Friday, February 29, 2008

Horton Hears a Who

Cory and I want to see this movie. I wasn't too sure at first, but the more I see the previews the more I think it looks like the cutest movie ever.

Jeffrey says he's not interested at all. How can he resist this? We even told him that it would be easy to read the book first. (I really should read the book first. It's been a while.)

No New Wardrobes

Cory told me this morning that since it was Leap Day, that meant the girls could propose to the guys today. If they guys say No, they have to buy the girl a new wardrobe. I told him he better say yes if some girl proposes to him, since he can't afford to buy her a new wardrobe. He can always break it off the next day.

When he got home from school I asked him if any girls proposed to him today, and he said they didn't. I guess he's off the hook and won't have to buy any new wardrobes for the girls.

Good thing Leap Day only comes around once every 4 years.

Sky Watch Friday (#12)

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

Thursday's sky was a gorgeous blue. It's nice seeing that bright blue after all the heavy gray skies. I thought I'd take a little different view and see what my neighborhood looks like in a wineglass. It's not a brand new idea, since I've seen this done before by one of my Flickr contacts, but I figured I could do it too. I think it looks pretty neat. I love a cold blue winter sky.

Neighborhood in a Wineglass
Click on any of the thumbnails to see more:
Neighborhood in a Wineglass Neighborhood in a Wineglass Neighborhood in a Wineglass

Later the skies were a little grayer, but it still made an interesting picture:
Neighborhood in a Wineglass

If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

When Moms Go Back to Work

I heard on the news the other day that more moms are working throughout their pregnancies and going back to work after the birth of their babies much sooner than they were 40 years ago. In fact, the number of first time moms going back to work within a year of giving birth has nearly quadrupled in that time. That means more and more moms are leaving their newborns in the care of a babysitter.

Finding a good babysitter can make going back to work a little easier. You want to leave your child with someone you can trust and feel comfortable with. AuPairCare offers their Infant Specialized Care Program that provides families of infants with au pairs fully trained in infant safety and caregiving and infant stimulation and development. These au pairs have at least 400 hours of child care experience, as well as being certified in infant CPR and first aid. They also engage the baby in learning activities and teach the baby sign language. Part of their job is to communicate with the parents about baby caregiving, and I'd think that would be a great help for first time parents. Most of us just learned as we went along. We didn't have a fully trained professional there.

brought to you by AuPairCare

I Won!

I'm talking about Elizabeth again today. She ran a contest on her blog MomCooks, giving away 3 10-year memberships to I entered and I won! A 1-year membership usually costs $31, so it's an amazing prize.

I love cooking, but sometimes I have a hard time deciding what to cook. This site will help me with meal plans, and it looks like there are lots of recipes in all kinds of categories. One thing I already like is the recipe finder, where you can select an ingredient and type of recipe to get a recipe for the ingredients you have on hand. For instance, I selected ground beef (for all that hamburger I have now) and crockpot recipes and came up with a couple recipes that sound really good.

I'm very excited about winning this! 10 years - recipes, meal plans, shopping lists. This is just my thing. Thank you,!

Enough for Some Folly Beach SC real estate?

  • 12 pounds of hamburger bagged and in the freezer.
  • 10 packages of shredded cheese bagged and in the freezer.
and that's just for today. I really believe in buying in large quantities so I can save money. Of course it only works if you have freezer space and hopefully an extra refrigerator, which we do. Sometimes it's not cheaper to buy the larger size, like yesterday when I was looking at either buying a 10-pound bag of flour or the 5-pound bag. Usually the larger bag would cost less per pound, but not there. Sometimes I think they just play around with prices hoping that someone won't notice and will buy the larger item just assuming it's a better deal. At least most of the shelf tags list the cost per ounce, unit, or pound, and that makes it easy to compare. If I actually had to do the math, I might be in trouble.

Still, I like to get the best deal possible - always. If I don't, it really bothers me. I may not be saving enough to buy some folly beach sc real estate, but every little bit helps. For instance, on that flour yesterday? I bought the 5-pound bag at Walmart for $1.82. Then, when I got to Pick 'n Save they had it on sale for $1.29. Thanks for telling me! There are times I would actually go back to the first store and return the more expensive item. Instead, yesterday I just bought two more bags of flour. That'll teach 'em!

Coffee from Senseo

I recently read this post on MomReviews, started lusting after Elizabeth's gorgeous cup of coffee, and followed the link to see if I could get my own Senseo coffee machine. Guess what? I got an email yesterday telling me that they are going to send me the coffee machine, along with a bag of the coffee pods, a canister to store the pods in, and 5 $20 off coupons to share with friends and family who want to buy their own Senseo Coffee Pod System. I had to pay the shipping, but pretty soon I'm going to be enjoying my very own cup of perfectly brewed coffee.

I think there's still time to sign up to see if you can get your own - U.S. residents only. Otherwise, I'll let you know when I get it and how good it is, and I will have those $20 off coupons, so let me know if you'd like one of those.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Busy Day

Today was a busy day. Besides searching for doggy gifts and attending Maggie's birthday party, I had to go out and buy some groceries. I also got my hair cut. It had been a while but I kept putting it off because I just didn't know what to do with it. I still didn't know what to do with it, but I went anyway and told her to just trim it and shape it. It feels a lot better now. Maybe I'll even take some pictures. No promises, though.

After the haircut I went to Walmart and bought lots of stuff. I got a great deal on hamburger, which I was planning to buy anyway. I usually end up buying the 5 pound roll of ground beef because it's the cheapest, but they had 3 pound rolls of ground chuck marked down because it had to be sold by tomorrow. They were $3.25 each, that's a little over $1 per pound. Now tomorrow I need to get it all packaged up and put into the freezer.

After Walmart, I headed to Walgreens and bought a few things. Remember the Naked Naturals shampoo sample I just tried? They had it on sale buy 1 / get 1 free - plus I had a coupon that came with my samples - so I bought some of that. I really liked the kind they sent me, and it was for color treated hair, which is good, but they were out of everything but the citrus. So I bought that. It smells absolutely amazing! Then I went to Pick 'n Save, grabbed some more groceries and headed home. It was a little frustrating at Pick 'n Save because I had some coupons I had printed from to try some free bags of their chips (crisps?) plus they were on sale, and I was supposed to get a register coupon for $4 if I bought 3 bags. I looked everywhere for them but couldn't find them. When I checked out I asked if they really had them, so the cashier called and found out that they were out of them. I guess I should have asked first and saved myself some time. I got a raincheck so I can get them in the next couple of weeks.

When I got home I had to get everything carried in - Cory helped me. Then, while I was getting things put away, I had to get dinner ready. While I was doing that, Jeffrey came home, saw I had been shopping and asked me what I got him. I said, "nectarines, since I got oranges and grapefruits for everyone else, and you don't like those." He was really hoping I bought some bodystockings or something exciting like that. Does Walmart even carry those? Besides, I went for groceries.

Dinner was yummy chicken sandwiches. Then I had to wash dishes. Cory was really supposed to do them, but he was busy practicing his saxophone, and since Solo/Ensemble is this weekend, he really should be practicing. I'll have to make him do them some other time to make up for it. While I was in the kitchen I should have made Jeffrey's lunch for tomorrow, but I didn't think about it, so now I have to get up off the couch and go do that.

I'm really glad it's almost bedtime.

It's a Doggy Bloggy Birthday Bash!

The cutest puppy on the Internet is a big girl now. Today is Maggie May's birthday, and her mommy Misty is throwing her a big birthday bash.

Just look at that face! Run on over and join the fun. Sign the guestbook, leave some birthday wishes, have some cake.... and don't forget the presents. I found this whole virtual basket of doggy treats on the Internet. Do you think she'll like it?

Oysters are Not a Joke

Does anyone know any good oyster jokes? I was supposed to come up with my own oyster joke - something like "What did one oyster say to the other?" Well, what would an oyster say? "My pearl's bigger than yours." "Let's head on over to the oyster bar." Those are about as funny as the joke my brother told us at the dinner table when he was little:

"Why did the cow jump over the moon? Because it was a goat." - Cracks me up every time.

A little internet research didn't produce very many oyster jokes either. There's the one that goes, "an annoying noise annoys an oyster" and that's about it. A little more internet research produces some more important information. Consumption of raw or undercooked oysters can cause serious illness and even death. If you are going to eat Gulf oysters, and a lot of people do, you need to be aware of the dangers. is a website dedicated to educating the oyster consuming public. If you're going to eat the oysters, please be informed and do it safely. The noise you make is up to you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dropping Entrecards

I signed up for Entrecard a little while ago, and I've been meaning to say something about it. I started noticing it on some of the blogs I was visiting, so I just had to check it out. I love the way it works. Once you sign up and create your Entrecard, you can start visiting other blogs in the network and 'dropping' your card to let them know you've been there - even if you don't comment. Other people see your Entrecard on the site and visit to drop their card. I have definitely seen some increased traffic since I signed up.

Have you noticed the daily blog ad there on the left? I hope you're clicking, because it's a good way to find new blogs to visit. That's another great thing about Entrecard. Every time you drop a card or have someone drop a card on you, you get a credit. Every blog in the system has a value, based on card drops each day, and you can use those credits to purchase a 24 hour ad spot on any blog you choose, pending the blog owner's approval. Advertising on the right blog can bring extra traffic, too. Besides, it's kind of fun to see your card on someone else's blog! For me, anyway.

I like to return the drops I get - visit the blogs of everyone who visited me and dropped their card, but so far I haven't quite accomplished it. It seems to take more steps than it should - visiting a profile to get to a blog to drop a card, and then returning to Entrecard to do the same thing with the next card. Of course, while I'm visiting and dropping, I'm busy reading, commenting, entering giveaways, etc. It takes a while!

I recently ran across this script on that gives you the list of the latest bloggers who dropped their Entrecards on you. The script reads your Entrecard XML feed, reads all the listed profiles, and gets the real blog URLs of those users. Just click the blog url on the page, and it opens in a new tab so you can visit and drop your card, then close that tab and return to the list. I think it will make it easier to return card drops - instead of going through the inbox at Entrecard, visiting each Entrecard profile page, and then clicking the link to visit the blog. Of course, it can't help speed up the reading, but that's OK. I have found some really interesting blogs through Entrecard - like I didn't already have plenty to read.

If you haven't already signed up for Entrecard, do give it a look.

I Got Naked

my samples and my blogA couple years ago, a friend of mine gave me some samples of a natural shampoo she thought I should try. She also gave me a sheet that claimed the ingredients in regular shampoo are really bad for you. I don't remember all the details, and I don't know if I believed it all at the time, but I gave the shampoo a try. The only thing I remember about that shampoo was that the smell was so strong I had trouble breathing, and I did not switch from using my regular shampoo.

Yesterday I received some samples of another natural shampoo to try. I don't really know that shampoo ingredients like DEA, TEA, and Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates, are as bad as some people say, but I believe that using natural ingredients instead has to be better, especially if they work just as well. So, when I received the naked naturals shampoo and conditioner samples, I was ready to give them a try. Not only do they leave out those potentially harmful chemicals, they promise to make your hair stronger and healthier. The secret is a plant protein called Keravis, which is exclusive to the Naked Naturals products. It works at the molecular level, moisturizing the hair follicle and making the hair thicker and stronger.

I used both the shampoo and the conditioner when I took my shower today. I like this a lot better than that last natural shampoo. For one thing, it smells wonderful! There is a lot to be said for not using any synthetic fragrances. The shampoo lathered up nicely and cleaned my hair well. I will be able to wash my hair one more time with the sample I received. I had to use all of the conditioner and really would have liked a little more. I have a lot of hair, and I wasn't quite sure I got the conditioner worked completely through it. Still, my hair is nice and soft today, so it did a good job anyway. I've recently been using natural, plant-based detergents to wash our clothes, and I like the idea of using natural products in my hair and on my skin, too.

Naked Naturals can be purchased at Walgreens or you can Shop Naked and buy them online at the Naked Naturals website.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Heads or Tails - Wonder or Wander

Today it's HEADS - Wonder *or* TAILS - Wander

As I was folding laundry wondering what I should do this week, my mind began to wander. That's when I heard a commercial, advertising a new show, I think. I don't know what the show is. It was the question that caught my attention - "How many times a week is the right number of times to have sex?" So, I started to wonder - how many times is the right number?

Summerfest 2007 - REO SpeedwagonI didn't figure that out before my mind wandered on. Jeffrey and I are going to see REO Speedwagon in concert next month at the Crystal Grand. We usually see them at Summerfest, where we get in free for donating canned goods, but this time he actually paid for tickets. I'm sure it will be fun. I just wonder what I should wear, and I wonder if you'd like to see the rest of my REO pictures from Summerfest? I also wonder if the kids will behave themselves while we are gone.

Then I wandered into the kitchen to make Jeffrey a sandwich for lunch. I wondered whether I should give him smoked turkey or turkey ham. I went with the smoked turkey. Then I pulled a pickle out of the jar for myself, sliced some cheese, and wondered if you'd think I was crazy because I like dill pickles and cheese together. Oh, and dill pickles and peanut butter, too. (I could've included that last week!)

Also, I wonder how people put some of these videos on YouTube. I have this REO XM Radio DVD, but I have no idea how they got the songs from the DVD onto YouTube. I guess I really don't need to, since someone has already done it, do I?

Speaking of YouTube, Cory and I were comparing Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night and See You Again by Miley Cyrus. He says they sound alike, but I can't really tell because I'm so not musical. I wonder, does anyone else hear it? Oh, never mind - there are several videos there with people saying the exact same thing Cory says. I wonder - did anyone, besides me, ever wear their sunglasses at night because of that Corey Hart song?

Now I know you're all wondering when I'm just going to shut up and send you over to Skittles' Place so you can check out other Heads or Tails Participants. How about now?

Remote Network Management

Have you ever wondered who keeps the network running in a big company, or even a small one? It would seem that the more locations they have running on the same network, the more complicated it would be. For instance, the company Jeffrey works for has plants and offices in several different locations all over the state, and they are all on the same network. They have an IT department that is located at the corporate office, and they want to keep a tight rein on every computer connected to that network. I doubt they physically travel to every location in the company every time something needs checked on. They probably use something like Uplogix that lets them handle log management and other routine tasks remotely. That way they can spend their time on more important things.

brought to you by Uplogix

Give Me 5 Monday - Favorite Things in Your Favorite Season

The topic of today's list is - Give Me Five favorite things to do in your favorite season of the year.

I don't really have a favorite season because I tend to like them all. By the time I get to the end of one, I'm ready for the next, so I'm going to follow BeccA's lead and choose spring. I'm about done with winter - of course it's not leaving any time soon, and we're supposed to get more snow tonight. I can still start planning for Spring, can't I?
  1. I like going for my morning walks when Spring comes, because the sun rises sooner in the day, and I don't have to walk in the dark. Also, I like listening to the birds singing as they welcome the morning.
  2. I like taking pictures of new flowers and all the signs of Spring. Yellow
  3. I like being able to open up the house on warm days and let the breeze blow through.
  4. I like being able to go outside in shirtsleeves and sometimes even in bare feet, not having to wear a jacket, and sitting in the sun.
  5. I love watching the storms roll in.
    • Sometimes it snows:
      Snow in April
    • and sometimes we have dramatically stormy skies and a good old thunderstorm:
      Stormy Skies

Check out BeccA's Buzz and other Give Me Five lists.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Trace Any IP

I've mentioned before that I love seeing where all the visitors to my blog come from. The Internet makes the world such a small place. There are some neat tools that make it easy to learn all kinds of things about my visitors. That's right, you can't hide! Actually, you can, but I'm not going to tell you how.

A page I haven't used for a while is Here you can look up an IP address and find out details such as:
  • Geographic region location (also called geoip location)
  • Country, State, and City
  • Postal Code
  • Area Code
  • Latitude & Longitude
  • Map of IP address location* with clickable push pin
Sometimes you need to know your IP address, and this is the page to find it. Also, we used to use this for church when people would join our cybercast but not our chat room. The server would give us the IP address of the people who joined the cybercast, and we could look them up and see where they were listening from. Even if they didn't say anything, we could have a good idea who it was listening in, provided it was someone we already knew. Otherwise it was just neat to know that someone in California was listening and maybe someone in England or Alaska. This can also come in handy if your blog, web page, or forum tracks visitor's IP addresses.

If all you have is a visitor's IP, you can find out where they are from and even trace ip to see the route the information traveled through the Internet. Since I didn't have anyone else's IP to trace and the site automatically filled mine in, I just tried tracing my own. It tracked me all the way from Irvine, CA to Tulsa, OK to Denver, CO to a couple places in Wisconsin before finding me right here in Eagle. They even offer a visual representation of the trace on a map. It's really interesting to see how information travels across the Internet, and it's not in a straight line. Is it any wonder I can't keep track of where I've been?

Follow Me if You Can

One of these days I really am going to have to keep track of my trail through the Internet. It used to be easier before tabbed browsing - I'd just keep hitting the back arrow to see where I came from and how I got where I am. However, I love tabbed browsing, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Now, when I see something I want to check out, I open it in a new tab so I don't lose the page I'm already on. Sometimes I have 15 or more tabs open. Right now I only have 12. So, sometimes, when I find an interesting page, I can't remember how I got there - mostly because the tab has been open for hours before I find the time to look at it.

Here's a really small example of that trail through the Internet I'd like to trace: the other day I was reading Part 4 of Deb's series on RSS and Feedburner. In that post, she mentioned a post on Absolutely Bananas, which I read. Then I started looking around there, and found this: spell with Flickr pictures. So, of course, I had to try it. For this post, I just spelled my name,

Bead Letter A cast N N A

but I spelled out "Beth & Cory's Mom" when I first found this, and if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see it. How cool is that? It's really fun. Go ahead. You know you want to try it.

Getaway to Branson

We've never been to Branson. We like Missouri. We used to go to the Ozarks every year, and several of our friends have been to Branson, and they recommend it. One of our favorite things to do every time we went to the Lake of the Ozarks is attend one of the music and variety shows. Branson definitely has shows, and looking to see what else they offer, I see they have theme parks, museums, caves, and golf for Jeffrey, too. It looks like there would be something to do for everyone.

Branson Getaways offers several different vacation packages that include hotel accommodations, tickets to shows and attractions, and savings certificates. If they don't have a vacation package that suits your needs, they will work with you to plan a custom vacation. You could even get a free Branson vacation, because every month they give away a Branson getaway that includes 3 days/2 nights lodging, 2 tickets to a show, a $30 dinner certificate, and a coupon book with $1500 savings.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Receive Calls from Your Blog

Usually when I log into Blogger, I don't scroll down past all my blogs to read the Blogger Buzz. Luckily Lady Banana does. She posted today that she was getting excited about the announcement of GrandCentral, which allows you to receive calls and post voicemail with your blog. Then they went and told her that it was only available in the US. (insert sad face here)

I'm sorry it didn't work for Lady Banana, but I'm really glad she mentioned it. If she hadn't posted I might never have noticed. I went ahead and signed up. From what I can tell, this will make it possible for anyone to call me at no cost to them. Think about that - free long distance! And I don't have to give out my phone number. I set it up to call my home phone, added the WebCall button to the sidebar, and Cory and I tested it. Actually, I did it all and handed him the phone. It was easy - I just clicked the button, entered his name and my cell phone number. Then I clickeded again, and GrandCentral called my cell phone. When Cory picked it up, it connected the call with the home phone, and it started to ring. When I picked the phone up, it told me I had a call from Cory, and I could connect, send the call to voice mail, and some other options. I just hit 1 to accept the call and talked to him.

I'm excited about this because I've got unlimited long distance, but I'm horrible, horrible, horrible about picking up the phone and calling anyone. I like talking when someone calls me, and now they can because it won't cost them to do it.

If you've got friends or family you'd like to be able to call you without long distance charges, GrandCentral is worth a look. It's new, so there might be a few kinks, but your number stays private, and there are all kinds of extra features - like call screening, voicemail, and call forwarding. It's currently in private beta test, but Google is letting bloggers go ahead and sign up now - probably because they know bloggers are good ones for giving feedback. Once you sign up, you can also invite 10 of your friends so they can sign up, too.

I really ought to find a clock to put by my call button - just so people are aware of what time it is where I am. I'd hate to get a call in the middle of the night just because someone wants to play with my brand new call button. I wonder if there's an option to send all calls straight to voicemail at bedtime?

Direct to You From China

Whenever we need want something, my first thought is to check online to see where we can get it for the best price. Other times we don't really want anything. OK, that's not true. Somebody in this house is always wanting something. I'm the one who is constantly reminding them that they do not need anything. But, whether we need it or not, it's still fun to look. I was browsing this China Wholesale site, today. The first thing that caught my eye was what they call a Vii. It's a Wii clone designed for children. Maybe that means the games are easier? I am not so good at video games, so maybe this would be the one for me? The thing that caught my eye is that they are selling this for $99 with free shipping. That is considerable cheaper than the Wii, and it looks like they have these in stock, unlike the Wii which is extremely hard to get a hold of,

I was also browsing through some MP3 players because Cory's iPod had been acting up. We think it's the battery because it just won't hold a charge. The question is, it is worth buying a new battery, or should we just get him a new MP3 player? He's decided he wants the 80GB Zune, but his dad isn't ready to buy it for him until his birthday in July. So, I was looking here to see if there was something that would get him through until then, that wouldn't cost much more than an iPod battery. Then I'd just adopt it when Cory gets the Zune.

Besides video games and electronics, carries clothing, jewelry, cell phones, toys, and more. They offer wholesale prices and fast shipping, and promise great customer service. If there's something you need want, and you like to save money, you might want to check this site out.

brought to you by

Cory Says to Try the Impossible Quiz

Cory finds the strangest things online, and he gets such a kick out of them. Because his computer is in the corner of the dining room, he usually wears headphones while he's on the computer so he doesn't disturb the rest of us. It's not unusual for him to be laughing his head off over there, and we haven't got a clue what's so funny. Yesterday he told me I had to look up the Impossible Quiz and try to answer the questions. I haven't had time to try it, but I did look it up, and I'm saving it here so I can go back later.

He says there's now an Impossible Quiz 2, so I think he's working on that now.

Should I Buy Chinese Products?

My cousin called this morning. It really surprised me because we were talking on Yahoo Messenger when the phone rang. The caller ID gave his new wife's name, and I didn't recognize it. He said he's got VOIP now, and he can talk better than he can type, so he just picked up the phone. It was nice talking to him. It's been a while.

Of course, since I was on the phone, I didn't get much done, but I suppose that's OK. I just need to get busy now. I've got cooking to do and some vacuuming, and basic straightening up. Since the kids are home (teachers' convention), I need to get them to take everything that belongs to them and put it in their own rooms. There's no reason their stuff needs to clutter up the living room, too. What they do in their own rooms, well, I'd like it if they kept them neat, but I've pretty much given up. They may never be neat until the kids move out.

I haven't accomplished much yet, but at least I've been searching cookbooks for recipes. That's got to count for something! I grabbed an opp on PPP, so I was thinking I should get that posted, but it's for a site to buy stuff from China. The prices look good, but I'm not sure I can be positive about buying things from China. That being said, I don't check the stuff I buy in the stores to see where it's made, and I don't refuse to buy things from China. So, I'm still deciding whether I want to write that post. I'm sure it's more politically correct to write about something American like Price Pfister or Harley Davidson.

How do you feel about buying Chinese products? Is getting a good price more important than where it comes from? You know how much I like to save money, so I'm really not sure where I stand on this.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#11)

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

There was a lunar eclipse last night, so I had to take some pictures. I really should have used a tripod, but it was so very cold outside that I wasn't setting up for the long haul. I took a few pictures through some windows, and I ran outside my front door a few times to see what I could get. I like this one best, as the shadow of the earth was just beginning to come across the moon. In a couple years I can try again.

Lunar Eclipse
If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday.

Things Were Jumping into My Cart

After the eye doctor, the kids and I went shopping. I was right about buying more things than I actually needed because I had them with me. Beth was grabbing things off the shelves and throwing them into the cart - mandarin oranges, ravioli (ravaloni), cans of biscuits, some instant ramen noodle stuff to take to work, waffles, fudge bars, and I don't know what else. It sounds like she's really going to eat well, huh? Oh, and 6 boxes of macaroni and cheese. At least she won't waste away to nothing. And if she dares to complain there's nothing to eat, I'm just going to have to strangle her.

After ALDI, we ate lunch at Culver's and then went to Walgreens for milk and other sale items. We ended up with makeup, cold medicine, toothpaste, mouthwash, Twizzlers, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, and who knows what else. Seriously, I think we bought everything but bodybuilding supplements. I don't usually get that much stuff at Walgreens, but they had a lot of things on sale buy one get one free, and they were things we needed anyway. Well, maybe not needed right this second, but needed soon. The makeup was an especially good deal, since it was buy one get one free, and I had printed some of those online coupons I was talking about, so it ended up being almost free. I actually counted the coupons out wrong and could have used one more, and then I think all the makeup - foundation, cover-up, blush, powder, mascara, etc. - would have cost us less than $1. Deal! I'll also get some money back because a couple items are free after rebate. I really can't resist those free after rebate things, whether I need them or not, especially if I have a coupon, too - because then they pay me to buy the product.

I've noticed that when all those things jump into my cart, my job isn't over when I get them home. Everything still has to be put away. How am I supposed to get my blogging done?

Eye Exams

The kids had their eye appointments this morning. The injustice of it all, having to be out of the house by 8:45am on a non-school day! Cory got up without too much protest, jumped right in the shower, and got ready. Beth, on the other hand, didn't get moving. She did manage to make it out of the house, but she didn't get a shower, and she didn't eat breakfast. She was putting her makeup on in the van. Don't ask me what she needed makeup for, and she herself was wondering why she bothered when those eye drops went in.

Beth's pressures were both 14, and Cory's were 14 and 16, though I don't know which eye was which. The doctor said that their eyes looked really good and healthy, which is exactly what we want to hear. The insurance probably won't cover any of the exams because a family history of Glaucoma isn't enough of a reason - or something. They'll only pay if there's actually a problem, which there isn't, so they put both down as routine vision exams. If we wanted a routine vision exam, we'd go to Walmart or Stein Optical or something. I'm going to have to pick one of those and get an eye exam myself one of these days.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Inner Health and Outer Beauty Go Together

I was just thinking this morning how I used to color my hair because I wanted it to be a different color. Now I color it because I don't want to see how much of it is going to come in gray silver. It's the same with skin care. Not that I wanted my face to be a different color, but I try to use moisturizer regularly because I don't want to see any wrinkles. If I do see any, I'm going to blame them on my kids, of course, and not on the fact that I'm probably not using the right formula or Clarifying line. I usually buy whatever I can get the best price on and hopefully doesn't have a fragrance. Why do they have to add fragrance to everything? I buy one brand of skin cleanser and another brand of moisturizer, and I hope they work together and do what I want them to do.

I should pay more attention to my skin care regimen. For instance, Borba skin care teams up what they call Nutraceuticals, specially formulated vitamin and anti-oxidant supplements in naturally flavored drinks, and their Cosmeceuticals, anti-oxidant rich topical skin care. Your skin is nourished from the inside and taken care of on the outside. These products are made to work together. Besides the products, there are several skin care and beauty tip articles that could be helpful. There's even an article here saying that skin care is not just for women. Yes, I knew that, but try and convince my husband. He's currently trying to cover his face by growing a beard. Still, a little moisturizer couldn't hurt. Maybe we could share?

As far as savings and finding the best price goes, right now if you spend $100 or more you can get a $25 free gift; see details here:

Some #1 Songs for You

I found this at the Cafe at the End of the Universe today, and I thought it looked like lots of fun - so I told Penelope Anne I was going to steal it.

Find out what song was number one the day you were born or any other day.
  • The day Jeffrey was born - Tossin' and Turnin' - Bobby Lewis
  • The day I was born - Ticket to Ride - The Beatles
  • The day we got married - On My Own - Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald
  • The day Beth was born - Release Me - Wilson Phillips
  • and, the day Cory was born - Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-A-Lot (I wonder if that's why he likes that song so much?)

Sorry, I got started and I just couldn't stop. What song was #1 on your special day?

Must Go Shopping

I'm trying to remember the last time I actually got out of the house and went shopping. It's been a while. We're starting to run out of important things, and I really need to go to the store and buy a thing or two. Luckily I'm the kind of person that stocks up when things are on sale, and it would take a very long time for us to run out of everything. There is still food in the house, and we can still eat. It may not be exactly what they want to eat, but at least it's food. Besides, as I mentioned yesterday, Beth doesn't like anything anyway, so, as long as we have peanut butter in the house, she's good. She does like macaroni and cheese, too - so I do need to get some of that. Cory still has a good supply of ramen noodles, so he's not complaining yet. What I really need is some fresh produce - apples, bananas, carrots, celery, lettuce - stuff like that.

I was thinking I should go to the store today. I was even checking the ads, sorting coupons, and trying to find some online coupons to use last night. Then this morning I decided to just wait until tomorrow. The kids have eye doctor appointments in the morning. Since I have to be out anyway, I'm just going to wait and go after their appointments. No sense in going out two days in a row if I don't have to, and we'll be close to ALDI. I've been keeping a running list of the stuff we're getting low on, and I can get most of it there. I love that store, and I don't get there very often because it's not close.

I'm sure the kids will love being dragged to the store, but there's nothing they can do about it! Maybe I'll bribe them by taking them to lunch after? I'll probably end up buying more stuff than we actually need because they're with me, but hopefully that means they will actually eat it without complaining. I mean, hopefully that means she will actually eat it without complaining. Cory eats most anything. After all, he is a growing teenage boy.

Next week I'll probably go to the grocery store since they have double coupons on Wednesday. I love me some double coupons!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #2 - Academic Excellence

Check out more Wordless Wednesday here

The Academic Letter and How it Works

Cory's got his nice pretty Academic Letter now. I was going to check and see how much it would cost to buy him a letter jacket to display his letters on, but they wanted a school password to access the site so I'll have to wait. He's not really sure he wants a letter jacket, anyway, but it doesn't hurt to check.

They explained the requirements for receiving an Academic letter. It's based on grade point average. For every semester a student receives a GPA of 3-3.49, he gets 1 point. For a GPA of 3.5 and above, he gets 2 points. When he gets to 6 points, he gets a letter. When he gets to 12 points, he gets what they call the Top Cat award. Apparently there were quite a few kids from Cory's class who received their letters tonight. These kids have only been in high school for 3 semesters now, so they're definitely on track for that Top Cat award.

Cory's Getting an Academic Letter

We got a letter from the school recently. They're having a ceremony to award academic letters to the students who have earned them. It's nice that you don't have to be a sports star to earn a school letter, that they recognize high academic achievement, too. After all, that's why these kids are going to school - to get an education. We were watching Coach Carter this weekend and just shaking our heads at the fact that even the parents didn't get it. They'd rather have their boys play basketball than get an education and do well in school?

I'm going to have to miss the letter awards because it's the third Tuesday of the month. That means I've got a Library Board meeting at the same time, so Jeffrey will have to take him. Right now I'm supposed to be typing up the minute's from last month's meeting. Every month I say I'm going to get it done right away, but every month I wait until the last minute. Then I'm looking over my notes trying to figure out what I wrote and what it means. What is that? Share a Mizuno golf? What does that have to do with the library? Oh wait - I think it's Mystery book. That was it, that share a mystery book night that I missed.

Wish me luck. Hopefully these minutes will be halfway readable.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Heads or Tails - the Letter P

P block
Originally uploaded by stitchindye.

Today it's HEADS - Anything that begins with the letter P.

There's a staple in my house that starts with P. It's Peanut butter!

I think Beth would starve if she didn't have it. There aren't very many things she likes to eat. Yes, somewhere along the line she became a Picky eater. When she doesn't like what we're having for dinner, she wants to make a Peanut butter sandwich.
I guess at least she's eating something.

Visit Skittles' Place for more Heads or Tails participants.

I Should be Working on Laundry

I'm sitting here watching Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann and dropping Entrecards. I really should go make my bed now that the mattress pad and sheets are out of the dryer, but I just can't get my butt off the couch. I do need to get the bed made, though, because I need to fold the laundry, and the bed is the perfect height and a nice surface for folding clothes. Actually, I need to fold my laundry and Jeffrey's laundry and pile Beth's laundry in one pile and Cory's laundry in another pile so that they can fold their own clothes - or toss them on the floor in big wrinkly mess, as the case may be.

Has anyone else watched Dance War? I've enjoyed it, though I haven't taken the time to vote. I like Carrie Ann's team best, so I hope they win. I'm also looking forward to the announcement of the stars for the next Dancing with the Stars. I hope there are some good ones.

Thinking About Buying a New Car?

I don't know about you, but I hate buying a new(to us) vehicle. I think the part that bothers me the most is the way the car salesmen are so high pressure. They want you to make a decision to buy the car right there on the spot. That just makes no sense to me. We're talking a major purchase here, not something you should rush into or be pressured into. We once had a salesman try so hard to get us to buy a van that he kept lowering the monthly payment, not telling us what the actual purchase price was or how long we would have to be paying. All the while he was telling us that he could only do this tonight. Tomorrow would be too late. We walked out. It just didn't feel right.

I just found out about CARCHEX today, and I think they could help us avoid the pressure and stress of buying a new, or used, vehicle the next time we start looking. They provide a FREE Car Buying Concierge service to help consumers find the car they want at the best possible price. The concierge works closely with the consumer to understand exactly what the consumer wants. Then he works as a car buying agent to negotiate with multiple dealers to get the best price, trade-in, and even financing options available. I like the idea of having someone on my side, someone who understands the car buying business.

It sounds like all the headaches of buying a new car are a thing of the past with CARCHEX. Did I mention it is FREE to consumers? If you're thinking about buying a new car, you'll probably want to check this out.

She Promised to Take Care of this Cat

Beth was mad at the cat this morning - because she peed on her pants. Well, she couldn't get to the litter box, and Beth did not wake up and let her out. The last time she peed on something overnight, Beth started leaving her door open at night so Tillie could get to the litter box if she needed to. Somewhere along the line she stopped doing that - because Tillie leaves her, and she doesn't like that. I'd certainly rather have the cat leave me and sleep somewhere else than have her pee on my clothes!

I went into the bathroom to collect the peed on pants and the rest of the kids' laundry this morning and realized the litter box really really really needs cleaned out. Even if Tillie had been able to get there I wondered if maybe she wouldn't prefer a nice almost clean pair of pants to that stinking litter box. Then I came in from shoveling the driveway this afternoon to find out that must be true. Tillie left me a 'present' - on my bed.

It's a good thing I like that little face. It's also a good thing that I had the sheets all stripped off so she went on the mattress pad and not the comforter, and she didn't pee, too. So, I got a plastic bag, gathered up Tillie's little present, and put it in on Beth's bed. See how she likes it. Then I stripped the mattress pad off and threw that in the laundry, too.

Beth promised that she would be responsible for this cat, take care of the litter, feed her, etc. She does it, but usually only if someone reminds her. Do you think a bag of cat poop on her bed is a good enough reminder?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm Glad We Live in a Small Town

The other morning Jeffrey walked out the door while I was still getting ready. I hate that - he can get up after me and still be ready to go for our walk before I am, but that's another story. He had barely walked out the door, when he walked back in and tossed Beth's car keys into the house. Yes, she had come home from work the night before, dropped her keys on the driveway outside her car, and left them there overnight. Real good. It's a good thing we live in a very small town so we don't have to worry about criminals roaming the neighborhood looking for an easy house to break into (her house key was on there too) or a car to steal. She certainly was trying to make it easy for them, wasn't she?

I'm also glad that we live in a small town, so that I can walk by myself in the mornings without worrying about carrying some kind of self defense products, just in case. Of course, I used to take the dog, when we had one, and now I have my husband to protect me. Still, in today's society, with all the bad things you hear about all the time, it might not hurt to look into getting some pepper spray or some kind of self defense alarm, and be prepared to use them. With the dropping the keys on the ground and not even being aware of it, I think Beth needs some kind of awareness training or at least some self-defense tips. She's a teenager. She doesn't believe anything bad will happen to her. I think the best thing is to be aware that bad things can happen and have some kind of plan for what you would do if it does.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Remember This?

I was reading 10 Easy Arithmetic Tips. I had forgotten all about this:
Multiplying by 9

To multiply any number between 1 and 9 by 9, hold both hands in front of your face, with fingers extended. Now drop the finger that corresponds to the number you are multiplying (for example, for 9 x 3, drop your third finger). Now count the fingers before the dropped finger (in the case of 9 x 3 it is 2) -- that's your first digit. Then, count the fingers after (again in this case, it’s 7). The answer is 27.
Back when my kids were in elementary school, I used to go in and help with 'Math Facts' which involved flash cards, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and helping the kids with all manner of math related things. This was one of the tricks we used. There are some other tricks there that I didn't know about. You never know when I might need to do some math.

Unconditional Friendship, the Award

The incomparable Misty Dawn of My Dogs Keep Me Sane and Misty's Words handed out this award to a whole list of her friends a while ago. It has to be the most adorable award on the Internet, don't you think? Thank you so much, Misty! Sorry it has taken me so long to pick it up. How could I go so long without putting the one and only adorable Maggie May on my blog?

Here's what Misty had to say about this award:
Maggie's photo is very appropriate for this award, because it is the Unconditional Friendship Award, and we all know that puppies and dogs provide unconditional friendship, loyalty, and love.

My friends here in the blogosphere have shown me support, encouragement, and love without the reservations, judgments, and restrictions which face-to-face relationships sometimes fall victim to. It doesn't matter what size I am, what color I am, if I'm physically attractive or not, or if I have a disability - you took the time to get to know me through my words, my thoughts, and, yes, my goofiness too. You have picked me up when I was ready to hit bottom, you have laughed with me, you have been my cheering squad, you have shared your own lives with me - and you've done all of this because you took the time to get to know me without any judgments. You have honored me with some of the most wonderful friendships I have ever encountered! For that, I thank you with all my heart!
That Misty has a way with words, doesn't she?

I really should pass this along to Tammy - because I know Misty would not have thought of giving this to her. LOL! - Seriously, Tammy, you deserve this. You're a great friend. I'd also like Elizabeth, Holly, Deb, and Vic Grace to have it. You ladies are wonderful friends, always there with a nice comment or help with something. I honestly didn't know I'd meet so many great people when I started blogging.

Rank That Really Means Something

If you've been anywhere in the blogosphere recently, I'm sure you've read plenty of posts about the big G and dropping PageRank. I've written a few of them myself. It's easy to get frustrated when you see your pretty PR 4 drop to a big fat ZERO overnight. Nothing changed - people are still visiting, and the blog is still being read, but somebody decided you didn't deserve that PR. Real fair, huh?

IZEA recently launched, a tool to rank bloggers based on real traffic and influence and not somebody's arbitrary idea of what should and should not be allowed on a blog. After all, it's your blog and you should be able to do what you want with it, right? IZEARanks uses a small piece of javascript that you insert into your code to collect a report on actual traffic to your blog. You can choose to display your actual visitors and pageviews, or just your RealRank. I've chosen to let people see my visitors and pageviews along with my RealRank:

Now, you're thinking that's nice, but what do those numbers mean? You really don't know how your blog ranks with other blogs just by looking at your own numbers, but you can compare your blog with up to 10 other blogs, and will show you. I compared my blog with three other ones, though I'm not telling you which ones, and here's how I rank for the last week:

I would have added a few more blogs into the mix, but they weren't in the system yet. To get a really clear picture, we need as many blogs as possible to sign up with IZEARanks. It's really simple to sign up, then add the code they give you to your blog's code, and you're ready to start tracking your RealRank. Note that this code is not the same code that is used by PayPerPost - just in case you were worrying that adding this code would bring down the wrath of the big G on you. Another reason to sign up now? If you think your blog has what it takes, you could win $1000. That's right, each week in February IZEA is giving away $1000 to the blog with the #1 RealRank (see the site for official rules). I obviously don't have a chance to win the $1000, but your blog might. There's only one way to find out. Sign up for IZEARanks now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#10)

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

We've had quite a bit of snow again this week, and the skies have been mostly gray, but the sun did come out on Wednesday. So, of course, I had to grab a picture of the sunset. I liked the lines of the clouds that showed up when the light from the sun hit them.
Sunset and Trees
If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday.

Let LifeLock Protect Your Identity

Would you put your social security number on your website for the whole world to see? Me either, but the CEO of life lock has his plastered right on the front page, and on the side of a truck in their commercial. That's how confident he is that his identity is safe and protected. LifeLock is the most advanced Identity Theft protection available, and they guarantee that protection up to one million dollars.

I've seen shows about identity theft, and how having your identity stolen can ruin your life. Without help from LifeLock, it can be practically impossible to restore your credit or even convince creditors that you did not rack up all that debt. With LifeLock, if identity theft does occur, they help you get your good name back, but first they do everything possible to ensure identity theft does not happen in the first place.

I have been lucky a few times in the past when someone somehow got a hold of one of my credit card numbers - 3 different cards 3 different times. Each time the bank or credit card company noticed unusual charges and called us. Once someone was using my Visa debit card number in Italy! The bank could not contact us so they froze the account, and they did not hold us responsible for the two charges that went through. I feel that the bank and credit card companies are looking out for me when it comes to that kind of stuff, but there's more to identity theft, and LifeLock takes care of that.

They request fraud alerts with all the major credit bureaus, so that if anyone tries to open a new card or line of credit in your name, creditors must verify your identity. If they cannot verify that you are the person applying for credit, then no credit is issued. LifeLock also requests your credit reports from all the major credit bureaus, stops those pre-approved credit offers that clog your mailbox, and they keep everything current so you don't have to remember to do it. As I read all the things they do, I realize I'm not as safe as I want to believe. I also didn't realize that kids are having their identities stolen by the thousands, and they don't find out about it until they graduate high school and apply for a student loan or a job. LifeLock protects them, too.

Future Interior Designer?

Beth came home today with an information sheet from a school for Interior Design. That's something she's been interested in since middle school. They had a unit in their FACE (Family and Consumer Education) class where they had to decorate a room. I'm not sure if it was on the computer or on paper, but she sailed right through that assignment and decorated a couple more rooms while everyone else was working on their first one. I don't know if it's something she wants to do because it's easy, and she doesn't have to put forth much effort, or if it's really something she likes. This is partially why we wanted her to look into the Youth Options program at school - where the school would pay for her to take classes at WCTC next year because they aren't offered in the high school. The classes would count toward required high school graduation credits, and she'd also get college credit for them. That way she could learn some more about design without putting a lot of money into it. Then, if she still likes it, she can finish the required courses on her own.

That could save her/us a bit of money. The school she was looking at today costs $5000 per semester, and it takes 3 years. She added that up and realized it comes to $30,000. I wonder if now she'll be more willing to check out the Youth Options thing, realizing that school's not cheap. We've tried reasoning with her, but she's the kind that has figure it out for herself. She is at least talking about looking into whether there are jobs for interior designers, where they are, and how much they pay. So, at least she's thinking about the future.

Another Cable?

Did I tell you we now have Surround Sound in our living room? Jeffrey had to buy a new stereo to go with his new big screen TV. Even though I kept telling him that what we had was fine, he still thought he needed the new speakers, and while he was at it, the new stereo amp too. In his defense, the stereo we were using is getting really old, and we've had to have it repaired once already, and it cost about the same to buy the speakers themselves or the speakers with the amp. The old stereo gets a new life downstairs in the new exercise room, so it's all good.

Then, the other night, Jeffrey came home and immediately scooted the TV and stand out from the wall and started messing around. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he just bought a new cable to help it all sound better. I have no idea what kind of cable he needed. I thought he already had every kind of speaker cables, patch cables, mic cables, and all other cables known to man. How he could actually need another one is beyond me. The stereo sounds good, though.

High School Relationships

Originally uploaded by Markisy.
Cory came home the other day and said that one his friends came up to him in the hallway and started yelling at him. She was mad at him because he isn't 'going out with' a girl who really likes him. However, she couldn't tell him who this girl is. I guess somehow he was just supposed to know?

He did find out later that it is this senior girl that he's good friends with. Apparently they have talked about 'going out' or liking each other, but they decided they didn't want to hurt their friendship. Now he knows she's telling her girlfriends, or at least this one friend, that she really, really likes him. Girls!

There is one girl, though I'm not sure which one it is, that he likes, but she just broke up with someone and she just wants to be friends. At least that's what she's telling him. I keep telling him that there's nothing wrong with being friends with a lot of girls, and he seems OK with that. He really is friends with a lot of girls. No matter where he goes it seems he's surrounded by girls. It's kind of cute to watch.

I'm glad he hasn't bought into that whole 'I must have a girlfriend' thing - or maybe it's different for boys. With the girls it seems like they define themselves by whether this boy or that one 'likes' them, and they're just not complete without a boyfriend - whether they actually like the boy or not.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No One's Playing

I noticed that no one is playing my Movie Game. Did you miss it, or do you just not like movies? Just click to read the rules.

So far Deb is the only one who has answered, and she's left us with Kristin Scott Thomas. We need someone to give us a movie that Kristin Scott Thomas was in. Or just leave me a comment and tell me you hate movies and you hate games, or you just don't have time for silly time wasters. I'll just run over to Facebook and see if it's my turn on Scrabulous. One of these days I might even win.

Oh, and speaking of Deb - she's recently moved her blog over to Wordpress, so things look a little different over there. Also, she's written a really great series of posts on RSS and Feedburner that you might be interested in. You can view them on my Shared Items on Google Reader. I never shared anything before, but these are definitely worth a read. I'm thinking of adding a permanent link to my sidebar - something like "What My Friends Say" or something like that, so I can share the posts I really like. My friends have some really great things to say.

Tuglink Job Referral Network

I didn't participate in Give Me Five Monday this week because BeccA asked for five hints, tips, tricks or advice about resumes and succeeding in a job hunt. I read quite a few of them, and there was some really helpful information, but I didn't feel like I had anything to add. Do you know how long it has been since I have had to look for a job? With the kids getting older and most likely going out on their own before too long, I may need some of that help and advice myself before too long.

That's something I love so much about the Internet. It seems that no matter what you want to do, there is someone to help you. You've noticed that, right? Here's something that can be very helpful - It's a job referral network that aims to help job seekers get a shot at their dream job. It's unique in that it connects job seekers with company insiders who can give them an extra tug or helping hand. Job seekers set up their profiles, list their qualifications, add a list of their dream jobs, and even post jobs they are interested in that they have seen elsewhere. When a company insider sees someone they think will be a good match with their company, they can refer that person to the company and help that person get an interview. It's free to register, so get started on the road to your dream job today. That's my one tip.

To learn more, read the Press Release: kicks off another year of helping people start a new career by increasing their chances of landing job interviews this New Year. As its name implies, the web site 'links' job-hunters with company insiders who provide a 'tug', or a helping hand, by referring the right candidates to their employers. Many resources exist today to inform job-seekers about open positions and teach them how to ace the interview process. Getting invited to that coveted job interview, however, remains a key challenge for many candidates.

TugLink is not yet another job board. It is not a traditional social network either. is a job referral network which works as a virtual job wish list whose main and only goal is to connect job candidates with company insiders. These days, information on thousands of vacancies can be easily found on the Internet. As a result, employers are flooded with resumes and even qualified candidates have trouble trying to stand out from the crowd.

TugLink's goal is exactly to reduce this disconnect and provide the missing link to job-seekers. After a quick, no-cost registration on the web site, members set up a Candidate Profile and create their Job Wish List. Here, job-seekers indicate what kind of employment they are looking for in general. For example, 'a full-time Marketing position with a financial services company in the Chicago area'.

Also, job-seekers can post specific jobs that they are interested in. Say, one wants a better job and finds a great career opportunity on a job board like or on an admired employer's web site. It can be, for instance, 'a Product Manager at Citibank in New York City' or 'a Software Engineer at Google in Mountain View, California'. TugLink members include description of desired jobs in their Wish List and may get contacted by the target companies' employees registered on If they see a good match, Insiders refer the right candidate to their company which in most cases results in a job interview. helps job-seekers get a shot at their dream job; the rest is up to the candidates.

About TugLink Inc.
Launched in late 2007, TugLink was started with the goal of making job search and recruitment a much more effective, satisfying and less costly process both for job hunters and employers. is the first job referral network which connects businesses with potential new hires leveraging the effectiveness of employee referrals. For more information, visit and watch a short video at

Press Contacts:
Kevin Alemans
(888) 243-4609

Free Stuff in the Cereal Box

Cory opened the Honey Nut Cheerios this morning. There was a free book from The Spiderwick Chronicles in it - very small book, but still a book. Apparently I didn't pay enough attention when I bought the cereal because there are three different books being given away in the cereal, and I got the same one in both boxes I bought. First of all, I didn't know there were three different ones so I didn't know to look. Second, he told he me doesn't really like The Spiderwick Chronicles, so what difference does it make? Third, I went down and looked at the unopened box. While you can see a bit of the actual book through the front of the box, I don't know if I would have been able to tell the difference anyway.

My other option when I bought the cereal was to get a free trial membership in some online weight loss/health site. I guess I should have gone with that.

Do you pick your cereal boxes based on what free stuff is in there?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get Vacation Ideas and Discounts

I went to college in Pasadena, CA, so I thought I knew a few of the things to do in Los Angeles. So, when Jeffrey and I went there the year after we got married, I wanted to show him some of the places I liked. We drove to the beach. We went and walked on Hollywood Blvd. We drove up into the mountains to look at the city lights (very romantic). Of course, that was before kids, so everything was pretty romantic - we'd only been married a little over a year.

When I was in college, I didn't have a car - not that I would have wanted to drive in Los Angeles. I had to rely on friends or the bus to get anywhere, so I didn't know about all the places to go and things to see. We did OK, but we really could have used something like Trusted Tours & Attractions to give us some ideas and to get us some good deals on things like Universal Studios or the Hollywood Wax Museum. I'm still kicking myself that I knew about the stars on Hollywood Blvd., but I didn't know about the hand prints and foot prints at the Chinese Theater. We were right there.

You don't have to miss the good stuff. For family vacation ideas and information on discount attraction tickets, and for a chance to win a free digital camera, sign up for the Trusted Tours & Attractions newsletter by February 29.

A Couple Awards From Jaye

Jaye @ Just a Mom has given me these two awards:

The first one is the You Make My Day Award.

The second is the
Art Prize and Award

"This prize has arisen from the daily visits that I dedicate to many blogs which nourish me and enrich me with creativity. In them I see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, ART, much art. I want to share this prize with all those bloggers that entertain me day to day and to share this prize with those who enrich me every day. Doubtlessly, there are many and it will be hard to pick just a few, the people I will name today deserve this prize, as do the very long serious list of bloggers I also enjoy to read, but I will name the first 10 and will leave the rest of the work to all the bloggers that visit other's blogs and are nourished by them."
The rules of passing on this award are as follows:

- post award in your own blog: [Post who gave it to you]
- indicate its origin and a link to the site: [Arte Y Pico from Uruguay]
- give it to 5 blogs that you enjoy. [That are creative and inspire you]

I'd like to pass this on to:
  1. Lady Banana
  2. Bridget
  3. Jenn
  4. Misty
  5. Carrie
You ladies all inspire me for all kinds of reasons. Thank you so much, Jaye! You make my day too, and you are so incredibly creative. I love your quilts!

Pay Your House Off Sooner

Probably the biggest purchase any family will make is the purchase of a house. It's scary committing to a mortgage that requires you to make payments for 30 years. Of course, the alternative is to pay rent for that same 30 years and then have nothing to show for it in the end.

It's a good idea, once you buy the house and get the mortgage, to keep an eye on interest rates and be ready to Remortgage when the rates go down. We did that a couple of times, and it was nice to have a lower monthly payment. Now I read this recommendation that, even after you refinance and lower your interest rate, you should keep paying the same amount you were paying before. Unless you were really stretched beyond your means before, in which case I think you should have bought a house you could actually afford, it won't hurt to keep paying that same amount. The good part is that you will pay your house off sooner because that extra amount on your payment will be applied to the principle and bring the loan amount down.

We didn't do that, but we have started paying extra on our mortgage every month. We'll get our house paid off sooner and save money on interest in the long run. I like that.

Heads or Tails - Love

Today it's HEADS - ♥ Love ♥

You've probably seen this email going around, but I just love it, and I thought it was perfect for today's theme.

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" Answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

See what you think:
  • "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebbecca- age 8
  • "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy – age 4
  • "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5
  • "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6
  • "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4
  • "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7
  • "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8
  • "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7
  • "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka - age 6
  • "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7
  • "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6
  • "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8
  • "My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6
  • "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine - age 5
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt." Chris - age 7
  • "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4
  • "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4
  • "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7
  • "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8
  • And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child... The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."
Visit Skittles' Place for more Heads or Tails participants.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Diet Soda Causes Weight Gain

Did you hear about this on the news today? Apparently drinking diet soda actually causes weight gain rather than helping with weight loss. The normal logic on this is that people eat more because they figure they aren't getting any calories in the soda, but it seems there's more to it than that. Drinking the diet soda, or using any kind of artificial no-calorie sweetener, actually changes your metabolism, and your body doesn't know what to do with real sugar or calories.

I've always avoided diet soda since I started hearing all those horror stories about how the aspartame affects people - not that I ever drank much to begin with. I really don't like the stuff anyway. I especially don't want my kids drinking it because of those effects, and now there's another reason not to let them. I would hate for it to mess up their metabolisms now while they're young so that they have to spend their entire lives fighting to maintain a healthy weight. Of course, I don't like them drinking regular soda, either. They do drink it some, but not nearly as much as the typical American teenager. I'm a mean mom like that.

What's For Dinner?

Last weekend when I mentioned that Cory and I communicate by sending IM's - all the way across the dining room into the living room - someone left me a comment telling me to just wait. In her house they call from the other room on their cell phones. Well, it's already happening. Beth just called from the basement to ask, "What's for dinner?" Of course I told her...

"Get your lazy butt upstairs and ask me that."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cold Weather Exercise

We have a new exercise room in our basement. That's what we're calling it, anyway. We have a partially finished room in the basement that we used to call the play room. The kids never really ended up playing in there. It was more of a room to store toss the toys they didn't want to keep in their rooms, and somehow their rooms still stayed messy. Recently Jeffrey has gotten the kids in there to clean out their toys and stuff, decide what they want to keep and what they want to get rid of, and the room has been all cleaned out. Then, he moved in the exercise machine he got from a friend at work (free - but maybe missing a part, which is not good), and an entire entertainment center containing a TV, VCR, stereo and DVD player - for exercise videos, of course.

The best part is that he really is going down there and exercising. In fact, he just finished and came upstairs a few minutes ago. Now he's telling me that he probably won't go walking with me in the morning, not because he already exercised, but because it's going to be too cold. I'm waiting for the news to see how cold it's supposed to be by morning. My computer says it's -8° right now, but I have no idea what the wind chill might be. If it's 20° below or colder, with the wind chill, then I'm not walking either. I might just have to check out the stair stepper part of that exercise machine.

I'm sure Jeffrey is waiting for warmer weather to come along so he can get his exercise out on the golf course walking and lugging an Ogio golf bag full of golf clubs. Somebody tell him exercise should be free, or at least cheaper than playing golf.

Let's Play the Movie Game

The consensus in our house is that we liked both movies last night, but we like The Prestige better. So, let's play the movie game, and let's start with The Prestige.

How to play:
  • The first person (in this case me because this is my blog) picks an actor (or an actress).
  • The second person names a movie that actor has been in.
  • The next person names another actor from that movie.
  • and then the next person names another movie that actor has appeared in.
Actor, movie, actor, movie, actor, and so on. Let's see how long we can keep this going. Subscribe to the comments so you can see how it's going, and feel free to come back and play as often as you like.

A note: Using IMDB is not considered cheating, but do try to come up with your own first.

First actor, (who just happens to be in The Prestige, but name another movie she's been in): Scarlett Johansson

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Watching Movies

We're sitting her watching a movie, The Prestige, which we've seen before, but Cory grabbed it from the library yesterday. It must be the night for movies about magicians, because we just finished watching The Illusionist. Sometimes we take it for granted how easy it is to watch movies nowadays. Back when Jeffrey and I were dating, and when we were first married, we used to watch movies on the weekends. Back then we had to rent a VCR and a bunch of movies. We'd spend all weekend watching as many movies as possible, sharing them with my family before we got married. A few years after we got married we bought our first VCR. This was when I started kicking myself for not letting one of our friends videotape our wedding. Talk about planning ahead - we didn't think we'd ever be able to watch it.

Now we own at least two VCRs, three DVD players, four TVs, and I don't know how many movies - both on video and on DVD. You'd think there'd be at least one lcd mount in there somewhere, wouldn't you? Any time we want to watch a movie, we can grab one, pop it in, and watch it. It's hard to imagine that there are times when there is just 'nothing to watch' when we have so many choices. Yep, we're spoiled.