Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Contract

After serious & cautious consideration . . .

Your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2009! It was a very hard decision to make. So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2009

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words . . .
May 2009 be the best year of your life!!!

I got this in my email, from one of my friends, and just had to share it with all of you! Thanks for being my friends. I look forward to sharing 2009 with you!

Check Out These Fun Glasses

We added vision coverage to our insurance for next year. We've never had that before, so we always had to pay for our eye exams and glasses out of our own pocket. Even though I know it's important to get my eyes checked and get new glasses every couple of years, that's part of the reason I put it off. That, and actually making an appointment and taking the time to go do it.

This last year I learned about Zenni Optical and really wanted to try ordering some eyeglasses from them. They sell direct to the consumer with no middleman, so their prices are really reasonable. Prices start at $8, which is really hard to believe when I'm used to a couple hundred. That's also why they can offer an entire collection of Holiday frames. Glasses don't just have to be practical at these prices. You can have several pairs for different occasions, sort of like shoes. You can get them to match any outfit!

I like this red pair here. They're still quite basic because I haven't quite gotten into the habit of thinking of glasses as fashion statements or accessories. There are some other ones that are really a lot of fun. These come in black too, so I'm getting pretty wild by going for the red, don't you think? With our new vision care insurance, I'll have to make the time for that eye exam so I can finally order a pair or two of new glasses.

Check out the selection from Zenni and see if you can't find a pair or two you'd like. Shipping is only $4.95 no matter how many pairs you order.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Beth had her heart surgery today. (In case you missed it - why she needed surgery)

While she knew it was coming up and scheduled time off work to do it, she was a little unsure about going through with it today. Make that a lot unsure, but she went. Once we got there, she did really well. All the nurses and the doctor were really friendly and supportive, doing their best to put her at ease.

The hardest part was probably getting the IV in because they couldn't find her vein. The procedure itself went really well and was over relatively quickly. Then she had to stay in bed, on her back, for 4 hours before she could get up and move around. While she was still sleepy from the anesthetic, it wasn't too bad, but she got pretty uncomfortable after a while. Finally, she tried eating (grilled cheese) and then about 6:00 they got her out of bed to walk around the hall. Once the nurse determined that she wasn't bleeding from the catheter insertion, she was good to go home.

She's sort of sore and tired, and she's supposed to take it easy for a couple days but should be back to regular activity by Friday. And, she shouldn't have any more of those racing heart episodes. That should be a relief, because they were happening more frequently.

Here's an article about the hospital and the procedure. If she had to have a procedure like this, then this was the place to have it done. Her doctor is the Dr. Chapman mentioned.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Your (old) Jewelry Could be Worth a Lot

I'm sure you've heard that the price for gold is really high right now, and lots of people are selling their old jewelry and getting lots of money. It makes you want to search your jewelry boxes for some jewelry you're not wearing anymore just to see how much you can get for it. I haven't actually done that, but I trying to remember if I have any old jewelry I could turn in for cash. I know I have a necklace that broke years ago, and I'm never going to get it fixed. I wonder how much that would be worth?

I just requested my free kit from Cash4Gold to see if I can get some of that Cash for Jewelry. It says that the price they'll pay is based on weight and karat grade, and my necklace is pretty thin, so I'm not so sure it'll be worth much. I might pull out some of my old, tarnished Mexican silver necklaces, too. Hopefully those Mexican vendors weren't lying to me when they told me it was real silver.

Do you have any old jewelry sitting around that might get you some money? With Cash4Gold, you're selling directly to the refiner, so there's no middleman. They pay the highest prices, you can have the cash in hand within 24 hours, and they have a 100% guarantee. I'm not spending my money before I get it, but I figure it's worth a look, and they're sending the kit for free. It's even postage-paid and insured.

The Problem with Winter Break

The kids sleep in, as late as they can possibly get away with.

I forgot to remind them last night that I was going to need their laundry in the morning. If they don't want me to wake them up earlier than they want to be woken up, the ideal thing is for them to set the laundry out in the hall the night before.

But this morning there was no laundry in the hall, because I forgot to remind them, and they didn't think of it on their own. So, I didn't get the laundry going as early this morning as I would have liked, and then it looked kind of like this when I finally got the kids moving and got their laundry:

How exactly do they end up with so much laundry, anyway? This is gonna take all day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Camera Critters (#38)


Tillie doing what she does a lot of - sleeping.  Actually, I think she was trying to sleep, but it was hard because I was pointing the camera at her.

Poor baby.  Do you feel sorry for her?

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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Google Has a Strange Sense of Humor

I just recently started my new recipe blog, right? I had a recipe blog before, hosted on Xanga. In fact, it was the first blog I ever signed up for, so I've had it for a long time. I don't post very regularly over there, though. The last time I posted anything was in August.

It never used to have a PageRank, until I went looking for a recipe there earlier this week - and noticed it now has a PageRank of 2. What the ??? Real funny, Google.

Learning Study Skills

Your child's success in school is strongly tied to his or her Study Skills. Most schools don't teach study skills. I think that's a shame, because the purpose of school should be to teach students how to learn instead of simply asking them to memorize a bunch of facts they're most likely going to forget. Students simply go to class, do homework and take tests. Some students do well, some don't. Those who don't do well in school may just not understand why they need to learn this stuff. After all, they're never going to use it in real life. You've heard that before, haven't you?

Or maybe with just a little guidance, those same students can discover their own individual learning style and the best strategies to learn and comprehend their school lessons. I'm a Visual Learner, something I didn't consciously realize until I was out of school. For me that means, as long as I can read the book, I can usually figure it out. But some people need to hear it and some need to actually do something in order to learn.

Club Z! tutors can help your child learn these skills now so he or she can begin doing better in school. Club Z! offers one on one tutoring in the comfort of your own home. They offer tutoring for students Pre-K through 12th grade and adults in all core subjects. They also help with standardized test prep, so it might be worth looking into to get Cory ready for the ACT, which he is going to have to take before too long. Club Z! tutors have helped over 100,000 students improve their grades, raise their test scores, and build their academic self-confidence.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#49)

It's (almost) Friday again, and that means
Sky Watch Friday!

I took these from my back door Wednesday morning. The sky was just a solid gray, with lots and lots of snow coming out of it.

more snow pics here

If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday. You can enjoy skies from around the world!

Did You Forget Anyone?

While I was bumming around doing practically nothing today, I should have let you know about the last minute gifts from Kmart you could still get - just in case you forgot something or someone. While the stores were all closed, you could still have done some shopping online. They had some special deals going on, like 10% off almost everything, 50% off winter clothing, and 70% off diamonds.

It might not have been the same thing as handing someone a gift, but you could have browsed to and pointed out what you bought, or maybe done some shopping together. Remember Kmart has lots of gifts under $25, so it's easy to find something affordable. I was just browsing jewelry and found a sterling silver and onyx ring I really like for $24.99, and a double heart CZ necklace for $14.99. They've got toys and clothing and bedding, electronics and sports equipment. I'd say Kmart has something for everyone.

Kmart also has the perfect last minute gift, the eGift Card. You select a card, customize it, and send it via email. The card arrives within hours and can be used online, via phone, and in store. Your gift recipient can use it to buy whatever he or she wants. It's not too late to send some of those, just in time for the after Christmas sales. Keep these cards in mind for future use, too. They have them for all occasions, weddings, babies, birthdays, etc.


Someone Decided it Was a Holiday

The thing with Jeffrey, and the kids, being home all day is that I don't get any normal stuff done. First, we slept in until way too late. How does that happen, anyway? We don't set the alarm, we don't get up. Then we had pancakes like I mentioned before and tried to decide what to do. We thought about going to see a couple movies, and then decided not to even bother.

Instead, we were just bums all day. Jeffrey watched some James Bond movies and then we all watched Hancock together. We usually see those Will Smith 4th of July weekend movies in the theater, but not this one. While it was cute on DVD, I am glad we didn't spend the money on tickets. After the movie was over I started looking at the TV schedule because I was going to watch the Stars on Ice special Lori mentioned on her blog My Wooden Spoon. She had a giveaway that required watching the show. So now I'm bummed - because I missed the skating and because I don't have the answers to her questions. (Picture me pouting here)

I did make some meatballs today so we can have sweet & sour meatballs for dinner tomorrow. Look for that recipe coming soon... to my recipe blog, of course.

Pancakes for Breakfast

Since Jeffrey doesn't have to work today, we slept in and then had pancakes for breakfast.  I think I have my sourdough pancake recipe figured out now.  Actually, I had it.  I wrote it all down on the printed recipe, but now I can't find it.  How do things just happen to disappear around here?  That's why I'm trying to get all the recipes I don't want to lose onto my computer and posted to my new recipe blog.  That way, if they're somewhere in the computer memory or on the Internet, I should be able to find them again.  That's the hope, anyway.  I'm also making printable pages for all the recipes, so other people can print them out and use them, or so I can print them out and lose them again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Windows Live Writer Died

Sometimes I uses Windows Live Writer to write my posts. I especially like it when I want to post pictures because I really like the Polaroid Picture plug-in.

Last weekend when I was trying to post my Camera Critters post, Windows Live Writer kept giving me an error message. No matter what I did, I couldn't post to Blogger. I ended up posting my Camera Critters post to my LiveJournal and then copying it over here. Not a perfect solution, but at least it worked. Then, since I don't use WLW all the time, I didn't try it again - until tonight - and it still doesn't work. I keep getting the stupid error message:
The remote server returned an error: (400) Bad Request.

What is that supposed to mean, and why is it doing that? Their help file is no help. Is anyone else having this problem? Did you figure out how to fix it? Help!

EDIT: This is an attempt to edit my post with Windows Live Writer, to see if that works.

Your Monthly Visitor Could Save Your Life

I remember reading a book by Christoper Reeve where he talked about stem cell research and the potential to hopefully be able to reverse spinal cord injuries in the future. I came away from reading his book thinking that the future really is in stem cell research, but still having mixed feelings because of the controversial nature of stem cell research, especially when we start talking about embryonic stem cells.

I recently found out about C'Elle and their less controversial approach to stem cell harvesting. The idea is that there are stem cells in menstrual fluid, actually from the lining of the uterus, that have many properties and characteristics similar to both bone marrow and embryonic stem cells. Women can collect their own stem cells with the C'Elle kit and send them to their laboratory for processing, isolation and cryo-preservation. What that means is that a woman can have potentially life-saving cells available should she ever need them. They will definitely be a genetic match for the donor, and possibly for her close relatives, too.

Stem cells are different than other adult cells. They have the potential to turn into many different types of cells. They have the potential to be used in the future to treat all kinds of diseases and potentially life threatening conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury. While there's no guarantee these cures will be found, statistics from the National Institute of Health suggest there may be over 700 clinical trials related to adult stem cells underway right now. I think they've only begun to understand what these cells can do.

Menstrual blood. Who knew? You've put up with your period every month for how long? Did you ever dream that it could possibly save your life? Is this something you'd like to do or is the C'Elle kit something you'd give to your daughters so they can bank their stem cells? You could give them an iPod, or you could give them the gift of life. Again.


Pretty to Look At

Monday night we had a trip meeting for the upcoming band trip to New York. There weren't many people there, but we went over schedules and costs and finances. The Band Boosters decided to go ahead and write a check to the band account to cover the trip points for all the kids who are going. That way they can be applied to the next payment and we won't have to worry about it any more. I also had to write a check to cover the movie ticket fundraiser. What that meant was I needed to make a deposit, all the money collected from the movie tickets and some for spiritwear, and also needed to move the money from the trip account into the checking account. Otherwise, if those two checks got cashed, our account would be overdrawn. Not good.

So, yesterday I got the deposit together, all the time wishing it would quit snowing or at least that I could transfer money online like in my real banking life. Since neither of those things was going to happen, I went ahead and cleared the driveway off and drove to the bank. I normally don't have any pressing reason to go anywhere and avoid driving on snowy roads if at all possible. It's not that I can't do it, it's that I'd rather not.

Once I got going, I realized that it really isn't that far, and it really wasn't that bad. Maybe it looks worse than it really is, or maybe I just worry about it more than I need to. Am I going to want to do it again any time soon? Probably not, but I am glad I did it yesterday, because today it snowed even harder.

I said I like snow? I'd rather be inside looking out at it than driving in it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Escape to Branson this Winter

We used to go to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri practically every year. We loved the lake and the Ozark Opry show, the outlet mall, and the go karts. There was always something to do. Several of our friends and family members have visited Branson, and they say there is plenty to do there, too and that we should go sometime. So far we haven't made it.

Hiltonsocial-ad-300x400I do know that if we go, we will want to stay someplace like the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing because they have some really nice one, two, and three bedroom suites with full kitchens. I really don't like staying in a plain old hotel room when I go on vacation. It's just so cramped, and if you don't have your own kitchen, you have to eat out for all meals. Besides being more expensive, it takes more time to eat out. We don't eat fancy meals that take a lot of time to prepare. I'd rather use my precious vacation time to see the sights and do whatever there is to do. In Branson that means live entertainment theaters, wineries, caves, amusement parks, and of course outlet malls. Why do I even like outlet malls? I usually don't buy anything, just walk around and look. I really didn't realize there was so much to do in Branson. It looks like they've got something for everyone.

There are even some interesting things happening in Branson during the winter. They call it Hot Winter Fun. Winter is a bit warmer there in Branson than it is here. There are some great shows going on, the Third Annual Ice Carving Event on January 17, the 2009 Polar Bear Plunge on February 14, and the Hilton Promenade will be celebrating its second anniversary this winter, too. The town square features a spectacular water fountain with a light and fire display choreographed to music, and both the Promenade and the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel are offering Winter Escape packages to help you escape to Branson this winter. I'm not quite sure about that Polar Bear Plunge, but the Ice Carving sounds really interesting, and I'd love to see that water fountain in the town square. How about you?


Winter Break

The kids are officially on Winter Break now. No school until next year. January 5, I think.

Since Beth's been working late and getting home late, she hasn't been exactly enthusiastic about getting up in the mornings. So, this morning when I woke her up, I was trying to be encouraging. I said, "You can sleep in tomorrow." Wrong. She has to work at 9am. So, she may be able to sleep in a little, but it won't be much. At least she gets off earlier.

Jeffrey and I will be getting up at normal time, probably to shovel the driveway. He said we're supposed to get another 4-6 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. I'm not exactly sure where we're going to put it, since the piles on the sides of the driveway are getting really tall. I was cleaning the driveway off this morning and went to toss a shovel of snow off the driveway when I realized I couldn't actually lift it that high. Cory says it's because I'm short, but that's not it! I had to push the snow to another part of the driveway so I could get it off.

I guess that means Cory will have to shovel tomorrow if it needs it again, since he's not short. I'm pretty sure he loves being taller than I am, since he points it out all the time.

Tame the Debt Monster

Remember a while back when I mentioned Beth's new credit card with the $15,000 credit limit? She went into the bank and asked them about it, and they said that was a mistake, her limit is really $1500. Someone forgot to tell the credit card company, because when she gets her statement, it still says her credit limit is $15,000. A $1500 credit limit in the hands of a teenager is scary enough, but $15,000? If she wanted to, she could get herself in a lot of trouble there.

From what she says, she's handling the whole thing well. She makes a payment every time she uses the card, without even waiting for the statement to come. That way the money is gone, and she can't spend it again. If she keeps doing that, she'll be in good shape. She's in a good position now because she doesn't have any debt, except to us, and hopefully she can stay that way. It does seem that the best way to get out of debt is not to get into debt in the first place.

For people who already find themselves under a mountain of debt, it's not so easy. It seems that the more debt you have the harder it is to get out of it, because you're not just paying for the stuff you get, but you're paying additional money to the credit card companies in the form of finance charges. Heaven forbid you ever make a late payment because the credit card company will hit you with a hefty late fee, most likely raise your interest rate, and report it to the credit bureaus so that other credit card companies can raise your rates, too. It really isn't in their best interests to have people pay that debt off, so they make it as hard as they can. Sometimes it just seems that there is no alternative but to declare bankruptcy.

I think most people would rather Avoid Bankruptcy, and it really should be a last resort, but how do you know if it's the right decision for you? This site, ClearDebt, has quite a bit of information on bankruptcy to help you understand the disadvantages, the advantages, and what is involved. They also have some free tools to help you find your best way out of debt and show how you can become debt free. If you're looking to get rid of the monster on your back, see if ClearDebt has something that can help you do just that.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Heads or Tails - This Time of Year

This week's theme/prompt is:
TAILS - "This Time Of Year"
Tell what you do or don't like about this time of year.

Let's start with - It's COLD!! You don't even have to ask yourself if that's a like or a don't like, do you? Really, I do like a little cold, this time of year. I hate cold in the summertime when it's supposed to be warm, but in the winter...

I like being able to wear warm sweats and slipper socks or being able to curl up with a soft blanket. I like to warm up with hot chocolate or even by baking something and washing the dishes like I mentioned earlier. I like to crawl into my electric blanket-warmed flannel sheets at night. I don't particularly like the kind of cold we're having now, the below 0° and dangerous windchill kind of cold, but as soon as it warms up a little the snow is gonna hit again.

Of course, I like snow - as long as I don't have to go anywhere, because I really don't like driving on snow-covered roads. If I get to stay home, I love watching it snow and seeing everything covered in snow. It's so pretty. I don't even mind shoveling the driveway, as long as I have a little help. A winter without snow is like, well, a winter without snow. It's just wrong.

By the time winter is over and it's time for spring, I'll be ready for it, but for now I'm liking winter. I like every time of year, in its time.

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme hosted by Skittles.

A Reminder

I'm reminding myself as much as I'm reminding you.

A while back I wrote about the Sears heroes at home wish registry. It's a great program. Members of the military and their families can register, tell their stories, and create wish lists. Many of these military members have to be away from their families for months, some of them more than a year. While they are doing their job serving our country, their families are left at home, doing their best to have a normal life while they wait for the family to be reunited. Their greatest wish is to be together again.

We can't make that particular wish come true, but we can help make some of their other wishes come true by making a donation to the Sears Heroes at Home program. I was reading some of the stories today and came across one about a father who was deployed when his baby girl was 3 months old. He'll be gone over a year and miss so many of her firsts. One of the items on his wish list is a video camera. It won't be the same as being there, but a video camera will let him enjoy some of those precious moments he's missing. Donations won't go to any particular family but are distributed equally, in the form of Sears gift cards, among all the registered families, but I'd like to think my donation will help this man's family get that video camera.

When I found out about this Heroes at Home wish registry and read some of the stories, I had every intention of making a donation, but I didn't do it right then. I even posted the badge in my sidebar, and then, I hate to admit it, I didn't go back until today. So, today I'm making that donation, and I'd like to encourage you to give a little something, too. Let your dollar be a hero:

Donations are not tax deductible, but that's not really why you're giving anyway, is it?


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Backpack of No Return

I just found out the next payment for our band trip to New York is due tomorrow. And there's a meeting tomorrow night. I love how letters make it home to the parents!

I think the elementary school has the right idea. This used to seem backwards to me, but any newsletters or other information that needed to go home to the parents always went home with the Youngest in Family. I thought maybe the older siblings would be more responsible, but the truth is that the younger ones are excited about taking things home to mom, so mom gets the information. As the kids get older, fewer and fewer things make it out of the backpack and into mom's hands. Unless mom thinks to ask or goes through the backpack every day, that is. By the time the kids get into Middle School and High School, the odds of getting any information about school go way down. Most items go into the backpack at school, never to be seen again. Field trip permission slips get pulled out as the kid is walking out the door to leave for school - "I need this signed. It's due today!" Report cards come in the mail, otherwise we'd never see them.

Cory brought me the band letter with all the payment dates on it - after I found out about it from another mom. He also finally gave me the pep band schedule, so maybe I'll make it to a basketball game or two to hear the band play.

How to Warm Up

According to my computer, it's -4°F outside. That doesn't count the windchill, which makes it even colder. The wind is certainly whipping the snow around out there, so I don't even want to guess at how cold it might be when you factor in that windchill.

Even on a cold day like this, we don't like to turn up the thermostat. There are always other ways to stay warm. Here are two of my favorite ways to warm up on a cold winter's day:
  1. Wash dishes
  2. Bake something
I may be crazy, but I actually enjoy washing dishes, and putting my hands into a sink full of warm sudsy water is a sure way to warm up. I really enjoy baking too, and turning the oven on helps to warm up the house really well. Sure, it uses more power like turning the thermostat up would, but at least we get something good to show for it. If you need some good ideas, try visiting my recipes blog. (Note the shameless plug) As in all things, use moderation. I don't want to be responsible for your needing Anoretix to slim down.

Another great way to stay warm is to snuggle up in a soft blanket and read a book. Or, as a friend suggested last night, enjoy a warm drink such as Bailey's and coffee!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Camera Critters (#37)


Tillie was playing the other day, so I grabbed the camera.

Playing is Dirty Business from bcmom on Vimeo.

I was getting ready to throw that blue foam thing away, but Tillie had other ideas. Everything makes a good cat toy. Have you noticed? Cats are so entertaining. Or maybe we're just easily entertained, but we do enjoy watching her and laughing at her.

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Action AllStars

I just found out about this site called yesterday. It's a free site where kids can create their own athlete and play all kinds of fun games. It's a sports themed virtual world, and it's designed for kids ages 6-14. I signed up for my own free account because it looked like fun, and because this is probably more my speed than some games designed for grown ups.
Action AllStars is designed to be Safe for the kids. They have to agree to play by the rules:
  • Respect other athletes
  • Keep your personal information private (important!)
  • Play fair, don't cheat
And then, in order to register, kids must enter their parent's email address - or have the parent do it for them. Before the account can be activated, the parent is sent an email and must click a link agreeing to let their child join the Action AllStars site. The parent is also invited to create a parent account that will enable them to supervise and control their child's experience.

Along with playing the fun games, kids can also chat with each other on the site. There are two choices for chat - Safe Chat and Safe Chat Plus. Safe Chat allows athletes to send messages to each other, but each message is filtered to block inappropriate phrases and personal information. Safe Chat Plus allows athletes to communicate using a list of predefined choices. Parents can change the settings at any time through the parent account. I haven't tried the chat features yet, but I have had several other athletes add me as a buddy and trade cards with me.

Some of the games are basketball, baseball, football and snowboarding. I tried snowboarding. My athlete fell down a lot because I had no idea what I was doing, but I got some points and earned some tokens, which I think can be exchanged for additional clothing and accessories. Now, I'm getting ready to try basketball. Oops, it wasn't basketball. See, I really don't know what I'm doing, but it is fun to explore.

The game I found was running the snack bar for an NBA game. (One of the current partners of is The snack bar is fun, but tough. All these customers come in and place their orders, and I was doing OK until they all started coming at once!

I'm going to keep trying. If you've got a kid who likes to play sports or any kinds of games, check out Action AllStars with them. It's Fun, Safe, and Free! Now, I'm going to go see if I can get those orders right.


Change of Plans

I was thinking I'd probably be doing some more shoveling today, but I've changed my mind. The snow stopped, and it's really not all that deep out there - so it won't be too bad. So, the kids can get out and do it. It's their turn. And they better not complain, because it's nothing compared to what their father and I did this morning.

Beth hasn't actually gotten out of bed today. Can you believe that? 2:30pm and the lazy bum is still in bed. I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that she's had to work until 11:30pm all week and then drive home on wintry roads. It seems she gets to drive in all the bad weather. I haven't had a chance to ask her how the roads were last night because, if she's not getting home until midnight, I'm not waiting up. I think she'll be really happy when the holiday is finally over and her schedule can get back to normal.

Anyway, when she finally decides to get up, she'll probably think she needs to go see Tim or something, so she's gonna need to shovel the driveway before she can go anywhere. While the kids shovel, I'll be making the soup for dinner. Winter means soup, right?

Snow Day #3

The kids are happy. Actually, I'm assuming they're happy, since they're still in bed. No school today, for the third time this month. Cory might be regretting these snow days at the end of the school year when they have to make them up, but Beth doesn't care. She's graduating at the end of 1st Semester, so she won't have to make up any snow days. When I was in school, I'm pretty sure there were a certain number of snow days built into the school calendar, because they knew it was going to snow. Here, they know it is going to snow, and they might plan for one snow day , but after that they have to tack additional days onto the end of the school year.

This time, I think it was a good decision to cancel school. There really is snow. A lot of it. The driveway was completely covered and drifted when Jeffrey and I got up this morning. We didn't measure, but I think it was at least a foot deep - at least that drift I was shoveling was. It took us over an hour to clean the driveway off, and the snow and wind were doing their best to cover it back up as soon as we cleaned it off. The way the snow was coming down, visibility was really limited, and I don't think they'd plowed the streets yet.

That didn't stop Jeffrey from heading to work once we'd gotten the driveway shoveled off. I told him he should work from home today, but he's always gotta go in, no matter what the weather is like. He called me when he got to work, so I know he made it OK. He said it wasn't fun. The trip home should be better because the snow is supposed to stop before too long and there will be time for the roads to start getting cleaned off. And, of course, there will be more shoveling. With all this snow, I can eat whatever I want and never once have to think about fat burner pills. Not that I actually ever think of them, but shoveling really is good exercise.

I heard once that if you see your normal activities as exercise, you get more benefit from them than someone who is doing the same things but doesn't see it as exercise. Did that make sense? I haven't been able to find anything written about that, but I thought it was very interesting. Have any of you heard that?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just in Case You Haven't Seen It

After learning about the new Evolution of Dance video that's coming soon, I just had to go back and watch the first one. Yep, still really enjoy this video!

And, just in case you haven't seen it yet (where have you been, anyway?), here it is:

Yes, I know you don't all have a teenage son who's always watching videos and finding web pages and saying, "Mom, you have to see this!"

Also, I was going to share the video with Cory and Jessica dancing with Judson, but for some reason when I share it, there are two Corys and no Jessica. I like Cory a lot, but I want Jessica in there, too. I guess I'll have to try again.

Evolution of Dance (2!)

It was my first favorite on YouTube, and chances are it's in your favorites too. Judson Laipply's Evolution of Dance is the Internet's most watched video of all time. Currently the video has had 107,334,624 views. Wow! It's just so much fun to watch. I just found out today that Judson has put together a second installment of the Evolution of Dance, which will come out early next year.

If you want to get a sneak peak at some of the dances and songs that will be a part of this new video, visit Evolution Of Dance starring YOU! That's exactly what it sounds like. You can upload pictures of yourself, or your friends or family, do a little editing, and get into the dance video with Judson. The editing was really easy, just a matter of adjusting the outline around the face and then positioning the head on body. Then you can watch and share your very own Evolution of Dance 2 video trailer with all your friends. I made one with Cory and his cousin Jessica, and it was hilarious to watch. Boy, those kids can dance!

This is all brought to you by and - both sites that are designed to help people save money. So while you're there uploading pictures and watching yourself and your friends dancing with Judson, be sure to have a look around and see if they can help you save some money, too. I love the words on the marquee: "DANCE like there's no tomorrow! SAVE so there is one!" Sounds like a good philosophy, right?

While you're there you can sign up for Saveology, enter to win a Smart Car, and sign up to be notified when Judson's new video is released. I can hardly wait, now that I know it's coming.

Paper or Plastic?

1 year of plastic shopping bags.Image by Somewhat Frank
via Flickr
That's the standard question when you check out at the store, at least at the grocery store. Other stores don't give you a choice - just plastic, unless you buy some of their re-usable shopping bags.

When I have a choice I usually go with paper. They load into the back of my van better, and I can send them out with my recycling when I get too many of them. Those plastic bags just seem to multiply and take over. I recycle them by using them as trash bags in all the trash cans in the house, except for the kitchen trash. Kitchen trash needs a real trash bag. Still, we always end up with more plastic bags than we can ever use, mostly because you don't have to buy much to get a ton of bags. Sometimes I wonder if the cashiers are allowed to put more than three or four items in a bag. One shopping trips gains me about 20 new plastic bags, or so it seems.

I hate to throw them away if I can possibly use them, but there's just no way to use all those bags. I always forget that I can take them with me when I go shopping and recycle them there. Why aren't you reminding me? I am going to have to make more of an effort to remember, because more and more of these bags aren't fit to use a second time. At least at Walmart, where I bought quite a few things yesterday, the quality of the plastic bags has been drastically reduced. At least half of the bags had holes or rips in them by the time I got home. Now either I bag all those holey bags up so I can take them with me next time, or I throw them away. Throwing them away seems wrong, but I don't have the confidence that I'll remember to take them with me, either.

I'm guessing that the plastic bag quality has been reduced either in an effort to save the stores some money, or it's their way of encouraging shoppers to purchase and start using the re-usable bags. At about $1 a bag, they're not a bad idea. I bet I could get more than the standard three or four items (OK, I'm exaggerating. Sue me) in each bag, so I wouldn't need 20. The problem I have is, again, the remembering. I bought one of those bags from Walgreens. It's a really nice bag. I keep it in the van. I've never remembered to take it back into the store with me to bag my purchases, so I'm still collecting plastic bags from Walgreens, too.

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Colors for My Toes

I've never been one to wear nail polish much. Once in a while I'll try painting my fingernails, but it always seems that as soon as I get it done I need to do something that will mess them up. I know some people do it, but I haven't found a way to cook, clean, wash dishes, and everything else I do, and have gorgeous nails, too.

So, instead of wearing nail polish on my fingernails, I wear it on my toenails, at least in the summer. I'm not washing dishes with my feet, so it seems to last longer that way, and my toes are far enough away from my eyes that I'm not noticing every little chip.

Some of my favorite colors are getting used up, so I'm going to need to replace them soon. I have a bronze that I really like and a really deep red, too, kind of like the one pictured here. I found this website called Hello Gorgeous! that might be a good place to get some replacements and maybe even some new colors. They have all kinds of brands like Essie, Zoya, and Olan, and their prices are up to 50% off. I admit that I don't know a whole lot about the brands, but I do like savings! Shipping on all orders is $4.95, so the best deal would be to order several at once. I think it would be hard to choose just one, anyway. If I had to choose, though, I might choose the one pictured here - Olan nail polish called Black Forest, or maybe the one called Ginger Snap. I love reading through the names of these polishes. They're so creative.

Anyway, if you want new nail polish, want name brands, and want to save some money off regular store prices, check out Hello Gorgeous!

This is Really Good Coffee

Dunkin' DonutsImage via WikipediaRemember last month when I mentioned the free coffee sample from Dunkin' Donuts? I said I'd let you know what I think once I had a chance to try it. Well, I just got my sample this week and brewed it up this morning. I'm not about to climb up on my roof and proclaim this the best coffee I've ever had, but I am going to tell you that this is good coffee. I got the Dunkin' Dark, and it's really smooth and rich. I'm going to be sad when I finish it, but the good news is that Dunkin' Donuts coffee is now available in the coffee aisle at the grocery store. Of course, I won't be going to the grocery store for a few weeks (see previous post), but hopefully that will give me time to find a coupon.

The good news for you is - there are still samples available. The Original Blend is out of stock, but they still have the Dunkin' Dark. So, if you haven't yet requested your free sample of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, what are you waiting for?
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grocery Shopping Today

I wasn't around much today because I decided it was about time to go grocery shopping. I hadn't been since the week before Thanksgiving. Thankfully, my wonderful husband is willing to stop and pick up a few things when I need him to - like milk and bread - so I don't have to run out for the little things. When I go, I put together a huge list, collect my coupons, and make my trip worth my while. What that means, though, is that it ends up taking me all day - by the time I make it out of the house in the morning, do all the shopping, and get home and get everything put away. Yeah, I'm tired by the time I finish all of that.

Today I bought chicken and hamburger that needed packaged and put into the freezer when I got home. It probably could have waited until tomorrow, but I figured I might as well get it done. The chicken leg quarters and the ground chuck were marked down because they were really close to the code date and had to be sold. That's OK with me, because it means I got a good deal, and I won't need to buy hamburger for ages since I bought 10 lbs. I had to pay a little more than I like to for the chicken breasts, because somebody in this house thinks he needs breast and isn't happy with leg quarters, but at least I found them. I was beginning to wonder if I could still buy chicken breast that aren't boneless. For some reason, I've had a hard time finding them recently.

The most important thing, of course, is that we now have some Ramen noodles in the house. Cory just might survive!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Search for the American Dream

I've been reading a book called Scratch Beginnings - Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shephard. Adam asked me to read it, and I said I'd love to because it sounded very interesting. It took me a while to finish it, not because it's a really long book, but because I have a hard time making time for reading any more, and because there's a lot in this book, and it was good to take the time and think about it as I read.

In the book Adam chronicles his experiences as he started from scratch in a random city, Charleston, SC, with only a sleeping bag, $25, and the clothes on his back. He gave himself one year, 365 days, to become a 'regular' member of society - to have a furnished apartment of his own, a running vehicle, $2500, and be in a position to continue improving his circumstances, either through going to school or starting his own business. How many young people would be willing to do that?

With Adam it was a study to find out if the American Dream is still alive, or if it has, in fact, been drowned out by the greedy and the lazy, but along the way he meets people who really don't have anything more than the clothes on their back. Some of these people really made a difference in his life. At first I was wondering how real this could really be because, even though Adam had restricted himself from using previous contacts or his education, it was still just an experiment. He wasn't really a down and out homeless person. He was just impersonating one. Still, it was interesting to read about his experiences as he moved into the homeless shelter, started looking for a job, and developed friendships with the other men in the shelter. Then came the night Adam had to spend out on the street because he couldn't make it back to the shelter. That night, as he slept under the stars, it really hit him that while this was a one night thing for him, for some people this really was an every day reality. It wasn't until later in the book that I realized that Adam wasn't planning to just go back to his old life at the end of his adventure. Sure, he was going back to his family and friends, and he could again use his education, but he was going to take what he gained through his adventure and build on that - literally prove that he could take that $25 and build a life.

Adam made some mistakes along the way and suffered some setbacks, but all along he kept a positive attitude and determination to meet his goals. Some parts of the book brought tears to my eyes - the night on the street, the letter to the bus driver - and other parts made me laugh out loud. What Adam had going for him was that sense of humor, that determination, and his willingness to do whatever it took to reach his goal. I believe he did find the American Dream, and a few other things in the process.

You can read the intro to the book, get more information about the author Adam Shephard, and find out where to get your own copy on the Scratch Beginnings site. You can also watch Adam's intro to the book on YouTube.

I'm going to pass this book on to my kids and suggest they read it. Maybe it'll help them realize that you get what you're willing to work for, and you can't just expect things to be handed to you. It doesn't work that way, and if you're just gonna sit back and whine, chances are you won't have anything. If you're willing to work for it, it's possible to have the life you want. You may even find out that what you thought you wanted isn't so important any more.

Find Out Who That Number Belongs To

Technology has come a long way. I remember going over our phone bill, this was years ago. There was an unfamiliar number on there, and I was trying to figure out why a fairly lengthy long distance call had been placed, from our phone to that number. I ended up calling the number to try and figure out who it belonged to, but I'm really bad at that. I mean, it is kind of weird calling a number and asking who it belongs to. The person on the other end doesn't want to tell you who they are, because you're the one calling and you should know. And I didn't want to give out my name to a supposed stranger! Come to find out, the number belonged to a friend. We really had placed that call, but I just didn't recognize the number.

Nowadays I could have saved myself the trouble and embarrassment by using this Reverse Phone Lookup service, I would just have needed the area code and phone number, which I had from my phone bill, and I could have immediately found out who the number belonged to. This service is different than others I've seen in the past though, because it can find out who any phone number belongs to, not just landlines, but cell phones and even unlisted numbers. I've tried other reverse phone lookups only to get no information because it was a cell phone. Each report also gives you the phone owner's name and address, line type, phone company, other household members, and more.

Another thing that sounds really useful about is that, if you have an old number for someone, you can get their updated information, too. If your old friend isn't on Facebook, this might be just the way for you to get back in touch.

Win a $100 Sears Gift Card

This morning I've been reading about some Sears shopping sprees that I think you'll be interested in, too. These bloggers each received a $100 Sears Gift Card from Sears and IZEA in exchange for shopping at Sears, taking photos, and telling us about their experiences. Elizabeth granted some of her family's wishes with her $100 Sears gift card. Laurie used her $100 Sears shopping spree, to grant wishes for her angel from the Angel Tree, and BenSpark granted some wishes for local kids by buying some fabulous toys. Heather donated her entire $100 gift card to the Sears Heroes at Home program, and I love that idea. Remember I mentioned that program earlier?

That's only the beginning, though. They're each giving you a chance to win a $100 Sears Gift Card of your own, so you can grant some wishes, too. Even better? They're not the only ones, just the ones I've visited so far. When you visit each of their posts, you'll not only find out how to enter, but they'll give you links to all the other bloggers giving away Sears Gift Cards. There are quite a few, and you can enter them all if you want.

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on December 23, 2008.

Movies at Home

We really enjoy watching movies. Sometimes, when a new movie comes out, we go see it in the theater, but mostly we watch movies at home. The kids watch a lot of movies on their computers, but on the weekends we usually end up watching at least one movie together as a family. Sometimes we go downstairs to the basement and watch movies on the big screen - we've got a projector and screen down there. Other times we just stay upstairs and watch them on the TV. I usually have to pop some popcorn first, because movies and popcorn just seem to go together, at least for me.

We either buy DVDs or borrow them from the library. Of course, if we get them from the library, it usually takes a while to get them because there is almost always a huge waiting list. And sometimes I forget to get on the waiting list. For instance, I'll see a movie advertised and think I'd really like to see that, and then by the time it comes out on DVD, I'll have forgotten about it. I keep meaning to make a list.

Here's a movie I'm adding to the list - All Roads Lead Home The Movie. I was wondering if I had missed it in theaters because I watched the trailer and thought it looked like a movie we'd really enjoy, but I don't remember ever hearing about it before. It looks like it was only in limited theaters and nowhere around here, so we wouldn't have had the chance to go see it. It does come out on DVD January 13th, so we'll be able to watch it then. It's close enough that I should remember to put it on my list of movies to see, too.

Watch the trailer and see if this doesn't sound like something your family would like:

I figure if the trailer made me cry and laugh out loud, then the movie ought to be pretty good. It looks like one of those movies that leaves you feeling good, after first overcoming some obstacles. We always seem to like those.


Heads or Tails - Round

This week's theme/prompt is:
HEADS - Anything Round

A friend of mine posted this video yesterday. I thought it was pretty neat, and it does involve a round thing or two. So that gives me an excuse to share.

I could pretend to understand how it works and why, but I won't. Maybe I should ask Cory.

Cory, when you read this, please explain it to me, OK?

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme hosted by Skittles.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Cell Phones for the Kids?

Both of the kids seem to think they need new cell phones, so they're both very interested when we get free cell phone offers in the mail. Cory had found a phone he really liked, but now that phone isn't in any of the ads or on our cell provider's website. So, he may have to choose another phone, if we end up getting him a new phone. I keep telling him he should just be thankful he has a phone at all! Beth's phone was acting up, but we had an extra phone just like it, so she had all her stuff transferred over to that one, and she's using it now.

Of course, no one says that when we get new phones the kids will be the ones to get them. Maybe Jeffrey and I will get new BlackBerry phones or something fancy like that, and give the kids our old phones. That's what we did last time, but so far I like the phone I have, so I'll probably want to keep it. Maybe Cory can find that phone he liked on this site - Of course, if he finds it, then he's going to want it, isn't he? I think the contract on his phone isn't up until March, so we have plenty of time to think about it. Why is he even talking about it now? Oh yeah, we keep getting these best cell phone plan deals showing all the neat phones available.

I couldn't find our provider on this cell phones website. They have plenty of att cell phones, Sprint cell phones, and verizon cell phones, though. It doesn't hurt to check and see if one of those providers can give us a better plan, because you never know. It's a lot easier to switch cell phone providers now, because you can keep your phone number and take it with you. That way it doesn't matter who your provider is. You can choose the best phones, the best packages, and the best service, and your friends can still stay in touch.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tough Love vs. Spanking - Good Argument

To spank or not to spank. How do I get my kids to listen to me? Definitely much debated questions when it comes to disciplining our kids. I just got this in my email, and I think this just might be the answer:
Ive tried this and found it to be very effective..... Age makes no difference either. 8 or 24. years old. They really listen after this!

Most of the American populace thinks it improper to spank children,
so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of 'those moments.'

One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.

Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc.

Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together. Eye to eye contact helps a lot too.

I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.



I don't know who GJD is, but I think he/she has the right idea, don't you?

Plan Your New Jersey Vacation Now

I love amusement parks and water parks. Unfortunately, we don't get a chance to visit them as often as I'd like. I guess if we got to go every weekend, we might get tired of the rides and fun, right? Wouldn't it be fun to try and find out whether that's true or not? Actually, I'd much rather visit during the week, in hopes that the lines wouldn't be so long. If only there was a way to avoid those lines...

I've been reading that Morey's Piers is one of the best water parks in New Jersey, so I would definitely like to spend at least a day there if we ever get to spend some time in New Jersey. They have two beachfront water parks. Have I mentioned that I love beaches, too? So, two beachfront water parks and three piers full of fun amusement rides, like Great White, Doo Wopper, and Sky Coaster. They all look like lots of fun, judging by the videos. If it wasn't for Morey's Piers, I don't think I ever would have thought of taking a New Jersey vacation, but now I'm thinking it would be a really fun place to visit.

It looks like now is the time to start planning that Jersey Shore beach Vacation because Morey's Piers is having a holiday sale. Now, at special holiday prices, you can buy Season Passes, MOR-EZ Ticket Cards, and Gift Cards. The holiday sale runs through January 9, and you can save nearly 40% on a Season Pass. Morey's Piers looks like a great place for a New Jersey vacation, and their website is a great place to find hotels and motels in Wildwood.

Beth Has a Baby

Beth brought home a baby this weekend. It's one of those computerized babies that cries and needs taken care of like a real baby - at all hours of the day or night. Everyone in her class has to take it at least overnight. She signed up for the weekend so she could take care of it an extra day and get some extra credit. It's an interesting program.

Last night we were thinking of going to a movie, and Beth said she wanted to go too. With these babies, though, you can't get a babysitter. Beth has a hospital type bracelet she has to wear, and only the person with the bracelet can take care of the baby. So, it wouldn't be good to pay to go to a movie and then have to go out because the baby needs taken care of. I know I took her at least once, but that was different.

We ended up staying home and watching a movie, and the baby started crying. It took her an hour to take care of it. I think she was a bit frustrated. Now maybe she can imagine having to take care of a needy baby every day - not just for a couple days.

Beth is good with babies and little kids. She will be a good mom - some day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Rainbow

After the RainImage by bcmom via FlickrI saw this on Lady Banana and I just had to try it. Who knew I could have my very own rainbow!

Your rainbow is slightly shaded white.

What it says about you: You are a contemplative person. You appreciate quiet moments. People depend on you to make them feel secure.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

For no reason I can see, the rainbow colors will not show when I post this - so I guess my rainbow is shaded entirely white...
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Camera Critters (#36)


I think it's time for another picture or two of Tillie. It's been a couple weeks. I'm sure you've missed her cute little face!

I don't know why she's always jumping in front of my camera. :P

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

She Came Through

Beth got up this morning, got in the shower, got ready, and left the house in plenty of time to get Cory to school by 7:30. And, she didn't complain about it at all, except to ask why Cory thought the car needed to warm up for so long. She's right, the car probably didn't need to warm up for quite that long, but it was cold out this morning.

Beth is like me in some ways - plenty of other ones I don't understand at all, but some I do. You can't just throw something at her last minute and expect her to roll with it. You've got to give her some time to think about it and figure out how to make it work, and then she's OK. Or is able to come up with a suitable alternative.

I'm like that, too - not spontaneous in any way. Give me time to think. Maybe it would help if I didn't feel like I need to at least have an idea how things are going to work or exactly how I'm going to get somewhere before I actually do it or go there. So, anyway, if you want something from me, or Beth, don't wait until the last minute to ask.

What, you may ask, did that have to do with beanies? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

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Sky Watch Friday (#48)

It's Friday again, and that means
Sky Watch Friday!

I took these from my back door Wednesday evening.

There was just that little touch of color - gray clouds above and white snow below.

If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday. You can enjoy skies from around the world!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Student Housing

Beth wants to go to WCTC next year to study Interior Design. Luckily that is close enough she can still live at home, if she wants to. It will certainly be more affordable that way!

Students who go to school further from home have no choice but to either stay in a dorm or get an apartment close to campus. For students in Leeds, that means Pickard Properties. In a survey conducted by Leeds Student Union, Pickard was voted their No.1 Landlord. Pickard's aim is to make renting a property a smooth and easy process. They even take care of contacting the utilities on their new tenants' behalf.

To find student accommodation leeds , students can view properties online and register with the site to be informed about new properties and, once they find one they're interested in, arrange a viewing. Once they find the ideal house, they need at least half the tenants (you know students must have roomates) along with Student IDs, insurance numbers, and a deposit, and they can move in and begin their student experience.

Because We Need You To

Image taken by me on March 5, 2007.Image via WikipediaCory came home yesterday with some permission slips that needed signed. He's got a field trip today and tomorrow. He's part of a group at school that writes and performs little skits for the younger students in the district. Last year their theme was 'Bullying' and they performed skits to help the kids understand how to handle bullying. They haven't picked a theme for this year, but it will be something similar.

Today and tomorrow they are meeting with other similar groups to work on techniques and develop skits. It's an all day workshop both days, and they have to get to school early so they can leave at 7:30, and they won't get back until after school. This morning it wasn't a problem because Cory had to be at school by 7am for Jazz Band anyway. This morning I told Beth that she will need to be ready a little early tomorrow so she can get Cory to school by 7:30 - they usually leave here around 7:30 and get to school about 7:45. She was not very happy about it. At all. But really, it doesn't make sense for me to make a special trip over to school and back when she's driving anyway. Sometimes the privilege of having a car to drive comes with responsibilities, too. Sometimes she just needs to do something because we need her to.

At least I told her this morning, so she has all day to think about it and get used to the idea.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Learning to Manage Stress

We all have a certain amount of stress in our lives. Some people have more, and some people handle it better than others, but it has been proven that stress can have detrimental effects on your health. As the economy gets worse, people are bound to feel the stress even more.

founded in 1997 by the award-winning author, Dr. Kathleen Hall, the Stress Institute is a lifestyle company that provides solutions and practices in the fields of stress management. Their programs are designed prevent and benefit a wide variety of conditions as well as optimizing health and wellness. Reducing stress can even reverse many diseases and conditions like heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.

The Stress Institute has several courses and seminars that can be scheduled for a group. Courses can also be customized by the stress speakers to meet the needs and issues of an individual organization. These are probably a great investment for companies who want to take care of their employees and at the same time increase productivity. Less stressed employees, or at least employees who know how to handle stress, are bound to be more productive and get sick less, right?

It's Cold

Socks being worn on feetImage via WikipediaAt dinner tonight, Cory complained that it's cold in the house. Jeffrey and I both looked at him, noted his short-sleeved shirt and his bare feet, and we didn't feel a bit of sympathy for him. If he can't put on a sweatshirt and some socks, he has no business complaining about being cold.

I thought he was smarter than that!

The power company did announce today that since the cost of natural gas has gone down, power bills for the winter shouldn't be as high as originally predicted. Still, we have no plans to turn the thermostat up enough for it to be warm and cozy when you're wearing shirt sleeves and no socks. What? Does he want to wear shorts, too?
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Can Breast Cancer be Treated with Stem Cells?

There's quite a bit of controversy over stem cell research. While stem cells seem to offer hope in Treating Diseases of all kinds, people don't like the idea of stem cells coming from unborn, unwanted babies. I admit, I don't like that either, but I look at it kind of like organ donation. If those babies are not going to be allowed to develop and be born anyway, maybe at least some good can come from it. To specifically create embryos for stem cell research is a whole other issue.

Cryo-Cell Cord Blood Bank is leading the way in research and is working to find more solutions to preserve stem cells in a noncontroversial way. Encouraging families to store the cord blood from their newborn babies is one of those ways. Thousands of lives have already been saved through cord blood stem cell transplants. The majority of those have been patients less than 18 years old.

Cryo-Cell also has a service that enables women to collect potentially life-saving stem cells found in menstrual blood. Now they have announced a research partnership with the National Institutes of Health to research the potential treatment of breast cancer using stem cells collected from menstrual blood. They will be conducting an exploratory study to determine if stem cells collected from menstrual blood can be used in the potential treatment of breast cancer.

Cryo-Cell believes this partnership is a major step towards discovering potential breast cancer therapy.

Well, That Was Fun

Beth did make it home last night, through the freezing rain and on the slick roads. She's a good driver. She drives on a lot of roads I would rather avoid.

When we got up this morning, it hadn't really started snowing, but I guess the freezing rain had continued, and the snow did start by 7am or so. School was canceled, so the kids got to sleep in. And it snowed, and snowed. About 12:30 I went out and started shoveling. It had pretty much stopped snowing by then, and Beth had to be at work by 2:30 so the driveway needed cleaned off so she could get out. Cory was eating lunch (the *gasp* last package of Ramen noodles) so I told him to come out once he'd finished eating.

There was a lot of snow, and it was heavy and wet. Plus there was a layer of iciness underneath - so it was a lot of fun to shovel. Read that as very hard to shovel. We managed to get most of the driveway cleared off before Beth had to leave. She left a little earlier than usual to give herself plenty of time. As she was leaving, I had to make her stop so I could brush the snow off her headlights. Never mind that she was supposed to clean off her own car - she did not do it. She brushed the windows off enough that she could see, but that was it.

Cory and I finished up with the driveway and got back in the house around 2pm. It had started snowing again while we were working, so we went out around 5pm and cleaned it off again, since Jeffrey would be home soon. Luckily it wasn't nearly as bad as the first time. That might've killed me.

If You Need to Locate an Inmate

I was just looking at this Federal Prison Inmate Locator. I'm not exactly sure why someone would need to access prison inmate records from across the United States. Maybe that's because I've never been the victim of a crime? I'm guessing that if someone did something bad to you that you'd kind of want to keep track of where he is and be sure he can't get out and hurt you again.

Anyway, whatever state you need inmate records from, they have the information you need. Just put in first and last name, city, and approximate age, and find the information you want.

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's Not Even Snowing Yet

Cory called a little after 2pm to let me know they got out of school early. There's a big winter storm coming in, so they let school out at 2:05. OK, I know the warnings are out, but it seriously hadn't started snowing yet. No reason they couldn't have stayed in school another hour. This means Jeffrey gets to stay home tonight, too. He was supposed to run sound for a choir concert tonight - now it's rescheduled for next Monday.

Jeffrey Shovels the DrivewayImage by bcmom
via Flickr
If things turn out the way they're predicting, we could get up to a foot of snow. I guess we'll see. If it does that, the kids probably won't have school tomorrow, either. And they'll get to help shovel the driveway again. They love that so much... We try our best to keep it cleared off, so it doesn't end up all icy and just begging someone to file a claim against our home insurance. Some people just don't bother, and their driveways are a complete mess.

Beth is the lucky one tonight. She had to go to work and doesn't get off until 10:30 or so. I bet it will be lots of fun for her to drive home. I really do not envy her. She does a good job, but I still worry - 'cause I'm the mom.

Update: I'm watching the evening news now, and we're now only supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow. Now it's supposed to be freezing rain - not so much to shovel, but it doesn't sound good for driving.
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Cory Didn't Give Me His Sheets

Monday is laundry day. So, every Monday I remind the kids that I need their laundry, and every other week I tell them I need their sheets, too. Today was a sheets day. Beth stripped her bed and put the sheets and her laundry out in the hall, but, and I didn't notice this until Cory had already left for school, Cory didn't. He didn't give me his sheets. He didn't even give me his laundry. Maybe he doesn't want me to wash anything?

I guess I could be mean and just ignore his laundry, probably should. But I did grab his laundry, and he'll have clean clothes. This would have been much harder in the past. We used to have a laundry hamper in the bathroom for the kids to put their laundry into. Strangely, the laundry hamper was usually empty, until Monday mornings when I would remind the kids that it was laundry day. Then they'd gather all the dirty clothes up off their floors and cram them into the laundry hamper, until it was overflowing.

Since it was obvious that they'd rather have all that dirty laundry in their rooms, we bought them some pop-up hampers at Walgreens, so they could keep them in their rooms and hopefully keep all the dirty clothes together and off the floor. It seems to work. I mean, there are still clothes on the floor, but quite a few of them go into the hampers, too. So, this morning I grabbed Cory's laundry hamper out of his room, but I left all the other clothes on the floor. In the past all the clothes would have been on the floor, and I wouldn't have had any idea which ones were dirty and which ones weren't. How do the kids even know? I really think they used to just scoop everything off the floor, dirty or clean, and throw it in the hamper. I never knew if I was actually washing dirty clothes or wasting my time washing clean ones.

-- Jaye is probably going to tell me I should just let the kids do their own laundry. She's probably right. What do you think?