned, and I had no idea what I was doing.  I guess that means I'm just gonna have to play more, right?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jason!

One year ago today we welcomed a precious baby boy into our lives.  It's hard to believe that a whole year has passed.  Where did the time go?

He's grown so much in the past year - learned to hold his head up, learned to roll over, learned to crawl, and now to walk!  He loves bananas and pretty much any food he can feed himself.  He gives sweet hugs and always has a ready smile for anyone who looks his way.  He's busy, busy, busy - always on the move exploring and getting into everything.  He knows what 'NO' means, and he's quick to shake his head and give a great big smile - "You don't really mean that, do you?"

He's not talking yet, except to say a few words like 'itty!' (kitty), and 'dada' and 'mama' - but he babbles all the time, so he'll be talking non-stop before we know it.  He's pretty good at letting us know what he wants anyway.

Happy Birthday, sweet Jason.  It's been a pleasure knowing you this past year, but could you maybe stop growing up so fast?  Yeah, I know - your mommy didn't listen either when I told her to stay little.

Of course, if she'd stayed little, we wouldn't have you, would we?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wanna Play?

When our kids were little, they had a swingset - a basic one with a slide, a couple swings, and a glider.  That was good enough.  Or so we thought until the neighborhood kids starting getting fancy wooden playsets!  Thankfully we don't have many fences in our neighborhood and all the kids played together well and shared their yards and playsets, because we did not upgrade that basic swingset.  And when they got older and stopped playing on it at all, we gave it away.

Now, though, we've got a year old (tomorrow!) grandson living here, at least for a while, and he's going to need something to swing and play on, right?  I don't know if or what we'll do about that, but I've been checking out these playsets in hickory, and they really do have some fancy ones - fancier than any of the neighbors had.  There are basic wooden swingsets, yes - but also watchtower playsets, wooden castle playsets, pirate ship playsets, and even a Noah's ark playset!  I wonder if that one comes with animals?  I mean, wow! - a kid could certainly have a lot of fun on one of these.  Hey, I might even want to play on that one!

It does look like it could be a bit complicated to put together, though.  If we lived in North or South Carolina I'd be tempted to call Carolina Playsets.  They offer factory direct pricing on American made products and professional installation to insure the best, safest playsets at the best prices.  Safety is their number 1 priority, and all their products are structurally sound with full manufacturer's warranties - giving years of safe and fun playtime.  I don't have any idea how much one of these awesome playsets would cost to set up in the back yard, but it would be fun to find out.  I can at least dream about it, right?  And if you're in North or South Carolina - call them; they'll be happy to give you a free yard evaluation and price quote.  Your kids (or grandkids) will thank you.

He's a Leading Man!

I have a couple plays to read.  Cory will be in not one, but two plays next semester.  They're doing Spirits to Enforce, which seems to be a show about a bunch of super heroes trying to raise funds to put on a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest.  It sounds like it might be a bit chaotic and hard to follow - but fun.  So I'd like to read it first, and then after seeing it a couple times, I ought to be able to figure it out, right?  I keep teasing Cory that he'll have to wear tights, but the descriptions I've been reading say out-of-costume super heroes.  Bummer!  No tights!

 The other play Cory will be in is Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.  Shakespeare!  So, yes, I need to read that one first too - so I can get an idea what it's about and can follow it.  Though Cory said that during auditions he and one of the young ladies read a scene, and when they were finished, the director said something to the effect that it was a very complicated scene, but he understood everything they were saying.  Of course, as the director, he should understand it, but you know what I mean!  They read it so well that he gave them the parts.  Cory is the lead in the play - some guy named Ferdinand!  How exciting is that?  I'm really looking forward to seeing Shakespeare!  I downloaded a study guide and a free ebook version of the play today after Cory told me he was cast.

My son the leading man!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Shout® it Out!

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

I hate stains.  The worst thing is pulling something out of the dryer only to find a stain, because by that time there's pretty much nothing I can do about it.  I've been known to holler, "Why didn't you tell me you got something on your shirt?" - to nobody but the empty laundry room.  I mean, sure I could go over every single item of clothing in the laundry looking for stains, but why should I have to?  Everybody is old enough to take care of their own stains now - or at least let me know that he got something on his shirt or his pants so I can treat it with Shout® Trigger before I throw it into the washer.  (Well, except for Jason, and his laundry isn't my responsibility.)

I don't have kids playing outside getting dirty or getting messy creating art projects, but I have a husband who occasionally drops food on his shirt or brushes up against something and gets something on his pants.  And I spend a lot of time in the kitchen - some days it seems I'm splattering things on my shirt all day long.  If these stains don't get treated, they're there forever.
Several years ago I started keeping Shout® Advanced Ultra Concentrated Gel in the bathroom by the clothes hamper.  That way it's handy for me or Jeffrey to treat our own clothes before we even throw them into the laundry.  It's great, because clothes can be treated even a week ahead of time, so I don't have to rush to do a load of laundry.  I keep the Shout® Trigger downstairs on the washer to treat anything I notice that has slipped through - or that I've been told about.  The directions say to completely cover the stain and rub it in to penetrate the stain, then let sit for 1-5 minutes before washing.  For tough greasy stains or set-in stains it says to let sit overnight or longer, so the Shout® Trigger might work just as well by the laundry hamper.  I keep thinking that I need to send some Shout® to college with Cory - probably the gel - because he does get dirty working in the scene shop and occasionally gets paint on his jeans, and who knows when he gets around to doing laundry, unless he comes home.

I have tried other stain removers, but I keep going back to Shout®.  It's easy to use, and it works - as long as I know I need to use it.  What makes it better than the others?  It must be the Triple-Acting Formula - it Clings, Penetrates, and Lifts away stains.  It comes with a Convenient trigger dispenser, is Safe for all colorfast washables, and it Works in all water temperatures.  I'm not sure how people used to treat stains, but I'm happy for conveniences like this.

Shout® Trigger and the rest of the Shout® stain solutions are available at Walmart.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, May 03, 2012


I updated my template slightly.  Did anybody notice?  Actually I just changed the background to make it look more 'springy' - but I had to mess around a bit to get it to work properly.  For some reason the footer hadn't been showing up for ages.  The text was there, but the background wouldn't show - even though from everything I could tell it should have been showing up.  I know, you probably didn't notice because you never scrolled all the way to the bottom, right?

So, to get it fixed, I had to change the template completely.  It's easy with Blogger's Template Designer - except for any extra tweaks, coding and such.  Why does changing the template take all that out, anyway?  But, I had to change to a completely different template and then change it back to the one I've been using - and then change the background image.  It's nice that Blogger updates font colors and such when you change the background, so everything looks good without too much trouble.

Then I added back the extra styling and scripts I wanted to keep - I saved all the html to a text file before I started messing with it - always a good idea, along with backing up the whole template so it can easily be restored if necessary - so I could just copy and paste the ones I wanted to keep.

Now I just need to update the pictures in my header...