Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving with Family

City of ChicagoImage via WikipediaI hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We're spending this weekend with my parents, who moved too far away. Jeffrey got out of work early Wednesday so we could drive down, and it ended up taking way too long. I detest Chicago! Seriously. (Just ignore how pretty the city looks in those pictures there.) Is there any reason why traffic has to come to a complete standstill? There really needs to be a better way to go around that mess.

Anyway, we finally managed to get to Indiana and pick up my brother and his daughter and then headed down to Kentucky. Even that took longer than it should have, because the traffic was crazy. We'd be going along at 70mph, only to have to slam on the brakes because traffic would suddenly slow down to 40 or even come to a complete stop. Not fun at all. And for no reason we could ever see.

Thankfully we managed to make it to Mom & Dad's safely. It was late, but we all got to bed and got to sleep. Thanksgiving was good with all the family here - except for the brother who lives in Oregon, but he did call. We had lots of good food. I don't think anyone is going to need Hydroxycut hardcore, but there was certainly plenty. Practically everything had been raised on the farm here, so that was kind of neat. When they figure the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner, I doubt they're figuring on the people who raise their own turkeys, sweet potatoes, salad greens, etc. So yummy!

I think we get leftovers for lunch today. I love leftovers.

Also, if you haven't taken the time to Give Thanks and Give a Drop, please do.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Deaf High School Musical

I saw this on the news tonight, and I thought it was so neat. A school in Florida put on a production of "West Side Story". The school is the county's main school for deaf and hard of hearing students, so quite a few deaf students tried out for the musical. Then the drama teacher decided to take a different approach to the story:
"What's inherent in the script is that we have a clash of two cultures," Zembuch said. "The original production is a clash between the Puerto Ricans and the Americans. In this production, we have a clash of not only the Puerto Ricans and the Americans but also the deaf and the hearing."
He adapted the story so that the Jets are hearing and most of the Sharks are deaf, including Maria. Two girls actually played Maria, one girl as the deaf Maria, and the other girl as her voice. Sign language was woven into the choreography, and a hearing boy learned sign language so he could play a deaf boy. The production cost $43,000 and the students had to raise it all with candy sales, car washes, program sponsors, ticket sales, auto parts franchises, whatever it took.

I probably haven't explained it very well, but it was really amazing. Watch the video and read the whole story here, and you'll see what I mean.

Give Thanks and Give a Drop

Mwamanongu Village water source, Tanzania. Image via WikipediaThanksgiving is coming up on Thursday, and it's a good time to stop and reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. Something that a lot of us take for granted is our access to clean water, but more than a billion people around the world don't have access to clean water.

Project Clean Water is an initiative that targets villages around the world that have water problems and finds sustainable solutions to provide them with safe drinking water. Virgin Money is working to raise money for Project Clean Water during the Thanksgiving season. They will donate $1 to “Give a Drop” for each person who visits the Virgin site and simply posts a picture and caption of someone or something they are thankful for.

I'm sure you have plenty to be thankful for, so please, Give Thanks and Give a Drop.

ETA: You can continue to upload your pictures and let everyone know what you're thankful for. Virgin Money will continue to donate $1 for each one through December 31.

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A New Interest in Golf

Jeffrey is always telling me I should go golfing with him. So far I haven't been interested. I've never actually tried playing golf, and the idea of trying to hit a little ball into a little hole I can't even see just sounds frustrating to me. If he ever gets to play on some Las Vegas Golf Courses, I might have to go with him anyway. Not because I really want to play, but because of thes Female Caddy Service offered at the Royal Links Golf Club there.

When golfers book a round of golf at the Royal Links Golf Club, they can also choose to hire one of these female caddies. These attractive young ladies will keep the golfers company and help with all things golf and course related. They’ll repair divots, fix ball marks, clean balls, clean clubs, and help with scorecards.

It's a very interesting idea, and probably a great idea for the single guys, but if Jeffrey tells me he wants to hire one of these Par Mates, then I'm going too. Not that I don't trust him or anything. I have a feeling some other people are going to be developing a new interest in golf, and not necessarily for the same reasons.

I'm Going to New York

NYC: Carnegie HallImage by wallyg via FlickrCan you believe it? Yeah, I can't either, but Cory's school band is going to New York City in March, and I signed up to go as a chaperone. I was thinking it sounded like a fun trip. The band director said he'd take as many chaperones as he could get. One of the other moms asked me if I was going. Jeffrey said, "You should go." And I signed up and paid my deposit before I could change my mind.

So, I'm going to New York City. I've never been. We get to do all kinds of great things like visit Carnegie Hall, see the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, visit the Statue of Liberty, and the band is going to perform at the base of the Statue of Liberty. All kinds of great photo opps, I'm sure.

Now, we just have to figure out some good fundraising ideas - because we have to pay for two trips.

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Stimulating, Creative Toys

A few years ago we bought some magnetic toys you can use to build all kinds of things. They're really a lot of fun. I even played with them some, and talking about them makes me want to get them out again. Jeffrey and Cory had a lot of fun with them, and that's what makes me think they'd have a lot of fun with this MagNext iCoaster. Cory doesn't like riding roller coasters, but I bet he'd like playing with this one. It looks like so much fun. You can build different roller coasters and then send the magnetic balls rolling. It looks like those magnetic balls do some amazing things, all with good scientific explanations, I'm sure. They call it ultra-cool physics. Cory is taking Physics in school this year, so maybe he'll understand why it works. I don't think you have to actually understand why or how it works to enjoy it, but it looks like a really fun way to actually get to see some of the stuff he's learning.

I do think the boys could have a lot of fun playing with this, and that's just one of the toys you can learn about on the MEGA Brands website. Remember MEGA BLOKS? My kids had those when they were little. We might even still have some of them around here. I had no idea they had other things - like this coaster.

You can search the site by age, brand, price or category to find the perfect things for the 'kids' in your life. I'm going to see what else they have under magnets. You might like the mickey mouse figurine or some of the items from the Disney movie CARS. I like those, too. That was such a cute movie.

For each toy listed, they give you detailed views, downloadable instructions, TV commercials, a full description, and product benefits. With all that information, it should be easy to find the perfect toy(s), right? Then, once you decide which toys you want, just click on 'where to buy' to find out where you can get it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Heads or Tails - Hands

ElinorD kneading bread dough

Image via Wikipedia

This week's theme/prompt is:
HEADS - Anything you can do with your hand(s)

Something I really enjoy doing with my hands is working with dough and kneading bread.  Because of that, I put off buying a breadmaker for quite some time.  I did eventually buy one, but I still really like getting my hands into the dough and making my bread the old-fashioned way.

In the past couple of years I have been making sourdough quite regularly, and I mentioned last week that I made probably the best bread ever.  It was sourdough.  If you're interested in my recipe, you can view it here, complete with pictures.  What made last week's bread extra special, at least in my opinion, was the way I baked it.  A while back I saw a bread recipe on Good Morning America, and it looked so good that I just had to copy the recipe - here (the 1st one) - and try it.  And, yes, it was amazing.  So, I decided to bake my regular sourdough that same way, and it turned out looking absolutely gorgeous:

It tastes amazing, too.  The only problem is that there are a few extra holes in the bread.  I don't think I worked it (with my hands) enough when I was forming the loaves.  Next time I'll get it right.

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

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You Did NOT Just Say That

I mentioned before that I am extremely frustrated that our stupid local ABC station (WISN Channel 12) is pre-empting the FINALS of Dancing With the Stars tonight. Oh yes, but they're being oh-so-nice about it and airing it after the stinkin' football game and after the news - it's tentatively scheduled to run from 11:35 to 12:35. Real nice. I can obviously stay up and watch it. NOT. Some of us have to get up in the morning.

They have also repeatedly, condescendingly told us that we can still vote online up until 11am Tuesday. Since it's really not possible to watch the show first, I guess that means they are encouraging people to vote for their favorites regardless of how they do. I realize a lot of people already do that, but it seems to me that we should be voting for the star who actually deserves to win. So much for that.

Anyway, a few minutes ago, they came on the news and announced that the Series Finale of Boston Legal won't be shown tonight either. They will be airing that on Sunday. What? Now, I don't watch that show very often, but if I did... How dare they? Not just some random show or a re-run - an important show.

Correction: they just came back and announced that the series finale isn't until December. Still, they're not going to show this episode until Sunday sometime.

Honestly, why can't they make the people who want to watch football stay up late? They don't even need to vote. And, why don't they pre-empt the news? Oh no, this station has a very inflated view of themselves. And they have decided that their precious Packers are more important than anything else, and they really don't care what anyone else thinks. Come on, it's football - grown men being paid too much for wearing funny t shirts and tight pants and playing a game. If you want to know what happened, just watch the news, since they'll never pre-empt that for anything. You can get the score and see all the highlights when you watch the news, because of course they won't talk about anything else.

Give Me 5 Monday - Sub Toppings

I can't believe it's been a couple months since I participated! Where does the time go? Becca has given us some really great topics, too. I just didn't get my lists made. So, it's time to jump back in. Luckily, it's an easy one.

The topic of today's list is - Give Me Five sub sandwich toppings and/or condiments

I love going to Subway. I usually get the Steak & Cheese sub with:

  1. green peppers
  2. onions
  3. spinach
  4. banana peppers
  5. tomatoes
Yum! Now I'm hungry.

Visit BeccA's Buzz for more sub sandwich toppings.

Had to See a Movie

Eagle EyeImage via WikipediaWe had to go out yesterday because we just had to go to a movie. No, it wasn't Twilight. I'm one of the few who hasn't read any of those books. Cory read the first one, hated it, and said I shouldn't read it - so I didn't. He also said he'd disown me if I went to the movie. Looking at all the hype, I have decided to try reading the book anyway, and I've requested it from the library. Cory is supposed to be reading the 2nd one, because the girls said it was better than the first. It will be interesting to see what he thinks when he finally gets around to reading it.

Instead of Twilight, we went to see Eagle Eye, since we hadn't gotten to that one when it first came out. We had a Fandango credit for two movie tickets that was expiring the end of November, so we couldn't let that go to waste. We all enjoyed the movie. I don't remember hearing much about it, whether it did very well at the box office or not, but it was pretty good. Lots of action, a decent story line. It does get you to wondering... (if you've seen the movie, you know what I mean)

On the way to the movie, Jeffrey saw someone riding a motorcycle. He thought that was a little crazy and most likely very cold. He's already put his away for the winter, and this being Wisconsin, you would assume most people have and the motorcycle accident attorneys have headed south for the winter. We got a couple inches of snow early this morning, so that was probably the last ride of the season anyway.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Camera Critters (#33)

Thanksgiving (here in the US) is coming up on Thursday, so I thought it was a good time to post this turkey.  One of the kids, Beth or Cory, I can't remember who had the camera, took this picture the last time we went to Kentucky.  It's been 3 years, so I doubt we'll see this same turkey when we go visit.  I'm hoping there's another turkey on the table, minus the feathers, of course.

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Official

Beth is graduating at semester. She was planning to, but then she was told that just because you want to graduate early, doesn't mean you get to. She has all the requirements and will have enough credits, but they also want to make sure people aren't just graduating and then doing nothing with their lives. She wants to go to WCTC to study Interior Design, but the program starts in the Fall, so she really can't get started Spring semester. She was worried that they wouldn't let her graduate because she's just going to be working the rest of the year and not going to school.

We met with the school principal and the counselor this morning to go over some things, and Beth is going to graduate early. She has to meet with the counselor to discuss what she needs to be doing now to get ready for school in the Spring, so she'll be doing that soon. Once the semester is over she can start working more - maybe, she's already working a lot. But hopefully she'll start saving some of the money she earns to help pay for school.

In a few years she can start decorating people's houses. Knowing her, she'll do a good job, right down to the pet beds.

Thanksgiving Divorce

A man in Jacksonville calls his son in San Diego the day before Thanksgiving and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.

"Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams. “We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the father says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Denver and tell her."

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this,"

She calls Jacksonville immediately, and screams at her father, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "they're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#46)

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

I took these out my back door. I love the crisp blue sky and white clouds behind the bare tree.

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!

I'm Pretty Sure It's All About the Food

I feel like I haven't been around for a while, and I blame it all on food. Seriously, buying, cooking, cleaning up after, life revolves around food.

First, I had to go shopping yesterday because the turkeys are on sale, and I always grab a couple to throw in the freezer. Got two of those for 38¢/lb. - so now I have 4 in the freezer. I think I only have one more package of cooked turkey in the freezer, so it's about time to cook one of them. Beth complains every time I cook a turkey that the only thing we eat for weeks is turkey, but really I put a lot of it in the freezer to use for casseroles, turkey salad, and such. Besides, Beth doesn't eat at home enough to complain about anything we eat. Not that that stops her...

By the time I got home yesterday, got everything carried in - because, besides turkeys I bought plenty of other stuff - and got it put away, it was time to fix dinner. Then after dinner, cleaning up the kitchen. The rest of the night? I don't even know - we watched a movie (Charlie Wilson's War) because it has to go back to the library tomorrow, I messed around on Facebook, dropped some Entrecards, thought about posting, didn't get motivated.

Today I think I spent all day in the kitchen getting cinnamon rolls ready to bake tomorrow and making probably the best bread ever. I also bought 3 roasts yesterday because they were on sale for $2.49/lb. So I cooked one of them today to slice for lunches. It's better than packaged lunch meat, cheaper than deli meat, and really easy. I just sprinkled salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder on both sides of the roast, placed it fat side up on a rack, and baked it for 2 hours. After I cooled it, I put it in the refrigerator, and I will slice it tomorrow.

Spaghetti and some of the amazing bread I made today for dinner, dishes done, and now I'm sitting on the couch, and I'm not messing with food again until tomorrow. Except maybe to eat the rest of the cranberry apple crisp...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here's Your Chance to Help Rebuild America

Our economy seems to be in a downward spiral. People are losing their homes and losing their jobs. They're watching their retirement money disappear because of the woes on Wall Street. People are buying less and less and, because demand is down, factories are being shut down and stores are being closed, and people are losing their jobs. Then, because they don't have jobs, they buy less, and we're caught in a vicious cycle.

To fix the economy, are we really supposed to buy more and spend money we don't really have? I have a really hard time accepting that. I think first we have to make sure people have jobs. We need to put our money not into consumable goods, but into worthy projects that will get people working, earning money, and able to support their families.

Rebuilding of America makes it possible for all of us to invest in worthwhile construction projects, projects that will get people working again. They acquire properties that have defaulted to their original lenders, putting people out of work. Rebuilding of America then puts people back to work and finishes the project.

Americans can invest in these projects for as little as $25. That's not much. It's so easy to blow $25 without thinking about it, maybe a dinner out or a movie. Then it's gone. You have nothing to show for it. Or, you can invest it with Rebuilding of America and make a huge difference. Help put some people to work and, yes, make some money in the process. Each investment is fully insured and guaranteed against loss. Every Certificate of Deposit is a securitized FDIC insured investment through a reputable financial institution, and 100% of profits are returned to the investors.

By keeping the initial investment low, Rebuilding of America lets more people get involved. All the $25 investments will be bundled and used to get worthwhile projects up and running again. Rebuilding of America believes in the strength of grassroots community involvement. Do you?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Priorities, People!

Dancing with the Stars (U.S.Image via WikipediaNext week - Dancing with the Stars, the Finals. Except on our abc station, they're showing it at a 'special' time - after the football game and the news. Oh yeah, really special. One - those football games never follow any rules and go as long as they want so, Two - the news will be late, and Three - it's anybody's guess when this 'special' time will actually occur. Besides being way too late for normal people who have to get up in the morning to actually watch, it's now impossible to record because, again, it's anybody's guess when it is actually going to start.

Also, if you vote on these things via phone, you only have 30 minutes after the show ends to cast your vote. That means 30 minutes after the actual show ends, not 30 minutes after the 'special' show ends. Sorry, your vote does not count.

While it's irritating any time a football game or other sports event is shown in place of a regularly scheduled show, this is particularly bad because it's the Finals. If they had done this earlier in the season, when it didn't really matter, it wouldn't have been quite so bad. Still, I think sports should be confined to sports networks where the people who want to see them can find them but they don't interfere with more important things. Obviously, nobody asked me.
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Starbucks Giveaway

Starbucks Gift CardImage by DBarefoot
via Flickr
I didn't win the last one, so I'm trying again. This time Laurie is giving away a Starbucks Gold Card Membership and a $25 gift card. The gold card means 10% off most purchases, and the $25 gift card means, well $25 of free Starbucks!

I am going to need to get to Starbucks soon, because the White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha sounds really good. We were just at Target Sunday, but for some reason there's no Starbucks in that Target. Cory was complaining. Not me, of course.
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Maybe I Should Have Kept That Domain

Before I finally settled on as my domain, I registered a couple other ones. I've been using one of them,, but I never did anything with the other one. Just last week it expired, and I let it. I don't feel too bad about it, since I think I only paid $2.99.

I was just reading this web hosting blog and read that someone registered and then sold it this past April for $2.6 million. I doubt that I would ever get that kind of money, because I'm probably the only one who would ever want the domain I registered, and I didn't even want it after I got it. What they're really saying on this blog, though, is that if you have a domain name that you want to register, whether for your blog or for your business, you need to think really hard about registering it now, before someone else does. They may be willing to sell it to you, for a price, or it may be the domain name they need for their business, and you may be out of luck.

Besides information about domain names and how much you should pay for one, this Web Hosting Geeks blog has information about E-Commerce, generating traffic with search engines, and designing your site for SEO. The blog is associated with the Web Hosting Geeks review site, which has some good reviews of web hosting providers. If you're thinking about getting a new web host, this looks like a good site to visit first. You can find out which web hosts are the cheapest, which ones have the best customers service, and how much space and bandwidth you'll get with each, as well as what their customers think of them.

Oh, and if you haven't registered that perfect domain name - do it now.


two slices of toasted white breadImage via WikipediaI am really going to have to make up my mind about the toaster/toaster oven thing. I toasted an English muffin today, and I had to push it down 4 times to get it toasted. This toaster is definitely not working properly.

I was thinking of getting a toaster oven instead of just a toaster, because I like the idea of being able to use it to bake or warm up some things, instead of having to turn on the actual oven, especially in the summer. We were looking at this toaster oven from Walmart - you can cook a pizza, bake, broil, even cook a rotisserie chicken in it. The only thing it doesn't seem to do very well is make toast. Actually, several of the reviewers say it doesn't make toast very well, and another one says it's perfectly golden brown, so I don't know what to believe.

Maybe I should just stick with a basic toaster? Any ideas or suggestions? Do you have a toaster oven, which one, and do you like it? Any toaster oven manufacturers out there who'd like to send me one so I can try it? It doesn't hurt to ask, right?
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Kmart Has Plenty of Gifts Under $25

I used to work in a retail store, and I still remember working the returns desk on the day after Christmas. It always amazed me how many gifts were being returned, and how many people were positive their friend or family member paid full price. Maybe they did, probably they didn't, but without a receipt we could only refund the lowest sale price.

I say probably they didn't (spend full price) because I assume most people are like me. Well, not exactly like me, but I'm guessing they don't want to spend more money than is necessary when they buy gifts. If you find good deals and sales, then you can buy more, right? Or you can just get something for everyone on your list without going hopelessly into debt.

Kmart has the same idea. That's why they have 25,000 quality gifts for under $25. Clothes, toys, tools, bedding, and kitchenware, there's something for everyone here. Some things I found just browsing Kmart's site, because all of these gifts are also available online, are: a Halex table top Hockey game for $24.99, which would be great in the basement; a Craftsman 3.6 volt Cordless ScrewDriver I bet Jeffrey would like; and Joe Boxer women's fleece pajama pants for $7.79 that would be comfy for Beth and me to lounge around in. There's a complete 32-piece dinnerware set for $19.99. Beth keeps saying she's moving out, so it won't be long until she needs something like that. I won't be buying it though. That's too much like encouraging her to leave.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to buy all the gifts you want to this year, check out Kmart. You can either do all of your shopping in the store or at With the current offer of free shipping on orders over $49, I don't know if it can get any easier.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Heads or Tails - an Autumn Memory

This week's theme/prompt is:
TAILS - Share an Autumn Memory

I love all the seasons. When it's Springtime, I love Spring. When it's Summer, I love Summer, etc. By the time Summer is over, I'm ready for the cooler weather, crisp breezes, and colorful leaves of Autumn.

Also in Autumn, we always go somewhere for the Feast of Tabernacles, so we have memories of visiting Florida, Tennessee, South Dakota, Wisconsin Dells, and Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. When Beth was just a 2 week old baby, we went to the Dells. The day we drove up, it was sunny and warm - shorts weather. A few days later, it snowed! And then it all melted, and the weather got warm again. This was all in the space of a week. You gotta love Wisconsin weather!

The year Cory was a baby, we went to the Ozarks. We spent a couple days in St. Louis on the way down - one day at the zoo and another at Grant's Farm. I hadn't thought of that place in ages, but I'd love to go back there. They raise some of the Budweiser Clydesdales there. I love those horses! There's also a big deer park, animals to pet, and some entertaining shows. I especially liked the elephants. Beth was only 2, so she won't remember it at all, but she enjoyed it at the time.

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

Sears Has Layaway

The other day we saw a commercial about Sears Layaway. Cory didn't know what layaway was. Our society seems to run completely on instant gratification and credit, and layaway went out of style for a while, but it's back. I think it's great because it gives people a way to purchase the gifts they want for the holidays, without maxing out the credit cards. This is definitely not a time to max out the credit cards - as if any time is. With the layaway program, you find what you want, make a down payment, and make weekly payments. When your item is paid for, you get to take it home. No more payments. I think it will make people think a little harder about what they can afford, but still be able to take advantage of some good sales.

There are some items excluded from the Sears Layaway program, but most in-store merchandise is included. Cory would love some new Wii games, and Jeffrey has been wanting a snow blower for a long time. We could put it on layaway now, get it paid for, and bring it home in time for the winter snow. Maybe instead of games for the Wii, I should find Cory some new winter boots, so he can help with the snow shoveling/blowing. I somehow doubt he'd appreciate that, though he does need some new boots, since he grew out of his old ones.

For me I'm looking at toaster ovens. My toaster doesn't toast very well any more, and I'm thinking about getting a toaster oven to replace it, instead of just a toaster. Since toaster ovens cost a bit more than any old toaster, layaway might be a good way to pay for it.

What are you going to put on layaway?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Camera Critters (#32)

I've been trying to clean my computer off. Along with the pictures I mentioned, I've also been trying to get the videos off. They should be easier, because there aren't nearly as many of them, though they take up more space. I've been uploading a lot of them, and then deleting them from my computer. I just discovered that Vimeo has a link on each video so you can download the original file - which is really nice, just in case I want to use the videos in the future and be able to edit them. In the meantime, they can hang out at Vimeo.

I've been uploading some videos of Tillie when she was a kitten, so I thought I'd share one of those this week:

Tillie Kitten Playing from bcmom on Vimeo.

Wasn't she a little cutie?

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting Ready for College

I just heard about this on the news
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin students can study for their SAT and ACT exams for free on a new state Web site.

KnowHow2GoWisconsin announced Friday that its Web site now has tutorials and interactive practice sessions for the two college entrance exams as well as the graduate school exam known as the GRE.

The program paid for with a federal grant includes a vocabulary builder with more than 2,000 words that adapts to each student's abilities.

KnowHow2GoWisconsin is a partnership of Wisconsin public schools, colleges and universities that aims to help more students go to college.


This looks like it's going to be really helpful. Besides the test prep, the site is supposed to help students know what they should be doing now to get ready for college. There are a lot of great resources on the site, too. I'm looking through this site wondering why no one told us about it before. Were we somehow supposed to find it on our own? I do wish the school would do a little more to make sure the kids have the resources they need to be successful.

Time to get serious about this whole college thing. Like they say, "There are lots of steps 2 take and this website can help. It’s never too early–or too late–2 get started on the road 2 college."

The Weekend, Finally!

Quantum of SolaceImage via WikipediaTwice yesterday I heard Thursday referred to as 'Friday Eve' - is that new? I never heard that before. It's like we all live our lives waiting for the weekend and doing whatever we can to hurry it along.

I must admit I do like weekends, mainly because we usually get to sleep in and get some extra rest. Last weekend we were busy with the school musical. While we did get to sleep in, we were also up late, so it was pretty tiring. I'm hoping to catch up on my rest this weekend.

We do have a few plans, nothing major like jetting off to las vegas nevada or anything. Cory is going with his friend Vanessa to meet one of his favorite authors tomorrow, John Green. He's taking his books and a couple of the library books to hopefully get them signed. Then Sunday we're going to see the new Bond movie - Quantum of Solace. I never used to like Bond movies, but they've grown on me. I especially liked the last one, Casino Royale, the first one with Daniel Craig as Bond, so I'm looking forward to this one. Daniel Craig is no Sean Connery, but I still thought he was pretty good.

I started reading some reviews suggested by Zemanta, but I'm not going to do it - maybe after. Seriously, movie reviews - if the reviewer loved the movie, I expect too much. If they hate the movie, well - I just want to make up my own mind.
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She Wants to Quit

Beth keeps threatening to quit her job. I know it's tough working retail, because I've been there. Done that. I actually enjoyed my job once I moved into the office and the stockroom. :P

It doesn't seem to be the customers causing Beth problems, though. No, it's the other people she has to work with, the ones who have a little power and let it go to their head. Some of them are nice, though. The other day she called in because she had homework she needed to get done. The manager she talked to told her that her schoolwork comes first, and if she could get it done she could come in later and work 'til close. I realize they can't always be flexible like that, because they need people in the store when they need them, but that was really nice. It sounds like some of the other people aren't nearly as understanding.

Beth works a lot of hours, so it would be nice if work was at least tolerable. Every time she complains, we tell her she should use whatever free time she has to look for a new one, but so far she hasn't done anything about it but complain. I wonder if she realizes that if she quits her job without having a new one that she won't be able to have Work Release from school, and she won't be driving the car because she won't have any money to put gas in it? And since Tim doesn't drive (doesn't get his license back until May) she won't be seeing him either. I wonder if that's worth putting up with a few mean people at work?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Promises Treatment Centers

I hope I never have to research rehab clinics for someone I love. If I ever have to, though, I want to find one that will actually help my loved one. It seems that so many celebs are in and out of rehab all the time, and that leads me to believe rehab doesn't work. Either that or it works while they're in there, but when they go back to their old life, they don't know how to maintain that.

Promises Treatment Centers are different. They have 20 years experience treating alcohol and drug addictions. Each facility limits clients and provides a home-like atmosphere and a staff that knows exactly what the clients are going through, because the majority of them are recovering addicts themselves. Promises has many levels of care based on individual needs, and offers plenty of support even after a client has left the facility.

Sky Watch Friday (#45)

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

I took these pictures of the moon a month ago, but I haven't shared them until now.  I really like the clouds and the moon together, the blue and the white.  These pictures were taken looking the opposite direction from the sunset and clouds I posted a couple weeks ago.

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!

Tried Every Diet?

The best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. It sounds really simple when you put it that way, but for a lot of people it's anything but simple. If you've tried every diet known to man (or woman), joined the gym, starved yourself, and who knows what else, all to no avail, it might be time to find a good lap band surgeon. JourneyLite can help you figure out if lap band is right for you and guide you every step of the way to better health and an improved quality of life.

Free Coffee!

I was just thinking about fixing myself some coffee, when I clicked my Entrecard blog of the day (see left sidebar). Good thing I did, clicked that is, because that's how I found out that Dunkin' Donuts is giving away free samples of their coffee. It's not gonna help me for today, but I really want to try this coffee. I've been watching those commercials where the people like the coffee so much they climb on top of their roofs and proclaim it to the neighborhood. So, I'm expecting this to be good coffee. I'm not planning to climb up on my roof, but I will let you know what I think once I try it. I'll proclaim it to the blog neighborhood, how about that?
Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

Thanks to Corrin for mentioning this - and advertising on my Entrecard widget.


Secure Digital card (SD)Image via WikipediaFor the last performance of the musical on Sunday, Cory wanted me to try and get it all on video. I had been taking pictures (you've seen them, right?) and got his song on video, but that was it. So, Cory emptied his 4GB SD card and gave that to me so I could get video.

I started with his card and my camera set on the highest quality video, and quickly saw I was going to run out of room. I adjusted the quality to get a little more time on the card, but still ended up filling Cory's card, a 2GB microSD card, and part of the 1GB card I had used Saturday night. I gave all the cards to Cory Sunday night when we got home so he could download all the videos to his computer.

Meanwhile, yesterday I was trying to get Jeffrey a copy of the video at work, so he could show some of the people he works with. It's as bad as being in high school where he works, because they have so many websites blocked. He can't get to YouTube or Vimeo, or any file storage/sharing site, so he couldn't get to the video there. I couldn't email the original file because it was too big for email. I did find that I could save a version for PDA, which was much smaller, from my video editing software. Except I had edited the video from my 1GB SD card without first copying to my computer - so I needed the card to save the video again.

I went into Cory's room and got it. I saved Jeffrey the PDA version of the video, emailed it to him, and forgot about it. Until last night, when Cory brought me the other two cards. Then I said, Oh, I took the 1GB card. Do you need it back? And that's when I found out that Cory had been looking everywhere for that card, because he thought he lost it. He thought it might have fallen off his desk into the trash, and the trash went out Tuesday night and got picked up yesterday. He was thinking he was going to have to come out and tell me he lost my card.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alpaca Apparel

English: A male alpaca (Vicugna pacos) at the ...
English: A male alpaca (Vicugna pacos) at the zoo Deutsch: Ein Alpaca-Hengst (Vicugna pacos) im Tierpark Grimmen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've never had anything made from Alpaca fiber, but after checking out the Alpaca Boutique, I would love to. Things made with alpaca fiber are soft, lightweight, wrinkle resistant, hypo-allergenic, strong, durable, and amazingly warm. The Alpaca Boutique has stylish scarves, hats, sweaters, outerwear, and more - all made with natural alpaca fiber. I just wish I could touch it.

Apparel from Alpaca Boutique is organic and eco-friendly. They know that once you try it, you will love it.

Stylin' Cash Giveaway

I just heard about this giveaway from My Hair Styling Tools. Grand prize is $1000 cash and 5 Karmin Professional Hair Straighteners to give away as gifts to friends. Total prize value is over $1500!

10 runner up winners will each receive a Karmin Professional Hair Iron along with a special Holiday coupon code for $50 off and Free Shipping on any item on their entire site!

Beth is always saying I should straighten my hair. If I win, I promise I'll do it, at least once. Actually, looking at some of the before and after pictures on the My Hair Styling Tools site, I think Beth might be right. I especially like that this hair straightener is safe to use and won't cause damage to your hair.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Which Came First?

If you or a loved one has mesothelioma you're supposed to call a lawyer. At least that's what the commercials say. Have you noticed, there are so many commercials urging people to call lawyers who will supposedly get them a lot of money. It makes me wonder which came first - the lawyers or the stingy insurance companies. Why do people have to sue the insurance companies to get the money they deserve when they have a car accident, get hurt on the job, or get some disease because they were exposed to toxic chemicals at work?

It seems that the settlements the lawyers get are a lot more than is necessary, and I can't help but wonder if the insurance would pay up front, wouldn't they come out ahead - because they would only have to pay for the actual expenses. They would only have to pay what's fair, and they wouldn't have to pay the lawyers too.

I guess lawyers have to work, too...

Let Butterball Pay for theTurkey

ButterballImage by kpishdadi
via Flickr
For some helpful information on cooking your Thanksgiving turkey as well as the chance to let Butterball pay for it, visit Mom of 3 Girls. Deb is giving away two coupons for up to $15 off a Butterball turkey. You have until Wednesday, November 19th at 11:59 pm EST to enter - so Deb can get the coupons mailed out in time for Thanksgiving.

I personally think turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving, and I usually buy several turkeys when they go on sale for Thanksgiving, so one of these coupons would be really nice.

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Overstock Coupon Codes

Jeffrey finally made it back to the Christian book store to return the Bible we bought for Cory, the one we bought at the store and then I found a better deal online. I just can't help myself. I'm always looking for a way of saving money. Every little bit helps. In the future we might get a better deal at the same book store because I'm on their mailing list now, and just yesterday they sent me a catalog and some coupons. I've mentioned how much I like coupons, right? Sale prices are good, but sales prices and coupons are even better.

That's why these Overstock coupon codes are important. already sells everything at discount prices, which is good, but discount prices and coupons are even better. For instance, I found some boots I really like. They're similar to some I've seen advertised recently, but they cost less at - combine that with a coupon code, and I get an even better deal. I found one for 10% off any order over $45, which means I'd need to buy something besides the boots to use it. Luckily also gives a link to all the clearance deals, so that makes it easy to find something to push my total up a few dollars, and then I can use my coupon. In the end it comes out cheaper, and I get more, too. I love a good deal.

One Word

I've seen this around but never done it before. One of my friends just emailed it to me, so I thought I'd give it a try:

Here's the challenge: You can only type ONE Word for an answer!

1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Where is your significant other? work
3. Your hair? up
4. Your mother? cute
5. Your favorite color? black
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? forgot
8. Your dream/goal? Kingdom
9. The room you're in? living
10.Your fear? loss
11. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
12. Where were you last night? home
13. What you're not? outgoing
14. Muffins? banana
15. One of your wish list items? PageRank
16. Where you grew up? Illinois
17. The last thing you did? lunch
18. What are you wearing? sweats
19. Your TV? on
20. Your pet? Tillie
21. Your computer? laptop
22. Your life? satisfying
23. Your mood? eh
24. Missing someone? no
25. Your car? minivan
26. Something you're not wearing? hat
27. Your summer? over
28. When is the last time you laughed? today
29. Last time you cried? today
30. Who will repost this? friends

That wasn't as hard as I thought it might be, though I wonder how much you actually learn from one word...

Monday, November 10, 2008

These Geeks Know About Web Hosting

If you're like me and haven't moved from free hosting to paid website hosting, the reviews at Web Hosting Geeks look like they will be really helpful. Yes, I'm still using the free hosting with Blogger, and one of the reasons is that it's free, and I'm really cheap. One of the first things I learned on the Web Hosting Geeks website is that web hosting does not have to be expensive. Right on the front page they have 10 professional web hosting services listed, and they're all less than $10 per month.

Along with the prices, Web Hosting Geeks lists the features of each and reviews. The best part is that you get reviews from actual customers who have used or are currently . They rate the web hosts on things like tech support, reliability, and quality, and share their experiences with the host. Yes, I have friends who have made the move to paid hosting, and I will probably be asking them all kinds of questions when I finally decide to do it, but with a site like Web Hosting Geeks, I can do a lot of research on my own, before I start bugging them.

There are also some very informative and useful articles on the site - information on web hosting, web design, and web development, and the all- important Site Promotion, to name a few.

Heads or Tails - Wear

This week's theme/prompt is:
HEADS - Wear or
TAILS - Where

Cory mentioned tonight that all that stage makeup he's been wearing the last several nights has caused his face to break out. All over. I shouldn't tell you that, should I? It kind of destroys the illusion.
Here's another picture of Cory wearing that stage makeup (those sideburns are not his) and his costume:

The rest of the pictures from opening night are here - Act 1 - Act 2

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

Free Images for Your Blog

Blog Pictures | I like using pictures in my blog posts. Ideally, I'd use my own pictures all of the time, but I don't always have the exact image I need. I could go out and take pictures and then write the post, but I'd usually rather just get the post written.

Sometimes I just don't use an image, and other times I grab one of the images suggested by Zemanta, search for images on Flickr, or just do a Google image search. The problem with some of those searches is that, while they do turn up some great images, many of them are not really available for use. Many of the image owners have an All Rights Reserved license on their images, and would not be happy to see them used as blog pictures. I hate finding the perfect image, only to see that I'm really not supposed to use it.

Today I found a site full of images, and they're all available for use. It's called acobox, and you can search through the galleries or search by keyword, look at recently added pictures, or just choose 'show me any picture' for some random images. Find one you like, choose alignment and image size, click for the code, and paste it into your blog post. There's no downloading or saving images, no hosting them yourself, and no resizing, because acobox does it all for you. All images are properly licensed, optimized, and ready to use. Best of all, it's free. How do you like them apples? I mean lemons. (this was one of the random images I just had to use)
Blog Pictures |

If you'd like to try acobox, just click on one of the images in this post.